Letter to the editor: Sidewalks won’t be a priority, so let’s aim for pedestrian safety gear


There are cruel facts of life that sooner or later Edmonds residents must confront. Some examples include the fact that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, that the tooth fairy is a myth, and that Edmonds will never construct sidewalks in most neighborhoods.

Constructing sidewalks does not generate much attention, nor is it a resume enhancer in most jurisdictions. As a result, sidewalks are not a priority as are other more high-profile development projects.

With the recent legislation mandating increased residential density, with the resulting increased traffic, walking in most Edmonds neighborhoods will become even more dangerous.

The city should stop providing false hope to residents that sidewalks will be constructed in most Edmonds neighborhoods and implement a program to actually make walking safer for pedestrians.

The city should institute a purchasing program to sell residents safety gear such as reflective shirts, vests, sweatshirts and flashing arm bands and lights. Those products could be sold at cost to residents with a small additional fee to cover program expenses.

This would be a simple program to implement. No extensive city studies, expensive outside consultants, equity studies or permitting issues would be necessary.

Edmonds as well as other government agencies provide free items to incentivize favored causes. Some examples are free water-restricting devices and free locks for firearms. Pedestrian safety is an important issue for Edmonds residents, and in reality, this is the best Edmonds can do to improve pedestrian safety throughout the city at present and in the future.

Eric Soll

  1. Please, let’s return to walkable Edmonds.
    It made sense, there isn’t enough room to visit, wait in line for food and window shop.

  2. Edmonds can’t even take Care of the ones we already have. That is why most people walking down my street walk in he roads.

    1. AMEN William! After recent knee surgery I tried walking downtown and found the downtown sidewalks so ‘heaved’ from roots and cracked, badly patched and in general such bad condition that I just went home. A building I work at sometimes in Auburn was forced by the City to replace over 100’ of sidewalk due to these same issues. They didn’t mess around either. They gave 90 days to complete the work and would be fined on a weekly basis until the work was done. I’m starting to think Auburn might actually be a safer city to live in.

  3. In response to Eric’s post I would like to thank him for bringing sidewalks forward for discussion.
    We certainly have several ADA issues, like utility poles in the middle of sidewalks. It makes it impossible for wheelchairs to navigate.
    We also have raised or tree root damaged areas. But, I believe none of these issues are impossible to address. There are infrastructure funds available to address needed sidewalks for safe passage. We just need to commit to addressing the problem and moving forward. Let’s face it, we live in the land of dark and rainy most of the year. Let’s set a goal of safe sidewalks for all.

  4. My street has no sidewalks or center lines. Most people insist on walking on their RIGHT with their BACK to oncoming cars, often dressed in black and with the dog or child on the center of the street. I’m driving along at 25 in my noiseless car with the sun in my face….. You can’t hear me, I can’t see you!

  5. Council will be considering an ordinance in just a couple of days that would “park” $8m ARPA dollars in the GF. ARPA funds are grants for one-time expenses. This grant is effectively $200/citizen or $400/household. W have needs all around town. Many current sidewalks need repair and other areas need or want sidewalks.

    When the city marked with the orange paint the repair needs, they probably have some data on those needs. Council should ask for that data. Cost estimates for repairs could be made and cost of new sidewalks could be estimated. No idea of how far the $8m would go but that work may give us an idea of how much we may want to add to our tax bill to tackle some sidewalk needs.

  6. Our never ending city problem of continually funding Wants ahead of Needs is catching up with us. We’ve had pretty bad city government thru at least the last three administrations. This is what happens when Councils let the Executives and Staffs set the policy and direct where the funding goes with no real mechanism for oversight. Money is allocated for code updates that never get done and there is no explanation of where the money went. Mayors appoint the planning boards and they and their staffs manipulate the outcomes. Councils often ignore Planning Board recommendations at the behest of the Executive branch and the special interests. When good Council Persons ask staff tough questions the Strong Mayors intervene to stop the conversation in it’s tracks.

  7. Sorry, too late. We have to purchase Burlington Coat factory property for way more than it’s worth and finance our Fire Service vendor that saves us so much money for another year with that ARPA fund windfall.

  8. I agree with many of our residents….there are streets with NO sidewalks….we walk in the street on on some narrow path. Along side drainage ditches that are full of debris.
    who is supposed to be taking care of these?
    Walk from 80th to 76th on 218th SW and you will see what I mean. The street is a mess.
    Just saying. There is only one small patch of sidewalk, which in in front of some condos.

  9. For some reason our City Councils accept dubious funding and policy requests from our Mayors and Staff people who don’t even make logical arguments about why we should do what they recommend. Our Development Director first spent many minutes of the last Council Meeting expounding on why the Burlington land parcel was in an awkward to get to place with bad highway access and wasn’t worth much in terms of retail business use, while at the same time advocating that we should start the process of paying the owner way more than what it is worth for an as yet unknown city purpose. All but two of our current Council Persons took this bait, hook line and sinker. Just for good measure a Council Person who rarely, if ever, opposes anything Executive is conveniently absent so the Mayor can vote to break any ties and she doesn’t have to go on record one way or the other at re-election time.

  10. On the topic of sidewalks, I would like to know exactly where the exorbitant fees charged to restaurants for their on street eating shelters during the height of Covid. The city said the money garnered from these fees, NOT CHARGED by other cities like Seattle, was to be used to obtain additional parking to offset the loss of parking spaces. WHAT HAPPENED to those funds and the “additional parking.?

    1. There is some insight on that topic in our story on the 2023 budget, posted Dec. 7, 2022:

      “Another Paine suggestion called for the city to spend $40,000 to provide additional parking by leasing downtown Edmonds commercial parking lots for Saturdays and Sundays. Councilmember Chen moved that at least some of that funding come from money the city collected from the downtown Edmonds streateries, which has not yet been spent. That amendment passed, as did an amendment from Olson reducing the amount allocated to $30,000.”

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