Dear Editor, I had the opportunity to attend King County’s Open House on their proposed safety improvements along 100th Avenue NE in Kirkland’s annexation area on Wednesday, November 3rd. The County Road Services Division received a $500K grant to implement safety improvements along the corridor and therefore is proposing to restrict left-turn access into and out of the adjoining commercial properties by installing center medians along the existing five-lane roadway. This is only one of a few commercially zoned areas in the annexation area and residents in Finn Hill and Juanita rely on good access to these neighborhood businesses for their daily needs. I believe the County’s proposed improvements, as presently designed, will negatively impact many of the businesses in the North Juanita neighborhood. As a community, we need to support our local businesses, especially because of the few that exist in the annexation area.
The proposed median treatments between the signalized intersections with Juanita-Woodinville Way and NE 137th Street are too restrictive in nature and do not appear to be necessary from my knowledge of the area and situation. The safety data presented at the meeting was somewhat misleading and in my opinion did not demonstrate a need for additional access restrictions between Juanita-Woodinville Way and NE 137th Street. Many of the accidents are caused by poorly designed intersections and the frequent congestion along the corridor during the peak hours. Widening 100th Avenue NE between NE 139th Street and Simonds Road would likely alleviate many of the safety issues by reducing the number of rear-end accidents caused by the stop and go traffic.
The timing of this project is not ideal because this corridor will be owned by the City in less than seven months after the annexation effective date. To complicate matters even more, County staff fully admitted this was the first time they have undertaken a project to install medians and broadly restrict access to adjoining commercial properties. I hope the City takes a very prominent role in the project and questions whether there is sufficient safety data to warrant such access restrictions.
I was also disappointed to learn there were no additional plans for public input, as the County hopes to begin construction in late spring. I think additional discussions with the community, business owners, and City needs to occur to address the issues with the proposed designs. Ultimately it would have been nice for the City to have led such a project because they recognize the importance of sufficient public process, and will need to live with the consequence of any improvement that is implemented.
Finn Hill Resident