Rose Street decision should be about ‘community’


The City Council reversed its decision to redesign the striping of Rose Street based on a “huge public outcry,” according to the Union-Bulletin. Are City Council decisions made according to who cries out the loudest and gets signatures on a petition? Is it an “us vs. them” thing, or are we a community?

Walla Walla is a community. City engineers — the experts — were considering the community as a whole as they proposed the change, citing research as to improved safety. I saw the excellent presentation at a City Council meeting. They were considering motorists, those who ride Valley Transit, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Mayor Jim Barrow, who reversed his earlier decision of voting for the two-lane traffic plan with a center-turn lane, seemed to contradict himself when he said, “Unless it is immoral, illegal or unsafe, I think we have a duty to represent the people.” The change proposed for Rose Street was presented as a means to improve safety for all of those who use travel through, including bicyclists.

Telling bicyclists to use another route (stated by a Council person who was against the plan) is not accident prevention. Bicyclists will still use Rose Street.

Shane Laib and Conrado Caveros were absent at the City Council meeting I attended where the plan was originally approved, 3-2, after seeing a well-researched presentation by city engineers. Is it right for them to show up at a later meeting and have a recount?

The striping of a bike lane seems to be of contention for many. However, I have found that as a motorist, it works as a visual guide that improves traffic flow. It is not there simply for the sake of bicyclists.

The U-B report added a person gathered signatures from “approximately” 125 residents of Golden West Estates Manufactured Housing Community. I live there also. I would like to ask my neighbors if they were thinking “us vs. them” when they signed the petition, or were they thinking “we are community?”

Also, is it fiscally responsible for the City Council not to consider the question that remains open, as to whether keeping the four-lane striping design will affect state and federal grants that will pay for 80 percent of a traffic light project, before it went ahead and recounted?

Please, make sure you do your research and think “community” before signing a petition. It is not only about “me.”

Sharon K. Schiller

Walla Walla



sohcammer says...

"They were considering motorists, those who ride Valley Transit, pedestrians and bicyclists."

You mentioned everyone but business. Rose is an industrial arterial in case people have forgotten. Businesses like Americold, WW Farmer's Co-Op, Color Press, Ferrell Gas, Stubblefields, Luttrells, Grassi etc. 23 out of 25 the paper stated. I'm pretty sure you can get a copy of the petition and see who all signed it. Over 90% of businesses on Rose street came forward and stated that they had not been contacted or there was a lack of material disclosure of the full plan prior to Counsel's initial vote. Since Rose is primarily and industrial park with a few residential side streets, it should make sense to consult the largest land owners that use the street for their day to day business operations.

$2.2 million dollar project where 25% of the road surface was going to be taken away from motorists and heavy truck traffic in favor of bikes which translates into about $550,000 for 2 bike lanes. Great idea - a whole new way to waste money and bottleneck traffic at the same time.

The Golden West Estate residents conducted the petition themselves with no outside intervention. We can all thank them very much for taking this matter as serious as they did.

With regards to the funding, Council member Cummins clearly stated during the debate that the original applications for State and Federal funding were done using the 4 lane configuration.

"City engineers — the experts — were considering the community as a whole as they proposed the change, citing research as to improved safety."

Did you look at their research? 30% of the accident report used to make the argument for "improved safety" consisted of accidents that happened outside the proposed scope of work. How do you measure "improved safety"??

Numbers, statistics and studies that contradict common sense or are just flat out bogus are all too common. Take our national unemployment rate and how it is calculated - completely bogus - do your own research if you don't believe me. If the government doesn't get the numbers/statistics they want, then they change the way they calculate them. Just like the government gave financial institutions during the financial crisis new "mark to market" accounting rules they could use to hide all the toxic debt so the public wouldn't panic and pitchfork all of them. Then they put on a show with those bogus "stress tests" of all the major financial institutions. Which is another favorite for some called "running interference". One Council member stated that it looked like the design was decided upon and then studies and data were gathered to support the design.

