For decades, the City of Kirkland has created new residential streets and pedestrian pathways to connect areas that were isolated from the City’s traffic grid and pathway network by cul-de-sacs and dead-ends.
The City’s key criteria when identifying possible street or pathway connections include the benefit to fire and police response times, creating multiple route options for vehicles, seeking safer routes to schools for students and their families, and reducing congestion from developments that increase the amount of people living in a neighborhood.
Kirkland’s practice has been to create these connections one development at a time — first by identifying the essential connection and then waiting for private development to build it. One of the challenges with identifying them one at a time, however, is that neighborhoods might not know if a connection is planned before the City or a developer starts to build one. The City has also included connections as part of the neighborhood planning process, however not all the neighborhood plans have been updated with these connections.
As a result, the City Council directed staff to create a single, citywide transportation connections map that shows all the potential street and pathway connections, and to create the map in consultation with Kirkland’s residents, businesses, and other stakeholders. When complete, the citywide transportation connections map will illustrate Kirkland’s vision for an transportation network with improved access for firefighters and police officers, traffic flow for those driving or bicycling throughout Kirkland, and connections for those on foot or with mobility assistance devices. The final map will be included in Kirkland’s 2019 update of its Comprehensive Plan.
Join the conversation
During the spring, summer, and early fall of 2019, the City will be collecting feedback through a variety of civic engagement activities, including neighborhood association meetings and community meetings to collect feedback on the draft citywide connections map.
Sign up for the City's weekly email newsletter, This Week in Kirkland, to stay up to date on this civic conversation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the timeline for the citywide connections map?
January 2019: City Council directs Kirkland staff to create a city-wide connections map, depicting potential pathway and roadway connections in all relevant neighborhoods.
May 2019 to October 2019: Kirkland's staff engages with public about specific potential roadway and pathway connections.
September 26, 2019: Planning Commission briefing
October 15, 2019: City Council Study Session
October 24, Thursday, 2019: Planning Commission Public Hearing
November 19, 2019: City Council to consider the Connections map, as part of the annual update to the Comprehensive Plan.
(Added 10/22/19) All the above City Council and Planning Commission meetings are held at City Hall, 123 5th Ave, Kirkland, in the Council Chambers. More information on City Council and Planning Commission meetings, including times and agendas, can be found on the City's website.
For potential private project connections, what is the definition of "development"?
There are a few actions that would meet the threshold of development, including:
- Tear down and re-build triggers frontage improvements; or
- An addition of 2,165 or more square feet ($262,000 or more project building valuation); or
- A remodel where more than 50% of the 1st floor walls are removed and the finished gross floor area of the house is at least 2,165 square feet ($262,000 or more project building valuation).
If any of the above criteria are met, then the connection would be required to be put in.
(Updated 10/22/19) In response to a resident’s question, “development” means the common definition of land development, such as building a house on a vacant lot, and includes the thresholds of development (or redevelopment) itemized above.
What is the difference between a “funded” and “unfunded” project in the City’s Capital Improvement Program?
The City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is a six-year funding plan for City projects that are generally large-scale in terms of cost, size, and benefit to the community. Called “capital improvement projects”, all such identified projects stem from the City’s various long-range plans, goals, policies, and emergent issues.
The City Council adopts or adjusts the rolling six-year CIP on an annual basis.
Projects identified as funded in the six-year CIP generally means that the City has identified a strategy for how to pay for a particular project—or a logical phase of it—or for an on-going capital program such as annual street overlays. A project may be funded with only one revenue source, such as transportation impact fees, but often it is through a combination of sources such as local taxes, a grant, a required contribution from a development project, and/or revenues that can be used for only certain types of public improvements. They are “funded” because the City has identified a sufficient amount of available money to meet the anticipated total cost for the project.
However, the community’s need for capital improvements significantly exceeds available funding. As a result, the City has numerous projects that are identified as ones to potentially build in the future but, as a result of assigning available revenues to other capital improvement projects, there simply is not enough money at the moment to fully pay for them. They are unfunded. The City maintains a list of unfunded projects and seeks to fund them in the future, but they are not included in the six-year CIP plan and generally they don’t have an estimated start time.
How can I find out about development happening in my neighborhood?
Go to https://maps.kirklandwa.gov/Html5Viewer/. Once there, click on the “Development Permits” check box on the left-hand side of the KirklandMaps interface. This will show the locations of new building permits. Click on the “+” (plus sign) next to “Development Permits” to see additional permit types to display. To get more information about a specific permit, click on the dot on the map.
What do you mean by "resilient transportation network"?
The two maps below depict two different communities that use two different land-uses to provide for the same number of homes with equal distance between destinations. The street-ends of the cul de sac community depicted on the left force all drivers to funnel onto the same arterial streets, often resulting in traffic congestion. This differs from the grid network (depicted on the right), which offers drivers a variety of route-choices. Providing for multiple route options makes the traffic grid more resilient, which ensures that emergency responders always have direct access to residents in need of help and residents always have access to their homes, even if one of their streets is closed.