Despite Prairie Street no longer being a part of the project’s name, residents shared plenty of concerns about the roadway and other areas detailed in the City of Sequim’s new South Sequim Complete Streets Project.
About 40 community members, mostly residents along Prairie Street, met for a kick-off meeting on Aug. 28 at the Sequim Civic Center to give input on better ways to connect east-west travelers south of Washington Street.
Over three days, city staff and consulting firm Framework held open houses, design sessions and a walking tour about better connecting Sequim between U.S. Highway 101 and Washington Street.
Sequim public works director David Garlington said Prairie Street seemed like a logical connection but community concerns diverted them from focusing strictly on it.
“We don’t want it to be a foregone conclusion,” Garlington said. “We’re now looking at routes from point A to point B that do the same thing.
“While Prairie has its advantages from an engineering view, we’re not stuck on Prairie. We want to get the right thing done in that neighborhood.”
Garlington said planning for this has been discussed for about seven years and is not being done to accommodate the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facility.
“It’s not why we’re doing this,” he said. “We’re doing this to create an east-west route south of Washington Street so people coming off the highway or people who live on that side don’t all have to come to Washington.”
Garlington added that there’ve been concerns the city would cut through the Shaw Family Farm near Costco, but this is untrue.
“The city is not going to do any construction on the Shaw Farm without agreement by the property owner and without compensation to the property owner,” he said.
What’s the plan?
Jeff Arango, a planner for Framework, said using information compiled during various meetings, consultants and city staff will draft a proposed plan by spring 2020 for city officials to review for tentative adoption in summer 2020.
Arango said a complete street balances a multitude of needs for bicycles, vehicles, businesses and more and they “don’t necessarily all take one shape or form.”
“It really can be applied in different ways,” he said.
“It’s not a one size fits all approach.”
When asked on the potential costs, Arango said no plans have been cemented but that in his previous projects none resulted in an increase in tax dollars.
Arrango said transportation projects often have outside funding available, too.
City staff previously said creating an east-west connection has been in the city’s Transportation Master Plan, 6-year Capital Improvement Plan and its Comprehensive Plan to help relieve congestion on West Washington Street.
Between the kick-off and walking tour, residents made notes of potential challenges and assets in Sequim when considering best ways to connect the city’s Economic Opportunity Areas.
Phil Comker, who lives on Prairie Street, said, “There’s just not enough room to put parking on a street, a median, sidewalks and a bike lane.”
Arango agreed saying that all of those elements wouldn’t fit on certain streets.
Here are a sampling of some of the group’s ideas:
• Finish the Simdars Interchange
• Consider Spruce Street north of Washington Street as an alternative route
• Use U.S. Highway 101’s existing on- and off-ramps.
• Create a frontage road between the Economic Opportunity Zones
• Add an interchange on South Seventh Avenue to U.S. Highway 101
For more information on the project, visit sequimcompletestreets.org or contact city project engineer Dave Nakagawara at 360-582-2479.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.