Edmonds City Council agrees to test Sunset Walkway configuration

One of the illustrations showing the temporary trail design.

One of the illustrations showing the temporary trail design.

The Edmonds City Council agreed by a 4-3 vote Tuesday night to spend $20,000 to test out a multi-use walkway on Sunset Avenue before committing additional funding to the project.

The idea as presented by Public Works Director Phil Williams is to add temporary striping to the current paved pathway indicating shared use between pedestrians and those on wheels (bicyclists, strollers or skateboarders, for example) and redistribute some parking spaces. The project would then be evaluated based on data gathered to determine whether it’s feasible for the long term, Williams said, noting that the $20,000 price tag for testing “is less than 1 percent of the full project cost.”

Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas called the project a “win-win,” and was joined by fellow councilmembers Kristiana Johnson, Strom Peterson and Tom Mesaros in approving the project.

Councilmember Lora Petso reiterated her opposition to the idea, citing safety concerns associated with combining pedestrians and folks on wheels on the same pathway along the waterfront. “The data [collected] could be an accident, and it could be somewhere between unfortunate and a tragedy,” Petso said. Councilmembers Joan Bloom and Diane Buckshnis also voted against the temporary restriping.

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.

Prior to the Sunset Avenue discussion, Williams was grilled by Councilmember Bloom about his decision to approve $10,000 in matching money for another walkway project — a crosswalk across State Route 104 near Pine Street — that is being funded by the Washington State Department of Transportation through a $300,000 grant. Bloom asked Williams why the city moved forward to provide financial assistance for the crosswalk when the Highway 104 crossing was not among the city council’s approved list of 23 traffic calming projects.

Bloom told Williams she was “baffled” by the decision to fund such a project, which “has not been vetted in any way by the public.”

Both Williams and Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling responded that the city had received several requests from residents of Point Edwards, which is located at the Highway 104 and Pine Street intersection, for the city to determine a safer way to cross the street. Providing the $10,000 in matching money to the state seemed like a reasonable investment to ensure the project would proceed, Williams added.

Bloom requested that the council receive a presentation on the status of the city’s traffic calming projects and the process for prioritizing them.

The council also:

– Heard 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 North Seattle to Everett. The group is planning to hold a workshop in Edmonds Oct. 9 that will provide a list of simple and effective ways that homeowners living along landslide areas can help. You can read a copy of the report here.

– By a vote of 4-3, officially repealed the Citizens Commission on the Compensation of Elected Officials. Council President Buckshnis, who voted to disband the group, said that she hopes the commission can be reinstituted at a later date.

– Due to the lateness of the hour, delayed until a future meeting the hearing of 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.” For the same reason, the council also agreed to continue until a future meeting a lengthy discussion on the Edmonds Planning Board’s recommendation for Comprehensive Plan text amendments, including Westgate, and potential action.

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

– Approved the City Attorney evaluation process.

– Approved a job description for a Lead Court Clerk, which is a reclassification of the Court Clerk position.

– Heard the Public Works Quarterly Report project, which included a mention that the Five Corners Roundabout Project will actually start functioning as a roundabout starting in September.

– Approved a policy for expenses related to employee and volunteer recognition events.

– Approved energy efficiency projects for the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

 

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16 Comments

  1. Regarding the State 104/ Pine St. Project that Mr. Williams and Mayor Earling have MOVED FORWARD on because of a FEW REQUESTS from some residents at Point Edmonds, WITHOUT this being on the APPROVED traffic calming list……This sounds just like the beginning of the Sunset Project.

    This has NOT had ANY public PARTICIPATION.

    I guess I’m wondering how Mayor Earling and Mr. Williams actually believe they can go around the PUBLIC on this AGAIN! I can only assume that Mayor Earling and Mr. Williams have the misconception that $$$$ in the City and Federal coffers are theirs ALONE to use for what they ALONE and a select few choose.

    Isn’t THIS against the LAW? Are these guys assuming they are the DECIDERS (pardon the borrowing of the past history term, but somehow seems appropriate) than all the PUBLIC of this town?