Many people are content to sit back, listen and believe virtually everything they see and hear as the Gospel truth. I believe the classification is "sheeple". It's a good thing that businesses and residents on Rose street decided not to fall into that classification.

Posted 17 May 2013, 12:24 a.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

Hey you, Sohc,

Sheeple might also be referred to as educated, something that is valued in Walla Walla valley. Don't like it leave.

Posted 17 May 2013, 7:26 a.m. Suggest removal

sohcammer says...

I thought you were the one who stated you were going to be spending your "marginal" tax dollars somewhere else. Now you're telling me to leave? Make up your educated mind.....or is it too easily led?

Posted 17 May 2013, 9:41 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

I am here for the long haul. I just need to know where to spend my vacation dollars.

Posted 17 May 2013, 9:44 p.m. Suggest removal

Iopine says...

Your letter Ms Schiller seems to have a lot more "me" than "we" in it and I drive Rose a lot and the amount of bicycle traffic is minimal compared to vehicle traffic. I applaud the Council for paying attention to the majority of the Rose Street business's and participants.

Posted 17 May 2013, 6:17 a.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

Bikes don't use Rose Street now because of the high traffic speeds and the lack of maintenance on the sidewalk. Instant flat tire with all the debris and goatheads. Go ahead and try to ride from one of the low income apartment complexes to anywhere. I did, flat tire.

Posted 17 May 2013, 7:31 a.m. Suggest removal

Iopine says...

I hate to say this but as long as that railroad right of way is right next to the street those goatheads will be around a long time. Those rail cars carry a lot of stuff that just blows into the distance. Thats why I head for Myra and have a nice ride.

Posted 17 May 2013, 4:26 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

I spent the morning removing goat heads from my driveway. Street sweeping which is part of the storm water plan will keep bike lanes clear.

Posted 17 May 2013, 7:26 p.m. Suggest removal

sohcammer says...

The City Council not only reversed the decision, it was a 5-2 smack down followed by a 6-1 majority to keep it 4 lanes. We witnessed true representative government functioning as it was intended. Council should be applauded(at least 6 of them anyways) for recognizing that the function of the office is more important than the individual who holds it.

Posted 17 May 2013, 10:10 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

The vote to maintain 4-lanes was an irresponsible motion made without knowing the fiscal implications. The motion was made by a lame duck council member and seconded by a council member that clearly has a history of fiscal irresponsibility.

Posted 17 May 2013, 11:02 p.m. Suggest removal

barracuda says...

I dont know what the big hoopla is about....

CP is going to rebuild its share of Rose. (The voters passed a bond) and if the rumors are true, CP plans for its section of Rose, ( Myra Rd west to College Ave.) will be three lanes....

As well as parts of College Ave. will be (as it is currently) will be three lanes as well.

Posted 17 May 2013, 10:22 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

right, the only difference is that CP won't paint bike lanes.

Posted 17 May 2013, 10:46 p.m. Suggest removal

barracuda says...


Posted 19 May 2013, 2:03 p.m. Suggest removal

barracuda says...

You are correct.... And they are being smart... They are separating to two modes of travel, by planning to make a bike path... Just like East Whitman (road behind Home Depot), SE 12th, Dallas Military Rd. Myra Rd, Poplar St, Prospect Rd. and Reser Rd, Just to name a few... One side a normal sidewalk, the other side wider for bikes to use. This seem to be the way of the future for this valley...

Also, If it is the weeds you are concerned with...
I believe WW is part of the WA. ST. Dept. of Ag. Noxious weed program, which has a mandate to eradicate certain weeds, Puncture Vines (Goat Heads) are included in this. Call City Hall and ask questions. And if so, remind them of your issues.

Posted 19 May 2013, 2:15 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

Or maybe the businesses along Rose St should take care of the road. Walla Walla Farmers Co-op has the expertise to manage puncture vine, but I doubt one of them has a degree in road design.

