I read with dismay of Walla Walla’s plan for rebuilding West Rose Street. The recent sales-tax increase was passed supposedly only to fund road surface repaving and nothing more.
Now the plan is for a grandiose reconfiguration with the elimination of two needed lanes of traffic, the inclusion of bicycle lanes and the removal of up to 50 of the 88-year-old sycamore trees.
If anyone has counted, there are only 50 of these trees in total. The city is saying that they might, in fact, cut down all of the old trees, allegedly to aid visibility. The only visibility problems I ever encounter are when the city fails to trim the low hanging branches.
How much extra money is needlessly being spent to cut down trees and possibly replant new ones? Rose Street at one time had trees on the south side of the street as well.
But ironically, they were all cut down to widen Rose Street to four lanes. How much extra money might be needed to reconfigure the signal lights at Wildwood Street to accommodate the reconfigured two lane road?
This is just more typical city government wasting money that could be spent toward repaving another pot-holed street.
When the sales-tax increase was passed there was concern the money could be hijacked for bicycle paths and public transportation, and we were assured that it would not be used for those purposes. While technically a bicycle path is not being built, two are being created by the elimination of two needed lanes of traffic, which are being repaved with funding from the sales-tax increase.
I have nothing against bike paths, but this is not a proper use of the sales-tax funds. Especially when there is an existing multi-purpose path already on the north side of Rose Street for this very purpose that cost, I believe, around $85,000 to build.
Had the two City Council members who were absent when this was being voted on were present, perhaps they would have provided the “no” votes needed to stop this improper use of our tax dollars.
Just leave the four lanes alone, leave the trees alone, repave it and move on to the next pot-holed street.
City Hall, you failed us again.