Northwest NEWS

January 11, 1999

Local News

Lobbying for capital projects starts early

by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--Even before city staff begin prioritizing road and park projects for 1999, they're being lobbied by business owners and citizens on where new traffic lights should be installed and crosswalks painted.

   Last week, at the first Woodinville City Council meeting of 1999, it was a building owner and business representatives suggesting that a new signal be built at the intersection of the Woodinville-Snohomish Road and NE 200th St. in the city's northern industrial area.

   In previous months, it's been a former and current councilmember speaking to the need for crosswalks on Woodinville-Duvall Road, and between vehicle parking and Wilmot Gateway Park on the South Bypass.

   And Deborah Knight, interim public works director, said she's received word from a woman who wants the offset four-way intersection at the top of Winery Hill (NE 143rd St. and 132nd Ave. NE) looked at.

   What everyone hopes is that their project not only gets listed in the city's yearly capital improvement plan (CIP), but is a first priority project, one with identified funding sources. Safety is usually the battle-cry of choice, such as with the crosswalks, though economic development is also noted.

   Some intersections, like the one near the Hollywood Hill Schoolhouse, are at what is known as Level of Service F, meaning bad, and until plans and funding for improvement are identified, nearby building can't go forward. Others, like 200th and Wood.-Sno., have developer mitigation money set aside that must be spent within a certain time frame for improvements.

   For those with ideas on what streets to straighten or lands to buy for parks, Knight says it helps to be the squeaky wheel. "The sooner and more frequently [the public] comes to us with their concerns, the better we can respond," she said.

   While some know how the city's processes work and when to make their requests, most people are unaware of how the CIP--the city's construction roadmap for the future--is completed. City staff actually takes months to prepare a list of what should be funded immediately and what can wait.

   The process begins early in the year when Knight says staff sits down and looks at projects that didn't make the cut the year before, along with new ones. These are ranked based on a set of evaluation criteria. Next, a recommendation is made to the city's planning commission which reviews for comprehensive plan requirements, then forwards the list to the City Council for final approval.

   While Knight said only the two intersection and crosswalk ideas are being pushed, she hoped for additional input. "The more, the better," she said.

   Comments can be taken a number of ways; by mail, telephone, a visit with the mayor at City Hall on Thursdays, or by the comment section at the city's websage, www.woodinville-city.com.

   Of course, projects you may think are important will also go up against those others think are critical.