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Streets & Sidewalks - Safety and Maintenance

The Street Division of Public Works primarily handles issues in these areas: Streetlight maintenance, right-of-way mowing, street sweeping, alley maintenance, tree hazards in the right-of-way, medians, signs, traffic signals and flashing crosswalks, potholes, sidewalk grinding, shoulders, paths and trails, the parking garage and public parking lots, snow and ice control, right-of-way spraying, and potholes.

Weather Warning: View the Snow Priority Map (PDF) & Anti-Icing Map (PDF)

The Street Division specializes in the following work categories:

  • Paths/Trails/Pedestrian Bridge
    Pedestrian Bridge
  • Roadway/Shoulders/Alleys from curbline to curbline.
  • Sidewalks/Walkways in the R.O.W.
  • Streetlights/Banners/Decorations
  • Traffic Signals/Flashers/Lighted Crosswalks 
  • Parking Garage/City owned Parking Lots
    Parking Garage image
  • Snow Plowing (Snow Priority Map - PDF) & Icy Road Conditions (Anti-Icing Map - PDF)
  • Street Sweeping
  • Signs/Curb Painting/Pavement Markings
    Do not enter image
  • R.O.W. Trees/Mowing/Spray Program outside the curbline.
  • Litter/Graffiti/Adopt-A-Road Median Islands / Gateways / Triangles / Neighborhood Signs 
    Neighborhood Sign image

Safety and Maintenance 
 

POTHOLES: 
Pothole - smallReport potholes or any other abnormal condition or situation in the roadway to the Street Division of Public Works. (see example) The Street Division strives for completed repairs in less than 24 hours. All we need is an address and a direction of travel is helpful.

Street Light Pole 2 SmallStreet Light Pole SmallSTREETLIGHTS:
Report streetlight problems / outages to the Street Division of Public Works.  All we need is the nearest location street address and the following type of information from the face of the pole is helpful. Please note the 12 digit “_ _ _ _ _ _-_ _ _ _ _ _” or the posted “SLAE #”. (see examples).

SIDEWALKS: 
Cracked Sidewalk SmallReport sidewalk defects to the Street Division of Public Works. Repairs are normally evaluated within 24 hours. The Street Department may “grind” or “fill” offsets, if appropriate, in order to assist with the adjacent property owner responsibilities. All we need is the address or general location description.

R.O.W. TREES:
 
Street Tree SmallReport or discuss all R.O.W (public) tree concerns with the Street Division of Public Works before taking action. Private property tree discussions will be directed to the City’s Planning and Building Department at 425-587-3600. R.O.W. concerns will be addressed as soon as possible. All we need is the address or general location description.

 

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Help Keep Sidewalks & Streets Clear

The safe, free, and full use of sidewalks and streets by the public is very important - after all, Kirkland residents and businesses have invested hard-earned dollars building these important elements of our transportation system.  It is important to maintain them in a safe and useful condition.  Whether you are a new or longstanding Kirkland resident, property owner or business owner, you should be familiar with your responsibility to keep sidewalks and streets clear of debris and vegetation.  Your fellow citizens depend upon your commitment to neighborhood safety. 

Sidewalk Maintenance Responsibilities

Sidewalks serve many purposes and are a valued asset.  There are over 139 miles of sidewalk in Kirkland's City limits.  As a resident or property/business owner in Kirkland, you are responsible for keeping sidewalks adjacent to your property clear of any obstructions or debris.  This includes vegetation growing from your private property and the plantings in the public right-of-way growing on both sides of the sidewalk.  The one exception is that the City is responsible for the trimming of the formally-planted street trees to ensure healthy growth.  Snow and ice must be removed as quickly as possible. 

Street Maintenance Responsibilities 

There are over 310 miles of streets and alleys in Kirkland's City limits. Just as sidewalks must be kept clear of debris and obstruction, so must roadways be kept clear. Property owners are also responsible for vegetation trimming needed to maintain the visibility of traffic signs and clear lines of sight at intersections and driveways. For example, shrubs taller than 36 inches on the corner of an intersection between two streets can block the visibility of cross traffic and of pedestrians approaching a crosswalk.

