Utility Boxes get a Makeover, Tree Code Update, Totem Lake Transforms, and more!

View as a webpage

this week in kirkland

March 28, 2018

city of kirkland washington

Downtown Utility Boxes get a Makeover

Kirkland’s scenic downtown core now showcases bits and pieces of the City’s rich and vibrant history, thanks to a collaboration between the City, Cultural Arts Commission and the Kirkland Heritage Society.

The pilot project wrapped historic photos around two downtown Kirkland utility boxes, one located at the corner of Lake Street and Central way, and the other at the corner of Lake Street and Kirkland Avenue. The boxes, both positioned at key City vantage points, provide downtown visitors with the opportunity to view the streetscape as it once was, while enjoying what it is today. As you stand at the corner of Lake Street and Kirkland Avenue and gaze out towards Marina Park, the view on the utility box shows you what it looked like in the early 1900s, when the Seattle Ferry would land at the Kirkland dock. 

Whichever direction you turn, you’re rewarded with a corresponding view from long ago.

“I think they’re divine,” said Kirkland Heritage Society President Loita Hawkinson. “It’s such a wonderful way to preserve our history and use the amazing photos we have available in our archives.”

The project was spearheaded by longtime Kirkland volunteer Sue Contreras, who began contemplating different beautification concepts after attending the “For the Love of Kirkland” community advocacy event in 2017. She recalled a keen example of a wrapped utility box she had noticed during a Kirkland home tour she coordinated in 2016, and decided that she wanted to apply the concept to the utility boxes downtown.

Contreras felt that using historic photos was an ideal way to beautify downtown and enhance tourism, while honoring and celebrating the City’s past.   

Ready to raise the funds herself, Contreras brought her idea to the City, which agreed to fund the two utility boxes as a pilot project. She then partnered with Hawkinson to select the historic photos, which were printed by a Kirkland business. The cost to wrap the two boxes was $4,500.   

Utility box wraps

Check-in on the Tree Code Update

tree code update

In previous articles, we explored what a healthy, resilient urban forest looks like. We also discussed strategies communities can use to protect trees and meet canopy goals using “urban forest management tools” such as incentives, public education and tree codes. In this article, we’ll explore how specific changes to Kirkland’s tree code can address some emerging issues we've discovered through our monitoring efforts.

To begin the process we looked at what's working in our code, and found that we’re planting plenty of new trees as a result of development. The current code also focuses on saving high-quality trees that will continue to provide benefit well into the future. Then we asked, what do we need to change or what can the City code do a better job at? We saw through our canopy assessment and field study that we need to slow the loss of canopy, save larger trees, and save groups of trees whenever possible, such as with short plat and subdivision developments. We concluded that in order to maintain and enhance our urban forest, while accommodating future growth and development, we need to focus on adjusting the tree code so it defines the trees we want to protect, the location of those trees, and the condition the trees need to be in to warrant tree retention.

An update of the tree code amendment project will be given at the April 25 Planning Commission meeting, then a more in-depth review of proposed tree codes will occur at the May 9 Planning Commission meeting.

Explore Totem Lake's Transformation

Are you interested in all of the change happening in Totem Lake? The City now has a one-stop shop to get information about Totem Lake's transformation, courtesy of the City's IT Department’s geographic information system (GIS) division.

The tool is called a "story map" and it is located in the City’s latest GIS technology platform: CityHub. This cloud-based GIS solution from ESRI provides an innovative and robust web platform for mapping and analytics. Visitors to the "story map" can interact with maps, graphs, charts, text, tables, videos, that tell the story of Totem Lake's future transformation.  The story map’s interactive presentation allows the user to easily find and view content. The project team can quickly update the story map by authoring new maps and information or improving existing ones by utilizing templates, pre-packaged GIS data, and user-friendly tools and procedures.

The “Totem Lake Transformation” story map is a recent effort completed by the project team consisting of departments and workgroups from Information Technology, Public Works, Planning and Building, and Parks and Community Services.  The purpose of creating this story map is to communicate information about the transformation of the Totem Lake business district; and to provide Kirkland residents and business leaders with convenient access to information that impacts their surrounding communities.

