City adopts transportation goals

Published on Thu, Jul 5, 2001 by Meg Olson

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City adopts transportation goals

By Meg Olson

Only one member of the public had anything to say about the city’s transportation goals, and council unanimously adopted the staff recommendation for a six-year transportation improvement program.
“In the past we’ve had a bit of a wish list,” said assistant public works director Steve Banham at the June 25 city council meeting. “Our goal here was to make the list as realistic as possible.”

The list prioritizes seven projects consistent with itemized city transportation goals in public safety, economic development and building a system to accommodate growth. “We want to capture southbound tourism dollars – roads help us do that,” Banham said.

The top three priorities on the list are a traffic light at the Boblett Street SR 543 intersection, reconstruction of Marine Drive and a traffic light at Bell Road and Peace Portal Drive. Banham said the first and third item were needed to address public safety concerns that continue to grow as the region develops and traffic increases, while the second was needed to leverage improvements to the harbor area.

“Why are we spending the citizens’ dollars on a project that won’t bring them one red cent,” said Andy Anderson, opposing the proposed Marine Drive improvements. “That money should be spent on 10th, 11th or 6th streets.” The plan proposes a $1.6 million dollar project with the city paying $210,000. Banham said there was a good possibility for other stakeholders, such as the Port of Bellingham, chipping in.

Anderson felt Marine Drive and Blaine Marine Park should be given to the port. “They’ve got deeper pockets than we do,” he said. Anderson presented council with a table from the 1998 Blaine Harbor implementation plan, commissioned by the port, that proposed $2.6 million in improvements to Marine Drive. Currently, the city owns the street and the park to the north.

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