Northwest NEWS

April 17, 2000

Local News

Woodinville, Bothell join forces

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--The cities of Woodinville and Bothell have adopted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes a transportation coordination agreement under which the two cities will coordinate improvements to roads that link the two cities.

   The MOU culminates efforts started at a Dec. 1999 meeting involving both cities' mayors, city managers, and public works directors. The Bothell City Council signed the MOU on April 3 and the Woodinville City Council signed it at their April 10 meeting.

   "This is a first for Woodinville and a significant milestone between our two agencies," said Mick Monken, Woodinville Public Works Director. "Bothell is the only other city that borders on Woodinville. The MOU makes things very clear for our respective staffs, that our two cities will work together on transportation issues. And it shows the state, county and other cities that Woodinville and Bothell are regional team players. This sets up a foundation to establish an MOU with the state or King County."

   The MOU is distinguished from an inter-local agreement (ILA), said Monken. An ILA is a contractual agreement that involves shared funding, such as the recent agreement with the City of Kenmore to share costs and use of a traffic speed monitoring unit. An MOU is non-contractual, but elected officials formally agree to cooperate.

   In the broader scope of potential joint projects with King County and the state, SR-202 (Redmond-Woodinville Road) is a prime example of a road with regional impact, said Monken.

   "Although SR-202 does not pass through any part of Bothell, commercial traffic wanting to drive to and from Bothell gets caught in several choke points on the downtown Woodinville end of 202," said Monken. "Our traffic studies show that the majority of traffic passing through Woodinville's main intersection of NE 175th and 131st NE moves on the west leg (across the river on 202), not to and from downtown."

   The other SR-202 choke points Monken identified include its intersection with 127th Pl. NE, by McCorry's; under the railroad trestle at NE 177th; and at the two stop lights on either side of the SR-522 overpass.

   "People ask me, 'why not fix 175th congestion?'" said Monken. "Fixing 202 could accomplish that without doing anything more to 175th. The UW-Bothell/Cascadia opening next fall will dramatically increase not only Bothell traffic, but also Woodinville traffic from the Sammamish and Snoqualmie valleys."

   Monken said he joined his staff members, City Transportation Engineer Joe Seet and Project Mgr. Andrew Laski, in a recent meeting with state Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) officials to discuss potential SR-202 solutions. WSDOT seemed very eager to move toward a more direct link between SR-202 and SR-522, he said.

   One likely possibility involved SR-522 freeway access ramps south of the existing ones, running over the river south of the 178th NE industrial complex and tying directly into north-southbound SR-202 by McCorry's.

   That would effectively remove the majority of traffic at NE 175th and 131st NE, including the pavement-damaging impact of heavy trucks travelling to the industrial area on the west side of the river. Each tractor-trailer has the impact of more than 30 cars, Monken said.