I-405 lane and ramp closures between Kirkland and Lynnwood Saturday night

 

Drivers on Interstate 405 between Kirkland and Lynnwood should prepare for possible delays Saturday night, April 25 to the morning of Sunday, April 26.

 

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close multiple lanes and ramps on I-405 between Northeast 70th Street in Kirkland and I-5 in Lynnwood, including both northbound and southbound I-5 ramps to southbound I-405. Drivers will follow signed detours.

 

The closures are needed to complete striping, blast abrasion and traffic shift work as part of the I-405 Bellevue to Lynnwood Widening and Express Toll Lanes project.

 

Lane closures

 

·         Up to two right lanes of northbound I-405 between SR 527 and I-5 will close starting at 7 p.m. All lanes will open by 8:30 a.m.

·         Up to two right lanes of southbound I-405 between I-5 and SR 527 will close starting at 7 p.m. The first lane will open by 8 a.m. and all lanes will open by 9 a.m.

·         Up to three left lanes of southbound I-405 between Northeast 124th Street and Northeast 85th Street will close starting at 7 p.m. The first lane will open by 7 a.m. and all lanes will open by 9 a.m.

·         Up to three right lanes of southbound I-405 between Northeast 85th Street and Northeast 70th Street will close starting at 7 p.m. The first lane will open by 7 a.m. and all lanes will open by 9 a.m.

 

Ramp closures

 

·         The northbound I-5 ramp to southbound I-405 will close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

·         The southbound I-5 ramp to southbound I-405 will close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

·         The Northeast 85th Street on-ramp to southbound I-405 will close from midnight to 4 a.m.

·         The Northeast 70th Street on-ramp to southbound I-405 will close from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

·         The southbound I-405 off-ramp to Northeast 70th Street will close from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.

 

This work is weather dependent and the schedule is subject to change. For the most up-to-date details and a full listing of closures for this project, please visit the I-405 construction updates page.

 

Drivers can also get real-time traffic information on their phone with the WSDOT traffic app, by tracking the WSDOT traffic Twitter feed, and get advanced information from the What’s Happening Now page.

Waverly Beach Open; Kirkland waterfront parks remain posted with algae alerts

 

Call 24-Hour Kirkland beach update line 425-587-3860 for status

 

The cyanobateria levels in Kirkland’s Waverly Beach Park have been deemed by Public Health – Seattle & King County to be at safe levels and the beach is open.  All Kirkland waterfront parks will remain posted with algae alert signs as a means to caution park visitors.  The alerts warn that water containing algae may be harmful to humans and pets if ingested.  Toxic algae blooms can be different colors and appear as foam, scum, or streaks on the surface of water.  Persons wanting to know the status of Kirkland waterfront parks can call 425-587-3860 (24-hour). To report an algae bloom in Lake Washington at any of Kirkland’s waterfront parks, please email jfilan@kirklandwa.gov or call 425-587-3341. To learn about the ongoing freshwater algae monitoring program, including toxicity data, go to www.nwtoxicalgae.org

Fraud Alert: Megamillion Clearing House Scam

City of Kirkland, WA warns of possible nation-wide fraud scam; Contact police if you receive letter from Megamillion Clearing House

Victims should call Kirkland Police Tip Line 425-587-3515

 

The City of Kirkland, WA Finance Department has been notified by recipients of a letter from “Megamillion Clearing House” (St. Louis, MO) advising that they have been “selected to receive a grand sweepstake prize.”  The letter further advises recipients to call a phone number within “six months of the draw date.”  Enclosed with the letter is a check made out the recipient and which displays the City of Kirkland Finance Department address and logo and Bank of America Seattle address and logo. This check is fraudulent and should not be cashed or deposited.  The Kirkland Police Department has initiated a fraud investigation and encourages anyone receiving such a letter or anyone with knowledge about the “Megamillion Clearing House” to contact the Police Crime Tip Line at 425-587-3515.  Further, those receiving a letter should not contact the phone numbers as it is suspected that personal financial information will be obtained.