  2. Miscellaneous thoughts about last night’s City Council meeting:

    I thought that the main purpose for a State Route such as SR-104 was to facilitate more efficient travel by automobile. Does it make sense to subject a State Route to “Traffic Calming”? Is the new crosswalk going to be decommissioned somehow while the Ferry is off loading? Will pedestrians be made to wait like they are at Main Street crossings while Ferry traffic is given priority?

    Also, what will this new, roughly $300,000 crosswalk provide that the pedestrian crossings at Dayton don’t already provide?

    I hope all will view the video of last night’s City Council meeting. Public Works Director Phil Williams and Mayor Earling attempt to justify Phil William’s decision to prioritize spending the 2014 funds ($10,000) for the Residential Neighborhood Traffic Calming program to the construction phase of the mid-block pedestrian crossing along SR-104. Was this SR-104 crosswalk subject to the three (3) phase process documented in the Edmonds Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program? SR-104 is not a local access street.

    Next, regarding the portions of sidewalk that were placed on private property along Sunset – I believe Eminent Domain requires that the City prove that it is necessary for public use. This may not be the case along Sunset. The City may have plenty of room to move the eastern sidewalk off of the citizens’ properties. If the related citizens want that done, I hope the City will have the integrity to do so at once. Since the plan is to paint a bunch of new markings along Sunset – the City may have the ability to paint a walkway on the east side of Sunset that takes Pedestrians off of private property.

    Also, changing Sunset to a one way road and installing the one way outlet on the north end was a major traffic calming effort undertaken in the past. Why was another $16,000 in traffic calming money thrown at Sunset when we had so many other needs around town, including Walnut Street, one of 23 projects that was on the priority list.

    Link to Betty Larman’s article:

    http://myedmondsnews.com/2014/01/letter-edmonds-city-council-mayor-dave-earling-ellie-bonannos-death-tragic-preventable/

  3. This new plan for Sunset might work just fine. It appears to address the biggest problem and separates car traffic from pedestrian traffic and puts walkers where they want to be…overlooking the Sound. May look a little “less than first class”, but given all of the irrational thoughts expressed about Sunset- a good first step.

  4. One gentleman who spoke at public comments noted that the “public” sidewalk is actually on his land, for which the City has not compensated him in any way. If true, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t, that is very disturbing. Will the City be correcting that before proceeding with any plan to utilize land other than that owned by the City?
    After driving down 104 this morning, and looking at the area for the proposed “traffic calming” ( a cross walk for the residents of Point Edwards mostly and taking them directly to City Park) it is difficult to understand why it is needed, since those out walking have a lovely sidewalk which takes them by the Marsh and down to the Dayton crosswalk which already has a light.
    On the other end of town, and not in the “bowl”, the well established neighborhoods of Seaview and Maplewood cannot get the City interested in getting a light for an intersection (88th and 196th) which has seen serious single car accidents and which has line of sight problems. Not even $20,000 for paint! (And that isn’t the only intersection where safety is a concern in the OTHER EDMONDS just an example).

    • For me the proposed crosswalk across SR104 near Pine St., at a cost of $300,000, fails any kind of cost/benefit analysis. Complaints about it need to be directed at the State, not the City, as it is a WSDOT project.
      Pine at SR104 is a risky crossing for pedestrians, as are numerous other locations in our city. But I’ve been crossing there at least once a week for the last 32 years; in fact daily during the period 2003- 2009.
      The City would like to improve the situation at 88th and 196th,, but once again the State is in control as 196th is a state route. This has been discussed at length at city council meetings.

  5. Masters of the Universe alive and well in little Edmonds, Wa. We ALL KNOW the biggest problem and it sure isn’t about “irrational thoughts”. of the citizens…..

    It is about a SELECT FEW who think the City of Edmonds is here for them only.

    Yes, we GET IT and will VOTE accordingly so the GRAVY TRAIN for the select FEW will be over here.

    A good time for the citizens of this fine city to take back their city……..It’s about the LAW and what is GOOD for the WHOLE City, not the select few that think they are masters of the universe…..

