Tuesday, August 21, 1990 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Annexed Residents Impatient To Get Sidewalks

When Pam Carter moved to the Foster neighborhood in 1974 from Spokane, the lack of sidewalks in residential areas surprised her.

She saw bicyclists riding in traffic near Pacific Highway South, mothers pushing baby strollers on busy street corners, children pouring onto the roads on their way to and from school.

Carter, worried for her daughters' safety, said she and other residents voted to annex into Tukwila last year partly because the city promised to install sidewalks.

``There are kids running around and people out walking their dogs. Other parents are worried that something serious could happen,'' she said.

More than a year after joining Tukwila, newly annexed areas such as Foster, Riverton and Thorndyke still lack sidewalks. Tukwila is working to put them in, but city Engineer Ron Cameron expects that to take time.

``Sidewalks are not as easy to put in as they used to be. You just can't go out and dig a ditch and put in the pipes,'' Cameron said.

Tukwila's process, he explained, involves a lengthy street inventory and is slowed by a shortage of public works employees to handle the project. Crews check for drainage problems, the need for street lighting, whether fire hydrants and other underground utilities are in the way of future sidewalks, among other things, he said.

The street inventory for Foster, Riverton and Thorndyke started in February and will not be completed until the end of the year. Streets in Cascade View, which Tukwila annexed in May, will not be examined until next month.

Once an inventory is done, the City Council will review the cost estimates before deciding how much money Tukwila can spend on sidewalks in future budgets.

Cascade View residents shouldn't expect to see sidewalks until two years from now, while curbs may be installed in other annexed areas in mid to late 1991, he said. In each neighborhood, streets that are well-traveled will get sidewalks before areas less congested.

``Two years may be a long time,'' said Councilman Allan Ekberg, ``but Tukwila needs time to get up to speed following five major annexations.''

Residents, taking stock of the city's boost in population, from about 5,000 to nearly 13,000 in less than two years, agree that the city needs time to regroup. But some are concerned that Tukwila may take too much time.

One of them, Riverton resident Paul Gully, approached Ekberg with his concerns.

In the span of half an hour, Gully counted 110 cars passing the intersection of 42nd Avenue South and South 130th Street, near his home.

``Everyone's in a hurry to get home, and they come around here pretty fast,'' Truckers are using this area as a shortcut, and they're endangering pedestrians,'' he said. ``I tell you, it's just not safe.''

For Carter, getting sidewalks can't come soon enough. ``We know that the city is limited in what they can do. But these are residential areas. Safety counts.''

Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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