 

As its standard finance practice, the City of Kirkland pre-authorizes check numbers to be released by financial institutions, so no public funds are at risk.  The fake checks included with the “Megamillion” letter cannot be cashed as they are fraudulent and will be charged back to the recipient if deposited or cashed.    

Kirkland Parkplace: Phase One Ground Breaking Spring 2016

Talon has updated their Kirkland Parkplace website with renderings and details of the project expected to break ground on Phase One including an expanded QFC store as early as spring 2016. Increased office space and a strong retail presence in addition to new rental housing, at a variety of sizes and price points, will be included in the new Kirkland Parkplace.

The new Kirkland Parkplace will become a central meeting point for residents to gather, socialize, dine, shop and be entertained in a variety of well-designed indoor and outdoor spaces.
— parkplacekirkland.com

Pedestrian access is a core principle of the development. The intent is to start construction as soon as the design review process is completed and upon receipt of all of the required building permits. 

At Parkplace, Talon plans to build garages under each building and upon completion of the project, the garages will be linked together. There will also be above ground parking at the QFC as well as interior street parking. A large portion of the parking will be open to the public, which will be a huge benefit for all downtown merchants. 

Planned amenities include:

  • More than two acres of public open space including courtyards, plazas and space with amenities such as artwork, water features, sitting areas and landscaping.
  • Destination retail and entertainment including an expanded state-of-the-art movie theater.
  • A new 47,000 square-foot QFC grocery store.
  • New office space for companies that want to expand or locate in Kirkland.
  • Increased parking open to the public that will benefit all downtown businesses
  • Venues for free public events.
  • A street and sidewalk network that creates a pedestrian-oriented environment with multiple access points into the project and direct access to Peter Kirk Park.
  • Sustainable building design.

Eastbound I-90 across Lake Washington reduced to one lane for tunnel work May 1-4

Eastbound I-90 across Lake Washington reduced to one lane for tunnel work May 1-4

WSDOT needs help from drivers to keep traffic moving

 

Drivers on eastbound Interstate 90 across Lake Washington will want to plan ahead for another weekend of road work. Beginning at 11 p.m. Friday, May 1, contractor crews working for Washington State Department of Transportation and Sound Transit will reduce eastbound I-90 to one lane just approaching the Mount Baker Tunnel. All eastbound traffic will be rerouted to the express lanes until 5 a.m. Monday, May 4.

 

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Kirkland City Council approves neighborhood safety projects recommended by citizen, staff panel

Kirkland City Council approves neighborhood safety projects recommended by citizen, staff panel

Through the collaboration between Kirkland residents and city staff, 17 city-wide neighborhood safety projects were identified by a panel and presented to the City Council at its meeting on April 21, 2015 (PDF).  The City’s Neighborhood Safety Program brings citizens, businesses and city staff together in identifying, evaluating and prioritizing proposed projects that address pedestrian and bicycle safety issues in Kirkland’s neighborhoods.  The City Council unanimously approved 14 of the proposed projects and accepted the panel’s recommendation to further study two projects and to have one crosswalk project be funded by the Capital Improvement Program. Four projects, including the highest ranked project, will improve connections to the Cross Kirkland Corridor.  Other projects install sidewalks, add or improve crosswalks, and slow traffic. The approved projects total over $350,000 in funding which is supported by the voter-approved street levy ($150,000 per year) and $200,000 from the Walkable Kirkland Initiative approved in the 2015-2016 Biennial Budget.

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ARC: An Aquatics Center without partners and without a location

Here are a few observations on Kirkland's grand Aquatics / Recreation / Community Center (ARC) plans.

Strike 1.  The Lake Washington School District will soon abandon the pool at Juanita High School. They have expressed little interest in helping fund Kirkland's ARC.

Strike 2.  The city has met with neighboring cities to see if they would like to partner but it seems those discussions were not as fruitful as hoped.

So, should Kirkland go it alone, to fund this project which is appears to be confused in its purpose and lost without a long-term vision?

The answer seems to be a resounding YES!

Does it make sense to anyone outside of City Hall, that we are planning a $40-$60 million recreation facility yet we don't have a long-term vision as to where this major amenity should be located, what transportation and complimentary facilities should be located nearby? The chosen location for ARC was to be Juanita Beach... until the community spoke up loudly against that plan. Now the city trying to find an alternative location.

