Edmonds Waterfront Connector design phase to begin soon

State grant gets ball rolling on $30 million project
By Brian Soergel | Sep 07, 2017
Courtesy of: City of Edmonds Here is what the waterfront connector in Edmonds could look like as it descends from Edmonds Street.

Edmonds is one step closer to providing access to the waterfront during emergencies after the city last week took receipt of a $700,000 state grant to support initial design, environmental work and permitting for the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector project.

The state money is joined by $290,000 from the city ($150,000), the Port of Edmonds ($75,000), Burlington Northern Santa Fe ($50,000), Sound Transit ($10,000) and Community Transit ($5,000).

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new, two-year, $8.5 million transportation budget May 16 that included funding the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector.

The connector will provide an emergency, single-lane structure over the railroad tracks as an alternative to the at-grade rail crossings at Main and Dayton streets.

It will provide access for emergency vehicles, as well as ferry off-loading or on-loading, with the assistance of traffic control officers when train breakdowns block the two crossings.

The structure also will provide 24/7, ADA-compliant access to the city’s waterfront attractions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other nonmotorized traffic.

With continued opportunities for significant input by the public and agency stakeholders, Mayor Dave Earling said, the city will refine the alignment and bridge type for the Waterfront Connector. This will in turn help narrow the focus on the specific areas of environmental impact that will require further analysis during the permitting process.

From there, the initial design can be developed and will form the basis for seeking the funding to complete final design and construction.

“This is exciting news for Edmonds, as this is an important next step in accomplishing our goal of providing a safer, more reliable crossing for pedestrians and emergency vehicles at our downtown waterfront,” Earling said.

“I look forward to traveling to Washington, D.C., later this year to continue our work to secure federal funding to complete this critical project for our region.”

In November, Earling unveiled his recommendations for alternatives to the at-grade rail crossings at Main and Dayton streets on the heels of a set of findings and recommendations issued by his appointed Advisory Task Force following a 13-month study process.

After initially considering up to 51 various alternatives to address pedestrian and vehicle safety, efficient traffic movement, emergency access, and intermodal access, the Task Force held four public open houses to engage members of the public through the process of analysis and narrowing the field of alternatives.

Ultimately the Task Force identified a preferred alternative: a single-lane structure connecting Sunset Avenue at Edmonds Street to the parking lot at Brackett’s Landing North, dubbed the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector.

Representing the best balance of cost and function with the smallest environmental, biological and archeological footprints, the Waterfront Connector project will allow instant access to the waterfront by fire and police units when access is blocked by train traffic at the city’s two at-grade access points, Main and Dayton streets.

Currently, emergency responders have to wait until train traffic clears, or in the event of a train parked over both crossings, must cross on foot through the trains.

Presently, the at-grade railroad crossings at Dayton and Main are temporarily blocked by 35-40 trains each day along the city’s waterfront and could eventually be blocked by up to 100 trains a day by 2030.

In the infrequent occasions when a train is stalled in front of the ferry lanes for a significant time, the Waterfront Connector may also aid in ferry off- or on-loading with the assistance of traffic control officers.

Earling plans to travel to Washington, D.C. with several colleagues later this year to continue to work with federal officials to secure the federal funds needed to complete the project.

 

 

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