Sidewalk suggested for Haven Road

A proposition by the county to construct a sidewalk along the east side of Haven Road toward Madrona Point has the community talking.

During the monthly meeting of the Eastsound Planning Review Committee on Thursday, May 3, several community members voiced their opposition to the county’s plan.

“Parking on Haven Road is essential to the wellbeing of our historic hall and the community it serves. The hall is host to over 30 events a week, including 14 different classes from African dance, in alphabetical order, to Zumba,” said Jay Kimball, manager of Odd Fellows Hall which is located on Haven Road. “The Odd Fellows and thousands of members of the community who visit the hall each year hope you will support maintaining good Haven Road parking access to the hall and downtown.”

County Engineer Colin Huntermer explained that in accordance with Ordinance 21-2015, the county is supposed to have developed streetscape requirements for all roads within the village commercial district, which was extended to include Madrona Point during the last Eastsound Subarea Plan update in December 2015.

“What didn’t happen in 2015 is we didn’t, collectively, take the street standards which will apply to the commercial core and look at them and see if they are appropriate for areas beyond the commercial core,” said Huntermer.

According to the Eastsound Subarea Plan, the purpose of streetscape improvements it to “make the village pleasant and convenient for pedestrians and also provide needed on-street parking. Streetscape improvements encompass a range of pedestrian amenities. These include curbs to separate pedestrian and vehicle traffic, walkways, street trees, benches, etc.”

Concerned citizens cited a reduction in parking along the road if a sidewalk compliant with ADA requirements was built.

Huntermer said that the proposal will not eliminate parking along the road, as the parking that is currently done on Haven Road is not always, technically, legal.

However, the county does not have an official parking ordinance so there is no enforcement taken.

Huntermer said that the sidewalk would fluctuate in size along the bedrock, shrinking down to as narrow as 3 feet in some places. Other roads with proposed sidewalks are Urner, Westervelt Avenue and Harrison Point Lane.

“It’s sort of a segue into more residential areas. I think there was some thought as development occurs there we need to provide some infrastructure. But as Colin mentioned, when we got down to thinking about it, the curb, gutter and sidewalk on both sides of the street just doesn’t make sense in some of those areas. So, what we’re proposing – what Colin’s proposed –is a compromise to curb, gutter and sidewalk that will not eliminate parking (but) will allow a safe passageway standard for that road,” said County Councilman Rick Hughes. “We want to have, through public process, design standards for each of the roads in the community that reflect that community.”

The EPRC unanimously agreed to encourage the county council to not act on advancing the streetscaping project but to seek design input from the community.

The county council met on Orcas on Tuesday, May 8.

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