Tollgate = too many problems

Letter to the Editor.

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 4:10am
  • Opinion

The proposed development of Tollgate Farm and Estates in North Bend will create a number of unwanted problems in the Valley area, including the paving of a flood-prone area, loss of our rural landscape, light pollution and more traffic than our roads are designed to accommodate.

The environmental impact statement (EIS) indicates that the development could bring up to 3,000 new jobs (and vehicles) to North Bend. To put this in perspective, North Bend has a population of roughly 4,000, probably less than 3,000 of which are of legal driving age. As a result, we could double the number of vehicles on our roads plus a huge number of trucks coming in and out of this development.

The EIS assumes the vast majority would use Exit 27, with the remainder using Exit 31 and Highway 202. Who is going to pay for this? Not out of the developer’s pocketbook if they get their way. The Valley residents will end up paying for it from a safety and convenience standpoint. The developer’s solution is to remove the stop sign from the bottom of the Exit 27 off-ramp. Exit 27 is an extremely dangerous exit for more than a few vehicles to take at one time. This exit is prone to snow in the winter, is on a steep downward grade and is extremely short. The turn onto North Bend Way is close to a 90-degree turn, which means that cars will almost have to come to a complete stop, even if the stop sign is removed, or face running off the road. Traffic will likely back up onto I-90, creating a dangerous meeting point with the merging lane from Highway 18. Vehicles will be forced to find alternative routes, including Exit 31, which is already overtaxed, and the Snoqualmie Parkway, which is bringing more traffic through Snoqualmie.

If this development and the gravel pit go through, there will be hundreds of additional semi-trucks in town and on I-90. The second part of the development includes 34 houses in Tollgate Estates near Ballarat and Eighth Street. During peak rush hour and weekends, it is nearly impossible to turn either direction from Ballarat onto North Bend Way. This is a very dangerous intersection, and many choose to cut through neighborhoods and parking lots to avoid this turn.

The developer’s plan is to install a traffic light only if traffic-count studies and the city require it. Earlier counts by a local family already show that the original developer did not count traffic accurately. If this project goes forward, a stoplight should be mandatory.

There are a number of reasons to oppose this development, and we encourage the residents of the Valley to say, “No, we won’t accept uncontrolled growth.”

Rob Harris

North Bend

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