Rose Hill is a vibrant, walkable residential neighborhood with an active neighborhood commercial center along NE 85th Street. At the same time, its natural beauty – including mature trees, wildlife habitat, Forbes Lake, wetlands, streams, and open space – has been protected and enhanced, with new opportunities for public access. Parks are within walking distance to all residents and employees and provide a diverse range of recreation options – from hiking and birdwatching to play areas for kids.

As underutilized land has continued to repurpose, a variety of housing alternatives at strategic locations meet the needs of a diverse population and keep housing costs under control. Apartments, stacked flats, mixed-use buildings, and townhouses along the perimeter of the North Rose Hill and Rose Hill Business Districts, served by rapid transit, create seamless transitions to established residential neighborhoods. Innovative housing for all life stages – including backyard cottages, flats over garages, and duplexes – is integrated with traditional detached styles in lower density areas in North and South Rose Hill. The Lake Washington Institute of Technology has expanded its partnership role in the community, and provides campus housing that is affordable to its workforce and students. Other under-utilized institutional sites have incorporated housing as opportunities arise for redevelopment.

A thriving Rose Hill Business District along NE 85th Street provides employment, shopping, services, and transit-accessible housing for Kirkland residents and visitors throughout the region, allowing the community to easily access goods and services on foot or by bike. Over time, the commercial corridor has become more mixed use and walkable, with apartments and condominiums over neighborhood shops, parking tucked away behind buildings, and pedestrian walkways providing access to the surrounding residential neighborhoods. A walkable, transit-oriented pedestrian corridor has emerged around the NE 85th Street/I-405 transit hub, transitioning from more automobile-centric uses to neighborhood-serving shops, offices, and residences. Generally, the west end of the Rose Hill Business District is more urban and activated, while the east end is more neighborhood-oriented. At the north end of the neighborhood, development and streetscape improvements along NE 116th St in the North Rose Hill Business District are complementary to the Totem Lake Business District and have transformed this gateway into a gathering place for northern Rose Hill.

The street network provides efficient and safe circulation. Arterials have been improved with transit and bike lanes. The NE 75th Street/128th Avenue Greenway, pedestrian crossings over I-405, the Eastside Powerline Corridor Trail, and other pedestrian and bike routes link residential areas with Lake Washington High School, elementary schools, transit stops, public facilities, commercial districts, adjacent neighborhoods and regional trails. Regional transit service connects Rose Hill activity centers and the surrounding community while a neighborhood circulator connects residential areas to the activity hubs and regional transit. These linkages increase mobility and encourage community connection.