Residents protest 42nd St barricade removal

  • 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

The 42nd St. barricade between the Timber Ridge and Hidden Park neighborhoods has been a source of controversy for years. Safety issues are cited against removing the barricade.

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.

Safety cited

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.

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.

Intra-Sammamish transit

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.

New Taxes

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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6 thoughts on “Residents protest 42nd St barricade removal

  1. Scott/Paul,

    I want to correct something in the story today. It states “Malchow pushed to do this study quickly to inform the best location for the new Park and Ride”. My push was not about the P&R, but about timing for the sound transit platform opening in 2024 at Marymoor. Having the shuttle operational at the time the platform opens is key.

    Thank you,

    ~Christie Support Open Government, use the right email: christie.malchow@gmail.com (personal) | cmalchow@sammamish.us (City related) ➡️Follow me on Twitter & Facebook ❗️sent from my 📱 – please excuse typos ⚠️ All City related email is retained per RCW 42.56 (Public Records Act)

    >

  2. I’m not sure what to say, other than recent developments with traffic controls Don’t always seem to be well thought out. We once had a barricade in Pine Lake Heights combined with a “no outlet” sign as one entered the neighborhood off 32nd – only to see a “No Outlet” sign.

    Then the long standing barricade at 32nd st in Pine Lake Heights was removed. Shortly thereafter, “Snake Hill” was closed.

    For a while I considered contacting NASCAR to suggest our neighborhood as a possible le venue for a race. Then once the three way stop signs at 220th and 32nd in Pine Lake eights became a sort of a reference rather than a stop I began to think a better idea might be a drag strip. Who the heck decides what barriers should go where and why?

    We are long time residents of Pine Lake Heights and I’m getting very tired of possibly ly becoming the First Ghetto on the Plateau. Barriers and poor planning of routes and traffic patterns don’t seem to be well thought out.

    • @Philip: In nearly all instances, you can thank King County for barriers, a poor street grid and poor traffic patterns. Sammamish was incorporated in 1999 and most of what you see today is a legacy from King County planning.

  3. What I read is twenty-something residents oppose an improvement which could make hundreds of people happier. The road, with its slope and camber, certainly is not that dangerous to those residents who take it multiple times per day to get to the city and back. I think this is a case of a minority enjoying the privilege of what essentially is a private road, to the detriment of the greater good of the community: less traffic on Sahalee Way.

  4. The street is safe enough for them to use but not safe for their neighbors to use? Really? They just want to enjoy lower traffic levels by sending the traffic into a different neighborhood. The school bus uses it, Fed Ex, UPS, USPS… with no safety issues or safety complaints. The Sammamish Police and Redmond Fire Department and Eastside Fire and Rescue all want the barricade removed because it delays response times. The barricade diverts all of the Timberline Park and west Timberline drivers going to Redmond (west) to cut-through Timberline (east) to Sahalee Way and SR 202 for a 3 mile detour in the wrong direction to travel to Redmond, it is only one mile with the barricade removed. Removal will reduce congestion, save gas and reduce emergency response times. It is true that the traffic will increase west of the barricade but it will be reduced by an equal amount east of the barricade. (they are all the same cars) I think the traffic volume should be shared equally by both neighborhoods not barricaded and diverted 100% through Timberline and on to Sahalee Way.

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