The Future of Park Lane

About Park Lane

Park Lane with people walking and colorful Hispanic art

Park Lane in downtown Kirkland was originally designed to be a "flexible street" and has previously been closed to vehicles during select special events. In coordination with the downtown community, the City started "Evenings on Park Lane" in 2019, opening the street to people walking and wheeling during evening hours. The program continued as a valuable support for businesses, restaurants, residents and visitors providing outdoor space for restaurant seating and retail and room for greater social distancing for pedestrians. Park Lane provides a pedestrian pathway between Kirkland’s downtown waterfront to the transit center, Peter Kirk Park and Kirkland Urban. Evenings on Park Lane has been a collaboration between the City of Kirkland, community members, and neighborhood associations to provide accessibility, mobility and a strong sense of place for people, while enhancing the volume of shopping and other business activities.


At a Glance: Evenings on Park Lane 2022

Evenings on Park Lane

What: Evenings on Park Lane 2022
Where: The west end of Park Lane between Lake Street and Main Street 
When: Every evening from 6 p.m. to restaurant closure (approx. 11 p.m.)
Start Date: Thursday, May 26, 2022
End Date: Sunday, October 2, 2022

“Evenings on Park Lane” runs through Sunday, October 2, 2022. This initiative is meant to expand outdoor capacity for businesses and increase foot traffic in the downtown core by closing the west end of Park Lane to vehicles nightly from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. ‘Parklets’ and ‘Streateries’ – which were permitted under the City Manager’s COVID 19 emergency order will not be a feature of Evenings on Park Lane this summer.

View the 'Evenings on Park Lane' Press Release

 

How Will Parking Be Impacted?

The closure of Park Lane to vehicles impacts a total of 17 parking stalls on Park Lane. One of those stalls is ADA parking. 5 of those stalls were used for Parklet/restaurant seating in 2020.

Park Lane map image with parking

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Park Lane located?

Park Lane is located in Downtown Kirkland between Lake Street and 3rd Street. Known as an “American woonerf” – which loosely translates to “living street” – Park Lane is a charming thruway that invites pedestrian exploration day and night.

How should I get there?

In the spirit of the traffic alteration, we encourage you to walk, bike, carpool, or take transit. Bus routes 255, 248, 235, and 234 will bring you right to the entrance of Park Lane on 3rd Street. 

Where is the best place to park?

All city-owned parking is free on Sundays and holidays, including street parking, the Peter Kirk Municipal Garage that is located under the library, the Wester Lot on 3rd Avenue, Marina Park, the Lake & Central lot, and at City Hall. Pay parking lots are located throughout downtown, including the Voda Parking garage on Main Street at Park Lane. For more information on parking in Kirkland, visit our downtown parking information webpage. All lots can be found on our public parking map(PDF, 2MB).

What about ADA parking?

ADA parking spots are available at multiple locations downtown. See the public parking map(PDF, 2MB) for specifics. 

Where can I find public restrooms?

Public restrooms are available at Marina Park, Peter Kirk Park and in the Kirkland Library on 3rd Street. 

Historical Background

2022

Last updated September 13, 2022.

The current Evenings on Park Lane program continues through Sunday, October 2, 2022.

The future of the usage of Park Lane beyond summer 2022 is an item for ongoing consideration of the City Council. During the August 3, 2022 City Council meeting, the council voted to evaluate the seasonal or full closure of Park Lane with a final decision in 2023. The Council also voted to authorize staff to hire a consultant to identify investments necessary to close Park Lane to vehicle traffic and successfully activate a pedestrian retail, service, and dining area in the downtown core. The closure options evaluated will be either full year-round closure or a full seasonal closure such as from May to October. The estimated cost of this assessment will be up to $50,000 and will include at least the following considerations:

  1. Parking mitigation options and strategies if applicable.
  2. Programming and street activation recommendations, including during winter months if applicable.
  3. Infrastructure recommendations and requirements, including but not limited to shelter, seating, parklets, vehicle access and barriers.
  4. Public safety considerations and planning.
  5. Preliminary cost and budget plan for capital and ongoing expense.

