Park Lane

About Park Lane

Park Lane is one of Kirkland’s vibrant commercial centers, a bustling oasis for shoppers and diners set between Marina Park on Lake Washington and Peter Kirk Park in the central downtown core. Park Lane was originally designed to be a "flexible street" and has previously been closed to vehicles during select special events. Consideration of Park Lane as a pedestrian corridor closed to vehicular traffic dates to 2008. Park Lane provides a pedestrian pathway between Kirkland’s downtown waterfront to the transit center, Peter Kirk Park, and Kirkland Urban. In recent years, “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. The program has continued as a valuable support for businesses and restaurants, providing outdoor space for restaurant seating and retail and room for greater social distancing for pedestrians.

park lane night bike banner

Future of Park Lane Consultant Study 2023

As the “Evenings on Park Lane” program was ending at the end of summer 2022, the Kirkland City Council at its August 3, 2022, meeting approved a staff request for funding to evaluate the Future of Park Lane as it pertains to vehicular traffic including:

  1. Full year-round closure to traffic;
  2. Full summer seasonal closure to traffic such as from May to October;
  3. Summer evening closure to traffic such as from May to October, 6PM to 11PM (i.e., “Evenings on Park Lane”);
  4. Other closure options as may be recommended by the consultant

To help understand both the potential financial impacts to businesses and place-making benefits for the community, the City hired a consultant to study various options of vehicular closures of Park Lane. The City hosted a Virtual Town Hall on July 10, 2023 for the community to hear from the consultant and City staff about the findings in the preliminary report(PDF, 9MB) and answer questions from the community about it. A video of that event is below.


The report will be presented to the City Council for discussion in the Fall.

Upcoming Meetings Related to Park Lane

The study Consultant and City staff will share the findings of the Future of Park Lane Study at a series of upcoming public meetings. Refer to information listed under each meeting below for more details on agendas, meeting materials, and procedure for public testimony. These dates, times, and locations are subject to change.

City Council Study Session

Tuesday, September 5 at 5:30 p.m.

Location: City Hall Council Chambers and Virtual

City Council Page

Note: Council will accept comments during the appointed time in the regular council meeting following the study session. 

Historical Background

Relevant Kirkland Plans & Policies

Active Transportation Plan (June 2022)

Active Transportation Plan adopted June 2022

  • Goal #1: Create a safe, connected pedestrian network where walking is a comfortable and intuitive option as the first choice for many trips.
  • Special projects: City Council will continue to evaluate future closure of Park Lane to vehicles, whether that continue to remain in the evenings and for special events, for longer periods of time or permanently.

Comprehensive Plan: Economic Development (June 2022)

Comprehensive Plan: Economic Development

  • Goal ED-1: Promote a strong and diverse economy that provides a sustainable tax base and jobs.

  • Goal ED-2: Promote a positive business climate.

  • Goal ED-3: Strengthen commercial areas to provide local goods, services, and vibrant community gathering places to live, work, shop and play.

  • Goal ED-4: Provide infrastructure and public facilities to support economic activity and growth
  • Goal ED-5: Foster socially and environmentally responsible businesses

  • Goal ED-6: Foster collaborative partnerships among community groups and regional organizations to create a prosperous Kirkland economy.

Comprehensive Plan: Land Use (June 2022)

Comprehensive Plan: Land Use

  • Goal LU-2: Promote a compact, efficient, and sustainable land use pattern in Kirkland that Supports a multimodal transportation system that efficiently moves people and goods; minimizes energy use , greenhouse gas emissions, and service costs; conserves land, water, and natural resources; provides sufficient land area and development intensity to accommodate Kirkland’s share of the regionally adopted population and employment targets.
  • Goal LU-3: Provide a land use pattern and transportation network that promotes mobility, transportation choices, and convenient access to goods and services.
  • Goal LU-4: Plan for a hierarchy of commercial and mixed use areas serving neighborhood, community, and/or regional needs.


