Woodinville council approves three grid roads
by Jeff Switzer, staff reporter
WOODINVILLE--With 5-foot bicycle lanes and 9-foot sidewalks on every road within a 68-foot right-of-way, the City Council hopes they have passed a grid road ordinance that reduces congestion while being pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
Last week, the council approved by a vote of 4-3 the second reading of the grid road ordinance, approving TRF-Pacific's grid roads in the Woodinville Retail Center and the road on the east edge of Brittany Park, as well as setting the right-of-way (ROW) widths and the cross sections of grid roads in the downtown.
The passage of the ordinance, following two months of discussions and two years of citizen input, marks only round one of the road planning for downtown, and the council plans to continue their discussions following completion of the comprehensive plan.
Mayor Bob Miller, Deputy Mayor Don Brocha, and Councilmembers Lucy DeYoung and Scott Hageman voted in favor of the ordinance; Councilmembers Barbara Solberg, Art Saulness, and Marsha Engel voted against.
Two issues are at the root of the difference of opinion: allowing temporary structures within the proposed grid road ROW and planning for the long-term capacity needs for the area's roads.
Building in the ROW would allow Canterbury Square Condominiums, which has continually petitioned the council and staff, to place six manufactured homes within the path of NE 172nd Street, along with the responsibility to remove them when the road needs to be built.
Engel and Solberg preferred to see language included that would resolve the issue now, while several of the other councilmembers said they would look at the issue during subsequent discussions of the grid roads.
"We still need to address a very pressing issue to a very large group of our citizens," said Solberg. "I hope that we can move this along very quickly so that they don't have to wait."
Engel and Solberg were concerned that the city was expediting the streets for two other developments in the city and yet were putting Canterbury Square in limbo until the council addresses the issue.
Saulness said he was concerned less with the issue of the buildings in the ROW and more about the overall road standards and capacity for downtown. "I wanted more of an overall plan for the downtown roads, and I don't feel we have that yet," Saulness said, adding that he personally didn't feel the ordinance was as good a document as the council could have had if they had spent more time on it. He said he doesn't want a repeat of the congestion problems the city faces on NE 175th Street occurring on the other grid roads.
Expense of going to three lanes
Under the new ordinance, for a two-lane street to be widened to three lanes, the entire roadway must be rebuilt, removing the curbs and gutters and constructing new storm drainage and pavement.
The council is planning to amend the ordinance as it looks at each quadrant of the city. Currently, the language regarding the controversial alignment of 135th/136th Avenue NE--previously sited through Chevron, Doug's Boats, Simon and Son, and Knoll Lumber properties--puts the city in a position to look at that road as development occurs.
TRF, Brittany Park to develop soon
TRF-Pacific, which is proposing a 44-acre retail center, has submitted a binding site plan which includes the proposed grid roads. Now, city staff must look to see if the plan coincides with the ROW widths in the new gridroad ordinance.
Clearing and grading could begin in early to mid-July, and a large hole and concrete vaults are expected as the precursor to TRF's stormwater retention system, a new system which will compost the site's stormwater.
LeisureCare's proposed Brittany Park has also been holding their plans for the new right-of-way to be set.