Scene in Edmonds: Testing out the Sunset Avenue walkway

The newly striped walkway on Sunset Avenue drew quite a crowd on Saturday afternoon, as temperatures hit the high 70's under sunny skies.  As the photo shows, pedestrians are making good use of the wider, level walkway and taking in the views that on Saturday included an unobstructed panorama from Mt. Baker to Kingston.  "The view is great, no more competing with cars, and no more twisted ankles," exclaimed one passerby. "They should have done this years ago!"
From Larry Vogel, who said the newly striped walkway on Sunset Avenue drew quite a crowd on Saturday afternoon, as temperatures hit the high 70s under sunny skies. As the photo shows, pedestrians are making good use of the wider, level walkway and taking in the views that on Saturday included an unobstructed panorama from Mt. Baker to Kingston. “The view is great, no more competing with cars, and no more twisted ankles,” exclaimed one passerby. “They should have done this years ago.”


121 Replies to “Scene in Edmonds: Testing out the Sunset Avenue walkway”

  1. Same wonderful view as before. What I learned from Larry’s video tour, is that the same walkway is also where bikers, skaters, strollers and other wheeled objects must operate. I assume they can come @ any time, volume, speed and direction (having not heard otherwise), so…this small strip of land can become a crazy, somewhat dangerous spot along Sunset. The City cannot jam all forms of movement into a narrow strip of land and expect us to be happy and safe @ the same time. Are wheeled vehicles allowed in the street a/o on the east sidewalk? A clarification is needed for the public.

  2. The Port has signs posted that say PLEASE No wheel sports on public walkways. Maybe the City will provide some type of guidance along Sunset soon.

    I imagine that bicyclists can travel northbound only in the sharrow. Bicyclists that want to travel southbound mat have to stay off Sunset. Hard to know.

    State law says:

    RCW 46.61.261
    Sidewalks, crosswalks — Pedestrians, bicycles.

    (1) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian or bicycle on a sidewalk. The rider of a bicycle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian on a sidewalk or crosswalk.

  3. Sunday morning around 8, several cars were actually parked in the walkway, leaving the parking lane open for walkers. Certainly not the intended result of the striping, but unless there’s some signage, I’m not sure how anyone would know. Someone had taken one of the wayward orange cones and placed it on the front hood of one of the unoccupied and illegally parked scofflaw cars. (It wasn’t me!)

  4. There will have to be a police presence until everyone gets with the program. So far cars continue to park in the walkway south of the diagonal parking. I heard a report of a car driving the wrong way (southbound) in the walkway on the one way portion between Caspers and Edmonds St.

    Why were the 6-8 northern most parallel parking spots removed, especially those in the vicinity of the picnic table? There is still room for these spots without blocking the views of the houses on the north end of Sunset Ave.

  5. We are regular Sunset Avenue walkers. We tried the new walkway configuration Saturday and think it is a vast improvement and much safer for pedestrians. The existing narrow sidewalk cannot begin to safely accommodate all the pedestrians, dog walkers and baby strollers during good peak periods which forced us and many other pedestrians to frequently detour onto to the street filled with moving cars and fast cyclists.

  6. Thank you Edmonds! I’m really loving your commentary on my impromptu photo from Saturday afternoon.

    While I strive to keep my personal opinions out of my news articles and reports, presenting instead objective information to help readers form their own opinions and conclusions, I do have views on many of the issues facing our community today. So please forgive me for coming out of reporter mode for moment to share some thoughts on the Sunset walkway.

    I’m particularly glad to see the issue raised of how to coordinate the different modes of traffic on the proposed walkway…walkers, runners, baby strollers, kids on training wheels (who typically don’t look where they’re going), Lance Armstrong wannabes in yellow spandex hitting 40 mph and more on their $1000+ velocipedes, wheelchairs, skateboards, roller blades, seniors using walkers, etc etc etc.

    With all the hullabaloo/posturing/finger-pointing/grousing/bleating around whether it should be built at all, whether it’s a waste of money, a boondoggle, whether there’s been enough public process, ad nauseum, this (to me) very critical question of how to accommodate all these potentially incompatible uses in a 10-foot-wide path has been all but lost in the noise.

    As was pointed out, the Port simply says no to wheeled traffic on the Marina walkway. Seattle Parks separates wheeled and foot traffic in separate lanes going in separate directions at Green Lake. The University of Washington has established bicycle walk zones in busy on-campus locations.

    Clearly the Sunset walkway would benefit from a workable set of guidelines to manage traffic on this new promenade…sooner rather than later!

    Thanks for listening…OK, back to reporter mode now! -LV

  7. Larry, if convenient….can you please post a photograph of the Port of Edmonds blue sign that states: PLEASE No wheel sports on public walkways.

    If inconvenient, I understand. Thanks.

  8. Yesterday we slowly drove along Sunset to get the feel for this proposed change. The first impression was the barricade of parked cars facing north. This chopped-up the street and the cars blocked much of the Sound. What was an open street providing an uncluttered view of the Sound, at this point showed only metal and tires. The angle-parked cars were no better and, again, blocked the free view of nature.

    Didn’t see many walkers on the proposed westside walkway. And the ones we saw walked there without much contact. However, along the existing sidewalk were many folks/neighbors/friends standing and talking about whatever. Clearly a better place for human interaction. No bikes, skateboards in sight.

    Then we got to the North end and regained the uncluttered view missing now on the south end. It simply makes no visual or financial sense to arrange parked cars as if one is shopping for groceries. Best solution is widening the eastside sidewalk so it is safer and allows more people to walk, gather and literally smell the roses. A simple fix that doesn’t need testing. For a few bucks, fix the curb on the west side to complete the project.

    Otherwise, leave things alone, uncluttered. A few dollars for a sidewalk upgrade provides greater return on the dollar than the parking lot proposed by DPW. This idea cannot improve on what nature provides for free!

  9. Monday night (9/22) I drove up Sunset Ave. The bicycle lane has been repainted on the east side of the street. There are now parts of the driving lane which are so narrow that a car must stray into the bike lane to avoid hitting cars parked in the diagonal and parallel parking spots.

    I continue to lobby for reinstating the lost parking spots on the north end of Sunset Ave. I have spent many enjoyable hours there over the past several years photographing birds, trains, planes, sunsets, ships, boats, and the occasional whale.

    I carry about 50lb of professional grade photography equipment in my car. It was very convenient to park close to the picnic table and use it to set up my several cameras, telephoto lenses, and tripods. I could also eat lunch there as well.

    If cars are allowed to park in the old parking spots at the north end of Sunset Ave., they will not interfere with views of the Sound from the new walkway. Those original parking spots were also configured so as not to block the views of the Sound from the houses on the east side of the street.

  10. Thanks Larry! The following is found in Section 5 of the Port of Edmonds Regulations:


    The boardwalk and walkway along the waterfront is limited to people on foot. Bicycles and roller skates are allowed on Port property other than the boardwalk and walkways. Skateboarding is prohibited on all Port property.

    I can’t find a similar regulation in the City’s messed up, out of date city code. Title 9 – Street and Sidewalks seems very sparse.

  11. The Growth Management Act establishes the primacy of the Comprehensive Plan. This means that the Comprehensive Plan is first in order, rank and importance for the City’s planning process and the centerpiece of City planning.

    The Transportation Plan serves as the transportation element of the City of Edmonds Comprehensive Plan (Comprehensive Plan). It identifies transportation infrastructure and services needed to support projected land use within the city through the year 2025, in compliance with the State of Washington Growth Management Act (GMA) [RCW 36.70A, 1990, as amended].

    Based upon existing and projected future land use and travel patterns, the Transportation Plan describes street, walkway, bikeway, and public transportation infrastructure and services, and provides an assessment of existing and projected future transportation needs. It provides a long-range Capital Improvement Program (CIP) that establishes transportation priorities, addresses transportation deficiencies, and guides the development of the six-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

    The Transportation Plan identifies safety and mobility improvements for streets, walkways, bikeways, neighborhood traffic control, and public transportation, as well as preservation, maintenance; and provides implementation strategies that include concurrency management and financing. The Transportation Plan establishes direction for development of programs and facilities that address the transportation needs for the city through the year 2025.

    The Transportation Plan identifies 10 short walkway projects and 24 long walkway projects. A detailed prioritization criteria for walkway projects is discussed in Table 4.1.

    I do not see any mention of a recommended walkway project along Sunset Avenue.

    Why are we pushing projects not included in our Comprehensive Planning? Why was a lot of staff work done on the Sunset Walkway project before July 19, 2011?

    On a side note, the November 2009 Transportation Plan states that the City is planning to update all pedestrian signals to “countdown” signals, in accordance with the standards set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (FHWA 2001) by 2013.

  12. Does anyone really believe that the new configuration of Sunset isn’t permanent? I am betting that it will be, and that the proposed walkway/ promenade will be done after this “temporary” test has been in place for a year with the reasons given that it only makes sense to expand the pedestrian walk. Regardless of all the public input, it is clear that the Sunset walkway project is moving forward.

