I’ve covered a variety of issues since I started writing this column for the Reporter. Looking back at what I’ve written, the underlying theme becomes obvious: community and community involvement. It takes a neighborhood or a village or a city to solve many of the issues a community faces.
It’s become abundantly clear to me how we need to step out of our busy, hectic lives and work together as a community to solve issues and improve our quality of life.
Sometimes it’s the simplest of ideas that make the most sense. As a society, we struggle to solve so many of our problems. We commission expensive studies and spend considerable time evaluating options, when the right solution can often be the simplest, least expensive option.
The solution to area traffic woes is an issue for many of us. As the Eastside has grown, so has the traffic. With the increasing cost of gas and the longer commute time because of traffic, people are re-thinking transportation options.
Recently, a Highlands neighbor suggested people in the neighborhood get together to carpool. What a simple, straightforward and wonderful idea. We’re looking at these costly, and sometimes nonsensical, ways to improve traffic without looking at simple solutions right in front of us. How ironic it would be if neighbors three blocks apart drove to locations in Seattle that were also only a few blocks apart.
We have the means to make this happen. Kirkland is a city of neighborhoods and neighborhood associations. The associations do a fine job of informing and rallying neighbors around a variety of issues.
Perhaps each neighborhood could develop a carpool component on the neighborhood Web site? People in each of the Kirkland neighborhoods could find others who commute to the same place.
Perhaps this idea could spread to other cities in the area. Ride share/commuting programs could be endorsed by cities and become part of a city’s Web site.
In the Seattle area, some options are already available to commuters. Check online with www.rideshare.com or www.pickuppal.com. For privacy reasons, you can give only the information you deem necessary. For example, you can meet someone at an intersection and not in front of your home.
The reality is neighborhoods can do more to work together. There’s a variety of issues to tackle, whether it’s schools, parks, disaster awareness, commuting or neighborhood picnics. The bottom line for us in today’s world is to use the power of the internet and combine it with the people in a neighborhood to make changes and get things done. Carpooling/ride sharing seems a great place to start.
A member of the Kirkland Senior Council, long-time resident Debra Sinick runs local blog http://kirklandhighlandsrealestatebuzz.com from her Windermere Real Estate’s Yarrow Bay office. Reach her at email@example.com.