- Safety cited opposing barricade removal
- Sound Transit outlines Sammamish Park and Ride
- Intra-Sammamish transit study pushed
- Taxes needed for 11 more police officers
By Paul Stickney
Nearly two dozen residents from the Timberline and Hidden Ridge subdivisions protested Tuesday over the possibility that Sammamish might consider removing the 42nd St. barricade, a controversial idea that previous city councils rejected.
The barricade has safety and design issues that residents say make removing it dangerous.
City officials previously considered it as a way to improve connectivity and traffic flow in the far northwest corner of the city and to relieve traffic pressure on SR202 from Sahalee Way.
Hoping to improve Sahalee Way traffic
City manager Larry Patterson put the barricade removal at the top of a list of possible minor road improvements as a way to allow Sahalee Way pass traffic concurrency testing, which it currently fails.
This failure blocks approval of most development in the city.
Patterson, who was named interim city manager last year, did not have the history surrounding the barricade when he included this on his list for council to consider.
These proposals are in the packet for the city council meeting, beginning at PDF page 65.
The road design and barricade is a holdover from pre-incorporation Sammamish (before 1999) in which King County approved housing developments and roads.
The primary reasons for keeping the barrier closed were safety, steepness, windiness of the road, that it is not built to current road standards, reverse camber, drivers speeding and unknowns about how many cars would use it if it were opened. One public comment offered a different point of view, citing overall connectivity within the city.
Council members, the City Manager and public works staff responded to the public that Patterson’s proposal was an exercise in concurrency modeling, not intended to be an actual plan.
- Related article: Barricade removal, traffic improvements, taxes recommended
The underlying reason stated during this meeting was adding concurrency capacity because Sahalee Way is failing. The “morph” was to study what opening this route would do to add concurrency capacity by diverting trips from Sahalee to another north route (yet to be identified), but not to open the 42nd barricade.
The city authorized $20,000 to do traffic modeling to study the effects of items a through on the city manager’s report to increase concurrency.
“This is like a computer game,” said Deputy Mayor Karen Moran, where the modeling is done, but it is not intended to transform into on the ground reality. The council assured the concerned residents there was no forethought on their part to open the barricade.
Sound Transit’s Sammamish Park and Ride
Sound Transit said it is providing a vital trail connection from the East Lake Sammamish Trail (under SR520) to the Redmond Central Connector and the Bear Creek Trail. This is projected to be completed in 2024.
Sound Transit is planning for siting a $20m, 200 space park and ride on the north end of the city. The presentation begins here at PDF page 45. The PnR is currently planned for Sahalee Way near SR202.
The council asked Sound Transit to explore the option of siting this along Inglewood Hill Road toward East Lake Sammamish Parkway instead. Reasons discussed were it was more centrally located in the city, closer to the SE Redmond light rail station and less likely to be used by SR202 commuters from outside Sammamish.
Mayor Christie Malchow proposed, and the council discussed and approved, doing a study on internal shuttle services customized to how our city is laid out. Goals are to find out what residents desires are for internal shuttle services relative to accessing regional transit, the Sammamish city center and connecting to the Sound Transit Park and Ride when it opens.
Council Member Pam Stuart asked whether the intra-city study should be done concurrently with the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) study that will begin this year . The outcome from the intra-city study could inform the Transportation Master Plan and help in guide its development. Malchow pushed to do this study quickly to inform the best location for the new Park and Ride.
Patterson, the city manager, said Sammamish should strongly consider adding new taxes to fund projects that are needed.
The city manager summed things up succinctly in his lengthy presentation near the end of Tuesdays meeting:
“You’ve got more needs than you have money for.”
This is true for most cities and other municipal jurisdictions. However, the circumstances differ from city to city and these differences matter. The Comment will be bringing the unique issues, challenges and discussion of potential solutions to light during this year.
One of the needs is for more police officers.
The recently finished police study (by Berk and Associates) recommended adding six police officers between 2019 and 2022 and an additional five more between 2023 and 2028.
Initial sources of funding suggested to pay for these police officers are from a utility tax (2% to 3%) being discussed and from taking some of the past, banked property tax capacity (1% property tax increase not taken was banked the last 10 years). The city is taking a careful and thoughtful approach on this issue, it is not being rushed. These topics will be discussed in more detail in future Comment articles.
Several council members recognize the merits in looking at monetary issues in whole and holistic ways and the city is not rushing into acting on the police study. The police needs are important, but so are over two dozen other significant capital and general monetary needs. Priorities and decisions must weigh the entirety of the monetary needs, deliberations over the importance and priority of these needs, and the appetite of the residents to pay for them.
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