  13. I guess we can see that having a comprehensive plan for Westgate will make no difference either if like on Sunset one person out of the whole town can get special projects for one resident out of 39,000 at a cost to all the residents, the the parking lot at the south end obliterating the view while the north end has no cars to obstruct the view for that person. No matter how you spin it. and there are those that are really good at that, we get it and this is why the general population has no trust for this government

    Edmonds Spring

  14. The people whose input about the new configuration that should be solicited first and foremost are the homeowners along Sunset. They aren’t casual users, they are the ones who have to deal with it daily: their ingress and egress, their driveways, Their views and front yards ( which have always been part of the Sunset experience and whose roses we have all stopped and smelled). How do they feel about the changes, since they are the ones who have to actually live with it? It is their neighborhood, after all.

  15. The front property lines end @ the public right of way. There are a lot of homes in Edmonds that are on the waterfront and have no such public right of way, but not the homes on Sunset Ave.

    My understanding is that the election process in Edmonds will not be in the spring, but will be held in November 2015.

    1. And the line defining that public right of way is in question by at least one of the homeowners,who says the side walk is on his property. The reason there is no fence is due to the work back when of those homeowners. The public right of way needs to be balanced with the noise, traffic, and homeowner’s right to quiet enjoyment of their property.

  16. I live on Sunset Avenue and am not opposed to an increased number of people enjoying Sunset and the view it offers, which walkers and people in parked cars alike enjoy. What I am opposed to is a compromise that tries to please everyone and will end ujp pleasing no one. Having cars parked in the middle of the street is a dangerous design. Pultting bicycles, strollers, dog walkers, skateboarders and Segways on a “multipurpose path” is an invitation to disaster. Sunset is not and should not be Greenlake or the Burke-Gilman trail. People come here to, in the words of one individual with whom I spoke, “decompress”, to enjoy Nature’s art, and not the proposed “art work” that exists in the 18 page proposal.

    Several people with whom I’ve spoken on Sunset have said , “We’ll get used it it. ” My response is, why should we get used to something that is inherently a dangerous design, a poor compromise, and an absurdly expensive proposal (at an estimated cost of $1.9 million – excluding any reinforcement of the embankment)? Can it be true that the City of Edmonds counts on our complacency, as I’ve been told? I for one, will not be complacent, and I am grateful to all the people with whom I’ve spoken who haven’t been hesitant to sign a petition against this “strategic plan for future development” which, supposedly will “provide significant economic benefit to future businesses.” The people who visit Sunset come to enjoy the view and the serentiy the street affords. They do not come to spend money. But this proposed “promenade” will cost them – one way or another.

    1. Regarding your comment about “.. excluding any reinforcement of the embankment…”: The old arrangement had very heavy cars and trucks parked in the exact same spot as the proposed walkway. Why was that never a problem? You folks seem to be constantly bringing the reinforcement issue up. I’m beginning to think that perhaps many people in your camp suffer from canine obesophobia? You apparently think that people walking with their babies in strollers or walking their very, very fat dogs are going to be so heavy that they will weigh more than all those formerly parked cars and trucks combined and all of those very fat dogs will then crash the walkway down onto the RR tracks, thereby causing the tracks to crash into the Sound, which of course will then create a giant tsunami which will destroy all of Edmonds? If so, please relax and fear not. Have someone weigh just one vehicle and then calculate how many fat dogs it will take to outweigh all of the vehicles which used to park there. Later on, maybe we can discuss the current, total lack of a storm sewer on Sunset Ave N. The proposed project will include such drainage which will then stabilize the bank more than now. But who wants to consider the actual facts, right?

      1. Hi again, Jim. In my opinion, $1.9 million is plenty expensive without bank reinforcement. The cars park at the curb, but the walkway would go beyond the curb and that is where reinforcement might be needed. If a storm sewer is needed on Sunset Ave N, then that should be considered as a separate project – in my opinion.

  17. If not in the Comp plan this project should stop today; it is out of order. I understand that this test design will be evaluated afterwards. What I don’t recall, if it was ever mentioned, is who will ‘design’ the survey, conduct the survey and then decide what it means? I assume DPW will be the decider and this creates the ol’ conflict of interest. Once again, expand the westside sidewalk to allow more walkers (looking at the Sound), places to stand and chat, etc. Protect this sidewalk with signage and let the bikes ride in the street as always. Very simple and effective.

  18. A correction to my 2:43pm comment….meant to say, again, expand the eastside sidewalk @ less cost to make it a better place to walk, meet and greet friends and neighbors.

  19. I must retract my earlier statement about a bike lane being added on the east side of Sunset Ave. It turns out that I was seeing the striping of the old bike lane reflecting my headlights through the new sealant.

    The rear ends of cars parked in some of the new diagonal parking spots on the south end of Sunset Ave. are very close to the driveways of houses on the opposite side of the street. It looks as though it will be extremely tight quarters for some of the homeowners to attempt to back their cars out of their driveways.

  20. I agree with Jim Underhill about simply expanding the sidewalk on the east side of Sunset. There is plenty of room to do so by removing the strips of grass and/or pebbles or shell between the sidewalk and the curb.

    1. Don and Jim,
      This idea completely ignores the point about giving the best view space to people (who have eyes) and not vehicles (chunks of metal with headlights). You could barely see the view before, because of the cars and trucks. This is part of the old discussion and has nothing to do with the actual facts… or why the walkway was created in the first place.

      Seattle, Tacoma and every other waterfront city does not use the best view area for a parking lot, and then push the humans off to the other side, away from the water and views. The fact that this is being brought up constantly shows how backward the thinking can be in this town.

      1. Hi Jim. I read your comment below and quite frankly don’t care if the parking is eliminated on the north end of Sunset. I just think that if a wider walkway is needed, it would be much less costly and less complicated to just widen the existing sidewalk on the east side of the street. No need to lease land or get permission from BNSF, and no danger from a steep slope next to the walkway. And I think the view from the east side of the street is just fine, even with cars and trucks parked on the west side. So maybe everybody could be happy with a much simpler, less costly project.

  21. What’s the big deal? The restriping was simple and inexpensive compared to the million dollar proposal. I live near Sunset, walk it several times a week, and am glad to not have to walk around the cars and trod on a muddy path. It is so great to be able to walk along the water side of the street. People in cars can still park and enjoy the view. Bicycles, skate boards, and roller bladers can share the road with the cars. I’ve ridden it already three times on my bike without a problem — people are great about driving slowly along Sunset, since it is a heavily used area.

    Thanks City of Edmonds!

  22. I’ve lived on Sunset Ave N. for almost nine years. It never ceases to amaze me how so many of the folks on this street are against everything that comes up as a proposal for improvement or any kind of change. Whether or not it’s good for the citizens of this city and the visitors to our waterfront areas, they are always against it. One would think that this is 1970 or 1950! For one brief moment, take your eyes off the walkway and look at the homes on Sunset. And look at the changes. The old is making way for the new and it’s time we all took a look at that. Check out all of the new construction. And there are more new homes being planned as I write this. It ain’t 1950 anymore. Hello!

    I challenge these naysayers to name one solitary city or town on the west coast with salt water views and a waterfront treasure as we have here, that has this type of backward thinking. Most people understand that this is 2014 and it’s time to start thinking green. Check out Seattle and check out Tacoma or dozens of other waterfront towns. I’m aware of no other city where they’re having this ridiculous dialogue.

    It may come as a surprise to many people, but the concern today is actually something called a “Walk Score”. Please name one more town that wants to go backward or to create a parking strip on the best piece of real estate in a waterfront community. Seattle (bless their heart) is a bit extreme but they are basically doing nothing to accommodate cars. They at least understand that people, not parking, is what is important.

    I’d like to share a few thoughts from someone who lives here and sees what’s actually going on.

    1. Many of the people who sit in their cars do so with their windows rolled up and they leave their cars running. For nine years I have watched them reading a book, or doing paperwork, or they’re on their computers or their phones. They only look at the water when they drive up and when they drive away. The emissions from these vehicles benefits nobody. It’s a convenient place to park. That’s it.

    2. Sometimes one has to be slightly inconvenienced personally for the greater good. I have held a monthly potluck at my place for almost four years straight. I have between 2 and 4 dozen people at my place on Sunset every single month. In the invitation, I tell all of my guests that they cannot park on Sunset because the parking ends at 10PM. So they park elsewhere and they walk to my place, enjoy an evening here, and then walk to their cars, often in the rain. The idea that we must have parking to accommodate anyone, including the homeowners on Sunset, is simply ridiculous.

