June 24, 2016: The Sammamish City Staff didn’t conduct an “even” handed Open House on the design options for SE 4th St. from 218th through the Town Center to 228th Ave. SE, the chairman of the City Council Transportation Committee said yesterday.
The Open House was the previous evening. Citizens packed the Council chambers to hear from the City’s consultant and to indicate their preference of designs presented.
But Tom Odell, the Council member who chairs the Transportation Committee, said all the design options weren’t evenly presented to the packed room.
The options ranged from four roundabouts at every intersection, except one at 218th St. which was removed at Council direction, with medians in between; to continuous left turn lanes; and designs with some left turn lanes and some medians.
Some present complained that stop signs or traffic signals didn’t get even-handed treatment.
The Wednesday Open House was the second of two, and almost didn’t happen, said Council Member Christie Malchow. She is also on the Transportation Committee.
“When I walked down the line [at the Open House] to look at the options,” Malchow said, “the original option at 30% design level was there.”
“I was able to get rid of the roundabout at 218th Street in favor of a stop sign,” she said. “If you listened to consultant, I think the design they present is not as fairly represented on median-vs-non-median options and the benefits of the median.”
Malchow added that “It’s fine to have medians inside the Town Center, but outside of it, left turn lanes make sense. You will have mail trucks, UPS, garbage trucks” stopping along the residential section west of the Town Center. Center left turn lanes allow traffic to go around stopped vehicles.
“I don’t know if I want to call it fair or unfair, but the center turn lane wasn’t really mentioned,” she said.
“Members of the Transportation Committee who were present were unhappy with the limited nature of the discussion,” Odell said. “More options should have been discussed.”
He said the Open House will be “the number one topic” at the July 1 Transportation Committee meeting. No more Open Houses are planned.
“At this point you have to hand it back to the council as your elected representatives to work the issue,” Odell said. “This was the second meeting for this, and normally you have two and that’s it.”
I have been at many of the transportation meetings and the staff did not do what was asked of the transportation committee nor did they do what was asked of the council the night before. The council was told the “the entire roadway was open for discussion”. Shame on staff for ignoring those on the council and for ruining the only chance citizens had to come and give input.
Guess Staff runs things, and the Council and Citizens have to tow the line and pay for projects we don’t want.