The city of Kirkland is asking the general public to attend an open house on Feb. 12 that will offer an early look at the five-lane 124th Avenue Northeast project and a chance to provide feedback on the concepts.
The city has already established an online open house detailing the project that will widen 124th Avenue Northeast, between Northeast 116th and 124th streets to better accommodate driving, walking and bicycling. The online open house will be available until Feb. 19 and offers a feedback option for locals interested in contributing.
“As part of a larger effort to make Totem Lake a walkable, vibrant, and green urban center, the city of Kirkland is improving the 124th Avenue Northeast corridor between Northeast 116th Street and Northeast 124th Street,” according to city officials. “This project, along with other efforts in the area, will enhance connectivity to the Village, Totem Lake Park and other local hubs.”
The 124th project will make three major improvements to the corridor as a whole. The largest in size will be adding sidewalks, where there currently are none, between Northeast 90th and 113th streets. Construction is set to begin in March and will continue until November.
Secondly, the city will add dual left-turn lanes and bicycle lanes to the Northeast 116th Street intersection, which has the highest crash rate in Kirkland. Compared to the average of 60 other Kirkland intersections, this area had more the double the crashes at 1.26 crashes per million trips, compared to 0.55 crashes. Between 2012 and 2014, left turns caused 57 percent of the accidents at the intersection. Construction is scheduled to begin some time in spring and the intersection will potentially open this summer, according to the city.
The third major improvement will widen the road to five lanes between Northeast 116th and 124th streets, decreasing the congestion along that section of the roadway. City staff expect construction to begin by September 2020. Additionally, the project as a whole will improve bus stop accessibility and implement several cosmetic features, from lighting to landscapes, in an effort to make the area safer and unique.
“New urban design elements, such as fencing, landscaping and lighting will give the corridor a visual sense of identity and improve safety for walking, bicycling and driving,” city officials stated on the online open house website.
The in-person open house will take place from 5-7 p.m. at the Kirkland Justice Center at 11750 NE 118th St. Attendees will be able to view concepts for the corridor, ask city officials any questions and provide feedback on them.
Kirkland staff and consulting engineers have, since January 2018, been re-designing the three-lane roadway into a five-lane roadway that features sidewalk-level bicycle lanes and wide sidewalks. This project is a smaller part of the larger Totem Lake Transformation project that includes the Village at Totem Lake, currently under construction, and the Totem Lake Connector bridge that will intersect with 124th Avenue Northeast.
According to the city, Totem Lake has won more than $14 million in federal and state grants since 2005 to go toward transportation improvements and the city itself has invested more than $50 million of its own funds since 2009.
Kirkland staff expect to complete the design by the end of 2019 and to begin construction in 2021 once all right-of-way acquisitions are completed and previously awarded construction funding becomes available.
The 124th project will be one of the first projects establishing the Totem Lake Circulator, which is the city’s plan to establish a walking, bicycling and transit-riding route that connects all four of the Totem Lake neighborhood’s quadrants. This, along with the Totem Lake Gateway project, will also establish a portion of the Circulator at Totem Lake Boulevard by rebuilding the roadway and wide sidewalks, according to city staff.