On Friday

On Friday

Cairns and Newman discuss future for Redmond’s roads at Redmond Senior Center

Just as the roads in Redmond connect the city's many neighborhoods, it takes many people to design, build and operate them.

Just as the roads in Redmond connect the city’s many neighborhoods, it takes many people to design, build and operate them.

Don Cairns is one of those people.

Having been with the City of Redmond for 28 years, the 21-year Redmond resident has worked in a number of positions ranging from a temporary consultant to the city when he first came on board, to traffic engineer, to the position he holds today as a transportation services manager for the public works department.

Out of all that he has done with Redmond, Cairns said his favorite job is what he does right now, which focuses on the city’s long-range plans and assembling funding for these projects.

“I like planning for the future,” Cairns said, adding that another favorite part of his job is sharing these plans with other people.

It’s been almost three decades since Cairns started working for the city, so not only has he had a hand in planning the Redmond’s future, he has been able to witness it.

And while Cairns may get excited about planning, he acknowledges that not everyone feels the way he does.

“I’m going to try to make it interesting, but I’m not going to make any guarantees,” he told an audience of about 10 at the beginning of last week’s First Friday Coffee Chat at the Redmond Senior Center (RSC).

Cairns spoke at the First Friday Coffee Chat — like previous city officials and staff — to share with the community what is happening around Redmond and what his role is in the city’s planning efforts.

And despite his disclaimer, attendees proved interested as they asked Cairns many questions about his discussion topics, which focused on the city’s transportation master plan (TMP) for 2030 and what the roads of Redmond have in store for them in the future.

Cairns discussed the city’s grid system and how certain construction projects, such as the 161st Avenue Northeast extension, will improve connections within the city for all users — motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. He also discussed how some of the projects that have been recently completed, such as the Northeast 36th Street Bridge, are the result of the city’s TMP from 2001.

Cairns really enjoys speaking to the community about plans and projects and especially loves public input.

“People have a real good sense of what we need in the community,” he said. “I like their enthusiasm.”

Joining Cairns on Friday was traffic operations engineer Bruce Newman.

Newman, who has been with the City of Redmond for four years, discussed how his job working for the traffic operations division of the public works department ties into city’s roads.

He said while Cairns’ job involves a broader vision for the city such as where to build roads, how to pay for them and who will use them, Newman’s job focuses on the details such as the traffic signal lights, traffic flow cameras and street lights.

Before coming to work for the City of Redmond, Newman worked as a traffic consultant in the private sector. He said that job focused on the design end of traffic systems. Working for the city has allowed him to see operational side.

“I guess I wanted to learn a lot more about how the systems work,” Newman said.

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Newman went to college in Virginia and moved to the Northwest to attend graduate school at the University of Washington. He’s been here ever since and has lived in Redmond for seven years.

“I just fell in love with this area,” he said.

Newman said one of the things he loves about his job is how rewarding his job is. For example, it may only take him a few hours to improve the timing on a traffic signal in town, but those changes may save drivers hundreds of hours of commute time per year.

Although it is rewarding, Newman’s job is not without challenges. He said no matter how many improvements he and his team make, more will arise.

“Traffic keeps coming,” he said. “There are still more cars coming.”

Newman added that it is difficult for his team to do their job when they are unaware of the problems. Sometimes, he won’t realize a traffic signal is having problems until he’s driving around town and encounters it himself. And during those times, Newman finds himself on the job, even when he is off the clock.

“I’ll often jump out on the weekend and fix something real quick,” he said.

To report any traffic operational issues, call (425) 556-2701 or email pwops@redmond.gov.

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