Meeting Notes - 3/9/21

3/9/21 South Rose Hill-Bridle Trails Neighborhood Meeting Minutes

69 attended on zoom. Speakers: Claudia Balducci, District 6 King County Council; Rachel Wilch, Parking and Mobility Hubs Program Leader for East King County; Brian Henry, Service Planning Lead for East King County

Note: Names of those making comments and asking questions are redacted with the exception of public officials.

Pres. Chris Kagen called us to order at 7:02pm.

Kirkland Police Report: Lt. Tim Carpenter took questions:

Q: Do the police monitor car break-ins?

A:Yes.Please report them to PD. Police actively monitor social media, including nextdoor, to be pro-active where break-ins occur.

Public Comments: no public comments.

Nominating Committee for 2021 Officer and Director Elections: DeirdreJohnson

To nominate yourself or someone else, email one or both Nominating Committee members:


Karina O’Malley:

Elections will be held at the May 11 meeting.

NE 85th Street Subarea Plan

Public feedback received to date falls into the following key areas: Density, height, transportation impact, and housing affordability. The City seeks feedback that digs down into each key area. For example, balancing the value of amenities vs. open space; specific impacts on schools (the plan would add one floor to Lake Washington HS--how would elementary schools and middle schools be impacted? Is sufficient attention being paid to the impact on elementary and middle schools?); a need exists to enhance the east-west traffic corridor; does the plan honor Kirkland's 2035 Comprehensive Plan?; does the Plan truly add jobs or just housing? Does it further the creation of "15-minute neighborhoods"?

The Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods (KAN) is forming a committee to do this work. The committee will be made up of up volunteers from each neighborhood. If interested, please contact Chris Kagen at

Meeting attendees brought forward the following issues for the KAN Committee to address:

Impact on the middle and elementary schools: $60M estimate (incl. LWHS)Height/Density numbers? See EIS

Height/Density numbers? See EIS

Peripheral street traffic, access in/out of neighborhoods

Tree removal: neighborhood character, not replacing in kind/canopy

Generational or cultural differences: does opposing feedback demonstrate a

shift in demographics?

Transit-oriented development (TOD) effect not coming true? Are there fewer

cars, etc.? Are the assumptions and calculations based in reality? Kirkland is

very different from Seattle or even Bellevue.

Bus rapid transit (BRT): great idea, but very constrained, needs real

transit planning for connections, higher frequencies. Arteries are still busy

and slow.

Traffic on 85th: what can be done about traffic density? Dedicated bus


Planning Commission: Is there any consideration of PC members who sit

on the Commission being residents in the station area?

Livability: draft plan creates a sense of calm, quiet neighborhood—and

I405 is LOUD. 85th, too. Perhaps best to let that one area BE loud and

dense, to relieve other areas?

Susan Baird-Joshi: Park Board report

Kirkland Park Board meeting Wednesday, March 9

Susan represents Kirkland on the Washington Recreation and Park Association, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee (EIB)

Proposed Northeast King County Transfer Station Site

Question: Although it is currently at the process for the EIS - Is it true that two of the other sites have lawyers already?

Question: FYI - Here is the response I got back from Margret Bell, head of the location committee: "I am not aware of any commitment to close the Houghton Transfer Station. The Solid Waste Division’s (SWD’s)plan was that Houghton would be closed when replacement capacity became available, that is, if a transfer station could be sited in a new location. As part of the State Environmental Policy Act, SWD will need to present a no-action alternative to developing a new station, which will be to keep the Houghton Transfer Station as is."

Mayor Penny Sweet - Kirkland:There is a virtual tour of the North Seattle site coming up on March 23.

Q: If 5 acres is not a constraint, where are the other 5 acre sites in the county that were included in the screening process? It seems the 5 acre exception was reserved only for the park and ride site.

Comment: From website: The KCSWD has contemplated the closure and replacement of the HTS for the past two decades, and a recommendation to replace the station was made in the 2006 Solid Waste Transfer and Waste Export Plan. The HTS property was first an open landfill between the 1940’s and the mid-1960’s. In 1965, King County closed the landfill and opened a transfer station on the south side of the property in 1967. Given the station’s obsolete infrastructure, its location in a residential neighborhood, and its failure to meet established criteria for a modern transfer facility, a siting process for a new NERTS is underway. The KCSWD was given authority to replace the station upon the 2019 approval of the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan by cities and the MKCC.

Comment: The fear is the other sites on the short list were chosen to be non-viable to ensure the existing site is chosen.

Q: How do we get that list?

A: Refer to page 5 of the above link for 15 sites considered before shortlisted to the 4 sites.

Comment: I’m looking at the 1992 Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan which states the Houghton Transfer Station is to be closed.

