There’s an elephant on our streets | Looking Forward

By Neil Tibbott and Stefan Carlson | Feb 26, 2015

The ol’ pachyderm left our living rooms where he was safely hidden in a corner, but he escaped. Now he’s tromping around on our streets.

At some point we’ll have to notice the elephant and have an honest conversation. Here’s our attempt to start the discussion.

Somewhere close to the top of the list is the question of how we will deal with street maintenance in Edmonds.

Mayor Earling reported in his address to the city that a repaving program was reintroduced last year and will be in the budget again this year, however, the funds for street maintenance will run out again the following year.

At this point there is no reliable source of funding for street maintenance. Edmonds used to receive funds from Washington state, like all cities, but we lost that source when license tab fees were reduced.

We’re not complaining about lower registration fees, but the elephant is starting to make a mess.

Speaking of messes, there’s also a good chance we’ll find an elephant on the train tracks too.

Plans for expanding to two sets of rails through downtown, increasing train traffic and transporting potentially hazardous material looms on the horizon for a zesty discussion.

High on the list of questions is who will pay for a way to cross over, under or around those tracks.

One way we have conversations in the city is through the comprehensive planning process.

There will be many opportunities for citizens to contribute their ideas and help shape the priorities that will guide the future development of our transportation system.

It turns out that the transportation element of the comp plan is currently under consideration and opens the door for wide open for discussions about ways we will want to handle increased traffic volumes in the future.

For example there are already plans to install a new intersection at Highway 99 and 228th Street which will create another East-West corridor into downtown.

But what other intersections, traffic signals, street improvements and walkways should we be considering? And what about bike lanes and transit stations? And most importantly, what about the traffic in your neighborhood? Any elephants lurking there?

Finally, let’s return to the topic of how we’ll pay for improvements for our transportation systems.

The county and state help fund large projects that support connectivity between cities that connect our region.

Olympic View Drive was recently repaved with a combination of funds from the city and state.

Receiving grant funds requires that the city do their part to manage transportation elements within Edmonds.

We need to monitor congestion and provide a rating based on a recognized standard called a Level of Service or LOS. When an intersection LOS rating slips below a “D”, for example, then we’re supposed to notice the elephant and create a plan to address the issue.

Looking forward …

By the time this publication goes to print the public open house about the comprehensive plan will be over, but there will be many more opportunities for the public to comment on what priorities should be included in the Transportation Element of the Comp Plan. The Planning Board will consider the transportation plan at the end of March and public comment is welcome at the beginning of any Planning Board meeting.

We’ve had a lot of transportation issues to talk about in the past and with the passage of time the issues have only become more obvious. Maybe its time we noticed the elephant on our streets.







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