Future Development of Redmond
What would Redmond be like as a place to live, work, or visit if the community’s values and preferences were achieved? The following vision statement was laid out by City Council in 2003 to describe how the community wants Redmond to look and feel over the next 20 years, and to communicate the major long-term values and preferences expressed by people in the community. The vision statement describes Redmond in the year 2022 if the Comprehensive Plan were implemented.
In 2022, Redmond citizens describe their community as one that is complete, offering a wide range of services, opportunities, and amenities. It’s a community that has gracefully accommodated growth and change while ensuring that Redmond’s high quality of life, cherished natural features, distinct places, and character are not overwhelmed. It’s a place where people are friendly, diversity and innovation are embraced, and action is taken to achieve community objectives. It’s a place that is home to people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, which contribute to the richness of the city’s culture.
Achieving a balance between accommodating growth and preserving Redmond’s unique features and livability was challenging, but over the past 20 years through the clear, shared direction contained in the Comprehensive Plan, the vision has taken shape, and throughout Redmond the results are apparent.
Downtown is an outstanding place to work, shop, live and recreate and is a destination for many in Redmond and in the region. Attractive offices, stores, services, and residential developments have contributed to a new level of vibrancy while retaining a small town feel that appeals to residents and visitors alike. Many more people live Downtown, and housing choices include a significant share of moderately priced residences. Strategic public and private investments have created a true multidimensional urban center with several new and expanded public amenities, including a city hall campus and central park that is a gathering place for the community, an arts and cultural center, a technology museum, a pedestrian connection to Marymoor Park, a Saturday market that is open all year, and a variety of quality arts and cultural programs and performances.
Various portions of Downtown have their own identity, design and appeal yet it is easy to walk, bicycle, use transit or drive between them as well as to the rest of Redmond. Many visitors park in one of the conveniently located garages and walk or take transit to get to their destinations. While pedestrian and bicycle access are emphasized, Downtown also provides for vehicular access and those who wish to drive through have other preferred routes to use. The congestion of 20 years ago has been tempered primarily by providing reasonable and practical transportation alternatives together with improved operations and then increased capacity in strategic locations, such as SR 520 and important connections in the street grid.
Old Town thrives as a focus for retail activity that attracts pedestrians, providing a distinctive selection of stores, restaurants, boutiques, and theater, as well as varied housing. New buildings blend with refurbished buildings, retaining the area’s historic character. Cleveland Street is a pleasant place to walk or sit and people fill the street during the day and evening. The former railroad right-of-way has been transformed to an urban green space that people of all ages enjoy, with places to stroll, gather and talk with others, celebrate, or stop and peek in store windows while walking to Old Town or Redmond Town Center.
Large open spaces, such as the Sammamish River, Anderson Park, and Bear Creek, as well as abundant landscaping and a system of parks and other gathering places, create a sense of Downtown as an urban place within a rich natural environment. A network of walkways, trails, vista points, and plazas enable people to enjoy the natural beauty of the river, views of surrounding hillsides and mountains and other points of interest. Recent developments along the Sammamish River are oriented to and embrace the river, while maintaining adequate natural buffers.
Overlake has become recognized as a regional urban center that is the location of internationally known companies, corporate headquarters, high technology research and development companies, and many other businesses. While intensively and efficiently developed, the employment areas retain their campus-like feel due to attractive landscaping and the protection of significant trees and other important natural features. During the past 20 years, redevelopment of the area in the southernmost part of Overlake has brought retail storefronts closer to the street and improvements to streetscapes to reflect the green character of Redmond, making the area more hospitable to transit, pedestrians and bicyclists. This portion of Overlake has also become much more diverse, featuring small neighborhoods with a mix of housing, small-scale shopping and services to serve employees and residents, and connections to a network of parks, sidewalks, and trails. In many ways Overlake has demonstrated that high technology uses can thrive in a balanced urban setting that offers opportunities to live, work, shop, and recreate to an increasingly diverse workforce.
Residential neighborhoods are treasured for their attractiveness, friendliness, diversity, safety, and quietness. Redmond includes a broad choice of housing types at a range of prices, including affordable homes. During the past 20 years, there has been a lot more variety in the types and prices of new homes constructed in neighborhoods, including more cottages, accessory units, attached homes, and other smaller single-family homes. New homes blend with existing homes and the natural environment, retaining valued characteristics of existing neighborhoods as they continue to evolve. Through careful planning and community involvement, changes and innovation in housing styles and development have been successfully embraced by the whole community.
Redmond has maintained a strong economy and a diverse job base. The City is the home to many small, medium-size and locally owned businesses and services, as well as nationally and internationally recognized corporations. Redmond is widely recognized as a community that is inviting for advanced technology, and businesses are proud to be partners in the community. The City provides a business climate that attracts sustainable development to the community and retains existing businesses. Likewise, the successful companies return benefits directly and indirectly to the community. A prime example of this is the support that both the residents and the business community have given to the school system to create an excellent educational system that serves the needs of citizens of all ages.
Neighborhood and community parks contribute to a high quality of life in Redmond by providing a full array of opportunities ranging from active recreation, such as sports and games, to more restful and reflective activities, such as walking and viewing wildlife. Residents enjoy larger natural areas, such as Watershed and Farrel-McWhirter Park, as well as smaller open spaces and gathering places located throughout the City close to residences and work places. Indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and programs meet the needs of residents of all ages. Known as the bicycle capital of the Northwest, Redmond has developed an excellent system of bike paths and trails that are used for recreation, commuting and riding to schools, parks, and other destinations.
