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 Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
1 dead, 1 in hospital after 3-vehicle crash on Highway 9

A concrete pumping truck and two sedans crashed Monday afternoon, closing the highway near Bickford Avenue.

Moses Malachi Brewer appears in court for sentencing Friday, March 24, 2023, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to 18 years for 2019 shooting in Everett

Moses Brewer, 23, shot four people in an Everett apartment, which left one victim paralyzed on his right side.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Health care spending continues to outpace inflation, driven by prices

Can state efforts curb 6.7% growth per year in overall health care spending?

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A buffet of budgets, a bunch of whales and a request for your miles

It’s Day 78. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

A Sounder gray whale. (Cascadia Research)
Don’t be flummoxed: Help is needed to name 5 Puget Sound gray whales

The voting poll on the Sounders, as these whales are called, is until Sunday for the grays dining in our waters.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Police investigating cause of fatal 3-vehicle crash on Highway 9

The man, 61, crossed the center line in Snohomish on Monday and crashed into the truck, the sheriff’s office said.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Jay’s bond, REET in reserve and Blake fix gets twisted

It’s Day 80. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Public Works director Kelly Snyder. (Snohomish County)
Ex-staffer who alleged bias by county Public Works director gets $97K

Amy Powell alleged Director Kelly Snyder created an abusive work environment that made her “uncomfortable and physically unwell.”

Richard Rotter listens to witness testimony in his trial at the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett, Washington on Monday, March 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
As prosecution rests, jury hears jail call after Everett cop killing

“Try to put a wild cat inside a cage? … See what happens,” said Richard Rotter, accused of killing officer Dan Rocha.

Most Read