More discussion about motorized vehicles on trails
By Natalie Johnson
The Winthrop Town Council on Wednesday (April 21) approved funding to reimburse work already done on a tunnel pathway to Homestream Park.
The tunnel would go underneath Highway 20, providing a safe path for people to walk from the parking lot at the Winthrop Rink to the private park on the other side of the highway.
Homestream Park, through the Methow Conservancy, requested a grant of about $7,737.50 from the town’s lodging tax revenue to reimburse money already spent on engineering for the project.
The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee previously recommended the town council approve the grant. The town council considered the request at its April 7 meeting but delayed making a decision because some members of the council were not in attendance.
“Their path under the bridge is permitted through the town,” said Town Planner Rocklynn Culp. “There is a lot of complications with any other route crossing the highway and this is kind of the path of least resistance.”
Council member Kirsten Vanderhalf repeated concerns she brought up at the April 7 meeting that the request was not made within the normal timeframe that the town considers LTAC funding. Other council members expressed concern about a lack of documentation about the engineering work in question.
However, a majority of council members voted to approve the funding. Work on the tunnel is underway, council member Bill McAdow noted.
“I’d like to say there’s some great points made tonight and it was a very respectful debate,” said council member William Kilby.
What is a scooter?
The Town Council also continued to discuss motorized vehicles, specifically electric bicycles, scooters and even motorized skateboards and “hoverboards” at its April 21 meeting.
The board previously considered draft regulations for town trails that would allow some electric bikes, but not others, but prohibited scooters.
The newest version considered Wednesday allows all electric bicycles, provided they follow a posted speed limit, but prohibits electric scooters. Power wheelchairs would be allowed.
However, some council members noted that the term “electric scooter” is not defined and doesn’t include other motorized vehicles that could use the trail.
“There’s more and more of those little one-wheel things cruising around town,” Council Member Bill McAdow said. “Like it or not I think you’re going to have to accept them.”
Culp suggested referring to Washington laws and codes that define the vehicles. Council members also wanted the regulations to be more specific about speed limits.
The regulations would apply mostly to the Susie Stephens Trail, council members said, since it is paved and most accessible for the vehicles in question.
The council plans to review another version of the park regulations including restrictions on such motorized vehicles at its next meeting.