Group to include citizen representatives
The next time Winthrop gets hit by a wave of speeding tourists, the town may be more prepared to do something about it.
In response to recent discussions about speeding concerns — including transgressions by residents as well as visitors — the town has formed an ad hoc traffic flow committee to assess the problem and come up with potential solutions.
Councilmember Kirsten Vanderhalf and Ben Nelson will be on the committee along with citizen volunteers. Vanderhalf said she will have more information available at the council’s Oct. 7 meeting. If interested in participating, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Sally Ranzau and Town Planner Rocklynn Culp had a virtual meeting with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) officials on Friday (Sept. 18) to talk about potential actions. The town’s main street, Riverside Avenue, is part of state Highway 20, and speeding is a problem on the street at both ends of town.
“It was basically a preliminary meeting to focus on problem areas,” Ranzau said of the WSDOT meeting.
Council members and residents have noted that speeding is a concern at all the city’s approaches, including East Chewuch Road, White Avenue and Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road.
The town has one electronic sign that tells approaching drivers how fast they are going, and the sign is deployed at various places around town, most recently on the eastern approach on Highway 20. Ranzau said earlier that she will propose that next year’s town budget include funds for several more signs. The mayor said some of them could be permanently installed in speeder hot spots.
Residents Tom and Carolyn Sullivan presented a petition signed by more than 60 of their neighbors on streets north of the highway, a largely residential part of town, asking that the town address the speeding issue.
Ranzau said that elements of the Winthrop in Motion plan will be part of the committee’s discussion. Winthrop In Motion is a “multimodal” planning effort supported by a state grant to come up with ways to make it easier for pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists and mobility-impaired people to negotiate downtown Winthrop’s streets and sidewalks. The town launched the program in 2018 but it has been largely dormant since then in the absence of additional funding.