    3. I watched with amusement as the “No Change Warriors” (I like to call them the Sunset Bullies) were sitting out on the east side of the street collecting signatures on a petition to “bring back the old days”. (NOTE: some of these same people literally tried to take over a city sponsored informational meeting some time ago. It was embarrassing to listen to them telling the speaker that they wanted to run the meeting their way). A simple question to anyone who recently signed the petition: Were you also told that some of these folks have a vested interest in having things the way they were, simply so they could personally park their two trucks on the street in the prime view space in town, the way they always have? We’re talking semi-permanent parking of THEIR vehicles, which would not allow YOU to park there anyway. I didn’t think so…. It was pretty interesting at any given time, to see them “picking off” the 1-3 people who walked along the east sidewalk, getting them to unwittingly sign their petition, while of course ignoring the 12-15 people who were actually using and enjoying the new walkway and it’s unobstructed views on the west side. They of course didn’t approach the actual users of the walkway. Kind of hard to have someone sign a petition against ice cream while they’re happily enjoying an ice cream cone!

    4. Let’s talk about the muddy path on the east side of Sunset. I happened to be talking to an attorney last week who specializes in risk management (he lives in Edmonds). He told me that the risk to the City is the muddy path itself, not the walkway. Picture this: an unlit, muddy path (it rains here, folks) running adjacent to the areas sloping down to the tracks below. The City is putting itself in a risky position by allowing the use of this hazardous, bumpy strip, NOT the new walkway.

    5. If the major concern is all of the people using the path at the same time, cars parked next to the path with oddball parking arrangements, etc., then maybe the discussion should be to eliminate all parking on Sunset N., period. Widen the path to maybe 12-14 feet and put in a wheels only lane, or something similar. And by the way, the most wheels I’ve observed were on the strollers that the moms were safely pushing down the dedicated walkway, away from the cars.

    Yes, there may be a few things that will need to be slightly adjusted to make it the best fit. The answer is to address those issues, and to move on and make it better. The answer is NOT to throw the baby out with the bathwater and try to go back to the “old days” which are GONE. The City Council (finally and wisely) approved this test of the walkway and it needs to play out and actually be tested. And it needs to be done in spite of those folks who love to stir everything up and get everyone worked up about nonexistent problems. If they really cared about the city, they would be setting aside this nonsense and they’d direct their energies toward the real problem we face: the trains with coal, petroleum and God knows what, running through town, polluting as they go.

      1. It sounds like the people are expressing their collective opinions, Ms. Ryder. Maybe you should listen for a change. And the primary definition of “posse comitatus” refers to limitations on the Federal government in using Federal troops to enforce State law or to address State-based issues such as violent confrontations among citizens arising from demonstrations, looting after natural or manmade disasters, and other events where local public safety is threatened to a point beyond the ability (or sometimes desire) of local law enforcement officials to control by themselves. Response to control and calm these potential threats to the health and well-being of local communities is a power allocated to the National and State Guard–not to Federal troops, for the expressed purpose of establishing local rather than Federal law enforcement of State civil matters. Not a bad idea, wouldn’t you think?

        The response to the Sunset Avenue Walkway Project, as Jim Wilkinson eloquently suggests, is a microcosm of every issue that arises in Edmonds these days. There are those that for it, and those that oppose it. Generally, it seems that those that oppose development and planning projects, ranging from the Westgate rezoning, to Harbor Square, to Sunset Avenue, to (Gee, fill in the blank), rely almost always on fear and often on bad science. You can’t walk along or cross any major or even minor arterial safely, even with perfectly adequate sidewalks and crossing signals, and that condition apparently gets more profound the closer you get to Westgate or the new roundabout. You can’t walk too close to a steep slope, because we will no doubt have another Oso event (even though slope stability conditions in Edmonds in no way resemble the conditions in Oso or even Woodway, where a large slide occured in the mid-1990s). You can’t walk safely through any of our residential neighborhoods, because sometimes there’s no sidewalks and it gets dark at night. You can’t build above 30 feet of building height in downtown or even several hundred feet from the waterfront because it will impact views that are sacredly protected…first of all, 35- to 40-foot tall buildings in or around the downtown wouldn’t appreciably affect anyone’s views (we already have them, folks). Don’t believe it? Walk Edmonds’ downtown and imagine 5- to 10-foot taller buildings at Harbor Square. You wouldn’t see them for the trees. Finally, those who protest most vigorously about view blockage didn’t pay enough for their homes to insure an totally unobstructed view in perpetuity. That would take living right on the waterfront (but look out for those trees), on an island that doesn’t exist, or in a really tall building that isn’t currently allowed.

        But back to Sunset Avenue. There are no related slope stability, environmental, or traffic issues that can’t be (and in most cases, have already been) successfully addressed. The west side walkway seems to work nicely and offers walkers the best views available without walking in the mud or on BNSF property or by looking over parked cars, and from parked cars (impeded only by the passage of walkers). The parking situation could probably be tweaked a bit, but the narrow passage allowed for transiting cars at the south entrance seems to provide effective traffic calming.

        So, are we to squash every new project that has the potential of being a legacy project that those who come after us for generations will enjoy, projects that have the potential of making this a better place to live, or projects that responsibly and aesthetically accommodate the new residents that the GMA will require us to take in? Seems there are those out there who would wish to do so. Please, if not in your neighborhood,–where then?

        1. Steve, we need you on the Economic Development Commission and then as a candidate for City Council. Good summary.

        2. posse……………not hard to figure out……..Some people need to spend more time reading Henry David Thoreau……………..instead of following and stalking me

          You guys would have skyscrapers lining our small beach if you could get away with it. We know this…..We’re not stupid, so go on ad nauseum. You are wasting your breathe. There are enough residents in this small, wonderful, quaint town that don’t buy the baloney put out and they also don’t plan on allowing their hard earned taxed dollars turned over to those only interested in short term monetary gains for themselves and their cronies. And I’m walking now very carefully so I don’t get hit by any of those vehicles that appear to be aiming right at us…………… speaking of posse. Perhaps some are on the wrong side of the law. We live in a country of laws, and that is what makes us civilized.

          Edmonds Spring

        3. Steve, please appreciate that many of us believe the “legacy project” was done decades ago when Sunset was changed from a 2 way to a 1 way street. We grew to love the former configuration and how it wonderfully balanced the neighborhood with those who visited it to enjoy the views and serenity it offered. Experiences were had and memories were made as generations enjoyed it. Many wanted that to last as far into the future as possible.

          I find it absolutely amazing that you would state “Please, if not in your neighborhood,–where then?” I think the citizens along Sunset have more than established that they are gracious by how they have shared their neighborhood for decades.

        4. Ken,

          Perhaps you’ve heard of the saying “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change ”? Funny, because had Heraclitus been able to see into the future and observe Edmonds, WA in 2014, I’m sure that he would have had to think twice before saying that.

          Regarding what was done on Sunset decades ago: That was THEN. This is NOW. So many people around here fight tooth and nail so absolutely nothing changes. After reading all these comments, I assume that all these folks have rotary phones instead of cell phones, typewriters instead of computers, and rabbit ears on their TV’s instead of cable? How are you even able to comment on here using a typewriter? Oh, you mean at some point you discovered that change was a good thing and you bought a computer and learned how to use it? Imagine that.

          Sometimes it’s time to fix the broken porch, remodel the kitchen and paint the house. And sometimes it’s time to throw out the old favorite but ratty sweater because it has holes in it and frankly, it kind of stinks.

          Since the walkway stripes were added, I have not seen one person walking randomly down the middle of the street as they did before. Cars used to dodge people walking all over the place. Now they’re on the east sidewalk or they’re on the new walkway. Moms push strollers safely on the new walkway while enjoying the view. And yet so many folks are screaming about how dangerous the new walkway is. All this shows is how desperate some people are to create nonexistent problems and to state untruths in order to make their point. And they do so because of the one thing that propels them to resist every single attempt at any kind of change: FEAR.

        5. Change though constant, isn’t in and of itself good. With computers came NSA snooping, (well it was there before starting with the telegram which was how it became an agency in the first place), with the loss of over the air TV came expensive cable networks which have differentiated the haves and the have nots even further, and with the rise of the cell phone that still sets the haves apart from those who cannot afford them. We had privacy with the rotary dials, we don’t when we reach into our pockets for the phone.

          The folks at Sunset have always been gracious about that street. They are not advocating for no change but instead, your neighbors are questioning how to repair the front porch, remodel the kitchen and paint the house. They are looking at what impact the change will have and trying to get reasonable about it. That old sidewalk was in dire need of repair, but it was that way for a long time. They worked very hard to prevent Burlington from putting up a fence, and were successful. It is not clear that with the increase in traffic on those rail lines, and the proximity to a “multipurpose” pathway that Burlington won’t decide to put up a fence to protect themselves from liability.

          There are serious concerns that your neighbors are raising. Simply dismissing those concerns by using cell phones, typewriters and rabbit ears and calling them fear driven is non- sense. They are questioning if the changes make practical sense, and even why this project is taking place. Just because Sunset is now changed, doesn’t make it good. Implying that older folks fear change is not only insulting but dismisses the fact that they have good reason not to accept “change” as a good thing. It can be.

