Support the waterfront connector, approved twice by City Council | Guest View

By Phil Lovell | Sep 15, 2018

I strongly urge the public and Edmonds City Council to support and maintain efforts towards design completion and implementation of the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector.

This project is currently at concept design status, as led by a strong professional team originally authorized by the Council in October 2015.

I was a member of the originally task force in 2015, which analyzed potential solutions to waterfront access. Since Jan. 4 of this year, I have also been serving member of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the connector project, working closely with the team of Tetra Tech, Parametrix, City staff and other key stakeholders.

Subsequent working sessions of this group have led to conceptual design of two connector bridge/ramp schemes from Edmonds Street, the one preferred being identified as the “Land Bridge option.” This design concept is widely supported by the above-referenced team and the public.

At this point in the process, it’s important that we acknowledge two major aspects of this project:

Recognition of the needs and purpose of this connector go back over five years to Council’s approval of the original Strategic Action Plan (SAP) on April 3, 2013, and again on April 7, 2015, with approval of the updated plan.

The plan reflects widespread public input and support.

Primary Strategic Objective No. 4 within this approved plan calls us to ”develop and maintain a transportation and infrastructure to meet current and future demand.” More specifically, a related action calls us to “… establish an emergency and everyday access over the railroad tracks … for pedestrians bound for shoreline and waterfront attractions from Harbor Square, Salish Crossing and downtown.”

As stated above, support for the current design concept is universal within the development team and the greater public. This project represents the people’s and first responders’ proposed action towards meeting our 2013 strategic action plan.

We and the Council should recognize and continue to support this.

The current concept plan provides for everyday safe track crossing for pedestrians, bikes and for emergency-only vehicles – including unlikely potential ferry unloading necessitated by railroad track at-grade crossings blockage by a train.

Previous analysis had discarded the concepts of a pedestrian-only track crossing and/or waterfront side emergency “station” as NOT meeting the total intent within the SAP.

Recognize, as well, that the current land bridge concept also includes potential for a mini-park inherent in the land bridge scheme, plus replacement of the current waterfront bathroom complex at the north end of Brackett’s Landing parking area below.

While these two attributes are not verbalized within the SAP, they represent program and scope supported by both staff and the public.

We need to remember that funding sources for this project are diverse both in terms of timing and source. The project will support both the intent and needs of the city for many years into the future.

There is plenty of room and contingency within current budget projections to effectuate value engineering to the current design concept in order to maximize aesthetic, environmental, schedule and cost efficiencies for the project.

In summary, the planned project is the successful work effort by professionals, staff and people of Edmonds. We must continue to support and forward this plan for ongoing design and funding.

Phil Lovell is a member of the Edmonds Planning Board.


Comments (1)
Posted by: douglas george swartz | Sep 18, 2018 06:44

I spite of what Phil Lovell says repeatedly, I don't believe there is "widespread public support" for this project. At the two meetings that I attended, there was much public concern for both the cost of the project and the necessity of this solution rather than a pedestrian crossing with provision for standby vehicles on the water front side. This solution would be an order of magnitude less in cost than the spiraling cost of the land bridge.

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