Quality of life ... has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? It is what we strive to achieve and provide for our children. While this simple phrase...

Share story

Quality of life … has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It is what we strive to achieve and provide for our children.

While this simple phrase means different things to different people, it often encompasses our choice of where we live. We look at the quality of schools, the abundance of open areas, parks and culture, and the intangible, yet powerful, emotional response of, “How does this place make me feel?”

Twenty years ago, our family moved to Snohomish County. At that time, both 164th Street and 128th Street were two-lane roads, as was the Bothell-Everett Highway. The majority of the area was still filled with forests, openmeadows and active dairy farms … even a buffalo farm.

If you lived in the town of Snohomish, you were considered to be living in the sticks, and we were often asked, “Why do you live way out there?” The answer was simple: The beauty, rural areas and slower pace appealed to our own personal vision of quality of life.

Needless to say, over the past 20 years we have witnessed incredible growth. If it has been a while since taking a certain route, I am often shocked and amazed that a new housing development has sprung up where an open field, or a single home, stood for years.

What is more disturbing to me is that, along with this growth, the basic infrastructure of roads — and the number of schools, parks and designated open spaces — has not changed perceptibly.

Oh, yes, 164th and 128th and the Bothell-Everett Highway are now multilane roads. A major east-west route has been established between Interstate 5 and Highway 9. Meanwhile, the building continues, clogging our two-lane roads, which were never meant to handle the traffic load we now endure.

That congestion has impacted our daily lives. In order to get my children to softball practice in Snohomish, which usually would be a 10-minute drive, we must leave an hour early to deal with the traffic on Highway 9 or on Springhetti Road.

Broadway Avenue, which runs parallel to Highway 9, has become a major shortcut for persons to use between Highways 522 and 9 during rush hour. My children can no longer ride their bikes on Broadway after school, or even cross the street for fear of being hit.

And just recently, an impatient driver decided to ignore the stop sign on the school bus, and came within inches of hitting my 9-year-old daughter.

Now the County Council is entertaining the idea of allowing increased development in the area commonly known as “the flats.” This area, which extends from Lowell-Larimer Road to the Snohomish River, is filled with farms. In the winter months, trumpeter swans are often seen in the fields, and in the summer months, we anxiously wait for the growing corn to ripen.

In the worst of times, we have witnessed this area being totally underwater for weeks, as the dikes along the Snohomish River have failed. I am not speaking of a little water. I am talking “you can only see the top of the telephone poles” deep. Enough is enough!

Let your voices be heard by the members of the County Council, as they deliberate the growth-management plan, via e-mail, voice mail, or in person — and most certainly on Election Day. Our quality of life is at stake.

Carole Sweetland Rose lives with her husband and two children in the Clearview/Cathcart area of unincorporated Snohomish County, just south of the city of Snohomish. They live above a wildlife refuge on the Snohomish River.