Many have plenty to say on Second Street
SNOHOMISH – About 30 residents, shoppers, business owners, farmers and officials shared diverse opinions about revamping the Second Street corridor at a Town Hall meeting June 14.
City project manager Denise Johns and principal landscape architect Connie Reckord of MacLeod Reckord provided some background and three proposed design concepts.
The project aims to increase safety and give pedestrians and cyclists equal priority with drivers. Goals also include improving the health of people, the economy and the environment, and developing the street’s historic character.
The three designs all shared slightly narrower traffic lanes and pedestrian improvements, but laid out unique paths for bike riders.
Traffic lanes would shrink about four inches each, from 11 feet 4 inches to 11 feet.
Plan one would add angled parking along the south side of the road, and parallel parking on the north. Second Street would gain 44 parking spots, jumping to 121 total. Bikes would share the street with cars. Numerous trees would line the road.
Reckord said that option was for “the strong and fearless,” but “as for a 5-year-old kid, not ideal.”
One woman shared her opinion that while more parking was welcome, she was concerned about getting back into traffic from an angled spot. Reckord said the planning would involve analyzing sight lines and considering signal changes for safety.
Another attendee was concerned that the many trees would require expensive maintenance. The trees might impair drivers’ ability to see pedestrians and cause them to overlook storefronts along Second, she added. Her preference was for grass.
Plan two would cost Second Street 22 parking spaces, leaving 55 spots, all parallel. Bicyclists would gain a dedicated bike lanes adjacent to traffic lanes.
The plan would “offer some protection, but not a lot: especially with a semi going by, it can be intimidating,” Reckord said.
Plan three would add 5-foot bike lanes on the sidewalks, keeping all non-motorized traffic off the streets. Parking spaces would drop from 77 to 57.
Resident Randy Hardy liked that idea best, calling the idea of bikes in the street “insane.”
Some audience members were concerned about losing parking in plans two and three.
Reckord said the city might maintain the overall level of area parking by adding somewhat more remote parking spaces. She also said that a survey of area parking showed some blocks where parking utilization was low during weekdays and others where it was low on weekends.
Many in the crowd expressed worries about losing center left turn lanes.
“There are no firm plans about left turn(s); these are still being studied. The attendees last night helped our consultants learn what turning patterns were of concern and will help inform their designs,” Johns said in a follow up email.
City Council President Jason Sanders asked about gaining space with a single, two-direction bike lane instead of two separate lanes, but Reckord said the “cycle tracks” would only save two feet.
Farmer Dan Bartelheimer said he always used Second to transport 14-foot wide loads and hoped planners would consider that. He was also concerned that speeds on Second Street would slow to 20 miles an hour with all the “obstacles” and medians designers might employ.
One resident was concerned about trucks turning onto Second at Maple Avenue. Reckord said the redesign would maintain a wide turn radius and probably slow the trucks as they turned.
The project concept has been divided into three zones; the west end, Pilchuck District and historic downtown. However, construction is currently being envisioned in four phases, Johns said.
The city has applied for a $2 million grant to fund the first construction phase and expects a decision in 2019. The city would pay a 10 percent match on project costs of $200,000, likely to come out of real estate excise taxes Johns said.
Resident Morgan Davis suggested the city increase safety simply and inexpensively, by lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph. If the first phase is estimated to cost $2 million, he was concerned that the whole project will pencil out to $8 to $10 million.
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