A roundabout already in the design phase at Five Corners is predicted to be a lively topic of discussion at Tuesday night’s Edmonds City Council meeting.
The City Council voted unanimously last July to authorize the mayor and city staff to sign a consultant agreement to begin the planning process for the roundabout at 212th Street Southwest and 84th Avenue West. The city received a federal grant for $463,000 to fund final design and right-of-way acquisition; with a required 13.5 percent local match set to be paid for through the city’s Street Fund. The city is continuing to pursue grant money for the construction phase, Williams said.
Despite the earlier unanimous council approval, lately some councilmembers and citizens have been questioning the value of the roundabout, given the city’s current budget challenges. At their Dec. 6 meeting, councilmembers agreed to hold a public hearing on the project — along with a proposed $1 million stoplight at Ninth Avenue and Caspers Street — Dec. 20 to get citizen input on whether either or both of the projects should be removed from the city’s 2012-2017 City’s Comprehensive Plan and Capital Improvement Program and Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program.
In an email sent to its members last week, the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce said the roundabout was important to the business community for the following reasons:
-It will reduce traffic delays through the intersection by more than 90 percent. “This reduces the time drivers (commuters, shoppers, etc.) will waste waiting to pass through five Corners by 145,000 hours per year,” the email said.
– It will ensure that the intersection’s level of service will meet meet State Growth Management Act requirements. Without the roundabout, “any future development either at Five Corners or between Five Corners and HWY 99 could not be approved if it would add traffic to this intersection,” the email noted.
– It will significantly reduce air emissions and improve air quality.
– It will “provide a more aesthetically attractive central focal point for a redeveloping Five Corners center where street-level retail (shops, restaurants, etc.) with residential above can take advantage of improved access without having to pay for frontage improvements or the solution to the current level-of-service problem. Instead the bulk of the cost will be paid for by federal grant dollars.”
According to City of Edmonds Public Works Director Phil Williams, the city has spent $70,000 on consulting fees for the project so far and would have to return the grant money and absorb that cost if the council decides to stop the project.
Prior to the 7 p.m. meeting, the council will meet in executive session starting at 5:30 p.m. to discuss potential litigation and a real estate matter, then at 6:30 will host a reception honoring departing City Councilmembers Steve Bernheim and DJ Wilson.
The following items of interest are also before the council Tuesday:
– As part of the consent agenda, acknowledging a claim for damages from Kimberly Cole, the ex-administrative assistant to former Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper. The damage claim form, which you can see here, claims “tortious conduct” that includes the following:
- She suffered “an injury for which she would be eligible for workers’ compensation,” but her supervisor (Cooper) “advised her to refrain from filing for workers’ compensation and to avoid seeking medical help.”
- She was the subject of false and unprivileged communications by city employees, negligently, recklessly or maliciously made to third parties.”
- City Human Resources Director Debi Human “took private and confidential information to which she had access solely due to her position “and disclosed it to non-privileged parties.” This information “is highly offensive to Ms. Cole and not a matter of legitimate public concern,” the claim states.
- She was subjected to “vicious rumors and harassment at work” and that she was discriminated against based on her sex and/or disability.
- She didn’t receive accommodations for her disability (Cole said she was diagnosed with, and was being treated for adult Attention Deficit Disorder).
- She was not paid all wages owed to her in timely manner and didn’t receive all benefits promised to her
– Discussion and potential action on a proposed legislative agenda and a professional services agreement with city lobbyist Mike Doubleday.
– Discussion on proposed “survey comparators” — essentially the cohort of cities that Edmonds would be compared with — in a salary and benefits study for non-represented employees.
– Review of a request that the City of Edmonds support the Transportation Partnership, a coalition of business, labor, local government and environmental representatives from around Washington state who are advocating that the state Legislature develop a comprehensive solution to the state’s transportation challenges.