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A message from your mayor | Guest Column
It’s common for me to be asked, “Tell me, Mayor, what makes Redmond unique, and how has the city managed to weather the economic ups and downs so successfully?”
My response is typically that we are fortunate to have a community that cares about the quality of its government and the services it provides. In fact, every two years we ask our citizens to rate and rank what they believe the city’s priorities should be, to tell us what they value most and where they see the city headed. We ask, are we on the right track? This feedback, in concert with the work of our City Council and staff, frames our investment priorities for the future. Surveying our citizens gives us an indication of what citizens are willing to pay for their government in order for us to provide a certain level of services and programs and to operate and maintain facilities.
We also use feedback from our City Community Indicators (another survey tool), which acts as our city report card. This lets us know how we are doing in terms of what citizens care about. The report card tells us that we are making major strides toward achieving the city’s vision, a community with connected neighborhoods with vibrant urban centers, inspired by nature, powered by innovation and committed to excellence.
We rely on our Capital Investment Strategy to support and implement the city’s vision through 2040. This includes investments over the next two years toward the continued enhancements in the quality of our neighborhoods, and to the presence of our two urban districts in downtown and Overlake. These improvements go hand-in-hand with the ongoing safety and infrastructure improvements being made to our neighborhoods, to our parks, trails, well heads, streams, roadways and pedestrian cross points — all as part of a much broader and detailed commitment to improving our community.
We rely on our transportation master plan to achieve a broad range of travel options desired by the community. These include developing bicycling facilities that are safe, accessible and comfortable for a wider segment of the community. This summer, for example, the Sound Transit East Link request for qualification goes out for bid with construction starting in 2015 in the Overlake district. What this means is that light rail and improved transportation options will pave the way for the future of our community. With an emergence of new housing types, including more housing in and near our budding urban districts such as Overlake and downtown, citizens have more choices while lowering the impact on the neighborhoods. In Overlake, for example, Avalon Bay begins constructing 500 apartments later this summer or early this fall.
So what’s coming next? The first phase of the new downtown Redmond Central Connector has opened, creating access for pedestrians and bicyclists, public art installations and a promenade along newly constructed developments downtown. The city is also installing the first-ever bicycle way — finding signage to guide people to their destinations and help visitors, residents and employees navigate the city by bike as we continue to invest wisely in our infrastructure. New road and street safety improvements are continuing throughout the city this summer. These improvements, including important changes along 166th Avenue Northeast, encourage greater pedestrian and traffic safety.
Along Cleveland Street, you can see lots of activity and disruption. Citizens can expect to see major changes as we work toward the August kick off of So Bazaar, a night market that delivers a fun and family friendly street block party atmosphere in an inspiring park-like setting. Residents can find a bit of everything: arts, food options and music all located under the “Signals” art installation on the Redmond Central Connector (Aug. 7, 14 and 21).
At the Old Town Historic Core, the city and Feet First invite the community to save two dates this summer starting on June 6 for historic design discussions and walks and displays. Come July 12, the city transforms its campus to host our extravaganza, Derby Days, where arts, entertainment, festivities and informational booths engage citizens in activity, games and dialog. This year, city council and staff look forward to hearing input and feedback on design, funding and planning for core city initiatives and the budget process. Citizens will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with council members and staff. They may also want to continue to be engaged in the Downtown Park Master Plan process. Three design concepts will be revealed for public review at Derby Days, with a final design concept to be completed by fall.
Later in the summer, National Night Out will take place on Aug. 5.
Please continue to stay connected. To learn more about what’s happening in Redmond, visit us at: www.redmond.gov.