Road 68 congestion biggest issue at Pasco public forum

Road 68 congestion biggest issue at Pasco public forum »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. -- The City of Pasco hosted its first of two public forums Tuesday night. It was a small crowd, but that didn’t mean their concerns were. The group tacked everything from public safety to traffic congestion.

“Many times I feel like I'm going to get run over," said Odelia Garza, sitting next to her husband Jesse. They both came to Tuesday's meeting with a list of safety concerns. “She said, ‘Mom, I am scared to cross, use the crosswalk. People just don't stop.’"

From Court Street traffic between Road 84 and 72 to the lack of safe crossing between Argent and Road 68, they wanted to make sure they were being heard.

“Most definitely I felt like I was being heard,” said Garza. "We brought our concerns to the table."

Tuesday's public forum is one of two being held this week in Pasco. Every two years, the city invites residents to voice what they feel needs to be addressed.

“They have ideas of what we need to look at," said Councilman Al Yenney.

The meetings started in 1990. City Manager Gary Crutchfield told KEPR the biggest concern then was public safety, gangs and graffiti. Since then, the crime rate in Pasco has dropped 83%, putting it lower than Richland and Kennewick. Tagging has dropped 60% in just the last two years.

Thirteen years ago, the biggest outcry was for developing Road 68 into a retail area. That has since happened; turning public opinion to how can the city alleviate congestion.

“Remove people from turning into McDonald’s and redirect them to Starbucks and then there's room for 20 cars or more," suggested one resident.

The city plans to address Road 68 this summer. It could come at a cost to your commute temporarily, but more than $1 million will go to solving many of the signal and sidewalk issues.

For Garza, Tuesday night was a conversation she wants to see happen more often. “Every 6 months would be nice,” she said.

The second and final meeting will be held Wednesday night at Pasco’s Senior Center at 7:00 p.m.