EDMONDS — It looks like a game of pedestrian chicken.
Walkers and joggers stand at the corner of Pine Street, trying to figure the odds of safely crossing Edmonds Way, the busy state highway that leads to the Edmonds ferry.
Cars often come barreling down the long hill to the ferry holding lanes, unaware that pedestrians are trying to cross their path to get to City Park or nearby neighborhoods. That’s about to change.
A pedestrian crossing and traffic light is being installed about 200 feet north of Pine Street. Work on the project is expected to be finished next month.
It’s a move welcomed by many walkers, bikers and joggers who use the area, especially those living in the Point Edwards neighborhood, on a hill that overlooks the city and Puget Sound.
Dave Huneke and his wife, Bonnie, moved to the neighborhood three and a half years ago and enjoy walking nearly every day. The city’s walkability was one of the reasons they moved to Edmonds, he said.
“Ever since we’ve been here, when the ferry traffic lets out, it gets pretty fast as you’re trying to walk along Highway 104 there,” he said.
The couple don’t use their car much, preferring to walk downtown or when going out to dinner. “There’s a lot of residents that do that up here,” he said.
City Council member Tom Mesaros, who also lives in the neighborhood, said one woman fell as she was trying to cross the state highway. Fortunately, the driver of an oncoming car was alert, saw her fall, stopped and was able to help her, he said.
“I’m a big fan of the crosswalk,” Mesaros said. Some 250 people now live in the Point Edwards neighborhood, and more are expected to join them.
In a city that’s trying to encourage walking, “you should have a crosswalk across the roadway for people to use,” he said.
The cost of the project is about $566,000, including design, construction and equipment for the crossing, said Kris Olsen, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman. Most of the money is coming from a Washington State Department of Transportation grant. The city contributed $10,000.
The traffic signal that’s being installed will remain green unless a pedestrian needs to cross, Olsen said. There will be a striped crosswalk that will meet federal standards for assisting people with disabilities, she said, including railings and easily accessible pedestrian buttons.
And since the crosswalk will mean a change in traffic patterns on a heavily used highway, there will be signs alerting drivers of the new pedestrian crossing as they approach the intersection, she said.
The pedestrian crossing will lead to an entrance near the south end of City Park.
Street lights will illuminate the crosswalk so it can be easily spotted, said Phil Williams, the city’s Public Works director. “It will dramatically improve safety,” he said.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; email@example.com.