        6. Ken…always a pleasure. My comment was more directed at future development envisioned for previously developed commercial and mixed use areas of our city. But to your point, it is important to note that we all graciously share the streets and sidewalks of our respective neighborhoods with our fellow residents and visitors to our fair city. Most if not all of us regard it as a sincere pleasure, but in reality, we have no other choice–they’re part of our public infrastructure, as is Sunset Avenue.

        7. I think it may be better to look at Sunset Avenue as an easement giving the public a right of use over the property of another. If Sunset is like most streets and alleys in Edmonds, the adjoining property owners own the underlying fee title to the actual property.

          If so, this concept supports the points made by D. Talmadge that homeowners along Sunset should be respected and that the public right of way needs to be balanced with the noise, traffic, and homeowner’s right to quiet enjoyment of their property.

          The homeowners along Sunset may be different that the rest of us – they may actually have a servient estate interest in Sunset Avenue.

          It would be really nice if the City would clearly disclose the situation along Sunset. Does the City own title to any of Sunset Avenue or just an easement? How wide is the City’s easement (or titled property) at all points along Sunset Avenue? Are any easements of a constant width? If so, how wide is the easement area? Where is BNSF’s property line? Does the City have any easement rights on BNSF’s land? If not, what are the City’s rights related to BNSF’s land?

          Why weren’t the citizens told all of this long ago?

          On occasion, the City has overstepped its dominant estate rights. This practice has harmed private citizens and the City has shown an unwillingness to correct its past behavior.

          Placing sidewalks on private property along parts of Sunset Avenue was wrong. This is not a right that the City had, but the City seems unwilling to do the right thing and move its sidewalk off of private property. I fear this is an indication that the City may not respect all of the citizens living along Sunset.

        8. Ken,

          I find your comment fascinating: “…If Sunset is like most streets and alleys in Edmonds, the adjoining property owners own the underlying fee title to the actual property…”.

          I’m not sure what you do for work or perhaps you’re retired. But I’m thinking that you ought to be a fantasy or fiction writer, or perhaps a detective. You obviously have a whole lot of time on your hands, judging from the volume of comments on here. (I apologize in advance because I’m not able to keep up with all of them…).

          But back to your comment. I’ve sold real estate in the area since the 1970’s and I’ve never heard of what you’re describing here. The ONLY time I’ve seen anything like this is where a property was platted and the developer built a private easement road down the middle of it. It’s clearly noted as a private easement road and there is typically a road maintenance agreement. Lenders require this before loaning on one of the lots in such a situation. But that’s not what you’re describing here. You’re talking about “most” of the city streets in Edmonds.

          I find it astonishing that every title company and lender involved in all of the transactions I’ve done in the area, apparently missed this as well. Please enlighten me with an example of what you’re describing here.

          As to my property on Sunset Ave N., my legal description does not include the sidewalk and certainly does not include the street. My lot (as well as others I’ve sold or know about on Sunset) goes within inches of the east side of the sidewalk.

          So again, please give some actual examples of “most streets and alleys” that are owned by private citizens. Once the truth of this is revealed, I’m sure lenders are then going require some sort of road maintenance agreement on all homes in Edmonds where this is the situation. Without it, the next thing could be that the homeowners will be responsible for the paving and maintenance of what they thought were public streets adjacent to their homes.

        9. Jim, I apologize if how I choose to spend some of my time troubles you.

          Since Burmeister v. Howard, 1 Wash. Terr. 207 (1867), fee in a public street or highway remains in the owner of the abutting land, and the public acquires only the right of passage, with powers and privileges necessarily implied in the grant of the easement.

          Per Nystrand v. O’Malley, 60 Wn.2d 792, 795 (1962): “The law in this state is well settled that the fee to the street rests in the owner of the abutting property.”

          There is a great article on MRSC Insight titled “What is the Nature of a Public Right-of-Way?” It is easy to find with a web search. It was written January 2, 2014 so it is current and very informative.

          Hope this helps.

        10. Thanks, Ken Reidy, for the info in your comment of October 3, 2014, 10:34 am. I learned something new today!

        11. You are very welcome Don.

          Jim, thanks for the idea but I fear my writing is far too boring and detailed to be a successful fantasy and/or fiction writer. Sincerely, I understand that my posts can be exasperating and not enjoyable to read.

          I want you to understand why I choose to spend time researching issues and commenting on My Edmonds News.

          In the “Final thoughts” to that MRSC Insight article, Bob Meinig states:

          “If the right-of-way has not been opened and so is not improved, obstruction of public travel is, of course, not an issue, and the property owner is not subject to the same restrictions as when it is open and improved. Typically, property owners can use the unopened, unimproved right-of-way as they can the rest of their property, but subject to the possibility of it being opened and improved at some point in the future.”

          Jim, I am a citizen who had an unopened, unimproved 7 1/2 foot wide city right of way easement on property that I owned 100% of the fee title too. I used it like I used the rest of my property. I was subject to the possibility the 7 1/2 foot wide easement may have been opened and improved upon at some point in the future. This possibility was remote because the City never obtained an easement for the other 7 1/2 feet when it annexed in the property to the north of my property – leaving this skinny, half an alley, unopened easement.

          The City never opened and improved my 7 1/2 foot wide fee title property. Despite this, the City of Edmonds made me permanently remove my improvements (constructed in the 1960’s when I was a toddler living in Montana) so a private developer could supposedly make temporary use of my fee title property to theoretically employ his optional construction technique.

          The Temporary Construction Easement is now void after 5 years as of March 27, 2014 and history proves the only thing it was ever used for was the City’s Code Enforcement efforts against my legal improvements. My improvements were legal because they were protected under ECDC 17.40.020(A) &(H).

          The developer never touched the easement.

          I have never been able to get the City of Edmonds to voluntarily follow State and City laws. As a result, my ability to trust the integrity of Edmonds has been greatly impaired. I am trying hard to do what I can as a citizen to help facilitate positive change, such as the long overdue Code Rewrite.

          I hope this helps you understand my behavior.

  23. With all due respect, I must suggest this conversation is an Edmonds kind of problem. I live in Lynnwood, where not only the sidewalks are usually missing, but also such impassioned public engagement and discussion. I walk Sunset every day in the summer, and as often as possible during the school year, but always at the break of dawn, when there are no cars and few people. The striping doesn’t really matter to me, as I always walk the west side for the better view. I guess my point is that, as an outsider, I just want to thank whatever public consciousness, city regulations, and civic welcome make it possible for me to enjoy such natural beauty. Thank you, Edmonds, whoever you are, and whatever your stripes!

    1. I am reminded of the 1950s television play, Twelve Angry Men or Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities……Well, we all know how the French Revolution went……

      I’m sorry to see that there are a number of very angry neighbors I have here that personally attack people with a vengeance and nastiness I have not seen, and I’m from a big city. To attack a person that one doesn’t even know on how they spend their personal time is quite unbelievable…..

      All those out there that don’t have quite enough time to follow Mr. Reidy, aught to set some time aside for this , and they would learn a lot about the laws that govern us and how we are supposed to operate according to those laws. .
      Mr. Reidy does an exceptional job of explaining those laws in simple ways for people to understand and see. Just because one doesn’t understand the laws we have on the books does not give one carte blanche to attack people with such mean spirit and nastiness.

  24. Slightly off topic, but I wanted to give Nathan Proudfoot a shout-out for stepping up to talk during CM Bloom’s public meeting. For those who could not make it, Nathan reminded us that Edmonds was founded as a city.

    From WIKI – worth looking at the whole thing actually there are some tidbits.

    Edmonds is the oldest incorporated city in Snohomish County. Logger George Brackett founded Edmonds in 1890, naming the city either for Vermont Sen. George Franklin Edmunds[6] or in association with the nearby Point Edmund, named by Charles Wilkes in 1841 and later changed to Point Edwards.[7] Brackett came to the future site of Edmonds while paddling a canoe north of Seattle, searching for timber. When a gust of wind hit his canoe, Brackett beached in a location later called “Brackett’s Landing”.[8]

    1. I’ve heard Edmonds was incorporated as a “village fourth class” on August 11, 1890. The Washington Secretary of State website has a history of the Edmonds Area. It includes the following:

      According to popular legend, minor fraud was necessary to get the required number of names on the petition. As the story goes, it was necessary to show a population of 300; however, an official census taker determined the population was only 298. A hasty meeting of local citizens was called and a committee appointed to “get two names.” The committee returned a short time later and informed the census taker that he overlooked the names of Bill and Bollivar Brackett who were among the oldest residents of the town. Bill and Bollivar Brackett were officially registered, and the census taker departed.

      After the charter was granted, it came out that Bollivar was an old bull belonging to George Brackett. Bollivar had hauled logs for so many years that his master placed him on his pension list, and Bill was Brackett’s faithful cattle dog whose only duty was to look after Bollivar and see that his special food wasn’t stolen by the younger cattle.