Here is a silly idea: why not have a vision of what our future should be like (I don't know, call it Kirkland 2035, if you like) and actually have a plan rather than the current, seemingly ad hoc method of siting and funding ARC? Let's pick Totem Lake, since we dump everything in Totem Lake when we don't know where it should go. One could imagine ARC being accessible to the Cross Kirkland Corridor, I-405 and bus routes, accessible to shopping, dining and multifamily dwellings as part of a purposeful, integrated development plan. Kinda like what Redmond is doing. But no. Not in Kirkland. We are looking to shoehorn ARC anywhere we can.

What guides ARC siting today? Available land is a good guess. There are few parcels in Kirkland that would be suitable -- one being near Totem Lake (adjacent to the lake, itself) and another near Jaspers Off Leash Dog Park. The Totem Lake parcel could satisfy many criteria. The other location is across the street from the new Police Department and Municipal Court. Is this the best imaginable location for an aquatics center? Not likely.

We are trying to find a place to put an expensive new facility but we seem to be willing to plunk it down in any location large enough just for the sake of getting it done. PUT IT SOMEPLACE. ANYPLACE SO WE CAN PUT IT ON THE BALLOT!

This is not looking like an ideal way to go about finding funding partners and finding the best location.

I have been a vocal critic of ARC as I see this as an expensive boondoggle, justified by good-intentions and well-meaning folks but without funding partners and without a location that makes any sense. Selecting the right location should be a top priority for such a major project but it seems Kirkland has no real future vision and ARC seems lost.

Undaunted, we charge ahead, ignoring naysayers and stingy tax payers. We just want to find someplace, ANYPLACE, to put this thing so we can get it built.

This project has been frustrating to watch. It seems rudderless. Without a clear need, funding or location.

We sought funding partners for this regional facility but none were willing to share the load. So, what do we do? WE FUND IT OURSELVES, OF COURSE! 

I find this process disturbing to say the least. Let's reset this mess before we make a mistake that can't be reversed: Strike three.

The following is a news release from the City of Kirkland:

Kirkland City Council removes Juanita Beach Park as aquatics/recreation center site; Requests options for 2015 ballot measure

Staff to evaluate Metropolitan Park District to fund the ARC

 

At its April 21, 2015 meeting, the Kirkland City Council unanimously approved Resolution R-5124 (PDF) formally removing Juanita Beach Park as a potential site for the proposed Aquatics/Recreation/Community (ARC) Center and authorizing the next steps to place a ballot measure before Kirkland voters as early as November 2015.  The ballot measure would propose that a Municipal Park District (MPD) be created as a means to fund the project through property tax collection. 

 

In order to place the MPD measure on the November 3, 2015 General Election ballot, the City could need to file the measure with the King County Elections Office by August 4, 2015.  The City Council requested that staff return with the legal and financial analysis necessary for the City Council to make a final decision.  The City Council also seeks additional public outreach and education to the community on both the proposed ARC and a MPD.

 

As a result of extensive public outreach and feedback, a comprehensive evaluation of the City’s existing recreation programs and facilities, and an assessment of market conditions, the proposed recommended facility components include:

 

·         13-lane competition/lap pool

·         Recreation pool

·         250-person community hall/banquet facility

·         Child watch area

·         Classrooms, party room, activity and art rooms

·         Wood floor studios

·         Single-court gymnasium

·         Fitness room

·         Community spaces

·         Administrative offices and other support spaces

 

The need for indoor recreation facilities for Kirkland’s growing population has been identified by residents for many years and confirmed by recent surveys. In 2014 and 2015, citizen surveys rated an indoor recreation and aquatics center as a high priority.  In 2013, the City of Kirkland initiated a siting study for an aquatics center when the Lake Washington School District announced it would not fund the renovation or replacement of the Juanita Aquatics Center (Juanita High School indoor pool).

 

For project background and to receive project updates via email, go to www.kirklandwa.gov/kirklandarc.

