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Council continues GMA discussions

GMA discussions by Jeff Switzer
   WOODINVILLE--The City Council held a special meeting last week to finish wordsmithing the transportation element of the city's comprehensive plan, which outlines long-term goals and policies to alleviate congestion and make the city more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly.
   "We need to encourage better circulation through this transportation element," said Mayor Bob Miller. "Currently, we have no way to get from here to there at night; roads have large ditches and the bike trail has no lights."
   Miller reiterated that there is no way to get safely from Woodinville to Bothell, or to the Woodinville Library on Avondale, without taking a bus or driving.
   The transportation element also includes the city's long-term look at road projects for the future. While the council is looking at the grid road ordinance to address downtown traffic, the comprehensive plan is more general and takes a look at the whole city. Because the plan takes a comprehensive tack, the list of projects is also comprehensive, adding up to at least $68 million over the next 20 years.
   The city also looked at a list of "what ifs;" completing the diamond interchange at SR-522 and NE 195th Street; a slip-ramp into downtown; relocating the Park-and-Ride closer to the freeway; and the continuation of Willows Road through to SR-202.
   "That makes the city substantially dependent upon grant funding," said Joel Birchman, director of Public Services.
   Major widening projects are also considered for improving circulation and capacities of city roads, including Woodinville-Duvall Road, Woodinville-Snohomish Road in downtown, 140th Place NE, SR-202 (Woodinville-Redmond), and 177th Place NE.
   Minor widenings, which could include bike lanes, paved shoulders, or wider lanes, include 171st/173rd/175th from the Woodinville Medical Center, 124th Avenue NE, 168th Avenue NE, NE Woodinville-Duvall from the downtown to the North Bypass, 156th Ave NE, and NE 195th, both near Woodinville High and on both sides of the existing barricades.