      I don’t know when Edmonds changed from a village to a town and/or city.

      We may have converted to a town by 1893 as Ordinance No. 0030 discussed the salary of the Town Marshall. The first mention of City that I can find is in Ordinance No. 0615, dated October 16, 1951 which mentions city employees. It looks like we may have adopted our first “City” Code in 1960 – per Ordinance No. 0857.

  25. Tere’s reference to Thoreau’s take on the concept of posse comitatus led me to do a little research, which I hope will help inform this discussion. Here’s what Thoreau wrote on the topic:

    “The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus,(7) etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. A wise man will only be useful as a man, and will not submit to be “clay,” and “stop a hole to keep the wind away,”(8) but leave that office to his dust at least: —

    “I am too high-born to be propertied,
    To be a secondary at control,
    Or useful serving-man and instrument
    To any sovereign state throughout the world.”

    The full text is available here:

    I hope those who have been following this discussion find this informative.

    1. Thank you Larry ……I decided not to put the whole reference here…..I have enough people following me……Yes, Henry David Thoreau……We have our Walden Pond here…..

  26. Sunset Ave walkway

    Mr. Wilkinson,

    I am responding to your comment on Sept. 30 at 6:06 PM (following Carol Nickisher’s Sept 23 comment at 1:53 PM). You reference “facts” related to the stability of the bluff. Here is a fact that you missed. On 10/2/2012, Public Works Director Phil Williams applied, on behalf of the city of Edmonds, and in conjunction with Parametrix, to build a 10 foot wide pedestrian path between Bell Street and Caspers Street. Here is a link to that application:

    The application was determined to be incomplete by an associate planner with the city of Edmonds. Click on INCOMPLETE APPLICATION and you will find four submissions required for the application to be considered complete. I have excerpted the fourth point here:

    “4. The subject area is the site of critical areas including erosion, landslide and seismic hazards. Please submit a critical area report developed pursuant to ECDC 23.40 and 23.80 that addresses the proposed project, its impact on the critical areas, and any proposed mitigation.”

    The required critical areas report, and the other required information, was never submitted by Phil Williams and Parametrix and the permit subsequently expired.

    After you have reviewed these facts, I have two questions that I request that you answer:

    (1) Do you think that the cost to the public (local, state, federal tax payers) of an estimated 1.9 million for the walkway, the cost to shore the bluff, and the cost of the “total lack of storm sewer on Sunset Ave. N” that you reference in your post, are justified expenditures of public funds, given that the major benefit to the public is that visitors to Sunset Ave will be able to enjoy the view from the western walkway rather than the current eastern sidewalk?
    (2) Do you still maintain that the biggest risk to the bluff is obese dogs?

    1. Ms. Bloom,

      I’ll have to think about that. My initial response is that there was probably no need to pursue the actual permits because the project wasn’t to that stage at that point. And if they had proceeded with it, I have no doubt that folks like you would be complaining that money was spent needlessly on something that was only in the initial planning stage. And certainly there would be no need for it now, since painting the street would have zero impact.

      In the meantime, I have a question for you. Since you’re making the point that the determination was never made, please explain how you can then then state that the bluff needs to be shored up? You say, and I quote: “..the cost to shore the bluff…”. Did you by any chance pay for such a determination yourself, so that you could then state it as fact as you have here? Or are you just making stuff up as you go? Seems to be a lot of that nowadays…

      1. Respectfully, why would the City apply for a permit if there was no need to pursue the actual permits? I suspect the City and Parametrix applied for the permit (known as the Sunset Trail Shoreline Substantial Development Permit – PLN20120014) for a reason.

        If I had to guess, it probably related to the RCO Grant application. The RCO likes to be provided reasonable assurance that projects can be completed in a reasonable timeframe. One way to show this is to have Permits in-hand during the application phase.

        It would be nice in DPW openly disclosed why the City applied for PLN20120014 so citizens didn’t have to guess.

        Imagine for a moment that the City had obtained that Shoreline Substantial Development Permit and that the RCO grant would have been rewarded. Where would we be now and what would have been the related public process?

        I believe that RCO Grant would have required a 1 for 1 match. If so, why would we apply for a permit and a grant that would have cost us so much – before we even asked the public if they wanted the project?

        I think a core problem is pursuit of grant money before staff researches whether or not the public supports a project.

        This one may have been even worse because Sunset is not a short or long walkway project identified in our Comprehensive Plan.

        1. Ken, That was my point. Ms. Bloom was trying to make a big deal out of the fact that it apparently wasn’t completed. Look at my second sentence.

        2. Sorry Jim….I’m not tracking you. I consider the act of applying for a permit as part of the pursuit of an actual permit.

          I think Council Member Bloom’s point was that the subject area is a critical area including erosion, landslide and seismic hazards. Those aren’t her words, those are staff’s words. Staff told Parametrix on May 16, 2012 to submit a critical area report developed pursuant to ECDC 23.40 and 23.80 that addresses the proposed project, its impact on the critical areas, and any proposed mitigation.

          The City and Parametrix did not submit the critical area report – they chose to let the application expire as incomplete. As a result, I don’t think we know yet whether or not critical area mitigation will be proposed by whoever ends up doing this project, (if it is ever done). The best indication I can find that something will need to be done is Phil William’s comments during the March 4, 2014 Council meeting that he anticipated some strengthening of the 150 feet on BNSF property would be required which would benefit BNSF as well as the City.

          The main point I was trying to make is that the pursuit of Grant dollars prior to truly determining if the public supports the related project is problematic . We can see this by the uproar over Sunset Walkway. Trying to win support for a project later in the game is very inefficient and wastes public and private time and money.

          As I have long asked – Why was city staff working on Sunset Avenue before July 19, 2011? The July 19, 2011 City Council Meeting Minutes indicate that the related work had resulted in some type of project concept that included a 12.5-foot-wide sidewalk and an adjacent 5-foot-wide bicycle facility. Why was a lot of work done on a project that had yet to be added to the TIP or anything else, especially during difficult financial times back in July of 2011?

      2. “Shoring up the bluff” was discussed during the March 4, 2014 Council Meeting. It may have been discussed earlier than that.

        Here are excerpts from those minutes:

        Council President Buckshnis commented the costs are still unknown, particularly the cost to shore up the bluff. Mr. Williams answered that is not required; a rail could be installed although most would prefer not to have a railing. He anticipated some strengthening of the 150 feet on BNSF property would be required which would benefit BNSF as well as the City.

        Council President Buckshnis recalled a motion in April for $700,000 for the Sunset Avenue Walkway, and 3 months later the cost is up to $1.4 million. She was concerned with costs due to what happened on 76th and Haines Wharf. Mr. Williams explained much of the difference in the cost is work the utilities will do which will be paid for by the Utilities Fund, not grant funds or General Fund. The scope was also
        expanded to include improvements on Caspers. Originally the project was to end on Sunset.

        Councilmember Johnson acknowledged there will be engineering challenges associated with this project.

  27. Let’s back up to Ken Reidy’s 9/23 discussion about administrative process (Comp Plan) and it’s part in this issue. What 33 years of working federal contracts showed me is yep, go ahead and run around the Administrative Procedures Act and see what happens next. Pretend it’s not important to follow administrative law guiding such government decisions, and you’ll meet any number of lawyers along the walkway (with the moms and their kids). Noting that it’s grant funding (as stated by DPW) is not an excuse, but another layer of legal and financial reporting requirements to follow. Do we have the City’s lawyers reviewing this question? Is the City compliant or in jeopardy? Better decide now instead of later, and then @ a greater cost.

    Finally, has anyone seen the review process to be used by DPW? We’re told that they will take all comments, data and other factors and then decide whether the project is go/no go. Given the publics’ interest in this project, DPW should be darn transparent with it decision-making process. It’s a chance to build trust over the long term

    1. DPW will make their recommendation with accompanying rationale; city council will make the ultimate decision.

  28. Back to Sunset, former City Attorney Scott Snyder has argued that Municipalities have a duty to remove obstructions in the public ways and liability if they fail to do so, referencing a 1928 case Lund v. City of Seattle, as well as a 1967 case Turner v. City of Tacoma.

    I wonder if the new parking located towards the middle of Sunset Avenue obstructs the public way and/or flow of passenger traffic. I wonder how it impacts neighbors trying to leave their driveways or delivery trucks trying to make deliveries.

    Snyder also referenced RCW 7.48.140(4) which states it is a public nuisance to obstruct or encroach upon public highway, private ways, streets, alleys, commons, landing places, and ways to burying places or to unlawfully obstruct or impede the flow of municipal transit vehicles as defined in RCW 46.04.355 or passenger traffic, access to municipal transit vehicles or stations as defined in *RCW 9.91.025(2)(a), or otherwise interfere with the provision or use of public transportation services, or obstruct or impede a municipal transit driver, operator, or supervisor in the performance of that individual’s duties.

