Northwest NEWS

February 28, 2000

Local News

Leota Meadows pleads for safer access

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--Leota Meadows residents fearing for their safety beseeched the City Council to improve the dangerous intersection of 162nd Ave. NE and Woodinville-Duvall Rd., at the Council's Feb. 22 Study Session.

   Two rear-end accidents in the last year involved eastbound Leota Meadows residents stopped to turn left on 162nd, the neighborhood's only access to and from Woodinville-Duvall Rd. Residents asked the Council if the City could extend the left-turn lane east from 156th NE to alleviate the turn problem for the many roads and driveways from there to 171st NE.

   The 162nd intersection is currently listed as a yet-unfunded, "second-tier" project in the City's CIP as part of the plan for the widening of Woodinville-Duvall to five lanes between 156th NE and 171st NE. But that project is not scheduled to begin until 2008, said City Manager Pete Rose.

   Councilmember Carol Bogue asked what criteria the intersection failed to meet, that it wasn't included in this year's first tier of 40 capital improvement projects?

   Public Works Director Mick Monken said his staff had not found enough evidence to recommend bumping the intersection from the second to the first tier, because most of the first tier projects had higher accident rates.

   In addition, I-695 threatens to remove expected state support from some of the city's first-tier projects, including the top priority Hollywood intersection, Rose reported. Councilmember Barbara Solberg said the Council should be reluctant to leap over the projects already chosen for the 2000 CIP, but agreed with Mayor Randy Ransom that the city might want to call in a state expert to study the intersection for possible elevation to the first tier next year.

   Monken suggested caution signs and caution strips in the road might alleviate the problem. The Council and residents agreed, and Rose directed Monken to take those preliminary steps.

   Signs might include "No shoulder driving" warnings, since people passing there are passing in the bicycle lane, an infraction punishable by a $71 fine. That's if a driver does not kill a cyclist or pedestrian in the process, one protester pointed out. That resident said cars whiz by her at 40-45mph when she stops to turn left.

   Another Leota Meadows resident, Karen White, pointed out the problem will get worse when residents of an impending ten-house development, on the east side of Leota Meadows, also start using 162nd.