For more information on Totem Lake, visit https://www.kirklandwa.gov/Totem_Lake or contact Christian Knight at cknight@kirklandwa.gov, Kirkland’s Neighborhood Services Coordinator.

For more information about the city’s GIS program, contact Xiaoning Jiang at xjiang@kirklandwa.gov, Kirkland’s IT Manager - Spatial Systems.

Totem Lake Story Map

Take the Green Home Challenge this April

Green Home Challenge

Make your home work better for the planet – and you – this Earth Month by participating in Kirkland’s Green Home Challenge. Participants will complete tasks to make their home more efficient and less wasteful, like unsubscribing from junk mail, reorganizing the refrigerator to make food last longer, and learning how much food their household wastes – and figuring out strategies to waste less food. Each week participants will complete a few manageable actions, and learn about free resources and upcoming events in Kirkland. Participants will be able to pick up free waste reduction tools, like a reusable canvas bag and faucet aerators, while supplies last.

The Green Home Challenge begins on April 1 and runs through April. Sign up now: kirklandwa.gov/greenhome

The City Welcomes Public Comment on the Shoreline Master Program update

The City of Kirkland and the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) invite public comment on the proposed amendments to the Kirkland Shoreline Master Program (SMP), a set of land-use policies and regulations that guide how shoreline properties are used and developed. 

The proposed SMP amendments are part of a state-mandated periodic update, which is meant to ensure consistency with any changes to state law. Additionally, the update process helps assure SMP alignment with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and development regulations, and is an opportunity to improve and enhance the City’s shoreline regulations overall. SMP updates occur every eight years in accordance with the Shoreline Management Act and must be approved by Ecology.   

Kirkland’s SMP applies to lands within 200 feet of Lake Washington's ordinary high-water mark and within wetlands connected to Juanita Bay and Yarrow Bay.

There are two opportunities to provide comment on the proposed amendments:

A joint local/state public comment period opens Monday, April 8, and extends through Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Written public comment should be directed to Senior Planner Joan Lieberman-Brill at jliebermanbrill@kirklandwa.gov. Please refer to Permit No. CAM19-00026 and include your name, mailing address and email address on all comment submissions. 

A public hearing jointly hosted by the Kirkland Planning Commission, the Houghton Community Council and Ecology takes place 7 p.m., Thursday, April 25, at Kirkland City Hall (123 5th Avenue) in the Council Chamber. An open house will precede the hearing at 6 p.m. to give attendees the opportunity to learn more about the SMP and the proposed amendments. Community members are invited to give public comment at the hearing or submit written comments.  

Once the joint public comment period closes on May 8, the City will respond to comments and determine whether changes to the SMP amendments are needed. The public comments will be provided to Ecology, as will the City’s responses. For more information about the SMP update process, please visit our website. 

Upcoming Events

CPR Stroke Workshop

Free CPR/Stroke Workshop for Seniors

Kingsgate Library

Wednesday, April 3, 5-6 p.m.

Did you know that cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death in King County and stroke is the fifth? Come learn how to be prepared in case someone near you experiences this health event. King County Emergency Medical Services and the University of Washington Public Health undergraduate capstone students are providing this free one-hour workshop
to teach how to perform “hands-only” CPR (no mouth-to-mouth resuscitation).
You’ll also learn how to identify stroke symptoms and what happens when you call 9-1-1.
Come dressed to move and prepare to be on the floor.
Space is limited, please register online at https://kcls.org/.

Map Your Neighborhood

Map Your Neighborhood

Fire Station 22

Tuesday, April 30, 7-9 p.m. 

Is your neighborhood ready to work together in case of a disaster? If professional first responders are unable to reach everyone who needs assistance, do you have a plan to respond with your neighbors?

Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) teaches you to organize with your neighbors and develop an emergency plan to respond and help each other. This facilitator training will teach you how to host your own MYN session, get to know your neighbors, and make a community plan tailored to your neighborhood.

The class is free, but registration is required. Sign up online at: http://bit.ly/Apr2019MYN

For more information email KirklandEM@kirklandwa.gov or call (425) 587-3691