Public comments: Close portion of downtown to traffic; transparency in financials needed
Last updated 5/22/2020 at 2:01pm
Public comment has always been a chance for regular citizens to give their opinions (three minutes only!) on City matters – and other things – during City Council meetings.
As council meeting are now temporarily conducted via Zoom, and citizens are not allowed in council chambers to voice their concerns, their comments are only available to place on City Council agendas.
As part of regular feature, the Beacon will be shedding light on select comments, delivered to councilmembers.
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May 8: Helen Hall – Subject: Agenda item for consideration
Two issues for consideration: 1. Close to auto/truck traffic the downtown streets between 4th and 6th and Bell and Dayton, making it a pedestrian and bikes only zone. Rick Steves wrote a column for the Edmonds Beacon talking about the idea of making the downtown area between 4th and 6th a walking and bike only area.
This concept used in many European towns makes the core of the city people and business-friendly. Especially in these times, providing the businesses room to spread into the street to provide dining at a safe distance in the open air makes complete sense.
I'm sure you saw the article, so let's talk about how we can make that happen.
There are so many pluses to this concept. I realize there may be traffic issues, but believe those could be addressed. Think this could make Edmonds an even more outstanding place to live and visit.
2. Make Sunset a pedestrian and bike street with local only traffic permanent. I believe the majority of people in downtown area are so happy with Sunset being closed to thru traffic and would love to see that on a permanent basis. The parking on Sunset was a problem and this closure has definitely been positive for walkers, bikers, and of course the people living on the road. The only negative comments I have heard are regarding accessibility for disabled that sat in their cars.
The area is still accessible to disabled by parking on side streets and, in fact, the city could put in more handicapped parking in the immediate area to address that issue.
May 12: Darrol Haug, Subject: Public Comment for Council Meeting 5/12/2020
For most of us we are about to pay our largest single bill of the year, our property taxes. Many of us have lost our jobs, our savings, and some have lost their lives. It was truly sad to see council first place the Q1 financials on the Consent Agenda and now it has been moved but per the notes no discussion will occur.
Yes, you have constraints about what can be discussed but this is a "Committee of the Whole" session. You found ways to talk about bikes and Lynwood, there must be something in the Q1 financials that would allow you to use this as a "teaching moment" to help people learn a bit more about our complicated financials.
You have talked several times about Crisis Budgeting, setting funds aside for new needs, shifting money once targeted to deal with homelessness to other purposes. Revenues in Q1 financials do not even give a clue to the shortfalls that will be coming in revenues.
REIT funds will drop, sales taxes will decline, some local business will go out of business, we will likely have some vacant space bringing hardship on our landlords. Other than that, no big deal. Council is projecting the message that there is no need to even help the public understand the workings of our finances.
Do a Zoom meeting, 3 of your and staff could hold "teaching session"; City Budgets 101. You could do a survey to find out what the public would like to know and gather their ideas on what should be our funding priorities.
People are frightened; you can help.