Bike paths improper use of sales-tax increase

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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.

J.P. Johnson

Walla Walla

Comments

oldguyonabike 1 year, 6 months ago

The new lane configuration has little to do with bikes and a lot about safety. Rose St. has a history of fatalities. The funding of the project includes funds available for improved safety of Washington State roads. Had the council voted to maintain 4-lanes about $200k of the cost of the project was threatened.

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wallyworldguy 1 year, 6 months ago

the reduction down to two lanes with a turning lane has everything to with bikes. Some of the trees should go, they are a danger to those who enter Rose from side streets on to Rose. I fail to see how removing the fourth lane is going to help from a safety standpoint.

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sohcammer 1 year, 6 months ago

This plan should have NOTHING to do with bikes since there is already a dual purpose sidewalk for pedestrians and cyclists on the north side of Rose. City will be creating a left turn lane head-on collision hazard between Jade and Cruthers with their proposed design. Wait till one of the residents of GWE or one of the many businesses in that area has an accident while legally attempting to turn left onto Jade while someone else is legally attempting to turn left onto Cruthers. I got one word City of WW - LAWSUIT.

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oldguyonabike 1 year, 6 months ago

The lawsuit would be more likely if the current 4-lane configuration that has a history of fatalities was maintained ignoring engineering best practices.

The top priority of any transportation project is safety and this investment will help reach the Washington State Patrols Target Zero. No more traffic fatalities.

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carcrazy 1 year, 6 months ago

When was the last fatality along Rose St? I have lived here 10 years and can't remember hearing of any during that time.

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wallyworldguy 1 year, 6 months ago

"ignoring engineering best practices" oldguy, could you explain how the two lane with a turning is safer then four.

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sohcammer 1 year, 6 months ago

Ever heard of a Split Tee intersection?? Please describe how a TWLTL works in this situation. A situation btw that exists currently on Rose/Jade/Cruthers. The problem with people who have an agenda, they create a design and then find studies to support their design. Talk to a qualified traffic consultant and they will tell you that every design should have studies done on the street in question(as well as interviewing local industry that uses the road) instead of using a one size fits all approach.

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oldguyonabike 1 year, 6 months ago

I believe city staff mentioned that there were extensive discussion with Key Tech and Americold about the new design. Not too many tenants in the mall to ask.

The history of Rose St. suggests that the current design is a failure in both economic development and safety. The conservative in me suggests it might be time to change direction on road design. Three lanes are working elsewhere and I am pleased my tax dollars will not be spent on continuing a failed road policy that the City of Walla Walla has been pursuing for the last few decades.

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