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City of Redmond transportation projects to provide relief and more options

Shannon Kilpatrick and Dan Werr try to decide which principles are the most important to them at last week
Shannon Kilpatrick and Dan Werr try to decide which principles are the most important to them at last week's transportation meeting at Redmond City Hall. The two downtown residents said they enjoy living in a mixed-use area where they can walk wherever they need to go.
— image credit: Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter

Dozens of people packed the Redmond City Hall lobby Nov. 17 to learn more about the future of the city's transportation systems and provide city staff with their feedback.

The meeting addressed the city's Transportation Master Plan (TMP) for the next 20 years through 2030 and was the third in a series of public meetings during the last year.

City of Redmond transportation services manager Don Cairns said he and his team have come up with a buildout plan or "needs list" based on input from the community and stakeholders as well as Mayor John Marchione and City Council's vision for Redmond.

While hundreds of candidate projects are part of the buildout plan, there are few big-ticket items that take priority.

DOWNTOWN CONVERSION

Cairns (right) said a major one is completing the conversion of Redmond Way and Cleveland Street downtown from one-way to two-way streets, which requires more than just painting the center lines a different color and installing more traffic signals.

There are a number of pieces that need to be put in place in order for the puzzle to be complete. Cairns said the first piece is completing the street grid, the main part of which is the final extension piece of 161st Avenue Northeast from Cleveland Street to Bear Creek Parkway. Other pieces include widening sidewalks throughout downtown, street-scaping, redoing intersections and installing proper traffic signals and creating proper drainage systems.

Cairns said once the two-way conversions are complete, Redmond Way will be a three-lane thoroughfare with a middle left-turn lane. Cleveland Street will have two lanes with no left-turn lanes. He said both streets will have street parking on both sides of the road.

"We're trying to maximize the street parking throughout the downtown," Cairns said.

He estimates the remaining cost of this project to be about $20 million.

ALTERNATIVE MODES OF TRANSPORTATION

The conversions as well as the street grid will make it easier to get around for all users. This is something Dan Werr and Shannon Kilpatrick can appreciate. As downtown residents, they like living in a mixed-use area and being able to walk wherever they need — whether it's to go to work, buy groceries or go out to eat.

"I just think having all of that stuff right here is really important," Kilpatrick said.

Both she and Werr attended last week's community meeting because they thought it was important to see the city's long-term plans for transportation and make sure they like the direction things are going.

"Because we both live here and want to live here long term," Werr explained.

Being able to walk around town is also important to Yvonne Wang (left), who attended last week's meeting as a representative of Sustainable Redmond, a grassroots organization whose mission is to encourage sustainability within the city through its citizens, businesses and local government.

The Bear Creek resident said it is important for the City of Redmond's transportation system provides options for people who choose to get around in other ways than a car, which is why she attended the meeting.

"I hope that people are willing to get out of their car and to focus on traveling by other means," said Wang, who uses public transportation on a regular basis.

IMPROVEMENTS IN THE NORTH

Cairns said another major project for the City of Redmond is improving and developing Northeast 116th Street in north Redmond ultimately from Redmond-Woodinville Road Northeast to Avondale Road Northeast.

This project has many parts to it. Cairns said they want to keep the two-lane country road a two-lane road in some areas, but plan to add a third left-turn lane in some areas. The project will also include landscaping, adding medians, bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the road.

Additionally, Cairns said they would also like to build a trail along the road as well — some of which has already been built.

Like the downtown project, the Northeast 116th Street improvements are estimated to cost about $20 million.

OVERLAKE RELIEF

The final big-ticket project Cairns said the city has ahead is building an offramp from State-Route 520 to 152nd Avenue Northeast.

This project would be a collaboration with WSDOT and is estimated to cost about $61 million. However, Cairns said funding would come from both the city and the state since it is a joint project.

The offramp would help divert traffic from the Northeast 40th Street exit, which is a major point of congestion.

"That's really key to help with congestion today," Cairns said.

He added that future plans of developing the Overlake neighborhood will only add more traffic to the area.

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