Sammamish City Council gets an update on the Transportation Master Plan project

Firm reports on project schedule, initial results of concurrency tests at several intersections.

The Sammamish City Council got an update to the work being done on the city’s new Transportation Master Plan and Concurrency Policy at the council meeting on Jan. 16.

The city heard a report from transportation consultants Fehr and Peers on the project schedule, the initial results of concurrency tests at several intersections throughout the city, and had a discussion on three policy and investment scenarios.

For the concurrency test recap, the presentation showed three different methods on how to use intersection wait times to form a concurrency policy. Fehr and Peers used 2016 a.m. and p.m. peak hour traffic data and showed how each intersection would pass or fail the current standards.

“We have the info coming from the intersection being monitored, we are also using real time data that the city has procured,” Councilmember Ramiro Valderrama said. “We can show that information as to what is the delays of the turning, so we can have a more real-time user experience. When [drivers] are in there and stopping to make a turn, does that capture how far the queue is in the lane?”

Valderrama said he was concerned that the data showed only a few intersections succeeding in the best base scenario, with the majority failing to meet the standards.

“My two concerns are, by changing models are we going to uncover or determine deficiencies our citizens have to pay?” he said. “And what does this do to how the city charges impact fees; we currently have the highest impact fees in the state, we want to make sure we don’t jeopardize that.”

The three investment scenarios outlined the city’s choices for policy, operations and capital investment.

Fehr and Peers created the scenarios as different ways to achieve the priorities laid out in the Transportation Master Plan.

The first scenario was the Locally Connected Community, which emphasizes connections within the city using existing streets and trails, such as connecting dead-end streets, improving trails and sidewalks to promote walking, and improving signals and crossings.

The second scenario, Regionally Connected Community, focused on the larger connections in and out of Sammamish by increasing the capacity of the big roads that have a lot of traffic flow in the morning and evenings and improving the transit service. Making improvements for regional connections would mean a greater focus on east-west routes and new entrances and exits to the city.

Fehr and Peers also suggested lobbying Sammamish’s transportation partners in the region to get improvements on non-city roads like State Route 202.

The final investment scenario the firm outlined was the Safe Community. Designed to address problematic areas that have a history of collisions, this scenario focused on safety for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The scenario included increasing the importance of walking and biking crossings at main intersections, geometric and operation improvements to the intersections and better lighting on streets and trails.

The presentation was only an interim report, Valderrama said, and the full traffic modeling project is scheduled to be completed by March, while the full Transportation Master Plan is planned to be completed by the end of 2018.

Fher and Peers will be coming back to the City Council on Feb. 13 to continue policy discussion, and on March 12 for more on the investment scenarios and to determine the council’s preferred policy approach.