Opinion

More views will equal safer roads in North Bend

When avalanches close Snoqualmie Pass, all of North Bend turns into a truck stop.

During shutdowns this winter, King County Sheriff’s Deputies counted hundreds of trucks entering the city, converging on North Bend’s TravelCenters of America hub. Drivers who couldn’t get a stall—and that was the vast majority—wound up parking along the highway or rumbling on city streets.

There’s a reason that part of North Bend is called Truck Town. The former name of the truck hub passed into local lexicon and is synonymous for many with the east edge of the community.

Truck traffic and an industrial feel still define the place, but change has come. New industry and new schools are located there. Recently annexed into city limits, the area is poised to grow. Among possible projects is expanded trucking services—much in need, if you listen to the truckers—but the area could also become a center of industry, jobs and housing.

We know that Truck Town needs change. But how do we fix it and keep the easternmost part of the city livable and prosperous? Loop roads and low-emissions tech, anyone? Ideas, hopefully, will come as the city takes comment, studies transportation impacts and sets a vision as part of its latest comprehensive plan update.

Some residents have already approached the council on this matter, raising specific concerns about the proposed scope of a transportation study that’s part of North Bend’s comp plan update.

More, and more official, opportunities for public involvement and study are coming soon, and I encourage attendance by residents and anyone with a stake in the future shape of North Bend.

I think more viewpoints will equal safer roads. That’s because the broader the involvement, the clearer the picture, allowing the city to better focus its energies in study and planning.

This kind of open public participation is good for cities. Hopefully, those folks who come to the Tanner/Truck Town transportation sessions will stay involved after this issue is off the table.

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