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Mayor's Feedback Requests

How important is "walkability" and "bikeability" to you and your family?

We love to walk around town but are disappointed with so many blocks without sidewalks. The presence of Sidewalks are hit and miss along 2nd St SE. The same on F St SE south of 4th. Other areas on 1st NE. The answer in the past was to gravel these areas but cars park on the gravel so we walk in the street. As old as the city is, one would think this unfinished work from many, many years ago would be completed but I don't think there is a plan to. I don't walk there but M St SE south of Hwy 18. I see people who have to walk in the grass. There's no sidewalk on either side for that mile or so stretch. If these areas were further from town I could see it but they are right in the heart of the downtown residential neighborhood.

Curt B.

In this week's Update from the Mayor - a question about walking and biking was asked. I would LOVE to be able to bike in Auburn, but frankly, I wouldn't feel safe doing it. Most of the streets outside of downtown are very narrow with very little signage and certainly not enough room for a bike lane. While many sidewalks are in decent condition, there then comes the issue of bikes and pedestrians both being on the same narrow walkway.

So in the end, I would love to bike here, but this city isn't really set up for it, and biking in the street with the traffic is a dangerous option.

Rowen K.

I  believe that walk ability is important. Look at Lakeland. We have so many walkers. It is awesome.
As far as plastic bags, I reuse and recycle. Don't ban them.

Laurel C.

My wife and I walk pretty regularly in and around the downtown area and are discouraged with the number of streets that do not have sidewalks. We love to walk around Auburn but would like to walk on more sidewalks.


Rick B.

Thank you, Mayor Backus, for the invite and opportunity to talk about biking in Auburn. As a long time mountain biker who has recently adopted the road bike saddle for many of my work commutes, I have some good news and bad news. 

Quality roads with decent shoulders are a treat to ride on and I am enjoying the exercise greatly. 

The bad news is that so many of our roads, while annoyingly noisy in a Car, are almost impassable or outright dangerous on a bike. What we see as mudflat-looking cracks from the comfort of cushy seats in our cars with suspension, are jarring and dangerous crevices that threaten to topple a bicyclist. 

Take, for example, my route to work going South on D St SE by the ball parks, then west on 41st SE by Albertson's (and under the railroad tracks where it continues as Ellingson Rd)...and finally turning north on Pacific Ave N. to the south Boeing gate. (a small portion of the latter two roads are actually outside the Auburn city limits). 

Try that portion of my route on a road bike and you will either be shaken to bits by the crumbling asphalt or find yourself weaving from the shoulder to the middle of the lane to avoid the mess and, hopefully, not embed yourself into a passing car in the process (a dangerous adventure, indeed!). 

Another hindrance, despite considerable shoulders on which to ride, is Auburn Way South from the FAA center south to the city limit (well, all the way to Enumclaw, actually!). This is a ridiculously re-re-re-patched and constantly crumbling road that drivers have to routinely skirt over to the left and right side of the lane to avoid the rutted and potholed tire tracks. Well, guess where I am riding my bike...on that same shoulder the drivers want to veer onto to avoid the pothole of the week! 

In addition, you will note a scattering of debris on the shoulder by every degrading pothole. That gravel is spit over there by passing cars as the hole deepens...and onto the shoulder where I ride...or worse yet, onto ME or pedestrians as the car passes by! 

I also ride a motorcycle occasionally, and can firmly state that riding on that stretch of highway is outright dangerous! The motorcyclist must weave in and out of lanes constantly to avoid three tire grabbing tar strips and edges of ever deepening and lengthening holes through the top later of asphalt. In the rain, it is even worse, as you cannot even see the hazards and are tossed left and right as you encounter them. Insane! 

I have been among the many who reluctantly voted to increase our taxes (Twice!) to pay got road repairs, yet are growing disillusioned at the slow pace. Quite frankly, the roads may never improve if degradation takes place at the same rate. 

I realize that you were not at the helm during the time of those levies, but I am sure you were aware of the promises being made.

I also realize that Auburn does not have full funding or control over what is also Hwy 164. However, Auburn does have a vested interest in the health and safety of its citizens and should be using its clout to have the State do what is needed to keep the highway safe. 

Unless we improve the roads to be more passable on bikes, we are not going to get more folks out to enjoy the "green" and health benefits of biking...and thus reduce traffic, consumption, nose, and pollution in our fine city. 

I am keenly interested in your thoughts on this, and would be happy to join you for a ride to scope things out! Meanwhile, ours is a great city, and I would not want you to interpret that my view is otherwise...I am just calling for us to take action against a crumbling infrastructure that could drag us down! 

Thanks again for all that you do! 

David J.

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