City Manager’s Weekly Report for week ending May 24, 2019

City Manager’s Weekly Report
for week ending May 24, 2019

First Avenue Safety Traffic Count by WSDOT. Region 10, WSDOT, is wrapping up the existing conditions model for 1st Avenue traffic from Normandy Road to 174th and will send traffic study results to city staff next week. We expect to meet with WSDOT during the first week in June to discuss the existing conditions model results. WSDOT will begin working on a road diet (reduced lane) concept in June and will finish the work by mid-July. Federal Highway Administration research on reducing the number of lanes on roadway corridors with under 20,000 average daily trips indicates only a slight reduction in overall auto crash rates, but an enhancement of pedestrian safety. What WSDOT and city engineers are considering from Normandy Road to 174th on 1st Avenue is called a “road diet.”

Read about it here:

Upon reading this information, you will wonder what the traffic count on 1st Avenue is for this roadway segment. The most recent count was less than 18,000 average vehicle trips per day (ADT). In the future, once SR-509 is extended, this count will drop.

Estimate of SR-509 Project Initiation. The Washington State Legislature has moved the SR-509 project completion date from 2031 to 2029. This is good news and validates the city’s design intent for 1st Avenue between the already completed Normandy Road and the Normandy Towne Center street improvements. The Public Works Director and I met this past Tuesday with the city’s engineers at Gray and Osborne to push forward a re-design concept and costing for this segment of roadway on the assumption that at the end of the SR-509 project period in 2029 improvements necessary for likely turnover of this roadway to the city need to be in place. These improvements would include sidewalks, planting strips, street trees, design lighting, storm drainage, paving and striping, similar to the Normandy Towne Center 1st Avenue street improvements. While not particularly expensive at this stage, such re-design is preliminary for inclusion in the Transportation Element of the City of Normandy Park Comprehensive Plan and in the Six-year Transportation Improvement Plan, and for grant application. The city’s Comprehensive Plan currently indicates an acceptable 2035 Level of Service of “C” for this segment and for the whole roadway, even without modeling the finished SR-509 corridor. Consequently, the LOS on this two-lane roadway segment will almost certainly go up from planning predictions, even with no street improvement at all. Nevertheless, it makes sense to finish this roadway as a municipal arterial corridor as soon as feasible. That takes design and grants. WSDOT remains responsible for street maintenance for 10 years after a street turnover.

Who owns the street right of way? There is occasionally misunderstanding about ownership of city street right of way, both paved and unpaved areas. Essentially, except for limited circumstances, cities own easements for road and sidewalk uses in right of way areas; however, the State of Washington owns state roadways outright (ownership referred to as “fee” or “fee simple absolute”). This means that city property owners have ownership responsibility and liability for areas outside of the built areas of the right of way, but cannot use the right of way for purposes that preclude city roadway and utility uses in the future. City code defines these relationships in NPMC 10.48, and particularly in NMPC 10.48.010 (1) and NPMC 10.48.015 (1) (2).

The best article that explains all this is on the Municipal Research Services website, “What is the Nature of a Public Right-of-Way?”

– Mark E. Hoppen, City Manager
City of Normandy Park
801 SW 174th Street
Normandy Park, WA 98166
(206) 248-8246 (Direct Phone)

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