hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Friday, June 3, 2011

We Could Do What?

Photographer Ed, temporarily working under the aegis of The Office of Incisive Analysis, has looked at the problems faced by the Whatcom County Planning Office with respect to Saving the APA Maple Canopy project and found some options in potential actions.  He provides them here for your consideration:

There seem to be three general approaches to APA
road widening:

1. DO NOTHING, just leave the current pavement,
   ditch, shoulder, and trees as they are.

   Likely positions on this are:

      Residents: Great, we like it the way it is
      and strongly oppose harming those big maples

      Developer: Great, we like the trees too.
      Besides, this saves us the road widening

      County. Bad; we would have to give up this
      golden chance to bring APA up to current
      standards (22 feet of pavement with 4 foot
      gravel shoulders) at no cost to the county.

   I think we should ask for this, but I don't
   think the county will bite.  A truly
   enlightened county government might, but I bet
   that's more enlightenment than we've got here.

   That would require putting a culvert in the
   ditch, filling the ditch in, and adding 3 feet
   or so of pavement and some gravel on top of the
   culvert.  Four feet of gravel shoulder could go
   on the south side without much harm to the big
   maples.  To alleviate any concern about
   inadequate pedestrian and bike ways, a nice
   gravel path could wind through the trees south
   of the big roadside maples.

   Likely positions:

      Residents: Pretty good! Doesn't change much
      and saves all of the trees.

      Developer: Well, we do like those trees, but
      culverts would add to our design and
      construction costs.  On the other hand, this
      plan would greatly reduce community
      opposition to our project, and that's got to
      be a good thing for us.  On balance?  Gotta
      think about it.

      County: I think they'd go for it.  My quick
      reading of the standards
      [http://tinyurl.com/44d7zbl] makes me think
      this gives them most or all of what they
      need for a standards-compliant APA.  (To
      head off any misunderstanding, these are
      minimum standards for this type of road, and
      do not result from projections of increased

   Three feet of additional pavement and four feet
   of shoulder would require cutting down some of
   the big roadside maples and would gradually
   kill the others through traffic damage to their
   roots.  (Just to be clear, there's really no
   room for compromise between hard paving only on
   the north side (2) or only on the south side
   (3).  That's because the pavement is already
   very close to the edge of the ditch -- no room
   to do anything without filling in that ditch.)

   Likely positions:

      Residents: No, no, no!  To the barricades!  

      Developer: Hate to lose those nice trees,
      but it does save us the culvert costs.  Too
      bad, but whadaya gonna do?

      County: Happy as a clam, even without much
      of a shoulder on the north side of the road.
      That is, unless they worry about fire bombs
      hurled through their office windows by
      disgruntaled Point Roberts residents.
As things stand, the decision is pretty much up to
the developers.  They could have their engineers
draw up either plan (2) or plan (3), with a very
good chance of getting county approval for either

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