Pedestrian safety now top focus for future city spending, councilmembers say

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The council honored two student volunteers during its Tuesday meeting: EWHS senior Noal Leonett, who served as the student representative to the city council during the school year, will be attending Bowdoin College in the fall.
EWHS senior Emily McLaughlin Sta. Marie, who served as president of the EWHS Students Saving Salmon Club, will be attending Reed College.

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.

The area of the proposed “no parking” zone, along 238th Street Southwest from 100th to 104th. You can learn more about this proposal here.

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

6 Replies to “Pedestrian safety now top focus for future city spending, councilmembers say”

  1. The safety committee may have addressed this. Cars are allowed to park close to the cross walk especially on 3rd avenue. In order for pedestrians to see cars they must step into the street to see traffic peeering around cars. Motorists as a result many times are caught off guard as well and have trouble seeeing them.

    Also, some crossing are reluctant to use orange flags provided.

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  2. As for pedestrian safety how about looking at 2nd and Main. We frequently cross Main northbound, both walking and driving, and find it difficult to see eastbound traffic, especially coming from the ferry. It is not only hard to see to the west but cars often are speeding up hill to make the light at 3rd. Cars often block the intersection. An occasional police presence might be helpful or some other type of traffic control.

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  3. I have two friends who use motorized chairs. I know the city audited all the side walk transitions, and found that we need many millions of dollars in improvements. I asked my friends [and I don’t mean to speak for them] but they weren’t concerned at all about the transitions and could get around just fine. I think that the sidewalk transition standards were written at a time when people pushed themselves around in primitive prams, but today’s chairs seem to have little issue with the sidewalks we already have. I do notice people struggling to get around the sandwich boards on the sidewalks. Dogs and their leashes get in the way. I walk to work every day, and I see people (especially ladies) doing illegal U-Turns to get parking spots. These parking opportunists will stop traffic in both directions, and will even do it at 4-ways like 3rd and Bell while people are crossing. What can the City do about any of this? Maybe a new levy is in order? If sarcasm were a font, I’d type in it. I think one cop who wrote tickets for speeding and illegal U-turns would help. The radar signs are a help, and admittedly remind me to slow down. Other than that, maybe it’s futile to improve on what we already have.

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  4. If the city council is truly focused on improving pedestrian safety they’ll need to provide more resources for traffic enforcement to have any hope of achieving that very worthy goal.

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  5. Around the world, pedestrians know that cars are big and cars are dangerous. Don’t step into a street if there are cars coming. Wait for a comfortable break in the traffic even if you have “the right of way”. Also, I know the orange flags are helpful at certain points but please do not let them creep into our beautiful downtown. They are helpful where they are–OK, but if they are in our downtown I believe they are eye-sores and visual pollution that insult the intelligence of our community. Let’s all just be patient and cross in the crosswalks when there are no cars coming. It works in Rome. It works in Tehran. It can work in Edmonds.

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  6. The City could try a diagonal-only cross walk at 3rd and Main. Most crossers cross twice and effectively go diagonal through 3rd and Main anyways. Make a diagonal cross walk in both directions. Those going straight could cross at a mid intersection where not as many left turns are made. This would have 2 benefits. It would allow all 4 corners to walk at the same time and would also prevent cars making left turns from hitting people (the most common incursion). Traffic wouldnt need to unexpectedly wait for walkers while making a turn. Theres no room for dedicated turning lanes there, so this would keep traffic moving more on busy days.

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