Letter to the editor: Have your say about bike lanes before it’s too late

Editor:

The City of Edmonds has accepted a grant from Sound Transit for bike lanes along 9th Avenue South to 100th Avenue West to Firdale Village and from 9th Avenue and Walnut Street up Bowdoin to Five corners.

Late last year, city officials took many citizens to task for a flyer that was circulated door to door that implied that all parking on 9th Avenue South and Walnut/Bowdoin might be eliminated. The city officials assured the citizens in a public meeting that eliminating all parking was not an option, but parking might be reduced approximately 50%. Now the latest city materials, just published, show an option that would eliminate all parking on 9th Avenue South and Walnut/Bowdoin. So it looks like the citizens flyer circulated last year was correct after all.

At the public listening sessions last December, the city officials assured the public that turn lanes on 9th Avenue would be a part of the project and now it appears that there are no turn lanes being proposed, so far. This, of course, would create serious traffic jams. City officials also assured the public that “traffic calming” was not a goal of the Bike Lane Project but it seems that if things keep progressing like they are, that “traffic calming” is an inevitable primary result, creating unnecessary traffic delays and frustration for people who visit and live in Edmonds.

These developments are indeed unfortunate, because this is just one more example of a series of debacles that is eroding our confidence in the mayor, the city council and city departmental management. Something needs to be done to restore confidence. Our city government is behaving as if it has been captured by the bike lobby, Sound Transit and other special interests with an agenda that is not in accordance with what most of the citizens of Edmonds really want.

You can access the city’s website with an interactive map that you can use to view the design alternatives.  You can access the project website at bikelanes.edmondswa.gov. You can access the interactive map at https://maps.edmondswa.gov/Html5Viewer/index.html?viewer=Bicycle_Improvements.HTML5 .

The city will be holding a public meeting next Wednesday, Feb. 24. Zoom info for the public meeting can be found on the project website at bikelanes.edmondswa.gov. The special interest groups outside of Edmonds are vocal and typically show up in force on these Zoom meetings. We need your participation to offset organized special interest groups.

We are running out of time. Please write the city council at council@edmondswa.gov and the mayor at carolyn.lafave@edmondswa.gov.

Andrew Morgan
Edmonds

14 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Have your say about bike lanes before it’s too late”

  1. I totally agree with the Mr. Morgan.
    This project appears to be yet another one of those politically correct, and trendy ideas that the majority of the people who live in this neighborhood don’t want (or need). Also, I have yet to see how much of this project cost will be borne by the city, and not covered by grants. Grants seldom cover all of the costs. I shudder to think about where those many folks who currently park on 9th, near the cemetery are going to park? That QFC parking lot is already a nightmare.

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    1. Mr Morgan, thank you for the alert regarding the Edmonds bike lanes. I too agree that the proposed bike lanes are not a necessity on either 9th Ave south or Bowdoin from Walnut. We live in the Maplewood area and travel both routes anywhere from 7am to 7pm. I can’t even remember the last time I shared the road with a bicyclist during that time frame on the proposed route. As usual, who came up with this route, what is the percentage of usage, who did the study, what is the study of automobile and bicyclists accidents and what bicycle groups convinced the Mayor of Edmonds and City Council to look into this project? The few bicyclists that I have observed on these routes were last summer and I can tell you they certainly did not observe stop signs or the speed limit!!! Yes, I have heard the bicyclists are not required to obey stop signs. The few bicyclists, in my opinion, have shared the road with tax paying vehicles and should expect to continue with the status quo.
      I had already decided not to vote for any Council incumbent, this issue definitely confirms my decision. Unfortunately, our Council. Mayor and City Hall directors are easily swayed by non-residents of Edmonfs.

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  2. I am an avid, recreational biker and new resident of Edmonds. It’s true that much of the Edmond’s population are “mature,” but we will attract younger residents to settle in our fair town by making biking more accessible. Our son and young family were looking to buy a house and were dismayed by the lack of biking infrastructure in Edmonds. They currently travel exclusively by electric family bike. They are living in the Netherlands, where there are protected Bike lanes EVERYWHERE! The air is clean, residents are fit and healthy. Even 80 year olds happily bike to shop!
    Regarding parking on 100th near QFC: I have never seen more than 3 cars parked on either side. Perhaps if residents traded one of their cars for an electric bike, they would have more room in the garage to park the car that’s parked on the street.

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  3. This city has been badly run for decades now and it isn’t going to be getting better anytime soon. It has been and is even more so now, a special interest Mecca. The bigger and squeakier wheel always gets the grease.

    Getting rid of street parking for whatever popular need of the moment is just a bad idea. I live about a block from the annual Art Festival sight and just up the hill from the annual fireworks display. Due to property owner encroachment and bad public policy regarding parking in the area, these events have less and less parking available for the public we supposedly want to attract and accommodate at these times. I assume the bike lane proposal will just make this bad situation even worse where I live.

    I recently added my own on property parking just so I don’t have to be so dependent on the city rights of way on my corner lot. I also want to be visitor friendly so the public can use what available public parking there is around my home. It isn’t particularly fair for me to park my fun stuff on the public rights of way. If you really want to be a destination attraction, you have to act like one. Edmonds can’t decide what it really wants to be; an exclusive community of upscale homes protected by city code full of just like minded people or a small little village by the sea, welcoming to all. It can’t be both; but it will try.

