Green light: Carnation activates first traffic signal

Carnation City Councilman Stuart Lisk grins as he flips the switch to light up the city
Carnation City Councilman Stuart Lisk grins as he flips the switch to light up the city's first-ever traffic signal, located at the intersection of Entwistle and Tolt Avenue.
— image credit: Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

"You can start it now!" Lynn Gombinski declared.

The driver of the little red Bug was lined up at the intersection of Entwistle Street and Tolt Avenue in Carnation, waiting for the city's first traffic light to be activated on a cool and rainy morning, Thursday, Dec. 15.

"I've been waiting for this light for years! I want to be the first one through!" announced the longtime Carnation resident.

Paula and Paul Butzi were also waiting for the light to turn on.

"It's Carnation! Exciting things are happening!" said Paula, adding that the couple has been very involved in the community for years, although they live outside of the city proper.

"I'm really excited!" said Stuart Lisk, the city councilman chosen to flip the switch and activate the light. "I just attended my last council meeting!" In a more serious moment, Lisk noted that if the city had had the light four years ago, his son might not have been badly injured attempting to cross Tolt Avenue to get to Tolt MacDonald Park.

Another former council member, Laurie Clinton attended the ceremony. In her seven years on council (2000 to 2007), she remembered working toward the traffic light, and working in partnership with the Snoqualmie Tribe and others.

"It's nice to see what can happen when we work together," she said.

Clinton was recognized in the ceremony, as were the design firm, Department of Transportation officials, King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who called the city project coordinated by the county a "true partnership," and promised more to come, and tribal administrator Matt Mattson, who recalled when the Snoqualmie Tribe, which has a cultural center on the busy intersection, first got involved more than seven years ago, .

"I guess we've defined this project on Indian time," he joked, then added that the tribe was proud to be involved in the project, which received $137,000 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. "It's definitely a cooperative effort, and we're proud of it."

Following the activation of the traffic light, the group moved north, to the new lighted crosswalk at Morrison Street, across from Carnation Elementary School. Principal Doug Poage did the honors to activate the crosswalk signal, then immediately tested the button, and stood smiling up at the flashing lights.

When Gombinski finally got her green light, she made a parade of it, waving an American flag and slowly moving through the intersection, to applause from those gathered for the ceremony. Ironically, she turned right onto Tolt.



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