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Allen re-running for council Pos. 4 to continue work on local and regional transportation
Kim Allen first joined Redmond City Council after witnessing a meeting during which a council member told a group of concerned residents they were just like any other special interest group and suggested they get a lawyer in order to speak with the council.
This attitude did not sit well with her. Allen, who was a member of the City of Redmond's planning commission at the time, said she believes if residents need to speak with their elected officials, they should have access to them without having to lawyer up.
"They're the people that make up our community," she said about residents.
Eight years later, Allen, 54, still believes this as she is running for re-election — unopposed — for a third term for Pos. 4 on City Council.
One of the main reasons she is running again is because she wants to continue the work she has done regarding transportation as a member of the King County Regional Transit Committee — of which she is currently the vice chair.
"It's a very critical time for transportation," the Detroit native said. "All of this affects Redmond."
Allen said for the last three years, the committee has been working on a strategic plan for King County Metro Transit and she wants to ensure Redmond — and the Eastside — has its voice heard.
Through her work on council, Allen said traffic is one of the biggest concerns she has heard from her constituents. She said the issue Redmond faces in bringing in more transit is the "last mile" — areas further out from the transit centers that have no nearby routes.
In an effort to address this, Allen said Metro Transit has four upcoming demo projects that involve alternative public transportation such as smaller buses, vanpools and car sharing as a way to get people from residential areas and job sites to the transit centers.
Since Allen was elected to City Council eight years ago, she has made an effort to make City Hall more accessible to residents and businesses.
One of the ways she has done this has been as the council liaison on the city's overhaul of the zoning code to the new Electronic Zoning Code, or EZ-Code. Allen said the new code is more accessible, user friendly and much easier to understand than the last code. She called the code's revamping an amazing accomplishment.
"It was really important work," Allen said.
She has also admitted to nagging city staff about improving the website and adding features such as the ability for people to pay bills online. People should be able to access City Hall on their own schedules, she said.
One of the things Allen has learned during her time on council so far is that there needs to be better communication among the city, residents, developers and council. She said the planning process for the development of the old Group Health Cooperative site in Overlake — in which there was misunderstanding among various parties about how many trees would be eliminated — highlighted this and she would like to see this addressed in the near future.
"I would like to see a clearer process," she said about how the community receives information about upcoming projects.
Throughout her time in public office, Allen said she has enjoyed talking to people. She added that she even enjoys doorbelling during election season.
"I can't do my job without that feedback," she said about meeting with members of the community.
By taking the time to talk to people, Allen said it is also an opportunity to change people's perceptions of government.
"Government's gotten a bad rap," she said.
Outside her council duties, Allen works as a land-use hearing examiner for various cities and counties throughout Western Washington, though not Redmond or other nearby jurisdictions.