    Not sure if any of this applies but it may be interesting food for thought.

    1. I rode my motorcycle on Sunset behind a SUV pulling a double axle trailer with boat of about 24′ last Sunday. I enjoyed watching the driver easily get thru the tightest part, and the parking was at capacity. The driver turned left on Cary road so maybe a local resident. Eventually somebody will do a poor job of parking, but we have police and tow trucks for that type of thing. But I think the dimensions good.

      1. I agree, Matt.

        I don’t know the exact dimensions, but “eyeballing” it, I’d guess that there’s probably more width on the driving lane on Sunset Ave N. then there is on many freeway lanes in the State… and the vehicles on the freeway are typically going 60-80 miles an hour. The people driving on Sunset often think that the 20MPH speed limit is just too fast! They often go 10-15MPH. If someone has a problem while driving through the area just N of Edmonds St, and they’re going 20MPH or less, then they probably shouldn’t be driving.

        1. I don’t recall seeing people walking along freeway lanes, or parked cars along-side of those skinny freeway lanes. …………….backing INTO those fast lanes

          I guess you haven’t noticed, Mr. Wilkinson, that people driving on Sunset often slow down to look over at the sunset and VIEW while coming up the street……..I guess you would believe those people shouldn’t be driving? And by the way, when some of them look over at the sunset and view ( a young couple in a car recently, they looked to be in their early 30s) some times their cars come within about 3 inches of that area on the east sidewalk where people and children are walking because they naturally look over some of the time at the view…..This is what people on on Sunset for!

          I guess you missed the part that this is a view street.

        2. Tere,
          Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. I guess you missed the part about “drivers should be driving, and watching where they’re going”. Prior to the walkway, I’ve seen people driving on Sunset, looking at the view, and they’ve almost hit someone walking down the middle of the street. They cannot see anyone in front of them because they’re looking left, to the west. And they’re absolutely clueless that there’s half a dozen cars behind them, being held up in a 20MPH zone. People who are not in control of their cars, and who cannot do so in a 20MPH lane, should not be driving. And if they have trouble pulling in to and backing out of the diagonal spaces safely, then a better option would be to simply park on a side street. Or there are numerous other parking spots in Edmonds which directly face the view, if that’s what they want.

        3. We have walked Sunset Avnue, Mr. Wilkinson, about a milions times now since we moved here, and this street did not become extremely dangerous in many, many ways until Mr. Williams and whoever re-did this whole area. It is simply dangerous and I’m sure will end up with someone being killed.

      2. I know of at least two neighbors that live right on Sunset here that cannot get their truck out of their driveway because of how close those angled cars are parked

        …..I would call this a city made obstruction……I understand a letter has been sent to Mr. Williams…….

  29. Thanks for the kind words Tere. I try to provide helpful information when possible.

    Since at least 1867, fee title in most public streets in our State remains in the owner of the abutting land. The public acquires only the right of passage, with powers and privileges necessarily implied in the grant of the easement. I haven’t seen anything yet that tells me that a fee interest in the Sunset Avenue property was ever granted to the City of Edmonds. I may have missed it so if anybody knows differently, please let me know.

    If not, I wonder if that right of passage conveys to the public all that is going on down at Sunset Avenue.

    Maybe the easement rights conveyed do so, but it would be nice if a higher level of respect was granted to the owners along Sunset Avenue. I think D Talmadge said it best back on September 23rd:

    “The people whose input about the new configuration that should be solicited first and foremost are the homeowners along Sunset. They aren’t casual users, they are the ones who have to deal with it daily: their ingress and egress, their driveways, Their views and front yards ( which have always been part of the Sunset experience and whose roses we have all stopped and smelled). How do they feel about the changes, since they are the ones who have to actually live with it? It is their neighborhood, after all.”

    1. Ken,
      With all due respect, you keep talking about streets that were created as easements. When land is platted, and the streets are dedicated, I’ve seen nothing that gives an adjacent property owner the right to the land under the street. You can quote whatever you want all day long when you’re talking about easements over someone’s lots. You’re taking some of that case law and then extrapolating it with wide brush strokes and making statements that many people take as gospel without actually looking at the facts (You listening, Tere)? I don’t have a lot of time to check all this, but a brief look at one of the cases you referenced was addressing undeveloped land that dead ended into Lake WA. It had absolutely nothing to do with all these statements you’re making. You might want to check out 108 Wn.2d 369, MALL, INC. v. SEATTLE. The guy tried to use basically your same argument in developing some land for a high rise. And he probably had more right to the claim, then say, someone with a regular lot on a platted and dedicated street in Edmonds. The City of Seattle (and later) the court said “Sorry, Charlie. No way”.

      1. Doubtful that any court said, as you quoted, “Sorry, Charlie. No way.” Seems like you have taken the findings of that Court and “extrapolated it with wide brush strokes”. What were the findings?

        1. Howdy, D. Happy Saturday.

          Oopsie!! Silly me.

          I have to confess that I really did give most readers credit for being able to figure out that the court didn’t actually call the developer “Charlie”. I’ll leave reading the details up to you. It’s called “copy, Google, paste”. But I’ll tell you now to save the time. None of the thousands of words that have been written on here about all these vacated easements and
          /or court cases have anything to do with the current situation on Sunset. It’s not an easement and it’s sure as heck not being vacated. And if it were, then “end of discussion”. The vacated street would be gone, as would the new walkway. Our lawns would apparently then extend west to the RR R-O-W.

          And by the way, yes, I do still believe that most people in Edmonds who read all this can wade through it and they’ve figured out who likes to write multiple epistles in order to enhance their own value and self worth.

          I’ve heard privately from many of them, giving me fascinating background, details and their observations.

          Have a super rest of your weekend!

        2. “And by the way, yes, I do still believe that most people in Edmonds who read all this can wade through it and they’ve figured out who likes to write multiple epistles in order to enhance their own value and self worth.”
          I think you nailed it. ( copy, cut, paste and proper use of quotations. ). You have a great week too.

        3. Thanks, but if you were to run an actual word count, my responses would show to be a mere fraction of what the “regulars” have written. But I do get that some of the “regulars” don’t like being challenged. I feel for them. Really. I do. 🙂

  30. Jim, per the MRSC article:

    “So, typically, a city or county does not own the fee title to the property underlying the public right-of-way; the abutting property owners have that fee title, and that title usually extends to the centerline of the right-of-way.”

    These aren’t my words – these are Bob Meinig’s words. Bob has written extensively on the state Open Public Meetings Act and on municipal incorporation and annexation. At MRSC, he has also advised local governments for over 24 years on diverse legal issues.

    Please think about a street vacation for a moment. The state supreme court in London v. Seattle, 93 Wn.2d 657, 666 (1980), stated that: “The general rule is that upon vacation of a street, the public easement is extinguished and the abutting property owners regain unencumbered title to the center of the street.”

    Jim – the abutting property owners had the fee title before the public easement was extinguished. The fee title was encumbered by the public easement. The abutting property owners regain unencumbered title upon vacation of the street easement.

    If this was not true, the City would own title to the property after a public easement was vacated. The City could then sell the land to the highest bidder. The City can’t do that because the abutting property owners have the fee title.

    I don’t know what else I can tell you.

    1. From my days in the construction industry, I believe KR is correct re: there’s a concept that the property in front of your house that the ROW is on is included in the title of the parcel. This is a basic and simple tool cities can use to protect the small parcel in front of your house. It’s not the case in all municipalities. If the road is big enough, it may not be protected in this manner. In the case of Sunset, the city can’t close and then sell the street because it’s tied up on a document. That’s all this does.

      Other than that, KR’s point might be more of a non-point, in that there is no obstruction caused by the city. If someone parks incorrectly and creates an obstruction, hazard, encroachment etc, then I suggest not calling the title company about it, call the police.

    2. Ken, Guess I missed the notice of the City vacating Sunset Ave N. When do they plan on doing that? But it is good news to know that I’ll be able to have a bigger front lawn once the street is gone. Are you available to help me me plant some new flowers? This is truly exciting…

  31. Jim Wilkinson:

    I have a challenge for you. Since you’re so good at name-calling, list all the euphemisms you can come up with for “naysayer.” I’ll get you started with some suggestions: Not-a-toady, not-a-yesman, not-a-sycophant. Your turn.

    –Sent from my rotary phone

    1. Hey, Gary, can your rotary phone dial us back to 1980? Cause that would be, like, really swell…and would you be kind enough to let Ms. Bloom know that it’s really hard (if not impossible) to achieve improvement without change, as she seems to suggest?

      Thanks so much.

      1. My rotary phone is awesome, the iPrincess model, but she has a mind of her own, and doesn’t want to get involved. Ms. Bloom is not against change, she’s against bypassing democratic procedures, and against measuring progress by tons of concrete poured.