Redmond has embraced energy efficient and environmentally sound transportation systems. The City has invested strategically and leveraged regional funds to improve transportation choices and mobility, and every year more people walk, bicycle, carpool, or use transit or alternative fuel vehicles to travel. Transit service links all of Redmond’s neighborhoods to the hubs of Downtown and Overlake, creating an attractive and practical transportation alternative. Overlake and Downtown are extensively served by high capacity transit that provides easy access to many destinations in the region. Transit stations along the route include shops, restaurants, offices, and residences.
People spend less time traveling and more time where they want to be. All Redmond homes, schools and businesses have high-speed access to information and communication. More neighborhoods and workplaces are served by nearby stores and services that are small in scale and well designed. Significant investments in SR 520, I-405, and regional and local transit routes have improved mobility for people and goods. In Redmond, roadway projects have been built where needed to improve safety and operating efficiency, and the City has maintained a good system of access and circulation for delivery and freight. Most streetscapes are attractive and functional for various travel modes, with street trees and landscaped areas that separate pedestrians from traffic.
Infrastructure and services have been provided to meet the needs of a growing population as well as to correct existing deficiencies. The planning and placement of utilities in Redmond has supported the community’s vision for the location and amount of growth. Long-term planning for utilities has contributed to a high quality of life for Redmond residents and businesses by ensuring efficient utility delivery. Proper utility planning has also protected Redmond’s natural environment and resources. Upgrades to the sewer system have eliminated many septic systems, thereby controlling contaminants released into the environment. The City has protected the natural environment by developing systems to prevent excess storm run-off, by designing and upgrading systems and plans to prevent damage to the environment, and by fostering conservation.
Redmond has excellent police and fire protection and well-maintained and dependable public facilities. The community continues to enjoy a rapid fire and emergency response, professional police work, beautiful parks, pure water, and effective wastewater and stormwater management because the capital facilities needed to provide these services were, and still are, planned for the long-term. An efficient multi-modal transportation system has taken shape and is continually improved. This long-term planning for services and facilities carries out the Comprehensive Plan goals and policies, such that new development and new services and facilities arrive concurrently.
Redmond citizens embrace and support the high quality educational, cultural, and recreational facilities in the community. The City works as a partner with schools, businesses, service providers, and other organizations and jurisdictions to help strengthen a human services network that provides vulnerable persons the food, shelter, job training, child care, and other services they need to become more independent.
Redmond in 2022 has maintained a very green character. The City is framed within a beautiful natural setting and open spaces and an abundance of trees continue to define Redmond’s physical appearance. A system of interconnected open spaces provides habitat for a variety of wildlife. The City prides itself for its environmental stewardship, including an emphasis on sustainable land use and development patterns, landscaping that requires little watering, and other techniques to protect and conserve the natural environment while flourishing as a successful urban community. Lake Sammamish and the Sammamish River, noted for their water quality, are used for boating, swimming, and other types of recreation. Through many cooperative efforts, the improved water quality is demonstrated annually in the increasing salmon runs. Public access to shorelines has been enhanced while protecting the natural environment and property owners’ rights. The open space and agricultural character of the north Sammamish Valley has been maintained and is highly valued by the community. Through the joint efforts of cities and the county, the Bear Creek and Evans Creek valleys remain rural, as do the areas north and east of the City.
Redmond has reached its ultimate size, having annexed all remaining territory in its Potential Annexation Area so that residents may receive a full range of urban services. The new neighborhoods have been seamlessly interwoven with existing neighborhoods. The process of annexation was logical and orderly, allowing the City to provide these new areas with high quality facilities and services.
Redmond is an integral member of the regional planning community. As was the case in 2004, Redmond continues to work cooperatively in regional planning with neighboring jurisdictions, King County, neighboring counties, state agencies, and other jurisdictions. Redmond is an active member of regional planning organizations where it simultaneously advances the interests of Redmond citizens and works toward regional goals.
Though the City has experienced growth and change during the past 20 years, Redmond has maintained its distinctive character. The quality design of new development is a reflection of the value Redmond citizens place on the community’s appearance. Care has also been taken to employ special treatments on identified streets and pathways, and to enhance the comfort, safety, and usability of public places. Public view corridors and entryways have been identified, preserved, and enhanced. The City’s historic roots are still apparent through preservation of special sites, structures, and buildings. Interpretive signage has been used in addition to enhance the City’s sense of its heritage.
Community gathering places are found throughout the City. Spaces for parks and plazas have been acquired and improved by the City or incorporated into new developments. Both public and private investment into place-making has created spaces where informal social gatherings occur. The City has continued to sponsor community events in public places.
Care has been given to preserve elements of the natural environment. Landscaping regulations have ensured preservation of special natural areas and significant trees that define the character of the City. New landscaping has, when appropriate, incorporated native plants. Areas of open space and forested groves near Town Center, along Redmond Way, and in other locations have been preserved. Through creative design, public and private projects have incorporated natural features and enhanced natural systems.
The cost of maintaining Redmond’s quality services and facilities is borne equitably. Redmond continues to draw from diverse revenue streams in order to finance capital facility projects. The public facility costs associated with new growth are recovered in part using impact fees that reflect up to date costs, including those related to land and construction. In addition, Redmond continues to seek grants and other outside funding in order to maintain its high quality of life.
Redmond is an effective, responsive local government that responds to and anticipates the changing needs of the community. Many citizens actively participate in Redmond’s planning process and system improvements, and their preferences are incorporated so that Redmond continues to be the community desired by its citizens.
In 2022, as in 2003, Redmond is a community of good neighbors.