Letter to the Editor: Delay new sidewalks for Council review and public comment: 6-feet-wide-sidewalks in Single Family Residential

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

To the Editor:
I am correcting my public comment to City Council on May 24th about the width of sidewalks. I received information from Public Works that the Engineering Manual I quoted was from 2020.
In summary: ADA sidewalks are approved at 4-feet-wide; the Shoreline Engineering Manual 2020 stated sidewalks in Single Family Residential should be 5-feet-wide; the Shoreline Engineering Manual 2021 states sidewalks in Single Family Residential should be 6-feet-wide.
Per Shoreline’s Transportation Master Plan, Policy 38.4, page 179 “allow for flexibility in the implementation of the Master Street Plan… such as the presence of large trees.”
Save Shoreline Trees is not challenging the need for sidewalks but questioning the regulation for 6-foot-wide sidewalks in Single Family Residential areas. There have been many comments about the sidewalks along 5th Ave NE where 23 trees will be cut down for 6-foot-wide sidewalks. After this sidewalk is constructed, there are ten more new sidewalks in the New Sidewalk Program. 
Per the Comprehensive Plan, Framework Goal 7: “Respect neighborhood character and engage the community in decisions that affect them.”
Save Shoreline Trees has been proactive in seeking information about the New Sidewalk Program. When we asked for information about new sidewalk widths we were told to “check the website in late summer”.  And, when we finally received information about the sidewalk width for 5th Ave NE, the design was at 60%, the same time when we were informed about the number of trees to be removed.
Since the Transportation Master Plan is in discussion now, we ask the Council to delay the final design and installation of the 5th Ave NE sidewalks and future sidewalks so the Council can discuss sidewalk widths and provide the opportunity for citizens to make public comment. 
Kathleen Russell
Save Shoreline Trees Co-Chair


Whyle McConnell August 3, 2021 at 12:06 PM  

I'm in total agreement with Kathleen Russell. Yes we need sidewalks no doubt. But the City needs also to listen to its citizens who reside in these neighborhoods. Currently there is public space already available without removing these trees to install a 4 foot wide ADA approved sidewalk (as approved in Shorelines Engineering Manual 2020). 5th AVE. NE is a street where as a resident for the last 40 years only approximately 6 to 8 people walk. They walked to the bus stops located on either side of 5th AVE NE and 178th Street. These bus stops are now permanently closed. I feel that Shoreline should be more concerned in saving our existing environment such as the 3 healthy 80 year old Red Cedars that don't actually need to be removed. The City states in its Transportation Master Plan, Policy 38.4, page 179 “allow for flexibility in the implementation of the Master Street Plan… such as the presence of large trees.” Where is the intelligent use of this flexibility? I myself paid to have these beautiful Red Cedars trees appraised by a certified Arborist. He found them to be in excellent condition and healthy and in his recommendation they should be saved. I have appealed to the City for protection for these trees and sent his appraisal and the request for protection in 4 separate times beginning last August 2020. Yet for some unfathomable reason the City seems intent on destroying them for the sake of a 6 foot concrete slab. A slab that very few, if anyone will ever use. I'm sorry but I see no flexibility. I see stubbornness and unwillingness on the City's part to understand the needs of us the citizens of Shoreline. To know that our concerns for Our City and the environment and livability of this City we chose should be listen to. We are the people who are Shoreline. I believe the City should acknowledge that the residents of the area who allow them our trust to make intelligent decision for us should recognize and understand that we have a much better working knowledge of how each of our neighborhoods work than any outside engineer whose only job is to make concrete pathways that he doesn't have to live near. If any responsible entity had ever done a usage study on how many of Shorelines citizens walk on 5th AVE NE from 175th to 185th they would be aware of the fact that putting 6 foot wide sidewalks on both sides of this street is not good use of taxpayers dollars or good for the environment. There's has never been enough foot traffic generated to put two huge sideways on 5th AVE NE nor will there be.

Whyle McConnell

Shoreline Resident
Supporter of Save Shoreline Trees

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