Reminder: ‘Reimagining Neighborhoods and Streets’ virtual workshop May 24

The City of Edmonds is hosting a virtual kick-off meeting Tuesday, May 24 for a process aimed at redefining how streets and public spaces could be utilized in new ways.

The Zoom meeting will run from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The link to attend is here.

“One thing the pandemic brought to light is that our streets are spaces that can bring our community together, not just places to drive through,” said Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson. “Reaching out to our residents to create programs that benefit their neighborhoods, not just our downtown, and that offer opportunities to come together is a project I am excited to promote.”

Following May 24th meeeting, the city will hold in-person neighborhood workshops throughout the city in the month of June. Details for those in-person meetings will be announced soon.

“It has become clear that our residents enjoy innovative and new ideas on how we can create a more vibrant and sustainable community,” said Development Services Director Susan McLaughlin. “One way we can do this is through what is called ‘street activation strategies,’ which involve how we can use our public spaces through various programs  — like outdoor dining, open air markets or hyperlocal community events — to enhance our neighborhoods. We look forward to these discussions and gathering ideas from the public.”

For more information about the project and to sign up to receive updates, visit


  1. Love this idea. I will tune in and see what the ideas are and where etc. Sure sounds good.

  2. I encourage City Officials to not prioritize this project at this time. I believe rewriting our City Code should be prioritized. We kicked off this very important project in 2015, a project involving hundreds of thousands of dollars:

    The project has never been finished and City Officials have long refused to answer questions about its status. In my opinion, the taxpayer money spent accomplished very little.

    I made the following request as part of a Public Comment for the Public Hearing on the 2021 Proposed City Budget:

    Please finish the Code Rewrite – including the ECC which is also flawed. The Code Rewrite was supposed to be the top priority over a decade ago!

    Please budget to complete the long overdue Code Rewrite from start to finish.

    Please also provide full disclosure of all public funds spent on the Code Rewrite since 2006 as well as an accounting of what the use of that public money has accomplished. Please make sure all citizens know what percentage of the Code Rewrite has been completed.

    City officials have simply refused to respond and provide requested information.

    Please don’t start another project that may dilute staff’s ability to rewrite our flawed City Code.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with Ken Reidy. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Why do we have to reimagine neighborhoods and streets? The codes are what need to be looked at before anything is done. Do some homework director!

  3. I like the idea of involving the community in this process. Long overdue. And I see it as distinctly different than the code update (which needs to be done). However, I would suggest that this is a subset of a broader discussion we need to have. A discussion about the vision for our city. Do we want to retain a neighborhood suburban atmosphere or gravitate towards a denser urban environment?

    1. I can’t speak for others, but I know I want Edmonds to remain a neighborhood suburban atmosphere and I’m suspicious about the intent of this workshop. Sure seems similar to the yellow brick road that led us to the ill conceived Connector that supposedly was vetted with great public input and acceptance, but in the end wasn’t.

  4. How about spending the $500,000 windfall on support services for homeless folks? Sidewalks, street lights, code rewrite, and other dull but other vital infrastructure projects.

  5. This is all baked in the cake folks. The current powers that be want to turn downtown into Main Street Mall and they are going to try to ram it down our throats any way possible. When are we going to start getting our big ideas from the grassroots and not the bureaucrats? What great need is there to use our streets and public spaces as anything but streets and public spaces? Why do we need to reimagine our neighborhoods? My neighborhood is just fine as it is. All I can say is, when we get the Mall installed where Main Street is now, they better include lots of big padded benches for “our most vulnerable residents” to sleep on. The next election can’t come soon enough.

    1. Street activation strategies is code for promoting a permanent Main Street Mall. This is governmentese double speak as street activation would normally mean to open a street and their desire is to close a street. This is a Mayor and friends program.

  6. “Street activation strategies,” sounds like a bunch of BS. How about instead concentrate on safe sidewalks, lightning, traffic control, and ADA accessibility which is a little more dull than the city’s vision of being able to eat nachos and drink beer in the middle of the street.

  7. I would suggest/encourage googling “Vancouver WA Office of Neighborhoods” to get a sense of a reasonable approach to connecting people and linking them to government services. The program began in 1975; in 1990 there were 14 associations, and today there are 68. The objective is to engage citizens, link neighborhood skills, energy and ideas with government services/programs, and promote a sense of community. The best ideas for connecting people come from the people being connected.

    1. Right on Bob R. When I was co night volunteer at the old Senior Center cold weather shelter and the sewers backed up a homeless lady stepped up and told the men to use the outside for #1 and she got a bucket system set up for the lady’s needs and men’s #2. Our non city fire department (I called) helped us mop up some, then said “all we can do, gotta go.” I reminded the fire Captain that it was a city owned building, a public health emergency and if they were leaving so were the lady volunteer and I. The fire Captain’s tune changed immediately. This is why we should take our fire department back, even if it’s more expensive.

