LETTER ABOUT TRAFFIC AT REDMOND MIDDLE SCHOOL
By Susan Wilkins
By Susan Wilkins
The Redmond Municipal Code states:
10.52.145 Fire lanes.
(a) Fire Lane Parking Prohibited.
(1) No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle or maintain any obstruction within any fire lane.
The drop-off lanes in the two parking lots in front of Redmond Middle School are designated FIRE LANES so it is illegal for parents to pull into the lanes and drop off their students or to wait for them at the end of school.
The pick-up/drop-off lanes in the RMS parking lots were improperly designed when the school was rebuilt in 2002 but the Redmond Police and Fire Departments never made an issue of the defect or required the school district to fix it. I wrote a letter to the City of Redmond Police Department last fall 2012 asking them to address the Fire Lane violations at the front of Redmond Middle School. Greg Palmer who does Traffic Calming for the City phoned me to discuss the issue. Basically he said that the City wasn’t going to do anything about it because it had been that way for so long. He also said – and this is significant - that nobody had complained about it. I noted that I had just filed a complaint and that was why he was calling me! Apparently, one complaint isn’t enough. So everybody, call or email and COMPLAIN to the City of Redmond. Tell them to fix the traffic mess at Redmond Middle School !!!
SHORT TERM SOLUTION: The school already has a driveway that leads from the south parking lot and wraps around the back of the building where the busses drop off students. Parents could drive around the back and drop off students without obstructing the fire lanes. The school district should also hire certified traffic flaggers to direct traffic in and out of the parking lot driveways and onto the streets (like they do at Rosa Parks Elementary.)
LONG TERM SOLUTION: The City of Redmond should require the school district to redesign their parking lot and entrance/exit configuration so that parents are not using the fire lanes for pick-up and drop off. The redesign should also accommodate the 400+ cars that pass through the school’s lot every morning so that back-ups don’t cause total obstruction and traffic chaos on 166th Avenue NE and NE 104th Street. Redmond Middle School is located on a 24-acre parcel with the school building squeezed onto the northeast corner of the lot. There is plenty of extra space on the property to relocate entrances/exits, driveways, drop-off zones and parking lots.
Two years ago I posted a video of the typical driving antics that occur at RMS/RJH every morning. You can view it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=J4a4aG05O44. We wouldn’t tolerate traffic like this from a WalMart, would we?
A more important question to ask is why are so many students being driven to school every morning? Where are all the Lake Washington School District buses? If the school district provided quality, efficient bus service to the outlying neighborhoods along NE 116thStreet to the north, along NE 104th Street to the east and along 166thAvenue NE down the hill to the south, car traffic through the parking lots would be significantly reduced. It used to be that students had to live more than 1 radius-mile from the school to be eligible for school bus transportation, but in September 2011, the Legislature changed the bussing formula and any student who has to walk more than a mile along existing streets became eligible for bus transportation. The LWSD Transportation website still says that students must live outside a 1-mile radius in order to be eligible for bus transportation. The school district needs to wake up and read the RCW (28A.160.160) and start providing bus service to students who are eligible under the new 1-mile walk route guidelines and not under the old 1-mile radius rule!!!
Even if the school district adds more bus transportation to Redmond Middle School and reduces the traffic backups on 166thAvenue and 104th Street, the practice of using the fire lanes as drop-off and pick-up lanes is illegal and needs to stop. Someday there is going to be an emergency at RMS or at a nearby residence and the fire trucks and ambulances will not be able to get through in time.
Please take a moment and contact the City of Redmond and tell them to fix the Redmond Middle School traffic problems. Contacts are listed below.
Mayor John Marchione: firstname.lastname@example.org
Redmond City Council Members: email@example.comRedmond Traffic: https://www.redmond.gov/
By Susan Wilkins