The Streatery: Is Kirkland ready for a new twist on sidewalk cafes? (Poll)

The Streatery: Is Kirkland ready for a new twist on sidewalk cafes? (Poll)

Is it time for Kirkland to re-think how we permit outdoor sidewalk dining? Other cities have expanded dining options to include "streateries" small cafes located in on-street parking spaces. Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco and Denver have all found solutions from which Kirkland could benefit.

The concept is intriguing as it would permit most Kirkland restaurants to expand their seating capacity during the warm summer months. From the perspective of this frequent patron of Kirkland restaurants, more dining al fresco would be welcomed. In addition, such a move would make Kirkland unique on the Eastside.

There is a caveat, of course. And this is a big one: Streateries should be implemented ONLY IF net parking supply is not reduced...

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Juanita Beach gets new reservable picnic tables

If you like picnicking at Juanita Beach then you're in luck. The Parks Department has installed some new picnic tables which can be reserved on the city website with a minimum of 30 days advance reservation. Reservations are available in the two designated areas year around except 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day & the following Friday, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, New Year's Eve & New Year's Day. The rental fees are $50 and a $25 High Risk Application Fee may apply.

Learn more here.

Lake Washington School District saves taxpayers $17.3 million through bond refinancing

Lake Washington School District saves taxpayers $17.3 million through bond refinancing

District receives S&P upgrade to share highest rating for school districts in the state

 

The Lake Washington School District locked in a savings of over $17.3 million on May 14 by lowering the interest cost on $167.8 million of its debt through issuing refunding bonds. 

The District recently received a Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Rating Services upgrade from ‘AA’ to ‘AA+’ for its existing debt and for the Unlimited Tax General Obligation Refunding Bonds, 2015. The rating has a stable outlook.  The refunding bonds were priced by the District’s bond underwriters May 14. Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) assigned its highest possible rating, ‘Aaa,’ to the bonds.

Dr. Traci Pierce, superintendent, said, “One of our goals is to use resources effectively and be fiscally responsible. We seek these kinds of opportunities to save taxpayer dollars.”

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Marina Park Gets A Makeover

Wow! What a difference a little TLC makes to improving the look of Kirkland's most iconic feature: Marina Park. City crews have been hard at work spiffing up the park in preparation for a celebration of Billy and Cory Roeseler's induction into Kirkland’s Plaza of Champions to take place on Sunday.

Lots of work has been done recently to improve the park. Some recent projects include fixing the fountain, improvements to the lawn and flower beds and removing decades-old cobwebs from the pavilion. The Plaza of Champions itself is getting some elbow grease as well. The park literally hasn't looked this good in years.

The Plaza of Champions was initiated in 1988 to honor and recognize those groups and individuals in the greater Kirkland area who have not only reached the pinnacle of achievement in their chosen field, but have also, through that achievement, contributed in a significant way to the City.

The Plaza had been all but been forgotten until relatively recently when the city council brought back the tradition of recognizing achievement in our community.

We applaud the efforts being made to make Marina Park shine again. Raising the bar on maintaining this important symbol of our city all make a difference. 

It shows we have pride in our community. And that is a very good thing.

 

Local Area Talent To Perform At Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast

 Local Area Talent To Perform At Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast

As the Kiwanis Club of Kirkland gears up for its May 23 Pancake Breakfast to be held the Peter Kirk Community Center from 7a-noon, local youth musicians are tuning up for the occasion.  This is the third year that music has been part of the fun at the breakfast.  Lined up to perform are six separate musical acts.  All proceeds from the breakfast are donated to Attain Housing, formerly KITH (www.attainhousing.org) to help with homelessness in our area.

 

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Sidewalk Cafes: Portland Style

While the City of Kirkland struggles with how to retain and even expand sidewalk cafes along Park Lane, we offer this example from our neighbors to the south as one possible alternative. 

Note the use of sidewalk cafes along SW Ankeny Street in Portland, Oregon in the image above. The street is narrow and lined with restaurants including the very popular Voodoo Doughnuts. Some interesting aspects of this street make it quite friendly to visitors:

  1. The street is closed to automobiles
  2. Sidewalks remain open to pedestrians
  3. Restaurants create service areas in the CENTER of the street, allowing foot traffic to continue along the sidewalk
  4. Plantings and barriers surround the seating area
  5. Each restaurant has their own section of the street approximately in front of their establishment
  6. Patrons enjoy meals and alcohol within the service area served by restaurant staff

Note the service area in the center of this Portland street.

This is a great use of space and something we should consider for Kirkland's Park Lane. Consider the following for Park Lane:

  1. Temporary closure of Park Lane to vehicles during the summer months on Friday and Saturday evenings after 7pm
  2. Restaurants serve expanded cafe areas in the center of the closed street
  3. Pedestrians continue to use the existing tradition sidewalk areas

A view from Apple Maps shows the street lined with service areas including tables, benches and chairs. Click to views larger.