Comment: it sounds like we need to lawyer up....

Q: Did Houghton Transfer Station and Houghton Park & Ride become the top choice due to the assessed values of $0?

Q: At what point would the council members raise objections? When[it] is too late?

Comment: We also shouldn’t have to rely on just this process to get the current facility closed.

Q: What will happen to Taylor park if that site is chosen?

Comment: Not only a state park but Bridle Trails neighborhood is a planned equestrian neighborhood with nearly 100 equestrian neighbors. Industrial noise is incompatible with current/projected continued use of the State Park located across the street from this proposed site. How does the county justify this potential site selection which poses a hazard for horses and riders?

Q: How many sites will have an EIS conducted on them?

Comment: Sounds like 4.

Comment: Claudia, we have asked Solid Waste for the objective screening results and we welcome the information. I am skeptical that we will receive any quantitative results, but I remain optimistic for the time being.

Comment: Yes the information was promised a couple weeks ago at the Houghton Council Meeting.

Comment: on page 2-3 of your document, “In all instances where an old station has been replaced, the new station has either been built on the site of the old station or has been built adjacent to the former facility.”

Pat McLaughlin (Director, KCSW):A website has been created to provide the latest updates. Through that website you can also sign up for email and text updates:

Comment: I think the issue here is that Margaret Bay told us in the Feb. meeting that the criteria for the long list was that sites be 8 acres or greater, so if sites could be 5-8 acres in size, they were never considered for the long list and thus couldn’t have been included in the short list.

Q: Pat, will the complete information on the 11 sites that were already eliminated based on clearly stated criteria per each, be posted on the site?

Comment: It feels as if the process was reverse engineered to determine this the most, and only, viable site.

Comment: My fear is we get too far down that process.

Comment-Jay Arnold Kirkland CC: I appreciate the discussion. I need to drop off but will look for the meeting video when posted. Thanks everyone!

Comment: : It should be removed from[the] list now and then we should pursue its closure in a separate effort. Just another approach.

Comment: Great idea!

Comment: We want to know how to do that.

Comment: we have 69 people in attendance, through this topic of the call. Please note for the record.

Comment: : totally appreciate that

Comment: The fair and real process would have a lower bound of 5 acres, rather than 8 acres, as the broad screening criteria, as evidenced by the Houghton P&R side being in the list.

Comment: Using the Park and Ride location is a terrible ‘welcome’ sign for the neighborhood.

Comment: Thank you Councilwoman Balducci. Appreciate your advocacy.

Q: Claudia, do we have an ETA for when we can expect to have information about the concerns that were raised related to the sites selection?

Comment: CW Balducci, Thank you for agreeing to raise objections to an unfair process prior to the EIS. The concern is with the timing of objections, transparency of information and the delays with information requests. In the meantime the complete support of the process/timeline as laid out by KC SW is problematic.

Chris Kagen introduced speakers from KC Metro Transit:

Rachel Wilch, Parking and Mobility Hubs Program Lead for East King County

Brian Henry, Service Planning Lead for East King County

Comment: The process to get to four sites is clearly a sham based upon the fact that the 8 acres criteria was not followed. This process needs to be stopped and new sites selected based upon the used criteria of 5 acres.

Q: Question for Ms. Wilch - I live on 116th Ave NE. We see a lot of garbage trucks and Semi-trucks, but almost no busses. This is an arterial route, why are there not more busses available? Is a part of the problem that there aren't all that many busses coming through this park and ride.

Comment: Rachel - thank you for being here. As one who was looking at a job at UW, it became quickly clear that the line that used to run from Houghton to UW/Seattle would not be sufficient for my schedule. Getting my son to school before going to work would require a bus after the scheduled morning runs. Shortly after that realization, I discovered that the Seattle line was going to be discontinued altogether. This may be a reason why the Houghton P&R was underutilized. Not everyone can go into work before 8/8:30 am, especially with local elementary school schedules.

Comment: WSDOT, KC Metro, and the City need to take a long term look at the park and ride, not just what might happen in the next couple of years. This is an incredibly valuable site immediately adjacent to I-405 and the neighborhood. Please don't let the transfer station be the only option being considered- extremely short sighted.

Q: How did parking utilization align with route service changes over time? How did ridership compare with the parking utilization numbers shared? How does vehicle traffic along 70th and 116th compare to ridership and parking utilization? How are predictions being assessed with the 85th plan?

A: I believe the Houghton P&R was included so there would be an alternative to the existing Houghton Transfer Station with similar geographic access to be compared to sites in other locations.

Comment: "It (Houghton recycling station) should be removed from[the] list now and then we should pursue its closure in a separate effort" - +1 to this approach as well.

