Kirkland recognized as bicycle-friendly community

The City of Kirkland was recognized earlier this month by the League of American Bicyclists as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community.

The award recognizes Kirkland’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.

“The City Council has recognized that getting people out of their cars is crucial to improving the city’s transportation system and provides benefits on many levels,” said transportation manager Joel Pfundt in a press release. “When people are walking or riding bikes, health, stress levels and traffic congestion are all improved. That’s why we are working hard to set priorities that include multi-modal transportation options.”

Since 2015 the city has implemented several changes to encourage residents to walk and bike more, including:

Park Lane redesign – Developed in 2015, Kirkland downtown’s Park Lane was redesigned with a curb-less, brick-lined surface that is shared by cars, bicyclists and pedestrians.

The Cross Kirkland Corridor interim trail (CKC) – This is a 10-foot-wide, 5.75-mile crushed gravel trail that runs from the South Kirkland Park & Ride, at the city’s southern boundary, north through the Totem Lake business district. The CKC embodies Kirkland’s vision of being a walkable, livable, connected and sustainable community.

The Complete Streets Ordinance – This was updated in 2016 to emphasize that transportation facilities should accommodate travelers of all ages, all abilities and all modes of transportation.

No Parking in Bike Lanes Ordinance – This was passed in 2016 in an effort at keeping bicyclists safe by making it illegal to park a vehicle in a designated bike lane.

Other initiatives to increase safety for people riding bikes are currently in progress, including:

Initiation of Neighborhood Greenways, which are designated residential streets, generally off main arterials, with low volumes of vehicular traffic and low speeds where people who walk or bike are given priorities. (Construction 2018)

Juanita Drive Quick Wins are capital projects aimed at improving safety on Juanita Drive. (Construction 2017)

Lakefront Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements are aimed at improving safety for walking and bicycling along Kirkland’s north-to-south corridor of Lake Washington Boulevard, Lake Street, Market Street and 98th Avenue Northeast. (Initiating 2017)

100th Avenue Northeast redesign will provide opportunities to improve the overall corridor performance and safety for all modes of travel. (In design 2017)

Totem Lake 120th Avenue redesign includes shared bicycle and pedestrian paths along 120th Avenue Northeast and Totem Lake Boulevard. (Phase 1 construction 2017)

Expansion of bicycle parking (2017-18)

Expansion of wayfinding signage (2017-18)

Totem Lake Connector is a bicycle and pedestrian bridge, which will connect the two ends of the CKC, currently severed by one of Kirkland’s most complicated intersections: Totem Lake Boulevard and Northeast 124th Street. (In design 2017)

“We won’t be able to build our way out of traffic problems, but that doesn’t mean we should be stuck in our cars,” Pfundt said in the release. “By investing in transportation alternatives that work for all ages and abilities, we’re providing community members with meaningful travel choices. Our goal is to make Kirkland one of the most livable cities in America, and this award lets us know we’re on our way.”