Letters to the Editor, Feb. 13
February 13, 2009 · 10:37 AM
Pole dancing studio OK’d by zoning laws. (Herald, Jan. 23) Comment: The camel now has its nose in the tent.
Don’t they want people downtown?
Here we go again … the same people who urged all Poulsbo citizens to vote for keeping city hall downtown are now concerned about limiting downtown traffic?
I became involved in the opposition to adding NEW all-way stop signs at 12 downtown Poulsbo intersections by happenstance. As a newly annexed Poulsbo citizen, I wondered, why did Mayor (Kathryn) Quade and the city council waste $70,670 for their Traffic Demand Management (TDM) study before waiting to see the traffic flow impact upon completion of Highway 305?
I was flabbergasted to discover that the estimate for implementing some or all of the traffic changes will cost Poulsbo taxpayers a minimum of $1.41 million and a maximum of $4.11 million (page 27 of the TDM report). These estimates “do not include reconstruction of streets to add curbs, sidewalks, landscaping, etc.” And all cost estimates are quoted in “1997 dollars.”
It’s common knowledge that unnecessary stop signs increase vehicle fuel consumption, exhaust fumes, and hydrocarbons. According to extensive controlled studies, the Institute of Transportation Engineers has concluded the following about unwarranted stop signs:
“Even the minimal initial compliance and through-traffic diversion wear off over time because the unwarranted signs are not associated with a perceived need by the motorist. Most drivers are reasonable and prudent with no intention of maliciously violating traffic regulations; however, when an unreasonable restriction is imposed, it results in flagrant violations. In such cases, the stop sign can create a false sense of security in a pedestrian and an attitude of contempt in a motorist. These two attitudes can and often do conflict, with tragic results.” I left copies of the entire packet of findings for Mayor Quade and each city council member — to no avail.
Besides the compelling scientific evidence against unwarranted stop signs, directing traffic to Hwy. 305 could have a devastating economic impact on downtown merchants. The addition of the new stop signs will force me and other potential customers to avoid going downtown.
As a private citizen who has no agenda other than my love of Poulsbo and someone who doesn’t want to see Front Street businesses fail, I started a merchants’ petition in opposition to the stop signs. Fifty-five Front Street merchants supported the petition with signatures. I presented the merchants’ petition at three city council meetings.
I didn’t believe the adage “You can’t fight city hall” could be true for our little town of Poulsbo, but I’m here to tell you it is. A former Poulsbo politician told me my merchants’ petition wouldn’t make a bit of difference because there is a “secret, silent financial engine that runs Poulsbo — and it has nothing to do with the downtown merchants.”
Mayor Quade and city council, on behalf of Poulsbo taxpayers and concerned Kitsap county residents who enjoy downtown Poulsbo, let’s stop this ill-conceived traffic management program before it gets started. During these dire economic times, please stop spending our tax dollars on frivolous studies and the implementation of “solutions” for problems that don’t even exist.
Washington State Ferries
A simple solution to funding crisis
There is a simple solution to the funding crisis facing the Marine Division of Washington’s Department of Transportation, better known as Washington State Ferries or WSF. A fair and simple approach is needed to cover the financial shortfall confronting the Marine Division of the DOT and to allow them to break even and regain proper footing.
The Marine Division of the DOT should be given jurisdiction over all the navigable waters of the state. It has the right and authority to tax any bridges, docks, and structures that use or provide egress (from) their jurisdiction or benefit from the Washington State Ferry Fleet and its services. For example, all toll bridges that use the navigable waters of Washington should be paying a fee to the Marine Division of the DOT. The Hood Canal floating bridge should be making payments to the Marine Division for the use of or (entrance) to waterways — if the bridge were not there, a ferry would be needed. The same concept applies to all of the state’s toll bridges.
Two major bridges go into and off of Kitsap County. A majority of the financial burden should be directed to the areas where there is the most usage and the most service from the Marine Division — in this case, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the Hood Canal floating bridge. But for taxation purposes, all the toll bridges should share, since the Washington State Ferry fleet is available to everyone and is an asset to everyone throughout the great state of Washington. The ferry system is still the state’s No. 1 tourist attraction and the pride of Washington State Life Guards and the San Juan Islands. In addition, the ferry system is second only to the U. S. Coast Guard in the total number of rescues and lives saved on Washington waters.
In addition, the Clipper Cruise Ship Corporation and (Argosy) should be paying a dock fee to the Marine Division of DOT, as should all the cruise ship lines that use Puget Sound as a terminal; all of these benefit from WSF as do most of the piers of Seattle and Puget Sound.
Another example is Ivar’s of Mukilteo — where would Ivar’s be without the WSF landing next to it? Consequently, their dock should be taxed; I will let someone else decide the reasonable amount. And this should be shared, primarily where there is usage of those toll bridges where, otherwise, the only recourse would have been a ferry and using the Marine Division of DOT.
I suggest starting with the toll bridges that are currently ongoing.
Set up first and go from there.
For sale: big hole
We have heard the battle cry from both sides for the placement of Poulsbo’s new city hall. The issues on both sides are money, traffic flow, disruption, and accessibility.
Also, the city now wants to put in speed bumps (I guess I should be PC and call them speed tables), many new stop signs, and reroute traffic away from downtown. I have a solution, which will satisfy both sides? issues and not restrict traffic from already struggling downtown businesses.
We now have these huge, empty, already developed, lots on Viking Way, where the car lots and RV dealers have moved out.
Viking Way is a four lane thoroughfare, with a center turn lane, good traffic flow, easy access to businesses, and I would bet one or more of these land owners would be happy to be rid of these none income producing lots.
Why not sell the hole in downtown Poulsbo, use the money to buy one or more of these already developed lots (with plenty of parking), and build a cost effective City Hall?
With the economy as it is, we need to question every tax dollar that is spent.
If you agree with this idea, let your voice be heard.