The City of Kirkland celebrated the opening of the new parking lot along Third Avenue just south of Kirkland City Hall with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, June 13.
“This new lot is the result of hard work and cooperation between Kirkland’s business community, residents and city staff,” Mayor Amy Walen said. “It is part of the ongoing solution to a problem that other cities wish they had: our downtown is so popular that it is hard to find places to park.”
Walen was joined at the lot by fellow city councilmembers, city staff and representatives of the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the Kirkland Downtown Association.
This lot has been named “The Wester Lot” in honor of a former Kirkland mayor, the late John Hansford Wester, who once owned the property. Wester was an architect and builder who designed, among other buildings, the Antique Mall and the arch that remains in Heritage Park. He has been credited for much of Kirkland’s downtown development from 1915 through the 1930s.
“We learned about Mayor Wester from the Kirkland Heritage Society, and we are grateful for their help and research,” Walen said.
This new parking lot is also the first site of the latest one percent for Art project, “Pebbles Rippling.” Designed by artist Beth Ravitz, this four-foot-wide medallion of stainless steel has been installed in one of the paths connecting the parking lot to the Third Avenue sidewalk. “Pebbles Rippling” is a single piece and was created in such a way that duplicates of it can be fabricated as needed for future sidewalk repairs or installations.
The 84-stall lot, located between First and Second streets on Third Avenue, is scheduled to officially open next Tuesday, June 20, and will be available to downtown employees with a valid parking permit from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The lot will be open for free public parking after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends and holidays.
“It is fitting that we call this the Wester Lot,” Walen said. “With the addition of these 84 stalls, downtown business will continue to thrive as the heartbeat of our beautiful city.”
In coordination with the new lot opening, the city has expanded the hours of paid parking in the Lakeshore Lot at Marina Park. The new paid parking hours will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day (except Sundays and holidays) with a four-hour time limit.
These changes to parking address two major issues raised by downtown businesses and residents: the availability of parking for downtown employees and the availability of parking for customers for downtown businesses. The Wester Lot offers more parking options for downtown employees during the week and public parking in the evening and on weekends. In the Lakeshore Lot, charging for parking throughout the day will help increase turnover, making it easier for customers to find a parking place in this popular lot. The change to the Lakeshore Lot will also make it consistent with the Lake and Central Lot hours and reduce confusion around parking fees and hours.
Revenue from parking fees support ongoing efforts to enhance the parking opportunities for those who work, shop and live in Kirkland.
For more information, visit kirklandwa.gov/park ing.
This is taken from a City of Kirkland news release.