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Roads plan doesn't protect the beauty of Vashon | Letter to the Editor
Vashon Highway is a beautiful road. With any mode of transport, as we experience the curves, angles, cambers, climbs and descents, we encounter pleasant surprises. One can be delighted by rainbows to the east or west. A sunny day momentarily becomes a path through mysterious drifting fog. The traveler is amused by signs offering communal baked salmon, massive yard sales, operas and car washes and bemused by roadside haiku.
Along the way there are dozens of opportunities to stop for a bracing cup of coffee, a freshly baked pastry or organic produce from Vashon’s farms and gardens. Hand-lettered signs offer richly yolked free range eggs. We quaintly refer to the lineup of a few dozen cars at the corner of Vashon Highway and Bank Road as a “traffic jam.” The path is lined with lush greenery: Douglas firs, hemlock, madrona, salal, alder, hazelnut, venerable apple trees from Vashon’s orchard years.
As the weather warms in the spring the parade of native herbs and flowers begins along the roadside: the golden spears of skunk cabbage, dainty chickweed, violets, foxglove, vetch, phlox, columbine and so much more. Vashon Highway and the environment it passes through are a multi-sensory work of art.
A roadway must be more than beautiful, however. It must be safe and economical. When we are making changes to Vashon Highway to achieve these ends, however, we must remember to protect the beauty we have. The milled rumble strips are not aesthetically pleasing. The slippery white pieces of plastic which are proposed to be inserted into the grooves here and there would not be attractive. Nor would numerous large orange signs proclaiming “Rumble strips ahead” be a pleasant addition to the landscape.
I invite you, if you care for the beauty of Vashon, to write Dow Constantine, our King County Executive, to make your concerns known.
— Joanna Wiebe