|Volume 7, Issue 2||
Connecting our neighborhoods
Cedar Mill neighborhoods were mostly constructed during the sixties, seventies and eighties, when the general philosophy was to prevent circulation from one neighborhood to another to keep traffic volumes low on local streets. Sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities weren’t a priority—after all, gas was cheap and everyone had cars.
Now we’re facing Peak Oil and global climate change, and we realize that walking is great exercise too. But we’re still stuck with poor pedestrian facilities and a lack of connections between neighborhoods and with our commercial areas.
At the September meeting of Citizens’ Participation Organization 1 (CPO1) we held a brainstorming session to share “secret” paths and trails, and to identify routes that people would like to use if connections could be made. The idea really took off, and one CPO member, Erik Mace, set up an interactive Google Map that lets us all collaborate in sharing information (tinyurl.com/cpo1map). (You need to have a free Google Mail account to add comments and trails to the map, but anyone can view it.)
Several CPO members signed up at the December meeting to form a subcommittee that will explore our options to make these connections a reality. At our first meeting on January 28, we chose a leadership team and settled on a few projects that could be accomplished fairly quickly with the cooperation of local service districts.
Our first project will be to encourage THPRD to move up improvement to the Brady Trail. When THPRD acquired the Brady property on NW 107th in 2007, they had plans to apply for grant funding to improve the trail that neighborhood kids had used for generations to get from the Reeves Street/107th neighborhood to nearby Cedar Mill Park and Cedar Mill Elementary School (see September 2007 CM News). As planned, they sold the Brady house and ½ acre of the 1.63 acre property to a family. But trail plans have languished, and now we’re told that the trail won’t be built until after the entire Husen/Jordan Park trail and improvement Master Plan is completed, sometime in 2011.
We’re hoping that we can find support from parents and neighbors for moving plans forward to complete at least a temporary trail similar to the one that was built from the Bluffs neighborhood to the new Bonny Slope School. This lovely trail was built in a couple of weeks by THPRD staff, and utilized an on-site chipper that turned the trees that had to be cut down into the chips that surfaced the trail.
The group is going to write to the THPRD Board of Directors urging them to move the project forward, and we will attend their March meeting to make comments. We would welcome your support—you can send a letter to the Board or attend the meeting on March 2, 7 pm at the Terpenning Complex, 15707 SW Walker Road. Contact subcommittee chair Enid Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
MSTIP funds for sidewalks
Another hopeful development is that Washington County is beginning to compile a list of sidewalk and path improvements that could be funded in the next round of Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program (MSTIP) funding. Pedestrian facilities are usually included when county roads are upgraded, and developers are usually required to build sidewalks adjacent to new development. But providing sidewalks where none exist, when a road improvement is not scheduled, has never been a county priority.
Two prime candidates in our area are 113th from Cornell to McDaniel, and 119th/McDaniel between Cornell and Thompson. Bonny Slope students who live near the school have to use buses or private transportation to get to school because of the lack of sidewalks, and residents avoid walking on both roads because of the danger.
We have already provided the county with information about our project and will continue to help them identify likely projects in our area.
The Connecting Neighborhoods subcommittee will meet monthly on the third Wednesday at 7:30 pm at the Leedy Grange Hall, 835 NW Saltzman. We will continue to identify projects and make contact with the landowners, businesses and public agencies that can help us connect CPO 1 neighborhoods. Anyone with an interest in this is welcome to join us. Or just sign up for our email list to stay informed about what we’re doing.
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