Speaking of Transportation, Sidewalks! [Olympia City Council]

Almost every week this is the "What's on the city council's plate this week" review. I don't cover everything, so if you want the full rundown, read the packet and agenda yourself.

This week the finance committee will talk about sidewalks and where we should build more sidewalks in the city of Olympia and how (appropriate for this committee) we should pay for those sidewalks.

As Chad points out, You will have the chance to talk about transportation in Olympia on March 10 and 13th at Olympia High School.

I once described myself as a sidewalk nerd, and Sarah asked me to explain. I didn't then, but hopefully, this post helps her out. I love me some sidewalks, and it makes me mad that Olympia doesn't have more of them in the places where it needs them.

Unfortunately, Olympians didn't get on the stick until we passed a sidewalks and park financing plan until 2004. Now, we get to discuss how we put all that money to work. And, apparently the city is prepared to take a more agressive stand on building those sidewalks.

Build now, pay for them later (from the staff report):

A more aggressive long term financing plan would allow the City to build more sidewalks more quickly, and use future revenues to pay back debt. Some benefits of a long term strategy are:

• We need sidewalks now and the public would benefit from them sooner if they were constructed.
• While financing means interest paid into the future, by constructing projects sooner, property, labor, and material costs are likely to be less.
• A long term financing strategy can include the integration of Local Access streets sidewalk projects into a construction and financing schedule.

Options for financing are loans or bonds:

• Inter-fund loans: Paid back within three years, with interest, and depend on available funds and other City funding needs.
• Bonds: Spent within two years. Payback periods of 10 or 20 years are possible. Depending on the payback period, the amount of revenue needed for debt service will vary, creating different gaps in the construction schedule.


A recommendation from the Finance Committee on:
• Whether to recommend a loan to construct the San Francisco Avenue project in 2008 or 2009.
• Whether or not to pursue a long term financial strategy.

A long term financing strategy can incorporate repayment of the loan for the San Francisco Avenue sidewalk project. If the Finance Committee would like to pursue a long term financing strategy using bonds or loans, staff will prepare optional approaches and implications for each.

So, if the city council decides to take this course, we could get at least three projects under our belt this summer:

• Division Street, NW, from Bowman Avenue to Walnut Road;
• Decatur Street from 9th Avenue to 14th Avenue; and
• San Francisco Avenue, NE, from Quince Street to East Bay Drive.

View Larger Map

As for what isn't being taken care of this year, here is the pretty heft list of projects still to be done. Most of my part of town is on this list, by the way. So, while I'm glad the city is planning on a more agressive stance on knocking projects off this list, I would rather them not do it at the expense of lower ranked projects. Because, as far as I can tell, a lower rank doesn't exactly mean folks in that part of town don't need sidewalks too.

Read this doc on Scribd: F ParksSidewalkFinancingATT2


Me too.

Gotta love the sidewalks. Coming from Europe I love the sidewalks too and can only agree that sidewalks improve neigborhoods greatly. mathias



Transportation Forum FYI

Your Streets, Your City
Transportation Workshops

Workshop Option 1
Monday, March 10
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Olympia High School – Cafeteria

Workshop Option 2
Thursday, March 13
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Capital High School - Commons

For more information, visit the web at www.olympiawa.gov/events/pwevents

Has anyone checked out...

...Dan Burden?

I have six hours of video of him speaking to a DOT forum in Washington State back in the 90s.

The topic was Walkable Communities.

Emmett, do you know if anyone on our city council would like copies of the video forum?

Number 7! Number 7!

I'd love to see that one started!  :-) 

"si vis pacem, para bellum"


This is a non political tag line and cannot be linked up through a twisted thought process to an obscure company making specialty tools.  


We surely do need more. Thanks for laying this out Emmett.

Hurrah for sidewalks!

Sidewalk construction work is going on right now along Black Lake Blvd between about 4th ave and Harrison, so exciting to see.

This particular space has long been a problem for pedestrians. No sidewalk and at one point not even a dirt trail was available. Walkers had to either step into the traffic lane or skirt up around bushes onto residential property.

Busy intersection, high commercial and residential density - more people will now be able to walk safely. Yay!


Sidewalks or Housing Help?

I wasn't able to catch the entire interview on KAOS last Thur?/Fri? but I recall a comment about how the sidewalk money in Oly was a redirect from past housing assistance funds.  Any comment from someone who heard the entire interview or was present?

a misunderstanding I think

On this specific action, the council would be financing the speed up with bonds that would be paid back with the same source of voter approved funding.

Thanks, Emmett.  Here's

Thanks, Emmett.  Here's what I was talking about.  The gentleman speaking about it on KAOS was Pat.  Federal money that will beautify Legion Way instead of helping the Tenants Union.

Agencies lobby for Olympia's sparse federal funds [The Olympian, HTML]

That's just f-d up.

 No rental assistance, but prettier streets?  WTF?

"Don't try to out-weird me, three eyes. I get weirder things than you in my breakfast cereal."- Zaphod Beeblebrox

"Beware the person who would take your guns. That person is your ENEMY."


This is a non political tag line and cannot be linked up through a twisted thought process to an obscure company making specialty tools.  

Lots of confusion around the money right now.

Pat and Monica and I were on KAOS on Thursday. What you're thinking of is the Legion Way plan, which does involve sidewalks also, but for some reason it's not being funded with Parks and Sidewalks money. Instead, the council is using money that could be spent on housing or services and putting it into Legion Way sidewalks.