Sun just won’t set on Sunset Avenue project

By Laura Daniali | Mar 27, 2014

The Edmonds City Council will decide next Tuesday whether to continue with the Sunset Avenue Walkway Project.

“I would like to start deliberating as a council, and come up with a solution or decision,” Council President Diane Buckshnis said.

“That decision can be a myriad of issues, such as pulling it from the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to full steam ahead, or points in-between.”

Buckshnis said the decision could be delayed and moved to a future date if other councilmembers need more time to deliberate.

“I am of the opinion that we have heard a great deal of public testimony, and I am ready to provide my input,” Buckshnis said.

Public Works Director Phil Williams presented five design options to the council on Tuesday in response to recommendations made by citizens and councilmembers to a previous design.

Williams said three of the five designs are viable alternatives to the original; however, two of the designs do not meet regulations for fire equipment access or driveway turnout clearance.

Cross-sections of all five designs were shown, and depicted options for a dedicated bicycle lane or a sharrow, and the potential to move parking to the east side of Sunset Avenue.

The council heard from citizens who continue to ask: “Why is this project still being considered?”

To address those concerns, Councilmember Strom Peterson reviewed the history of the project and emphasized that it was citizen-driven from the beginning.

Peterson said he was concerned with the treatment of city staff throughout this process, and the “abuse” the staff has received.

“This was not a top-down approach with this project,” Peterson said. “This was really bottom up. This is how the system is supposed to work.”

Residents also discussed concerns, ranging from the potential loss of parking spaces to the possible construction of a 150-foot-long fence on the bluff, that have been raised during previous public hearings.

“The real problems with Sunset are people committing suicide, drainage and maybe the existing sidewalk that is not American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant,” Edmonds resident Robert Suydam said.

Some residents said the poor conditions of Sunset Avenue’s existing sidewalk should be addressed before a new sidewalk is constructed.

Suydam was among those who said they are concerned about the safety and liability issues associated with allowing bicycles on a shared pathway located on a steep embankment above railroad tracks.

Another concern of residents was the safety risk posed to pedestrians by cyclists who may be traveling at high speeds.

“Let’s ask ourselves what’s the real problems with Sunset, and really come back at this with a whole new perspective,” Suydam said, “so we can do the right thing, and not just frivolously spend money on something that will create liability for the City.”

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.