Thank you for running this letter and the petition. It seems from the robust participation in the petition that many feel that these dangerous conditions are within the city's duty to correct. I am noticing comments about collisions that have already happened. How many more? How serious will they be? Why is the City not getting better traffic studies and fixing a problem they've heard about loudly from the citizens?
Please help us make Lake Washington Blvd / Lake St S safe for all, and accessible for land-locked driveways!! City of Kirkland has received numerous citizen communications about dangerous traffic conditions on the boulevard, has received reports of unsafe maneuvering due to insufferably long traffic queues. And now some property owners find that traffic has become so bad that those who only have one driveway that exits onto the boulevard no longer have any "safe gaps" in traffic for ingress or egress.
Since video tapes, photos, letters, emails, and testimony under oath all have failed to get action by the city, we have summarized the steps that have been taken to show that the city has received more than ample notice of the dangerous traffic conditions.
Let me first state that this is a problem with, or without, the enormous Potala Village Project. On the east side of the boulevard there are NO SAFE GAPS to get out of ones driveway if it exits onto LWB. This goes on for hours in the summer and a bit less in the winter.
Secondly, if Potala Village is not constrained to low/medium density (required by the city in 1977 when they first acknowledged vehicular ingress/egress issues due to massive traffic), well the proposal states 111 CARS PER HOUR will be coming off a driveway onto Lake St. THAT'S NEARLY TWO PER MINUTE DURING PEAK EVENING HOURS!!! One of the neighbors calculated that this is more cars than all of the other driveways combined!!!! And it may exceed all the side streets combined as well!!! This huge addition of cars and turning maneuvers will dramatically increase potential conflicts, or real ones.
Potala Village has been advised that driveways onto arterials are not generally allowed. It is uncertain how the developer anticipates having two cars enter the roadway each minute when there are no gaps. Likely the cars will idle long periods of time parked across the sidewalk impeding both pedestrian traffic and bicyclists. Again more, unavoidable conflicts on our major pedestrian and bicycle pathway.
Finally, I believe that the city is responsible for planning and maintaining safe ingress and egress from the side streets and from our driveways. Some very technical folks have pointed out the flaws in the city's traffic studies and yet we keep using the same person - for 2004 Comp Plan EIS, for Parkplace EIS and for Potala EIS. If we got this traffic mess from the person doing the studies, don't you think we'd find someone else? Try a different study since we have evidence that the "traffic modeling" is not representative of what we have? I was a bit concerned when I looked at public records and saw that this "independent" traffic consultant was exchanging emails and drafting her report in a tag-team fashion with the city traffic engineer. Something just didn't seem very "independent" about that. Whatever machine she was using to detect "gaps" for safe ingress and egress seemed to make even the city traffic engineer suggest that her gap analysis had failed. Pictures and citizen experience certainly have shown the gap analysis has failed.
Lack of safe ingress and egress and the traffic conditions on Lake St S and Lake Washington Blvd have been ignored too long wth citizens being given the deaf ear. I read comments in the petition about collisions happening already.
Will the city wait until something really bad happens or take the steps required to maintain safe gaps, so that people can enter and exit the roadway safely? Isn't this a duty of the city? We certainly have told them of this issue repeatedly so they will never be able to say that they weren't made aware of the problem. They won't be able to say that no one pointed out the flaws in their traffic analysis. How many of us will be available when asked to comment as to whether a tragedy was avoidable and who was to blame?