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.



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?

Bob McCoy January 05, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Yes, connectivity is better, and traffic volumes for most of us in the area are more equally shared. Additionally, as the city's studies show, speeds are the same, or lower, throughout the study area, with one exception, where they have increased by two (2) mph on eastbound SE 32nd, approaching 228th Ave SE. Volumes are up by almost 1,100 trips per day, since the barricade came down, and as more new houses come online, there will be less pressure on everyone's streets with the barricade removed. Is it worth the cost? Probably not to the few homes within 400 yards either side of the barricade. To the many homes who have hundreds fewer vehicles passing their homes daily, and with those vehicles at lower speeds, it has made us all safer. That a driver lost control and sideswiped a car is not reason to blame the lack of a barricade, to state that one section of residential roadway is more dangerous than any other, or to state that one is selling a house because there's no barricade. Besides, if you move to Issaquah, you'll still have to drive to Sammamish to get free plastic bags with your groceries. Life is full of big compromises. Bags and barricades probably aren't in that group for the mainstream.
Jeanne Gustafson January 05, 2013 at 07:56 PM
What do you think about Lisa's suggestion of a speed bump near there? Lots of Bellevue neighborhoods have them, and it definitely controls the speed, in my opinion. Sounds like it could be a reasonable addition, as a layperson.
Bob Post January 05, 2013 at 10:33 PM
I agree with Lisa and Jeanne. It is time for the City to install a speed bump. Nothing else has seemed to work and we have to slow these cars down permanently for the safety of our kids.
Cathy Bart January 06, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Obviously connectivity is better. Volume is not the issue in my opinion. I live on 32nd and have since 1979. This is the first out of control car wreck we have had on this street in the time that I have lived here so I would say that it very much is relevant to the barricade having been removed. This kind of driving on this street is not an isolated incident. I have seen this particular vehicle speeding on this street time and again, and there are many others. The issue is a total lack of respect for one's neighbors. not to mention the law. Speeds on this street are not down, particulary on the west side where no traffic mitigation has been done. The speed study results were based on the tube readers being placed not in a spot where maximum speeds are being reached. . The studies also shed zero light on the other non-speed related issues that are happening. People are running the stop signs, and going around the circles on the wrong side, which has also caused an accident. We need speed bumps. That car could have just as easily been a kid on a bike or a pedestrian. That would be a big compromise.
Lisa Patnode January 06, 2013 at 03:12 AM
I appreciate that everyone has an opinion. I will only speak to my experience. We moved into this neighborhood because it had a dead end road and a field across the street. As we watched the trees be torn down, I figued that change would acure, but I never dreamed that the barrier would be reomoved. My one desire to raise my children on a safe street that they could ride bikes, skateboard and hang out with friends, had quickly been reomoved. I remember the day I brought the kids home from school and the barrier had been removed. Like most days, they grabbed their bikes and headed to the street. Little did they know, cars would be speeding by. I immediately pulled them from the street and brought them into the house. This was the first of many talks about how we will no longer be riding our bikes on 32nd ST. From that point on, we had increased noise. This led us to not being able to sleep in the bedrooms that were road side. We had to keep the kids from walking to the car without supervision. We no longer could allow our children to ride in the driveway. Cars came fast and clueless of what was on our road; innocent children. Not only do they speed up to make it up the hill, they have wrote off the speed limit warnings, disregared our children on the side walk, and not slowed down for the Pine Lake Middle School students walking home. I have watched cars park across our home and been busted by police for drugs.
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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