South Kirkland TOD Concept

For several years King County Metro has been trying to develop it’s P&Rs into something more, using land as leverage to build TOD in addition to more parking.

Renton and Overlake are two older examples wile Redmond is a more recent example. While Renton and Overlake left a lot to be desired from an architectural and urban design standpoint the Redmond project comes a lot close to the mark. From what I see it looks like Metro has learned a good amount since they started doing these projects.

The image above is a plan view of a concept design, which looks to be promising. I like that it includes over 12,000 sf of commercial space along NE 38th Pl, but it would be nice to see some commercial space in the area facing the transit center as well. This work is being done as part of the Lakeview neighborhood comprehensive plan update. From the project fact sheet:

The Planning Department is now ready to move forward with amendments to the Kirkland Zoning Code, included as an implementation task on the adopted 2010-2012 Planning Work Program. The current zoning does not permit residential and has a height limit of 30’. The processing of the amendments will occur either as part of the Lakeview Neighborhood Plan and Zoning Code update, or through a process independent from the remainder of the code amendments associated with the plan update.

More after the jump.

The South Kirkland Park and Ride lies within the cities of both Kirkland and Bellevue and is owned by King County. At this time, the City of Bellevue has elected not to move forward with changes to its Comprehensive Plan for this site to address TOD. The zoning in Bellevue does allow residential use but has a height limit of 30 feet and a density cap of 15 units per acre. Consequently, King County has focused on the feasibility of transit-oriented-development on the Kirkland portion of the Park and Ride site alone.

As part of the Urban Partnership Agreement, which includes tolling on SR 520, the US Department of Transportation has agreed to provide $6.25 million to King County Metro to create a Sustainable Transportation Hub at the South Kirkland Park and Ride. The funding will primarily be used for additional parking and other transit improvements. This will help meet the anticipated increase in demand for parking with the tolling of SR 520 and a planned 15% increase in peak hour transit service in the corridor. The Agreement calls for the additional parking to be constructed before tolling begins in the corridor. Tolling is scheduled to begin in spring, 2011.

Since the federal grant funding available to the County for expansion of this Park and Ride must be spent within a relatively short period of time, King County is interested in proceeding with the expansion, and providing the additional capacity, 250 parking stalls, as part of a mixed use development on the Kirkland half of the site. No other funding to provide this parking is available, and the parking cannot be provided unless a private developer leases or buys the property to develop with mixed use such as housing and retail uses with the ability to share parking to keep costs affordable. In order for this to occur, a rezone of the property is needed to allow housing and a height increase. If this rezone does not take place in the near future, the Urban Partnership Agreement funds and the additional parking are at risk.

As with other County-owned Park and Ride properties, the Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD) would likely involve partnerships between King County Metro and private developers. ARCH, non-profit housing providers and/or the King County Housing Authority could also be involved.

Since the feasibility of development is still under study and development regulations have not yet been developed or approved, no partners have been identified. Potential development scenarios are preliminary and should be viewed as very conceptual approaches for the site.

  • About 200 multifamily units, built in two structures, each about five above grade
  • Significant number of units to be affordable for low or moderate income households(Possibly up to 100 affordable units).
  • Underground parking – some portion to be shared by TOD and park and ride users. Net increase of 250 additional park and ride stalls.
  • Existing or improved transit center
  • Pedestrian connection from site to BNSF corridor
  • Retained and enhanced vegetative buffers
  • Use of sustainable green building strategies
  • Streetscape development – retail spaces approximately 12, 500 square feet
  • Potential for coordinated future development with Bellevue

29 Replies to “South Kirkland P&R TOD”

    1. There’s always the “Seattle Transit Glossary” link under “Best Reference Posts” on the right.

    2. I’m not all familiar with the sort of code (or time) that would be needed to do this, but would it be possible for STB to add some backend style sheet that would automatically add acronym tags to some of the commonly used terms (based on the Glossary list)? Like, so TOD and KCM would automatically turn into TOD and KCM when used in posts or comment threads?

      The other option is to just spell out acronyms the first time they’re used in a post. But that would easily forgotten, and comments would likely still suffer from unexpanded acronyms.

    3. I know I don’t always spell out stuff when I should but TOD is a basic.

      @ Andreas I’ll see if we can hook something like that up.

  1. With all the experience its gaining in development perhaps ST could fandangle its way into some kind of Puget Sound Development Authority in the future. Seems smart to partner a regional transit agency and development authority into a single entity, and may even be a way for ST to create some long-term funding sources that aren’t taxes. Good idea?

    1. Many private transit & railway companies in Asia have large retail, hotel, and property development subsidiaries. In many cases, the property business makes more money than their transit business.

    2. I think the current legal status of eminent domain prevents this. A government agency can’t seize private property for the express purpose of selling it to a developer.

      ST is actually running a little TOD real estate operation to offload construction staging areas that are no longer needed.

      1. I don’t think Josh is talking about using eminent domain. I think he is thinking more along the lines of a non-profit development corporation that focuses on building TOD.

      2. Umm this has been done numerous times. It’s just something that Pacific NW sensibilities would and should find reprehensible.

        There was a US Supreme Court precident that decided exactly that and the reaction from advocates for the common folk was to suggest that a petition to condemn Justice Anthony Kennedy’s New England home should be launched on that basis.

