Northwest NEWS

June 18, 2001

Editorial

Roundabout article unbalanced

The June 11 edition of the Woodinville Weekly published an article entitled "Businesses Respond to Proposed Roundabout." There were several points raised in the article that we do not think portrays a balanced picture of what is happening with the roundabout.
   On May 21, 2001, the City Council approved a staff recommendation to design a roundabout as the preferred approach to resolve the long-standing failing Hollywood intersection. Although questioned by one of the quotes in the story as to whether there is anything wrong with it, the reality is that it is failing by objective planning standards to the point where it affects permit applications in the vicinity. The City Council has been dealing with this intersection as a critical traffic congestion point since incorporation in 1993. Public input has played a vital role in the City Council's decision to build a roundabout. It will continue to be important in the coming months.
   The project is now entering the design phase. The design consultant has not yet been selected. As in the past, the area residents and businesses will have an opportunity to participate at various points in this process. Public works staff is looking forward to dealing with any concerns raised. Points about traffic speeds, potentially continuous flow, access to and from businesses and property are important and the city intends to address them as part of the process. Staff review to date has been positive on these aspects, but the real test comes when they are measured against a proposed design.
   By quoting four owners with concerns, the article leaves the reader with the impression that general reaction among the business community in the area is negative. The city's impression is that by preponderance, business reaction has been very positive and supportive. A representative of the Hollywood Hills Association also testified in support of the roundabout.
   There was also a quoted statement in the article implying that the number of parking spaces at Wilmot Gateway Park proves that the city is unable to plan a project. This park project represents everything that is right about planning a project and the public's reaction to the park has been overwhelmingly positive. This project included significant public involvement, had a broad-based planning committee that included members of the public, City Council and the Parks & Recreation Commission. The design resulted in an excellent balance of active and passive use, great integration of the Burke-Gilman Trail, thoughtful inclusion of the river and an event-quality pergola and lawns. It involved significant public and private fundraising resulting in hundreds of donors in large and small amounts.
   An outstanding children's' playground valued at $40,000 was donated and installed by the Woodinville Rotary. The project had sufficient grants and donations to limit the city direct capital cost to approximately 15 percent of the more than $2 million cost.
   Due to the restrictions on the fund source for the land acquisition, the amount of impervious surface is limited and the existing 19-space parking lot is as large as it can be. Parking for more than 40 additional vehicles is provided across the street, and the city installed a pedestrian-actuated signal for safe access. The new City Hall brought an additional 100 new parking spaces. Since this area is so heavily utilized, the Civic Center Master Plan for the Sorenson property identifies an 80-space lot to be installed to serve the fields and Wilmot Park.
   I thank the Woodinville Weekly in advance for the opportunity to express the foregoing points.
   Pete Rose, Woodinville City Manager
   (Ed. Note: Other opinions on the proposed roundabout were addressed in the June 4 edition of the Woodinville Weekly.)