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.