Lynnwood weighs costs of new sidewalks

LYNNWOOD — Hung Ngu­yen, 37, can’t take his dog for a walk without stepping through other people’s yards.

It’s either that, or risk getting hit by a car.

His neighborhood along 40th Avenue W. near Alderwood mall has three school bus stops, many new homes and lots of traffic. It doesn’t have sidewalks.

“It would be really nice to have some sidewalks,” Nguyen said. “A lot of cars drive too fast.”

The Lynnwood City Council, considering whether to add to the city’s network of sidewalks, must decide whether it’s fair to use public money to build sidewalks through many neighborhoods. Lynnwood residents in other neighborhoods have had to pay for sidewalks out of their own pockets.

It would cost nearly $50.7 million to build out the city’s sidewalk system using concrete. The cost for using asphalt would be more than $32 million, according to the Lynnwood Public Works Department.

“We’re talking about significant amounts of money, and that money has to come from somewhere,” Lynnwood City Councilman Mark Smith said.

Nearly 146 miles of sidewalk exist inside the city. To fill out the sidewalk system, the city would have to build nearly 60 miles more, the city said.

Many neighborhoods that are missing sidewalks were built decades ago, when sidewalks were neither desired nor required, Smith said.

The city now requires new housing developments to have sidewalks. Developers pay for them to be installed, then pass along the cost to homebuyers.

In Edmonds, developers also are responsible for paying for sidewalks in new developments, Edmonds public works director Noel Miller said.

However, Edmonds also pays for sidewalks in existing neighborhoods when there’s a need for safer walkways, Miller said. If the money didn’t come from the city, the sidewalks might never be built, he added.

Without the city’s help, residents in neighborhoods without sidewalks would have to form local improvement districts and pay for construction themselves. The process can be lengthy, and persuading people to spend more money is difficult, Miller said.

“We’re not going to try to force it on people,” he said.

The price of new sidewalks may be too expensive for Lynn­wood residents, Nguyen said. He knows people in his neighborhood who couldn’t afford the extra costs.

“I think the city should be responsible,” Nguyen said.

Sheila Simon, 42, and her husband recently moved from Eastpointe, Mich., into a house off 40th Avenue W. Simon said she enjoyed taking long walks on her former city’s extensive sidewalk system.

In her new neighborhood, she can only walk a short distance before the sidewalk ends.

“If you just want to walk from here to the end of the street, there is a sidewalk,” Simon said. “Any farther, and you’re out of luck.”

Simon often sees children riding their bikes and people walking their dogs in the roadway, She hopes she never witnesses an accident.

“I love sidewalks,” Simon said. “It makes it feel more homey, and it’s safer for kids, pets and adults.”

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Highway 9 work could disrupt travel through Lake Stevens

Construction is set for roundabouts on South Lake Stevens Road and one at North Davies Road and Vernon Road.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Floatplane wreckage recovery in Puget Sound begins

The U.S. Navy will use a remotely operated vehicle Deep Drone 8,000, a barge and a crane in recovery efforts.

U.S. 2 was closed from the Money Creek tunnel to Skykomish on Monday evening because the Bolt Creek fire spread close to the highway. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
U.S. 2 closed near Skykomish as Bolt Creek fire spreads

The highway was closed from the Money Creek tunnel to Skykomish, mile posts 46 to 50.

This screenshot shows a man being hoisted to a rescue helicopter Monday after being involved in a plane crash near Lake Cavanaugh. (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)
Brothers rescued after plane crash en route to Snohomish area

The two men, 78 and 79, were flying from Skagit County to an airstrip south of Snohomish when their plane went missing.

A woman was injured in an attack Sunday at Clark Park in Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Police: Purse snatching in Everett park led to stabbing

A Snohomish woman, 36, was arrested for investigation of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

A semi truck blows smoke out of its exhaust pipes while driving southbound on I-5 on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Reader: Did a tractor-trailer cover my car in diesel soot?

Probably not, according to a Department of Ecology spokesperson, since diesel emissions are getting “cleaner.”

Staff are evaluating two more light rail alternatives for the Everett Link extension. One would follow Interstate 5 north of 128th Street SW to the Everett Mall and back to the freeway. Another would go west of 128th Street SW to Highway 99 and north to Casino Road. (Sound Transit)
Snohomish County leaders reject light rail routes bypassing Paine Field

Those options weren’t what voters approved — and would be like “butchering” the plan, the Snohomish County executive said.

Meadowdale High School Principal Dave Shockley laughs while touring his school’s temporary space for the new school health center on Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
First school-based clinic in Snohomish County opens at Meadowdale High

School and health officials said the new on-campus center should boost wellness and grades for Lynnwood students.

Everett Memorial Stadium and Funko Field on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
City, county studying new outdoor stadium for Everett AquaSox

MLB facility requirements prompted government leaders to look at replacing Funko Field, either there or elsewhere.

Most Read