More railings to be added to downtown Port Angeles esplanade
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Greg Scherer, owner of Pacific Rim Hobby in Port Angeles, looks over a piece of caution tape Saturday stretched across one of several unmarked concrete steps down along the newly opened “esplanade” along West Railroad Avenue at the Port Angeles waterfront. The source of the caution tape, taken down this week by the city, remains a mystery.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — In response to residents' concerns, the city will pay about $25,000 to add railings to a portion of the downtown esplanade.

Nathan West, the city's community and economic development director, said he has compiled between eight and nine comments from members of the public worried about a concrete step-down going from one level to another of the newly opened esplanade along Railroad Avenue.

Lighted metal bollards now stand near the edge of the step-down. Stairways with lighted handrails spaced among the bollards lead to the lower level of the esplanade.

West said new horizontal bars will be attached to the existing bollards where there are no stairs. They will both block visitors from stepping down onto the lower level, except at the stairways, and serve as handrails for those on the upper level.

The estimated $25,000 for the new bars will come from a contingency fund approved along with the $3.9 million contract with Carlsborg-based Primo Construction to complete the esplanade project.

“I anticipate [the bars] will be the last element of the project to be done,” West said.

“It should be fully installed within four to five weeks.”

West said most of the $195,000 contingency fund has been spent on other project change orders, such as additional work needed to install the esplanade's piles and the repaving of the intersection of North Laurel Street and West Railroad Avenue, which the esplanade parallels.

“We are confident we have more than enough to cover the additional railing expense,” West said.

West: Esplanade safe

Reviews by engineers and a third-party building inspector have deemed the current esplanade design safe, West said, but the city wants to add the bars to ensure people are comfortable walking along the structure.

“We want to do what we can to adapt the esplanade to make everyone feel safe and comfortable,” West said.

No injuries have been reported to the city related to the esplanade, he added.

Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc said no city paramedics have responded to the esplanade for anything other than someone suffering from a seizure since the area opened to the public in late August.

“We have not, that I can see, responded to any calls related to [the esplanade] at all,” Dubuc said.

New bars

The new bars will resemble the frames used to form the glass wind blocks in front of the esplanade's wood-and-metal benches, West said.

“Essentially, it would be most similar to [the] glass windscreens, without the glass,” West said.

The bars will stretch between specific bollards just as the lengths of yellow “Caution” tape that had been placed between the bollards this past week did.

West said Tuesday he did not know who placed the caution tape.

“I am quite confident it was not the city that put it [up],” West said.

Corey Delikat, city parks and recreation director, said his staff removed the caution tape sometime Monday morning during their regular cleanup of the esplanade area.

The city Police Department was not responsible for putting up the caution tape, Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said.

Edna Petersen, owner of Necessities and Temptations gift shop at the intersection of Laurel Street and Railroad Avenue, said she noticed the caution tape Friday evening but did not know what it was for.

“I didn't have any idea who was responsible for putting it up or why it was suddenly up,” Petersen said.

Tom Curry, whose Barhop Brewing pub sits across Railroad Avenue from the esplanade, said he did not see anyone who might have put up the caution tape.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 15. 2013 5:43PM
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