One of the most controversial issues that has faced the City Council since before Sammamish was incorporated is whether to remove barricades in neighborhoods throughout the City to improve traffic connections.
This was a major campaign issue in the 1999 City Council election and again in the 2009 election. More people have turned out for this than any other issue.
When the Planning Advisory Board was created to write the City’s first Comprehensive Plan, a process over 18 months from 2001-2003, the PAB was sensitive to the barricade controversy. The PAB recognized the advantages to connectivity: this will relieve traffic on some arterials and provide more direct routing for emergency vehicles.
The disadvantages are to the neighborhoods currently protected from increased traffic.
The PAB also recognized that King County, in another one of its dopey planning mistakes for this area prior to incorporation, failed to provide for adequate pedestrian safety: far too many key roads do not have sidewalks, pathways or in many cases even shoulders, forcing pedestrians to walk in the street. When Sammamish was incorporated, there were no bike lanes, either, and for the most part still are not.
In other words, King County once again left us a mess.
The Comp Plan includes a Transportation Section, and the PAB did indeed include a policy to provide for connectivity. But in the next breath, the PAB also included a policy that said neighborhood safety had to be addressed before connectivity was undertaken.
This is how the City Council should move forward.