Council committee talks about parking study scope, Willow Creek daylighting

Willow Creek, shown on the map as a blue line, travels through the Edmonds Marsh. The creek then enters a 1,600-foot pipe (shown as a green line on the map) where it goes under the railroad tracks, under the marina parking lot, under the beach, and into Puget Sound.

The scope of a proposed downtown Edmonds parking study and what the next steps should be for the Willow Creek Daylighting Project were major topics of conversation during the Edmonds City Council’s Parks and Public Works Committee meeting Tuesday night.

Both items will appear before the full council for additional discussion at a later date.

In talking about the parking study, Public Works Director Phil Williams described the city’s Aug. 8 meeting aimed at involving the public in helping to develop the study’s scope. A total of 41 people attended the meeting and 731 people filled out an online survey on the topic, Williams said.

Councilmember Dave Teitzel, who attended the Aug. 8 meeting, reiterated that the gathering was designed to reach the public early in the planning process prior to signing a contract with a consultant, “and hear what the community has to say.”

The city also committed during that meeting to coming back to community members later to report on parking data collected, Williams added. The last time the city studied downtown parking was in 2003.

The proposed professional services agreement with Framework will include “gathering data, inventorying existing parking spaces, looking at demand and usage, looking at possible solutions to potentially increase capacity or manage better the capacity we do have, and then make recommendations,” Williams said.

The city council had approved, as part of its 2019 budget, $40,000 to conduct a downtown parking study but the scope of work proposed by Framework would cost $93,000. There will also be $20,000 in staff time required to oversee the work, for a total of $113,000. So staff is requesting an additional $73,000 from the general fund to cover the difference, Williams said.

Councilmember Kristiana Johnson said she wanted to ensure that parking needs for both the new Civic Park and the Edmonds Waterfront Center, which is replacing the Edmonds Senior Center, would be included in the study. She also said that while she couldn’t speak for the entire council on the matter, she wasn’t interested in looking at a downtown parking garage as an option.

Teitzel assured Johnson that the study area — which is bordered by Caspers Street to the north, 9th Avenue to the east, Pine Street to the south and the waterfront to the west — will include both Civic Park and the Waterfront Center. And he added he believes it’s important to address the parking problem “incrementally. How do we more efficiently use what we have, once we’ve exhausted those options what more do we have to do to enhance the supply? It may include a parking garage or it may not.”

Johnson said she was hoping to find ways to narrow the scope to stay within the $40,000 budget, but Teitzel said he didn’t believe the city would get a quality study for that dollar amount. “I just hate to give it the short shrift and get a report that doesn’t really help us, and then we’ve wasted $40,000,” he said.

The committee agreed to forward the proposed parking study scope of work — and its higher price tag — to the full council for further consideration.

Regarding the matter of the Willow Creek daylighting project, the city has been working since 2012 with consultant Shannon & Wilson to develop pre-design information on plans to daylight — or open — the waterway. Willow Creek currently flows through the Edmonds Marsh, then enters a 1,600-foot piping system, to Puget Sound. Officials have said that the piping system prevents salmon from being able to return from Puget Sound to Willow Creek to spawn.

In past discussions with the council, city staff have acknowledged that the project has faced delays due to cleanup efforts on the nearby Unocal property — which the city needs to cross to complete the daylighting between the marsh and Puget Sound. Unocal’s cleanup  — which involves removing contaminated water and soil vapor from its former fuel terminal — is taking longer than anticipated.

The goal of the latest Shannon & Wilson report is to present a hydraulic assessment of the channel alternatives for daylighting the creek, taking into account extreme tide conditions and sea level rise, Williams said.

However, both Councilmembers Johnson and Teitzel indicated they had some concerns about the revised report, which is scheduled to be presented to the full council during its Aug. 27 business meeting. For starters, both councilmembers said they were hesitant  to move ahead with the report’s recommendations before the council sees the results of a city study of the Edmonds Marsh, which is being conducted by Windward Environmental. Results of that study, which is aimed at providing data to help evaluate the ecological functions of the marsh and its buffers, are expected within the next few weeks.

“It might be premature to approve or accept this until we have the other (Windward) report,” Johnson said.

Both Johnson and Teitzel also said they had questions about the channelization of the creek as indicated in the Shannon & Wilson report and wondered whether there might be better options.

