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Update: Are Traffic Calming Methods on SE 32nd Street Sufficient?

An accident on 32nd Street SE in Sammamish on Friday highlighted for some local residents the pitfalls of the greater connectivity the city aimed for with the barricade removal in 2011.

Update: The Sammamish Police Department provided some additional information about the Friday, Jan. 4 accident:

At about 1:25 pm a Chevy pickup was traveling westbound on SE 32nd St.  In the 22100 block, the truck veered to the right and struck a legally parked vehicle on the right shoulder.  The driver overcorrected, crossed both lanes and struck a retention pond fence on the south side of the road.

The driver, a 44-year-old Redmond man, stated he was distracted by the sun in his eyes and was adjusting his visor when the collision occurred.  A witness who lives nearby said the driver appeared to be traveling at or near the speed limit at the time of the collision.  The driver was cited for improper lane travel.

 

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Original story:

A Friday afternoon accident on 32nd Street SE has some residents concerned about the effects of removing a barricade that once divided the street.

Lisa Patnode's niece was watching her four children at their home Friday afternoon when when an eastbound truck hit her niece's parked car, careening across the westbound lane and crashing into a retaining pond fence.

Sammamish Police had not determined the cause of the accident as of Friday afternoon and the driver was not taken to the hospital, but both Patnode and Sammamish resident Bob Post expressed concern over the higher speeds and increased traffic on the street since the barricade was removed.

In an email to Sammamish-Issaquah Patch, Post said, "Many of my neighbors and me opposed the removal of the barricade and warned the City that SE 32nd Street is a high pedestrian street as many students use it to walk to school.  If that accident had been a half an hour later, many children would have been present and who knows what might have happened.  The increased car traffic and the number of speeding cars is a real problem for this corridor.  The City needs to do more to protect our kids and slow these cars down."

Patnode said her children no longer ride their bikes on what once was a quiet street, and several of her neighbors have either sold their homes or plan to. She said she and her family have hoped to move, but finding another home in Sammamish with a backyard large enough for four kids has been a challenge.

Patnode said she doesn't believe the three traffic circles installed east of her home, nearer to 228th Ave., adequately address the issue of higher speed traffic on the Eastbound lane.

Several dozen barricades in Sammamish were remnants of pre-incorporation. A post upgrade traffic study presented to the city last February indicated that the typical speed of cars driving through that section is 30 to 32 mph. The posted speed is 25 mph, and Patnode said she believes a speed bump approximately in the area where the barricade was could help slow vehicles there.

Do you think the barricade removal on 32nd Street SE has improved connectivity? Is it worth the cost in increased traffic and noise on the street?

Jeanne Gustafson January 06, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Thank you for being willing to speak about the issue, Lisa. Perhaps a better question for me to ask would have been "Is further mitigation needed on 32nd" because obviously the barricade won't be replaced, but that doesn't diminish the problems you've described.
Jan Bird January 06, 2013 at 07:48 AM
What worries me is that people make left turns onto 224th in front of the traffic cirlcle instead of going around it. I've almost had two head-on altercations with other cars because people do this. Or closer to 228th, they go straight through instead of going around the circle. (Would signs help or are people just going to do what they are going to do?) But I don't want speed bumps on top of these wacky (as they don't line up) traffic circles. The traffic circles already slow me down. I do worry about the entrance to the new subdivision going in at 32nd and 220th. Having cars enter right where people turn the corner seems like a poor design and an accident waiting to happen.
Cathy Bart January 07, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Lisa, I agree with you completely. My husband and I also bought our home because of the dead end, and in 1979 when we purchased here, this road ended with a culdesac. We did check King County at the time and were told that the road was to remain a dead end. We are not the only ones that were told this. The city promised to investigate this, but never did, despite being asked about it multiple times. I do feel sad for the younger families that have moved into this neighborhood and don't have the same quiet, safe neighborhood that my kids were lucky enough to grow up in.
Jeanne Gustafson January 07, 2013 at 10:45 PM
There's a good opportunity tonight to discuss these connectivity issues at the Citizens for Sammamish meeting. Here's a great letter sent to us today with more info from Richard Kuprewicz: http://patch.com/A-0S9B
Lori Barnett January 08, 2013 at 01:51 AM
This road should never have been opened. It was a mistake. The city knows that. They will NEVER admit it. They have their "statistics" which of course show that there are no problems on this road. That's because they are numbers. The real live people on this road can tell you a completely different story. A real one.

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