Letters to the Editor

Traffic prompts queries to city

Kudos to state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen for her expressed opinion regarding the city’s contribution to the “highway woes” of Highway 20 between Swantown Road and Beeksma Drive (Whidbey News-Times, Sept. 12). She said that it’s time the city stops pointing a finger at someone else, and takes responsibility for allowing development in the area without addressing the traffic impact. As stated in an earlier edition of the Whidbey News-Times, the city recognized this would be a congested area 10 years ago.

While Sen. Haugen singled out commercial development, unchecked residential development has also contributed to this congestion. In the area of the highway between Scenic Heights Road and the traffic light at Erie Street, one 32-unit condominium complex has been completed and a 24-unit complex is under construction. The driveway for these units empties onto Scenic Heights Road within 100 yards of its intersection with Highway 20. If you factor in the 17 other condo units in the same area, you have a minimum of 73 vehicles whose driveway is within 100 yards of this stop sign.

In this same section of highway are two driveways. Mine is one. As I drive up the hill from the light at the Erie intersection, I need to get into the center lane to enter my property. There have been many close calls as I find myself facing an impatient driver coming down the hill and prematurely entering the center lane before it becomes a left turn lane onto Erie Street. Yesterday the vehicle I met there was a large gravel/dump truck. My small pickup was no match for it. The state will eventually get its fatality.

My question to the city: Despite letters of concern, why have you allowed more and more high density residential units to be added to this already-congested area? What about the area of land along the highway that is currently for sale? Should we not consider purchasing some of this land in order to widen the corner or at least have land available for some measure to improve traffic flow, rather than giving it up to more traffic-clogging development?

Jan Sebens

Oak Harbor

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