    Is this the kind of Edmonds we want, RULED by a SELECT FEW, while even throwing PUBLIC SAFETY for its citizens out the door?, and spending MILLIONS upon MILLIONS. The children, the elderly, walking citizens, ALL vulnerable……At least 2 people, vulnerable people actually DEAD on our streets recently. Do we want to have to worry about the children/ people that could be run over because of non adequate markings at 3rd and Howell, the new play area at City Park……How about that crossing (Main) right at the ferry by the beach that actually leads people right INTO the oncoming traffic as they cross onto Main? from railroad tracks. Something wrong that the government and staff are not listening to the citizens.

    I say, what is more important here? I think we KNOW. We need new leadership….

    A leadership that at least ACTS like it CARES and moves in that direction!

  6. The March 25, 2014 Edmonds City Council Approved Minutes include the following:

    “Councilmember Petso asked how much additional right-of-way was available to the east of the existing sidewalk. Mr. Williams answered 18-24 inches.”

    This was not true for parts of Sunset.

    Shortly before March 25, 2014, the City had approved a lot line adjustment, File No. PLN20130054 dated February 13, 2014 that seems to indicate that portions of the concrete walk are on private property at that location. Such can be reviewed on the City’s Permits online page:

    https://permits.edmonds.wa.us/Data/Live//PERMIT/PMT_76185/364ad439129340659b0f99e3c21ac668.pdf

    Why didn’t staff make sure Ms. Petso, her fellow Council Members and the CITIZENS knew this when she asked the question on March 25th?

    I agree that this is very disturbing. Hopefully the City will address this immediately and treat those citizens proper and fair. I think there is enough room to move that sidewalk off private property if the citizens desire such.

    I also visited 104 this morning and noted WSDOT markings that look to be where the crosswalk is planned. I don’t understand why the State would spend $300,000 or possible more coupled with the City spending all $10,000 of its Residential Neighborhood Traffic Calming money for 2014 at that location. It is roughly 1/3 of a mile from that spot to the existing crosswalks and light at Dayton.

  7. Ken,
    WSDOT Mission:
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Secretary/ResultsWSDOT.htm

    Having one more crosswalk will very people’s routes, keep people safe and is something that WSDOT has already approved and many residents have asked for.

    Original article, 2012, incorrectly listed as a safe routes to school funded project::
    http://myedmondsnews.com/2012/12/edmonds-selected-for-1-43-million-in-federal-safe-routes-to-school-grants/

    Posting by Mr Phil Williams in comments.
    “The proposed crosswalk on SR104 north of Pine Street is a WSDOT project and the grant is being awarded to them and not the City. It is not being funded by the Safe Routes to Schools grant program. Funds to build this improvement will come from another program that is designed to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, not necessarily school children. We have heard from many citizens living west of SR104 concerned that they have no place to cross SR104 legally, let alone safely. ”

    Image showing crosswalk:
    http://www.edmondswa.gov/images/COE/Government/Departments/Public_Works/Transportation/pdf/WSDOT%20Managed%20SR104%20Xwalk%20Improvement.pdf

  8. Thanks Nathan. I appreciate the help but must admit that now I am even more confused.

    Why didn’t staff mention this last evening during the City Council meeting? Mr. Williams didn’t mention last night that back on December 28, 2012 he stated that a grant was being awarded to WSDOT (not the City of Edmonds) for a WSDOT crosswalk project on SR104 north of Pine Street.

    Instead, he stated last night that WSDOT called the City a few weeks ago saying that it would be a lot easier for them to GET “construction money” if they had a local partner in the project and could we (Edmonds) provide some funding. Did WSDOT already have “construction money” or not?

    If WSDOT never received Federal funding back in 2012 – Did this project somehow morph into a joint City/WSDOT project on SR104? If so, was this WSDOT/State Highway project on any of our City plans?

    In any event, I don’t see how this $10,000 payment was consistent with the legislative intent of the Residential Neighborhood Traffic Calming program. I believe a well marked, striped crosswalk and possibly other traffic calming measures on Walnut Street at 8th is a solid example of something that should have been done long before $16,000 of traffic calming money was moved to Sunset Avenue and another $10,000 moved to a WSDOT project.