Related to the report and its followup, the council committee also discussed a request for an additional $20,000 for Shannon & Wilson to cover costs associated with presenting the results to the council Aug. 27, as well as any follow-up questions and research that came out of that meeting. It was agreed to forward this request to the council consent agenda for its Aug. 20 meeting, so that the supplemental funding could be considered prior to Aug. 27.

Johnson and Teitzel also told Williams it would be important to ensure that both the Shannon & Wilson report and the Windward report would be available for the council’s review at the same time. If the Windward report isn’t ready by Aug. 27, then the Shannon & Wilson report presentation should be delayed until it is, the councilmembers agreed.

— By Teresa Wippel

 

26 Replies to “Council committee talks about parking study scope, Willow Creek daylighting”

  1. Mike,
    It is tempting to jump to solutions when thinking about how to most effectively enhance access to downtown amenities (whether it is by expanded supply of parking spaces, parking enforcement, structured parking or other means). I tend to do it also. However, Council needs to work the process by first defining the problem(s) in partnership with the community (the first step in this regard was last week’s public meeting coupled with the downtown parking community survey), obtaining best available facts, assessing options provided by experts then determining the best near and long term strategies and policies to address the problem. The parking issue calls for the best-informed decisions Council is able to make, and we need to be sure the study is robust enough to give us the information we need. Thanks for your perspectives, and for your participation in last week’s meeting.

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    1. Thanks Council person Mr. Teitzel for your accessibility and willingness to interact with your constituents, it speaks volumes about your leadership in my mind. I wish some of your other fellow council members would take the time to interact with the community on a more regular basis as well.

      I plan on keep recommending solution based idea’s regardless of expensive parking studies being planned by our leadership. My idea’s are free of charge! (maybe they are worth that price?)

      Darrol Haug aka “Super Citizen” he seems to have an extensive understanding and knowledge on management issues of parking supply as they relate to enforcement and permitting in our community. Why not task Darrol along with other eager citizens and businesses to conduct there own “grass roots” study and data collection first? I believe strongly most Citizens don’t want to spend $113k on a study. I also feel the consulting group “Framework” should be more properly vetted, what other cities have they consulted with regarding parking? Reach out to those cities see if they are satisfied? Is there measured success from this consulting groups work, real examples not just Data and inventory numbers? Just my never ending two cents!

      http://weareframework.com/about/

      (not sure if this is the same consulting group? if it is, does not seem like parking is there primary focus!)

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  2. So a study that was budgeted at $40,000 is now $113,000. And this is considered business as usual for the City of Edmonds?

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  3. Hello Ron,
    Actually I was at the 7/16 Council meetings for the presentation of the Students Saving Salmon and then last night 8/14 at the Finance Committee.

    I know you have criticized me recently on my attendance as I don’t put the City before family. But as I have already publicly disclosed I had my former Lithuanian interpreter and her two children here for three weeks and I had paid for all their adventures on the Olympic Peninsula and since they saved for five years, I chose the 7/16 meeting (they left on the 26th) meeting to attend as the watched and were happy students were saving our Marsh. Tuesday, July 23 was my Birthday and I had a houseful of more family. I did not attend the Monday (before primary meeting) as I was celebrating a family wedding and a then a two-week early surprise birth of my grand-nephew in San Diego and both the Council President and Mayor understood my joy.

    Would you like my opinion on the Marsh issue which was not in my committee? Or would you like me to discuss with you budgeting issues as I am prepared to talk on any topic – or what is your point? I think everyone should be allowed a family vacation and enjoying family. Sorry you missed me when I was there … but I am back.

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    1. I sent one short email to you on the Ed! issue and you also said you were too busy, even though you are the only incumbent to vote on the Downtown Alliance. My plate flow’th over too, and I understand. Some folks have enough time to be City Council Members and others do not. You being too busy isn’t bad per se, just a call to delegate and offload.

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      1. Hi Matt – you sent that inquiry months ago (as well as copying Council Member Neil Tibbott).

        I thought Patrick Doherty answered your question as it clearly it was an administrative issue and I can follow up with Neil.

        Everyone’s plate runs over and there have been many vacations by all Council Members – and I am sorry you think Council Members dropped. I suggest you contact Patrick to reaffirm your concern.

