Fix our current roads before building Missing Mountain Road| Letter

On Feb. 19, the County Council will discuss MMR, the proposed road connecting Turn Point and Pear Point roads across the gravel pit. This road is unnecessary, and the County should spend our limited road dollars on improving existing roads instead.

MMR is currently the top priority on the entire TIP (a ranking of road projects) and is ahead of improvements to Beaverton Valley, Douglas, Rouleau, and San Juan Valley roads. The TIP lists three reasons why MMR is so important: (1) fulfilling a “commitment” the County made to the Town; (2) giving an “alternate” route for fuel trucks; and (3) providing “access” to affordable housing.

Douglas Road intersections, in contrast, have “high rates of accidents and near miss vehicular collisions,” “limited to no shoulder” and sight distance issues. Beaverton Valley’s road base is threatened by a separated culvert, causing slumping. Rouleau’s road base has failed. San Juan Valley road is so bad the County had to install “rough road ahead” signs. But MMR is more important? Now consider again the strained rationale for MMR:

(1) Commitment. The truth is the County is under no legal (or other) obligation to build the road for the Town. Legislative priorities can and should change with the times.

(2) Alternative route. The fuel trucks already have an alternative to Warbass by using Turn Point-Pear Point. Using MMR would save only six minutes.

(3) Access. The Housing Trust property abuts Turn Point Road. It has access to the street network. The County does not need to build MMR to give the Home Trust access.

I believe the County’s true goal is to promote and facilitate the Home Trust’s low-income housing inTown near Turn Point Road. I support the Home Trust’s goal and possible project. I don’t support the County diverting scarce road dollars away from projects that need fixing now and spending them on a road that may, but probably will not, be needed in the future. Please let our decision-makers know that road dollars should be used to improve our failing roads, and to find other ways to support the Home Trust.

Graham Black

San Juan Island