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SURPRISE?! TRAFFIC NOT RELIEVED BY RECONSTRUCTED YELM AVE.

Now that the Yelm Ave. West reconstruction has been completed except for painting the lines, have you noticed that the traffic back-ups are still prevalent every morning & afternoon on this road?

The new center turn lane and repaving is not assisting in handling the traffic, as this writer said many times previously.There is still only one lane in and one lane out of town on this road, so expect further delays.

Interesting that Yelm’s City Council put almost half of the construction of Yelm Ave. West on the backs of property owners along Yelm Ave & Killion Roads via a developer-requested LID. This passed because of a presentation that property values along the newly paved areas would increase because of the road improvements and those property owners should pay for the expectation of property value increases via road construction taxes on their property. Now we have decreasing property values and those property owners are left “holding the bag” in having to pay those higher taxes, all-the-while watching property values tumble.
Yet Yelm drivers are still stuck in traffic!

We have a Mayor & City Council that support and approve almost every new development presented to them, while the repercussions of their decisions keep multiplying on the infrastructure here: roads, water, water recharge infiltration, etc.
Mayor Harding is on-record saying most of the traffic is caused from outside of the City of Yelm. If that is so, that is still no reason to not consider locally resolving the impacts that traffic has on Yelm and his constituents’ businesses.
While Yelm’s road improvements such as the inner loop are very much commended and welcome, this city has relied far too long on an unfunded State Bypass to mitigate Yelm’s pass-through traffic. We certainly have seen the same issue on Yelm Ave. East with back-ups there common almost everyday from 5 Corners back to Gordon’s, again with only a center turn lane added to assist with traffic flow; no mitigation in road capacity, even with the inner loop near completion.
The 2009 legislature is the next time a funding package will be discussed in Olympia. I serious question that this road will get funding any time soon, what with a global financial meltdown and greatly decreasing gas, property and sales tax receipts into city, county and state coffers.
Even if the Bypass is funded next year, Yelm won’t cut the ribbon on that road until 2015.

What do we do until then?

I have offered several suggestions including:
– widening Yelm Ave. to 5 lanes
– making Washington St. a one-way street eastbound from Longmire while and making Yelm Ave West a one-way street westbound from 507 to Longmire
– making the Yelm Ave. center turn lane a contra-flow lane during rush hour
all to no avail.

I find the Oct. 10 Letter to the Editor published in the NVN by a local Christian Pastor inferring about me to be ridiculous & misplaced: “[Klein is] representing the community, yet constantly is costing the community more and more money by functioning as a self-appointed obstructionist”.

As has been reported by the local media many times, people avoid coming to Yelm to shop because of the traffic. And that does not bode well for our commercial businesses in this economic downturn. Even Rep. Tom Campbell has stated at his Yelm Town Hall he does not like having to pass through Yelm’s traffic and uses alternates to bypass the city enroute to Olympia!

What has truly cost this community are only an inner loop, a center turn lane on Yelm Ave. and an unfunded Bypass to handle this community’s approved growth & pass-through traffic. People avoid Yelm because the traffic has not been properly mitigated. Ask any business owner and they will tell you their customers have issues coming to Yelm to shop because of the traffic.

Am I an obstructionist or Mayor-labeled “anti-growth”?
Hardly, I am neither except in the eyes of beholders; the fine pastor, Mayor and city officials!
Rather, I have called for growth to cease or slow significantly until the infrastructure can be properly provided to support such an influence on our area. Why is that idea so repulsive? What about the impact of growth for growth’s sake on our area’s future environment and what we leave our children?

The economic meltdown is already the vehicle that is slowing the growth here, like it or not. Yet the current traffic load remains.

Posted by Steve on October 13, 2008 at 5:42 am | Permalink

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One comment

  1. I can add my boots on the ground voice to this entry focused on Yelm traffic.

    My commute to Tumwater takes me from Bald Hills “the back way” through Rainier. Only on occasion does my household do business in Yelm as the traffic does not flow well enough to allow us to use time management in order to make an appointment or get to work on time.

    Our food is primarily bought at Costco, our clothing and other products from catalogs. I rarely buy gas here.

    I would like to support local businesses solely but that has become impossible due to traffic.

    I love the Yelm library. Stopping there on my way to work should be pleasurable but never comes about anymore because traffic is unpredictable at best any given day or time.

    I value small businesses which is why I make the rare trip to patronize Walt’s Tire, First Stop Auto and Gordon’s Garden Center.

    Until Mayor Harding, the Yelm City Council and their other cohorts recognize the monstrosity they have created and address what are their convoluted pipedreams for the future on many fronts, and rectify it, I will continue taking my dollars and spending elsewhere.

    Comment by Jean Handley on October 13, 2008 at 7:18 pm

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