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        1. This is esoteric, so here is a link to the case that Ed! (BID) was established not-legally. The high altitude issue is that the state law requires a petition that passed before the City can establish a BID and taxing zone. The petition was taken, it failed to pass, so the City Council established a BID unilaterally over a Christmas break. Cities would certainly abuse BID taxing powers if the law could be interpreted that a petition was optional. WA is a democracy.
          https://drive.google.com/file/d/11ZLLe8bExM7Ww1OCXjJ-DzAjdQTn3a6D/view

          Patrick was sort of part of the issue and I consulted him prior to emailing you. The City is collecting taxes on businesses [illegally] and Patrick’s standpoint is that someone would have to sue the City in order to affect a review. He even said that businesses who didn’t want to pay the taxes could move to Lynnwood. Lora Petso even asked Jeff Taraday about the legality of Ordinance 3909 right before it was passed (4-3) in that it ***says a petition was taken and passed***. Jeff had to admit that the petition did not pass even with a thumb on the scale.

          Neil’s opinion after I pressed him for one was that because most of the businesses supported the BID, that he supported the BID. I pointed out that the petition failed to pass, which is how one would know what the businesses support. People other than me suggest that Tibbot does not want to part with Earling on this issue(s). I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for not considering the petition prior to formulating his response.

          I went to the BID Annual Meeting (required by law). Out of hundreds of businesses I estimate that only 10-15 distinct organizations attended. The meeting wasn’t gaveled, no minutes were taken. The BID is a good idea, with good people trying their best to make it work, but it’s patently undemocratic and, as I argue, illegal.

          Darrol Haug could take a peek perhaps. “Sue us” doesn’t seem like a constructive response from the City. You are the only incumbent who voted on this, most all of the rest of the Council was appointed; you should take a look if you have time.

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        2. Diane,
          Ed! was forced thru using falsified and misleading documents. All three of the founding documents are each illegal, in their own right. Each document carries two separate Criminal Counts, 6 criminal counts in total. Learn something about law, or leave the Council.s.
          Such a VIAL way to raise money for the City.
          How many businesses have gone out of business since Ed! went into operation? Did it help any one of them?
          Over 55% of their total annual assessments are paid out in salaries, and wages to other people, and you claim you are a “Numbers” person.

          Ask Mike Nelson, he is a lawyer, probably a lot better lawyer than what the City has on contract.

          I exposed who Directors were self profiting, and Council did NOTHING. Ed! is a personal self promotion tool for just a few business owners, nothing more.

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        3. Diane: You say: “there have been many vacations by all Council Members”;
          not quite true. Here’s a summary of the council meetings missed in 2019:
          Johnson – 9
          Buckshnis – 6
          Mesaros – 4
          Nelson – 2
          Teitzel – 1
          Tibbott – 1
          Fraley-Monillas – 0

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  4. Hi Matt, Thanks for thinking of me in your post. I am just a 45 year Edmonds resident/senior citizen who is income challenged and in need of some affordable housing spending my current energy on trying to find a parking place down town. Mike and Clint already are planning my future to put together a plan for DT parking data collection with no compensation to help with my affordable housing issue. Right after I “fix” the parking issues I am looking for new projects. However when I look at the Strategic Action Plan I find a number of ideas the citizens have said they want to pursue and that Council approved twice that are worth of greater citizen involvement. In the SAP the citizens supported the idea of a Business Alliance DT. That’s done, they have great umbrellas and have worked together to open up DT private parking lots to all of us after hours and are posting signs as well!!

    Bottom line Matt is I am not interested in spending on this kind of law suit, I have bigger fish to fry…ops. No fish to fry until we restore the Marsh ($13m), and Daylight the Creek ($17M).

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    1. Hey Darrol,
      The top rate of assessment in the illegal BID (shame of Ed!) is $ 600.00 per year.
      So, put your money where your mouth is and donate $600.00 per year, like business owners are forced to do. Ed! accepts donations. You live in Edmonds, so you should pay also.
      Ed! spends over 55% of it’s revenue on salaries. They have spent over $ 100,000.00 on their failed web site.
      Parking, get educated Darrol, banks have never towed one car for after hours parking. $ 3,000.00 to print a sign.

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      1. Hi Brent,
        My formal education comes from western Washington schools. Probably a bit old and soggy too.
        I must admit that I have only seen a car being towed from a bank lot one time but that one time is more than zero. I can speak only for myself and folks I have talked with about using some DT lots for parking and we all were happy to see some signs to help add to the DT parking inventory.
        I like the ED web site. Clean and neat and gives businesses a way to promote what they do.
        You said .. “So, put your money where your mouth is and donate $600.00 per year, like business owners are forced to do. Ed! accepts donations. You live in Edmonds, so you should pay also.” Not sure what my mouth or keyboard in this case, said that would prompt such a remark. As soon as I start a business in DT Edmonds I will become educated on what I would have to pay for the BID. Fees are different based on the type of business, floor space and other factors right? But until I start a DT business I will just shop DT and support our business community that way. As time permits I will ask some more questions of others about ED.
        But as for parking, I do feel I am pretty educated about the issues. This is as a result of more than 2 years of digging into the Edmonds parking issues and what I have tried to do is help people with the parking topic by sharing the facts as I know them and try to gather from all I meet their own personal experiences on parking. I do not know of your business but would hope that you either provide parking for your employees or they have employee parking permits. It is important to keep the parking close to all businesses open for customers.

