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
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.
2. HARD PAVING ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE ROAD ONLY.
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.
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
3. HARD PAVING ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE ROAD ONLY.
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.)
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