Northwest NEWS

November 23, 1998


Runner doesn't get it; what were the planners thinking?

I had the pleasure yesterday of running through Woodinville's new Wilmot Gateway Park. What were the planners thinking?

   Before development, the property was a little rough around the edges, but it provided very valuable parking and access to the crown jewel recreational facility of the entire county, the Sammamish River Trail. It also provided much needed overflow parking for the well-used Sorenson athletic fields. The new park just makes no sense. It appears to be a shrine to steel and concrete.

   And what about parking? From my viewpoint (behind the construction fences), I could only see about ten stalls. How will more than ten people at a time use this park or gain access to the trail? And what about other recreation?

   The layout of the new park does not provide for any activity other than a stroll on the bike path. How about a ball field, or even a volleyball or basketball court? There is plenty of room there, just not well used.

   Worst of all, the new park makes the bike path swerve from its old route along the river, to run directly adjacent to the parking lot, benches, and pedestrian walkway. This is an invitation to a pedestrian vs. bicyclist disaster. And for what? To make room for an amphitheater.

   So, for 365 days a year, bicyclists from the entire county can swerve around Woodinville residents, just so that for 8 to 10 evenings in the summer, a few Woodinville residents (remember the parking stalls?) can gather next to the river for a concert.

   I just don't get it. What were the planners thinking?

Patrick D. Ewing, via e-mail