A: Questions re: when information will be made available: we will ask for information and an ETA tomorrow am and will share both with you via the Association.

Comment: Would love to see Houghton P&R given a line to take people to the light rail. Would love to be able to utilize it for airport runs or trips to downtown! THAT would be a community asset.

Comment:The future use of the park and ride is not covered in the city's 2035 plan or our neighborhood plan. Let's take the opportunity to explore the best uses. This also applies to the landfill site.

Q: Is there a website to read more on light rail plans and how it is planned to benefit Houghton community?

A: Brian Henry:

Comment: There is a lot of commuter traffic to Bellevue along 116th.

Mayor Penny Sweet - Kirkland: Sorry all, have to drop off. This has been a very helpful meeting . We certainly have a lot of issues to consider. Will watch the end of this tomorrow. Many thanks to 69 folks who care enough about your community to attend.

Q: What is WSDOT's position on the future use of this property?

Q: The route to UW and connections available there, are really important to this area. Now and going forward this route will be critical for working parents as well as students growing into UW and downtown commutes. Does the Metro plan ahead for usage in this way?

Q: Are park and rides ever considered beyond simply parking availability but also how they serve as transit hubs for pedestrians and cyclists as well? If we want 15 minute neighborhoods, are walksheds to major transit hub feeders part of that plan?

Comment: When Route 265 was lost due to budget problems, that seemed to start a downward trend of deinvestment of routes serving Houghton P&R. it has now lost critical mass.

Comment: You did not mention the freeway stop -[I- 405/70th]. A Bellevue bus stops there. More busses used to stop there - and could stop there again.

Q: Rachel/Brian, what is a typical parking utilization across the many sites that are Park and Rides?

Comment: The Kirkland Park and Ride is so overcrowded neighborhood people need to park on side streets near Met Market just to get a spot on the bus to Seattle.

Comment: This site for future use in transportation systems that we can’t even dream about is too valuable to be allowed to be anything but a designated property for transportation use.

Comment:This area needs sustained investment in service to get people out of their cars. Just at the point when this was making headway, [Route] 265 was cut, which set things back considerably.

Comment: If anyone would like to continue this discussion tomorrow at 3 in the taylor fields dog park (baseball field), I Will be there with notes from this meeting and a pamphlet about history of the transfer station. Brian Henry: brhenry@kingcounty.govRachel Wilch: Rachel Wilch (Parking and Mobility Hubs Program Lead) -

Brian Henry:

Comment: Thanks for your service

Comment:Thanks everyone!!

Note: The above questions, responses, and comments were captured on zoom.

Following are comments, questions, and answers addressed to and answered by Claudia Balducci not captured on zoom,but which I wrote down to the best of my ability during the meeting.

Comment: Back in 2007, I was told when I purchased my house, I was told [HTS] would be closed in four years, as guaranteed by a KCSW manager.

Balducci: I’ve heard and . . . there’s a commitment to closing it but the paper trail is unclear. That [closing the HTS] is the expectation. Seize the opportunity to make good on the expectation.

Q: If we have the document, can we stop it from going forward?

A: The process is an opportunity for our neighborhood to {transfer station] to be sited elsewhere.

Comment: Viability of sites

Balducci: My advice is that [in order to] have [new transfer station] be sited elsewhere--have the Park and Ride lot stay on the list. . . . It would not be [a] fair and objective [process] and at least two [King County Council] members would [not] support it.

Q: Proximity to a park [Bridle Trails State Park]--is that legal?

Q: How can the Willows Road site be on the list?

Balducci: We need an answer to that before we go to the short list.

Below are questions, comments, and answers addressed to and answered by Mr. Henry and Ms. Wilch not captured on zoom. Again, I wrote these down to the best of my ability.

Rachel Wilch: Houghton Park and Ride lot has 470 parking spaces. Over the past ten years, usage peaked at 48% in 2012. In 2014, Metro discontinued Route 265 and usage dropped to 36%. Up to 2019, usage was between 15-19%. In 2020, usage was 4% (typical systemwide due to the pandemic).

New parking capacity is included in Eastlink planning (systemwide).

Long-term effects of COVID are unknown.

Brian Henry: Four transit routes served the Houghton Park and Ride lot prior to Fall 2014: 235, 238, 277, and 265. Three of these routes continued service until spring 2020

Wilch: Metro intends to continue using {Houghton P & R] unless it transitions to a different use.

Henry: The Houghton Park and Ride lt is part of the planning study area.

We want to hear from the community on the value of this Park and Ride lot to the

Chris Kagen adjourned the meeting at 9:00 pm.

Betsy Lewis, Secretary