Edmonds Mayor Earling on Thursday announced the City has received a $700,000 state appropriation to support initial design, environmental work and permitting for the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector project. The state money joins $295,000 in matching local funds from the City of Edmonds, the Port of Edmonds, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF), Sound Transit and Community Transit.
According to a city announcement:
With continued opportunities for significant input by the public and agency stakeholders, the City will refine the alignment and bridge type for the Waterfront Connector. This will in turn help narrow the focus on the specific areas of environmental impact that will require further analysis during the permitting process. From there, the initial design can be developed and will form the basis for seeking the funding to complete final design and construction.
“This is exciting news for Edmonds as this is an important next step in accomplishing our goal of providing a safer, more reliable crossing for pedestrians and emergency vehicles at our downtown waterfront,” Earling said. “I look forward to traveling to Washington, D.C. later this year to continue our work to secure federal funding to complete this critical project for our region.”
The estimated cost of the Waterfront Connector project is $30 million.
Last November, Earling unveiled his recommendations for alternatives to the at-grade rail crossings at Main and Dayton Streets, which followed a set of findings and recommendations issued by the mayor’s Advisory Task Force after a 13-month study process.
The task force initially considered up to 51 various alternatives to address pedestrian and vehicle safety, efficient traffic movement, emergency access and intermodal access. The group held four public open houses as part of its process to analyze the options and narrow the field of alternatives. The task force identified a preferred alternative: a single-lane structure connecting Sunset Avenue at Edmonds Street to the parking lot at Brackett’s Landing North.
Known as the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector, the project will provide immediate waterfront access for fire and police units when that access is blocked by train traffic at the city’s two at-grade access points, Main and West Dayton streets.
Emergency responders now have to wait until train traffic clears, or — in the event of a train parked over both crossings — they must cross on foot through the trains. Currently, at-grade railroad crossings at Dayton and Main Streets are temporarily blocked by 35-40 trains each day along the city’s waterfront and could eventually be blocked by up to 100 trains a day by 2030.
And when a train is stalled in front of the ferry lanes for a significant time, the Waterfront Connector may also aid traffic control officers in ferry on- or off-loading.
You can find more information about the project on the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector web page: http://www.edmondswa.gov/community-services/alternatives-analysis.html.