The result of such changes would be an expansion of dining al fresco and a unique draw for Kirkland over other Eastside cities. I can imagine something similar to European piazzas, open and bustling with activity. They are the place everyone wants to go. Park Lane could become a hub of activity bringing families, neighbors and visitors to enjoy the atmosphere, street music, dining and shopping. 

I would welcome Kirkland thinking outside the box and boldly trying something new and exciting like this. What say you?

 

Mrs. Goldberg makes her grand debut at Kirkland Arts Center

Mrs. Goldberg makes her grand debut at Kirkland Arts Center

Exhibition runs June 27 - August 8, 2015

Opening reception: Friday, June 26, 2015, 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Who is Mrs. Goldberg? Kirkland Arts Center's upcoming exhibition features a group of talented local artists in a variety of media. In Mrs. Goldberg, A Curated Life, the individual pieces, each one interesting, well-crafted, and unique, will come together in the exhibition to create a larger subject - the fictional Mrs. Goldberg.  The title of each piece will give the artwork context in Mrs. Goldberg's life and offer clues about her character and interests. In this age of social media, of "curated identities," this exhibition will explore the idea of an identity visualized; offline by a group of artists, and online by the Facebook community. 

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Kurt Triplett responds to Park Lane Sidewalk Cafe Concerns

Kurt Triplett responds to Park Lane Sidewalk Cafe Concerns

As the City Manager I wanted to clarify some of the issues around Park Lane sidewalk cafes.  Based on some of the comments there appears to be a misunderstanding of what is happening.  The City is proposing to FIX a problem with our current codes to allow the spacious sidewalk cafes that were in place prior to construction.  I also want to emphasize that the City Council was not aware of the code restrictions until just last week when it came to the attention of the City administration.  This code conflict was identified only as we were moving to final certification for our federal funding as the project moved to completion.

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LETTER | Convert the old SR-520 Bridge into a Public Park

LETTER | Convert the old SR-520 Bridge into a Public Park

I have no idea what the State plans to do with the old 520 bridge once the new one is done, but I suspect they plan to remove it.

I think we should turn it into a cross-lake park. Plant some grass, install a bike lane (even if it stops at the west end), put in some benches and picnic tables - then hope for some nice summer weather. Great place to walk, jog, or watch boats, people, cars and even the Blue Angels from a distance. Could even develop some access points to the park for boats.

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Say Goodbye To Dining Al Fresco on Park Lane (Poll)

Without direct Council action, the redesigned Park Lane will severely limit sidewalk patio dining along Kirkland's favorite street

Park Lane has been described as the "heart" of Kirkland by many. This little two-block stretch in the center of downtown is held near and dear by many locals. It is a tree-lined road connecting Lake Street with the transit center, buttressed by two popular parks, Marina and Peter Kirk. 

But what makes it so special? To many, Park Lane reminds us of our favorite European streetscapes. Park Lane has been unique in Kirkland in that it has the combination of a central location, walkability, dining al fresco, shopping, on-street parking and slow moving cars. But something important will change when Park Lane opens next week to fanfare and to the relief of merchants and visitors alike.

The downside: Sidewalk dining will be severely limited. Yes, the renovation of Park Lane will fix some nagging issues like uneven sidewalks and utility interruptions due to overgrown tree roots. There is much to like about the renovations. But the impact of these improvements means that there is little room left for sidewalk dining.

The changes taking place now will improve our ability to walk the street but what is the point if no one wants to walk down Park Lane because it has lost its charm?

The city is dealing with these issues and if we solve them correctly, Park Lane could be better than ever. If the city fails, we will lose one of the most cherished aspects of the Park Lane -- dining al fresco.

How could we lose dining al fresco along Park Lane?

The story is a complicated one. It involves several layers of government, city and federal laws, ADA requirements and the city's overriding charge to make Park Lane more walkable. The problem is, making this narrow street more walkable means removing the tree canopy, widening sidewalks and repositioning lampposts and planting new, smaller trees. The result is that restaurants are left with as little as 36 inches of width for their sidewalk dining patios. The impact on the dining al fresco will be severe unless changes are made by the city council. 

City Hall has been made aware that Park Lane, as planned, is not quite what everyone had envisioned. The city is drafting plans for the council to consider that would modify city codes impacting accessibility along the street and allow for more sidewalk dining. Without council action, patio seating at restaurants like Mi Mexico, Cactus, Zeek's Pizza, Ristorante Paradiso and Lai Thai will be dramatically reduced or eliminated entirely.

In our effort to improve walkability along Park Lane, let’s not lose one of the key reasons we walk there.

So, the question is, how important is dining al fresco along Park Lane? We think it is central to the character of the street. Strolling down Park Lane on a summer evening has been a delight for as long as I can remember. The changes taking place now will improve our ability to walk the street but what is the point if no one wants to walk down Park Lane because it has lost its charm?

The next steps are up to the Kirkland City Council at their June 2nd meeting. The City will provide the council with suggestions on how to improve sidewalk dining along Park Lane. 

