Council to review plan for temporary Sunset Avenue Walkway striping

Several key items are before the Edmonds City Council Tuesday night, including a plan to temporarily restripe the Sunset Avenue Walkway in a way “that mimics the extent of the project without the commitment of significant funds to it,” according to the narrative accompanying the agenda.

“In this way we can all evaluate the concerns over an extended period of time to see which of these issues are indeed problematic, requiring accommodation in the design phase, and which ones may not be as acute after getting some experience with the geometry,” the agenda narrative continues. “We may also uncover new concerns that have not been raised previously.” You can see review the  related drawing here.

The original walkway proposal called for a 10-foot-wide promenade on the west side of the street beginning at Bell Street on the south, running north along the bank above the railroad tracks, rounding the dogleg at Caspers Street, and finally meeting the existing sidewalk at Third and Caspers. The project design is being funded by a $159,000 federal grant; construction of the walkway is dependent on additional grant funding. Concerns have been raised by some citizens and councilmembers about the necessity, cost and safety concerns related to the project.

Among the items also before the council Tuesday night:

– A presentation by the Washington State Department of Transportation Landslide Mitigation Working Group regarding ways to address the ongoing landslides along the railroad tracks running from Seattle to Everett.

– Action on an ordinance repealing the Citizens Commission on the Compensation of Elected Officials

– Hearing potential amendments to the Edmonds Community Development Code modifying the definition of “lot,” defining “lot of record” and establishing a process for determining “innocent purchaser.”

– Discussion of the Edmonds Planning Board’s recommendation for Comprehensive Plan text amendments, including Westgate, and potential action.

– A recommendation that the approval of liquor/recreational marijuana licenses be handled administratively rather than going before the City Council for approval.

– Approval of the City Attorney evaluation process.

You can review the complete agenda here. The meeting will begin with an executive session at 6:45 p.m., following by the regular council meeting at 7 p.m. The location is the Council Chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N., Edmonds.

 

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32 Comments

  1. What would we do if we didn’t have our government to hold our hand and help us walk on the same street we have been using just fine for many years? I thought I had heard that there was a lack of revenue both federally and in the state, so why are we continuing to spend money unnecessarily?

  2. It’s not necessary to have a ‘pretend’ Sunset Avenue Walkway, as a real Walkway is not needed, or desired, for any reason. Just kill the project, return the money and look to solve real pedestrian issues, like safety!

  3. Sunset: The citizens should request a total of what money has been spent ALREADY on this project……I believe it was said quite a while ago that we were at the one MILLION DOLLAR mark already …….How much MORE is it going to cost for Public Works workers to do stripes, etc.? THIS is so beyond believing.

    Can we just QUIT spending our money unnecessarily, or fix a few streets, sidewalks, add a few crossing signs for safety, etc.
    PUBLIC SAFETY comes before projects that have been brought up by ONE citizen out of 39,000. I say put the Sunset Project to a VOTE by the citizens, and THAT will stop the hemorrhaging of our finite funds

    Approval of liquor/recreational marijuana licenses…….By making it “administratively” rather than legislatively (City Council) determined, the WILL OF THE PEOPLE is by-passed. Who is the person that had this idea?? I think the citizens have a right to KNOW!

  4. A couple that live in a condo right at the corner of 3rd & Howell (right by City Park) , wrote in to the Beacon this past week regarding important PUBLIC SAFETY on one of our streets. They have consistently seen many, many near misses with cars right there for people/children crossing 3rd Avenue to go to City Park to the attractive NEW children’s play area. .

    This couple said they sent letters to our government and had still NOT received ONE RESPONSE from anyone in our government. There is something wrong with this. Are we going to wait for some child to be hit right there by a car?! There is NO crossing sign at all, yet we are spending $$$ and time debating these other projects that are not necessary and have nothing to do with Public SAFETY.

    Could we get Mr. Williams to send someone there to put up a CROSSING SIGN? before someone gets killed.

    Could our government at the very least respond to the letter sent regarding this large public safety issue?

  5. The $159,000 amount mentioned above is very incomplete. I’ll post more info shortly.

    We still have never been told why city staff was doing a lot of work on a project that had yet to be added to the TIP or anything else, especially during difficult financial times back in July of 2011. Why was city staff working on Sunset Avenue before July 19, 2011? The July 19, 2011 City Council Meeting Minutes indicate that the related work had resulted in some type of project concept that included a 12.5-foot-wide sidewalk and an adjacent 5-foot-wide bicycle facility.

