Lynnwood City Council passes Transportation Improvement Plan, rejects fire advisory ballot measure proposal

great dealThe Lynnwood City Council unanimously passed the City’s Six-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) during Monday’s meeting.

The TIP covers the years 2016-2021 and allows the City to compete for federal and state grants.

Some of the items in the TIP are:

  • Recurring annual programs – $27.4 million – overlays, traffic signal rebuild, sidewalk/walkways and neighborhood traffic calming
  • New/expanded roads – $59.9 million – eight projects, including 36th Ave. W., Poplar Extensions and Mall area extensions
  • Non-motorized – $1.2 million – three projects, including Interurban Trail, pedestrian signal at Highway 99 and 180th
  • Intersection improvements- $5.5 million – six projects, including 52nd/176th, Sears Driveway/Alderwood Mall
  • City Center – $66.2 million – six projects, including rail station studies, new grid streets (194th-42nd), 44th Ave. W., 200th St.
  • Miscellaneous – $3.3 million – six projects, including safety improvements, city link, studies

The City Council also unanimously passed funding for the design phase for the 60th Avenue West Utility Replacement project and for the second phase of design for the Ash Way and Maple Road Intersection Improvement project.

The Council rejected by a 5-2 vote a Resolution for an advisory ballot measure that would have sought citizen input regarding the continuation of discussions with Snohomish County Fire District 1 as to the possibility of forming a Regional Fire Authority, annexation or some other form of amalgamation of the Lynnwood Fire Department and Snohomish County Fire District 1. The measure would have sought whether there was citizen support for continuing the discussions.

The Resolution was brought forth by Councilmember Van AuBuchon, who noted that the City and Fire District 1 have been spending a lot of time and effort on discussions about a possible consolidation.

“It might be an important point right now to get the input directly from the voters,” AuBuchon said.

AuBuchon was talking with an employee of the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office last week and asked him about the cost of putting an advisory measure on the fall General Election ballot. The answer was that there would be no additional cost for the City.

Council Vice-President Ian Cotton, the only Councilmember to join with AuBuchon in supporting the proposal, said “it gives us an opportunity to create a touch point with our residents. It’s a guaranteed communication and shows up in everybody’s mailbox at no extra cost to the City. … I think it gives us more data and more facts upon which to build that discussion and move forward.”

But the majority of the Council – Council President Loren Simmonds and Councilmembers M. Christopher Boyer, Ruth Ross, Sid Roberts and Benjamin Goodwin – expressed the feeling that an advisory ballot measure was “premature,” especially since the City and Fire District 1 have only had two joint meetings so far.

“The timing for Mr. AuBuchon’s proposal is off,” Simmonds said. “It is premature. The Council has not developed or determined a feasible plan. It is the responsibility of the Council to present an open, fact driven plan. We should present a deliberated, viable, sustainable and developed plan to the Citizens. They deserve it and expect it and they should.”

Boyer commended AuBuchon and said that the instinct to acquire the voters’ will is a good one and is important.

“I think this is quite probably premature,” he said. “The conversation (between the City and Fire District 1) has really just got underway … There’s no rush on this. We need to take our time and work through this carefully and thoroughly.”

Boyer added there will ample time later on to go to the citizens of Lynnwood after the Council has gathered all the facts.

Goodwin said that he preferred to have further discussions with Fire District 1 to obtain the needed information to present to the citizens. Goodwin was adamant that the voters of Lynnwood have their say on the matter before a possible vote that would include residents currently living in areas served by Fire District 1.

“We’re not ready for this,” Roberts said. “We need to wait and take our time.”

– By David Pan

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