Monday, May 16, 2016

Got 2 Again

Today is first day for candidates to file for office- Monday through Friday.. My goal was to get people to file for office,  bring out the issues, get people to vote, and to  have fun doing it. I applaud those running and thank those who encouraged me to do the same. There are two sides to every issue and perhaps the hardest part is listening to both sides and know what the people are saying. I am very passionate about our need for more 4 lanes in Douglas county and the need to work within the budget given me. There are 3 commissioners, I see nothing wrong with asking questions and not having unanimous votes all the time- I respect those who disagree with me. I can learn from the employees of Douglas County and they already have been so helpful to me.
I have nothing to hide or been threatened in any way for my views- In fact with 23 years serving on City council- I know the stress and frustration of areas that your are told if you do not vote this way you will loose federal funds. Some claim the state is ignoring county marijuana laws.  It's frustrating to see double standards and our freedoms taken away. There are many people who I look up to and who are more qualified than I am to serve- and many of them perhaps can do more and are less limited by not being elected and the rules that come with that. I believe in openness and two way communication. I urge you to continue to speak up, to vote, and to live lives of integrity. I see many opportunities.  I welcome your thoughts and comments.  I work for you and there may be times we disagree- that does not mean I did not listen or I do not like you. Laws should be fair and applied equally.  I want to treat you how I would wanted to be treated. I want to roll out the red carpet and not the red tape both new and existing business. And I do not expect everyone's vote- Just YOURS! Lets keep this a positive and make it a fun race with no name calling or insults. I want to focus on what my opponents agree with me on, not disagree.  My email address is below as is the comment button.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Remember Me (roundabouts)

I started my campaign for Douglas County Commissioner because I felt the local voting officials were more concerned about bike lanes and roundabouts than investing in 4 lane highways. I do not know how many on transportation planning council members are cdl truck drivers and you can see I have more questions than answers. I have heard from elected officials how wonderful the roundabout at McDougal will be for trucks when it is not even finished it yet? One elected lady said "trucks will just have to go around our town" when in fact there is no truck route around East Wenatchee from I-90, and we did not become the Apple Capital of the Nation without trucks.  Downtown Wenatchee has banned trucks and reduced the once 4 lane state route in downtown to 2 lanes and now using some of those lanes for dining instead of parking? No one can tell me how pedestrians can get across 9th street when they build a roundabout there, other than they will have to find another place?

To educate myself I also searched wsdot web site and found the following rules for roundabouts  (  )
There are a few key things to remember about driving roundabouts:
  • Yield to drivers in the roundabout
  • Stay in your lane; do not change lanes
  • Do not stop in the roundabout
  • Avoid driving next to oversize vehicles
You can read the entire page- I just feel other options are not being considered or heard. the site does acknowledge costs are "comparable to build"- but , and the only savings depend on cost of electricity, and if it is a new one or replacement. The safety issues are based on 15-20 mph speed limits- which are misleading and hard to argue since any place you have 15-20mph speed limits would be safer, even on a freeway. I could safely say there are more deaths on 2 lane roads than 4 lane roads in Douglas county- that could be true but not fair or accurate in a way, since we have only  5 miles total 4 lanes in Douglas county. If you hire more police, the crime rate goes up- only because numbers record more arrests- right?

The proposed roundabout at 5th/28 is because of fender bender accidents in a 40 mph area. The roundabout is estimated at  1.8 million and a light  is estimated to cost 800,000.  No one has suggested lowering the speed limit to 35- yet a roundabout will cost almost 2 million dollars, cannot be changed back easily, and without any guarantee it would have saved those  accidents. That route is a major truck route- and already East Wenatchee has had trucks spill loads and block traffic for hours in those curves- what happens when a truck looses it load in middle of roundabout- you block all 4 lanes instantly?  Those talking on cell phones would be a lot safer at 35mph instead of 40 plus. the computer modules did not show 103 foot truck/trailers flowing  or when every 5th vehicle is a truck.