    I would also appreciate other’s thoughts on the Nov. 15, 2011 decision to draw $16,000 away from the Traffic Calming Program to Sunset Avenue via an amendment to the 2011 Budget. I believe the Traffic Calming Project list included 23 projects, all of which required a petition with at least 8 signatures. Does anybody have any thoughts on why money was moved from Traffic Calming to Sunset Avenue?

  6. How many ways can the city staff create to manipulate it’s way into brainwashing the citizens of Edmonds what is “best for them” with regard to Sunset Ave. Can they please accept that voting Edmonds citizens do not want Sunset changed, because the land mass does not support the changes.proposed.

  7. The project obtained its original funding of $16,000 via the November 15, 2011 budget amendment. Traffic Calming Money was moved to Sunset Avenue. I believe there was no related public process for this first big step.

    The next $50,000 for the project was approved in late 2011 as part of the 2012 budget.

    During April of 2012, the City applied for at least two grants that I am aware of, one from the RCO and one from FHWA/CMAQ. The RCO attempt was unsuccessful, but the FHWA/CMAQ effort was rewarded roughly 10 months later, during February of 2013, with the $159,000 Federal Grant.

    Then, on August 26, 2013, The City submitted the PSRC grant application, resulting in another Grant of $90,903.

    I think this is accurate, and the four pieces total to $315,903, $249,903 from 2 separate grants. The $315,903 may not include any staff time or City Attorney cost.

  8. I get the feeling history is repeating itself. The Five Corners Project was opposed by neighborhood residents, drivers traveling thru that intersection on a regular basis, public comments at Council meetings. Then as well as now “safety” issues were constantly mentioned by city staff. I, as well as others, repeatedly asked the Edmonds Police Dept. for records showing the number of auto accidents at Five Corners since I’ve never witnessed any in the 14 yrs. I’ve traveled that area. To my knowledge none of our requests were answered! The outcry of the majority was to “kill the project.” But our opposition fell on deaf ears.
    Now we face the same problem. Do city officials think we lack the knowledge to make informed decisions? Do they work under the assumption that if faced with project opposition just wait for a period of time then approach the citizens with a more passive aggressive “temporary approach”? Spoon feed us until we accept the project’s implementation or get so disgusted we walk away.
    P.S. I can hardly wait for students to return to Edmonds/Woodway High School so I can witness the daily gridlock increase even more.

  9. Did the City Council request staff to develop a Proof-of-Concept/ Demonstration Project Proposal? I am trying to figure out how this was initiated and who approved payment for this Temporary Trail and New Striping Plan done by Macleod Reckord.

    Is the City Council being asked to authorize the Mayor to implement a Demonstration Project on Sunset Avenue when the Council never requested such in the first place? Or did I just miss that Council request?

    • Ken:
      At the June 24th city council meeting Public Works Director Williams revealed an innovative concept for determining the viability of staff’s proposal for Sunset Ave. He stated that he would return to a future council meeting to seek council’s approval for implementing this concept – that’s the agenda item for tomorrow night. Mr. Williams was not instructed by council to not proceed with the development of the proposal.

  10. I second Jim Underhill’s suggestion to kill the Sunset Ave. project. It is not needed and would require much negotiation with the railroad on property and other aspects. Kill it and use the funds for other, more worthy projects.

  11. Ron, your comment, for me, strikes @ the heart of this issue. Public Works is not listening to the public; those who contribute funds to pay salaries and benefits to Public Works. The Director will not let this project go. Now we’re dealing with ‘innovate concepts’ to implement a concept, or some such nonsense. The madness has to end.

    This weekend we spent several evenings walking along Sunset. We greatly enjoyed the Sound, mountains, boats of many descriptions, the colorful sunsets, nice people to chat with, great landscaping @ many of the homes along Sunset. No parking/traffic issues, etc. All of this provided w/o cost to the public. The needless project will not add an inch or ounce of value to what we already have, @ no expense.

    • Jim:
      Undoubtedly staff needs to “listen” to what they’re hearing from the public, but the final word needs to come from a vote by city council.

      • Yes, Ron we know the process! Trouble is the council voting is usually predictable as one might describe — a “slam dunk” for the 4 members that seem entrenched in their approach for future development.

