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City addressing safety issues on 166th Ave. N.E.
The City of Redmond is looking to make improvements along 166th Avenue Northeast from Northeast 85th Street and Northeast 100th Street.
The corridor connects Education Hill and downtown Redmond, provides neighborhood access to Education Hill schools and churches and has been an area of concern among city staff as well as area residents and drivers.
Tricia Thomson, targeted safety improvement program manager for the city, said the goal of this rechannelization project is to improve safety for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
Safety issues requiring consideration include delay to side-street vehicles accessing 166th Avenue Northeast, sight distance deficiencies, a truck-climbing lane, collisions, traffic speeds and volumes and pedestrian crossings.
To address these issues, Thomson said one of the things the city is looking to do is re-stripe the lanes from four to three — one in each direction and a center turning lane. In addition, they would add a bicycle lane in each direction. Thomson said the city has completed similar projects in six other areas throughout Redmond.
Among the reasons the city is looking to make changes is collisions occurring along the street. Thomson said one of the main types of collisions they have seen is the right-angle or perpendicular collision at Northeast 85th Street. She said cars traveling down the hill looking to turn right would collide with cars traveling up the hill looking to turn left. Another common collision comes at the top of the hill at Northeast 95th Street. Thomson said cars trying to get on to 166th Avenue Northeast would creep out and stick out too far because of limited visibility.
“People are struggling to wait for a gap,” she said.
The city held a public meeting for the community about the rechannelization project on Monday. The meeting consisted of a short open house period with information boards for people to look at, a presentation and a question-and-answer session for meeting goers. Anne Marie Peacock, communications specialist for Redmond, said the meeting was attended by people who supported and opposed the project. She said the bulk of concerns that were brought up have been addressed or will be.
“We are following up with folks,” Peacock said.
Abigail Welborn, who has lived in the northernmost end of 166th Avenue Northeast near Norman Rockwell Elementary School since 2009 is opposed to the project. She said having only one lane in each direction will slow down her drive. She and her husband have to commute during rush hour, which means 164th Avenue Northeast and Avondale Way are congested.
“That leaves 166th as the only fast option,” Welborn said.
As she only uses the street for commuting, Welborn said her only concern is being able to pass slow-moving vehicles, though she understands that others who either walk along the street or have to turn onto it will have different concerns.
“I would like to see Redmond take commuters into account,” she said about the project. “If they want 166th to be more of a neighborhood street with medians, crosswalks and slower traffic, I’m actually fine with that, but then they need to figure out how to make Avondale and 164th faster for those of us that have to commute.”