Now Spruce residents speak out against ODT route

Spruce Street residents at last week's Sequim Citizens Advisory Board meeting spoke out as loudly against hosting the Olympic Discovery Trail's "missing link" as Fir Street residents had earlier this year.

Their concerns included the street's current traffic, bicyclists mixing with pedestrians and having a public route possibly encroaching on private property.

The parks board tentatively scheduled another meeting on the subject for 4:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.

Parks board chairwoman June Robinson told the approximately 35 people at the Oct. 14 meeting that it was an opportunity to speak on the proposed route along Spruce Street for the Olympic Discovery Trail "missing link."

"We're here to listen, we're not here to talk," she said.

Speakers weren't allowed to ask questions but Robinson said those could be submitted in writing. They would be considered as the parks board developed a recommendation for the public works department and city council, she said.

Paul Priest at 922 E. Spruce St. said perhaps the city should consider using the alleyways between Blake and Ryser avenues instead of Spruce Street itself.

Richard Parker at 501 E. Spruce St., Sequim public works director from 1974-1995, said his concern is having bicycles on sidewalks because he's been hit three times by bicyclists near the Fifth Avenue Retirement Center. "You're creating an unsafe situation," he said.

Don Hagadorn at 831 E. Spruce St. said the map distributed by the city doesn't show Fir Street paralleling Spruce Street. If it did, people would see that it's the best route to Sequim Avenue.

The consensus was that Spruce Street residents didn't want the trail any more than Fir Street residents, he said. "Any street is fine to those without a vested interest," Hagadorn said.

Jolenta Masterson at 861 E. Spruce St. said bicycles and strollers have used either side of Spruce Street for 15 years without bothering anyone. Having people use the street isn't as great an impact on homeowners as putting a wide sidewalk down one side of the street, she said.

"Stay in the alleys, use what's there," Masterson said.

Marty and Fred Campbell on Cathy Court said they are frequent trail users and support the Spruce Street route because of its direct link to Carrie Blake Park.

Dennis Franson at 822 E. Spruce St. said he supported connecting the Olympic Discovery Trail but he's walked both routes and Fir Street is a straight route across the city and far superior.

Cherie Pickett said she lives one-eighth of a mile from the trail at 878 Kendall Road but wishes she lived closer. "I wish somebody would put a 10-foot bike path along Kendall Road because it would make my life a lot easier," she said. She likes the proposed Spruce Street route because it eliminates pedestrians mixing with bicycles at Carrie Blake Park's duck pond, Pickett said.

Barbara Allen at 842 E. Spruce St. said she just moved into her house and although she supports the trail, it's clear that it belongs on Fir Street. The higher cost of running the trail along Fir Street shouldn't make a difference, she said.

Sally Crawford at 971 E. Spruce St. said, "You don't realize the traffic we get down Spruce Street. I've almost been hit backing out of my driveway by a lot of people coming around the corner way too fast," she said. "All the proponents of the trail all live outside the city. They don't live in the neighborhood and that upsets me." Supporters of the Spruce Street route live outside the city, she said.

Bonnie Bless-Boenish at 126 Ward Lane said she had ridden all the alternative routes and Spruce Street was the best choice. "Spruce Street is wide enough and doesn't get very much traffic," she said, which was met with audible laughter from many in the audience. Bless-Boenish said visitors are very confused about where to go when they encounter the "missing link" and Spruce Street also would provide a safe school walking route.

Harvey Hochstetter at 961 E. Spruce St. said the city should put traffic counters on Spruce and Fir streets and compare the results because Spruce Street gets "a ton of traffic." The city should consider using the alleys or Washington Place instead, he said. "Who's responsible for sidewalk maintenance after the trail is completed?" Hochstetter asked.

John Carson at 733 E. Spruce St. said, "What happened to Fir Street?" Putting the trail along Spruce Street would encroach on people's front yards and narrow the width of the street, he said.

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