Port of Edmonds approves up to $1.5 million in funding for Edmonds waterfront connector

The Edmonds Port Commission at its Monday, Nov 26 regular meeting voted unanimously to contribute up to $1.5 million in construction funding to the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector project, now being proposed by the City of Edmonds.

The approval came following a presentation by Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling.

As waterfront connector project details are still being finalized, port commissioners stipulated that the port will provide funds to the city when the project enters the construction phase.

“The port has been concerned about the waterfront safety problem for years,” said Commissioner Jim Orvis in a joint city-port announcement regarding the vote. “It took a determined effort by all stakeholders to find a solution.”

He pointed to a task force of stakeholders — assembled by Earling and including Orvis — that involved the City of Edmonds, Port of Edmonds, Washington State Ferries, BNSF Railway, regional transit organizations and Edmonds residents, which developed a plan “that meets the need at reasonable cost and minimum environmental impacts.”

Port commissioners agreed that protecting the Port’s facilities, tenants and the thousands of visitors to the waterfront is of paramount concern, the announcement said, adding that the port has already contributed $100,000 in direct funding for both the initial alternatives analysis for the project and the process to develop alternative design concepts.

The Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector is a $27.5 million, singe-lane structure designed to link Edmonds Street at Sunset Avenue to the Brackett’s Landing North parking lot. It will serve as an emergency-response corridor, pedestrian and bicycle access, and potential vehicle off-load route for ferries stranded by stalled trains blocking the Main and Dayton Street crossings.

The Waterfront Connector, approved by the city council Oct. 23, is aimed at addressing safety risks of increasing volume of trains passing the Main and Dayton Street crossings, with blockages that could impact the waterfront District and its businesses, residences, visitors, and the Port of Edmonds.

“To say I’m pleased with the Port Commission’s decision is an understatement,” said Earling. “The safety of our Waterfront businesses, residences, visitors, and the Port itself are of the utmost concern to me and the city council. The port’s decision to contribute substantial funding goes a long way towards building a solid local base to help us secure the necessary federal matching dollars to make this project a reality. My thanks go out to the commissioners.”

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