  12. Sunset Project: A DEVELOPED VISTA to t he sky, water, mountains, etc. for a select few……..and originally brought up by ONE CITIZEN to ONE Town Council member

    .I say put it up to a VOTE and let the people SPEAK . I think we ALL know how the Town Council is going to vote…..Everything starts at the TOP

    The “vista” is ALREADY there and we need to be spending what little money is out there on more important things right now, affordable housing, helping people in NEED right now, fixing our streets so they are safe, our sidewalks, actually maybe even HAVING MORE SIDEWALKS……It is shameful to look at all the development done at Five Corners in the past 38 years, and so few sidewalks……Driving around there I really don’t get how ANYONE is SAFE, particularily children walking to school having to WALK IN THE STREET…….Westgate the same…….Other cities spend money to HAVE sidewalks for people to walk on and be safe…..There is something WRONG here! and the citizens need to make sure we have a CHANGE of REGIME. WHO wants children having to walk in streets, not have safety crossing signs at City Park, etc, no sidewalks??….It doesn’t even make sense……This is the first town I have seen that doesn’t care whether it citizens have sidewalks to walk on……Something wrong with this

    And GIVE BACK that Grant $$$ to the Federal Government as there was at least some misinformation on that Federal Grant form

  13. Thanks Ron, I attended that June 24th meeting.

    Councilmember Mesaros made a major point of emphasis that evening that he did not recall a formal request by the Council regarding design of the proposed project. I am simply trying to figure out how we went from that point to an “innovative concept for determining the viability of STAFF’s proposal”. Did the Council make a formal request for this Temporary Trail and New Striping Plan? Did staff allow citizens an opportunity to participate in the development of this Plan?

    Mr. Taraday did point out on June 24th that the TIP may be revised at any time by a majority vote of the Council. Maybe the Council should just revise the TIP now before any more money is spent.

    I believe we have far more important issues to work on.

    I’d greatly preferred that traffic calming money had been spent on true traffic calming needs such as a well marked crosswalk at 8th and Walnut.

    On Nov. 15, 2011, the original funding for the Sunset Walkway Project ($16,000) was drawn from the Traffic Calming Program via an amendment to the 2011 Budget. The budget amendment agenda item passed unanimously with no opportunity for public comment.

  14. Put the Sunset Walkway project on the November ballot for a nonbinding Advisory Vote…let the Edmond’s citizens have their say in this matter. The citizens’ voice matters!

  15. Ron W, Jim U, Ken R re: June 24 Council meeting discussion about the TIP (transportation improvement program). Here is an excerpt from the minutes:

    “He (Phil Williams) proposed a test project for a year that would be primarily paint – mark an 8-foot walkway starting at the curb on the west side of the street where it has been proposed to be built, a 2-foot transition/mountable curb, parking where it currently exists immediately to the west, and a 13-foot travel lane marked as a sharrow, along with proper signage.”

    Ron W is correct that Council did not not ask staff to pursue this “innovative concept” (Ron’s words). However, we also did not not request that staff focus on the south end of Sunset which is on property that belongs wholely to the city, not BNSF.

  16. I just drove down to Sunset with the Temporary Plan in hand to take a closer look. It looks to me like the parking will not be staying where it currently exists and that the one handicapped parallel parking spot may be removed. I believe people who like to parallel park along sunset will now be 10 feet east of where they used to be with a 8′ wide trail between their cars and the Sunset bluff if this Plan is approved.

    Also, the nice parallel parking spots north on Sunset by the picnic table and benches seem to be eliminated.

    I wonder if the bike path on the east side of Sunset will be eliminated. Is the plan to place bicycles and pedestrians on the same 8′ wide path? Is a 13′ travel lane wide enough for fire trucks?

    How much will the 2-foot transition/mountable curb cost and is that money well spent in the event it has to be removed in one year?

    Has anyone seen a cost estimate related to this Temporary Plan?

  17. I guess the sharrow symbol may be marked on roads that are not suitable for dedicated cycle lanes to indicate an area of roadway that bicycles and motor vehicles should share. So maybe the proposed Plan does eliminate the existing bike lane on the east side of Sunset. I imagine that bicyclists who use the sharrow can only go one direction (north). I wonder if they are allowed to ride south along Sunset on the 8′ wide path or if that path is just for pedestrians, parents pushing strollers, young children on small bikes, etc.

  18. Why am I not surprised that the parallel parking spaces at the NORTH END of Sunset appear to have been ELIMINATED. Why not get rid of that ol’ picnic table too! Get rid of those ol’ blackberries along Sunset too. Maybe we need more McMansions on Sunset too. Think of ALL that could be done. ……habitus consumption

    This isn’t about “innovation”. We get it!

