Busing to Totem Lake

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This post is really for my own benefit, in case I need to remember this info for another birthday party.

In the past couple of months Hattie has been invited to two different birthday parties at Sky Mania. It’s located near the Totem Lake area of Kirkland so we had to bus to get there. First we have to take route 248 which we can catch right behind our house. On our first trip I had planned for us to transfer at 132nd Ave to route 238 and then walk about 1/2 mile to Sky Mania. It was raining pretty hard that day though, which makes traffic a little messy, so our first bus was 5 or 10 minutes late. That put us too close for comfort at our transfer stop so we stayed on till the Kirkland Transit Center. This ended up being a great choice since we could catch route 236 from there. We had a bit of a wait for it but the Kirkland library in right next to the TC so we just hung out in there for a little bit and then 236 dropped us off almost in front of the venue, very little walking in the rain. Going home we just reversed that route. We had to wait a bit, in the blowing rain, for 236 and just missed 248 at the TC but we got home and Hattie had a blast at her friend’s party.

Fast forward to last night, another friend’s birthday at the same place. I consulted the metro trip planner and Google. Neither of them gave me the 248 to 236 itinerary and I didn’t think to look into it for this trip. So instead we transferred to route 235 at 124th Ave. We’d have to walk .4 miles after our stop but no rain this time so no biggie, right? Wrong. Crossing the 405 interchange at 116th St as a pedestrian is no bueno!

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I lost count of how many crosswalks we had to cross, most of them had signals but that means nothing to fast moving vehicles making a right hand turn to enter or exit a freeway. I’m used to the much slower traffic of downtown Redmond where I don’t usually fear for my life as long as I am paying attention. I was seriously nervous for our safety last night. Hattie was getting a ride home from friend’s mom and I was so grateful I didn’t have to take her back through the gauntlet to get back to the bus stop. Why didn’t I just cross the street and catch 236 back to KTC? I don’t know, but I hope next time I need to get up there I remember to just take that first route no matter the wait times.

City of Kirkland, the crosswalks on NE 116th St under the 405 need some flashing signals to alert drivers. And I seriously wish speed limits were lower.

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2 thoughts on “Busing to Totem Lake

  1. Oh yes, those intersections are a mess. Michelle wrote about the “bike lane” here – https://fromthecrosswalk.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/why-we-drive/.

    If you are crossing on foot again, try staying on the north side of 116th. Since it is only a half interchange, there are no ramps on the north side. I use the north side even if I’ve come from the south and want to end up on the south because the one time I tried the south my experience was just like yours.

    Another option, though it would be a bit long, would be to bike. The CKC goes under 116th St., but it does intersect 120th Ave just north of there. I would use sidewalks from there. In both cases, the crosswalk at 116th/120th is your last one before SkyMania.

    Regarding those ramp crossings, they are probably under the control of WSDOT, though Kirkland theoretically can pressure them to make changes. A big problem is that WSDOT put in big, sweeping freeway-style curves rather than turns, which encourages the high speeds and also shows where WSDOT’s priorities lie.

    1. I had originally planned to take my bike with and come home that way since I was coming back alone but it was already dark when we left at 6 and I just wasn’t really in the mood for a dark, slightly wet ride all by myself. One of these days though I really want to take a ride on the CKC. I fellow classmate did a study of the Google park along there and I’d like to check that out as well.

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