 

About a Metropolitan Park District:

Washington State law (RCW 35.61) allows cities and counties (or a combination of them) to create a Metropolitan Park District (MPD) for the management, control, improvement, maintenance, and acquisition of parks, parkways, boulevards, and recreational facilities. An MPD may include territory located in portions or in all of one or more cities or counties, or in one or more cities and counties.  The formation of an MPD may be made by (citizen) petition or by a resolution of the governing body or bodies within which the district is to be located. The petition or resolution submitting the ballot proposition must designate the composition of the board of metropolitan park commissioners.  A MPD requires a 50 percent voter approval. If approved, the MPD must be created as a municipal corporation effective immediately upon certification of the election results.

Annual Lake Washington Institute Of Technology Spring Plant Sale Runs The Next Two Weekends

The wait is over for the annual Lake Washington Institute of Technology’s (LWTech) Environment Horticulture spring plant sale. The sale, which runs this weekend, April 24th and 25th and next weekend, May 1st and 2nd at the greenhouses on the Kirkland campus, raises money to provide scholarships for the college’s horticulture students.

 

Plants for sale are grown by LWTech’s horticulture students. There are blooming fuchsia baskets for the shade, mixed flowering baskets for the sun, veggie starts, herbs, four-packs of annual color to bloom all summer long, perennials and more.

 

WHO:              Lake Washington Institute of Technology

 

WHAT:           Annual Spring Plant Sale

 

WHEN:            April 24th and 25th and May 1st and 2nd from 9:00am-3:00pm.

 

WHERE:          The greenhouses at Lake Washington Institute of Technology’s Kirkland campus at 11605 132nd Avenue NE, Kirkland, Wash. 98034

11 Ducklings Rescued by Public Works Crews

A call went out to Public Works reporting that someone could hear quacking emanating from a catch basin near the Columbia Athletic Center. City crews were alerted to the situation and used a net to rescue eleven ducklings that fell through the grates of the storm drain.

All eleven ducklings are now happily reunited with their mom.

Thanks, Public Works!

Inslee Signs McBride Bill to Help Firefighters

Last week, Rep. Joan McBride, D-Kirkland, a freshman legislator had her first bill, House Bill 1222, signed into law. It was fitting that McBride, the former mayor of Kirkland and 30 year local government veteran would champion a bill for local fire departments.

“Fire fighters need to be able to focus on the tough job at hand. They shouldn’t need worry about whether their vehicles weigh a few too many pounds,” said McBride. “This bill will remove weight limits on fire trucks so departments are able to use the most up-to-date, appropriate equipment to do their jobs.”

The signing of House Bill 1222 was a community and family affair. Chief Risen of the Bellevue fire department attended along with Rep. McBride’s son, daughter-in-law and grandson.

“After months of work, what a reward it was to see this bill signed into law,” said McBride. “It was a pleasure to collaborate with members from across the aisle and our local governments to enhance public safety. I look forward to many more fruitful partnerships with our local governments in sessions to come.”

Recreation, community service boosted with Hill support

Sen. Hill at Cross Kirkland Corridor groundbreaking in 2013. Photo courtesy of City of Kirkland.

Sen. Hill at Cross Kirkland Corridor groundbreaking in 2013. Photo courtesy of City of Kirkland.

The Senate passed its capital budget with significant investments in projects for Eastside King County with a focus on recreation and community services. Sen. Andy Hill advocated for the investments and supported the bipartisan plan.

 

“This budget is an investment in our quality of life and our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Hill. “Projects such as Hopelink’s new service center and the Cross Kirkland Corridor will be incredible assets for everyone in our community.”

 

The Senate capital budget included $2.4 million for Hopelink, a Redmond-based local homeless and low-income services agency, to develop an integrated services center on NE 65th Street and E. Lake Sammamish Parkway NE in Redmond.

 

“Hopelink is thrilled to be able to build our permanent home for families to receive help in Redmond,” said Lauren Thomas, chief executive officer of Hopelink. “This funding will allow thousands of low income residents to meet their basic needs and gain the skills they need to exit poverty. We are grateful for the support from Sen. Hill and the Senate and House capital budgets to make this essential resource a reality.”

