Letter to the editor: Let your voice be heard on bike lanes that would remove neighborhood parking

Editor:

The Edmonds City Council is meeting on Tuesday, July 28 to consider whether to approve the addition of dedicated bike lanes on Bowdoin Way from 5 Corners to Yost Pool; further down Walnut to 9th Avenue South and from Walnut on 9th Avenue South and 100th Avenue West the entire way to Firdale Village. Knowledgeable sources in the city’s management indicate that the project will remove at least 50% of current on-street parking spaces on 9th/100th Avenue.

My wife and I have recently purchased a home on 9th Avenue South in Edmonds. One of the reasons we selected this property was that it has adequate on-street parking in front of our home. The lot sizes are limited and when we have family and guests at the home, or USPS/Fed Ex/UPS deliveries, there is nowhere else to safely park except on-street. Our driveway is shared with three other homes and there is no unused parking on the properties.

We had to get a City of Edmonds Street Use Permit to park a POD on 9th Avenue when we moved into our home since our driveway is on a slope and provided no flat space for a POD. The side streets surrounding our home are a half a block away and these side streets are on steep slopes with no sidewalks, making street parking on those streets impractical and questionable from a health and safety standpoint. Additionally, restricting on-street parking to one side of 9th/100th Avenue is impractical and unsafe due to the hazard to pedestrians of crossing this busy avenue with limited marked crosswalks. Furthermore, eliminating many areas of the on-street parking on 9th Avenue would diminish property values for the aforementioned reasons, which would in turn negatively impact the city’s property tax revenues.

Ninth/100th Avenue is broad, and the laws of the State of Washington currently provide adequate, safe, legal access for all bikers. It is imprudent and unnecessary to eliminate on-street parking that is convenient for thousands of individual homeowners who live in the City of Edmonds to make it more convenient for the small number of bikers who currently transit 9th/100th Avenue anyway. For the record, we are not opposed to dedicated bike lanes if they do not eliminate on-street parking. Could there be safer options?

We recognize that Sound Transit has given the City of Edmonds a grant to create dedicated bike lanes. We understand the reluctance to forego any grant monies; however, it would not serve the interests of the citizens of Edmonds to eliminate or restrict on-street parking on 9th/100th Avenue and potentially for those residents and visitors in the other areas affected. We understand and appreciate the virtues of “top down” international policies such as U.N. Agenda 2030 and regional planning exercises conducted by entities such as Sound Transit. However, what sounds like great idea from a “top down” theoretical perspective is often untenable in the context of practical, local interests. Well-intentioned “top down” or “regional” policies should be carefully considered in the light of the local landscape before being implemented at the local level. Eliminating portions or restricting on-street parking on 9thAvenue is not a good idea.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, the public is not allowed to legally assemble inside City Hall to show either support or opposition to this proposal. The city council should delay a vote on this project until such time as the people can legally assemble for a full and frank discussion. To do otherwise, could inadvertently lead to an environment of suspicion that this project was “zoomed” through, so to speak, instead of going through a full and frank in-person discussion with all affected citizens.

Thank you for considering our perspective on the matter.

If anyone else would like to have a chance to be heard by Tuesday, July 28, please use one or all these email links:

PublicComment@edmondswa.gov (450-word limit and will be on public record for this topic)

Council@edmondswa.gov  (no word limit and goes to all seven councilmembers)

Michael.Nelson@edmondswa.gov (no word limit and goes to our Mayor Mike Nelson)

Andrew and Susan Morgan
Edmonds

6 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Let your voice be heard on bike lanes that would remove neighborhood parking”

  1. I’m a cyclist familiar with riding the routes discussed. Of all the sections being considered, 100th Ave. to Firdale would make the most sense as there is heavier traffic, two lanes, and a section with no shoulder. Adding a bike lane from Five Corners on Bowdoin Way/Walnut to 9th St. is not necessary because the road is wide enough and the traffic is not heavy. A bike lane from 9th and Walnut to 100th Ave. and Edmonds Way would be nice but again, since the road is wide I feel pretty safe riding, with the exception of the short section of two lane road near QFC/PCC. I agree with the writer that the city should use its grant funding but it doesn’t need to put bike lanes where there is not a traffic issue

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  2. As a 25 year resident who lives on 9th Ave S, I strongly opposed the addition of bike lanes which would eliminate parking on our residential street. Just because the city is offered grant money, does not mean it’s in the best interest of residents to accept. Most lots on 9th lack driveway parking and rely on street parking for visitors and delivery parking. Removing street parking will negatively impact property values and quality of life on our street.

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    1. These people’s mantra is always “No sacrifice is too great for someone else to make.” Remember that “free” grant money to build a freeway off ramp on the Edmonds waterfront beach?

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  3. I fully support the city plan for adding/completing a continuous bikeway route on these arterials. Under state and city law the primary purpose of city arterials is to provide for safe and efficient movement of all forms of vehicles and bicycles. Parking on these key streets is a much lower priority. We need to provide a safe and continuous bikeway system throughout the city. Climate change is very real and we need to get very serious about addressing it now and this project will play an important part of that effort.

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  4. I see the planned accommodation for bicyclists as detrimental to the socialization and interaction of the residents with family and friends.

    Residents who live on Ninth or Bowdoin Way may not have a space large enough to accommodate any cars other than their own. Your recommendation assumes that:
    1. They will never have a disabled visitor.
    2. They will never have an event at their house that will require more than one car.
    3, They will never have family or friends that plan on staying for the holidays or a family get together.

    Why not remove the weeds and vegetation that encroaches on the sidewalks, then pour new wider sidewalks. This would be great for bicyclists, with a bell, and walkers.

    The residents effected by your proposed changes bought their space, pay their taxes and deserve to benefit.

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  5. Community related

    Top down policies may have their place in privately held companies but not in public policy. Publicly elected officials have a moral obligation to notify, hear from and consider all citizens within their district when deciding on issues affecting all residents therein. Since those roads are currently used by Edmonds citizens, daytime visitors and residential parking, there is no logical justification for this scope of proposed change to accommodate a desire to commute by bicycle from a very limited population in our city.

    Furthermore, if the desire to use city streets for bike commuting leads cities to make accommodations that inconvenience the majority, then bike commuters should be required to register their bicycle as such, to pay insurance on that transportation activity, to pay tabs (a use tax just like vehicles) and have to present their bicycle registration/license/insurance when they are involved in an accident, to fairly determine who caused the accident.

    I agree that no further discussion or decision on this, or any issue impacting the citizens of Edmonds should be considered until we are all able to legally assemble in an unlimited, open, in person discussion. Transparency in government was a resident focus in the recent election and remains important in rebuilding trust.

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