Illumination: Pine Street lighting selected

Residents had expressed concern about safety at the bottom of the hill
By Brian Soergel | Aug 25, 2017
Photo by: Brian Soergel Three streetlights will light up the north side of Pine Street by State Route 104.

Let there be light at the bottom of Pine Street.

After considering three options proposed by Public Works Director Phil Williams, councilmembers agreed with his choice of three 35-foot streetlights spaced about 160 feet apart. They will be installed on the north side of Pine Street just west of State Route 104.

Snohomish County PUD will install the poles and 50-watt LED lights, comparable to 100-watt traditional bulbs.

The city’s cost to have SnoPUD install the three poles is $12,772, considerably less than the $20,000 originally allocated for the project. SnoPUD also will be in charge of operating, maintaining and replacing the lights.

In part to satisfy representatives of the Wildlife Habitat Native Plant Demonstration Garden, directly north of the proposed lights, shields snapped into place around the lights will force much of the light from shining into the Demonstration Garden, Williams said. The majority of the light, he said, will fall on Pine Street and the sidewalk.

Williams said he expects the lights to be in place by mid-November, or earlier.

Didn’t feel safe

Over the past two years, residents of Point Edwards – upscale condos at the top of Pine Street – have complained to councilmembers that the lack of lighting at the bottom of the street made it hazardous for nighttime walkers and bikers trekking up or down the hill.

Councilmembers approved the lighting project in November, with the understanding the lighting would be installed along the southern edge of Pine Street, away from the Demo Garden. But Public Works learned that the utility easement there is owned by Woodway, and there were a number of major buried utilities in the way of the power installation needed for the new lighting.

After deciding on lights on the north side of Pine, the project was put on hold in late May after the Demo Garden’s Susie Schaefer complained that city workers, in preparation for installing lights along the garden’s adjacent sidewalk, had hacked away much of the bushes and shrubs, leaving behind what she thought was an ugly scar.

“We will be finishing the portion of work that is underground there,” Williams said this week. “We’ll continue on with the small ditch we excavated before, lay conduit and backfill all of that. It will look like it does today. All underground. Then the PUD can come in, set their poles, pull wires and commission the system.”

Williams admitted to some confusion about the project.

“People had differing opinions and, frankly, maybe some differing levels of understanding as to what was being proposed,” he said. “This street needs lighting. I think everyone agrees on that. An amazing number of people walk on the street, and I see them using the pedestrian-activated signal that the state put in (on SR 104, connecting the Edmonds Marsh to City Park). There’s quite a community of walkers up there. And bikers.”

Williams said he understands concerns coming from the Demo Garden, whose purpose is to attract wildlife. Installed 10 years ago with the assistance of the city’s Parks and Recreation department, it is certified by the National Wildlife Federation.

“All we had to take was a foot or 2 of vegetation to bury the conduit into the ground,” Williams said. “Much of it has grown back, and it looks pretty darn good. And with the shields on the lights, it will keep most of it from going in that direction.”

At last week’s council meeting, Williams referred to a comment from an audience member that Public Works does not care about wildlife and does not know anything about wildlife. Williams disagreed, saying his staff is very much attuned to wildlife. He also pointed out that he has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology and a master’s in aquatics biology.

That, he said, puts him in a good position to work with staff to balance natural-resource issues with the infrastructure issues that are his primary responsibility.

 

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