Burke Gilman Trail detour a major topic at LFP council meeting

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

by Mark D. Goodwin

A city permit for the planned detour of the Burke Gilman Trail this spring received the most attention from the vocal citizens at Thursday’s (May 12) Lake Forest Park City Council meeting. Their concerns were numerous, namely for the safety of the trail users. The proposed detour route crosses Bothell Way (SR 522) and weaves through residential streets for over two miles. Stretches of the interim trail will be covered in materials unsuitable for street bikes (such as wood chips or gravel), according to citizen Jean Thomas.
“It’s not this city’s responsibility to find the least unsafe path through LFP,” Thomas said.
The fact remains the trail will need to be closed, and bike and foot traffic will have to be diverted while the trail undergoes repair. Members of the council promised to stay on top of the issue while seeking input from the community.

The future of the city’s website occupied the council for a sizable chunk of the evening. They are in the process of upgrading the site to better communicate and interact with the citizenry.

City attorneys and the soon-to-retire city web designer are negotiating a deal with a hosting company in Oklahoma to run the website. Before moving forward with the contract, Deputy Mayor Dwight Thompson wanted to ensure the website would be capable of taking electronic payment for utility bills, tickets or fines, and other fees. After learning the website would have such functionality, the council unanimously approved the deal.

There was also time set aside to honor eight area volunteers. The most prominent were the founders of the current Third Place Commons.

Anne Stadler met the building owner Ron Sher (also honored on Thursday) while in line at the Honey Bear Bakery in 1998. Shortly after, Stadler organized the Friends of Third Place Commons, a not-for-profit organization which manages the community center portion of the building. She has lived here since 1959, before Lake Forest Park actually existed.
“I really value living here,” Stadler said. “I felt like I could be a contributor to this place in whatever way I had passion for.”
Lastly, Jeffrey Weissman, who is co-owner of Great Harvest Bread, a Lake Forest Park Rotarian and community activist, was presented with two gifts. One was a plaque, which other volunteers received as well; the second was an honorary citizenship with the city of Lake Forest Park. Weissman was gracious in his brief speech, but had a suggestion for his fellow volunteers.
“It seems to me that all eight of us [volunteers], ought to get together and have words for all of you,” Weissman said as he gestured towards the council and mayor. There was laughter and nervous applause from the audience.
An approved parks-related measure now requires council consent for improvements to public spaces and trails. Art, benches, new plants and the like were examples cited. Both decisions on the non-competitive franchise deal with Comcast for high speed Internet access, as well as the finance committee report were postponed until next meeting.

Mark D. Goodwin is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory and is interning with the ShorelineAreaNews.

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