For more details of these responsibilities, view the Kirkland Municipal Code and search for sections:

  • 21.41.302.4 - Removal of overhanging vegetation and fire hazards
  • 9.12.040 - Failure to remove
  • 11.64.050 - Sweeping litter into gutters prohibited
  • 19.04.010 - Obstructions of the right-of-way
  • 19.20.020 - Abutting property owners to maintain sidewalks in safe condition (includes obstructions, defects, snow and ice)

Reporting Obstructions Or Sight Distance Problems

If you encounter an obstructed sidewalk or sight distance limitation due to overgrown vegetation, please call Kirkland Public Works at 425-587-3900 so that the City can determine what, exactly, needs to be trimmed. If it is a safety issue (and not an aesthetics issue), the City will contact the resident or property owner and request the trimming be completed within a responsible time frame. If the work is not complete, (we automatically check) property owner will receive a reminder from the City. 


What You Need To Know About Maintenance

  • City-owned trees can be trimmed by a City Arborist or with a permit, by a certified arborist hired by the adjacent property owner. Members of the community can volunteer to water street trees during the dry months. Contact the City if you'd like to volunteer. If there is any question about whether a street tree is City-owned, please inquire via the Our Kirkland portal. 

  • Sidewalks should be clear at least to the back edge of the sidewalk and up to provide eight feet of clearance over the sidewalk.  On some trees, it is better to trim back to the trunk rather than leave a stub branch.

  • Shoulders of streets where people walk, but which don't have sidewalks, should be trimmed the same as sidewalks.  Just use the painted edge line or the edge of the pavement where motor vehicles travel as a guideline.  Trim back 10 feet (if space available) and up to provide eight feet of overhead clearance over the shoulder.

  • Streets should be clear of vegetation for a height of 14 feet over the traveled roadway. 

  • Street signs should be clear of vegetation so they can be seen from far enough away that drivers can make decisions based on the sign information.  The typical signs that can be hidden by vegetation are speed limits, parking restrictions, and street name signs.  If a stop sign is hidden, let us know and we will take immediate action. 

  • Notification of the abutting resident is important if you are volunteering to clear sidewalks in front of other people's homes.  Some of the vegetative overgrowth can be hedges or shrubs of special significance to these people and it is always wise to get their perspective on the trimming that needs to be done and how the plant(s) will be protected.  Some hedges can look terrible when trimmed to the required degree.  It's better to have the resident involved before it happens.  Plus, you might even gain volunteers by making those contacts.  Also, don't get into a confrontation.  Call us or give our contact information to the other person if there is a difference of opinion about the clearing that needs to be done.

  • Note that the public right-of-way typically extends beyond the paved streets and sidewalks.  In many cases, adjacent residents have landscaping that is in the undeveloped part of the public right-of-way.  That is OK as long as the vegetation does not cause safety issues or block the use of walkways and streets.

Keeping Safe When Performing Maintenance 

If you are trimming vegetation next to your home or business or if you are a volunteer cleaning sidewalks along a walking route, the City offers the following safety tips:

  • Call Puget Sound Energy (PSE). Don't trim branches that are in the vicinity of overhead power lines.  A good rule of thumb is don't trim branches within 10 feet of a power line.  If in doubt, call PSE at     888-225--5773 or customercare@pse.com.  PSE will trim around power lines for free.
  • Call the City first if:
    • The trimming requires you to stand in a busy street or at a blind curve.
    • The trimming of high vegetation can't be done with a pole trimmer.  You might have to hire a landscaper to do that safely.
    • If there is any question about private or public ownership of the trees, please call us. 
  • Stay out of moving traffic.  Volunteers should be able to work exclusively along sidewalks and the shoulders of streets out of the way of moving traffic.
  • Get noticed.  When working along sidewalks or in the shoulder area, wear bright colored clothing so you'll be noticed by drivers.
  • Use traffic cones.  Place traffic cones to designate your work area.  If you need to borrow ours, we are happy to loan you some.  Do not place cones in the street where they would divert traffic or cause drivers to swerve.

 


Public Works
Engineering
123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033
T. 425-587-3800 | F. 425-587-3807
Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Operations & Maintenance
915 8th St, Kirkland WA 98033
T. 425-587-3900 24/7 | F. 425-587-3902
Mon-Fri, 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

General Inquiries - Contact us via the: 
Our Kirkland Customer Service Portal