Council OKs consultant for Hwy 99 planning study; hears report on sustainability work

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The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night unanimously authorized an agreement with consultant SCJ Alliance to begin the next phase of work on redeveloping Highway 99 through the City of Edmonds.

According to the scope of work, the project will build on land use planning and zoning changes approved by the council in August for the two-and-a quarter-mile stretch of highway in Edmonds.

“Now we can design a transportation system to fully implement that vision,” Public Works Director Phil Williams told the council.

Elements to be considered include wider replacement sidewalks, new street lighting, raised center medians, “attractive and safe” crosswalks, better stormwater management, targeted utility replacements, potential undergrounding of overhead utilities, and landscaping.

The estimated project cost of $467,517 will be funded out of the $1 million from the state transportation budget, which was advanced in 2017 from the $10 million long-term appropriation approved during the 2015 legislative session.

The council also listened to a presentation from three city department directors — Carrie Hite of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, Phil Williams of Public Works and Shane Hope of Development Services — regarding the city’s progress on environmental sustainability issues.

Hite noted that the city is committed to reducing pesticide use in its parks and has achieved a 60 percent reduction since 2008. Drip irrigation systems have replaced overhead irrigation in downtown planter beds and portions of Frances Anderson Center, reducing water consumption and costs by 70 percent. Parks staff uses mulch for weed control, and nearly all of it comes from trees blown over during storms or cut during pruning projects, or fall leaves.

Williams pointed to a variety of fuel efficiency efforts, including the acquisition — through federal block grant funds — of hybrid and all-electric vehicles, plus the conversion of police patrol cars and public works vehicles to a propane-powered fleet.

The city in 2011 installed six electric vehicle charging stations for public use.

Williams said that energy efficiency has also been a priority in city-owned facilities. The wastewater treatment plant, for example, is the city’s biggest energy user, but that usage has been reduced 22 percent over the past five years.

Other accomplishments of note included the city’s plastic bag ban for retail — the first city in Washington state to do so; installation of one of the first community solar projects in Puget Sound, located on the Frances Anderson Center rooftop; and a year-long Sustainable Cities partnership with Western Washington University and the Association of Washington Cities, which produced a variety of sustainability projects.

The council also:

– Heard a report from Robin Fenn, Superintendent of the Verdant Health Commission, regarding community health issues and partnership opportunities the commission is pursuing. You can see the complete Verdant presentation here.

– Received an update on the City Council’s efforts to select a consultant to conduct a planning-level baseline study of the Edmonds Marsh, with the goal of establishing 2017 baseline ecological conditions.” The council agreed to fund and conduct the study during its work on the city’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP). A council task force that includes Council President Tom Mesaros, Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis and Mike Nelson, Development Services Director Shane Hope and Senior Planner Kernen Lien, will meet Sept. 12. During that meeting, they will discuss their ranking of five proposals and which potential vendors will be invited to participate in a public interview. Then, on Sept. 26, the task force will meet in a public forum to interview selected vendors.

— By Teresa Wippel

 

 

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