LETTER | Kirkland Views Header: City May Change Long-Standing Policy That Protects Neighborhoods From Overflow Parking

For the past 11 years, the City of Kirkland has had a policy in place that protects the neighborhoods surrounding downtown from overflow parking.  This policy, known as G-11 and referenced in the City’s 2015 Pre-Approved Plans document, states that, “Parking in the Peripheral Area is intended to serve residential demand and uses generating demand from within the zone.  It is intended that “spill over” from other parking zones within the CBD be mitigated.”  This policy has served as a guidepost to ensure that residential neighborhoods do not become parking lots for downtown.  The Moss Bay, Norkirk, Highlands, and Market neighborhoods rely on this policy, and additional neighborhoods will come to depend upon it as well, as Totem Lake development drives more growth to northern Kirkland as well.
In the absence of significant new parking supply being brought online in the downtown core, the City is facing pressure to find additional parking for visitors, residents, and employees.  At the June 16th City Council meeting, the Council asked staff to develop a plan for employees to park in a residential neighborhood through a permitting program that would allow employees to park all day in front of single-family residential homes.  Although this proposed change would only impact one neighborhood and one street (Lake Ave West), it would set a policy precedent that the City sees the residential neighborhoods as overflow parking supply for downtown.
The Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods (KAN) has formed a task force to consider this issue citywide, and has asked the City to work together with the neighborhoods in forming a comprehensive view of parking in our business districts, inclusive of respecting and protecting the adjacent streets that our residents live on, before enacting changes that would increase overflow parking from businesses into our neighborhood streets.
Further, the Chamber of Commerce has explicitly stated that they don't approve of solutions that push the problem into the neighborhoods.
This is an issue of importance to everyone in Kirkland that lives near a commercial center, and our collective desire to avoid having residential areas turned into de facto parking lots.  We collectively benefit from having the City honor its long-standing policy of mitigating overflow into residential neighborhoods.

Thank you.
Pat Wilburn
Market Neighborhood Board Member

(… that does not live on Lake Ave West)