With the General Election just around the corner, The Woodinville Weekly posed one question to candidates: What is the single most important issue Woodinville is facing in the next two to three years? The following are their responses.
City of Woodinville Council Position 6
I'm Al Taylor and have served on the Woodinville City Council (in Position 6) for the past four years and council appointed commissions for eight years.
Growth is the most important issue facing Woodinville; specifically, managing growth while maintaining our rural charm.
I will strive to preserve neighborhood zoning while improving infrastructure across the city. We must address traffic issues, pedestrian safety and availability of recreational and retail opportunities in our city of 5.5 square miles.
Properly managing growth will also involve large-scale engineering projects such as improved access to 522, completion of the downtown grid roads, re-engineering the railroad trestle and linking our parks via a network of trails from the Sammamish Slough to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land to the Northeast of the city.
These tasks will be a challenge but I believe we can complete them all with the right leadership. I have collaborated with my fellow Council members to renovate DeYoung Park, to adopt new tree canopy preservation guidelines, to approve downtown housing and retail projects, all while being a stalwart steward of the City's budget.
My wife, Debbie, and I have lived in Woodinville for 24 years. Our children, Alexandra and Andrew, grew up here. Between the beautiful scenery and excellent schools, living here has been a blessing for my family.
I serve on the City Council as a way to give back to the community that has given me so much to be grateful for. By using my professional background in engineering paired with a desire to serve my community,
I want to ensure that all current and future residents have the same opportunities that my family has had. For these reasons, I am running for re-election.
I believe the most important issue facing Woodinville in the next few years is the interplay between growth and our transportation infrastructure.
As I talk with voters all over Woodinville, they consistently tell me they would like less congestion on our roads, better transit, more trails, and better sidewalks.
I believe our priority should be to protect Woodinville’s greatest qualities while responsibly managing its growth. This is centered on an approach where we concentrate our growth downtown. This allows us to create a vibrant, walkable downtown while simultaneously preserving the character of our neighborhoods.
As a member of the Planning Commission, I have voted as such. Some on Council seem to propose changes that would require increasing density in residential neighborhoods. Quickly acquiescing to developers’ requests will lead to irresponsible development.
We should be more deliberate, and active, in how we manage growth. Why will only half of the upcoming BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) trips go all the way to Woodinville? Why did our city not submit any projects for the $100M pool of money made available to cities as part of ST3? Our current elected officials dropped the ball. This is our money!
Woodinville's problems will require cooperation with our sister cities, both King and Snohomish counties and Washington State. Fixing the 522 intersection at Dairy Queen, the downtown train trestle or transit improvements will require cooperation.
I am very proud to have earned the endorsement from most Mayor and Deputy-Mayor of neighboring cities, and from many regional leaders like County and State officials.
While others promise false quick fixes, my promise is to work hard within an existing network of contacts to find tangible solutions.
Running a growing city like Woodinville is becoming a complex endeavor. We need a systematic approach. Capital Improvement Plans should be ordered by priority and staff instructed to work on them from most to least important. No more “pet projects” which jump to the front of the line.
Our government needs to be fair and accountable. I hope to earn your vote this November.
Keep Woodinville moving forward.
City of Woodinville Council Position 7
The single most important issue I feel facing Woodinville in the next two to three years is transportation (traffic congestion).
The railroad trestle has been a choke point for far too long. The current city council is working with the railroad right-of-way owner and other stakeholders on a solution that will work for all parties. We are proposing an eight-lane roadway under the trestle that would significantly reduce congestion at that site. The trestle will become a bike and pedestrian path connecting with other nearby trails.
Our neighborhoods must remain safe places to walk and bike. I will advocate for best solutions – sidewalks, barriers, lane markers and/or signage to separate cars from bikes and pedestrians – proposing these capital improvement projects into our six-year budget.
I propose no up-zoning of R-1 residential areas. That would only add to traffic congestion. Commercial growth should only occur in designated GMA allowed areas, so that our residents can more easily travel from their homes to shopping, restaurants, services, and recreation. I welcome new development to our city but will hold developers accountable for adequate parking and road improvements.
I am involved with several regional transportation organizations as the elected representative for City Council. We are developing plans to improve transportation between our east side cities. We are working for solutions that benefit the entire region so that trips to Bellevue, Bothell, Kirkland, and others are easier and faster for all of us.
Our city has recently built two north-south connector roads with roundabouts that are helping alleviate traffic on 175th Street. I support more of these traffic congestion mitigating improvements in our most overcrowded traffic areas.
I would appreciate your vote to retain me on the Woodinville City Council.
During my time on council, our city has embarked on several construction projects and more are being finalized. We are managing growth and associated transportation issues.
Please keep Woodinville moving forward to a more vibrant future.
The most important issue facing Woodinville is rapid growth. We are at a moment of unprecedented growth in and around our city and how we manage that growth will define us for decades.
At this unique moment, we have some choices to make. We can either embrace the status quo, or we can challenge it. We can let growth and development occur haphazardly, or with strategic vision and bold leadership, we can bring intentionality to our city’s growth.
We can watch passively from the sidelines as our city loses its distinctive character and charm, or we can roll up our sleeves to protect what we cherish in our community, including its rural character, surrounding farmlands, and the small-town feel that makes Woodinville home.
My first priority, if elected, would be to ensure responsible growth in Woodinville. We need forward-facing, long-term planning instead of reactionary policymaking.
It is crucial that we make strategic investments in infrastructure, including a comprehensive network of bike paths, safe city sidewalks, and roadways that support our population.
We can solve our traffic troubles and other infrastructure deficiencies with prudent planning instead of hasty reactions to easily foreseen problems. Responsible growth requires careful consideration of the environmental impacts of development. We need green building codes and sensible policies that promote long-term environmental sustainability.
Responsible growth means rejecting strip mall zoning, supporting small, local businesses, and planning for future parks and public spaces. I am committed to creating responsible zoning that ensures a dense, pedestrian-friendly downtown, protects our neighborhoods, preserves farmlands and forests, and safeguards our watersheds.
With growth comes both challenges and opportunities. I believe that with careful management we can tackle the challenges we face and embrace the opportunities before us; ensuring a bright and prosperous future for Woodinville.
This kind of progress can only happen, however, if we commit ourselves to community cooperation. We need to engage in productive civil discourse instead of destructive personal attacks. We need to rise above the muck and mire of petty politics and come together for the betterment of the whole community.
Together we can do better.