Millwood City Council Monday night heard residents from the South Riverway neighborhood voice concern over increased traffic and crime.
“This is an ongoing problem,” Jack Bunton, a longtime Riverway resident said. Bunton and another resident addressed the Council on behalf of others present from the neighborhood. “We’re going to need some cooperation, otherwise the neighborhood is going to have to do something. We’re getting pretty angry.”
Bunton claims that since last summer’s Argonne Corridor project there has been a substantial increase in traffic on the two-block residential street. He added that the number of cars has not decreased since construction ended.
“It has gotten worse.” Bunton said, who estimates about 50 to 100 cars a day use the route during morning rush hour traffic. “They’re not quitting. Once you get an outlet going west, it’s hard to stop.”
Bunton asked the city to install “residential neighborhood, no through traffic” signs. In a telephone interview following the meeting, Bunton added that because the narrow roadway has no sidewalks there are children in the neighborhood, he would prefer the speed limit to be 10 mph. He estimates cars currently come down the 25 mph street at an average of 40 mph. He also stated he would like the city to install portable speed bumps.
“Is there anything that we can do as the residents of that little neighborhood that can help increase the process… to bring traffic calming resources to that street?” asked Josey Booth, who lives on South Riverway and has three young children. “I am not looking for a resolution today, but with lots of small children, and no sidewalks, it is a concern.”
Bunton also reported to the Council the neighborhood has experienced increased crime, which he attributes to the traffic. He noted that recently two neighborhood homes were broken into.
Mayor Dan Mork said the Council is addressing the traffic concerns throughout the city by calling for additional law enforcement.
“We have noticed a lot more traffic down there,” Mork said. “At our last Council meeting we discussed increasing patrols in two specific areas, Riverway is one and the other is Grace.”
Mork encouraged the group to attend a special meeting to discuss traffic concerns for the entire city on May 24 at 7 p.m.
“Council is trying to come up with methods of addressing traffic congestion without impacting everybody,” Councilman Kevin Freeman said. “I think from our standpoint, you hear us push enforcement more than the physical solutions because enforcement benefits everybody.”
Former city planning commission member Richard Gardner voiced concern over code enforcement issues. He cited examples of compliance issues such as a residence with too high of a fence and another with a front porch, he claims to be an “eye sore.”
City Attorney Brian Werst said the Code Enforcement Ordinance the city adopted a couple of years ago is heavily reliant on voluntary compliance.
“It’s a better process for property owner as well as the city,” Werst said. “It may not seem that enforcement is happening as quickly as you’d want.”
Mork said he would check with the code enforcement officer on the status on both issues.
In other news, the Council unanimously approved an Interlocal agreement with the Washington State Department of Licensing. This agreement allows Millwood businesses to purchase business licenses online using the DOL website.
The change will take effect for next year’s license renewal.