The Eastside is growing, and Redmond must accept its share of growth. Yet, this growth does not have to change our city into Seattle. In the last few years, we have seen family businesses in Downtown Redmond give way to rental apartment buildings; the majority of capital investment projects are also located it this area. The cost of Downtown two-way conversion project is over $20 million, total cost for the two-acre park in Downtown Redmond is over $40 million - but all the while, the needs of our city are not limited to Downtown and Overlake neighborhoods.
It is time to review current policies to balance development in designated urban centers with the needs of other neighborhoods, as we all are affected by growth in Downtown and Overlake. We need a proactive approach to address traffic congestion and population growth across the city, with solutions implemented before the approval process of development projects and not afterwards.
Empower Community in Land Use Development
The city staff works for all city residents, and the citizens should not require an attorney for fair land use decisions. We can implement inclusive processes that let the residents influence the city growth directions.
Community involvement was a recurring theme during the last mayoral election, yet current city processes still put the residents at a distinct disadvantage when participating in planning decisions. The community’s feedback is garnered late in the process when the projects are well under way and the developers are at no obligation to address it. City Council members are instrumental in ensuring the residents are properly represented in city planning and when elected, I will make it my foremost priority.
Support Small Local Businesses
Our city is home to many multi-billion-dollar corporations, yet many of our city’s small local businesses are experiencing more than just growing pains. With recent development in urban centers, smaller local businesses are finding themselves moving out of Redmond or closing altogether, especially with lease prices are on the rise. There are ways to support existing local businesses during urban change. Small local businesses are vital to the city’s character, and need our support during rapid urban growth.
Invest into smart traffic planning and monitoring
Today our transportation planning is reactive, and frequently it takes years for improvements to be implemented. When new developments are complete, we do not verify the assumptions made during its approval as well as cumulative effects of multiple projects.
Using today's technology, we can implement real time monitoring solutions for major arterials. That way we can review our traffic forecasts on time and adjust our planning as needed.
Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability
The City of Redmond budget is driven by priorities identified via public survey. For the 2015-2016 budget, the residents identified parks and green spaces, transportation and emergency services as major budgeting priorities. And yet, in 2015 the city ran multi-million-dollar levy propositions for parks and public services. The propositions failed, but the proposed community center construction may well be the target of the future levy. Our city budget priorities should not be based on levies; we can budget for future capital investment projects without tax increases and bonds.