Moss Bay Neighborhood Plan (December 2021)

Moss Bay Neighborhood Plan (Comprehensive Plan) adopted December 2021

  • Policy MB-12: Ensure that Downtown has a critical mass of retail uses and services and regularly review and recruit businesses that enhance the vibrancy of the business district.

  • Policy MB-13: Explore opportunities to support formal and informal cultural institutions and artists in Downtown, such as pop-up galleries, street music and festivals.

  • Policy MB-14: Promote partnerships and increase two-way communications efforts between the business community and City government.

  • Policy MB-15: Encourage ground-floor uses and promote an active pedestrian environment.

  • Policy MB-16: Explore redevelopment of the Lake/Central surface parking lot with public and private amenities that enhance the 10-minute neighborhood concept. The exploration should include inclusive community engagement and participation from businesses, property owners, residents and the broader community.

  • Policy MB-17: Encourage efficient utilization of existing parking to its full potential and development of new shared parking around the perimeter of Downtown to increase parking supply while preserving and enhancing the walkable nature of Downtown.

  • Policy MB-29: Create new and enhance existing pedestrian, bicycle, and transit connections between the lake-front commercial district, Kirkland Urban, the NE 85th Street Station Area Plan, and the Cross Kirkland Corridor.

  • Policy MB-32: Expand and iterate pilot programs to enhance pedestrian-only access along Park Lane.

  • Policy MB-33: Explore the construction of a large public plaza west of buildings on Lake Street to enhance the Downtown’s lakefront setting and provide much needed open space while not reducing existing parking supply and increasing usable green space.

  • Policy MB-37: consider developing a Marina expansion plan to promote economic development and tourism in the Downtown area. 

Sustainability Master Plan (December 2020)

Sustainability Master Plan adopted December 2020

  • Goal LT-1: Employ Smart Growth principles in all City planning practices
  • Goal LT-2: Increase access to existing 10-Minute Neighborhoods in Kirkland
  • Goal LT-3: Achieve the K4C goal of reducing driving per capita by 20% by 2030 and 50% by 2050 compared to 2017 levels
  • Goal LT-4: Ensure that people of all ages and abilities can comfortably get to where they need to go by walking or bicycling     

Transit Implementation Plan (March 2019)

Transit Implementation Plan adopted March 2019

  • Improvements to Downtown Transit Center     

Policy G-11: Parking Guidelines for Downtown Kirkland (September 2017)

Policy G-11: Parking Guidelines for Downtown Kirkland last revised September 2017

  • Guiding Principles
  1. Make the downtown accessible to all users. Kirkland will seek to develop the most cost-effective mix of transportation modes for access to downtown, including both parking and transportation demand management strategies.
  2. Make the downtown core conveniently accessible to priority users.
  3. Provide sufficient and convenient parking.
  4. Provide adequate employee parking.
  5. Promote strategic development of off-street facilities.
  6. Preserve and expand on-street parking wherever possible.
  7. Improve access linkages between districts and the downtown core.
  8. Coordinate access strategies with desired development.
  9. The City should lead in the development of access options for customers and visitors (patrons) of the downtown and actively partner with the business community to incent additional access and growth.
  • Operating Principles
    • The primary purpose of parking in Zone A is to serve customer and other short-term visitor needs and support desired economic uses in the zone.
    • Parking in Zone B is intended to serve a balanced mix of long- term and short-term parking needs. It is the City’s goal to actively manage Zone B to meet a fluid user demand that changes by time of day and day of week. Over time, Zone B may serve 13 as transitional facilities for increased employee parking as new supply is added in Zone A to accommodate growing and concentrated visitor demand.

Transportation Master Plan (November 2015)

Transportation Master Plan adopted November 2015

  • Goal T-1: Complete a safe network of sidewalks, trails and improved crossings where walking is comfortable and the first choice for many trips.
  • Goal T-3: Support and promote a transit system that is recognized as a high value option for many trips.
  • Goal T-4: Provide for efficient and safe vehicular circulation recognizing congestion is present during parts of most days.
  • Goal T-5: Create a transportation system that is united with Kirkland’s land use plan.

