Words are supposed to mean something. A promise made should be a promise kept.
Desiree Winkler, Transportation Division Manager for the City of Lakewood, wants to take money earmarked for one purpose in Tillicum and use it for another.
How is that not a misappropriation of funds?
“The City shared its intention to utilize the $100,000 mitigation funding from Camp Murray to continue extending curb, gutter, and sidewalks on Union Avenue,” Winkler wrote in her follow-up report to the city’s presentation at the Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association (TWNA) meeting this past May 1.
It can’t. That’s not the city’s decision to make.
According to Right of Way Permit 11192 (p.7 of 11, XIV; Permit Application Date: August 25, 2011) – issued by the City of Lakewood to Camp Murray by which the latter was able to relocate its gate enabling National Guard traffic to travel the interior street of Portland Ave. in Tillicum – there is this stipulation:
“The Applicant (Camp Murray) shall pay to the City $100,000 which shall be set aside for the specific purpose of making adjustments in traffic calming measures in subsequent years as may be deemed necessary. The City may only use these funds for design and installation of traffic calming measures in the Tillicum community.”
“Traffic calming” – twice repeated, the use of funds for which are singularly designated – is the operative phrase with as narrow-as-a-narrow-street interpretation.
Winkler as much says so herself.
Responding to a request for the results of the May 1 final traffic impact report Winkler wrote, “the City will inform Camp Murray of the intention to utilize the $100,000 traffic mitigation funding as follows:
1) $85,000 will be utilized to extend sidewalks down Union Avenue as part of the Madigan Access Project (construction of this extension in summer 2015). Based on current estimates, we believe sidewalks could be extended from Berkeley to Maple. We are waiting on the bids from the other phases of the project (including bridge and ramp widening) to confirm how far we can get.
2) $15,000 will be reserved for neighborhood traffic calming as the need arises – subject to the City’s policies with its Neighborhood Traffic Control Program.”
Clearly, even to a Transportation Division Manager, sidewalks are one thing whereas slowing down traffic – i.e. “traffic calming” – is another.
Words are supposed to mean something, and a promise made should be a promise kept.
Main Entry: “traffic calming”
Part of Speech: n
Definition: “the use of certain devices or techniques, such as speed humps, narrow lanes, or electronic message boards, to slow or restrict traffic, esp. in residential areas.”
As used in a sentence: “Signing indicating that a motorist is approaching traffic calming devices.”
‘Danger! Sidewalk ahead!’ somehow serves neither to delineate the intent of “traffic calming” nor does it define the appropriate use of “traffic calming” funds.
“If the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense, lest it result in nonsense,” is anaphorism (‘n: a short pithy saying expressing a general truth or maxim’) attributed to various authors.
For example, “When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.” Zebra is “a medical slang term for a surprising diagnosis.
“The saying means that one (such as a doctor) should look for the expected cause first, rather than the exotic.”
Sidewalks are ‘a surprising diagnosis’ for “traffic calming.”
Sidewalks are an ‘exotic’ – an extravagance, an expense, and a most unexpected use of money at least when that money is expressly earmarked to curb excess speed, not construct curbs for sidewalks.
Semantics? No, safety.
“Fifteen percent of drivers may be traveling unreasonably fast,” wrote the Transpo Group which did the analysis of Portland Ave. traffic.
As there are 2,100 cars commuting that one-mile stretch that leads into Camp Murray’s new gate, 450 cars “may be traveling unreasonably fast.”
How fast is “unreasonably fast”?
Statistically, if you’re hit by a car going 30 mph you have a 50 percent chance of survival. If you’re hit by a car going 20 mph you have a 95 percent chance of survival.
But how fast is the “unreasonably fast” speed of 450 cars?
Forty miles per hour?
At 40 mph you have 15 percent chance of surviving as a pedestrian – child or otherwise – hit by a car at that speed.
Furthermore, “travelling at 40 mph, the average driver who sights a pedestrian in the road 100 feet ahead will still be travelling 38 mph on impact.”
This has Transpo concerned.
“As a general guideline,” Transpo wrote in their report, “speeding along a roadway segment is an issue when more than 15 percent of the vehicles exceed the speed limit by at least 5 mph.”
And there’s one segment of Portland Ave. where 25 percent are clocked in the red zone.
But the city would spend the earmarked money for “traffic calming” on sidewalks somewhere else?
Recently Lakewood posted on their Facebook page all the amenities – and the amount spent for them – in Tillicum.
The presumption is that we should be grateful. And we are.
You can click on the hyperlinked “Facebook” above and read the grateful responses.
Among the featured attractions in Tillicum, as touted by the city:
A new, fresh-running delivery of water; a community center funded by Community Development Block Grant money; and even – even – a new Camp Murray gate.
Perhaps it should be so much water under the bridge given Lakewood has invested $1.25 million in Tillicum for a new water system.
Perhaps it should be neither here-nor-there that our community center – that served our community so well for so many (14) years – had just days ago its financial life-line severed by the city.
And the Camp Murray gate?
The gate that cost an out-of-pocket $20,000 for the not-known-as-flush Tillicum residents to take its city to court?
The gate over which Lakewood City Councilman Walter Neary post-mortem grieved, was “one of the most bitter neighborhood debates in recent memory”?
The gate – and the conditional permit for which required $100,000 – all of it – to be used to curb speeding and not construct curbs for sidewalks?
To be grateful for a relocated gate that has so rekindled grief is a presumption beyond explanation requiring a suspension of disbelief (“a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable”) not unlike pasting a smiley-face sticker over the gaping gash on the sinking Titanic.
“Livable Streets” – which the main drag, Portland Ave., was in Tillicum recreated for redirected Camp Murray employee traffic, is not, at least not livable like it was – is a study by Donald Appleyard who “found that residents of streets with light traffic had, on average, three more friends and twice as many acquaintances as the people on streets with heavy traffic.”
Friendship – at least in Tillicum which, ironically enough, means “friend” – has actually been most lately forged in the fire of having to fight our (non)representative government which, also ironically, has this as its number one “Guiding Principle”:
“People are Lakewood’s most vital asset. A city’s livability and prosperity are found in the collective spirit of those who live and work there. Lakewood’s community development goals are not merely related to buildings, roads, and such but to people’s quality of life and their pride in and individual contributions to the community.”
Translation, since words are supposed to mean something, and a promise made is a promise kept?
People – and promises to them – over pavement.