Northwest NEWS

August 16, 1999


Parking is a huge problem at Wilmot Park; families should be warned about fertilizer application

   I want to tell you that my young son (toddler) and I love the new Wilmot Gateway Park; however, parking is a huge problem. The obvious problem is that there isn't enough.

   The park is beautiful; however, as I look around, I realize it isn't very functional. With a few minor adjustments in its design, it seems that many additional parking spaces could have been developed.

   Parking across the street is definitely not convenient for those with young children. It seems that people who use the trail take most of the available parking stalls at the park.

   I have heard several people complain about the placement of the crosswalk. It is just past the curve for cars coming toward NE 175th. Several times while crossing the street with my arms loaded with lunch and a blanket and my toddler, the first car has stopped to let me cross only to have cars in the next lane continue to drive by.

   I'm very cautious, but what about someone who doesn't recognize the danger? Cars typically drive fast on that stretch of the road and come around the corner not expecting to have to stop in the middle of the road. And many of them don't--even when the crosswalk warning light is flashing. I fear that it's only a matter of time before someone is hit in the crosswalk.

   I have a suggestion that may help. Has the city given any thought to developing a load and unload or 10-minute parking space?

   Last week, I went to the park with my son and his grandmother. She definitely could not negotiate crossing the street and walking all the way to the children's area. And of course, there was no parking available.

   Another time, I brought my bike and bike trailer. A playgroup of moms and toddlers met and we gave the kids rides in the trailer. My son fell asleep and it was time to go. Now I had to get the bike, bike trailer, blanket, food, and my sleeping son across the other side of the park to the crosswalk and then across the other side of the street to my car. Thank goodness I had friends there to help!

   The park is beautiful, but not very convenient to use. I even noticed that there are almost as many picnic tables as parking spaces. How does that equate?

   Also, last week when I was there, a maintenance person was putting fertilizer or weed and feed on the grass with one of those spreaders. This was at about 11 a.m. He finished and left. Shortly after, we noticed a family sitting on the grass.

   I looked around there weren't any notices or signs that the grass had been recently fertilized. When you purchase fertilizer in stores, the warning labels typically indicate that pets and people should not be allowed on the fertilized area for 24 hours. This is to avoid contact with the fertilizer, which can be poisonous to some people and pets.

   Lawn care companies post notices on the lawns after they have sprayed--just those little flags, but it lets everyone know that it has recently been sprayed with chemicals and that they should use care. Golf courses also post notices when they have recently fertilized. I would think the same sort of consideration should be offered to people using a city park.

   I also think that the City would not want to incur liability for someone accidentally exposed to the chemicals. We advised the family, and they moved over to some benches.

   The City of Woodinville doesn't have a huge budget, but I would think that it should be big enough to accommodate some warning notices after they have applied chemicals to the grass.

Barb D'Ettorre, Woodinville