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Kirkland's 100th Avenue corridor study nearing completion

City of Kirkland - Contributed art
City of Kirkland
— image credit: Contributed art

Hundreds of Kirkland residents contributed to the city’s nearly complete study of 100th Avenue Northeast in January by answering a short questionnaire and by participating in a workshop. Those residents will have an opportunity to discover how their feedback is influencing the ongoing study on May 12.

Staff members from the city of Kirkland’s 100th Avenue corridor study project are planning a 6 p.m. meeting May 12 at Juanita Elementary School to demonstrate the influence of residents’ feedback and to ask them a few more questions. Much of that feedback focused on the corridor’s walkability and bike-friendliness.

The preliminary findings reflect this. The authors recommend bike lanes and street lighting for walkers along 100th Avenue Northeast. They also discuss the corridor’s problematic intersections.

“The study is not final yet,” said Flora Lee, the city of Kirkland project engineer assigned to the study. “So we still have a few intersections we are trying to figure out.”

One of those intersections is at Northeast 137th Street.

“The intersection’s asymmetrical design has a tendency to confuse drivers,” Lee said. “The study is proposing a couple of ways of dealing with that intersection. We want to see which one residents prefer.”

To find out, project staff plans to lead meeting participants in a facilitated discussion.

The city of Kirkland commissioned Concord Engineering in July 2013 to study 100th Avenue Northeast from its intersection with Northeast 132nd Street to Northeast 145th Street.

The 100th Avenue corridor—including Lake Washington Boulevard, Market Street and 98th Avenue Northeast—is Kirkland’s most direct north-to-south arterial. It connects Bellevue to Bothell; Highway 520 to Highway 522. For this reason, it is also one of Kirkland’s most traveled roads. More than 25,000 vehicles travel along it through the Juanita neighborhood. The corridor also has value to bike commuters, who recognize its potential to connect the Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River Trail to the Highway 520 trail.

As it is currently designed, however, the corridor doesn’t satisfy all the demand placed on it.

“In the evening, the northbound traffic is so heavy, many vehicles in the queues can’t pass through the [Northeast 132nd Street] intersection during one signal-cycle,” said Xiaoping Zhang, the Concord Engineering transportation engineer, who is studying the corridor. “We call that ‘cycle failure.’ It’s operating at a level of service ‘E.’ ”

Improving the intersection and the corridor could cost more than $3 million. Kirkland’s administrators are searching for state and federal grants. “The corridor study provide the foundation for how we improve the corridor,” said Lee. “They also make us more competitive for the grants that will help fund those improvements.”

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