A small, local group wants the state Transportation Department to include pedestrians and bicyclists in their plans for improvements to Highway 20, including plans for a roundabout at Sharpe’s Corner.
The group, led by South Fidalgo resident Vince Streano, met recently because of concerns that Highway 20 is becoming what Streano calls “A Great Wall,” cutting the island in half.
The group, a handful of island residents, including City Council member Cynthia Richardson and this reporter, worked collectively to draft a resolution for the City Council to consider. Richardson, long a proponent of pedestrian and bike paths, worked on the resolution and has introduced it at Council.
In an email to the committee, Richardson said “There are 4 traffic signals in the March Point area, none of which permit pedestrians to cross the highway. The signals stop highway traffic to let vehicles enter, but not to let ordinary people walk from one side of the road to the other.”
The resolution says “planning projections for SR20 assume increasing vehicular traffic but do not address an increase in other transportation modes stimulated by environmental and economic factors, which could reduce vehicle usage and make simpler, less costly intersection improvement options feasible.”
It also says “changes in the Sharpe’s Corner area cannot be addressed in isolation, but must consider the entire SR20 corridor east, west, and south of that intersection, including safe access for pedestrians and bicyclists, and breaks in the traffic flow to allow local access.”
One of the concerns by the group is that a roundabout that DOT is planning for the Sharpe’s Corner intersection will allow a continuous flow of traffic south across Fidalgo Island, with no breaks to allow local traffic to cross the highway south of Sharpe's Corner.
Richardson says the Mayor has signaled his approval. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mitch Everton urged chamber members to attend the meeting, saying “I believe this is a good commonsense approach which provides access for both residents and tourists.”
The resolution will be before the Council at their next meeting, on Tues., Sept. 2 at 7:30pm.