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Redesign on 166th Ave. N.E. : not a favorable rating | Letter
I am a Redmond resident who lives on a dead-end street and am being negatively impacted by the traffic redesign now occurring on 166th Avenue Northeast. It amazes me that no advance meetings were held to solicit public input on changes that have such a major impact on so many residents. It actually endangers those of us attempting to merge with 166th Avenue Northeast traffic, in either direction.
It is as if no one surveyed the street during morning rush hour when traffic backs up at Northeast 85th Street for perhaps a mile as hundreds of commuters head down Education Hill, even though many of them probably do not live here. Couple that with the residential fence and rhododendron bush that block the view of uphill traffic to our left and the other shrubbery that infringes upon our view to the right, and it is amazing that there have not been some serious accidents at the Northeast 87th Street/166th Avenue Northeast intersection.
Those new bike lanes are going to allow riders to attain speeds of 60 mph or more coming southbound down the hill, and I will bet that some of them choose to ride against oncoming traffic on the uphill side, as well. They would be virtually invisible and unexpected by those of us who are watching automobile traffic and hoping to merge with it if a space opens up.
Without a left-hand turn lane extending down the hill below Northeast 87th Street, there is no way for me to pull out and wait for a space to open up without the rear of my wheelchair van blocking the single uphill lane. The left turn lane needs to extend at least another block down the hill. It is already apparent that having just one lane of traffic going northbound is really frustrating for the afternoon commuters as they follow the #221 bus up the hill, as it makes frequent stops and there is no legal space for them to pass it.
Despite the efforts of Redmond city fathers to create more housing units than parking spaces in the downtown area, more cars are on our streets every day. With future cuts being planned for public transit, people will have no choice but to drive their personal vehicles. With that in mind, why are streets being redesigned as if there are fewer vehicles, instead of more? The entire redesign of 166th Avenue Northeast appears to be the work of a grade school class rather than someone skilled in designing traffic that benefits the entire community. Perhaps it is the work of the party that must be getting a commission for every roundabout that they can place in a busy intersection to confuse and impede traffic.
The city should be a responsible party if anyone gets injured, or worse, in trying to merge onto the only street that allows us to leave our neighborhood. That is very poor planning, at best. It is also not too late to change that design.
Mike Collins, Redmond