Pierce County News

1. Public workshops for updating Chambers Creek Properties Master Site Plan to be held May 5-7

Pierce County will hold the second of a series of multi-day public workshops to gather input on the update of the award-winning Chambers Creek Properties Master Site Plan. Eight one-hour sessions will be held Thursday, May 5 through Saturday, May 7. May 5 sessions begin at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. May 6 sessions begin at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. May 7 sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. and a wrap-up session begins at 11 a.m. All sessions will be held at the Pierce County Environmental Services Building (9850 64th St. W., University Place). Citizens are encouraged to drop in at any time convenient to them. No registration is necessary. The third and final workshop in the series will be held May 26 – 28.

County staff and consultants will lead participants through an interactive one-hour session exploring in-depth the workshop theme of “Develop Recommendations.” These small group sessions allow a more hands-on approach for participants. Citizens will be able to review the uses and ideas gathered from the first workshop held April 14-16, and help craft the update recommendation. The Saturday wrap-up session will present all that was heard during the workshop and present the preliminary update recommended by participants.

Eighty people attended the first workshop series held in April to gather input on what new uses should be considered for the Master Site Plan update and to set priorities for the next 10 years. Many new uses and activities were suggested, but three that received the most attention were the boat launch, an off-leash dog park and development of an Environmental Education Center. Development of the golf course and trail system, the boat launch and waterfront access were identified as being priority projects for the next 10-year phase of development. All uses and activities proposed at the workshop will be evaluated against the project evaluation criteria and presented at workshop No. 2.

The Chambers Creek Properties Master Site Plan guides the development of the 930-acre Chambers Creek Properties, located along Puget Sound in the city of University Place. The purpose of the 10-year update is to revise the Master Plan to incorporate projects implemented to date, to set priorities for the next 10 years, to consider potential new uses, and consider other technical information or changes in technology that may have emerged since the Master Site Plan’s adoption in 1997.

Information about the Chambers Creek Properties and the Master Site Plan can be found at the project Web site at http://www.piercecountywa.org/ccp.

2. Open house set for 94th Avenue East improvement project

The Pierce County Department of Public Works and Utilities is inviting citizens to an informational open house regarding plans to improve 94th Avenue East between 116th and 136th streets.

The open house will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 11 at Zeiger Elementary School, 13008 94th Ave. E., and is intended to inform and involve citizens in roadway improvement planning. Project staff will be present to provide information, answer questions, and receive comments.

The proposed improvements include widening the existing two-lane roadway to accommodate five lanes, including a two-way left-turn lane.

Also included are cement concrete curbs and gutters, sidewalks, new traffic signal system at 136th Street East, modifications to the traffic signal system at 128th Street East, illumination, enclosed storm drainage system, and stormwater quality and quantity facilities.

3. PCN covers transportation, meth, ID theft and golf course funding issues

Pierce County News, the county’s fast-paced cable television news show, launches a new version each Thursday at 7:30 p.m. These news highlights are included in the new show:

— Road and transportation projects approved by the Legislature during the recently completed session;

— A new meth bill changes how people get cold medicine;

— The county’s fraud investigator gives tips about how not to be an identity theft victim;

— How the Chambers Bay destination golf course might be funded.

The show includes segments about citizens pulling together to create a Safety Corridor on State Route 7, University Place Councilmember Stan Flemming is being promoted in the Army Reserve, and a group of middle school students visiting Superior Court. The parks segment promotes the Kids Fishing Derby to be held at American Lake in May.

The 10-minute newscast is produced by C-RCC and can be viewed on channels 22-Comcast and 86-Click! Broadcasts are Sunday through Thursday at 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. For more information about C-RCC programming, call 253-589-5878 or visit http://www.rcc.pierce.wa.us.

4. Pierce ranks high on National Traffic Signal Report Card

Pierce County ranks among the nation’s best on the first National Traffic Signal Report Card. The county’s B+ looks good compared to the nationwide D- grade. The national report card on 378 highway agencies in 49 states rated the operation, maintenance, and management of the nation’s traffic signal systems.

“The county received solid marks on signal timing and signal maintenance management,” said Jim Ellison, Pierce County traffic engineer.

But the report card showed the county has room for improvement. “Our system is somewhat lacking in our capabilities to monitor all of our signals in real time and to be able to quickly change or implement special timing for emergency incidents or evacuations.”

As Ellison notes, sometimes even the best signal timing isn’t enough. “We receive complaints about the timing on parts of Canyon Road or on Wollochet Drive near Gig Harbor. But we’re milking all we can out of the signals. Those roads just don’t have enough lanes to meet the traffic demands,” he said.

The National Report Card shows that just because traffic signals turn from green to yellow to red doesn’t mean they are operating efficiently. One mayor called the report, issued by the National Transportation Operations Coalition, a wake-up call. “We are updating our signals and timing to improve traffic flow and to lessen congestion,” said Mayor Anthony A. Williams of Washington, D.C. “As president of the National League of Cities, I urge my colleagues to do the same in their cities.”

Studies show that updating signal timing and improving signal operations is a good investment. But traffic professionals in many cities, counties, and states don’t have adequate financial and manpower resources to do the work. That’s why the NTOC, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, issued the report card. The coalition, which consists of leading professional associations in the transportation field, is calling for more support for traffic signal timing and operating improvements, including funding, staff, and attention from public officials.

Benefits from these improvements include shorter commuter times, improved air quality, better fuel efficiency, and fewer frustrated drivers.