Renewed Totem Lake Park Opens to the Public
Published on July 29, 2021
Interim Communications Program Manager
The new park features restrooms, a boardwalk that connects to the Cross Kirkland Corridor and a playground that is accessible to everyone
KIRKLAND, Wash. – The City of Kirkland opened Totem Lake’s renovated ecological centerpiece to the Kirkland community on July 28, 2021 while previewing two other projects that, when completed, will expedite the transformation of Kirkland’s first urban center into the walkable, vibrant and green village that community leaders envisioned two decades ago.
“We are standing amid an impressive display of public and private investment that has been years in the making,” said Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet, in prepared remarks. “Good ideas, thoughtful plans, and an incredible amount of hard work can bring us something even better than we first imagined.”
The renovated park features a 10-foot wide boardwalk that meanders through the wetlands and connects to the Cross Kirkland Corridor, a playground with features that are accessible to all ages and abilities, new restrooms, as well as a new system to protect the wetland and new native plantings.
Also visible at the event on July 28 were the beginnings of the Totem Lake Connector pedestrian and bicycle bridge, as well as the intersection improvements in progress at 120th Avenue Northeast and Totem Lake Boulevard. Kirkland’s project engineers expect to complete the Totem Lake Connector by the end of next summer. They expect to complete the intersection improvements by this fall.
The event also provided an opportunity for leaders to walk along the section of Totem Lake Boulevard that connects Totem Lake Park to the Totem Lake Connector. There, between Northeast 124th Street and 120th Avenue Northeast, with the help of $4.8 million in funding from the Transportation Improvement Board, the City in 2020 rebuilt the roadway, built 10-foot-wide sidewalks and installed pedestrian lighting. The Northshore Utility District also upgraded the area’s stormwater and sewer systems.
The revitalization of Totem Lake derives from a community vision for an urban village where residents could live, work and play and the nearly billion dollars that public agencies and private developers have invested in Totem Lake to manifest that vision. For 15 years, that vision gathered detail as changing economic conditions forced it to evolve. This was a time when City leaders had to consider the future of the mostly vacant Totem Lake malls, an obscure park within 27 acres of wetlands, and a failing roadway that flooded almost annually.
Kirkland’s promise of ambitious public investments into the surrounding infrastructure helped attract a California-based developer, CenterCal, to remove the old malls and build a pedestrian-friendly village in their place. The City of Kirkland has invested more than $60 million in Totem Lake infrastructure projects so far. CenterCal has invested more than $500 million into The Village at Totem Lake.
“In 2003, Totem Lake received [Urban Center] designation,” Sweet said. “And since then the City Council, City leadership and staff, our utility partners, granting agencies, and private developers have planned, prepared, and built toward the renewed and urbanized area you see today.”
To learn more about Totem Lake’s transformation, go to https://www.kirklandwa.gov/Resident/Totem-Lake.
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