June 9, 2008 · Updated 9:02 PM
Give your neighbors a sign for a change
Have you driven down Ward Avenue lately? Recently we got a total of 13 signs, including four 20 mph signs hard to do 20 mph on this little dead-end street. There are now four Slow Children signs (already the butt of jokes), and as the daughter of a retired special ed teacher I cringe at such labels.
We have a No Outlet sign, a couple of private Children at Play signs, a Stop sign and a sign warning you of an upcoming Stop sign. Not to mention the bright orange flags highlighting the new signs or the two signs on Eagle Harbor Drive advising you of the traffic revisions on Ward. Sound ridiculous? It doesnt stop there.
We happened to be at home to question the city engineer before the installation of rumbling speed bumps at both the top and bottom of the hill or we would have had them, too. I am not even sure I know what rumbling speed bumps are, but I hear they make a loud noise every time a cars wheels pass over them. Im pretty sure I would not have liked them outside our bedroom window. Besides, who is going fast at the top of a hill, right before a stop sign and intersection or at the bottom of a dead end street. If you dont stop, you go through a concrete partition and end up in the harbor.
We were told these changes were generated by one or two individuals. I questioned why these individuals would not make an effort to consult with their neighbors before going to the city. We have had our neighborhood emergency preparedness meetings and have a list of phone numbers and everyones contact information, so why not discuss these proposed changes and get the neighborhoods input.
Im all about slowing traffic and appreciate all of you fellow islanders who share the road and wave to us on our daily walks. Many children have grown up on this historic street, but were probably at an all-time low of kids in the area. Admittedly we do get more traffic than most dead ends because we are the only access to two marinas and two side streets. Personally, we enjoy the activity of the marinas and having our boat at the bottom of the hill, but it is probably not the best street for children to learn to ride a bike, though it wasnt 20 years ago either. We would go to Eagledale Park to teach our boy, and now we have Pritchard Park and many trails to enjoy all within walking distance. The houses have big yards, so do the kids really need to play in the street?
I am not writing to oppose a speed revision for the safety of our kids or pets; truthfully Id like to see the speed reduced to 15 mph or even 10 mph like it is on Rose Loop. What bothers me is that people would take it upon themselves to dictate what is right for the neighborhood without consulting or considering their neighbors. I believe if we were given the opportunity we would have found an appropriate solution that best suits everyones interests.
Isnt it hard enough to be a kid without living on the Slow Children street and subjected to ridicule from their peers? Are we setting precedence for signage around the island? Shouldnt we as neighbors discuss things before we go to the city? Shouldnt the city require a neighborhood consensus before approving such changes? What a waste of the citys time and ultimately taxpayers money. A harsh lesson for an otherwise wonderful street and lets hope not a sign of the times.
Council, citizens need to set priorities
Chad Schusters story in Saturdays Review about the tug-of war at City Hall regarding COBIs fiscal affairs does not get to the real problem. That problem is the process by which the city makes its fiscal decisions. The city council is supposed to give direction to the administration in terms of what needs to be funded for the coming year. Included are the basic ongoing services needed to run the citys operations, and the level of service desired with respect to same. Added to that is the need to fund all the projects in the citys Capital Facilities Plan, which are the tangible assets owned, or to be owned, by the city to be used for the benefit of all citizens.
In order for informed decisions to be made by both branches of our government, they need to be made on the basis of what the citys priorities are for operations, and for facilities. Until this year, the administration has been the keeper of the citys priorities without any citizens direct input whatsoever. That is now about to change, as the council is now going to be the keeper of the citys priorities, where it is supposed to be. With that data, the council will then be able to provide the administration with guidance on how we would like our tax dollars spent, both as to basic operations, and on what facilities should be included in the Capital Facilities Plan.
Once this data has been provided to the administration, the mayor and staff can then prepare the proposed budget they will need to accomplish it, and with the funding by which it will be carried out all being cognizant of the council-approved priorities.
I would submit that we look like we are now about to finally go through this process properly for the first time, but a whole lot later that it should have taken us to get here. However, there is no question that it is better late than never! Lets all help our city government make it work.
Truckloads of weeds eradicated
The Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District wishes to thank the organizers and volunteers who participated in the Earth Day ivy pull at Pritchard Park on Saturday. Your work resulted in 10 heaping flatbed truckloads of ivy, scotch broom, holly and other invasive species being removed from the park. You reduced the stress on many of the firs, maples, and other trees and opened up the ground to allow ferns, Oregon grape, and other native species a chance to establish better footholds.
This is the type of work that is best done by hand and on Saturday, the many hands truly made light work and accomplished great results. Efforts such as this will go a long way toward helping us one day open up the park to everyone.