      Get the homeless people involved in helping solve their own problems at space we provide for tiny homes and tents. Secure it and make it sanitary for all. You can’t just let people do what they want and expect magic success.

  8. The information page about this project claims:

    “The last 100 years of transportation planning have centered on street design that facilitates the expeditious movement of vehicles—often to the detriment of safety and comfort of other roadway users.”

    If true, we haven’t been following our laws.

    The City of Edmonds conducted a multi month process that resulted in the adoption of a “Complete Streets” ordinance on June 21, 2011. Ordinance 3842 adopted the following under ECDC 18.80.015.A:

    “The city of Edmonds will plan for, design and construct all new transportation projects to provide appropriate accommodation for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and persons of all abilities. Complete streets principles will be incorporated into city plans, rules, regulations and programs as appropriate.”

    The emphasis is on safe and convenient TRAVEL.

    The following is taken from a City Press Release dated June 24, 2011:

    “Mayor Mike Cooper gathered with a group of stakeholders Friday to sign ordinance 3842, “Complete Streets” into law. “Now people of all ages and abilities, including children, youth, families, older adults, and individuals with disabilities will have access to safe and convenient travel,” Mayor Cooper said.”

    “Cooper thanked council President Strom Peterson for his work with city staff to find an ordinance that accommodates all of Edmonds. “Complete Streets will make Edmonds a safer, healthier and more environmentally sound community” Peterson said.”

    “Streets without a safe place to walk, bike, or catch a bus can be dangerous for non-motorized transportation users, particularly children, older adults, and people with disabilities. Public right-of-ways should be designed to safely accommodate all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.”

    Eleven years later, the current Mayor is saying “One thing the pandemic brought to light is that our streets are spaces that can bring our community together, not just places to drive through”.

    I believe our streets have always provided the ability to do far more than just drive through the city, especially when parking is available.

    Hopefully City Staff will explain why our “Complete Streets” laws aren’t highlighted in the announcement for this project.

  9. This project by the Mayor screams back door attempt to promote and justify high density neighborhoods in Edmonds. I would support the City working to complete the revision of the City Code. Put a plan together to improve the infrastructure of the City (e.g., sidewalks, lighting, etc.). Work on the needs of the City.

  10. Just say NO to another pet project by Mayor and Director McLaughlin. Let’s leave our streets and public spaces for what they are intended. No to Green Streets, shutting down our streets, turning Main into a pedestrian mall, changing our neighborhoods, upzoning, density, starting another project that’s unwanted and unnecessary. Instead the City should be focusing on all of our unfinished projects and spending our money wisely. Staff should finish the important and long overdue Code Rewrite and make a plan to improve infrastructure, repair our streets and sidewalks, and address safety issues that residents have brought to Council in the last year — on 220th, Dayton, Caspers, and more. The many potholes, broken and missing sidewalks, dangerous intersections, speeding and lack of street lighting should be the priority. Neighborhood workshops should be held to address these issues. Code Rewrite and safety first!

    1. I agree 100% with Kathy Brewer! This looks like a wolf in sheep’s clothing and it doesn’t pass the sniff test. Stop trying to reinvent “An Edmonds Kind of Day.”

  11. I support exploring options – travel to other cities and countries and you’ll learn how wonderful open walking streets can be! Easier to shop, dine and enjoy cities! It’s nice that they are looking at all neighborhoods and not just the downtown area.

    Our city employees are capable of working on more than one project at a time and doing this exploration is a long term benefit to all of Edmonds.

  12. Edmonds has a very walkable downtown, but unfortunately it doesn’t include all of Edmonds. All neighborhoods should have sidewalks, and many don’t in Edmonds. Why can’t the City stay focused on increasing public safety for all instead of pet projects of the Mayor?

    How about a vote on this, agenda to change our communities? I am pretty sure through the surveys most citizens didn’t want to see our neighborhoods change. Why keep trying to do, what your citizens don’t want? We are not other cities or countries we are Edmonds.

  13. Why is this a zoom meeting and not a question and answer type town hall affair with all invited at the ECA? Just who is behind promoting this walkable downtown business and why? Citizens need to ask what businesses and specifically what type type businesses are behind this push? Changes like this need to originate at the neighborhood level and come through the city Council, not from mayor and city staff. They should also be subject to majority vote. Thre is a lot of private gain being promoted by government officials here. Looks like some possible payback for past favors going on with this initiative.

    1. Good points, Clint. Mayor and staff driven, short notice, 5-6:30 commuting/dinner time, Zoom meeting. Most people aren’t aware and might not be able to attend. This “reimagining” could affect everyone so should be well publicized far in advance and be an in-person/hybrid event so we can all have a say BEFORE this kicks off.

  14. This is the type of discussion we should be having. I hope that many will participate in the workshop tomorrow to be heard, regardless of your position on this.

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