Letters to the editor

Posted: January 9, 2011 in Local
Tags: ,

One of the first ways I’m starting to be involved in the city is by writing letters to the editor at the Lake Stevens Journal regarding a speed limit change along one of our main roads used to get out of and into the city.  I had indicated that I wasn’t thrilled by the speed limit change and wrote a letter.  I will have to say I was surprised by the responses in that all of them said it was a good thing the limit had gone down.  I crafted a response, but apparently I’m a bit wordy and they only take letters of 300 words or less.  So I’m posting my original letter and the abridged version.  That way I get my original out there and have a possible place for discussion.  So here is the original:

Dear Editor,

I wrote an earlier letter regarding the lowering of the speed limit along 20th and was surprised and intrigued by the responses.  I have read many of them and felt I should respond to some of the points that were brought up.

It sounds like the main issue was safety along this road.  I have four children of my own, so I get that.  Unfortunately, “children’s safety” ends up being an easy excuse and I feel this is one of those instances.  How about a show of hands from those people whose children weren’t walking, but are now because of the speed change.  Anyone? This is a serious question because it was the basis for most of the responses I saw. If there is no change in behavior, then the basis for that reasoning is invalid.  And do people believe that LSMS, Skyline, Hillcrest, and Glendale really have children walking to them from 20th?

That does leaves Cavelero.  A quick satellite scan shows the sidewalk ends around 88th leaving about 1770 feet without much protection.  That is a legitimate concern, so let’s break it down a bit.  Based on the number of homes combined with the schools location, it appears to me that the number of homes that would be in the mandated walking area is going to be fairly small.  Combine that number with the chances of an 8th or 9th grader being in those homes, there probably is not going to be many walking at all. Since I drive my kids to Cavelero every morning I do see kids walking the Cavelero driveway, but is usually less than half a dozen and most are actually coming down 83rd rather than from 20th.  So while safety is important, there doesn’t seem to be a serious issue in this instance.

Regarding noise, 20th is now easily twice as wide as highway 9 which has a 55mph speed limit.  Where are the noise and safety issues with that road?  There are more schools on that road and many houses as well.  Regarding the small increase in travel time.  Say your commute increases by 3 minutes, no big deal right?  Well I travel 20th twice a day so that is 6 minutes.  But I travel 20th twice a day every day for a year, so that is now 2190 minutes or 36 hours of extra time per year for me.  But I’m not the only one doing that same commute.  Let’s say conservatively that 2000 people are the road with me each day.  That’s 73,000 extra hours on the road for our community.

So am I saying that we should all be flying down our city streets with reckless abandon?  Absolutely not!  I’m saying that as citizens we need to think deeper about the potential repercussions of the decisions being made for us by the city.  While I don’t like the actual speed change, I am just as unhappy that the change was made without input from you and I.  I will leave you with this.  I hope each of those who have responded to this paper have also voiced their opinion to the city as well and will continue to be involved.  That’s how it works even if in this instance I do not agree with the result.

And the one that I resubmitted:

I wrote an earlier letter regarding the lowering of the speed limit along 20th and felt I should respond to some of the points that were brought up.

It sounds like the main issue was safety along this road. I have four children of my own. First, though, I would really question that LSMS, Skyline, Hillcrest, and Glendale have children walking to them from 20th. But how about a show of hands from those people whose children weren’t walking, but are now because of the speed change.

That does leaves Cavelero. A satellite photo shows the sidewalk ends around 88th leaving about 1770 feet without as much protection as a sidewalk. But a look at the location of houses around the school and the chances of an 8th or 9th grader being in those homes. It seems it would be a small number. I drive my kids to Cavelero every morning and I do see first hand kids walking the Cavelero driveway, but is usually less than half a dozen and most are actually coming down 83rd.

So am I saying that we should all be flying down our streets with reckless abandon? Absolutely not! But, we need to be aware of the potential repercussions of the decisions being made for us by the city. To be honest, while I don’t like the actual speed change, I’m also unhappy that the change was made without input from us. I will leave you with this thought. If 2000 people travel a road each day and that road adds 6 minutes a day (3 minutes each way) it will add an astounding 73,000 extra hours each year that they are on the road.

Should be interesting.

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