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  5. Darrol, I just bought a nice travel trailer which is for rent at only $50/night on Airbnb. Since you are in need of affordable housing I’ll let you have it for $40. Please park up on Main as parking is a little tight around here now. Personally i think you and Mike should just split the $113000 since you have already done the work the study will redo. Let’s keep the “gravy” at home at least.

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  6. “Take it easy” -Matt Richardson! C.W Darrol is worth more than $15.00 an hour! At least $15.75……but now that you offered Room and board…..hmmm who knows…What a town.. love it! Ha ha

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  7. Seriously Mike and Darrol, I’m curious to know what that study is going to tell us that you guys haven’t already researched pretty well? Does this outfit have some sort of crystal ball to calculate exactly how many new parking places we will need and exactly where in the next twenty odd years that takes into consideration all the changes that are going to occur in personal transportation? Seems to me that we already have a gentleman on the city payroll (who just ran for Mayor) that has a personal specialty in urban planning and some knowledge of what is coming down the pike in changes in personal transportation that will influence our future parking needs. We know where the space is available for possible garages, we know any garage in any configuration is going to cost a small fortune, paid for either by taxpayers or entrepreneur(s) or a combination of both. We know parking downtown will either be free to the user or paid for by the user. We know either approach has some probable adverse consequences. What is the point of an expensive study, except to tell someone what someone already wants to hear? I just don’t see the need for the study.

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    1. I totally agree; hiring a consultant would be a waste of taxpayers’ money. If we have extra money, then spend it something that is truly needed – like sidewalks.

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      1. Fixing sidewalks is only going to encourage more people downtown, especially the physically challenged, which will make parking even more in demand. Better off keeping the current City plan of spraying broken sidewalks with orange paint, and calling it good.

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        1. This should not be an issue. As you said above DH is monitoring ever “tick mark” in this whole thing. With the input from citizens already underway with the open house and survey work we are already gaining “data” that will help guide us to a more clearly defined set of parking issues and potential solutions and their costs. As we learn from day one work we can adjust the needs and we also have our city drone data collection that can easily augment the day one data. We will not be short of data. If nothing else you and I can walk your dog around town with our cameras and add data.
          As a taxpayer and voter I am more concerned about the willingness of Council to deal with what may some difficult and political choices. The current council worked well on the last round of suggestions made for some short term improvements to move employee parking further away from the center of DT and add tick marks and enforcement dollars. As we gather and evaluate more input from the public and the consultants council may have some tougher choices to make. Will this council be willing to act? What if they just kick the issue down the road past December we will have 3-5 new council members. Given the political posturing from some of the council candidates it will be unlikely they will have an open mind to reviewing the data and evaluation the alternatives especially if it is different than their “campaign positions”. With all the public engagement before and during the study the current council will be very equipped to move forward.

          Suggestion, spend some time on the Marsh and Creek issues. Those issues are far reaching and very expensive when compared to parking issues.

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  8. It looks to me like we are paying the consulting firm to tell us what we already know; that we need more parking downtown and we might want to consider a structure of some sort to accommodate that need, which could be short lived, considering the coming changes in personal transportation. As Mike has figured out here, there will be at least two days of just counting parking places and observing traffic flow. Seems like a couple city employees and a drone plane could do this a whole bunch cheaper. This is a boondoggle of major proportions and a total waste of valuable tax payer funds that could be going toward something actually useful to us. Put this parking issue in the private sector where it belongs, and just move on.

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  9. Expanding a little bit on my last sentence above, I would suggest that the city council simply create a public statement to the effect that our town may be in need of some additional parking opportunities in the downtown area and send it out to any and all entities in the greater Seattle area that are in anyway involved in the for profit parking industry. Let any interested parties spend their own money on studies and projections and invite them to present any propositions they might have to the City Council for consideration of approval based on our building codes and available funding sources. I agree with DH about concentrating more on the Marsh and Creek issues.

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