Snoqualmie explores neighborhood vision
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:47 PM
SNOQUALMIE _ If Snoqualmie were sectioned off into
neighborhoods, then it could be broken up into eight distinct areas that
the Snoqualmie Planning Department has named Maskrod's Corner,
Kimball Creek, Greek Streets, Downtown, Railroad West, Meadowbrook,
Northern and Snoqualmie Ridge.
The neighborhood grouping is part of a new design element that will
be placed in this year's Comprehensive Plan update, which looks at "what
we can do to enhance and support existing character and maintain the
small-town character [of Snoqualmie]," said Planning Director Nancy Tucker.
The design plan can also be used as a tool to guide future projects in
the city, said Kristy Lakin, a temporary planner for the city.
"In the Comprehensive Plan, they're just policies," she said.
"This will set some framework to then go in and make some changes based on
For example, Lakin said that if the city plans to do major construction
on a certain area, then city officials could refer to the design element to
determine if they should install a pedestrian sidewalk along the road, improve
the street's lighting, or do both.
City planners presented their ideas at a workshop on Wednesday, May
31. Another session was scheduled for this week; however, the planning team
decided to postpone the meeting. The workshop's date and time were
not available before the Valley Record went to press.
The city's design proposals included the following neighborhoods:
The boundaries of the Downtown area are created by the
Snoqualmie River, the railroad line and the Greek Streets. Since most of the city's
businesses lie in this corridor, much attention is given to pedestrian, tourist
and vehicle access. Some solutions include installing electronic pedestrian
crossing lights on Railroad Avenue, providing an information kiosk at key
historical locations and creating more parking spaces.
The city also wants to draw more storefronts to Falls Avenue,
which would create a block of businesses instead of concentrating
everyone along Railroad Avenue.
"We don't have a whole lot of frontage (on the main street),"
Tucker said. "So extending that and bringing in the side streets to draw
people around the corner [will] redevelop Falls Avenue instead of just
having rears [of the buildings] facing Falls Avenue."
This section is bordered by the Kimball Creek neighborhood to
the south, the railroad tracks and the Snoqualmie Valley School
District's main office. The numerous five-way intersections along Maple
Avenue present one of the most challenging aspects of this neighborhood.
City planners suggest creating landscaped traffic circles to combat the
current situation. Other proposals include adding trees along Silva and
Olmstead streets and Doone Avenue; upgrading, widening or creating sidewalks;
and promoting the businesses and services on River Street.
The Meadowbrook neighborhood is sectioned off by the
Snoqualmie River, the single family residential zoning to the west, the parks and
open space zoning to the east and Meadowbrook Way to the south.
One of the city's goals would be to promote business growth in the
"The buildings are plain now, but with some restoration it could be
a really neat site," said Mike McCarty, assistant planner. "With new
facades and street improvements you might see more interest in the area and
encourage more uses."
Planners also suggested converting several vacant lots in the
neighborhood into parks and open spaces or a community pea patch garden.
This neighborhood is surrounded by Snoqualmie Valley
Lutheran Church, Mount Si High, Snoqualmie Middle School and the railroad
tracks. Since the Meadowbrook Way and State Route 202 intersection is a
major Snoqualmie gateway from North Bend and Interstate 90, planners
want to encourage beautification measures. That would include requiring
future developments to create parking spaces behind the businesses, thereby
making the SR-202 corridor more pedestrian friendly. The city also wants
to install a sidewalk between the middle school and the SR-202
and Meadowbrook Way intersection because currently the students
walk along the edge of the road.
The Snoqualmie River, Mount Si High and SR-202 define the
Greek Streets neighborhood. A concern brought up by the people attending
the meeting was that there were no traffic- calming measures in the
proposed plan. They said that some high school students use Meadowbrook Way as
a speedway while Snoqualmie Elementary students are walking to and
from school on the same road. McCarty suggested using signs to
discourage the speeding teens.
"When you have gateway signs people will realize that they're
entering into a neighborhood," he said.
However, the meeting's attendees were wary of that solution.
The railroad, 384th Street, Railroad West neighborhood and
the southern city limits define the boundaries of the Kimball Creek
neighborhood. The main feature in the area is 384th Street, which city
Councilman Dick Kirby described as "one of
the main walking access roads in the city." Therefore, the planners want to
create a bicycle and pedestrian trail along the road.
The homes in the Northern neighborhood are surrounded by
Cedar, Northern, Bruce and Fir streets, and are considered to be the rural part
of the city because of their larger lot sizes.
City officials would like to see sidewalks and planter strips added
to the area, to replace the industrial-looking streetlights with smaller
fixtures and to turn vacant lots into parks and open spaces.
Planners said Snoqualmie Ridge's design standards are adequate for
The draft design element should be completed by the end of this
month; however, officials are not sure when the Snoqualmie Planning
Commission will receive a copy for consideration.