Blaine council takes road plan public for a spin
“I’m 83-years-old. I’d like to see it done before I die!” If it wasn’t hard enough to figure out which roads to rebuild, the request of Sverrir Magnusson to have 10th Street fixed right away added poignancy to city council’s decision-making on Blaine’s six-year transportation plan. Magnusson made his request during the first of two public comment sessions scheduled in the next few weeks.
Magnusson made his comments after public works director Steve Banham presented the first reading of the proposed Six Year Transportation Improvement Program 2005-2010 to council. Monday’s public hearing was recessed to June 14 to allow for further public comment. Second hearing and adoption is scheduled to take place June 28.
Banham told council that projects were selected on the basis of seven factors: public safety, deterioration, capacity and standards compliance, school routes, traffic volumes, future growth and economic development.
To abide by state law, the first three years of projects require an identified source of funds; following years have no restriction. The city breaks projects down further into collector and arterial roads versus residential streets.
The city is proposing a number of collector projects. The first would be a two-phase re-do of Marine Drive from Peace Portal Drive to the lift station at the end of Marine Park; the project already has $500,000 in funding but awaits final siting approval for the wastewater treatment plant. The second phase would go from the lift station to the fishing pier and would involve a boardwalk as well as roadwork. Re-construction would also include placing equalization storage pipes for winter below the street. H Street from Ludwick to Terrace would be widened and upgraded for safety and pedestrian access reasons and H Street in the central business district would be drawn into the turn-of-the-century design theme with street trees, pavers and handicap access. The Semiahmoo Parkway would receive an asphalt overlay. Other projects would include design work for I-5 exits 274 and 276.
Under residential projects, Cherry Street (from Peace Portal to Mitchell) and 10th Street (from H to E streets) would be reconstructed. These two projects would be the last to be funded under the 1996 street levy that expires in 2007.
Funding for the remaining proposals isn’t set for the time being; alternatives include another voter-approved street levy to replace the expiring issue as well as possible grants.
The remaining projects include Boblett Street (Peace Portal to Mitchell); G Street (8th to 10th); E Street (6th to 10th); and Bayview Avenue (Clyde to Peace Portal). Also included in the recommendations is a pedestrian overpass from the as-yet unbuilt Peace Portal boardwalk to the marina and a bike and pedestrian scenic loop of the harbor.
Apart from Sverrir Magnusson, the only other resident to speak about the proposals was Jan Hrutfiord who told council “When you do the widening, remember the historic trees. People come to a city to look at its trees and when you cut them down, it’s not very good.”