85th / Central Way Fiasco | LETTER

Dear Editor:

It should come as no surprise to regular readers of KirklandViews that I don't have an ultra-positive opinion of staff at Kirkland City Hall - but that's OK, I'm sure they aren't too fond of me either.

Most came straight from college (Evergreen?) into positions of public planning and policy without first making a stop in the private sector - and the private sector is where you learn how things work in the real world.

One of the worst examples of poor planning and design became evident this morning as I drove west on 85th at 6th St. (next to the post office) on my way into downtown Kirkland. After more than a month of major street construction to put (what I thought were) three turn lanes into the exciting new ParkPlace development the city planners are taking one entire lane of Central Way and adding Petunias. I swear to god I haven't been smoking ANYTHING!  I saw it with my own eyes.  A 10 foot wide PLANTER in the middle of what might be one of most heavily traveled intersections in town.

I assumed planners were looking to direct morning traffic smoothly into the new underground parking areas. One turn lane could provide for southbound 6th St traffic and 2 would be swiftly taken from surface streets to the underground.  Brilliant.  Any expense would be swiftly repaid in increased tax base.

But it was not to be. Some Brainiac thought "Hey, lets spend $600,000 adding an additional turn lane and then turn around and REMOVE A TRAFFIC LANE AND REPLACE IT WITH BUSHES!"  Forget for a moment the thousands of tax dollars that are annually required to maintain these horribly placed leafy green brainfarts, they block drivers sight and are unnecessary safety hazards.

Form follows function

a principle stating that

the shape of something should be primarily based

upon its intended function or purpose.

The function of a street is to allow traffic to flow as smoothly as possible and pedestrians to walk as safely as possible.  Sight blocking bushes hide children and wheelchairs in crosswalks. Don't believe me? Look one block west of this intersection at the crosswalk.  Westbound drivers - at least safe drivers - regularly slow to examine the bushes to see if anyone might be trying to cross.

It will only get more expensive to remove this mess later.  Let's stop and think.  The planters make turn lanes shorter or non existent. Short turn lanes back up traffic, non-existent turn lanes clog the next available turn point.

Where's my chainsaw?


John Michael Gilday