  19. The following is from the December 6, 2011 City Council Meeting Agenda:

    Traffic Calming Program:

    In 2011, Council authorized $50,000 for the Traffic Calming Program. With this funding, staff conducted speed studies along 23 street segments where citizens have expressed speeding concerns in the past. Each segment was evaluated based on a set of criteria and ranked in a priority list (see attachment). The traffic calming funds are providing three radar feedback signs at: (1) Northbound Olympic View Dr.; (2) Southbound Olympic View Dr; and (3) Northbound Olympic Avenue. Funds were also used to develop a conceptual drawing of the Sunset Avenue Walkway project between Bell St. and Caspers St. The walkway project proposes to install a sidewalk and bike lane on the west side of the street by narrowing the roadway width. This project is expected to reduce speeds along this stretch (serving as a traffic calming measure) and improve the safety of the non-motorized transportation users.

    Sunset was NOT one of the 23 projects included on the Traffic Calming Priority List found at the following link:

    http://agenda.ci.edmonds.wa.us/docs/2011/CCOUNCIL/20111206_598/4349_Priority%20list%20of%20stretches%20%282%29.pdf

    I do not know why $16,000 was shifted to Sunset instead of being left in the budget to address the 23 items on the Traffic Calming Priority List- but one can certainly argue that it should not have been.

    The other 23 items all REQUIRED a MINIMUM of 8 signatures to get on the priority list.

    • Ken, your diligence in searching for the facts and sharing with Edmonds citizens is greatly appreciated. As I mentioned in an earlier comment the Five Corners Project was determined by staff to be vital to reduce traffic accidents. Never witnessed accidents there or speeding on Sunset Ave. but we are told the “project is expected to reduce speeds along the stretch. Remember the famous words of wisdom — “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”

  20. I observe speeders on Sunset Avenue daily. I also yell “slow down” at speeders. When the police moved their wheeled radar device onto Sunset, many drivers would slow down and some even applied their brakes as soon as they saw their speed displayed on the radar device. But it was only here for 2-3 weeks. On Sunset the speed limit is 20 MPH and very few people drive at that limit.

  21. Thanks for your kind words Jane.

    The following is found in Ordinance No. 3857 passed by the City Council on November 15, 2011:

    “This amendment will provide budget for preliminary design and survey work on the Sunset Walkway Project. Funding from the Traffic Calming Program is being used to pay for the project costs.

    This amendment was part of the original budget amendment but there were questions regarding the use of the funds during the finance committee. A portion ($16,000) of the 2011 traffic calming funds are being used to develop a conceptual layout for the Sunset Avenue Walkway project between Bell St. and Caspers St. The project would narrow Sunset Avenue to allow for a walkway, parking and bike lane on the west side of the street. Narrowing the street and moving the parking adjacent to the travel lane are traffic calming features that should reduce traffic speeds and improve conditions for non-motorized users.

    Staff met with Councilmember Wilson on developing a conceptual layout for the walkway and he concurred with staff’s recommendation to use traffic calming funding to evaluate the reconfiguration and narrowing of Sunset Avenue.”

    One reason that this is alarming is because the Traffic Calming Program is a very structured program designed to assist residents and City staff in responding to neighborhood traffic issues related to speeding, cut-through traffic, and safety.
    Implementation of a traffic calming program allows local traffic concerns to be addressed consistently, and traffic calming measures to be efficiently developed and put into operation.

    Despite this, Sunset Avenue was treated much differently (not consistently) than the 23 ranked projects on the Traffic Calming Priority List. Walnut Avenue was ranked 12th out of the 23 projects.

    The Traffic Calming Program consists of a three-phase process:

    Phase 1 – Petition and Review for Qualification: To begin the process, residents submit a petition for local street traffic concerns. A minimum of Eight (8) neighbor signatures, one per household, are required prior to initiating a Traffic Calming Program in a neighborhood. The City reviews the application and investigates the site to determine if the application qualifies for the Traffic Calming Program.

    Phase 2 – Education and Enforcement: Focuses on education and enforcement solutions that could include educational flyers, police enforcement, a neighborhood speed watch, signing, and/or striping modifications. If those solutions are not effective in reducing speed or cut-through traffic, then the process moves on to Phase 3.

    Phase 3 – Installation of Traffic Calming Device: Consists of working with residents to identify the appropriate traffic calming device to be installed. If approved by residents in the affected area, the device is planned for installation.

    I don’t think that the residents in the affected area were asked to approve anything.

    Another question is was the survey work budgeted for by the Ordinance No. 3857 amendment ever done?

  22. An Ordinance is a LAW passed by a municipal government.

    What is it about our government (that REPRESENTS We the People!, us) that seems to think THEY are ABOVE THE LAW?…….These are questions the citizens of Edmonds should be asking and more importantly is this the type of representation we want?

    Yesterday, Five Corners, today the Sunset Project, tomorrow who knows what?!……and ALL that we may not even know about.

    LAWS are what makes us CIVILIZED.

