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Snoqualmie explores neighborhood vision

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

the policies."

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:

Downtown

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."

Railroad West

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.

Meadowbrook

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

commercial areas.

"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.

Maskrod's Corner

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.

Greek Streets

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.

Kimball Creek

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.

Northern

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.

Snoqualmie Ridge

Planners said Snoqualmie Ridge's design standards are adequate for

the city.

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.

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