LETTER | City of Kirkland - Known Dangerous Conditions, Lack of Safe Ingress/Egress Confirmed


Dear Editor:


So the traffic was just as the residents know it. The pneumatic tubes were in place to capture data and so were citizens and their cameras.  Yep... Confirmed... there are NO SAFE GAPS for ingress/egress for any property that can only exit onto Lake Washington Blvd NE / Lake St S.


This is a routine occurrence along this major arterial in Kirkland where observers on-site called the traffic "absurdly congested, backed up to Carillon Point southbound and to well past Waters Edge southbound."  This is what is called a queue of traffic.


So what is important about traffic being in a queue northbound and southbound?  How does it impact traffic data.  According to the companies that collect this data, it is impossible to get accurate data when traffic is in a queue.  The slow movement across the tubes is read as a "gap" in traffic when there is no gap at all.  Video documentation is a necessary part of the traffic study.  Traffic in a queue needs to have safe gaps confirmed by observation of these tapes.  Still shots are also helpful to show that there are no safe gaps where someone could enter or exit a property.


Data by pneumatic tubes fails in other ways when traffic is queued according to multiple industry sources.


So here's some questions to the city

  1. Have you reviewed the extensive input provided by the citizens about unsafe conditions along Lake Washington Blvd / Lake St S?  These have been letters, emails, petitions, testimony at city council meetings and now picketing of the boulevard by 35 "redshirts" during two evenings this past week.
  2. Have you researched why the city of Kirkland provided INCORRECT information claiming no collisions when the citizens provided WSDOT data showing numerous collisions on the boulevard including several vehicle-bicycle or vehicle-pedestrian accidents?  (Let's not forget that some of the slow-moving accidental "taps" never get reported and could end up with worse outcomes)
  3. Since the citizens alerted you to the need for video data when traffic is in a queue, (not an expensive supplement), did you insist that the new traffic report include video?
  4. As our electeds, you have either a fiduciary duty, or a duty of reasonable care to investigate and/or cure unsafe conditions.  Currently those properties that can only ingress or egress onto the arterial have NO SAFE GAPS for ingress/egress.  What are you doing to fix this?
  5. As our electeds, you have been notified that a developer wants to have one driveway in a location where more than 100 cars per hour (nearly one every 45 seconds) will have to ingress/egress onto a street where there are no safe gaps to do so.  The driveway, additionally, is in conflict with MANDATORY driveway policies of the city and in conflict with national industry recommendations.  Additionally, other developments that have the opportunity to have access from the side street have required this for years.  ARE YOU IRRESPONSIBLY TURNING A BLIND EYE?  ...  or are you willing to fulfill your responsibilities to the citizens of Kirkland (both the neighbors and the others that utilize the arterial for transportation and/or recreation, by car, bike, foot, walker, scooter, etc).


Some of our City Council Members are asking to be re-elected.  Some are being challenged this year, and some will be challenged in a future election. To earn the right to represent the citizens, we ask that you fulfill your fiduciary duty to get accurate information (as shown by the pneumatic tube and still photo) and that you insist that the staff follow the city's MANDATORY policies for driveway for new development proposals.  The Potala Village - Kirkland Aqua - Path America developer was advised that access should be onto 10th Ave S during pre-submittal meetings.  The developer was also given the neighborhood plan and was shown where THIS SPECIFIC PROPERTY was identified in the plan as the "southeast corner of 10th Ave S / Lake St S."  It identified the long-recognized traffic ingress and egress issues of the specific parcel and instructed that commercial development thus must be "LIMITED."  The stated goal was to serve the needs of the neighbors in a manner that avoided large numbers of cars at the site.


I hope to see you earn the right to be re-elected.




Karen Levenson

On behalf of Citizens Providing Notice of Known Unsafe Ingress and Egress: City's Duty to Cure Known Dangerous Conditions


P.S. Numerous Letters and Emails, along with Citizen Petition, WSDOT Accident Data and oral testimony have been submitted to the city and are available to our City Council Members for review.