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Bus Rapid Transit threatens local businesses along route

Sound Transit's Bus-rapid transit (BRT) lanes from Woodinville to Shoreline will threaten some businesses along the 8-mile route, including the 81-year-old Yakima Fruit stand, alarming some residents about the plans.

Bus Rapid Transit will provide bus trips every 10 minutes serving nine stops among the Northshore communities of Woodinville, Bothell, and Kenmore connecting them with the future South Shoreline/145th Street light rail station, scheduled to open in 2024.

The project -- part of the Stage 3 Sound Transit bond passed three years ago -- will provide road improvements and business access and bus-rapid transit. It is part of the SR 522 and NE 145th project, which will widen existing lanes to provide a express lane for buses. It will also create business access and transit lanes in both directions. The project is expected to cost between $365 million to $389 million and have a daily ridership of up to 10,000 by 2040.

While the draft plans lack specifics, the maps released last week show the expanded lanes cutting through the parking lots and some buildings along the route, including Yakima Fruit and Nursery.

The fruit stand has been a favorite place for Northshore residents and beyond to buy summer fruits from Eastern Washington for generations. Currently run by 3rd generation owners Stuart and Karin Poage, the couple were hoping to keep the market in the family.

"My husband and I have worked here since we were teenagers ourselves," Poage told KIRO TV. "We had always planned to pass it on to our children, and we hoped to live to see our grandchildren run the business. We don't know if that's going to be a reality now."

Strong community support for the Poage family may be the only chance to preserve the business, much like the support for Dick's Drive-in in Kent ultimately removed the favorite burger stand from consideration as a Sound Transit maintenance facility site.

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