Forcing cars to wait for holiday runners is negligent | Letter
December 20, 2012 · 4:49 PM
Sunday morning I was on my way to work at Bellevue Square. I went up State Street to 68th, where I hit the beginnings of a major road block: the 12ks of Christmas Holiday Run.
There were police officers at the corner letting pedestrians walk, jog, trot and run by. I was just between the entrances into the Houghton Market, about six cars back. As I looked in my rearview mirror I saw cars and a Metro bus starting to form a long line going back down to State and Lakeview.
After about 10 minutes, I called the non-emergency police number and asked if someone could communicate with the officers directing the pedestrians to please halt them every now and then to let some cars through to relieve the backup congestion. The dispatcher told me that if there were uniformed officers directing traffic, no one would contact them.
Frustrated, I turned off my car, got out and locked it, then ran up to the officer closest to me directing the pedestrians. I asked him to please let some of the cars through, that the congestion was starting to get dangerous as people were trying to pull away, turn around, blocking driveways and making U-turns. He refused.
As I was walking back to my car, people were opening their windows asking me what his response was, and getting angry when I relayed it. I was able to turn around in the parking lot and tried taking a few back streets to go towards Bellevue. Finally, I came up to an area where the pedestrians were heading toward the South Kirkland Park and Ride. Another officer tried to tell me to turn around, and I told him I couldn’t as there was nowhere to go “back.” Finally he allowed me to slip through a break in the foot traffic and I managed to get past the pedestrian traffic.
Kirkland needs better traffic control in such situations. Luckily, I had left with an hour to spare, but forcing me to wait for half an hour just to get across Northeast 68th and causing serious traffic issues all to allow pedestrians to move forward in an uninterrupted line across a major city street is tantamount to negligent.
Why did the officers not halt pedestrians every so often and allow cars to go through? What is the justification for creating a major traffic jam in a residential area? How can we prevent this from happening again?
Kristen Fife, Kirkland