Skyline parade to end?

March 2, 2009

By J.B. Wogan

Sammamish has one parade a year, Skyline High School’s homecoming, and its future appears in limbo. City officials say they don’t want to cancel the event, but they haven’t offered any tenable solutions, according to the parade organizer.

Ami Maners, Associated Student Body advisor at Skyline, said she’s received mixed messages from the city. Public Works Department officials advised her in October that the 2009 parade could not be on 228th Avenue during peak traffic hours on a Friday afternoon. But no other situation seems plausible, she said.

Only 228th Avenue has enough lanes that several can be closed down without shutting down the entire road, she said. The alternative would be Southeast Eighth Street, which doesn’t seem like a good fit for the event, she said.

The timing is also difficult, if not impossible to negotiate, as the parade is scheduled to precede the Friday night football game at Skyline.

“I was having a heart attack,” Maners said, adding that even last year’s homecoming parade was almost in question.

An e-mail from City Engineer Laura Philpot a week before the parade had said city officials would not allow for the parade to happen on 228th Avenue. But when Maners contested the decision, pointing out that she had worked closely with other city staff members to arrange for the parade, Philpot relented, adding that the school would need to relocate the parade for 2009.

Maners said the parade requires students to meet somewhere within walking distance of Skyline and then walk back to the school, filing into the football stadium. In the past, the parade has involved floats. That, too, is supposed to stop this year, according to Maners.

Public Works Director John Cunningham said the city has closed down three of five lanes on 228th Avenue, from Southeast 30th Street to Southeast 10th Street, to accommodate the parade.

“It’s not really that it’s being nixed,” Cunningham said, adding that it’s the parade’s location, not the parade, that presents a problem.

The road reduction has taken place from 4-6 p.m. on a Friday, he said.

“From a policy standpoint, is this something that the city wants to continue to do?” he asked. “What happens when Eastlake and Eastside Catholic want a parade?”

City Manager Ben Yazici said the city received about a dozen complaints last year about traffic problems caused by the parade. But he also noted that the city received about the same number of comments complimenting the city on the parade.

The parade is the type of community-building event the city encourages, so the city doesn’t want to cancel it, he said.

An alternative location should be possible, according to Yazici.

“The location doesn’t attract a lot of people to the parade. The parade attracts the people,” he said. “Obviously, at the end of the day, if the council feels that we need to keep it at 228th, that’s what we would do here.”

The City Council will discuss the parade’s future during its March 10 meeting at City Hall.

Reach Reporter J.B. Wogan at 392-6434, ext. 247, or jbwogan@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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