Sunday, July 14, 2024

Cashmere Planning Commission tackles city's pathway connectivity issues

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CASHMERE - Current and future pathways and sidewalks within Cashmere were the focus of the Cashmere Planning Commission’s July 1 meeting. Using a map created by Zak Steigmeyer, Commission Chair, members reviewed the potential multi-modal pathways Steigmeyer pointed out that many of the existing sidewalks and paths often just end, not connecting to any other trails. Some areas people use to navigate from place to place, but those routes are not officially designated as a path and are not maintained. Steigmeyer pointed out that the map indicates city property, which he utilized as he drew in potential new paths that would connect existing pathways and sidewalks, allowing it easier for residents to navigate around town whether walking, on a bike, or in a wheelchair. He reminded the Commissioners that when they were updating Cashmere’s Parks Recreation and Open Space (PROS) plan they learned that the city does not have enough connected trails and pathways to meet the recommended standards.

Director of Operations, Steve Croci, pointed out that many of the sidewalks do not meet ADA standards. For example, many do not have cutouts with wheelchair ramps, making them unusable for someone with limited mobility. He added that he is working on grants to complete some of the sidewalks. Based on the map, Croci suggested that starting pathway projects on major connector streets and in areas of high density would be the best place to begin. Steigmeyer added that sidewalks to schools and the swimming pool are important. He said it would be great if someone with a gps watch could spend time walking city sidewalks to map out in more detail the exact location of sidewalks. Christina Wollman, Planning Consultant with Perteet, Inc., agreed and replied that marking the location of wheelchair ramps and measuring their slope would also be beneficial. 

Wollman commended Steigmeyer for the map and told the Commissioners that a final version should be added to the PROS plan and included in the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which is scheduled for a major revision beginning this fall. She said that including future land use, underserved areas, and impacts on bus and vehicle traffic would be beneficial. Steigmeyer said he would like to add obstacles to travel to the map and that the map could be used as the city applies for grants to fund pathway projects.

Croci reminded everyone that the Commission is still in need of two additional members and that anyone interested in participating should contact the mayor’s office.

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