Friday, October 31, 2014

Redmond is in an awkward transition of growth

OPINION:  Driving or walking around Redmond one gets the feeling our city is in an awkward transition of growth.  I remember the days 27 years ago where anytime you walked into a Redmond store or on a sidewalk you would recognize someone - a neighbor, a friend, an acquaintance.  Redmond was a small town back then and had that cozy small town feeling.  Oh, have the times changed as Microsoft continues to grow and impact our lifestyle.  Thank God for social media where we can stay in touch with those we know even if it's virtual.

Of course the landscape is changing around Redmond.  Just look at the "Big Box" six story apartments and their construction cranes all around town.  Every new complex has the same one dimensional flat topped architecture.  It's kind of boring and confining.  One friend commented that our city is now hightly populated by transients -- apartment workers with visas. What kind of contribution do they make to our neighborhoods?  Sometimes I feel I'm in another country with the urban diversity we now have.  One of the upsides is we have a growing number of international restaurants and shops.

But do you like where the city is headed?  The City Council now devotes much of their time to regional transportation issues, regional stormwater pipes, and the like.  Getting around Redmond especially during commuting times is now horrifying to many.  Recently a reader wrote a popular Letter to this blog griping about the nightmare we now have with traffic.  It was seconded by many other readers.  The rechannelization on 166th was constructed for safety reasons but it turned more into a commuting problem than expected by the city. Just wait until the city turns Cleveland Street and Redmond Way into two-way roads.  Traffic and gridlock can be expected there, though it's intended to revitalize the downtown business district.

Redmond recently was awarded one of the best city's to live in by Money Magazine. And the Mayor is quite proud of this, as he should.  Redmond has a lot going for it with our parks, trails, vibrant economy, good schools,low crime and affluent, high employment characteristics.  But no city is perfect and Redmond is proving this.  What do you think? 

By Bob Yoder


Jean Avery said...

I agree that Redmond is in transition, but I would disagree that people 'on visas' are a bad thing in our community. It is a great thing that my kids attend a multicultural school, get to live with and learn with people of different cultures. And with the costs of housing skyrocketing, anyone who can't afford a half million dollars is likely to be a renter. I think a positive solution would be for Redmond to do more to share its history and honor the small-town/WEstern atmosphere through art and longer-term cultural displays/events/opportunities.

Bob Yoder said...

Thank you for sharing, Jean. I agree there is much good that comes from diversity and you make some great points.

Anonymous said...

Still unsure how anyone could've thought that the rechannelization of 166th wasn't going to be a huge traffic headache. I live on Education Hill and they managed to make the one decent way to get up/down the hill during commute hours so much worse. Some days I debate between 166th and Avondale, and that's just crazy.

Linda Seltzer said...

It changes the character and the ecology of a neighborhood when the native, historic trees are torn down and when the new trees planted are not the native species. Trees that are all the same species spaced at equal intervals in a straight line do not replace the natural landscape of the historic Douglas firs and the other native evergreen species. Washington is called the Evergreen State. Does it want to be called the Street Trees state?

Anonymous said...

RE Linda @ 11/1 8:18 AM:

None of the trees now growing in Redmond are native, historic trees.

The native, historic trees were all cut down over a century ago and we now have predominantly third and fourth-growth (generation) trees. Trees are a wonderful renewable resource!

Redmond is within the urban growth boundary area where higher density (and thus, less trees) are the compromise we make for preserving more natural spaces elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Why have all the trees been cut along 520 on the edge of Town Center? It used to be a beautiful green space. Now they continue to move dirt around and plant tiny trees. For what purpose?