LETTER | Potala Village Kirkland – Kirkland Aqua: WSDOT Shows Collision Data 500% of EIS Consultant’s Report


It would seem logical that a consultant hired to provide independent traffic review of the Potala Village Kirkland Aqua project would use independent data. And public records show that the consultant commented on this in an email to the city of Kirkland’s Traffic Engineer on Oct 7, 2011. “Could you confirm that we will need to get updated collision data from WSDOT (as opposed to the City providing that data).Based on previous work, I’m pretty sure that’s the case”



Some citizens then find it unusual and troubling to now find that independent data was not used.  See: Potala Village DEIS Pg 3.4-16, Table 3.4-6 “Collision History in Study Area 2009-2011.”  “Source: Compiled by Heffron Transportation, Inc. from data provided by the city of Kirkland, June 2012”



What brings the most concern is that the analysis using Kirkland 2009-2011 data appears to capture only 43 collisions while WSDOT 2009-2011 data captures 211 (5 times the number of collisions).



Is there a feeling that our safety is not important to those who are directing city staff (e.g. our City Council Members)?  Are those who have been seriously injured unimportant to our elected leaders?  Will City Council Members insist that staff go back and re-evaluate impacts now that citizens have alerted them to the flawed data?



In the face of WSDOT data showing numerous collisions at the project site, will City Council Members allow staff to turn a blind eye to Driveway Policy R-4 which MANDATES for arterials a 150’ offset from driveways across the street and a minimum spacing of a 150’ from adjacent properties? (10th Ave S doesn’t have the same restrictions being a local access street).  Citizens expect that Council will insist on following MANDATORY policies that are in place to reduce the number of vehicle-vehicle, vehicle-pedestrian and vehicle-bicyclist conflicts.



From the beginning Public Works informed the developer that access should be off of 10th Ave S and that interior ramping would not be used as a reason to have access onto the arterial roadway.  This is documented in the 2009 pre-submittal materials provided to the developer.  Additionally, the developer was informed of the Public Works Mandatory Policies that include Driveway Policy R-4.  This is documented repeatedly in records about this project.  Yet somehow, the representative of Lobsang Dargey, Potala Village Kirkland Aqua, used this interior ramping issue in his argument before the Shorelines Hearings Board. He indicated that he would not be able to maximize the number of units and commercial areas if the driveway were on 10th.



I’ve laid out the collision data as represented by Kirkland and by WSDOT for City Council and Citizen review.  I’ll provide a screen shot of the 10th Ave S / Lake St S data that is of particular interest.  I’ve highlighted Driveway – Arterial Collisions in peach.  Others along LWB/Lake have been mandated to have driveways on the lower volume street and this is supported by national recommendations as well.



Intersections & Roadways



Subject Area Driveway  (6700 LWB)

Kirkland - 0



10th Ave S and Lake St S

Kirkland -   0

WSDOT - 10



S. on LWB for 1.45 miles

Kirkland - 18

WSDOT - 75



E. to I-405 for 1.24 miles

Kirkland - 25  (may have included I-405 on-ramps)

WSDOT – 94 (did not include I-405 on-ramps)



N. on Lake to Central 0.74 miles

Kirkland  -  0        (NO Analysis performed by COK. Not sure why - cars will go North)

WSDOT - 38



In closing,



  1. City Council are responsible for staff actions.



  1. We need the City Council members to insist that staff obtains accurate information and properly uses it when making recommendations or decisions.



  1. We need City Council to clearly instruct staff that making a choice of driveway location for a very high volume driveway (approx 2 cars per minute) should be done consistent with the city’s MANDATORY policy.



  1. A decision to violate MANDATORY rules would be a conscious decision to put citizen lives (and well-being) at risk.




Karen Levenson