September 11, 2000
Stop approving development until roads are in place
Papers are abuzz with comments about traffic and how to address the current crisis on the Eastside. I don't understand why, but the answer is really far simpler than anyone will admit. Make growth pay its way! And I'm not talking its current pennies on the dollar, but the full costs.
If a developer, builder, or private landowner wants to build on their property, require them to pay to bring the roads up to an acceptable standard or deny the permit.
And if a road or intersection "cannot" be brought up to acceptable levels, deny the permit until a solution can be found to fix the problem instead of allowing the developer to shift his dollars somewhere else.
For over a decade, local governments like King County and Redmond have been approving growth at a staggering pace while doing everything they can to hide growth's impacts and forgive developers their responsibilities to improve roads.
For example, Redmond ignored Redmond Ridge's impacts on Avondale Road while King County was hiding Redmond Ridge's impacts to Novelty Hill Road.
The costs to fix these two roads could easily eclipse several hundred million dollars, and intersections like the one at Avondale and Novelty Hill Road will never achieve acceptable levels of service. So why has government continued to approve growth when roads can't handle it?
Stop approving permits unless the roads "necessary to meet existing and new demand" are improved. And stop spending road dollars to simply create new growth potential for developers.
Michael Costello, Redmond