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NE 85th Street Station Area Plan

85th St SAP - Kirkland BirdsEye-Revised thumbnail

COMING SOON: Draft Environmental Impact Statement Public Comment Period Will Be Open December 18, 2020 through January 25, 2021

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) describes proposed actions and alternatives, current environmental conditions, impacts that may occur with each alternative, and mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate adverse impacts. The EIS also identifies potential beneficial outcomes. The Draft EIS gives us information to help pick the best plan for the future of the Station Area. The Draft EIS will be posted on the webpage upon publication in mid-December.

You can let us know what you think about the alternatives, and help us select a preferred alternative, by attending our Community Open House on January 7, 2021 or letting us know your thoughts during the public comment period. Sign up for Station Area Plan email alerts to receive a notification when the Draft EIS is published and registration for the Community Open House is available.

Learn More About the Station Area Plan and Share Your Thoughts

There are a number of ways for you to participate and share comments.

Project Description

Sound Transit's ST3 Regional Transit System Plan is bringing a once-in-a-generation transit investment to Kirkland with a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station at 85th and I-405 by 2024. The City of Kirkland's Station Area Plan will look at how development, open space, and mobility connections in neighborhoods near the station can leverage this regional investment to create the most value and quality of life for Kirkland, and provide the community with an opportunity to envision the future for this area.

The Station Area Plan will encourage an equitable and sustainable transit-oriented community as part of the significant growth expected in Greater Downtown Kirkland. It will build on recent efforts such as the Kirkland 2035 Comprehensive Plan, the Greater Downtown Kirkland Urban Center proposal, and other city-wide initiatives addressing housing, mobility, and sustainability. The final plan will provide a visual and policy framework for future redevelopment and growth within approximately a half-mile of the BRT station.

Project Documents

July 21, 2020: City Council Presentation Slides - Initial Concepts and Preliminary Alternatives (PDF 9.5MB)

June 16, 2020: NE 85th St Station Area Plan Market Analysis Report (PDF 3.97MB)

June 4, 2020: Community Workshop Presentation Slides (PDF 8.7MB)

May 26, 2020: SEPA Scoping Notice (PDF 137 kb)

May 26, 2020: SEPA Environmental Checklist (PDF 306 kb)

April 15, 2020: 
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NE 85th St Station Area Plan Opportunities and Challenges Report (PDF 7.97MB)

March 17, 2020: City Council Presentation Slides (PDF 10.2MB) - Project Introduction/Opportunities and Challenges Analysis

Public Engagement

Engagement overview graphic

Incorporating community ideas is important to the success of the NE 85th Street Station Area Plan. The City of Kirkland has a detailed public engagement plan (PDF 255 kb) that establishes engagement objectives, lists stakeholder groups, identifies engagement methods, and shows how engagement will be incorporated into decision making. This plan is not a blueprint, it is a guide. The project team will use it to select the design outreach and engagement throughout the project.

Engagement will occur in four phases. Each phase has a different purpose. Engagement methods and timing are shown in the diagram below.

  • Phase 1 - Opportunities and Challenges - collect information about existing conditions, land use opportunities, and challenges to better understand project possibilities and inform Phase 2. (Opportunities and Challenges Report Completed March 2020)
  • Phase 2 - Concepts and Alternatives - gather ideas to develop into alternatives, consider environmental, community, and equity impacts, and review draft alternatives. This phase integrates requirements under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) including scoping and issuance of a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). Note: the SEIS will study potential impacts related to the Station Area Plan. It is called a "supplemental" because it adds to the information already studied in the Environmental Impact Statement when the City adopted its Comprehensive Plan.
  • Phase 3 - Draft Plan - respond to input in Phase 2 by developing a preferred alternative and preparing a draft Station Area Plan. The draft Station Area Plan will be supported by proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, Kirkland Zoning Code, and a Final SEIS that responds to public comments and a proposed planned action. A planned action is an ordinance that simplifies future environmental review requirements for major projects with development consistent with the adopted Station Area Plan.
  • Phase 4 - Final Plan - Planning Commission to confirm and City Council to adopt the final plan through formal public hearings and legislative meetings.

Upcoming Meetings

Visit the Planning Commission or City Council agenda pages to view meeting materials prepared in advance of the meeting dates listed below.

January 14, 2021: Planning Commission Meeting - Review of Draft EIS and Alternatives

January 19, 2021: City Council Study Session - Review of Draft EIS and Alternatives

Past Meetings

July 21, 2020: City Council Meeting (PDF 1.4MB)

June 25, 2020: Planning Commission Meeting (PDF 3.2MB)

March 17, 2020: City Council Study Session (PDF 1.3MB)

Project Schedule

The City will be working to substantially complete the Station Area Plan by Spring of 2021. Below is an approximate timeline for several distinct aspects of the station area planning process (subject to change). 

  • Public Workshops/Charettes/Open Houses - Spring 2020-Early 2021
  • Initial Opportunities & Challenges Analysis and Report - Spring 2020
  • Formation of Draft and Preferred Alternatives - Spring 2020-Winter 2020
  • Environmental Analysis - Summer 2020-Spring 2021

Final Station Area Plan - Summer 2021

Project History

In 2016, Puget Sound voters approved the Sound Transit 3 plan, making BRT on the I-405 Corridor possible. BRT will allow for improved connections and commute times between Lynnwood, Kirkland, Bellevue and Burien. This new north-south BRT service will aid in accessing the new regional light rail lines scheduled to open by 2024.

In Kirkland, the I-405/85th Street Interchange will be reconstructed to comprise three levels. The lower level will be NE 85th Street, the mid-level will be devoted to transit, and the top level will be I-405. The BRT Station will be accessed by buses using inline access ramps. There is a focus on transit and non-motorized access to the BRT Station, as no Park and Ride is planned.  

The Kirkland City Council directed staff to complete a Station Area Plan for the I-405/85th Street Interchange to ensure thoughtful land use planning around this major regional transit investment. The City will continue to partner with Sound Transit, the Washington State Department of Transportation and King County Metro Transit to ensure that investments along I-405 serve Kirkland’s mobility needs and maximize the benefit of Sound Transit’s NE 85th/I-405 Bus Rapid Transit interchange project by completing a cohesive land use plan for areas adjacent to the interchange project.  

The initial study area is generally the land within a 1/2 mile of the future BRT Station. The current land uses in the study area are a mix of multi-family, mixed-use, commercial/retail/office, schools, parks, and lower-density single-family residential uses. The final Station Area Plan boundaries will be defined through the process and may expand or contract beyond the ½-mile radius based on initial findings.  

The City is interested in maximizing the use of the I-405/85th Street BRT Inline Station while continuing to build a vibrant, livable community that ensures land use and zoning are compatible with and support transit use. The challenge to integrate the interchange with the surrounding land uses will require a focus on creative urban design concepts. The subareas surrounding the interchange will contribute to transforming the current land uses to a denser, mixed-use community and will accommodate new residents, employees, and visitors who have better transportation choices.  

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