Levy funding for street and park maintenance: A big win for bicyclists in Kirkland

In November, Kirkland voters passed two Cascade-endorsed levies, and now the City of Kirkland is working to decide where to spend the money.

Levy funds improve road conditions for all.

Proposition 1, a $3 million levy for city street maintenance and pedestrian safety, passed with a nearly 55 percent approval rate. In the coming year, engineers will evaluate 500 lane miles of Kirkland’s roads, including its neighborhood streets, to determine how the money will be spent.

According to a City report, part of the maintenance plan is to overlay six arterials, Slurry Seal roughly 30 lane miles of road, construct sidewalks to Kirkland’s 12 elementary and middle schools, re-stripe 230 crosswalks and upgrade 50 of the City’s most trafficked  crosswalks with warning  lights. Over time, the levy will also expand Kirkland’s 40 miles of bike lanes and make the City’s network of parks, transit routes, schools and commercial areas more connected for walkers and cyclists.

“This is a big win for bicyclists in Kirkland," says Evan Manvel, Cascade's Director of Policy, Planning & Government Affairs. "Of course we’re excited about new improved bike connections, that we hope will be designed to serve people of all ages and abilities, but we also appreciate funding for street maintenance, which impacts road riding as well as the long-term stability of our transportation funding.”

The other Cascade-endorsed levy, Proposition 2, will fund the restoration, maintenance and enhancement of  Kirkland’s network of park.

Within seven years, Park planners say the $2.35 million-per-year levy will help the City complete a series of vital projects including renovation of the shoreline along Lake Washington, continue the partnership with the Lake Washington School District that gives residents access to ballfields at 16 Kirkland schools, and it help the City transform  the old Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail corridor into the Cross Kirkland Corridor’s interim bicycle and pedestrian trail.

"Cascade has long advocated for taking advantage of the disused Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway line for a regional trail, connecting all the cities in the region’s Eastside. Prop 2 will allow Kirkland to take some significant steps towards creating that trail," said Manvel. "Surveys of all types of cyclists show that routes away from traffic, such as trails, are the preferred route, and this could be a fabulous one.”