A response to Kirkland Conversations survey
By CARRIE RODRIGUEZ
Kirkland Reporter Editor
October 13, 2010 · Updated 4:21 PM
Two weeks ago, we kicked off our first Kirkland Conversations survey, asking residents to tell us what makes Kirkland a good place to live and what the city should focus on to make improvements.
I am pleased to announce the survey results.
We received 25 responses, some answers that reinforced what many of us already love about Kirkland, while others offered creative questions and solutions to make the city better.
We asked the community to rank several areas in order of importance, including: sense of community, high quality of life, access to goods and services, schools, parks, safe community, environmental stewardship, regional transportation and Kirkland’s location on Lake Washington.
Twenty-four percent of respondents ranked “safe community” as the No. 1 area of importance to them, while 20 percent said the city’s location on Lake Washington was most important to them and 16 percent ranked “high quality of life” as the No. 1 importance.
The Kirkland Conversations survey also asked residents to rank areas the City of Kirkland should focus on to help the city to become a “great” place to live, including: redevelopment of Totem Lake Malsl, parks, housing diversity, public safety, schools, pedestrian amenities, downtown, neighborhood centers and regional transportation.
The top was consistent with the previous answer, wherein respondents expressed that a safe community was most important to them. Thirty-two percent said the city should focus its time and energy on public safety.
With annexation approaching next year, the city is already gearing up its police force and hiring new officers to handle the new population. We hope response times will be far above satisfactory and people will continue to feel safe in Kirkland.
Another 32 percent of survey participants would also like the city to focus its attention on the redevelopment of Totem Lake Malls.
The area, which has been referred to as an “albatros around the city’s neck”, has been dormant for (how long?).
One participant noted that Totem Lake Malls is a “front face” of Kirkland from I-405.
“If it is not developed, (Totem Lake Malls) gives Kirkland a less desirable place impression to many that drive by 405. It’s a good location that is wasted,” this person wrote.
We agree, which is why we’d like to explore what is going on with that property in our next Kirkland Conversations piece, coming soon.
Residents also listed these words (and more) that describe how the city has successfully made the transition from “good” to “great”: safe, community, family, small-town, clean, friendly, celebrations, not-Bellevue, thriving and beautiful.
Here are some other interesting ideas and comments that some resident’s wrote on their surveys:
• Perhaps if we concentrate on healthy livability in beautiful surroundings, eventually all the people living in cement hamster cages in the “great” cities will bring business into Kirkland as they temporarily “escape” to Kirkland.
• Rome was not built in a day, and Kirkland shouldn’t be either. Stop listening to outside developers who are only interested in filling their own pockets.
• Kirkland needs to improve its transportation network so citizens can get around town, while folks from adjoining cities can get to and through Kirkland.
• Have an appointed individual visit other small communities and report back to how they manage. Ask for more volunteers in a big way.
• Focus the high rises in the Totem Lake corridor. Close Park Lane to traffic and make it a pedestrian-only plaza.
• We need better dining options and shops that are not just selling “trinkets.” If the movie theater goes away that will be a big loss.
• I have concerns with the city spending money on maintaining ditches, yet they close bathrooms at the parks.
• We go to Redmond or Bellevue because parking is easier and you can walk to movies or dinner. When you walk in downtown Kirkland, it feels like you’re walking through a parking lot! We need play structures and not statues for kids to play on.
• Keep downtown as a place you can stroll around and see trees and sky. Don’t put chain, anchor stores in downtown area.
• As Kirkland residents, we have to go to Redmond, Woodinville or Bellevue to get to any shopping area and give them money Kirkland could be getting. Improve the Totem Lake Malls area to resemble U-Village or Kent Station.
• As a four-year Finn Hill resident, I’ve been offended by the attitudes of some Kirkland residents who have fought the annexation. This attitude has made me look elsewhere when choosing to dine or shop. Kirkland leadership needs to connect the dots of its many diverse neighborhoods to create a stronger sense of community.
Thank you to all of you who responded! I look forward to sharing all responses with the Kirkland City Council. Please stay tuned for the next Kirkland Conversations.Contact Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-822-9166 (ext 5050).