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Roadside stakes: Some think they mar the view

Markers now line Dockton Road at Tramp Harbor, and have created a flurry of complaints. - Leslie Brown/Staff Photo
Markers now line Dockton Road at Tramp Harbor, and have created a flurry of complaints.
— image credit: Leslie Brown/Staff Photo

Eighty-four chest-high stakes were recently installed along the Tramp Harbor stretch of Dockton Road, raising concern among Islanders who see the iron posts as a visual blight marring one of Vashon’s most spectacular roadside views.

The posts, placed every 50 feet on the water side of the road, are there to give workers precise locations along the road’s aging bulkhead, portions of which are beginning to fail, said Jim Didricksen, a Vashon-based supervisor with the King County Roads Division.

“Everyplace along that bulkhead is a specific location when you apply for an environmental permit,” he said. “There’s been some mixup before.”

Didricksen, however, has heard from Islanders who are troubled by the posts’ sudden appearance. Rochelle Ogershok, a spokeswoman for the county roads division, said she, too, has heard that some residents have voiced complaints.

“We are aware that there has been some concern about the height of the markers. So we’re going to look into shortening their length,” she said.

Nadine Edelstein, who lives at Portage and routinely drives Dockton Road, said she is among those who find the posts unsightly. When the posts first appeared, she wondered if they were part of an art installation or a creative way to indicate progress in the public schools’ fundraising campaign. Told of their purpose, she expressed surprise that so many posts are needed to mark locations along the short stretch of road.

“Could they be shorter? Could they be at ground level? Could they use a tape measure?” she asked. “It seems excessive.”

That stretch of road, she said, is spectacular. The markers, she added, are “a complete visual blight.”

Didricksen said the engineers intentionally used brown stakes “hoping they would blend in more.”

“They didn’t realize it would stir up an interest in a negative way with the community,” he added.

But, like Ogershok, he believes the county’s road engineers may rethink the approach.

“We don’t want to start a war. We’ll try to do something that can work out,” he said.

 

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