And the views are unstoppable

By John Owen | Feb 25, 2012

OK, bring in the wrecking balls, the tractors, the  cement mixers and the construction crews.

I've perused the  latest Preliminary Redevelopment  and Informational mailing from the Port of Edmonds and I totally endorse the  proposed redevelopment of Harbor Square.

Planners have convinced me that although the retail and residential complex would approximate five story construction, sight experts have photographed the area from  higher elevations and determined that distant views of Puget Sound would not be unduly obscured.

So, bring on the jack hammers and construction scaffolds.  Full speed ahead with the complex of apartments, offices and retail shops.

What's that?  Do you have unresolved questions and concerns?

Matter of fact, my friend and neighbor Kathy does have some reservations.

She is wondering how many residents would buy or lease properties which would be shaken to their foundations several times each day or night by trains passing close by with a thundering roar.

And it is true that some condos constructed overlooking the tracks and ferry terminal seem to have lingered on the market for endless months.

I would also guess that none of the steering committee members have lately tuned in the movie "Unstoppable" available On Demand or via Netflix, Redbox or  Blockbuster outlets.

The movie is based on an actual incident involving the CSX 8888 freight train which hurtled through Ohio in 2001 with no one at the controls.

I won't tell you how the film ends other than to observe that  if runaway trains are going to hurtle though Edmonds past Harbor Square, we had better hope that Denzel Washington or a reasonable substitute is readily available for crisis management.

Not that it wouldn't be exciting if an endless coal train headed for Bellingham swooped unmanned across the intersections at Main Street and Dayton Avenues.

Based on the movie I can guarantee you that the train would be followed along the entire route by low-flying helicopters bearing TV camera crews.

That would allow TV sports viewers at watering holes like Channel Marker, Rory's and Demetris to switch channels away from the NBA  and to "ohhhhh, ahhhhh and omygosh" as the train hurtles down the track from Ballard to Edmonds and then on to Mukilteo and Everett.

And of course the residents, office workers and shopkeepers in Harbor Square would have ringside seats.

So maybe those pushing the Harbor Square redevelopment can suggest the possibility of runaway trains as a selling tool.

I mean you can only get excited so many times, at the moments when the Kingston Ferry blows its horn.

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