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Snohomish County living | Off Kilter


Last updated 6/29/2022 at 11:15am

As this newspaper is about a Snohomish County town, this week I thought I’d write about my recollections of living here for (now) 16 years.

First, Mill Creek, where we first settled is unlike any community my wife and I have lived in. What I mean is that Mill Creek is very well self-contained.

One of the things we really like is that everything one needs is right there, often within walking distance. Such as the Mill Creek Library. An office supply store (Staples). Just about any bank which you want to use for your own financial needs. LA Fitness for working out. Boston’s for great dining. (As we lived many years in the greater Boston area, it was especially nice to walk into a restaurant with this name. Made us feel very much at home.)

The friendliness of the city was also very nice to experience. When we first arrived in 2006, I joined the Mill Creek Tennis Club. I have made quite a few good friends having now played there for about a dozen years.

But this particular story will always have a warm place in my heart. We had been in our new home for maybe two weeks, max. We still had not converted our license plates over to the state of Washington. One early evening I was driving along Mill Creek Boulevard east towards the tennis center. I was not watching particularly carefully. There was zero traffic coming the other way on the street. Likewise, there were no cars either in front or behind me.

So there I was just driving along, perhaps doing 35 mph. I was not in a hurry. I was driving about as fast as felt comfortable. Not dangerously fast, nor so slow as to be a road hazard. So when I saw the Christmas tree lights on a patrol car behind me I had no idea why they had the cruiser “lit up.”

I stopped and a woman officer approached my driver’s window. She said: “do you know how fast you were driving?” I said, “yes, about 35 mph.” She said, “The speed limit here is 25 mph.”

I replied, “We just moved here (which she could see from both my Florida driver’s license and car registration). I was driving at what I considered a safe pace.”

Then I added, “If the limit is 25 mph, then I respectfully suggest that is very slow for this street.” She said, “Frankly, I agree with you, but the law is what it is.” I expected to get a ticket. So I was surprised when the officer said, “OK, it is clear you are new to this area, so I will let you go with a warning.” I said, “Thank you very much – and I’ll watch my speed from now on.”

What she had done by giving me a warning was saving me from a surcharge on both our automobile insurance policies for the next two years. So a $60 speeding ticket with the surcharges would have cost us about $1,000 over the next two years.

Another example of the friendliness of the city is I used to ride my bike down 153rd Street every morning going to LA Fitness. Being from New York originally, red lights are something to heed, but not always obey. So if the light at the corner was red, and it was safe to cross, I would ride my bike across Bothell Everett Highway to get to LA Fitness.

During the first two years or so, from time to time my illegal “jay-riding” came to the attention of squad cars who happened to be in the area. I did get stopped a few times. Each time I simply said, “Officer, I was a bicycle messenger in Manhattan. I truly know what I’m doing and if I survived that, I certainly can cross Bothell-Everett Highway in safety.” (The light at 153rd Street and Bothell-Everett Highway was particularly long – about two minutes.)

Each time the officer said: “OK, just be careful.” To this day, I don’t know if anyone has ever been issued a jaywalking ticket in the Town Center. Eventually, the squad cars would just wave at me if we both arrived at the intersection at the same time.

My last example is about waiting in the supermarket checkout line. Whether QFC, Safeway, Fred Meyer, or Central Market, if I was checking out only a few items, and I didn’t have a credit card on me to use the express cashless lanes, it never failed that whoever was in front of me – let’s say with a full shopping card would wave me through to be next in line. If you ever tried that in a New York City supermarket, not only would you not be waived through, even if asked nicely, but you might be assaulted!

In summary, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, and north Edmonds (where we now live) are one of the friendliest places we’ve ever lived.


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