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  4. I appreciate the city leadership reaching out on this decision. The fact is Yost Park & Community Pool is a major community asset located in a residential neighborhood setting. Yost park utilizes the close proximity of surface street parking capacity to allow better inclusion for our locals and visitors, as parking is limited within the park to respect its natural splendor.

    The likely Elimination of close proximity surface street parking in exchange for bike lanes to accommodate an occasional cyclist is not a fair trade off to our community & local neighbors, despite the generous grant.

    Anyone who has enjoyed our Yost Park and Pool over the decades, especially during the summer months can tell you how crucial our Bowdoin and Walnut street surface street parking capacity is to the vitality of our community pool and park.

    Thanks for this Letter Mr. Morgan and the Links.

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  5. Thank you Mr. Morgan, for the update and email addresses for the city council and the mayor. I have just emailed both of them regarding the bike lane proposal.

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  6. Has there been a study done on just how many bike riders there are in Edmonds to justify creating yet another set of bike lanes? A few years ago, the city put in bike lanes along 220th Street SW, which is a mere ½ mile from, and runs parallel to Walnut/Bowdoin. In the intervening years since it’s creation, I have yet to encounter a bicyclist using those lanes. So why does the city feel we need more? I would prefer that the city explore the possibility of redirecting the grant money towards putting in sidewalks instead, given the increased number of people walking since the start of the pandemic.

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  7. Thank you for the letter Morgan. There are definitely safety issues around these routes, and I certainly see a lot of cyclists using Bowdoin and Walnut, so it is absolutely in the interests of the City to take up this 100% funded grant to get bike lanes paid for in this area.

    Every time I drive along 9th Ave, the parking there is at least 80% empty, usually 90-95% empty, so it would be a far better use of resources to actually use that area while still giving plenty of room for parking. Most of the alternatives with 50% parking on Bowdoin Way leave enough parking for the homeowners there. I am a fan of Sharrows on Walnut/Bowdoin and 50% parking on 9th.

    Some people just hear the buzz words of ‘bike lanes’ and get unnecessarily hysterical and illogical immediately. If people took the time to actually consider the costs and benefits of this project, most would find that it a large benefit for all.
    – The fact is that all but one of the options shown have 50% parking on Bowdoin, Walnut, and 9th.
    – Construction for this project is 100% paid for through Sound Transit as it is in their interests to increase riders to the light rail while reducing the demand on their parking lot.
    – This project directly benefits parking downtown without jeopardizing the availability of parking in any of the affected areas.

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    1. Evan Nelson I hardly think people’s well thought out letters stating their thoughts on this subject are “hysterical” or “illogical”. Perhaps your point could be made without resorting to name calling.

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  8. Hello Edmonds City Council & Mayor –

    Elimination of all parking on 9th Ave S and Walnut/Bowdoin is absolutely ridiculous. Where will people who need to visit residents on these streets park?

    9th in particular is a main thoroughfare for Edmonds. Many people use this road daily to drive to the local shopping areas, and to access other main thoroughfares in the city such as Edmonds Way/SR104, Main Street, etc.

    Let’s be completely honest here. How many people actually access these roads on a regular basis on their bike? I have traveled all of these roads for more than 30 years on almost a daily basis (pre-covid), and there just are not enough bike riders to justify such major changes. You are going out of your way to benefit the few and punish the many. This makes absolutely NO SENSE!!

    So you received a grant. This does not mean you have to make drastic changes just to spend money for the sake of spending money. Have you actually done a study to see how many people will truly use these bike lanes on a regular basis? I can tell you that with the recent addition of bike lanes in other areas (220th and 76th Avenue) I have seen very little usage on a regular basis of these designated bike lanes.

    Use some common sense for a change, and save the majority of your citizens a lot of frustration and anger by not completely eliminating parking on these roads. And, if you truly want to make 9th in particular a SAFER thoroughfare for all, add DESIGNATED TURN LANES!

    I have a very hard time wrapping my head around how the city council and mayor run our city. Please impress me for once, and make a sound decision.

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  9. Hi Evan,

    I personally have to disagree with you regarding the parking areas on 9th being 80-95% empty. This is not the case when I utilize this road (which was daily pre-covid). From Main St. to Edmonds Way/SR104, the parking spaces are at more than a 50% utilization rate.

    You have to consider that the last year has been highly unusual, in fact completely out of the norm. Almost all of the schools in our area have been participating in remote learning. Up to 60% of our work force has had to work from home.

    When we return to more “normal” times, you will see these roads accessed at a much higher rate. There will be more people parking along 9th/100th (especially as you get closer to the shopping areas at 100th and Edmonds Way).

    Honestly, I’m not saying you can’t have bike lanes at all, but a better use of this money would be to add center turn lanes, and frankly widen and repair the sidewalks. I see far more people out walking on 9th/100th than I ever see riding their bikes. I’ve seen a number of people rear-ended on 9th/100th as they are waiting to make left turns. In fact I have been rear-ended on 9th as have family members.

    Just a thought. We need to encourage our mayor and city council to spend the money wisely, and to actually make changes that benefit the majority of Edmonds’ citizens.

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  10. Even with Jay Inslee trying to jack up gas taxes, bicycles are going to remain a miniscule part of public transportation options in this area. They should be grouped with skateboards and scooters, except Sound Transit has all this money to throw around. Hey, it needs to pay attention to it special interests, and remember it’s free money.

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