Traffic Congestion is a Council decision | LETTER (poll)

Dear Editor:

On June 29, 2011, the deadline for an appeal to the proposed 143 unit on Lake Street will prevent people from questioning the city of the Road Concurrency Test which allowed the Council to issue a Determination of Nonsignificance.  Can anyone believe that Lake Washington Boulevard, 108th Ave NE, Market Street, and NE 70th are not congested?


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The Transpogroup Study stated the adopted Level of Service (LOS) for Transportation for the WSDOT and the city is LOS-D, a level that is not congested.  Yet the City thinks it’s OK to accept lower LOS’s E and F throughout the city thereby endorsing even more traffic jams.


The Council is willing to accept LOS-E.  LOS-E traffic is defined as being unstable flow and intolerable delay.  LOS-F is a failed system.  Is this what the City has adopted as being their desired LOS to maintain and improve the quality of life in Kirkland?


It was interesting to note that State Street was listed as a “minor” arterial when the traffic count alone would suggest it should be a “major” arterial.


The traffic on NE 68th Street, on 108th Ave NE, and on Lake Washington Boulevard varies depending on weather, on the day of the week with Fridays before the weekend being the worse, events in Downtown Kirkland especially on Wednesdays, and store openings at the Houghton market.  Those streets are at LOS-F at least one day a week and more in the summer.  I believe those factors were not included in the Study or in the City’s traffic analysis.  It is not acceptable to merely base increases on a percentage bases without doing an analysis that includes actual observations.


At least 3 days a week, NE 68th street is jammed with westbound traffic from the intersection at 405 all the way down to State Street.  It takes at least three signal changes to get over the bridge at 405.  Averaging those traffic counts does not address the congestion problem and should not be considered in determining LOS.  The traffic jams are real with the peak hour exceeding two hours and approaching three hours long for the evening commute.


The Council is proposing the City approve the TOD at Kirkland’s South Park & Ride.  The added traffic is not mentioned in the study and should have been included in the traffic count on 108th Ave and Lake Washington Boulevard.  Added to what is proposed on this project, the increase in traffic will degrade the LOS significantly. They will get in their cars and exacerbate the congestion problem.  Most people have to go north thru Kirkland to get home.  The South Kirkland Park & Ride will use up significant amounts of LOS capability.


Also, there are no left hand turns off Lake Washington Boulevard to get to the project for business customers and residential users.


The City’s analysis of 10 Avenue S is flawed.  The number of parking spots on the avenue was stated at 77 vehicles.  The two parking spots per residential unit have not proved to be adequate.  Is there anyone in Kirkland willing to accept 77 more vehicles parked around their house?  City staff has stated that 10th Avenue S may need to be widened.  Also, 10th Avenue S is not listed as an arterial which it will become.  How would you like more traffic on what once was a residential street?


There is no proposed access from 10th Avenue S to the project.  Why?  As it is now, of the forecasted 1,067 additional daily trips, 40 percent of them (427 more cars) are projected to use the Boulevard.  Add 100 more from the South Park & Ride and we have a significant problem.


The City has been cited saying there will be no new roads or improvements in this area to accommodate growth.  It is evidence that the Council doesn’t want to avoid congestion.  It flies in the face of the consistency and concurrency requirements of the Growth Management Act and nobody is doing anything about it, especially our elected officials.


Congestion is a Council decision.  There would be less congestion if our elected officials wanted it that way.


The 143 unit project will require increase services such as fire, police, health, and schools.  It will also impact the City’s capital facilities requirements.


The 143 project is not being required to install oil-silt separators.  This is in direct conflict with the City’s surface water management program and NPDES that helps to insure surface water is not polluted before entering Lake Washington.  Other businesses and private homes were and are required to have one.  Why not this project?




Robert L. Style