Photo courtesy of city of Kirkland 
                                Construction workers at one of the sites.

Photo courtesy of city of Kirkland Construction workers at one of the sites.

Finn Hill, Highlands projects to provide safer routes around Kirkland schools

Both are part of Kirkland’s safer routes to school plan.

Kirkland is continuing work on new routes focused on improving community safety.

City officials recently announced how progress on two walkway projects is unfolding. One of them, referred to as the Finn Hill project, is due to begin construction this month. The other, which affects the Highlands neighborhood, is set to wrap up work by the end of the year.

Both are part of the safer routes to school plan, a recently adopted undertaking that’s part of the 2019-20 work program. It seeks to ensure that those walking, biking and busing to and from Kirkland schools are able to more safely travel.

Many projects within the program, including the Finn Hill and Highlands ventures, have in part come about due to public feedback. They focus on a variety of needs, whether related to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enhancements or basic pathway upgrades.

“These projects were actually suggested by members of the community,” Kellie Stickney, communications program manager for the city, said.

Finn Hill construction will result in 950 feet of new sidewalk. The walkway goes along Northeast 132nd Street, between 84th and 87th avenues northeast, and aims to improve access to Thoreau and Sandburg elementary schools, Finn Hill Middle School and Big Finn Hill Park.SaferThe Finn Hill project is en route to completion in spring 2020.

According to a press release, work in the Highlands neighborhood is continuing to progress on schedule. Looking to refine access between Peter Kirk Elementary School and the surrounding neighborhood, the project will see the completion of a 900-foot walkway. The walkway is on the west side of 111th Avenue Northeast, between Northeast 100th Place and the 10300 block of 111th Avenue Northeast.

In total, the pathway is about three blocks long.

Stickney said traffic impacts should be minimal, as most of the construction work is set to be done during the day, when people are typically at work or in school.

She added that city residents interested in having a say in future transportation-related safety-improvement projects are encouraged to fill out a new survey at on the city website that helps Kirkland prioritize future projects.

The city is currently rewriting its active transportation plan, which outlines how Kirkland fosters transportation needs. Survey results will be considered as the plan, which was last updated in 2009, is revised.

In a press release, Mayor Penny Sweet spoke of the importance of transportation improvements.

“Anything we can do to ease the burden of localized traffic congestion around schools while improving the health and wellness of our students is a worthy investment,” she said.

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Peter Kirk Elementary School is one of the schools that will be affected by construction. Madison Miller/staff photo

Peter Kirk Elementary School is one of the schools that will be affected by construction. Madison Miller/staff photo

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