The roundabout at 9th/28 will cost 700-800,000 because it already has a large foot print. First- how many projects come in within budget? What happens to the lights that are working fine now- I suspect they will  be thrown away. There have been even fewer fender benders there- the only push is because East Wenatchee wants a roundabout at 9th/valley mall Parkway.  That 800,000  could be used for 4 lanes to Quincy instead. I do not know how much has been spent on planning these roundabouts before they asked for pubic input. No one can tell me now pedestrians can get across at 9th with light removed- it will back up traffic on all 3 lanes, as legally  one must stop for pedestrians and that is access to loop trail for bikes too and skateboarders. It will be worse when a truck looses its load in a roundabout.  Lacy voted against it because funds could be cut from other road projects to pay for it.

Some elected officials are saying even though we have the largest gas tax in the nation- there is no money for 4 lanes? There is money- it is where you spend it. Do you want to spend it on roundabouts, administration buildings, bike paths; or do we spend it  on 4 lanes? Already WSDOT has said the 4 lanes planned from 9th st to Hadley Street may have to stop at 19th street due to lack of funds- yet they push roundabouts, that they have money for and in many cases cost more than lights. They claim there is less maintenance on roundabouts- yet the new LED lights last 7-8 years compared to the old lights that were changed every  year and the roundabouts do not get painted by state striping crews, so someone else must stripe them, and we have the lowest electric rates in the nation, so where is the savings?  I still am waiting for an answer on how much maintenance there is in past 2 years on 9th/28 intersection compared to the 97A roundabout at Stimilt.

Some elected officials are pushing for a roundabout at Cascade/2 as well,  when there is no developer yet signed on. I am definitely for development of North End- (I was in minority when I voted not to sue county over development of that area when the mall wanted to go there)- but this this one is not thought out. That is on a hill- the last roundabout was not in winter when it is slippery- and I know first hand how fast you can loose that hill to slide outs when it is snowing- who even suggested such a idea has never plowed snow there or driven trucks. Please, there is a underpass not being used just a few feet west of Cascade that can be used and there are two turnaround routes to or from cascade that is not advertised or developed- one at 28 and the Grange and one at the Jehovah Witness church and 2/97. I am for development- but I want to speed up permits that some are still waiting on for over 8 months and I want the roads built now for future development and tourism.

Again- I am not against roundabouts or lights as we grow- In fact my goal is and always has to have 4 lanes from Orondo to Rock Island and preferably to Quincy. I have seen that movement quietly stop in Douglas County back in 2007.  We have money- it is a matter of priorities and 4 lanes is a priority of yours I hope. I hope it is the priority of the others running for Douglas County Commission as well. Many of the transportation decisions are made by the Wenatchee Valley Transportation Planning Council  and it was 5 Douglas county officials voted for the roundabout at 9th/28. The next question they will be asked- when the funding grant is approved- do they turn down the funding grant or go ahead with the roundabout- That is the question you and Douglas County Commission Candidates should answer now.  If roundabouts are so wonderful- why did it almost get elected officials voted out of office for the airport roundabout and why does not Wenatchee use roundabouts at McKittrick/Wenatchee Avenue and other areas in Wenatchee? Hopefully this blog will stir discussion that we call can learn from- there are two sides to every issue if we will only discuss and look at all sides fairly. I welcome ideas and suggestions below- lets slow down and look at this- it is moving too fast it is not too late to look at it. And I welcome any candidate who can get this done better than I can-I may even vote for him.
Hills in Winter are not good places for to put a roundabout-some want one at Cascade/Hwy2/97
This was a spill a few years ago by Country Inn in East Wenatchee. There was also a spill this spring of roof trusses a few feet south of this- imagine this happening in middle of a roundabout? Lets work with trucks- they are the backbone of our community- lets not treat them like we treated Alcoa or how Downtown Wenatchee treats them.

Roundabouts are not bike friendly.  here is what I found on internet on Wikepedia;    
 Physically separated bikeways best protect cyclists. Less optimally, terminating cycle lanes well before roundabout entrances require cyclists to merge into the stream of motor traffic, but keeps cyclists in full view of drivers, at some cost in motor vehicle speed. Cyclists may also be permitted to use the crosswalks