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SEPTEMBER 29, 1997

Opinion

Where's our promised road improvements?

  It is perhaps the last nice week of summer weather and yet, as throughout the summer, I see no sign of road improvements being made in anticipation of the TRF project. Oh yes, there was some minor sidewalk improvement. Boy, that really helped the traffic here. I don't suppose I am the only one to notice that the traffic in downtown Woodinville is an absolute embarrassment to all concerned. Reminds me a bit of traffic on Rama IV road in Bangkok, and that is not a positive comparison. Can someone explain to me how this town got its development schedule rear-end backwards by allowing a major project to be completed before improving the infrastructure?
  
   Since the city does not seem to have a clue, allow this local merchant with absolutely no background in civil engineering to make some suggestions. The current plan to have an entrance to the TRF project onto 175th NE is absolutely preposterous given the current traffic condition on this road. First, 177th NE , which runs parallel to the RR tracks to the north must be improved and widened into 3 lanes. The Woodinville-Snohomish RD from at least the Post Office to 140th NE needs to be widened and made into 3 lanes and I note some improvements are being made now. Major improvements need to be made to the intersection of 131st and 177th NE. A major improvement needs made to wherever the road from 177th shall cross the RR tracks. The intersection of the Woodinville-Redmond Rd and 175th is in need of major regrading and related improvements. And I would venture to guess there are indeed other major improvements in order to make this city's traffic flow somewhat normally.
  
   Yet I recently read in this paper that the city anticipates that the TRF project will generate a grand total of $300,000 per year in revenue. Uh, excuse me, but my guess is that the cost of the most basic improvements that are needed right now are quite in excess of that figure by several fold. In fact it would appear to me that the city will actually be losing money on this project. So one is forced to ask who is profiting from this project (hint: landowners and developers) and how did they hoodwink the city into allowing this project to begin without requiring the developers to pay for the necessary improvements that such a project requires. Yep, it ain't just the traffic that reminds me of Bangkok in this town; the smell emanating from city hall is all too familiar when approaching government buildings or driving by some nearby pastures.
  
   There are some possible hopeful signs. Rumor on the street is that Molbak's would like to relocate to a larger area adjacent to their greenhouses. The city should encourage such a move and assist Molbak’s with such a move. And then the city could use a combination of eminent domain rights and purchase to create the much needed north-south arterial between 175th and the south loop RD. Of course Molbak's leaving the city would all but eliminate any tax gain from the TRF porject. But I suspect that next spring when there are two new blockbuster action films opening and Molbak's customers can neither enter nor exit that they will seek alternatives to being a single location business on 175th NE in Woodinville.
  
   Anyway, these are some of the musings of one who is very concerned about the deteriorating traffic in town. Having no pretensions whatsoever to being knowledgeable about any of the above matters, I do encourage others, including the people at city hall and the managers of the TRF project, to make any comments and please tell me why I should not be totally dubious as to the conditions that preceded that major commercial development.
  
   Rande Jaffe, Woodinville