 

The budget included development of parks and trails in local neighborhoods. Hill continued to support the Redmond Downtown Park, youth soccer improvements at Marymoor Park, the Cross Kirkland Corridor and Big Rock Sports Park in Duvall.

Peter Kirk Students Enjoy Field Trip to Park Lane

Peter Kirk Elementary School’s second graders participated in an interactive ecology lesson on Friday on Park Lane.

From the Park Lane project staff, the 80-plus students learned about stormwater—where it comes from and how most of it drains directly into Lake Washington without treatment. They also witnessed several of the devices the City of Kirkland is using on Park Lane to prevent stormwater pollution from draining into the lake.

Those devices include porous brick pavers that allow stormwater to drain through them and bio-retention cells that ensure tree roots have plenty of loose, moist soil through which to chase stormwater.

Of course this was a field trip of second graders. And the highlights for many of those second graders were stops at Sweet Cakes, where they purchased a $1 cupcakes, at Simplicity ABC, where they received a gift bag of toys and at a 20-foot banner of the art project they completed last fall. 

That art project was led by arts docent Stacy Mehlberg, who taught the second graders one-point perspective and asked them to use the technique to create an image of a street. The assignment rendered more than 80 different interpretations of one-point perspective. 

FastSigns of Kirkland, printed 20 photographed images of the resulting artwork, along with the artists and the artists’ commentary about the artwork. 

Readers can view the artwork by visiting Park Lane or by visiting the Park Lane webpage at kirklandwa.gov/parklaneproject

AWC Marijuana Data Shows Impacts on Cities

AWC Marijuana Data Shows Impacts on Cities

According to information provided by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC), there seems to be a growing body of evidence that indeed, cities with marijuana businesses are negatively impacted. The AWC data (below) supports the recent Op-Ed we published by Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen and Mayor Denis Law of Renton suggesting that the state should share with the cities any marijuana tax revenue collected in order to offset local impacts. 

Some vocal readers have attacked any notion that a city such as Kirkland might have negative impacts of allowing marijuana production and/or sales. The AWC data below indicates otherwise.

If there is contradicting data out there, I encourage readers to continue the discussion, but only if you supply data to support contrarian positions. I will, of course, post that information on these pages. We advance the discussion with facts and data. Opinions about the facts are most persuasive when supported by data.

For those of the opinion that crime does not occur in, around, because of or associated with marijuana, one need only look at the recent incident in Kirkland where a man used a sledge hammer to try and break into Kirkland's first marijuana store. Local law enforcement officers employed by our city -- not the state -- are on the line.

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Town Hall RE: local food and farm systems, April 20

Town Hall RE: local food and farm systems, April 20

King County Council Town Hall to explore how our local food and farm system contributes to the health and economic vitality of our region

County farms and the collaborative road from farm to table

With the third highest number of farms in the state, King County’s economy is more than jets, software and coffee. The Metropolitan King County Council’s Committee of the Whole will be holding a special Town Hall meeting to discuss the regional economic impact of King County farms and the challenges their operators face as shrinking county budgets impact the rural and unincorporated communities they are part of: 

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Toxic Blue-Green Algae Alerts Continue at Kirkland Waterfront Beaches

Kirkland’s waterfront parks remain posted with algae alerts

Waverly Beach closed while water samples being tested

 

While city officials await water quality test results from blue-green algae samples taken from Kirkland’s Waverly Beach last week, the beach remains closed.  Lab results are expected by April 28, 2015.  All waterfront parks in Kirkland along Lake Washington continue to be posted with warning signs advising that toxic algae is present and that the water could be unsafe for humans and pets if ingested. City staff will monitor the waterfront parks throughout this weekend.

 

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) warns that blue-green algae blooms can be different in colors, may appear as foam, scum or streaks on the surface of water and can poison animals, wildlife, and people.  To report toxic algae online go to www.nwtoxicalgae.org. If symptoms of illness appear after exposure for either people or pets, please consults your physician or veterinarian immediately. For more information, visit the State DOH website at www.doh.wa.gov or the King County’s Major Lakes Monitoring Program website at http://green2.kingcounty.gov/lakes/Bloom.aspx and search about blue-green algae.