Dear City of Redmond,
You asked for feedback on your capital plan related to the 2009 East Redmond Corridor master plan. We moved to the Evans Creek Valley in 2014 and have greatly enjoyed the elements of the corridor already in place. The master plan is very broad – I’d like to highlight three priorities in today’s context.
- Complete the corridor between Perrigo and Farrel-McWhirther parks for safety and access
I recently cycled from Martin Park to the powerline trail, and I experienced first-hand the difficulty to safely access Farrel-McWhirther park from Perrigo. Novelty Hill is particularly busy and perilous for hikers and bikers, in spite of the recent improvements. Since the city already owns Conrad Olson Park, it is imperative to open the trail through it to NE Redmond Road before the rest of Conrad Olson Park is developed. Similarly, the connection between Martin Park and the existing trail West of 196th in Southeast Bellevue is becoming more important with the anticipated increase in traffic on 188th associated with the opening of Costco next year. These connections should be prioritized over investments in park amenities.
- Expand the master plan to consider the corridor’s overall impact to the Evans Creek Valley, and maintain the rural and agricultural heritage of the valley
Through the many land donations and associated acquisitions, the city has created a strange city/county patchwork in the Evans valley – parks with city services along 196th, King County roads lots, and private lots with county services, if any. Annexation is probably no longer desirable outside the Urban Growth Boundary, but thoughtful planning is necessary: the Evans Valley was left out of most of the improvements on Union and Novelty Hill and has for instance no Comcast Service and very few fire hydrants. Furthermore, Perrigo Park is a great and attractive asset to the city, but is bringing city traffic to rural areas. Will the city bring city services to the parks and leave out their neighbors, or send city police to Perrigo Park to respond to an emergency there, but not to sort out speeding and parking issues along 196th alongside county parcels? I hope the city and county can provide a sensible services solution to this accidental patchwork.
In addition, the master plan acknowledges the rich agricultural history of East Redmond. But reforestation projects such as the one South of the ball fields at Perrigo endanger the openness associated with the rural character of the Evans Creek Valley (and over time will turn the Perrigo park sports fields into a mossy mess). Redmond has many great forested parks – please keep the Evans Creek valley open and rural and avoid re-forestation in these parks.
- Experiment with new recreation activities
Finally, and on a different note, throughout the corridor, the city has an opportunity to experiment with new small scale recreation activities reflecting the diversity of the city – for instance by installing concrete ping pong tables, bocce ball fields and outdoor fitness circuits in addition to the traditional playgrounds. Such low-impact, small footprint assets will make parks attractive to seniors and immigrants as much as to families and athletes.