Letter to the editor
Cascade Avenue median grasses
October 3, 2014
I appreciated your editorial this past week in regards to the Cascade Avenue median grasses.
I thought it important to address a few of the concerns noted, as well as to provide additional clarification and information on what was presented.
Let me start by underscoring that the Cascade Avenue Project in its entirety was approached in a way where pedestrian safety was paramount and anything aesthetic was secondary.
Everything from the gentle curvature in the road; to the diagonal angle of the crosswalks; to the addition of LED lighting; to the elimination of parking; to yes, even the median grasses, were a part of a very intentional design effort. We have been cautious in the overtrimming of the median grasses due to potential negative aspects that include: increased vehicle speeds on Cascade as drivers feel more comfortable driving faster; encouraging unsafe and perhaps illegal pedestrian behavior (crossing at places other than a crosswalk); and increasing vehicle delays.
Over 100 of the grass plants were removed last year and more were removed this year.
The City has granted us the authority to maintain the medians as we deem appropriate and we continue to focus primarily around the crosswalk areas, not the entire median, due to the reasons mentioned above.
I would also like to share several resources the city has provided. They continue to be very good partners in the maintenance of Cascade Avenue as they too take serious the safety of our campus and community citizens.
Take the time to review the following links below and please feel free to send me an email as to additional questions and concerns you may have. I would be happy to meet with individuals or groups to visit further at your convenience.
Michael Stifter, Executive Director
Facilities Planning and Management