September 21, 1998
WHS shows plans for 30 new stalls on campus
Residents, student angered by parking plan
by Andrew Walgamott
WOODINVILLE--It was far different from previous meetings on the city's parking plan around Woodinville High School, but it also highlighted a dynamic new principal's quest to reach solutions on the issue.
Previously, the city had been met with calls to action by residents around the school, but last Wednesday night (Sept. 16), parents from outside the area worried about the safety of their students.
Don Halazon, who lives in the Wellington Hills Golf Course area, has a 16-year-old daughter who practices cheerleading year-round.
"In another month, she'll be walking [to her car] in the dark," he said.
The city's plan has eliminated parking along 130th Ave. N.E., wiping out an estimated 30 parking spaces there. It restricts parking on three sides of the high school and keeps students from parking in neighborhoods.
Mayor Don Brocha said the plan was implemented for safety reasons. Residents of the Upland View development complained that student cars parked along 130th Ave. N.E. blocked their vision as they attempted to pull onto the street. They also spoke of rude behavior and litter.
But the city's effort was renamed by one woman, who refused to give her name, as Woodinville's "new no-parking plan."
Pat Murphy, who lives in the Wembley Park neighborhood northwest of the school, questioned where the city expected students to park.
"We're not trying to solve this. We're trying to eliminate them from our neighborhoods," she said.
There were also questions from the audience of about 20 why the city implemented the plan during summer break.
Speaking frankly, Brocha said it was done then due to fears Upland View residents had over student retaliation. High schoolers used a private easement through the neighborhood to get to WHS.
Senior David Chang was one of five students who attended the meeting. "I don't feel it's fair to close down all these roads," the ASB vice president said.
But the meeting wasn't all vitriolic. Shailesh Desai, who lives in Upland View, suggested tongue in cheek that students should enter kindergarten one year earlier, thereby cutting down on the number of new drivers.
"But that's a long shot," he admitted.
Working towards solutions
There are some solutions on the horizon. WHS Principal Vicki Puckett, who said parking was the number one concern of students expressed to her during job interviews, showed drawings for a new 30-space parking lot between the football field and baseball diamond. She said school officials will meet this week with architects on the plans; it would be built next year.
Puckett said she was still working with METRO to come up with options for student parking.
An earlier agreement to allow students to use the Woodinville Park and Ride had been reached, she said, but was nixed by higher-ups at METRO.
Several student clubs are interested in joining the city's adopt-a-street program, she said, adding that school officials have been talking with the student body and encouraging bus riding.
Also, Puckett said a committee of parents, students, staff and community members will evaluate parking.
During the meeting, an unexpected offer came from Bill Linder, a development coordinator with Woodinville Public Auto Auction. He said the company would open up a lot at the corner of N.E. 195th St. and 136th Ave. N.E. that could hold 75 student vehicles during weekdays, if the city were to donate adjacent land.
It's a mighty big if at this point. City staff were still investigating the property, which Interim Public Works Director Deborah Knight described as 90 feet of right-of-way given to them by the state.
There's another issue. Parking was closed on the east side of 136th, where the proposed parking would be, after a student was struck by a car as he ran across the street in January, 1991.
With two-and-a-half weeks of school gone, compliance with the plan hasn't been a problem. Police have issued just one parking ticket, according to Sgt. Ken Wardstrom.
While there could be growth pains as more sophomores get their driving licenses later in the year, Wardstrom was optimistic that the plan would increase awareness of carpooling.
"We may not have a problem," he said.
School and city officials have promised to continue working together.