ODT outreach to continue

The city's outreach program regarding the proposed Olympic Discovery Trail route will continue until the Oct. 14 Sequim Citizens Parks Advisory Board meeting with the goal of contacting every resident along East Spruce Street and North Sunnyside Avenue.

"The task this week is to get the information to everyone and talk to as many as possible," said Peninsula Trails Coalition president Chuck Preble on Oct. 8.

Members of the Sequim Citizens Advisory Board and interim Public Works director Bill Bullock began walking East Spruce Street on Tuesday afternoon to hand out fliers and talk to residents about the proposed Olympic Discovery Trail route.

The proposed route would connect the Olympic Discovery Trail through Sequim from the intersection of Hendrickson Road and Sequim Avenue to the Water Reuse Demonstration Park using East Spruce Street and North Sunnyside Avenue.

It would begin where the Bell Creek Trail meets Blake Avenue and follow the north side of Spruce. Then it would extend up the west side of Sunnyside Avenue for two blocks and along the north side of Fir Street for one block.

At North Sequim Avenue, the trail would turn north and extend to Hendrickson Road, connecting with the already-built segment that extends west toward Railroad Bridge Park.

Preble, who was contacted by the city because of his trail expertise, said the meeting will be a chance for everyone to give their opinion. They are encouraging all sides to make their views known, he said.

A four-page flier with maps, photographs, cost comparisons, answers to frequently asked questions and a space for comments was left at every house on East Spruce Street and North Sunnyside Avenue but additional visits will be made this week, including in the evenings, to speak to people in person, Preble said.

According to the city's flier, the proposed trail route will use existing sidewalk and curb along East Spruce Street from Brown Road to Blake Avenue.

It also will be entirely within the current Spruce and Sunnyside rights of way with no encroachment on private property.

Bullock said the trail will be a 10-foot-wide concrete sidewalk, wider than the 6-foot sidewalks usually found in residential areas.

It also will have conventional driveway crossings and allow mailboxes and street signs along the street edge, he said.

Bullock said the trail would require making Spruce Street one foot narrower, with concrete replacing the rockery that now borders the sidewalk.

The city's flier also states that building a sidewalk along Spruce Street has many advantages for residents including that no sidewalks currently exist between Sunnyside Avenue and Brown Road.

The estimated $350,000 cost could be funded through either federal grants funneled through the state Department of Transportation or state grants through the Recreation and Conservation Office.

Preble said the opinions they've encountered so far range from adamantly for it to adamantly against with a lot of people who were ambivalent.

Many of those people felt better after they saw how the trail would be built and that it wouldn't impact their property, he said.

Former Eugene, Ore., residents Harvey and Deena Hochstetter listened to Bullock and Hall and asked a lot of questions but said they still needed to hear more about the proposal.

"The last place we lived, they did that and the property values plummeted," Deena Hochstetter said.

Her husband asked about the logic of putting a pedestrian and bicyclist trail along the city's main east-west route.

Bullock said Fir Street isn't a good option because it has the city's main sewer trunk on its north side and the manholes can't be raised. The north side of Spruce Street also reduces the number of street crossings, he said.

Deena Hochstetter said she would like to see evidence of the stated increase in property values produced by having a trail going past it.

"I could be persuaded," she said.

Harvey Hochstetter also questioned narrowing a major east-west route through the city and noted the trail route doesn't pass retail outlets and isn't really used for commuting either.

Bullock said parking would be prohibited on the north side of Spruce Street to make room for the trail.

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