      2. Being for or against change are not arguments, they’re bumper stickers. Ms. Bloom has comprehensive, well-reasoned, arguments on

        1. And to Councilperson Bloom’s great credit, the issues are being discussed, debated, and questioned by citizens beyond those in the room on Tuesday night. Like her positions or not, and least she has broadened the discussions and invited all to weigh in. That is an accomplishment and part of the open process she believes in. Well done!

  32. I was on Sunset again today, and I would like to give a big shout-out and thanks to the residents there … your homes are really terrific. You all do such a great job of keeping them so beautiful. The facades, gardening and flowers are all really a huge reason why that street is so spectacular, it’s not just the water. I’m sure that being in the fishbowl is no fun sometimes, and it’s getting busier. But thanks to you guys, it’s like a street of dreams.

    1. Thanks, Matthew! Mine kinda looks like crap right now but change is in the works! Had some new plans drawn up to enhance it but now I’m thinking that I should maybe hold up on the new landscaping till it’s revealed if the street will be vacated, as so many people seem to think…

  33. Jim,

    As a “regular”, I welcome professional, respectful challenges to anything I post.

    Twisting and misrepresenting what I said is not what I consider a challenge. I believe you are pestering me with your comments about helping you to plant flowers, not challenging me.

    I never said that I believe the City plans to or has issued a notice of street vacation related to Sunset Ave N. I merely tried to use the street vacation process as an example of the underlying fee title owner’s legal rights. Generally, when a public right-of-way easement is vacated, the abutting property owners regain unencumbered title.

    The following is from the July 22, 2008 Edmonds City Council Meeting Minutes:

    “For Councilmember Bernheim, Mr. Snyder (Former Edmonds City Attorney) explained that the City owned a right-of-way easement and did not own the underlying fee. When the City vacated the easement, the property reverted to the owner of the underlying fee.”

    Jim, if the City tried to exceed its right-of-way easement rights and use your fee title property improperly, I’d support your private property rights as a fellow citizen. If you had a grandfathered use and the City attacked your vested rights, I’d support your vested rights as a fellow citizen. Those two issues are dear to my heart because I have lived through BOTH nightmares.

    I believe that if the citizens living along Sunset Avenue own the underlying fee title, they should have a little more say than other citizens about what happens in their own neighborhood.

    Maybe I am wrong, but that is simply my opinion.

    Perhaps they should have a little more say in the matter even if they do not own the underlying fee.

    1. Ken,

      I think I’ve made it clear that I think the discussion should be directed at the facts, rather than conjecture about vacated easements. I really don’t have anything more to say about that.

      As to the flower comment, perhaps lightening up a bit may be in order. I do, however, appreciate your stance on personal property rights.

      Perhaps redirecting the conversation to, say, the rights of all of the Edmonds residents in the rest of the Bowl, Westgate, Maplewood, Seaview, Meadowdale and all of the other Edmonds neighborhoods, instead of just us folks on Sunset may be in order?

      It’s funny, because the conversation on here is pretty much mirroring what is going on just down the street on Sunset as I write this. Once again this morning, the “Sunset Bullies” are gathering signatures on their petition from the unwitting walkers on the east side of the street to “bring back the good ol’ days”. And of course, once again they are totaling ignoring the walkers on the temporary view walkway (who are, of course, using the walking and enjoying the view). Being generous, I’d peg the ratio at about 1 to 5… the people on the east sidewalk (1) and the walkway (5). My concern is that the City Council members will assume that the signatures they’ve gathered reflects reality, which of course it does not.

      This is similar to all the focus on the Sunset Ave. N. property owners and our “rights”. Ken, I’d seriously like to hear your opinion regarding the rights of the folks in the neighborhoods mentioned above. What about what’s good for them, seeing that they are also Edmonds residents and taxpayers, and considering that the street as it now exists, and that amazing view, really belongs to all of us?

      1. Jim, I would like to respond to your comment about the “Sunset Bullies”:

        I walked down Sunset this morning, as I often do. Today I was walking in the new pathway on the west side of the street when I saw the table with the petition on the east side of the street. I walked across and listened to the very rational comments from the lady at the table, and signed her petition. At no time did I feel bullied or “unwitting”.

        1. Good morning, Don. Did you check out the amazing view as you walked along the water? Pretty nice, wasn’t it? I really do understand that some folks would rather peer around the trucks/vehicles that used to be constantly parked there. And I’m sure that reclaiming those personal vehicle parking spots on the best view property in the city was one of the “rational comments” that were made to you, right?

        2. Yes, Jim, I did enjoy the amazing view along Sunset as I always have when walking that route – usually on the sidewalk on the east side. No, the comments had nothing to do with parking spots.

      2. I would like to add that the people that Mr. Wilkinson so incorrectly and bullyishly refers to as “Sunselt Bullies” is one woman who is 60 and another woman down the street from her collecting signatures who is about 75 this year. Neither one of these eloquent ladies in our neighborhood is a bully in any sense of the imagination. To refer to them like this Mr. Wilkinson tells me and others everything about you and you are not indicative or representative of our neighborhood here and how respectful people are here.

        And by the way, Mr. Wilkinson, the council knows of the integrity of these two Edmonds citizens, as they have stood before and spoke to our Town Council members numerous times.

        1. Tere,

          Age has absolutely nothing to do with being a bully. Leona Helmsley was 87 and was clearly a bully of the worst sorts according to the facts.

          ANYONE can go speak before the City Council and unfortunately, I have heard them stand up there and tell bold faced lies about me on another occasion. Just because they are speaking, it does not mean that they are speaking the truth.

          And bullying can take many forms. Apparently you did not attend, or you cannot remember this very same group with a “mob mentality” attempting to take over one of the City staff’s brainstorming (round table discussion) groups regarding the walkway. They literally tried to take over the meeting and wanted to impose their mob will on the gathering. This is bullying. And they have stood up in public meeting and stated that because they lived in their homes 30 or 40 years, that this somehow gave them more say than those who had bought in the last ten years…

        2. I spoke with the woman who was collecting signatures this morning. She was very pleasant, though concerned. She was clearly not (to me) a bully.

        3. Don, I’m not referring to a specific person. I’m talking about the group of homeowners on Sunset (and their friends) who meet, plan, speak at public meetings in a group and parrot whatever is on their agenda, who are not concerned about the facts or ruth for that matter, who tried to take over the walkway staff meeting, etc., etc.

        4. Folks, I have been asked by a couple of people to ban respective other people on the site because they feel the discussion has gotten out of hand. I don’t want any of you to take the bait and start calling each other liars or crazy or an assortment of other names, because that will indeed violate our terms of service and those comments will be removed. And, if the name calling does become personal, with one person called out — “yes you are crazy, yes you are a liar, you are a bully” — I will implement my own “three strikes” policy. Two warnings and you will be banned from commenting altogether. I’m sure none of you wants that.

        5. Mr. Wilkinson, one of the women you are speaking about, the 75 year old has only lived here as our neighbor for a short period of time…….She just moved here recently, I believe only two years ago. We live in a democracy and everyone is entitled to speak. I have not seen any “mob” mentality in Edmonds and I have lived here for 5 years, and particularily nothing of the sort you are talking about with elderly women on Sunset. ……There is nothing wrong with home owners getting together……This is what is done with Block Watch, and many other neighborhood gatherings……………Wow, I guess you must be speaking of different people than the two women I am speaking of…….that were collecting signatures on Sunset today……….

  34. Jim,
    How is; “Once again this morning, the “Sunset Bullies” are gathering signatures on their petition from the unwitting walkers on the east side of the street to “bring back the good ol’ days”, a statement or discussion of facts. The folks on Sunset have a Right to petition. They are not bullying anyone.

    1. You’re entitled to your opinion on that, as I am. The act of gathering names on a petition is not, in itself, bullying. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’ve seen these folks in action in various situations over the years. My opinion: When a very small group of people do everything in their power so that their will is pushed down the throats of everyone else in town, that is bullying.

      1. Not seen the petition but if we are truly interested in public input why not have a sign up sheet for the 4 following options.
        1. Against as planned.
        2. Against but here are options to make it better.
        3. For as planned.
        4. For with the following options to make it better.

        Something like that would collect the opinions, options, suggestions and whatever else can be gathered to help with public input. So if we want a “public process” that would do more for a better process than just gathering signatures for a single position.

    2. Ms Talmadge, I think that the large banner that says something like “preserve the serenity of Sunset Ave” at the signature table, sort of feels like “bring back the good ol’ days” or not in my front yard.

  35. What a gorgeous day today! Got some desk work that must be done, but first I’m gonna head down to Sunset Ave and take a run from Caspers to the dog park and back, breathe the air, and enjoy the views from the new level waterside pathway where I don’t always have to look at my feet to keep from turning an ankle! I’ll be in the blue shorts and the pink t-shirt. Wave if you see me, OK!