  2. I dislike the way they put “bike/pedestrian” in front of “commuter rail” for the rail corridor. Is that already a done deal?

    1. It sounds like they’re making a trail that can in the future have rail added into there. It’s clear, though, that that’s not happening anytime soon. Anyways, I think future 405-corridor HCT should be light rail, substantially along the BNSF corridor but branching off to join East Link through Downtown and South Bellevue, and diverging from the BNSF ROW to get to Downtown Kirkland.

      1. It’s not even clear that the entire corridor is really going to be in public ownership at this point.

  3. TOD is pretty basic, and that’s why calling one small apartment building above the Overlake P&R “TOD” shows a lack of knowledge of what TOD really means.

    1. TOD stand for transit-oriented development, which essentially means development that’s oriented towards transit. That’s what this is.

    2. If there were no park and ride there (transit infrastructure last time I checked) we wouldn’t be talking about this because there would be little reason to put up apartment buildings there.

  4. One obstacle to this project was the Houghton Council. South Kirkland used to be the city of Houghton until Kirkland annexed it in the 1960s. To smooth the process Houghton was allowed to keep its city council which would have power over land-use decisions within the former borders of Houghton.

    Last time I checked the Houghton Council was against this project, as they don’t think it fits the single-family spirit of the neighborhood. However, the site is surrounded by office strip malls, a private school and a few multifamily dwellings, with no single-family houses to be disturbed by the menace of increased traffic. It’s also complicated because the lot is split between Bellevue and Kirkland, and Bellevue is lagging in the redevelopment process. It would be nice if Kirkland could somehow take over that tiny little bit of Bellevue to speed things up.

    I think this would be a great place to live, with easy bus access to Seattle and the rest of the Eastside. Either a future commuter rail or bike trail would be a cherry on top, assuming either (or both!) of those ever get done. The affordability aspect is great, as many service workers are being priced out of inner Eastside neighborhoods.

  5. Ugh. Slapping two buildings a surface parking lot isn’t TOD. But, they’re a darn sight better than just a surface lot with no buildings.

    If mislabeling this type of development as “TOD” is what’s needed to make it happen, then I’m fine with that, as long as it doesn’t supplant real transit oriented development.

    1. How is this not TOD? It’s development that is happening (pretty much) solely because there is transit there. It’s far from being a transit-oriented neighborhood, but this is certainly TOD. And who knows, it could be the nucleus for a transit community.

  6. I think they should sell/swap the whole P&R parcel, along with zoning concessions and relocate the P&R to property adjacent to 520 with a flyer stop. It could still involve commercial deveopment and would in fact be a much better site for that given that Northup parallels 520 only a block to the north. The access to that P&R isn’t very good. It’s not well situated for off hour business (like a movie theater, resturants, etc.). It’s more likely to be office park which will create more parking demand during the work day than it “shares”.

    1. Sounds like you actually know the place. To me, this project seems ill-conceived and will be poorly executed. There is a huge hill coming up 108th and the nearest grocery store is over a mile away. This site offers little in the way of walkability or supporting services and amenities, although a trail on the BNSF would help pedestrian/bicycle access. This is a one-off multi-family development that happens to be located at a park-and-ride bang up against existing commercial development (Paccar Offices) which won’t change in our life-times. The Kirkland City Council is pushing it because they like the affordability aspect of it. I like your idea of swapping the parcel to do something on a better location (Northrup?).

  7. You know what I’d like to see at Park & Rides?

    More zipcars.

    Imagine being able to park your car at one Park and Ride, then cruise across town in a BRT and then complete your journey in a car.

    1. You know what I’d like to see at Light Rail? Park and Ride lots. Sorry folks but I live in RV and I know I and a lot of other folks who would use it more if it had reasonable, safe parking areas. I see it as an interim step to TOD development which is not happening on any scale in RV. Basically none if you took away the low income/workforce subsidies.

      1. Have all the parking spots on private lots around the stations all been taken?

        And if there were a reasonably direct bus route that came close to your house and stopped at the nearest rail station, would you take that bus?

  8. Typical government rational,first priority: Spend ‘free money’ any time, any way and anywhere it can.

    Why bother following any well thought out comprehensive long term urban development plan, much less one that increases density in truly livable pedestrian areas and has public support. Just ignore the concerns and suggestions of local communities, worsen local traffic.

    This particular TOD project resembles more industrial chicken farming than an enlightened urban development project.

  9. To implement policies in the Growth Management Act and it’s Comprehensive Plan, King County has been actively engaged in TOD since at least 1998-not “a few years.”
    Here’s more detail on the proposal including the narrative to the map provided by STB:

    http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/Assets/Planning/Planning+PDFs/TOD+concept.pdf

    I think this site is a natural for TOD given its location between SR-520 and the eastside rail line. TOD here is a decision for the next 50 years-I think stores will come.

    However,the split boundary, zoning and lack of cooperation between Bellevue, Kirkland (including their abrogated land use authority to Houghton nimby’s) make this project nearly impossible to achieve within this timeframe. I think some political leadership might help or maybe Bellevue Councilmember Kevin Wallace could buy land here to generate more Bellevue interest like he has on the Light Rail Alignment debate.

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