    • Tere, to answer your question “what’s next” – – Phil William’s future major project is the intersection of 212th and 76 th Ave. Lanes will be added to reduce congestion — like lanes added to I5 and 405 reduced congestion…dream on! I live nearby and years ago there was a dedicated right turn lane from 76th to 212 th heading West. Traffic flowed, the middle lane facilitated both East turns and continuing Southbound drivers. Heavy use of the right turn lane (Westbound) provided quick movement without backups. Then changes were made and the dedicated right turn lane was removed. Now a southbound driver sits at the traffic light forcing Westbound drivers to sit and wait. A few days ago I was the 6th car waiting in line for the lead car to proceed thru the light continuing South. So the past so called “traffic flow improvement” has created a bottleneck that didn’t exist previously.
      Now area residents can anticipate yet another “mess” in the name of progress. Of course that’s after Five Corners is complete!

      • Jane, while many of us share your frustration about the time it takes to navigate through the intersection of 212th and 76th, it is likely that the addition of lanes as envisioned will help the situation, up to the time when the improved intersection gets inundated with additional traffic due to area growth and route selection. The reason the addition of lanes to I-5 and I-405 seems to have had minimum effect is not because providing additional capacity wasn’t a good idea, it’s because traffic growth has already caught up to the improvements. People like living in the greater Seattle area, and new residents are still moving here. The biggest problem with the urban and suburban traffic on interstates and arterials in our fair area is the typical driver’s reluctance (or perhaps inability, in a few cases) to carpool or take public transit. Check around the next time you are stranded in stop-and-go traffic on I-5, I-405, I-90, or any major arterial in the Seattle metro area and you will note that nearly 80 percent of all vehicles contributing to the mash-up are single occupancy. We like to call call ourselves conservationists and “green” as an urban/suburban population, but we’re not when it comes to our travel preferences. We simply like our cars.

        Granted, construction projects cause some of the backups, but they are intended to alleviate some of the traffic impacts until (you guessed it), the additional traffic catches back up to the improvements.

        And we should all appreciate the fact that our public works projects are not Phil William’s projects–they are City of Edmonds projects–vetted and approved at a higher paygrade than Phil’s, although he and his excellent staff do and should have significant impact on the types and timing of projects we undertake as a community. I’ve attended several presentations by Mr. Williams, and he is always professional, informative, and most courteous. Having been in the local engineering business, I know he has an excellent reputation among his Public Work Director and civil engineering peers as well. We’re lucky to have him.

        As for the Sunset Walkway and Five Corner Roundabout projects, it would be interesting to have a public referendum to see whether the citizens of Edmonds would approve or disapprove one or both projects. None of us know what that outcome would be. We only know what we and our friends think.

        • Steve let me stress in no way do I question the abilities, professionalism or or reputation of Phil Williams. He is one of the best. What I do question is the “process” which seems to be like a runaway train — hard to stop. We know people at the top are where the buck stops. Providing additional roadways is always a catch up endeavor. My dream is to see newcomers get disgusted with our traffic problems and return to their previous domicile but that would be unfair because I am a transplant dating back to 1967!
          Sorry to stray from the subject at hand — Sunset Ave. Project.

          • We’re in synch, Jane. And I don’t want to go back to the East Coast where I came from just a few years after you “transplanted” here. I only hope that whatever projects we implement in the future become effective, successful projects–some, maybe even legacy projects. Our city deserves that much.

  23. On Council agenda tonight is the Public Works Quarterly Project Report. Here is a link to that report:

    http://bit.ly/1lfMfeA

    The next to the last item on pg 3 is:

    “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).”

    Is the public process for the Traffic Calming Program being ignored by the Edmonds Public Works staff? The Traffic Calming Program consists of a three-phase process – Were the 3 phases followed related to this SR-104 project? The program is for “local” streets only. SR 104 is not a local street. Who made the decision to allocate the 2014 traffic calming dollars to this WSDOT project?

  24. Even when the elephant is standing in the middle of the room, there are those that continue to try to get EVERYONE to just go along, and PRETEND that no one SEES that elephant standing in the middle of the room……….Perhaps THAT is why after 35+ years, Edmonds either has many, many NO SIDEWALK STREETS, or sidewalks that are falling apart, cracked etc. …..but hey, you’re not really SEEING what we are seeing…..Plenty of people here to just go along……historically THAT seems to have worked WELL for the select FEW

    the comedian Kathleen Madigan comes to mind…….when her father is stopped for drunk driving and is asked to follow a straight line (picture in your mind), and he asks if the officer has the SAME picture in his mind as her dad does……that image …..not the SAME at all

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