Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. City Council Members Dave Asher, Doreen Marchione and Bob Sternoff were in attendance.
Our first guest was Ray Steiger, Kirkland Public Works Director. There are a number of capital project underway in Kirkland and Ray showed a PowerPoint slide show along with his presentation. The projects are listed on the City web site at: http://www.kirklandwa.gov/depart/Public_Works/Capital_Improvements.htm
Permanent bump-outs at pedestrian crossings on Central Way will be installed in the summer of 2012. The bump-outs have been there in temporary fashion for a few years. The "missing links" in the sidewalks at the intersection of 6th St. and Kirkland Ave. will be corrected with the construction of new segments of sidewalk and pedestrian ramps. The intersection of 68th St NE and 108th Ave NE in Houghton will be completed this summer. There will be a new right turn lane on 68th when making to turn onto northbound 108th (actually 6th St. S.).
Ray also talked about the rail corridor and how the City is in the process of buying the 5.75 mile Kirkland segment for $5 million. The sale will close on April 13. A celebration is planned. It is expected that improvements will start on the trail this summer with rail removal and crossing improvements.
Shelley Kloba, Moss Bay's liaison with the Parks Board, told us about upcoming parks projects and how a levy might be on the ballot to fund a wish list of projects.
Tia Scarce of the Kirkland Wildlife Habitat Team gave a presentation on certifying backyard habitats. Tia told us how we can encourage animals to thrive in our own backyards. Connect via Facebook with the Kirkland Community Wildlife Habitat. For more detailed info, go to the National Wildlife Federation's Certified Wildlife Habitat page.
Kirkland Police Officer Kyle Thomas attended our meeting. Kyle mentioned how there has been an increase in daytime burglaries in Kirkland as well as increased vehicle prowls. A common tactic is for young thieves to check for unlocked car doors and then burglarize any left open. Kyle fielded a number of questions from our members.
Ron Hofilena, new owner of Saint James Espresso on Kirkland Ave., introduced himself and told us about his business. St. James will start serving beer and wine and may have an "open mike" program in the works. Ron hopes to attract visitors from the Performance Center, which is across the street from his business.
Ken Dueker, the Parking Advisory Board's liaison to Moss Bay, gave us the lowdown on the latest parking plan. The Board is proposing that two City pay lots, Lake / Central and Marina Park, go to all day pay parking at $1 per hour. Currently these lots are partial pay and partial free and the pay is only after 5PM. Note: this proposal was met with some skepticism at the City Council meeting Mar. 20.
Lobsang Dargey, principal of the proposed Potala Village project at Lake St. and 10th Ave. S., was our next guest, along with architect Justin Stewart. The zoning is currently being studied by Kirkland's Planning Commission, a situation which puts the project in limbo for the near future. Lobsang is considering a somewhat scaled-down version of the project with 120 units. The possibility of a courtyard facing the lake, rather than behind the building, is also being considered. As usual, nearby residents voiced concerns about the density and scale of the project.
Our next meeting will be May 21, 2012 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.