How the STCA 419 homes development passed concurrency – after failing it for 9 months

By Miki Mullor
Editor 

Aug. 19. 2019: Town Center developer STCA last week received two traffic concurrency certificates that clear the way for 419 new homes and 82,000 square feet of retail space on the southeast corner of SE4th and 222nd Ave. SE.

Three members of the council, staff and STCA believed its Town Center project would not pass concurrency testing as a result of the new concurrency standard adopted earlier this year by a split City Council. Indeed, unofficial test runs over nine months indicated this was the case.

Yet, last week, city staff ran an official test and STCA Phase I passed concurrency, with no improvements to the roads.

How was this possible?

This article unpacks and explains the details behind the approval and raises serious questions. It is unusually long and reads best on a desktop.

Mayor Christie Malchow and Deputy Mayor Karen Moran called a Special Council Meeting to discuss the issues with staff.

The Special Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug 20, at 4pm at City Hall. 

Alternative ways to watch:

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More bus service preferred over park & ride

By Tom Odell

A group of about half a dozen Sound Transit (ST) representatives were told Thursday by Sammamish citizens that they want more service in addition  to a new, proposed park and ride at the north end of the city.

ST held a public comment meeting at Sammamish City Hall to discuss options for sites for the new park and ride facility to be located in the northern part of Sammamish.

As a part of the Sound Transit 3 (ST3) bond package approved by voters in the 2016 election, Sammamish voters were promised a 200-car park-and-ride facility that was to be located somewhere in the northern portion of the city.  The objective would be to have the facility completed in 2024, concurrently with the extension of ST light rail service to Redmond.  Cost of our P&R is estimated (and budgeted) to be $23m (2018 dollars).  It would have a 200 car capacity (by comparison, the Pine Lake P&R is 260 cars).  Both single level as well as multi-story structured options were given initial consideration.

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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.

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Public pressure on city council keeps the moratorium on the Town Center

Karen Moran

Karen Moran

Sammamish residents took to email, social media and showed up in person at the Oct. 16 council meeting to tell council to keep the moratorium on the Town Center and not to exempt anyone from the new development regulations.

On a split 4/3 vote, the  council voted to keep the moratorium. The vote on the development regulations has been postponed.

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City’s new concurrency plan doesn’t measure congestion, overall travel time

By Miki Mullor

Deputy Editor

A new traffic concurrency plan for Sammamish appears unlikely to meet the Sammamish City Council target date to lift the building moratorium in July, despite six months of staff and consultant work and expenditures of about $375,000. (Read more.)

Concurrency is a state law requirement to “​prohibit​ ​development​ ​approval​ ​if​ ​the development​ ​causes​ ​the​ ​level​ ​of​ ​service​ ​on​ ​a​ ​locally​ ​owned​ ​transportation​ ​facility​ ​to​ ​decline​ ​below the​ ​standards​ ​adopted”, unless “​transportation​ ​improvements​ ​or​ ​strategies​ ​to​ ​accommodate​ ​the​ ​impacts​ ​of​ ​development​ ​are made​ ​concurrent​ ​with​ ​the​ ​development “. The law allows development to proceed if “a financial commitment is in place to complete​ ​the​ ​improvements​ ​or​ ​strategies​ ​within​ ​six​ ​years​.”  (see RCW 36.70A.070, and a clean indented version)

Accordingly, cities are required to set a level of service standard for their roads, measure traffic and forecast future impact of development on traffic.  

In response to residents’ frustration over traffic congestion in Sammamish, City Council has enacted a moratorium and directed staff to revise the city’s concurrency system to focus on drivers’ experience.  Continue reading