The purpose of this letter is to strongly urge the public and Edmonds City Council to support and maintain efforts towards design completion and implementation of the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector. This project is currently at concept design status as led by a strong professional team originally authorized by the Council in October, 2015.
This writer was a member of the originally formed Task Force in 2015 which analyzed potential solutions to waterfront access. Since 1/4/18 I have also been serving member of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the connector project, working closely with the team of Tetra Tech, Parametrix, City staff, and other key stakeholders. Subsequent working sessions of this group have led to conceptual design of two connector bridge/ramp schemes from Edmonds Street, the one preferred being identified as the ‘Land Bridge’ option. This design concept is widely supported by the above-referenced team and the public.
At this point in the process it’s important that we acknowledge two major aspects of this project:
- Recognition of the needs and purpose of this connector go back over 5 years to Council’s approval of the original Strategic Action Plan [SAP] on 4/3/13 and again on 4/7/15 with approval of the updated plan.
- Edmonds SAP reflects wide-spread public input and support. Primary Strategic Objective #4 [ranked Mod-High] within this approved plan calls us to ”Develop and maintain a transportation and infrastructure to meet current and future demand.” More specifically, related action item #4a.9, Waterfront Connection, calls us to “…establish an emergency and everyday access over the railroad tracks ….. for pedestrians bound for shoreline and waterfront attractions from Harbor Square, Salish Crossing, and Downtown”. As stated above, support for the current design concept is universal within the development team and the greater public. This project represents the people’s and first responders’ proposed action towards meeting our 2013 SAP. We and the Council should recognize and continue to support this.
- The current concept plan provides for everyday safe track crossing for pedestrians, bikes, and for emergency (only) vehicles—including unlikely potential ferry unloading necessitated by railroad track at-grade crossings blockage by a train. Previous analysis had discarded the concepts of a pedestrian-only track crossing and/or waterfront side emergency ‘station’ as NOT meeting the total intent within the SAP. Recognize as well that the current land bridge concept also includes potential for a ‘mini park’ inherent in the land bridge scheme, plus replacement of the current waterfront bathroom complex at the north end of Brackett’s Landing parking area below. While these two attributes are not verbalized within the SAP, they represent program and scope supported by both staff and the public.
We need to remember that funding sources for this project are diverse both in terms of timing and source. The project will support both the intent and needs of the city for many years into the future. There is plenty of room and contingency within current budget projections to effectuate value engineering to the current design concept in order to maximize aesthetic, environmental, schedule, and cost efficiencies for the project.
In summary, the planned project is the successful work effort by professionals, staff, and people of Edmonds. We must continue to support and forward this plan for ongoing design and funding.
P.B. Lovell, PE
Edmonds Planning Board