An Introduction to the Friday Harbor Transportation Benefits District
With the new roundabout inserted, the days of waiting for minutes at the intersection of Mullis and Spring Street are over.
This roundabout was funded in part by the Transportation Benefit District. With the board vote, Friday Harbor Administrator Duncan Wilson makes the decisions on improvements.
These improvements consist of curbs, gutters, sidewalks, storm drains, lampposts and crosswalks.
Funding produced by the Transportation Benefit District comes from a 0.2% sales tax imposed over 10 years on all transactions that was approved by voters in 2014.
“With a popular vote, they overwhelmingly approved it,” Wilson said. This money is to be used only for projects that will benefit transportation across the city.
Without TBD funding, fewer transport improvement projects would be viable across the city.
“We only earn about $ 350,000 a year, that’s not enough to make a million dollar street,” Wilson said. “So a lot of times we use our own money to be determined as matching money. “
What Wilson means by that is that every year the board submits a request for money and after that they will be awarded a contract, he said. Under this contract, they will have to match the money of about 10 or 15% before starting a project. Once the money to be determined is combined with the capital money, it allows a project to be completed, Wilson said.
All of the improvements are part of a six-year plan, which Wilson describes as “Rolling Six Years,” as it is constantly revised and looks to the next six years.
“Each year it’s a little different from the year before,” Wilson said.
Along with the new roundabout, the TBD also helped fund work on Web Street, Mullis Street, Tucker Avenue, Marguerite, Price, Park and Spring Street, as well as repairing other stretches of roads throughout the city. .
Wilson enjoys being creative with transportation projects. He got the idea for the roundabout while he was on vacation, he said. What was different about the roundabout he witnessed was that it was flat instead of elevated.
“I came back and said, ‘I want one like that and my engineer and I worked together to design them because we knew we had a space issue and we wouldn’t want to have to go out and try to condemn property to make it that big. “They are smaller, they are much closer,” he said with a laugh.
To build a full roundabout, you need a lot of space, he said. With little space available between Spring and Mullis Street, this roundabout allows large trucks to pass right over it.
“It really smoothed out the traffic in that area,” he said.
Future projects will include the first Street Overlay from Spring to Court Street, Warbass Traffic Calming Upgrades and Market Street Overlay.
The full list of future projects can be found in the online Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan.