What a great day to be outside running errands! 70 degrees in April and I had to find my sun hat. It’s a good thing too because it was one of Redmond’s worst showings. I guess that’s the problem with paying attention to these things. Today’s trip involved dropping off four baby carriers at the Puget Sound Family Fest at Redmond Town Center and picking up a loaf of bread since I’d forgotten one when I walked to the grocery store in the morning.
I started down Old Redmond Road. It’s nicer to take the Bridle Crest Trail, but I had to get the carriers there for a presentation and didn’t have much time. At 140th, I reached a dreaded “sidewalk closed” sign. Redmond doesn’t seem to have any qualms about sidewalks just disappearing (and more on this later). I didn’t take a picture but it’s from this same construction site:
Because if you’re going to add some houses, it’s important to widen a tenth of a mile street so that everyone feels like driving faster. I assume it’s actually about providing free car storage, but it will probably serve both purposes as well as increase the crossing length.
I barely missed the light at 148th and had to wait a while to cross. This was the first of several fairly long waits on the trip. There’s been talk recently about how we design our roads for the peak traffic of 5% of the day, making them unpleasant for the other 95%. One of the fixable things from that would be not using peak light timings all of the time. At least waiting for a stream of cars feels productive in some twisted way. Waiting for air to flow by? Ah, nice, warm, wonderful April air. I guess the driver waiting alongside me missed that.
The rest of the trip to Redmond Town Center was uneventful, and I found the event… inside. I suppose they plan for the worst, but what a waste. Related to that, is there a good reason why the road through the center is ever open to cars? It’s a pretty pleasant place until you step off of the curb and have to defend yourself. At least the crosswalks and stop signs keep the speeds down.
After the drop-off, I took a quick excursion up and back on Education Hill, straight up 166th. First I discovered this gem at Redmond Way:
When I looked closely, I saw that it had been broken off at the ground but the wire was still connected. It still worked! It looked like someone had managed to drive into it. I felt a bit less safe standing there on the corner.
A few intersections after that, I hit a green light with red pedestrian signal (why???). I hit the beg button and got an immediate green. There was a car plenty far back so I crossed immediately. That got me a honk as the car went through behind me. It has now occurred to me that mid-light pedestrian signals are a bit dangerous. A driver sees a green light and a red pedestrian signal, doesn’t check again, and then there’s someone crossing the street. This is an unforeseen problem with trying to grant the green pedestrian signal at a strange time. Just leave it green until the end!
I’ve generally found the traffic in downtown Redmond to be pretty calm, though I don’t tend to be there during rush hour and my weekend runs are usually earlier in the morning. Today seemed more, well, car-ish. I’ve often wondered how the wide-feeling streets lead to calm traffic, and part of the answer is the frequent intersections and the other part is that sometimes they don’t. This person was upset at not being able to make the left turn at speed. Or jealous that I was in that nice weather.
At the next intersection, I was greeted by this, which has been there for a while:
So, after an unpleasant experience in a crosswalk, I get to add two unnecessary ones for the convenience of a developer. Redmond, you really need an enforced policy about this. It’s a hole in your walkability story.
Then I noticed an interesting thing at the top of the hill (100th). From the southeast corner, here is the view to the west:
Redmond Junior High School is on the west side of 166th, just north of this intersection. First, the no crossing sign means that it takes two street crossings instead of one to get to the school. Safe routes to school! The second is that while the east-west crossing has a pedestrian signal, the north-south one does not. I can’t think of any nearby crossings at lights that don’t have pedestrian signals. And the main thing I could think of was that no pedestrian signal meant that it couldn’t be red while the light was green. Hooray!
Then, other than a bad decision crossing W Lake Sammamish (right, it’s five lanes before getting to the island that separates the “on-ramp”), I took the same route back, picking up my loaf of bread.