The following topics are covered: Road Realignment and Associated Road Vacation, Parking, Bird Habitat and Viewing, Public Access, Traffic and Public Safety.
The 3 Crabs Restoration Project was first introduced to the public at a meeting held at the Dungeness Schoolhouse in June of 2013. Now, over 2 years later, the project designs are nearly complete. Throughout the design process, project sponsors have offered several opportunities for the community to learn, ask questions, provide input and voice their concerns. Input that we have gathered from the community has been invaluable in the design process, and much work has been done to incorporate community input wherever possible.
ROAD REALIGNMENT AND ASSOCIATED ROAD VACATION
-1,475 linear feet of Sequim Dungeness Way is proposed to be vacated.
-132 linear feet of 3 Crabs Road is proposed to be vacated.
-1,385 linear feet of new road will be constructed between Sequim Dungeness Way and the new intersection with 3 Crabs Road.
-Current Sequim Dungeness Way has 3’ shoulder.
-New Sequim Dungeness Way will have 6’ shoulder (4’ paved, 2’ gravel).
-3 Crabs Road will dead end with a cul-de-sac which includes stalls for 3 cars plus 1 handicapped vehicle.
-3 Crabs Road will have 400’ of 8’ paved shoulder on the south side as it approaches the parking area that can be used for parking.
Historic parking condition: County road-end had room for 2 cars, usually only one parked at a time. Restaurant parking lot was not available to general public without special permission. Overflow visitors, including crabbers, reportedly parked on an undersized (3’) shoulder, partially in the travel lane, and with wheels sometimes in a steep ditch.
New Parking Conditions: There will be 3 stalls plus 1 handicapped stall in the cul-de-sac. Additional parking will be on an 8’ paved shoulder extending 400’ out from cul-de-sac with room for approximately 18-20 vehicles.
Historic view and access from parking spot: The view from the county road end was looking north and west. Access was to 40 linear feet of beach and through a large, angular boulder bulkhead with no safe walking pathway.
New view and access from parking: Views from the new parking stalls will still be north and west. To the west there will be a tidal lagoon mere meters from the parking area, which is expected to recruit shorebirds and waterfowl. The fringes of the lagoon will be saltmarsh and will attract songbirds. Views to the north will be much the same, but across a dune and beach instead of a road end. Access to 320 linear feet of beach will be along a hard packed path bordered by a dune vegetation community.
Parking story complication: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) purchased the 3 Crabs Restaurant property as a Wildlife Area in 2012. The restaurant was removed and the former restaurant parking lot was opened up for public use on a temporary basis while the restoration design was being developed. Motorists became accustomed to parking in this expanded area. However, this parking would never have been available unless this restoration project had prompted WDFW to buy the land. It was a temporary parking benefit that was never meant to be long-term.
BIRD HABITAT AND VIEWING
Current Helen’s Pond bird watching pullout was created by the County at the request of bird enthusiasts so they could pull out on the edge of the pond and bird from the roadside safely instead of from the undersized shoulder.
Future Helen’s Pond bird watching access will still be possible from the new shoulder which has been sized for safe pull off (4’ paved, 2’ gravel).
Current bird watching opportunities are from the road end across Dungeness Farms property and out across the mudflats and beach at the road end. Opportunities also exist to look into the salt marsh from the road and Meadowbrook Creek Bridge.
Future bird watching opportunities will still exist from the new road end location across the beach to the mudflats. There will be greater beach area from which to bird watch, and safer access to the beach. There will be tidal lagoons easily accessible from the parking lot and along the roadside. Three new lagoons will be created that will be able to be viewed from the new road.
Current Purple Martin boxes on the pilings in the Bay will stay in place; no piling removal is planned.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO WDFW PROPERTY
Historic foot traffic on the beach from the county road end and across the beach towards private property to the east has always been a community concern. Residents reported increased foot traffic after WDFW purchased the property and WDFW responded by producing and installing signs, and reinstalling the signage when it was removed. They have committed to maintaining boundary signage. Residents pointed out the need for a toilet, and WDFW responded by providing a porta potty which they will continue to maintain at the new parking area.
Porta Potty location has been discussed with the closest neighbor who has provided location preferences for the toilet. No objection was expressed to the porta potty being sited at the parking area.
The location of the trail from the parking area to the beach has been raised as a concern by non-neighboring residents. At a meeting with the closest neighbor, they expressed support for the project, no concern about the trail, and agreed to work with us on final trail location when the time came (likely during construction).
There is not a boat ramp at this site and there are no plans to have one.
There is not a boat ramp at this site and there are no plans to have one.
Concerns have been raised about the increased traffic on 3 Crabs Road due to the new road alignment. The new alignment in fact decreases traffic for the properties between the parking area and the new Sequim Dungeness Way intersection with 3 Crabs road. This is because the majority of 3 Crabs residents and all Golden Sands residents will no longer pass their homes. The new traffic for these parcels will be visitors to the parking lot. Parking lot visitation is expected to be far less than the daily trips by 3 Crabs and Golden Sands residents. There will be no net increase in traffic for residents east of the new intersection.
The new roadway will be constructed to modern safety standards including signing, striping, wider shoulders and installation of guardrail at key locations.
Concerns have been raised about vehicle lights at the new Sequim Dungeness Way intersection with 3 Crabs Road. The intersection has been designed to minimize this impact and a vegetated screen will be planted to further reduce the potential impacts.
Some community members were concerned about having street lights on the new road and parking area. No street lights will be installed and an existing light near the intersection of Sequim Dungeness Way and 3 Crabs Road will be removed.
FLOODING AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Current 3 Crabs Road is prone to flooding during certain combinations of tide and flood waters. This poses a community safety concern, one that some residents have voiced in the past and for which they desire a solution.
The new road will be constructed at a higher elevation to improve emergency vehicle access and community egress during high water events. The average new roadway crest elevation will be 1’ higher than the existing Sequim Dungeness Way roadway. Most importantly, one of the lowest and most flood prone portions of 3 Crabs Road will be raised to match the remainder of 3 Crabs Road (where the new Sequim Dungeness Way meets 3 Crabs Road).
Old bridge blocks passage of debris: The current bridge over Meadowbrook Creek is only ~19’ wide and prone to trapping large wood and other debris. This debris may block up the bridge and can lead to increased flooding upstream of the bridge.
New bridge alleviates debris blockage: The new Sequim Dungeness Way bridge crossing has been designed to convey the 100 year tide plus predicted sea level rise. The new bridge will span 45’ across Meadowbrook Creek and its floodplain. The new bridge span will allow most logs and other debris to pass through unimpeded.
Emergency Vehicle Turnaround needs were determined in the design phase and incorporated into the parking lot area in the form of a cul-de-sac which meets code.
Current bridge is a creosoted wood structure and many studies show creosote to be a harmful substance to people and wildlife.
We are grateful for the input we've received over the course of the 2 year project development process and hope this post helps provide a better understanding of the project design elements for the community.