Park Lane Pedestrian Corridor Enhancement Study (2010)

  • Guiding principles:
    • Develop visual connections along Park Lane (consistent with long term goal of connecting the Park to the water)
    • Enhance Park Lane as regional destination          
    • Encourage economic vibrancy and diversity        
    • Ensure equitable access for all
    • Create high performance greenspaces

Design Guidelines for Pedestrian-Oriented Business Districts (August 2004)

Design Guidelines for Pedestrian-Oriented Business Districts adopted August 2004

  • Purpose for Downtown:
    • Promote a sense of community identity…encouraging activities that make downtown the cultural, civic, and commercial heart of the community
    • Orient to the pedestrian by providing weather protection, amenities, human scale elements, and activities that attract people to downtown
  • Pedestrian-oriented elements
  • Public improvements and site features  
  • Parking lot location and design 


The chronological tabs below provide a historical overview of actions and decisions concerning Park Lane, temporary closure to vehicular traffic on Park Lane, interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic, a summary of community engagement to date, and the commitment to study permanent solutions moving forward.  


Future of Park Lane Study Begins

The City is engaged in a study to inform a City Council decision on the future of Park Lane as it pertains to vehicular traffic on the street. The study and decision are expected to conclude in Q3 2023. After reviewing consultant proposals submitted through a competitive process for the Future of Park Lane Study, a selection committee comprised of city staff and Kirkland downtown stakeholders chose to hire the consulting firm MIG to conduct this work. The purpose of the study is to develop, evaluate and present to the City Council options for street closure to vehicle traffic on Park Lane related to the following operational scenarios:

  1. Full year-round closure to vehicle traffic;
  2. Full summer seasonal closure to vehicle traffic such as from May to October;
  3. Summer evening closure to vehicle traffic such as from May to October, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (i.e., “Evenings on Park Lane”);
  4. Other closure option as may be recommended by the consultant

The option to take no further action on Park Lane is always one that the City Council has at its disposal.

Consultant work began in early January 2023 and is expected to continue through the spring of 2023, with final report and presentation to City Council expected in Q3 2023. 


“Evenings” Continues & Study of Park Lane Future Approved

In 2022, “Evenings on Park Lane” resumed on May 26 with closure to vehicular traffic on the west end of Park Lane between Lake Street and Main Street every evening from 6 p.m. to approximately 11 p.m. In coordination with the downtown community, the City started "Evenings on Park Lane" in 2019, opening the street to people walking and wheeling only 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 during pandemic times. The 2022 “Evenings” initiative did not permit ‘Parklets’ and ‘Streateries’ to allow tables and stalls to be set up in parking spaces in the right of way. ‘Parklets’ and  ‘Streateries’ were permitted under the City Manager’s COVID 19 emergency order in 2021 ['Evenings on Park Lane' Press Release].

At its August 3 meeting, the City Council received a request from staff to consider options for the future of Park Lane either as a) an open street with parking or b) a street closed seasonally or permanently to vehicle traffic. The Council gave direction to evaluate Park Lane as a street closed seasonally or permanently to vehicle traffic, and authorized “Option 2” as presented to them in the Memo and reprinted here:

Option 2: Evaluate seasonal or full closure of Park Lane with a final decision in 2023.

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. Closure options evaluated would be full year-round closure or a full seasonal closure such as from May to October. Staff estimates the cost of this assessment to be up to $50,000 and would 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

As directed by Council at the August 3 meeting, staff returned to Council at on October 18 with a fiscal note authorizing funding from the Council Special Projects Reserve to fund the assessment.  While the original proposed budget for the study was $50,000, Council directed staff to consider a larger budget should market research indicate the need, and the fiscal note approved at the October 18 meeting to fund the study that was for $75,000.

A Request for Proposals(PDF, 220KB) for a consultant to conduct a Future of Park Lane Study was issues on October 3, 2022 and closed on October 31, 2022. 


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 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.


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


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.