Leadership has ruined the waterfront

By Emory Cole | Jun 26, 2019

We have reviewed the challenges put forth by Mick Matheson, PE, Public Works Director, in regard to the waterfront redevelopment traffic challenges and, in particular, how they relate to Mukilteo Lane. To begin, it is hard to comprehend the apparent ineptitude that has been rendered by the City of Mukilteo from the very beginning of the waterfront redevelopment project.

We have been on record since the federal government declared they would surplus the former fuel tank property, and the City elected to agree the Port of Everett should be the “lead agency” under federal guidelines.

All of our predictions have come true; (1) WSDOT got their new ferry terminal occupying a majority of Mukilteo’s prime waterfront; (2) the Port of Everett did not care to consider the interest of preserving the waterfront for the benefit of Mukilteo, and gave away between 2 and 3 acres of the land to the Tulalip Tribes; and (3) Mukilteo got screwed.

There was an opportunity a couple years ago to secure a Community Transit Park & Ride and commuter parking lot on the west side of Paine Field near Bernie Weber Drive that could have reduced vehicle traffic and Whidbey Island commuter traffic on SR 525 (Mukilteo Speedway).  The Snohomimsh County Council supported this project, and Mayor Gregerson botched the deal.  This is not conjecture, but fact.

Several months ago we found out the Port of South Whidbey was in the process of negotiating a lease for the tribal property on the waterfront for a parking lot for Whidbey commuters.  We contacted the Port of Everett and encouraged the City of Mukilteo to do the same and try to derail this attempt.

We even suggested the City of Mukilteo explore a way to lease or buy the land from the Tribes for the benefit of Mukilteo, but it appears there has been no effort to make that happen.  Most of our city pays port taxes to Port of Everett, but we certainly get no respect from them.

Now, due to the apparent incompetence of the City of Mukilteo administration, myriad decisions are being presented to try to mitigate more traffic on the waterfront and on Mukilteo Lane.  We understand Mukilteo Lane has been a problem for many years because; (1) the section between 5th Street and the Mt. Baker BNRR crossing is partially in the City of Everett and partially in the City of Mukilteo; (2) it is a substandard street with no shoulders for pedestrians and has been known to be a maintenance problem due to land slides.  Everett would like to give their portion to Mukilteo to be rid of the maintenance issue but Mukilteo, wisely thus far, has opted to not take it; (3) we have offered in the past a solution to the traffic problem that would make the street in our neighborhood a “Local Access Only” with an “emergency vehicle crash gate” at the bottom of the hill that could restrict vehicle access but would allow emergency vehicle access when necessary. This would also require a “turn around” for vehicles at the bottom of the hill that don’t understand the concept of “Local Access Only.”  The less traffic on the street, the less maintenance required.  Currently, large BNSF and waterfront construction industrial/commercial trucks use this street constantly.

The idea of allowing commuter parking traffic to utilize any part of Mukilteo Lane is absurd.  The City of Mukilteo and the Port of Everett have managed to screw the citizens of Mukilteo by sacrificing a majority of the waterfront for the benefit of WSDOT and Whidbey Island commuters.  The mayor has shown dismal leadership throughout this waterfront redevelopment process and should certainly not be elected to the County Council. We believe it is time to change the form of government in Mukilteo to the Council-Manager system and hire a professional administrator to run the city.

 

Emory Cole is a former Mukilteo mayor, and Molly Cole is Mukilteo’s former “First Lady”

 

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