Letter to the Editor: Edmonds Roundabout Doesn't Justify the Cost

"We need to set an example of not spending money we don’t have at all levels of government."

I find it very disappointing that our city is still pursuing the roundabout at Five Corners. Arguments can be made on both sides that it is “innovative and smart” and might “catch on,” and that it will improve the flow of traffic at the intersection. We have been told that the wait time, at peak hours, is an additional 105 seconds, just over a minute-and-a-half that will disappear once the circle is in place. At what cost?

This is not enough of an inconvenience to justify the probable expenditure in excess of $2 million of our tax dollars. I am aware that if we choose not to move forward with the project we are liable for the grant monies we have already received and will have to refund them, around $70,000. I also understand that if we move forward, the City will be liable for approximately 13.5 percent of the total cost of the project, a very large number.

This percentage is to come from our already anemic street fund and we have needs that are much more pressing than Five Corners. We need to look at history and cost overruns in the recent past. We are still living with the Haines Wharf overruns and will for some time.

We are setting ourselves up for the same disaster at Five Corners. 13.5 percent may seem like a small percentage, but the rest will come from the federal government in the form of grants, i.e., our tax dollars. The federal government is $15 trillion in debt and growing at an unsustainable rate. This does not include the unfunded liabilities that push the total well past $70 trillion.

We need to set an example of not spending money we don’t have at all levels of government. Edmonds needs to lead. Aren’t we the city that made it a priority to ban plastic bags and became a leader nationally in this regard? Aren’t we a city that values its history?

Five Corners has been a landmark for decades and has served us well as is. Aren’t we the city that is trying to set the standard for being green with our solar projects and recharging stations? Let’s set an example nationally by both saving something that has served us well and showing the rest of the country that we are fiscally responsible in the process.

Bob Wilcox

Gary Pugh December 23, 2011 at 07:57 PM
I couldn't agree more with Mr. Wilcox in his comments. I further don't believe the proposed traffic circle would yield the results that the city engineers expect. I've lived in Edmonds for over 35 years and have never found that intersection to present a particularly difficult driving situation, even during times of high traffic volume. Gary Pugh, Edmonds
Bette Bell December 24, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Merry Christmas! There are at least two people in Edmonds that don't think we should spend money we don't have. Thank you...it is a gift I truly appreciate. The smoke screen the "spenders" put up, is unbelievably out of touch with reality. Let's wrap up those expensive ideas, and send them to the recycling bin. Bette
Doug & Lael December 24, 2011 at 07:40 PM
I fully agree with the comments Mr. Wilcox has made. Further, at the council meeting public hearing it was stated that the roundabout would make a wonderful statement as the point of entrance to Edmonds. I believe the 2 points of entrance to Edmonds that the majority of visitors use are both off of I-5. One being Ballinger Way/Edmonds Way and the other being 220th. I believe that the majority of drivers using 5-corners are local, so the point of it being a catching pioint of entrance to Edmonds is really a stretch. We don't need the round about.
res03hrk December 24, 2011 at 09:51 PM
I agree with everyone's comments here. We had 3 separate bond issues on the ballot this year, just to get enough money to maintain parks and roads. If we don't have the money to maintain roads, how can we justify an improvement project? Although a roundabout is a great idea, the time is not now. Wait until the City gets is financial house in order before we start spending money on this project. The share of the cost that the City would be responsible for should be targeted toward road maintanence.
Fred O. Bell December 29, 2011 at 09:18 PM
Fred O. Bell The roundabout is not needed. I have driven through roundabouts in foreign countries and they are generally at congested highway intersections. Other than traffic early in the morning and late in the afternoon, five corners is not a highway, is not congested and should be left as is. The Council asked for public input. Why? Their decision has already been made, It is a pure case of the "tail wagging the dog" again.


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