Commentary: Playing Calvinball with traffic-calming dollars
In Calvinball, the game played by Calvin and his stuffed tiger in the Calvin and Hobbs comic strip, rules are created and changed on the whim of the players. Mayor Earling is playing Calvinball with our traffic-calming dollars.
The Traffic Calming Program is clearly described in our 2009 Transportation Comprehensive Plan. (Appendix B, p.193-211)
It has three phases:
- Residents petition for local street traffic concerns.
- Staff and residents develop education and enforcement solutions.
- Staff reviews traffic calming devices for funding, priority, technical feasibility.
Despite this carefully defined process, the following item showed up on the 8/14/2014 Public Works Quarterly Project Report:
“Residential Neighborhood Traffic Calming, $10,000
The 2014 funds for this program are being allocated to the construction phase of the mid-block pedestrian crossing along SR-104 (directly north of Pine St./ WSDOT project).”
Old rule: Local street traffic concerns.
Calvinball rule: State highway enhancement.
Old rule: Require a petition, with signatures from no less than eight households, to initiate the Traffic Calming Program in your neighborhood.
Calvinball rule: In lieu of a signed petition, substitute supporting phone calls.
Old rule: Involve residents in developing education and enforcement solutions.
Calvinball rule: Forget phase 2, public involvement. (Public involvement is a pain, anyway.)
Old rule: Review funding, priority, and feasibility.
Calvinball rule: Go straight to the state and advocate for the pedestrian crossing along the highway, promise funds to the state, slip it into the Public Works Quarterly Project Report, and you’re good to go. If any Edmonds residents question this $10,000 allocation of traffic calming funds, tout this as an exceptional opportunity and suggest that it’s too late because the 2014 dollars have already been promised to the state for the “construction phase.”
– By Joan Bloom
Edmonds City Council