We encourage the council to save Park Lane and to not allow such a significant loss of one of its defining characteristics. Sidewalk patio dining along Park Lane should not be lost. In our effort to improve walkability along Park Lane, let's not lose one of the key reasons we walk there.

City inducts Billy and Cory Roeseler into Kirkland’s Plaza of Champions for kiteboarding

 

Community invited to May 24 celebration

Come celebrate the addition of Billy and Cory Roeseler into Kirkland’s Plaza of Champions for their achievements in the sport of kiteboarding. The event will be held at noon on May 24, 2015 near Marina Park at 25 Lakeshore Plaza Drive. There will be a public ceremony and a bronze plaque will be installed in their honor. Billy Roeseler and his son Cory are widely credited as having invented the worldwide sport of kiteboarding, which uses a combination of wakeboarding, windsurfing and gymnastics.

 

In February of this year, the City Council accepted the nomination of the Roeselers into Kirkland’s Plaza of Champions as recommended by the Park Board.

 

The Plaza of Champions was initiated in 1988 to honor and recognize those groups and individuals in the greater Kirkland area who have not only reached the pinnacle of achievement in their chosen field, but have also, through that achievement, contributed in a significant way to the City.

 

Solarize Kirkland program encourages community buying power

 

Grant supports public outreach

 

Thanks to a grant awarded by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the City of Kirkland, in partnership with Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC), will be conducting outreach to neighborhoods and businesses about a solar purchasing program.  Solarize Kirkland is designed to encourage a group purchase, or “bulk buy,” of solar arrays and the campaign aims to help Kirkland residents and businesses achieve an affordable and successful solar installation. The program provides a reduced cost and easy installation of solar panels on homes, businesses, and multi-family units.  The City will host two informational workshops for home and business owners and property managers: July 16 and August 11, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Kirkland City Hall, Council Chambers, 123 Fifth Avenue.  Two other workshops will be held in September, but are not yet scheduled.

 

This type of program has been widely successful in many locations including Seattle, Snohomish County, and more broadly on a national scale, from Portland to New York – with savings as much as 20% on average when compared to acquiring solar systems independently. 

Solarized Kirkland is also in partnership with Puget Sound EnergyNW Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (SEED) and Solarize Washington.

Seven Candidates To Vie For 3 Kirkland City Council Seats

Back: Toby Nixon, Deputy Mayor Penny Sweet, Jay Arnold, Dave Asher Front: Doreen Marchione, Mayor Amy Walen, Shelley Kloba

Back: Toby Nixon, Deputy Mayor Penny Sweet, Jay Arnold, Dave Asher
Front: Doreen Marchione, Mayor Amy Walen, Shelley Kloba

According to King County records (unofficial), seven candidates have filed as candidates for Kirkland City Council. The most contested seat is Position No. 2, in which incumbent Councilmember Shelly Kloba will face what looks to be three challengers in the August 4 primary election -- Jory Hamilton, Bill Henkens and Jason Chinchilla. Kloba's first term on the Kirkland City Council started in March 2013 when it was vacated. She was elected in November 2013 to serve the remainder of the term.

Incumbent Dave Asher, who has served on the Kirkland City Council since January 2000, will be challenged by Martin Morgan. Incumbent Toby Nixon will be unopposed in the general election.

Volunteer Needed for NAMI Walk, June 6

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
NAMIWalks Washington
Saturday, June 6
 25 Lakeshore Plaza Drive, Marina Park, Kirkland, WA 98033 
 
 Sign-Up to Volunteer for Mental Health on June 6 Walk Day!
 
Various volunteer shifts and opportunties exist, including:
* Set Up
* Registration
* Stage Assistant
* Serve Food and Snacks
* Route Set Up/Monitor/Cheerleader
* Recycle/Clean Up
* Photographer
* And much more!
 

To sign-up as a Walk Day volunteer or for more information, please email tlane@namiwa.org.  As a NAMIWalks volunteer, you will support Washington State's largest anti-stigma, mental health awareness campaign.  You will also receive a NAMI t-shirt and snacks!

 

Kirkland Senior Art Show: Art entries wanted by May 25; Vote for your favorite at May 28 reception

 

7th annual event held at Merrill Gardens

  

The Kirkland Senior Council is excited to present its 7th Annual Senior Art Show and seeks artwork created by adults age 50 or older within the categories of: water colors, photography, sculptures, quilts, oils and acrylics and other media. The deadline to submit the application for the show is May 25, 2015. To kick off the art show, the public is invited to a reception to be held on May 28, 2015 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the lobby of Kirkland Merrill Gardens, 14 Main Street South, Kirkland, WA 98033. Live music, a no host bar, and appetizers will be provided. During this reception, attendees can vote for their favorite piece of art in each of the six categories. At the end of the reception, there will be ribbons awarded within each of the categories for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. The exhibit will showcase art works from May 28 through June 12. Interested artists are asked to contact Penny Kahn by phone at 425-761-5489 or pkahn55@gmail.com.

 

Those who are selected to be in the art show will then be required to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement.


To learn more about the Kirkland Senior Council, go to www.kirklandwa.gov and search the name.