July 15, 2012
Redmond, Washington, is a town of 54,000 located just 16 miles east of Seattle. It’s best known as the home of Microsoft and Nintendo, and it’s one of the most affluent communities in the state. The town’s biggest problem seems to be growing pains — the economic boom of the past two decades has been causing a lot of traffic and sprawl.
The city has been trying to address the problems by promoting Downtown Redmond. They’re encouraging walking, biking, and public transportation, and they’re investing in capital improvement projects to make the downtown more vibrant with retail businesses, restaurants, apartment buildings, and recreation destinations.
The whole plan is described in a brochure called “Redmond: Creating Choice, Connecting Community.” It calls attention to downtown Redmond’s small-town feel and sense of history. It’s a place “oriented to pedestrians and bicycles, with attractive ‘local’ streets appropriate for a destination environment.”
Redmond is also known as the “Bicycle Capital of the Northwest,” thanks to an annual bike race, and there are numerous bike shops, sculptures and paintings of bicycles dotting the streets downtown, and bike lanes and unusual bike racks everywhere.
Downtown Redmond has just about everything — lots of restaurants, shops, parks, historic buildings, a pedestrian-friendly streetscape, and a booming economy. As of July 28, however, downtown Redmond will be lacking one essential civic amenity — a post office.
In a couple of weeks, the post office, which is currently located in the middle of downtown (A on the map), just a few blocks from city hall and the library, will be relocated to a large mail distribution center (the Seattle DDC-East) on the outskirts of town (B).
The new location couldn’t be worse for a retail business. It’s on an industrial strip without a shop or home in sight, and it’s separated from downtown by the freeway that goes to Seattle. No one will be walking to the new Redmond post office, and not many will be biking to it either.