City considering boardwalk along Lake Washington Boulevard in downtown Kirkland

City of Kirkland - Reporter file art
City of Kirkland
— image credit: Reporter file art

The city of Kirkland has proposed the idea of a boardwalk for downtown.

The proposed boardwalk, known as the “Lake Washington Promenade,” is intended to help improve the waterfront experience and accessibility for vendors and other activities, according to the July 3 City Council packet. The boardwalk as conceived would go from downtown to Carillon Point, though it is possible it could be extended further both ways.

City Manager Kurt Triplett said there are a variety of ways the boardwalk could be designed. It would be 15-20 feet wide and could be tiled or bricked. The idea is to create a clear pathway that would provide opportunities for tourists to travel downtown, as well as have street musicians and community presentations.

As part of the project, parking along the west side of Lake Washington Boulevard would be removed to create a wider walkway, and it is this that the council is most concerned about. Although city staff has come up with several solutions, they are also recommending further study. The Transportation Commission has recommended an urban design study that would allow for public comment and examine potential alternatives.

The issue was first discussed at the City Council’s April 15 meeting, when the council expressed concerns about its impact on traffic and asked for more information.

At their July 15 meeting, the council decided to have the boardwalk in the Transportation Masterplan, and in several years the idea can be explored further when the Masterplan is adopted. Doing so, Triplett said, will allow the city to apply for grants and funding for the project when it is examined in three to five years.

But even then, he said that the work would involve preliminary plans assessing the practicality of the boardwalk and developing solutions for the likely impact on parking and traffic.

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