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On Monday, July 16, 2007, the Yelm Planning Commission met to approve their changes to the
Yelm Comprehensive Plan Transportation Chapter. [This writer was the only non-staffer in the audience.]
Now, this goes to the public for input.

Quoting the City of Yelm website:
The Yelm City Council has scheduled a public hearing to receive comments on the 2007-2013 Six Year
Transportation Improvement Program
and a proposed amendment to Chapter 15.40 YMC amending the
formula for establishing a transportation facility charge.

The hearing is scheduled for 7:30 PM on Tuesday, July 24, 2007, and will take place in the Council
Chambers at Yelm City Hall, 105 Yelm Ave West.

The Six Year Transportation Improvement Program is the capital facilities document that guides
transportation funding for a six year cycle.
The STIP is based on the Yelm Comprehensive
Transportation Plan and is the implementation document for the overall plan. Projects that are not on
the STIP are not eligible for State or Federal funding, or the use of local Traffic Facilities Charges (TFCs).
Although it is a six year plan, it is required to be updated annually as projects are completed and new
priorities arise.”

If we do not step up and let our elected officials and their staffs know our views, we allow them then to do as they please.

Everyone agrees that traffic is the number one issue here.
How did it get this way?

Because the public did not let their officials know they want better conditions.

Now is YOUR chance and I will make this very simple to understand.

Intersections along our main thoroughfare are graded like your High School Report Card from A (best) to F (worst), based on traffic statistics taken by a certified traffic engineer. This grade is called a “Level of Service” or LOS for short.

This City Council and preceding ones, in conjunction with advice from the Community Development Department, have accepted some intersections along Yelm Ave. to operate with a D or F grade, meaning poor or gridlocked traffic conditions. To be clear then, your city officials ALLOW these terrible grades of traffic because we allow them to allow it. That is why there is only one through lane in and one through lane out of Yelm, while they continue to approve all applications for developments. The City sets MINIMAL standards to be adhered to, while they approve unbridled growth, with traffic conditions guaranteed to deteriorate. And, we the citizens permit these actions with our collective inactions. Just take a look at the City’s website for additional developments going through the hearing examiner this Monday, including the next phase of Tahoma Terra [then click Agendas/Notices, then Public Notices]. Will any of the public be there to object to any of these and their ensuing traffic? Has any of the public even read the traffic studies reporting how many cars will be added to the exisiting traffic snarl from each development to our one lane in and one lane out.

YOU can change that!
YOU can come to this meeting and tell your city’s officials, “WE DO NOT ACCEPT THE CITY’S LEVEL OF SERVICE GRADES OF D & F AND WE,
THE CITIZENS OF YELM AND VICINITY REQUIRE THE CITY TO MAKE OUR TRAFFIC’S LOWEST LEVEL OF SERVICE (LOS) C AND ABOVE! And, City Council, if you can not maintain that as the standard, then we the citizens, require you to deny any project or make them pay to fix the problem. In other words, we, the citizens demand the developers pay for all of the impacts they add to our roads.
The city will say the developers currently pay an impact fee and while that is true, the impact fees the city imposes only maintains a minimum of our poor level of servce D or F. Don’t you want better than our current traffic conditions?

Poor Level of Service (LOS) grades are dictated by the city because no one gives input.
So we have allowed the city council to get away with providing just a minimal level of servce for our streets’ traffic grades.
If the public would force the city to a higher Level of Service (LOS), and we demand say LOS C and above, there WILL be changes made here.

The city must set a standard for roads for the next 6 years and this is what this meeting is about. The Yelm Loop will not be part of this discussion because even if funded, that road will not be completed and in service to relieve traffic here by 2013, and that is from the Washington State DOT website link on the City of Yelm’s homepage, which says construction will begin in 2013, though not currently funded. This 6-year transportation plan extends only through 2013.

Even Lacey is affected by Yelm traffic, according to this Olympian story out yesterday, “Residential and commercial development in Hawks Prairie and construction of new homes in Yelm have driven that growth in vehicle traffic [at the I-5 interchange at Hawks Prairie.].”

I have come to believe there will be a multi-jurisdictional meeting this Fall with the public, city, county & state highway officials invited to all come together in an exchange about traffic on State Highways 507 & 510 within Yelm’s city limits. If you, the public, understand that Level of Service (LOS) here can be dictated by you though speaking up at meetings such as next week’s and the one this Fall, we will all benefit. What has never happened for the last 20 years and should have happened is the public getting involved in demanding better than the current bottomless LOS F traffic condition.

Don’t let them whitewash this issue by telling you, “What do we do, stop all growth?”
That is NOT what this is about.
This is about the citizens demanding an improved Level of Service grade on our city’s streets to insure approved growth is provided for on our roads that affects our city’s commerce, public safety and quality of life.
In this writer’s view, if we continue allowing Yelm Ave. with only one lane in and one lane out of town with no capacity increase, all the while thinking a bypass is around the corner yet adding all of these developments and their vehicles, mix in a Super-Wal-Mart’s vehicle surge, is that not a recipe for gridlock?
I have provided several alternatives over the last two years, including widening Yelm Ave. to 5 lanes within city limits, making Washington St. a 2-lane through one-way street eastbound from Longmire to 3rd St., and adding round-abouts at major intersections, like Edwards & Yelm Ave. West with the new Stevens St. addition connecting to Edwards St. soon, all to keep traffic moving. All have been rejected.

I can not do this alone. I need your help! Your city officials need to hear from you – and loud!

Bottom line:
Are you interested in changing traffic here or not?
You have a chance to share your views this Tuesday.
Let’s fill the Council Chambers, so that they must move the meeting to a larger hall and show out in force that we mean the time is now for change!
Sign your name on the sign-in sheet to speak your views!

Our elected officals are here to serve us, the voters; not the other way around!
And indeed they HAVE served us – just without our input and direction as a community, on this issue.

Posted by Steve on July 19, 2007 at 6:55 am | Permalink

Post a comment


  1. Steve,
    Thanks you for this information. Your attention to this issue is such a help to our entire community. I have tried to check the City’s web page, but I find that most of the areas of information cannot be opened. I look forward to attending the meeting this evening to speak to the issue of having the developers pay all of the projected traffic impact costs to raise our LOS to a minimum C level.

    Comment by nancy breidenthal on July 24, 2007 at 4:49 am

  2. If you can’t attend the meeting, why not simply call Yelm City Hall Clerk: 360-458-8404 asking that your comments regarding the traffic situation be included as evidence to the meeting, even AFTER the meeting is over.


    Comment by YCT on July 24, 2007 at 4:04 pm

  3. Click on

    then click on each number

    Comment by Steve Klein on July 24, 2007 at 4:30 pm

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