Northwest NEWS

January 22,2001

Editorial

Traffic on Novelty Hill Road has grown faster than expected

During the public hearings for Redmond Ridge and Blakely Ridge, King County Dept. of Transportation (DOT) determined that the developments would generate an incredible 49,850 vehicle-trips that would use just three access routes.
   The primary road to both projects would be Novelty Hill Road, while two other connections (currently not built) would be made from Blakely Ridge to NE 133rd Street (a busy two-lane road) and another connection from Redmond Ridge to 236th/238th Avenue (another busy two-lane road).
   In 1999, the same DOT that had testified that this two-lane approach would work, stated that Novelty Hill Road would have to be widened to five lanes.
   But in a shocking argument, DOT argued that the Redmond Ridge developments were not responsible for this "new" problem.
   The county's own Web site states right now that "it's estimated that nearly 14,000 vehicles use this important east-west corridor [Novelty Hill Road] each day a figure that has grown substantially in recent years, given faster-than-expected growth in areas such as Snohomish County and Duvall."
   But just look at the numbers and you can see that Redmond Ridge's 49,850 cars, even if spread equally between the three routes, will more than double the current 14,000 car volume on Novelty Hill Road today.
   In fact, critics of these projects had the evidence to prove that they failed traffic concurrency years ago, but the county ignored it to avoid being forced to make Quadrant pay for this widening, or force them to downsize the projects. King County's claims would be laughable if not for the council's preparations right now to give Quadrant "at least" $43 million taxpayer dollars to widen Novelty Hill Road to five lanes so Quadrant can get the nod for their next phase called Redmond Ridge South. This gift of taxpayer dollars will be one for the record books.
   Michael Costello, Redmond