Tram could finally give Kirkland more of an identity

A gondola in Kirkland? Officials are flirting with the idea instead of adding more lanes for buses. (File, Associated Press)

There’s an idea floating around that would get people to and from Kirkland’s transit center and the future Sound Transit bus line without having to build new roads and bridges. Plus, it may actually give the city more of an identity.

Kirkland City Manager Kurt Triplett told KIRO 7 the city is researching aerial tramways, gondolas, and funicular railways as an alternative to adding more vehicles onto the roads. It’s not the first time the city has considered such an idea.

The city needs to figure out something reliable and relatively quick prior to the new bus line, which will run along I-405, adding a station at Northeast 85th Street. Sound Transit will run buses through the station as frequently as every 10 minutes, KIRO 7 reports. The bus line is funded by Sound Transit 3, with $48 million earmarked for new lanes for buses driving between the transit center and rapid line.

Putting aside the cost-saving argument, another argument for a tram or gondola is what it would do for the city’s image. Think about it, KIRO Radio’s Tom and Curley point out. What do we associate Kirkland with other than the Kirkland Signature brand and Google’s fancy campus that so many will never enjoy?

Listen to the entire conversation here.

Bus rapid service on I-405 is expected to begin in 2024.