During the most recent “Coffee with Harry,” new Edmonds City Councilmember Tom Mesaros offered to provide My Edmonds News with some follow-up to questions asked by citizens.
Here it is. Thanks to Councilmember Mesaros for getting back to us.
The following few written words attempt to respond to several questions that were discussed during my recent “Coffee with Harry,” organized by Harry Gatjens and hosted by Chantrelle in downtown Edmonds. First, I want to thank Harry once again for allowing me to meet with several of our fellow Edmonds citizens and respond to their questions, comments and concerns. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction. Second, I also want to thank Chantrelle for hosting us in their restaurant and serving wonderful coffee to all of us in attendance.
Here are the responses to several questions that I needed to seek additional information for, in order to provide a more complete answer:
• There was a question whether signage had been ordered for the pedestrian crossing on Walnut Street and 8th Avenue: I did check with city staff and the signage has been ordered and should be in place soon.
• There was a follow-up question regarding aggressive drivers while people are in crosswalks throughout our city: I did visit with our Police Chief, Al Compaan, and mentioned this to him. The police are certainly on the watch for aggressive drivers and when they see them, they correct the situation as appropriate. I did mention to him that it may be possible to have an annual emphasis on safe driving by addressing concerns of pedestrians throughout our city one week or month a year. Our police do a fine job for our city, but they can not be everywhere at once, ever watching every location. I urge us all to be courteous drivers especially around pedestrians. If we all did that, it would reduce accidents and near accidents.
• Several people mentioned that there is a problem with sidewalks that are overgrown with vegetation throughout Edmonds. I too have noticed this and asked Phil Williams, Director of Public Works, about it. He mentioned that when the city is aware of a partially blocked sidewalk, they send the property owner a letter indicating that the blockage needs to be removed. If it is not removed, a second letter is sent; and if that does not produce results the city staff does go out and remove the blockage. Usually that final step does not endear the city to the property owner. Mr. Williams and I both felt that the best solution would be for neighbors to talk with neighbors and even help one another to keep our sidewalks free of overgrowth from our yards. I also mentioned to him that the city could have an emphasis month where we ask all citizens to check sidewalks to be sure that they provide a clear path for those walking throughout Edmonds. He thought that was a good idea and would work to make that happen.
• I did speak to Carrie Hite, Parks Director, about the possibility of having a walkway around the Edmonds Marsh. She did not have an immediate answer, but she did say it was part of the current planning processes already underway. Funding for such a project is always an important element.
• One citizen asked about the strategic plan and our agreement with Fire District #1. The Mayor is just hiring a consultant to assist with strategic planning implementation, which I support. The question about the Fire District contract renewal is still with the Mayor and I am sure he will bring a quality recommendation to Council.
• Finally, there was a question about Sunset Avenue and the requirement to have an 18-foot unobstructed path for emergency vehicles. I spoke to Phil Williams about this and that width is a requirement of the international code for emergency vehicles. There are ways to minimize that width, and as the plan moves forward he will have a conversation with the leadership from the Fire District to determine the final width necessary for any recommended changes to Sunset Avenue.
Again, I enjoyed this conversation and look forward to my next opportunity to meet and discuss our city.