  36. Put the Sunset project on the ballot for a non-binding Advisory Vote…Other towns in WA use this mechanism to find out what their taxpaying citizens really want.

  37. Took a walk along Sunset Ave. Saturday. Several things I observed that convinced me that the changes are good. No strollers using the street, they can now use the walkway.If you have disabilities and need a scouter , walker or are just unsteady on your feet you can now walk from Main to Casper without having to use the street. This makes the view accessible to all. The view from the east side is not the same as you cannot see the beach and the side walk is to narrow. The parking issue to me isnt an issue, a few more people will have to park a block away and walk . The street isnt that narrow try neighborhood streets in Seattle. To me it is a much safer and user friendly walkway and street.

    1. Thanks, Don, for a reasoned, logical response. It would be truly great if we heard from more folks who have actually walked the new walkway and have enjoyed it.

      1. All — I truly do appreciate the spirited debate and encourage you to continue to express your opinions on all sides of the issue. I would ask that we do our best to be respectful of each others’ opinions as all ideas have value.
        Teresa Wippel, Publisher

    2. I originally was opposed to spending money on this project until Phil Williams, Director of Public Works, described in a presentation, as Don has, how a broader cross section of citizens would be able to enjoy the location.

      My wife and I have been walking on the east side of Sunset for numerous years. Now we walk on the west side – Phil is right about the improvements. We hope that the project is approved after the one-year evaluation. And, by the way, I believe that putting the temporary markings there was a brilliant idea from Phil.

      1. I agree it would be nice to have the slightly better view and wider walkway on the west side of Sunset, but at what cost? We don’t own all the land west of the curb and don’t know what may need to be done to shore up the bluff in order to get permits to do the project. We also don’t know whether BNSF might decide to build a fence as they wanted to do in 1995. Seems like a lot of unknowns and even if they are all satisfactorily addressed, $1.88 million dollars is still a lot of money in my opinion.

        It seems to me that a much less expensive and less complicated alternative would be to expand the existing sidewalk (which is in need of repair anyway) on the east side of the street and put back the bike lane over there. No, you wouldn’t be able to see the beach as well but the view from the east side is still spectacular. If some people still want to walk on the west side, maybe some wood chips or pea gravel could be put in to make it safer.

      2. Mr. Wambolt, I have heard many times from you these areas you and your wife just love to walk. I’m sorry and with all due respect, I walked Highway 104 this morning and up to the City Trail at Point Edwards, and I will never walk this highway again and I think anybody that does is absolutely crazy……We had cars wizzing by at 50-60 miles an hour…….I assume some had come from the ferry and picked up speed, but this was exactly how it was this morning and extremely dangerous for ANY walker….. The very narrow sidewalk the city has there is so inadequate for walking that there is a narrow path in the grass that walkers have made to be safer, and at that, my opinion is that it is CRAZY to walk there. Once again, that is why people do not walk State Highways…..People should not walk any highway without some larger set back….it is just simply incredibly dangerous for pedestrians. I don’t believe I have seen a project that Mr. Wambolt is against.

        Regarding Sunset, it is the people that live here that are here 24/7 that KNOW exactly what goes on on this street. and the many near miss accidents now…..Occasionally people showing up from elsewhere on their motorcycles (and I would sure like to get rid of those noisy things…..there is a sign on Sunset regarding noise, and those are the worst, sitting there revving up!) and occasional walkers here (or those just showing up now only to submit rosy sunglasses comments) do not live here all the time to see the many near misses the residents have seen in the past two weeks. The residents that live here know exactly what goes on almost all of the time. I know of two people that now cannot get their truck out of their driveway….I believe they said there wrote Mr. Williams regarding this. ….. The people that now are coming from other areas just to put in their its wonderful comment do not live here 24/7 and see what is actually occuring here all the time now. We have many, many images we have taken with our cameras of very close calls and near misses……A picture is worth a thousand words! A very bad accident will happen if this is left like this. It is inconceivable for me to see what an awful, dangerous roadway this has now become, sanctioned and put together by our City staff……and people writing in that do not have a clue or live here saying everything is fine. This is shocking to me…..No concern for the safety of the citizens of Edmonds or anybody else for that matter. Those that live here should not have to go around and around with the city in regards to the dangerous street we now have……..There is no question about this and I can guarantee there will be many law suits in regards to this street being reconfigured to now being so dangerous, well except for the few with no parking in front of their homes….. So, all of you Posse Comitatus (again Henry David Thoreau) can write in all you want and even personally attack people, but in the end, the City of Edmonds has implemented a very dangerous street here. We know, we live here!

        1. Apparently we are to believe that Tere actually owns property on Sunset? And therefore she knows more than Ron Wambolt and his wife who merely walk there? Funny because I just reviewed the tax records for Sunset and her property is apparently “secret” and even the tax assessor doesn’t know about it!

        2. Mr. Wambolt, of course I was not referring to you and your wife as “crazy”……What I was talking about was that I felt I was in danger and that I would have to be “crazy” to do that again. I was not referring to you and your wife.

  38. TERE, You have again succeeded in insulting and demeaning citizens of Edmonds who have a different opinion than yours. I understand you do not live on sunset. If you have pictures post them on M.E.N. and turn them over to the police.

    1. Some who comment here have said they have walked Sunset about a million times. I walked it the other day and it took 10 minutes. So to walk it a million times would take 6944 days or about 19 years with 24/7 walking, no breaks for sleep, food, or bathroom. How would anyone have the time to comment for this blog if they have spent the last 19 years walking Sunset? Maybe they were jogging and could do it in half the time? Or maybe the statements are not fully accurate?

        1. All — I am closing down this comment thread now. It has served its purpose and gotten more than a little out of hand. I am certain that you all will have future opportunities to discuss this topic but I would like to remind you about our commenting policy:

          My Edmonds News users agree to not do the following:
          – plagiarize the work of others, fail to acknowledge source material, or use images that belong to others without their permission;
          – abuse, threaten or verbally attack other members, individuals, or My Edmonds News staff. We do not tolerate bullies, and we’ll do our best to spot them and get rid of them;
          – post libelous, obscene or pornographic material or content that contains racist, sexist, homophobic and other slurs;
          – deliberately post stories that are untrue, false or misleading or that make false representations about the poster him/herself;

          My Edmonds News readers will:
          – be accountable for stories they post and follow up by correcting known errors;
          – resist attacks, insults and threats and instead remain civil and focused on the ideas being presented rather than the individuals expressing them;
          – promote interactivity and dialogue that supports real community collaboration.

          I have done my best to allow readers to have their say but I think we have gone far afield of “interactivity and dialogue that supports real community collaboration.” Please expect that I will be more vigilant about this in the future. I won’t tolerate bullying of anyone — including me!
          Teresa Wippel, publisher

    2. We live just behind the Kraski house on Sunset (the south end alley…..and we own our home and ARE on those tax records) so yes, we have many, many photographs of Sunset Avenue since we moved here and many from the last two weeks of taking photographs of near miss accidents on Sunset. We started taking photographs as there were so many accidents almost in the making and near misses. There are others that have taken photographs in the past 2 weeks of the near misses on Sunset also……Again, we live here and are HERE 24/7, so it is easy to take photographs……We just go out our back door……..

      I’m sorry Mr. Wilkinson that you felt you had to take your time to “review the tax records” to see that we live here……Everybody knows where we live as we have lived here 5 years!…..We pass your home everyday on Sunset a number of times…….We actually have a view of Sunset Avenue and the water, mountains, etc. also!……from our home. I think I know what I am talking about when I say “people that live here 24/7″…..I have my studio right here where I work also……I step outside and I am looking at Sunset Avenue and the water.

      Mr. Hall, this isn’t about a difference of opinion, Sunset Avenue is now a very dangerous street…..Again, we live here and clearly see that!………………..Perhaps you should not listen to Mr. Wilkinson in regards to WHO lives here……

      Mr. Wambolt, in my opinion, State HIghway 104 is not safe for anybody to walk on. I mentioned that in an earlier post in regards to Highway 99, and we recently took stock of the only people we saw walking up Highway 99, which appeared to be people that were walking there because they had to or they were not aware. This was 2 weeks ago Sunday……We drove about two miles up 99. People just do not walk Highways for obvious reasons…..It is unsafe. Highways are for cars, not people

      Mr. Haug…..I do not lie and you know “million times” is a figure of speech…….I’m sorry you felt you had to waste you’re time trying to call me a liar……

      1. “Tere Ryder · October 5, 2014, 2:38 pm Reply

        Mr. Wambolt, I have heard many times from you these areas you and your wife just love to walk. I’m sorry and with all due respect, I walked Highway 104 this morning and up to the City Trail at Point Edwards, and I will never walk this highway again and I think anybody that does is absolutely crazy.”

        Ms. Ryder, you did not answer my question: ” So Ms. Ryder, you are saying because my wife and I sometimes walk along SR104 we are crazy?” Isn’t that’s what you inferred?? Please respond.

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