Posted 20 May 2013, 11:33 a.m. Suggest removal

ImJustSayin says...

Just came off Rose Street and wondering why the focus is there. Alder is in much worse condition.

Posted 21 May 2013, 8:36 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

The City of Walla Walla did a survey and Rose St. was top priority for the new Transportation Benefit District tax that was approved by the citizens that would allow all users to pay for the improvements to our roads. Unfortunately, the funds have been co-opted by the minority.

Posted 21 May 2013, 8:47 p.m. Suggest removal

sohcammer says...

Hey oldguyonabike -what minority would that be?

I would think that an educated person could interpret the above poll and avoid posting inaccurate comments in a public forum.

Posted 21 May 2013, 9:04 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

The same poll suggested pay raises for public employees are exorbitant.

Posted 21 May 2013, 9:47 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

The City of Walla Walla Transportation Benefit District tax is an example of why citizens distrust new taxes in the hands of local politicians. I was supportive of a sales tax based funding mechanism for improving the city roads. Since most commercial business are within the city limits most sales contribute despite the residence of the tax payer. It is not the business that pays the tax, the business is only required to transfer the sales tax to the taxing authority.

The increased sales tax does put a burden on local businesses but mostly we want to support the Walla Walla economy and 8.9% sales tax is what responsible citizens pay.

It was the decision for Rose St. to be rebuilt counter to best management practices. This is not how I want to see Walla Walla in the future. In an act of rebellion I went to Spokane to shop. One of the roads leading to the Spokane Valley Mall was 3-lanes, bike lanes and a mix of industrial, residential, commercial. In other words, vibrant economic activity. Look at Rose Street, and Walla Walla is just going to do the same thing. It is just not smart.

Looking around town this weekend, I saw bicycles everywhere. Downtown had cars with bikes parked, the restaurants had bikes parked out front, Bennington Lake had bikes, Mill Creek Road had bikes, 2nd Avenue had bikes, Rose Street had none.

Posted 27 May 2013, 6:35 p.m. Suggest removal

barracuda says...

More bikes means there needs to be more safety measures....
Bike paths away from the cars/vehicals seems to be a safer way to go.
Again, about your original complaint, go to City Hall and ask for somebody to apply some spray for goatheads.
Or donate a gallon of 2,4D spray, that will go along ways......

Posted 27 May 2013, 8:35 p.m. Suggest removal

Iopine says...

OldGuy - No bikes on Rose street mean that people don't use the street with many other avenues to arrive where they are going. With the price of gas your sure doing a lot of traveling?

Posted 28 May 2013, 6:12 a.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

Safer isn't a design criteria in the City of Walla Walla. I think you underestimate the problem of puncture vine. And don't you think the businesses along there would take some pride in their neighborhood and help do some maintenance.

Posted 28 May 2013, 11:49 a.m. Suggest removal

barracuda says...

The argument between a little spray/weed maintenance and life safety is amazing!

City hall has to take aspects into consideration. All in all, the safety of you and your biking pals wins out! Pure and simple. They are getting the two modes of transportation apart. In the news, we see everyday somewhere is a car/bike accident. It just makes good sense to separate these two.
Take your concerns about the weeds/goat heads to city hall, and see if you can get some help. Start a petition of your friends to ask for some maintainance and spray. Take it to city hall/ managers office. I am sure there are more than you that has concerns over these weeds. Fifty people on paper looks really convincing to somepeople. A few dollars for spray is needed, but your obviously going to lose this battle.

Posted 28 May 2013, 8:14 p.m. Suggest removal

ryno3019 says...

Don't waste your time with City Hall on the goathead "issue". The Railroad owns the right of way, and the City will tell you as much. They drive a big truck down the tracks once a year, and that is their idea of maintenance. The trees, also fall into their right of way. It took a safety issue, after a wind storm, to get the City to step up and trim them back.

Posted 29 May 2013, 4:24 p.m. Suggest removal

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