    I think it is a big mistake to siphon Residential Neighborhood Traffic Calming funds away from worthy local street projects that have been petitioned for by citizens.

  9. Let me see if I understand: every $10,000 the city spends needs to have a public process and the are no more important issues for the council to spend their time on than $10,000 issues? What percent of the budget is $10,000?

  10. Eric Sonett: You guys keep talking about “process”, “hiccups”, etc. It is about the LAW and yes, every PENNY spent needs to be accounted for according to our LAWS. And by the way, it appears that a mere $10,000 can turn into MILLILIONS, or do you consider THAT just a “process” problem and there are other more important items to look at.

    The $$$$ in our city coffers is the HARD EARNED $$$$ of the CITIZENS of this city

    I’m still sitting here wondering how it could possibly cost $20,000
    $$$$$$$ for Public Works people to paint TEMPORARY STRIPES/ARROWS/MARKING on Sunset for the TEMPORARY Sunset Project with their spray paint cans. I’m an artist who has painted anything and everything for 55 + years, and THAT simply blows my mind.

  11. Eric,

    $10,000 is 100% of the Traffic Calming Program budget. See pg. 171, Transportation Projects- Fund 112, in the 2014 Adopted Budget:

    http://edmondswa.gov/images/COE/Government/Departments/Administrative_Services/Finance/Budget/2014/2014_Adopted_Budget.pdf

  12. I think you may be missing the point Eric. I believe the point is that there are precious few dollars in the budget for Residential Neighborhood Traffic Calming Purposes. There is a well defined process neighborhoods can follow to try and access this money. Many want to improve local street safety in their neighborhoods. I’ve used the example of Walnut Street, site of a horrible tragedy in early 2014.

    I discovered this morning that the City of Edmonds Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan (2014 – 2019) included the following Pedestrian Project (Not a Traffic Calming Project):

    SR-104 Pedestrian Midblock crossing (WSDOT project):

    Install mid-block crossing along SR-104, allowing pedestrians coming from Pine St to safely cross SR-104, to access City Park .

    So now we know that this is about safely crossing SR-104 to access City Park, a pedestrian project as opposed to a traffic calming project.

    The Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) document states that WSDOT had SECURED a grant for $230,000 and that no local funds are needed.

    The TIP document was presented to the City Council for approval on June 18, 2013.
    If WSDOT had already SECURED a grant when the TIP was presented to Council on June 18 , 2013, why would they call the City a few weeks ago saying that it would be a lot easier to GET “construction money” if WSDOT had a local partner in the project. This seems inconsistent with the representation on the TIP that the grant had already been SECURED.

    Furthermore, WSDOT put this project out to Bid on July 2, 2014 and bids were opened on July 9, 2014. Would they have called the City asking us to provide some funding after they put the project out to bid?

    Does anybody know if the Point Edwards developer was ever required to provide funds for a possible crosswalk in this vicinity?

  13. The Town of Woodway is also mentioned in the bid request. I wonder if Woodway was asked to contribute to this WSDOT project?

    “The improvement of SR 104, MP 24.93 To 25.30 in Snohomish County, the city of Edmonds, and the town of Woodway, EDMONDS CITY PARK VICINITY MID BLOCK PEDESTRIAN CROSSING, by adding a mid-block pedestrian crossing with a cross walk Signal and illumination system, permanent signing, sidewalk ramps, median traffic island with pedestrian pass through, roadway surveying, erosion/water pollution control, and traffic control.”

  14. Put the Sunset project on the November ballot for a non-binding Advisory vote…let the Edmonds citizens voice a yes or no on this project !

  15. The Edmonds City Council has a fiduciary responsibility to it’s citizens and taxpayers. Spending $20,000.00 on this foolish project is irresponsible at best. We trust our elected officials to do what is in the best Interest of all of us. The majority of the Council is trying to force this sidewalk against our wishes, spend money we do not have, and to build it on land we do not own. Donald Williams has the best idea. Put it on the ballot. You can rest assured I will vote.

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