Snoqualmie business owners check out new downtown plan

Armed with a row of graphics showing wider sidewalks, lots of colorful signs, broad vistas and pedestrian-friendly trails, consultant Tom Beckwith asked Snoqualmie business and building owners to consider the possibilities of a redeveloped downtown.

Beckwith, head of LaConner-based Beckwith Consulting Group, led the discussion, explaining how the city could energize its downtown core by bringing things down to a pedestrian scale.

Beckwith touted installing 12-foot-wide sidewalks, pedestrian-scale street lights, glass awnings and street trees on the retail side of Railroad Avenue as a way to encourage foot traffic, while the opposite side of Railroad Avenue, fronting the Northwest Railway Museum, was discussed as a possible route for a walking and bike trail.

The pedestrian improvements do have some tradeoffs, with parking stalls eliminated. One option is putting diagonal parking on the retail side of the street. To make room, Beckwith talked about designating bike lanes on side streets, such as Maple Street and Falls Avenue. Dedicated cyclists would continue to use the car lanes.

The new vision of downtown also includes making the Snoqualmie River more a part of downtown.

"There was strong support for making King Street and River Street view access points," said Bob Cole, the city of Snoqualmie's economic development specialist. Drawing pedestrians down King Street to a riverfront park, and taking advantage of downtown's scenic views, are among the new strategies.

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