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Mukilteo’s public safety problems l Guest View

 

December 13, 2017



Mukilteo has a public safety problem.

Not the typical “we need to give police and fire more money so they can respond better to emergencies,” but rather making the pedestrian and vehicle interaction in Mukilteo safer.

The latest red flag came with the City Council’s approval of the final mitigation agreement presented by Washington State Ferries for the new ferry terminal.

Despite the recommendation from the Mukilteo Ferry Advisory Committee (full disclosure, I am one of three members appointed by Snohomish County to the Mukilteo FAC), the decision makers approved a temporary crosswalk plan during construction which was deemed to be “safe” instead of a safer crosswalk that could be permanent and actually mitigate some of the pedestrian safety concerns introduced with the construction of the new intersection on SR-525 and 1st Street (which turns towards the new ferry terminal).

Unfortunately, as I learned when I contacted WSDOT to ask why the less safe alternative was presented to the council, the WSDOT group who must approve the plan weren’t consulted prior to WSF and city staff presenting the proposal.

To make matters worse, I learned after meeting with WSDOT that due to the signalization plan, there won’t be a crosswalk across SR-525 on the upland side of the intersection thereby forcing pedestrians to cross where ferry traffic will be turning right towards the new ferry terminal.

Designing an intersection where the only way for pedestrians to get to the waterfront requires them to cross a street with their back towards right turning ferry traffic (where drivers are often disobeying the rules in an effort to catch the ferry before it leaves) is a bad idea. But that’s where we are today and without seeing what happens firsthand, it’s extremely difficult to get the decision makers to understand.

Another concern expressed by the Mukilteo FAC (and similarly dismissed by the powers that be) was the design of the new 1st Street that feeds the ferry terminal and Sounder station.

Not only will the new 1st Street reconnect to the Mt. Baker RR crossing and Mukilteo Lane, but the design also encourages Sounder Traffic to exit that direction.

The argument presented to the council was only that Mukilteo Lane is capable of handling the increased traffic.

However, if you’ve ever walked on Mukilteo Lane, and if you currently walk on the waterfront path you will be diverted to Mukilteo Lane in the near future during construction, you know it’s a sub-standard narrow two lane road with effectively no shoulders to walk on that is already a safety concern for pedestrians.

Without any mitigation for pedestrians, it’s only going to get worse.

There are several other examples of Mukiteo’s public safety problems including a missing sidewalk section that should have been part of the new ferry terminal mitigation but wasn’t.

Even our loss of the funding for the Mukilteo Park and Ride by Community Transit due to their unwillingness to consider that maybe, just maybe, it would be safer for a bus to pick up riders in the park and ride rather than have them cross SR-525 during the morning commute.

Fortunately, come January we “should” have enough councilmembers who will make public safety a real priority in Mukilteo.

 

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