Station Area Plan meeting summary

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Karen Story

Nov 19, 2020, 2:14:37 PM11/19/20

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I-405 BRT Station Area Plan
Highlands Neighborhood Meeting Summary

Nov. 17, 2020

Allison Zike
Senior Planner
City of Kirkland

 “Sound Transit's ST3 Regional Transit System Plan [approved by voters] is bringing a once-in-a-generation transit investment to Kirkland with a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station at NE 85th St. and I-405.”

Note that, due to Covid, this project has been pushed out at least a year. (It had been slated to begin construction in 2022 and finish in 2024.)

It’s important to understand that there are three entities involved in the I-405 BRT plan:

§         Sound Transit: Builds and operates regional transit service throughout the urban areas of Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties.

§         WSDOT: Partners with Sound Transit and owns the land where the BRT will be built.

§         City of Kirkland: Creating a Station Area Plan for city property surrounding I-405 WSDOT property. The city regulates zoning and traffic on city property. The purpose of the Station Area Plan is to look at how development, open space, and mobility connections in neighborhoods near the station can leverage this regional investment to create the most value and quality of life for Kirkland.

This meeting only addressed the City of Kirkland’s Station Area Plan. Sound Transit and WSDOT will be invited to a future neighborhood meeting, along with transportation department staff from the City of Kirkland.

Although the Highlands neighborhood has concerns about this project (addressed below), there is also excitement about improved transit opportunities. It’s critical that we remain informed about the project so that we can maximize the benefits for our neighborhood, and minimize the drawbacks.

Watch for announcements about the following opportunities for input and information:

§         January 7 - Community Workshop

§         Dec. 18 to January 25 - Comment period (A City Planning Commissioner lives in the Highlands, and urged everyone to send written comments. They will all be read and seen by the Planning Commission.)

Learn more about the Station Area Plan here:

Sign up for city email updates at the above link.

Questions and Concerns

Traffic and Parking Impacts to Highlands

I am inviting city transportation staff to a meeting as soon as possible to answer the following questions:

§         Are there any traffic models showing the impact of a Kiss & Ride in the Highlands?

§         Is the Kiss & Ride location a "done deal"?

§         Will there be drop-off options of any kind in the other three quadrants?

§         Are there any ideas for shuttling people from the north end of the Highlands to the station?

§         There is a lot of concern about transit users parking on streets in the south end of the Highlands. Is there any way to guess how many cars that could be?

Drop-off location. The proposed but currently unfunded “Kiss & Ride” drop-off is a WSDOT project, and is on their property, where the cloverleaf is now.

Purple is funded pedestrian/bike paths. Yellow is unfunded pedestrian/bike path and drop-off.

The existing park and ride on the south side of NE 85th St. will be subsumed into the roundabout planned for the 114th Ave NE intersection.

There may be “unofficial” drop-off options in the other three quadrants at locations such as retail parking lots.

Transit Parking. The city wants to hear our suggestions for how to ensure that any parking by transit users won’t adversely affect our neighborhood. Zone parking permits are hard to enforce and can be a hassle for residents. Time-limited parking can be a hassle for residents. What could work? Please email your ideas to Allison:

Noise Impacts to Highlands

Construction is estimated to take two years. Sound Transit does not propose increasing sound wall heights in the Highlands. For details about construction and other noise impacts, see page 20 of the Sound Transit SEPA checklist:

Housing Density Impacts to Highlands

The Station Area Plan does not propose any density increases in the neighborhood. Recent housing ordinances approved in Kirkland do encourage ADUs and other “missing middle housing” to help provide affordable housing alternatives. See for details.

On the neighborhood zoning map below, RM 3.6 means residential multi-family, with one unit per 3600 square feet of lot size. RS 7.2 means residential single family, with one unit per 7200 square feet of lot size. The remainder of the neighborhood is zoned RS 8.5, which means residential single family, with one unit per 8500 square feet of lot size.  You can see a larger version of the map at

Highlands Zoning Map

Crime Impacts to Highlands

I have contacted Kirkland Police to ask if they have any data indicating that crime (particularly car prowls and home burglaries) increases around transit centers. I will send out their answer.

Karen Story and Debbie Ohman
Highlands Neighborhood co-chairs

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