West Beach: Road belongs to everyone
July 3, 2008 · Updated 9:36 PM
I suppose there are always complainers (see unsafe at present speed, Nov. 20, Whidbey News-Times), but for residents along West Beach Road such complaints seem a little hollow. The picture accompanying the article shows a lady walking south on the west side next to the Strait, at a level stretch of the road, well beyond the usual area discussed in the article. She is standing before a 50 mph sign for the area up the hill and beyond. She is actually walking in an area where the speed limit is 40 mph.
I drive the road frequently at various times of day and night. I have always marveled at the discipline, courtesy and good sense of the drivers using West Beach Road. I think that is because they enjoy the serenity of driving on a low-traffic, wide road, well paved at all times, with wide manicured road shoulders and with frequently trimmed side vegetation. One almost always sees residents walking, with or without their dogs, bicyclists, joggers and others enjoying this stretch of Whidbey Island. That is why I drive it instead of taking Route 20.
I do not have the figures, but I seriously doubt, despite the accident mentioned, that the traffic statistic even goes a fraction above zero. I have never seen a close call, tailgating and all the usual complaints of some drivers. To the contrary, courtesy is the password.
As to Even Down, a housing tract, with one way in and out, I think if she would talk to the residents she could satisfy her concerns. It is an exceedingly quiet lovely area. I am puzzled by the comment that drivers must gun their cars to get it up the hill. I most certainly think that any reasonably modern vehicle would have little trouble managing the hill. As is so often the case, especially on Whidbey, the residents fail to appreciate what they have. Few if any roads in the Oak Harbor area have the exceedingly pleasant amenities of West Beach Road, due in part, of course, to its residents, but also to the Whidbey Island drivers who use it, and the taxpayers who maintain it. And perhaps they forget, expense to ALL the taxpayers. The road is there for their convenience, yes, but even more so, for the use of Whidbey Island residents, visitors, and others. It is not a private road to be controlled by a few.