Redmond Mayor John Marchione gave a state of the city address Thursday morning at the Marriott Hotel at Redmond Town Center.
The event was put on by OneRedmond, a development organization that focuses on attracting new business and investments.
During the speech, Marchione said Redmond faces a fair share of problems, but that many of them are associated with growth. He said these are preferable to other types of problems and that overall, the city is in a good place.
Marchione gave a general overview of projects and issues facing the city during the speech. This included pointing out that work continues on Downtown Park, which he describes as the city’s first urban park.
The park is being erected in the central part of the city due to its development guideline, which states every neighborhood in Redmond should have access to similar amenities like parks and services.
Another concern Marchione addressed was that of affordable housing. The city currently only has around five percent of the current housing stock that is classified as affordable for low-income people.
Many of these people have to live outside of Redmond and commute for work in the city or live with relatives, Marchione said.
Transit was another issue, as was handling traffic and parking.
“What are we doing about traffic? We’re doing lots of things,” Marchione said.
This includes encouraging ride shares and using public transit. Around 40 percent of workers in Redmond already use some form of group transit, Marchione said.
The downtown core of the city also has some 655 on-street parking spots and more than 210 additional spaces split between two parking lots.
Rapid increases in population and industry show that Redmond is a place people want to be, Marchione said.
He said there are some 23,000 square feet of retail space being developed in the city along with 8,000 square feet of office space and hundreds of residential units.
Planned light rail expansions were also discussed focusing on the two new stations that will be operating in the city by 2024.
The first station will be opened in 2023 at the Overlake Village along State Route 520 at 152nd Avenue Northeast. The second will be opened the following year at Marymoor Village.
Before Sound Transit 3 was passed, the package that approved the Marymoor station, Marchione said the city and broader community had been working to secure the necessary environmental reviews so when it was approved, they were able to move ahead quickly.
“We as a community came together,” Marchione said.
The big benefit for Eastside and Redmond commuters, Marchione said, was that light rail brings an element of predictability to commutes.
From the Marymoor station, it will take 18 minutes to get to the Redmond-Bellevue station and 35 minutes to get to the International District station in downtown Seattle, Marchione said.
Finally, Marchione touched on the problem of homelessness, which is affecting the greater Seattle area.
Redmond partnered with Bellevue and Kirkland to help find solutions, and the City of Redmond decided to focus on helping homeless youth, Marchione said.
“This is something we’re trying to work collaboratively and regionally,” he said.
While Redmond faces its problems, Marchione said the community was working to solve them.
“No city is ever perfect,” he said. “… I think the Redmond community did an outstanding job.”