2021

2021 Extending Evenings on Park Lane

Approaching summer 2021, restrictions on business capacity and operations were still in place and health officials continued to recommend social distancing and outdoor rather than indoor activities (expected to continue throughout the summer). At its April 6, 2021, meeting, the Council discussed closure of Park Lane to vehicles for summer 2021 to expand outdoor capacity for businesses and patrons in the downtown core under its newly established Legislative Request Memoranda process as outlined in the Council Policies and Procedures document.  Four options were presented:

  • Option 1: “Similar to last year.” Close Park Lane from early May to October only during evenings (beginning at 6 p.m.) and all day during permitted special events downtown.
  • Option 2: Close Park Lane from early May through October on weekday evenings (beginning at 6 p.m.) AND full-day closures on weekends and holidays.
  • Option 3: Close Park Lane all day and evening every day from early May to October.
  • Option 4: No action.

At the April 16, 2021 meeting, the Council directed staff to return to Council with additional information including directing staff to conduct an extensive public outreach to gather feedback and comments from City community members and affected businesses relating to various options for Park Lane.

At the Council's May 4, 2021 meeting, staff presented detailed results of the outreach. From this input, Council directed staff to proceed with Option 1 “Evenings on Park Lane”, closing Park Lane to vehicular traffic and parking from early May to October only during evenings and all-day during permitted special events, with the intent to maintain it for the next two years, through summer 2022. Council also directed for the regular evening closures, the street be reopened in the evenings after the last restaurant closes. 

2020

2020 COVID Response / Evenings on Park Lane

In response to restrictions and capacity limits mandated by WA State due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with input from the ‘Outside the Walls’ task force, a community group formed in response to the pandemic, staff presented the CARES Act Funding Plan at the June 16, 2020 Council meeting. This included recommendations for Park Lane:

  • Close the west half of Park Lane (between Main and Lake St) to be used as  streeteries or parklets, either permanently or for ‘Evenings on Park Lane’;
  • Provide picnic benches and/ or tables and chairs;
  • Install canopy or rain shelter;
  • Create attractive entrance celebrating the public space (using bollards, banners and flags);
  • Provide hand washing/ sanitizing stations and public restrooms;
  • Provide assistance with getting permits from the Liquor Control Board

At the June 16, 2020 meeting, the City Council supported “Evenings on Park Lane” to close the west end of Park Lane to vehicles each evening between Lake Street and Main Street from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. seven days a week, from July 2 through November 17, 2020.  An interdepartmental team of City staff implemented various strategies to implement this, including developing an application process for temporary Sidewalk Cafés; temporary allowance for restaurants to expand outdoor seating into adjoining on-street parking stalls (i.e. “parklets”); and processes for expanded outdoor café seating or outdoor retail space.  This additional programming to allow for sidewalk cafés and parklets attracted more people to Park Lane than Summer Sundays.

2019

Summer Sundays

Park Lane closures were first initiated in 2019 through a program called Summer Sundays on Park Lane. This pilot program began in June and continued through September. Opening Park Lane to people walking or wheeling was inspired by residents hoping to create an atmosphere where community members could gather, shop, stroll, and dine in a casual car-free environment. During Summer Sundays, Park Lane was closed to vehicles from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Kirkland guests and community members were invited to come and check it out. 

April - City Council Agenda clarifying "Car-Free Sundays on Park Lane" 

May - Summer Sundays News Release

Pre-2019

2008 ‘Flexible Street’ Concept – Adopted February 2, 2010

In 2008, the City Council approved funds as part of the Capital Improvement Program for a study to explore and develop a corridor design for pedestrian enhancements on Park Lane between Lake Street and 3rd Street. The study was driven by considerations relating to sidewalks and infrastructure along Park Lane, as well as a number of redevelopment activities including the Kirkland Transit Center and King County’s replacement of the sanitary sewer pump station at 3rd St and Park Lane.  The results of the 2010 Park Lane Pedestrian Corridor Enhancement Study and the public input process identified the concept of a “Flexible Street” for Park Lane to serve as a pedestrian corridor with infrastructure developed to support flexible use.

2015 Renovated Design

Park Lane was renovated and reopened in 2015 to be a pedestrian-friendly, festival space with built-in bollards to enable regular closure of the street to vehicles for community events.