YELM COMMUNITY BLOG EXCLUSIVE
During the Public Hearing with the Yelm Planning Commission, Yelm City Council and the Thurston County Commissioners, I requested the 2010 to 2015 Six Year Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Map be amended to show
– Phase One of the Bypass (the 1.1 mile stretch from Mudd Run Rd. to Cullen) to be competed in 2011
– Phase 2 (3.4 mile section from Cullen to Wal-Mart) to reflect as unfunded.
This would provide the true picture for planners in the city, county & state. Yelm City Community Development Director Beck responded that was unnecessary and declined, leaving the map with showing a whole Y3 Bypass.
I brought this issue to the attention of County Commissioner Sandra Romero at her Yelm Coffee on April 26, who was joined by County Associate Planner Jeremy Davis. Mrs. Romero asked if I would meet with County officials to discuss my suggestion, since part of Phase One of the Bypass is outside city limits in the county and she found my comments valid for review with the Comprehensive Plan Updates of the city & county. I agreed.
The City Council adopted the 2010 to 2015 Six Year Transportation Improvement Program at the June 22, 2010 City Council Meeting without discussion, after a presentation by Grant Beck, Community Development Director. The Staff report stated, “Although is is a six year plan, it is required to be updated annually as projects are completed and new priorities arise.”
I felt the public and planning officials had a right to know & have listed on this official document (the STIP map) that the Bypass was to be built in two phases, as requested by the city and that Phase One traffic would use city residential streets, one with no traffic light to connect back to the State Highway (Yelm Ave. West). Further, Bypass traffic coming into the city (i.e. heavy truck traffic) would also use the neighborhood streets of Coats Rd & Stevens St. to/from Cullen, creating a scenario where the city will have heavy 2-way traffic on Cullen between Yelm Ave. West & Coats Rd & the Bypass, especially during School entry/exit times.
I pointed out Cullen Rd. is not designed to carry this type of traffic or ensuing volumes & this situation will not be remedied anytime soon & therefore should be on the map.
This is especially important to bring-up since Council member McGowan stated on-the-record June 22,
“When the criticism is leveled at the city and it involves the children of the city, I have a tendency to get very defensive.”
Cullen & Killion Rds. run through neighborhoods where children are at play and this heavy traffic will impact those areas. One can only hope Mr. McGowan has as much passion for our children’s safety & welfare and that he gets as defensive for those who live and play around these streets, as he did for providing them $465,000 in flushing toilets at Longmire Park?
Now the County has been informed of this situation as I met in the Thurston County Planning Dept. July 1st with:
Scott Clark, Planning Director
Jeremy Davis, Associate Planner
Dale Rancour, County Engineer
and presented my points.
They agreed with my presentation and Mr. Clark directed the Map be updated to included the notes that Killion & Cullen will be used to handle Phase One Bypass traffic and that Phase Two construction remains unfunded, therefore using neighborhood side streets to handle the Bypass traffic well into some unknown future. Now, Yelm has been informed by Thurston County the map will be amended with my proposed additions.
As I stated, there was no reason for the city to have rejected my request, except for some political purpose, as these are the facts. Why should the public (and area officials) be denied the truth on the simplest Transportation Planning Map for the next year to 20 years?
SO, CULLEN RD., WITHOUT A TRAFFIC LIGHT AT YELM AVENUE,
“THE CAR-STRANGLED SPANNER”
CONNECTING THE EASTERN END OF THE BYPASS WITH COATES, STEVENS ST. & YELM AVE. FOR MANY YEARS TO COME, AFFECTING CHILDREN IN NEIGHBORHOODS THROUGH WHICH THIS TRAFFIC WILL NOW PASS.
NOW, THAT FACT WILL BE NOTED ON THE PLANNING MAPS!