South Shore Road Now One Way - Westbound Only

On Tuesday, September 30, Skagit County Public Works put up signs, announcing South Shore would now be westbound only. You'll have to take that into account when reading this story of the County's meeting.

South Shore Road Notice [28k PDF]

South Shore Road goes eastbound only, with vehicles using the northern lane. Guemes Island Fire Chief Carl Meinzinger favored eastbound instead of westbound for easier accessibility for emergency vehicles.

If you see DO NOT ENTER and ONE WAY signs, then you are on what is left of the rapidly eroding South Shore Road.

Since there are no Federal or State funds available to the County, this is the temporary low-cost fix. This changes the highly-used traffic pattern of Guemes. There is a plan to include a bike/pedestrian/non-motorized vehicle lane on the unused portion (southern lane) of South Shore, as well.

Some South Shore residents will have a 5 mile commute to get to the ferry or the few services on Guemes Island Road. Others, coming from the southeast corner of the island, will have an increased commute as well. Increased travel time, additional mileage and, of course, increased fuel costs.

Edens Road is going to be the only route available to get to the ferry, store, library, community center, park, or church. The county has done some work on Edens Road and is open for suggestions on additional work.

There will be fog, ice, and flooding to deal with during the upcoming winter months. Brush cutting, and tree removal will increase sight distance and widen the road.  

The County is encouraging the forming of a Community Advisory Committee to deal with the South Shore Road issues (application form below). Some of the 50-plus people that attended the Wednesday (September 24) meeting are hesitant about expending their time and energy on this committee because of past experiences working with the County.

South Shore residents are amenable to selling the County 10-12 ft of their property to widen the road and reinstate two-way traffic. Property tax cuts on those properties and putting utilities underground also sound reasonable to some.

In the mean time, it’s eastbound only on South Shore. We’ll see you at the top of the hill on Eden’s. No stopping to count the cattle on the Veal farm.

- Commentary by MJ Andrak

South Shore Road Advisory Committee Application Form


South Shore Road Improvement Concepts

South Shore Road is located along the Southern shoreline of Guemes Island, atop an active feeder bluff and is being threatened of being eroded away by the Guemes Channel. There are currently four locations along S. Shore Road where Public Works have taken precautionary measures to make the road safe for travel...

Tags: south shore
Claire Woofenden: 9:17am - 9/28/08
Although this has virtually no direct impact on me because I live on the complete other end of the island, I see a few flaws in the plan. The firehall is near the start of Edens anyway so it would make it almost as easy to just go though the valley to an emergency, and then what if for instance if you had to go straight to the ferry to go to the hospital, you would have to drive all the way up and around out of the valley to get to the ferry. wouldn't it be easier just to be able to zip across South Shore?
Charlotte Clifton: 11:26am - 9/30/08
I think the westbound direction should be reconsidered as it will be more important to transport the emergency medical victims quickly to the ferry and to off island hospital care. It just makes sense to keep the flow of the traffic direction in the westbound lane as it is.
Nathan Walker: 11:59am - 9/30/08
Wow, that truly makes no sense... the shortest, most direct route needs to be off the island not home. You want people to drag race away from the ferry in order to get in line? As someone who bikes to the ferry most days, I'm well aware of the difference in speed people drive to or from the ferry. Asking people to drive an extra five miles to get to the ferry risks my, my neighbors and our pets lives. Wasn't there a consideration to make a portion of S. Shore a dead end and having the larger community at Holiday Hideaway drive through the valley?
Jessica Lynch: 1:37pm - 9/30/08
While I'm well aware I should have attended the meeting addressing South Shore road usage, and I deeply regret missing it, I still am floored that the over 50+ people that did attend, unanimously found Eastbound to be the best possible route? Why can there not be a sign that plainly states ONE Way Westbound, except for Emergency Vehicles? I would hope that whatever direction the appointed travel path is, that South Shore, if the shortest possible route, would still be used during emergency situations. This isn't a crowded 4 lane freeway with thousands of commuters in different states of coherence were talking about here, If a police car, ambulance, or firetruck came barreling towards me from the wrong direction, I'd obviously understand the situation and get the hell out of the way.
Jessica Lynch: 2:14pm - 9/30/08
UPDATE: This article is incorrect, and now is officially WESTBOUND travel from Ferry!
Torey Nelson: 11:40am - 10/2/08
Great website and glad to see all the comments. I will try to address them all but sorry if I miss some of your points. There is no decision that will not inconvenience somebody so it ahs been a balancing act to come to a final decision. Our #1 priority is making South Shore Road safe to drive on while maintaining access for those who live along it and preserve the existing roadway. We initially decided on Eastbound to make it easier for lining up in traffic because actually making a U-turn in the middle of the road is unsafe. It would also distribute traffic more efficiently coming off the ferry as about half the cars would Go North and the other half East. However, the Guemes Island Fire Chief recently endorsed Westbound and the US Postal Carrier can't deliver mail Eastbound without having to get out of her car, putting her at risk. So we have officialy changed the travel direction to Westbound. We realize safety is a concern with speeding ferry goers but ferry goers are going to speed regardless of direction they travel. We can deploy our radar trailer to remind speeding motorists and we will dispatch Deputy Sheriff's if the number of speeders becomes an issue. I'm not an EMT but I do believe it's more important to get First Responders to an emergency and stabilize the victim then to get them off the island but I believe we will grant emergency vehicles a Special Use Permit to deviate from the one-way if necessary. The bike/ped lane will make travel safer for those who walk or bike and hopefully those who have the luxury of living so close to the store and landing can take advantage of the bike ped/lane. Improvements to South Shore will inlcude the removal of some trees and we are looking at the flooding issues with Eden's. Remember, this is a short term measure and we want to work with you on a long term solution with the South Shore Road Advisory Committee. Torey Nelson Skagit County Public Works
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