County wins grants for pedestrian paths

(Editor’s note: A previous version of this article said that the $500,000 grant for the Complete Streets program came from the Washington Department of Transportation, however, the awarder is the Washington Transportation Improvement Board.)

Walkers and bicyclists won’t have to share the road in some of the islands’ highest pedestrian traffic areas with cars thanks to a new grant.

The Washington Transportation Improvement Board gave $500,000 to San Juan County to jumpstart pedestrian pathway projects on each of the three ferry-served islands.

“It’s pretty nice when a new endeavor gets recognized with that much support from the state,” Dave Zeretske, one of the community members instrumental in bringing the program to the county’s attention. “It’s very pleasing, and the choice of projects that public works has prioritized for Lopez, Orcas and San Juan look very worthwhile.”

The grant is part of the Complete Streets Program, which encourages road planners to assess the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders on roads throughout the state. It requires a municipality to agree to draft street-design plans that accommodate all modes of transportation. However, it does not stipulate that the final design must include those details, nor that any predetermined set standards be applied.

The San Juan County Council unanimously approved the ordinance on Nov. 27, that requires public works to offer solutions for every method of transportation along with standard road improvements when designing a roadway in the county.

The projects funded by the grant include:$130,000 to create a 4-foot-wide shoulder on the west side of Fisherman Bay Road from Lopez Road (Lopez Village) to the Fisherman Bay Marina (approximately 0.6 miles).

$100,000 to construct pedestrian and bicycle improvements on the southeast side of Orcas Road from Myers Road to Main Street on Orcas (around 720 feet).

$200,000 to build a curb, gutter and sidewalk on the south side of Rose Street from Madrona Street to the public library and from the library to Prune Alley on Orcas (about 220 feet).

$100,000 to construct a 4-foot shoulder on the south side of Pear Point Road from Argyle Ave to Jacksons Beach Road on San Juan (approximately 0.45 miles).

“Thanks to the council, staff and public works,” Zeretske said. “We think it’ll work well for San Juan County.”