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Delta goes its own way to add traffic controls, new sidewalks for neighborhood safety

EVERETT — The Delta Neighborhood plans to install traffic circles and missing sidewalks using neighborhood funds and a $1,500 grant from Walk America.
Like many areas along Broadway, traffic has increased in the Delta Neighborhood that comprises the Northeast quarter of the Everett peninsula. Some commuters that come across the bridge on state Route 529 onto Broadway or take the East Marine View Drive exit on Interstate 5 are filtering through the Delta Neighborhood to avoid traffic on Broadway.
Being in a heavy traffic area without some form of speed calming measures and walkable streets raises concerns for the diverse community that historically received less funding than other northside neighborhoods.
Ryan Weber, Delta Neighborhood Association president and a data analyst by trade, said, “with a high level of diversity, elderly and disabled population with working-class jobs that utilize mass transit, we need a focused investment in ADA curb ramps, sidewalk repairs and building missing sidewalks in areas intended as transit-oriented areas like 15th Street, which will see its population increase by about 6,800 people in the next few years.”
The Delta Neighborhood Association said traffic diverges from Broadway, East Marine View Drive and 16th Street. Their goal is to keep vehicles traveling on those streets.
The association feels their best choice is using traffic circles, such as the one on 33rd and Lombard. The proposed intersections for traffic circles are 15th Street and McDougall, 17th and McDougall and 12th and Maple. The Delta Neighborhood Association said the circles would be constructed by September.
Although the city doesn’t plan or fund the project, it isn’t a rogue operation.
“We have the support of members of the Traffic Advisory Committee, and we are in close contact with the city traffic engineer,” Weber said by email. “This is a community-funded project thanks to an America Walks grant for $1,500 and Delta Neighborhood funds. We have been told that a special use permit may be granted with the fees waived for a yearlong permit which can be renewed annually.”
America Walks is a national nonprofit that supports walkable communities.
Delta neighborhood has also been seeing improvements in infrastructure from the City of Everett Public Works.
“The city has recently made a significant investment in the operation and safety of Delta Neighborhood pedestrian facilities and has several significant improvements funded for construction over the next few years,” Kathleen Baxter, the spokeswoman for the city’s public works department, said by email,
One of these improvements is the Public Right of Way Transition Plan, an initiative to update public spaces with ADA accessibility. Public works is planning to build new sidewalks and ADA ramps between Maple Street and Senator Henry M. Jackson Park. These are scheduled for 2023.
These improvements are significant and welcomed in a neighborhood created by inequity. Weber said that “Delta is a historically marginalized and underfunded neighborhood which was the designated low-income neighborhood for the historic Everett boundaries with the Everett Housing Authority construction in the 1930s.”
Many low-income communities, like Delta, wouldn’t have sidewalks until President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Great New Deal between 1933-1940, which
installed sidewalks through the Works Progress Administration. But this gift became a burden for people who couldn’t afford the maintenance. Everett’s municipal code places the responsibility of maintaining sidewalks on the abutting property owner. (The city will pay for labor if the owner pays for the concrete.)
“In terms of Public Works, there are $0 for new sidewalk construction and traffic calming, so areas that lack this infrastructure are left at a permanent deficit,” Weber said by email. “The city conducts regular maintenance on existing infrastructure and responds quickly to resident requests for repairs.
The city does not analyze their spending in terms of neighborhoods, and there has been some effort at doing analysis by City Council districts. Unfortunately,
District 1 is the most demographically unbalanced of the five districts, with areas
east of Broadway earning as little as $30,000 per household, with areas west of Broadway earning over $90,000. District 1 itself has lots of nice amenities, West of Broadway.”
Public Works does not analyze or apportion spending by neighborhood or demographics but is based on Everett’s overall needs
with the available funds, Baxter said.
“Our prioritization of infrastructure needs starts with the City of Everett’s Comprehensive Plan, PSRC’s Vision 2050 and other long-term planning documents that set forth policy to formulate the City’s priorities,” Baxter said by email.
Baxter said the process is “dynamic and complex function of engineering judgment, criticality of each need based on quantitative data, ability to obtain external funding through competitive processes, and available local funds.”  
Baxter said, “By looking at the needs of the City as a whole, Public Works is able to perform maintenance and make improvements to infrastructure in the most cost-efficient manner, which benefits the most people
and helps our dollars go the furthest.”

 

  

 

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