Connector road should not be built | Letters

The elusive connector road should not be built. The sight distance near Island Rec’s parking lot is inadequate and dangerous. San Juan County already knows this. It was pointed out in the county’s engineering study in 2010, and confirmed by the county engineer on April 18, 2017. Based on my math, as currently designed the sight distance is only 40 percent of the required distance, or stated another way, is 60 percent deficient.

This road is to get fuel trucks off Warbass Way, yet it “T”s into Pear Point Road at the “S” curve just east of the gravel pit parking lot. The county engineer stated in the public hearing that the sight distances are inadequate. Why not build a road with safe sight distances, especially one for fuel trucks?

Even if built, the road will not divert fuel truck traffic off Warbass Way. The county still needs to purchase right-of-way on Turn Point Road, and then plan, permit and pay for a roundabout to allow fuel trucks leaving Shipyard Cove to turn south. If the county cannot get right-of-way, or lacks the funds for the project, then the trucks will continue to use Warbass. To me, prudence would dictate building the roundabout first, before the road.

This road is also, however, being built for developers. Typically the developer submits an application to the Town, and the impacts of that development are studied. If the impacts are unacceptable, then the jurisdiction can condition the project to mitigate those impacts. The developers are then financially responsible for addressing the impacts.

Here, this entire process is backwards. First, there is no application pending. Second, in 2010 the county hired traffic engineers to study the traffic issues associated with building out these properties, and the experts concluded that the connector road would not improve traffic on Warbass and Harrison. Third, the Town has already said it will deny applications for development, even before knowing what the impacts will be on its roads. Finally, the County is building the road for the developers, not the other way around. It’s time to rethink this road.

Gib Black

San Juan Island

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