It’s time to approve concurrency plan, lift moratorium

By Scott Hamilton

Editor

Commentary

It’s time to wrap up the Sammamish traffic concurrency plan and move forward.

It’s time to lift the building moratorium.

The City Council spent a good portion of the meeting last night taking another crack at changes to the concurrency plan approved May 15.

Deputy Mayor Karen Moran and member Chris Ross moved to reconsider the controversial May 15 plan that was adopted.

What was expected to be a major effort to reconsider turned out to be nothing more than a tweak here and there.

Need for staff analysis

Even this proved to be controversial, requiring a week or two for staff to understand the implications and ramifications the principal suggested changes: expanding the analysis period of the morning rush hour from 7-8 am to 7-9 am; and adding 150 feet, or 7-8 cars, to a queue analysis.

A third suggested change, having council approve the Transportation Plan Improvement roads included in concurrency, seemed almost inconsequential.

A fourth suggestion, expanding the afternoon rush hour analysis from one hour to two hours and to 4:15pm to 6:15pm was scaled back the one hour as is already the practice.

All-in-all, the reconsideration, which was tabled for two weeks for staff analysis, was anti-climactic.

So, it’s time to move on.

Continuing work

Council member Jason Ritchie was right last night when he said work can and should continue to evolve the concurrency model.

But to meet the self-imposed deadline to life the moratorium next month, this concurrency model needs to be approved.

Ritchie agreed that the proposed changes offered by Moran and Ross seem to have merit, but the implications and ramifications need to be understood before he could vote to support or reject them.

Council member Pam Stuart asked Moran what the intent was to gain from extending the queue from 500 feet to 650 feet. Stuart also asked why Moran proposed to extend the PM rush hour analysis to two hours and why from 4:15 to 6:15 instead of the standard 4-6 PM.

Moran could not answer either question except to say that she was seeking middle ground between two views on the council. Moran conceded one hour in the afternoon was fine with her.

New plan

The new concurrency plan measures intersection delays at about 40 locations. Staff and consultants say a few intersections show improvements but many show intersection failures. Further analysis of the expanded two hour morning rush hour may show some additional failures or improvements.

7 thoughts on “It’s time to approve concurrency plan, lift moratorium”

  1. All i can say is that if the City Council truly pushes this through and down our collective throats without listening to us, It’s time to sell and we turn our backs on them. We have lived here almost 30 years and this city is out of control. TOO much what they want and NOT enough of what the citizens have asked, wished and Demanded from the City. Luke Shaff

  2. I’m curious: do you happen to know how the Sammamish concurrency model compares with the concurrency models of other similiarly sized cities? Do their models handle congestion better than ours?

    1. @Doug: This is not a simple question. Each city/county has its own requirements and circumstances, so the models are designed for the own set of circumstance–as was Sammamish.

  3. Scott, a good summary of the situation right up to the last paragraph. The concurrency plan is just a chapter in the comp plan. It does not measure anything, nor does it call for any measurements of delay.

    The most concrete thing in the chapter is the list of minimum acceptable level of service for important intersections. (Most of them are low.) The plan calls for the city to estimate level of service (delay) at these intersections. It is not clear how good these estimates are likely to be. And it is not clear what the city will do when a proposed development is predicted to cause an intersection to sink below its minimum acceptable level. Doesn’t seem to have stopped anything so far.

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