At the October 10, 2007 Thurston County Commissioners Public Hearing, Yelm Community Development Director Grant Beck stated on the record about the Yelm By-pass,
“Yelm is actively pursuing construction funding ($35 million) during the 2009 legislative session.”
Of course, Mr. Beck quoted outdated numbers, as WSDOT now says the unfunded amount of the Yelm By-pass is now $56 million.
Yelm’s City Council had a special presentation on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 from Bill Elliott, WSDOT’s SR 510 (By-pass) Project Manager and his team. Mr. Elliott gave a nice “feel-good” presentation about different timelines for By-pass construction phases, however everything discussed was based on funding scenarios. There currently is no funding of the construction phases; this while the price has now climbed from $35 million to $56 million.
You can read Yelm’s City Council Minutes of this November 13 presentation by clicking the hotlink,
then clicking “Minutes”, then “November 13, 2007″.
Now, we have Governor Gregoire declaring this about federal highway funding,
” The state has no more money available for added transportation projects including improvements to Interstate 5 that affect Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater. Solutions include toll transponders on cars and greater funding from the federal government for projects, Gregoire said. She complained that many mega-projects, in effect, require repairs to highways in the federal system, but funding of highways has shifted from a system that carried a 90 percent share to something less.
“We need all the governors and all the members of Congress to stand up and say, ‘This is ridiculous,’ ” Gregoire said in response to questions from the board about highway funding,” quoting The Olympian.
A. With state roads requiring repair in Lewis & Thurston Counties damaged by recent flooding, the 520 floating bridge in King County and Seattle waterfront viaduct replacements all of immediate concern, what makes anyone think that any money would be forthcoming anytime soon for Yelm’s By-pass?
B. With a Sub-Prime Banking crisis looming large in 2008, higher fuel expenses leading to increased costs for food and most other goods, a tanking dollar, plus no end in sight for the Iraq debacle, do you think there will be any funding for highway projects in 2009 from the federal government if there are no funds in 2008?
Or, from the state given the massive costs of the aforementioned projects?
C. Yelm’s Super Wal-Mart traffic was approved here under the condition there would be a By-pass to mitigate their traffic volumes. Now what do we do, since there is no By-pass in any foreseeable future, and certainly not in 6 years+ from their July, 2007 opening?
D. We need to focus on traffic remedies without the By-pass and now.
This writer offered several suggestions to handle Yelm’s traffic without a By-pass more than 2 years ago. These need to be looked at again.
One of them was:
1. Traffic circles at McDonald’s and Third St on Yelm Ave.
2. All Yelm Ave. eastbound traffic moves through the traffic circle at McDonald’s to Washington St, and down Washington St. through the trail and to Third, left on Third, & returning to Yelm Ave. at Third St.
3. All Yelm Ave. Westbound traffic continues west on a one-way street from Third to the McDonald’s.
Lacey just did this with Pacific Ave. and that is working quite nicely.
E. Newly appointed Yelm Planning Commission Chair Carlos Perez asked the public for solutions in his December 14 Letter to the Editor published in the NVN. I applaud that request and encourage everyone to participate. We have a traffic crisis here and need more community involvement, immediately.
Mr. Perez stated, “Our growth is not the major cause of our traffic congestion. The major cause of our traffic congestion comes from outside our area.”
This kind of attitude previously expressed by Mayor Harding and now the Yelm Planning Commission Chair continues to miss the point.
The County acknowledging the city’s unbridled growth and the city pointing fingers at the county’s contributing traffic does nothing to alleviate a mess. We can all agree that traffic comes from both within and without the city limits.
Yes, the city’s inner loop and connector streets are greatly welcome and appreciated, however those solutions, while wonderful, are not enough. Resting on the city’s laurels for the inner loop and not aggressively dealing with the 507/510 issue NOW, will have consequences in the near-term future, with a By-pass opening in further peril.
And, yes, I am on-record as saying all growth and development applications in Yelm should cease until the infrastructure is funded and underway to support such an outrageous assault on our resorces:
roads, water & stormwater runoff to be in balance with the environment. That is NOT anti-growth. That is being a responsible steward of the land, water and air, so passionately practiced by our neighbors, the Nisqually Tribe.
Please send any of your suggestions to Mr. Perez at City Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org
BYPASS FUNDING IN 2009?
DO YOU REALLY THINK SO?
WHAT SAY YOU?