My daily “commute” is driving three children to and from three schools on Education Hill every weekday. This round trip commute requires that I use several roads on Education Hill to reach Horace Mann, Redmond Elementary and Faith Lutheran Preschool.
My trip begins my leaving my home on Northeast 97th Street and heading up the hill to Horace Mann Elementary. Leaving Horace Mann, I need to drive to Redmond Elementary. I turn onto Northeast 104th Street, heading west around 8:20 a.m., and turn left onto 166th Avenue Northeast; this is helped a bit by the left turn signal at 104th/166th. This four-block trip from Horace Mann to 166th and 104th takes approximately five minutes.
At this point my decision is whether to stay on 166th southbound until I turn LEFT onto Northeast 80th Street or to turn LEFT onto Northeast 100th Street, following it to 172nd Avenue Northeast and down the backside until I turn onto 80th. From 104th to 80th is approximately two miles and takes between 10 and 15 minutes, regardless of the route I take.
Turning left onto 80th from 166th is difficult as vehicles in the left turn lane must wait for the northbound traffic on 166th to pass by. With the addition of Station House Lofts, Redmond Triangle building and the completion of the Anderson Park Hotel in 2017/2018, this situation will only become more pronounced.
If I need to run errands anywhere between Redmond Way and Northeast 90th Street after drop-offs, I wait through several light changes to turn left from any of the three intersections that cross 166th: Northeast 85th Street, Northeast 83rd Street or Northeast 80th Street. As there are no left turn signalized lights at any of these three intersections, this means that an errand that took perhaps 15-20 minutes only two or three years ago now takes nearly that long just to arrive at my destination.
Redmond has a traffic problem NOW; and it will only increase over the next 10 years. The City of Redmond has pinned all our transportation hopes on Sound Transit 3, which is a decade or more away from completion. Ten more years of four blocks in five minutes; no left turns from 166th; another decade of sitting in “rush hour traffic” on a residential thoroughfare just to take your children to school or to run down the hill to get milk or a coffee. With Sound Transit 3 at a MINIMUM of 10-15 years away traffic on 166th will be almost completely at a standstill between the hours of 7:30-9:30 a.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Residents of Redmond should not have to wait another 10 years for the hope of reduced traffic. Please resolve traffic problems NOW by investing in left turn signalized lights at the intersections of 166th and Northeast 85th, 83rd or 80th streets as soon as possible. Developers who continue to destroy our scenery with six-story buildings and clear-cut, concrete paved projects can mitigate the costs through higher impact fees.
Paige A Norman