On September 26, 2005, I received the findings from the King County Ombudsman to one of my complaints alleging the willful refusal by King County DOT to enforce a critical Redmond Ridge and Trilogy permit condition. My complaint, available within this blog, alleges that
Since May 2004,
In the Ombudsman’s September 26 report, Deputy King County Ombudsman John Stier stated, while referring to my charges, “while you make the very serious suggestion that such a count (October 2004) may exist but is being covered up, you have provided no evidence that either is the case.”
While I did not have evidence that such a count existed or that it was being covered up at the time, I did have two responses from DOT to Public Disclosure Act requests that had failed to provide any evidence that this October count existed. Given Mr. Stier’s suggestion that DOT had provided him a “report” suggesting such a count had been done, I submitted another PDA request last month and specifically asked for this October 2004 traffic count data from King County DOT. No such data was included in the ombudsman’s findings, only hearsay that DOT had claimed to have such data.
I’ve now just received the response to that request. Once again, while I received the detailed April 2004 data and the new detailed October 2005 data, I received no data identified for the alleged October 2004 count. The only reference to a possible count done in October 2004 was a single row in a table, identified in a row labeled only as “2004”, in a memo from Quadrant’s traffic consultant to King County. The values in that row differ from those from the April 2004 count, so I am only making an assumption that these numbers are from October. Except for these unidentified numbers, there is no data to support these numbers like the data received for April 2004 and October 2005, or even evidence that they are from October or any other period during 2004.
In this latest information for the October 2005 traffic count, the data shows, remarkably, that traffic volumes eastbound from the intersection at 208th have decreased since April 2004. The likelihood of this occurring defies all logic and common sense given the hundreds of homes constructed since then. How could measured volumes decrease with hundreds of new homes constructed since April 2004? Once again, though, King County DOT is hiding behind a convenient explanation provided to them by Quadrant’s traffic consultant.
In that same memo referred to above from a James Webb, who works for Quadrant’s traffic consultant, Transpo, Webb attempts to explain the decrease as the result of the “back door” connection between Trilogy and NR 133rd that was opened in July 2004. As is typical for every assumption made out of convenience to help Weyerhaeuser, this claim is equally flawed. Webb even admits that the roadway was being used only “sparingly” in October 2004, three months after its opening, as it should given its lack of benefit to commuters in the PM commute. That roadway is an illogical path for PM commuters. Only southbound
Northbound commuters, which represent the “primary” commute direction on
Simply put, the increased number of cars heading “west” on Novelty Hill Road that are turning south onto 208th are causing the light at Novelty Hill Road and 208th to restrict eastbound traffic more today than in April 2004. Additional northbound cars on 208th turning west onto Novelty Hill Road have also increased, again increasing the amount of time eastbound cars are sitting at that light and unable to move east through the intersection. If eastbound cars can’t get through the intersection, the volumes sufficient to trigger the threshold can never occur. Given the increasing back-up of those eastbound cars to the west of that intersection, which is now regularly more than one mile, and on some occasions all the way back onto Avondale Road, that intersection is not only saturated, but failed a long time ago.
Should this be a surprise to King County DOT? No! It was
As a result of their manipulation, or "cooking the books" as we called it, instead of adjusting the design capacities for
As far as I know, King County DOT could be setting the cycle time on that light specifically to prevent a volume of 1,350 vph from occurring on the east side of that intersection, regardless of the impacts to growing traffic congestion.
In April 2004, volumes reached 1,340 vph on the PM commute, or just 10 cars short of triggering the threshold. 6 months later, if I assume that one reference in my PDA response to be for October 2004, volumes reached 1,343 vph, or just 7 cars short of the threshold. But then 12 months later, according to the data received and the addition of hundreds of new homes and commuters using the roadway, the volume has been reduced to a maximum level of 1,312? This is absurd, if not explained by the restrictive nature of the 208th intersection on eastbound flows.
Here is the count data I have as it applies to the 1,350 vph threshold(vehicles per hour):
Dismissing Transpo’s convenient explanation based on the illogical use of the Trilogy back door by PM commuters is easy, because the facts demonstrate the truth. The decrease that was measured after the back door was opened continued with no evidence that anyone was using that back door at all for commuting.
The intersection at
If King County DOT had properly and reasonably exercised their “discretion”, based on the facts and reasonable and honest judgment, they would have used the authority they were granted in the Redmond Ridge and Trilogy permit to do the honest and responsible thing, which would have been to adjust the threshold to a level that demonstrated a measured volume that indicated saturation and failure of that intersection. Instead they have done nothing but look the other way and defend the continued issuing of permits. They are even trying to defend their approvals of 800 more homes in Redmond Ridge East through even more dishonest manipulation and imagination. This is unbelievable!!!!
Given the traffic back-ups that existed long before April 2004 and that have only increased to date, using what has been proven out to be a volume greater than the absolute peak value of cars capable of navigating this intersection, was a grotesque and disgusting volume level to define failure of this intersection. To hide behind the failure of this trigger to be reached while stop and go traffic congestions reaches back towards
This threshold was suspected and alleged 8 years ago to have been concocted as an unachievable level to make the only significant permit condition, aimed at protecting the local road system, only a façade that would leave Quadrant to build every home despite the growing congestion. Given the design capacity of the roadways entering the intersection from the south and west, which are both 2-lane roads with design capacities less than 1,000 vph, establishing this trigger at 1,350 vph was clearly designed by DOT to deceive the community. And again, DOT’s failure to correct the error today, only proves their corrupt intent and determination to continue to defraud the citizens in this area who are now living with the consequences of their corrupt acts.
King County DOT’s continued refusal to address these now-shrinking volumes, which are no doubt the result of the failure of this intersection, is evidence of their bias, conflict of interest, and continued “arbitrary and capricious” actions to help Weyerhaeuser.
As I’ve stated in responses earlier to Mr. Stier’s suggestions that DOT can commit these acts because they are afforded the discretion to do so, I would simply state again that no one in government has the discretion to commit arbitrary and capricious acts.
Finally, I will state the obvious to everyone reading this. There is not a single honest or reasonable person who could look at that traffic congestion in the AM and PM commutes on
The westbound AM commute on
I believe that King County DOT, DDES, Ron Sims, and the PA's Office have always worked to advance the agenda of Weyerhaeuser, but the continued efforts now to approve Redmond Ridge East while there is such clear evidence of road saturation and gridlock is moving beyond obsene, to something I can't even describe with words.
Will they get away with it - again?