Pedestrian safety is a top priority for the Edmonds City Council, and councilmembers are committed to figuring out how to address it citywide. That’s the message that was delivered Tuesday night by Councilmembers Neil Tibbott and Kristiana Johnson during the council’s Parks and Public Works Committee meeting.
The conversation between the councilmembers and Public Works Director Phil Williams came near the end of the committee meeting, which had first addressed a range of items that were placed for consideration on next week’s consent agenda. Among them: approval of a no parking ordinance for 238th Street Southwest from 100th to 104th Avenues Southwest, and an agreement to complete paving and striping for the 76th Avenue West and 212th Street Southwest intersection improvements project.
But after a short discussion with Williams on the progress of negotiations between the Edmonds School District and the Olympic View Water & Sewer District regarding stormwater detention plans at the district’s new Madrona K-8 school building in Edmonds (see related story here), the topic turned to ensuring the city does all it can to keep pedestrians safe on local streets.
Councilmembers Johnson and Tibbott said that during the council’s budget retreat last Saturday, June 9, the council came up with a list of top four priorities and one of those was pedestrian safety. This includes a focus on items such as walkways, crosswalks and radar feedback signs. Tibbott said he would also like to revisit his idea, suggested during budget discussions last year, to fund an in-house crew of city employees that could keep up with sidewalk repairs.
Williams said that it’s been a challenge to find concrete finishing companies that would be available to assist those city crews, as they are already overwhelmed with work generated by numerous construction projects in the Puget Sound region.
Johnson and Tibbott then asked Williams to prioritize proposals for pedestrian projects as part of his 2019 budget, which will be coming before the council for discussion in the fall.
“I think there’s a new day here and we have to figure out how to do it,” Tibbott said of the council’s pedestrian safety emphasis.
Related to this discussion, Tibbott also asked Williams for an update on recent concerns expressed by a group of neighbors who live along Pine Street between 6th and 7th, and have seen increased traffic along their street as people use it as an alternate route to get to the Edmonds-Kingston ferry. At the May 22 council meeting, neighbors asked the city for help in addressing speeding drivers who race down the hill and run stop signs.
Williams said that he plans to meet with neighborhood representatives and has also talked with Edmonds police about a possible enforcement presence in the area.
In addition, Tibbott and Johnson told Williams they would like to create a notification system for councilmembers so that they are aware of any requests from neighbors to address traffic concerns.
During a short business meeting prior to committee meetings, the council honored its student representative, Edmonds-Woodway High School senior Noal Leonetti, as well as senior Emily McLaughlin Sta. Marie, president of the EWHS Students Saving Salmon Club.
— By Teresa Wippel