Last Thursday night’s meeting about the Cascade Land Conservancy’s “Complete Streets” initiative — aimed at producing pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets in Edmonds — became mostly a forum for those supporting Edmonds Proposition 1, a proposed $40-per-vehicle increase in licensing fees to fund 37 separate city traffic safety, congestion and pedestrian improvements.
Among the approximately 20 people attending the meeting were Edmonds City Councilmember Strom Peterson and City Transportation Engineer Bertrand Haus, both of whom said they were there as private citizens and not as official city representatives. Kristiana Johnson of the Edmonds Citizen Transportation Committee provided an overview of Proposition 1 and the projects it would fund if approved by voters in November. A list of those projects can be found here.
Both Peterson and Johnson (along with the majority of the Edmonds Citizens Transportation Comittee) have endorsed Proposition 1, and Sierra Club representative Rebecca Wolfe announced to the group that her organization is supporting the measure. City Councilmembers Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Steve Bernheim and Diane Buckshnis, and Mayor Mike Cooper have also signed on as endorsers.
But the city council’s vote to place the proposal on the ballot was 4-3, and another Edmonds councilmember, D.J. Wilson, is leading the No on Proposition 1 campaign. The No campaign now has a Facebook page and a website will be launched soon.
Complete Streets representatives Patrick Green and Skye Schell told the group that the Cascade Land Conservancy is not taking a position on Proposition 1, which has been the subject of spirited debate throughout Edmonds in recent weeks. (See the My Edmonds News poll here.) But they did provide an update on their efforts to secure eventual Edmonds City Council passage of an ordinance — completely separate from the Proposition 1 measure — to ensure that the city will incorporate “Complete Streets practices” into the planning, development and construction of transportation projects.
According to the draft ordinance language, Complete Streets are defined as “design features that contribute to a safe, convenient, or comfortable travel experience for users, including but not limited to features such as: sidewalks; shared use paths; bicycle lanes; automobile lanes; paved shoulders; street trees and landscaping; planting strips and green infrastructure; accessible curb ramps; bulb outs; crosswalks; pedestrian and traffic signals, signage; street furniture; bicycle parking facilities; public transportation stops and facilities; transit priority signalization; traffic calming devices; and those features identified in the City of Edmonds Transportation Master Plan.”
Other Puget Sound-area cities, including Kirkland and Tacoma, have signed on as Complete Streets supporters, Schell said. Yet, while Complete Streets would give direction to city planners, there is no current funding available to support those directions, and that’s what Proposition 1 supporters were quick to point out during Thursday night’s meeting.