Saturday, January 06, 2007

Trails To Balfour Village?

A large development is proposed in Columbia Valley / Kendall area. Quite a few trails and parks are planned in the development which is described as using "environmental friendly" design. More compact and "low impact" than a lot of what's out there now; so they say.

It is controversial. Just about all the new development in this corner of the world is. Traffic on Mount Baker Highway has folks worried. It's getting worse each year.

Rather than jumping onto the "pro, or anti" development side, I tend to have a different line of thinking.

I think, "trails," "parks;" maybe we can extend these features beyond just the development itself.

How about a bike trail from Balfour area to Deming, for instance? That's one of the worse stretches of Mount Baker Highway. East of Deming, the road has practically no shoulder. A trail could take some pressure off the highway.

People sometimes dismiss me as an idealist.

Who rides bikes? they ask.

Okay, bus service can be talked about also. Maybe even buses every 15 minutes, like they have on some routes in Bellingham. WTA has added a route to Kendall fairly recently.

More people should mean more bus service, if folks are giving these type of things priority.

There are even trail plans on the books.

"Bay to Baker Trail" has been talked about for years.

Another proposal is made up of short trail segments that connect different destinations in the Foothills area. That proposal has been called "Chain Of Trails." It would make things safer for kids walking to school and stores, for instance.

If politics can work, economic growth could be harnessed to improve the Mount Baker Highway corridor. Improve it for "alternative" travel.

At worse, a big "wish list" could even tax and kill development out there.

While I am not advocating that development be taxed to death, it might make the anti growth people happy at least.

On the other hand we could get just the right balance of taxes, impact fees and volunteer contributions. Just the right balance so there can be alternatives to car travel out the Mount Baker Highway.

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