Opinion

Dockton seawall project needs input

By Linda Dougherty

For The Beachcomber

King County needs your input on a very important local project.

It’s no secret that the 94-year-old Dockton Road seawall is deteriorating. After inspections were done last fall, more than $100,000 in urgent repairs were made in December. We still need to find a long-term solution, because repairs are becoming less and less effective.

At an open house last October, the community discussed priorities and weighed in on preliminary design concepts. Since that time, the county has continued to refine alternatives and meet with the project’s Community Advisory Group. There have also been meetings with the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council, the Vashon Island School District and Vashon Island Fire & Rescue. In December, we mailed a newsletter to every household on Vashon and Maury Island describing the input we had received up to that point. Since the beginning of this year, we have received an additional 100 calls, letters and e-mails from community members demonstrating there is a continuing strong interest in this project.

There are three alternatives being considered — no build, reroute traffic and rebuild the roadway. So far, we’ve heard a good deal of support for keeping the road open and rebuilding Dockton Road and the seawall. But some have voiced support for closing and rerouting traffic off Dockton Road to allow potential recreation and habitat opportunities along the shoreline.

The main reasons people have given for keeping the road open are:

• Travel challenges associated with rerouting the road, including the effect upon emergency services and increased traffic near schools;

• Mobility to and from Maury Island, especially in the case of storm events affecting Quarter-master Drive;

• Concerns over potential increases in traffic on Quarter-master Drive, Monument Road and Vashon Highway; and

• The ability to enjoy existing views while traveling along the waterfront.

In addition to those issues, many of you also expressed concern about the current safety of bicyclists and pedestrians along Tramp Harbor.

I want to assure you the project team is listening to all your comments and is thoroughly exploring the three alternatives. No final decisions have been made on this project at this time. Decisions will rest with the King County Council, and its process also always includes input from the community.

Please join us at our next public meeting — to be held Thursday, April 22 — to learn more about the project. The county will share the results of its studies and research on the three alternatives, as well as answer questions and take your comments.

This is an important time for the community to speak up about Dockton Road. Your input will be useful as the county completes a Concept Development Report to send to the county council.

We look forward to your participation in this important public process.

— Linda Dougherty is King County Road Services Division’s director.

The meeting to discuss the Dockton Road seawall project will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at the McMurray Middle School multi-purpose room.

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