Residents worried about traffic on narrow street
by Jeff Switzer
Steve and Lori Overland have been spending more time at City Council meetings lately because their other option would be court. The Overlands' house used to be near the end of a dead end road, 149th Ave. NE, where traffic wasn't a big issue. But the property at the end of that road has been short platted, and three houses and a small cul-de-sac are now in the works, changing their dead end into a through street.
The Overlands and their neighbors--seven houses in all--have a total of 14 children, 10 of whom are between two and 12 years old. With the end of winter weather, the kids have been playing in the street more often. More recently, additional concerns have revolved around construction traffic as the three houses are being built. The Overlands fear that something bad will happen before the city acts.
The City Council heard the latest update from Steve Overland and city staff at their meeting late Monday night last week. Overland drew a diagram of the intersection and reiterated to the council and city staff his concerns, adding that the combination of construction traffic and playing children is not a good one.
During the process for the three-house proposal, the Overlands and their neighbors gave testimony to a hearing examiner regarding the width of the road, claiming that it was not wide enough and was dangerous. The hearing examiner decided that the 14-foot width was sufficient for the level of traffic. It was later learned that the 14 feet included a one-foot rolled curb. "If you get a Suburban going one way and a full-size truck going the other way, both with big mirrors, there just isn't enough room," Overland maintained.
The width is not their only concern. The road comes to an uncontrolled "T" intersection a few houses down from the Overlands with limited sight distance because of a large tree on the corner. The neighborhood has been working with the city trying to get the street widened, to have the intersection controlled by either stop or yield signs, or to have two speed humps installed. They have also had two neighborhood meetings with Woodinville Police Administrator Sgt. Rich Krogh on traffic safety.
At their Mar. 4 meeting, councilmembers, staff, and Steve Overland talked out the options for improving the safety of the street and intersection. At the council's direction, staff will be looking at installing yield signs and speed humps to help with the speed of construction traffic, as well as center-line "buttons" to guide the flow from 129th Avenue NE. The yield signs and buttons could be in within a month, while the speed humps will require warm, dry weather for installation, possibly before June 1.