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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Streets and Sidewalks

Continued Use of the Public Right-of-Way for Outside Dining

This blog examines the key components of local parklet/streatery programs that were established during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and how Washington’s local governments are now evaluating the future of those programs.

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A How-To Guide to Sponsoring Summer Celebrations

Summer is coming and with it, the possibility of public celebrations! But a local government should plan carefully to both make the event a success and be sure that it does not unintentionally violate the constitutional gift of public funds prohibition. 

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An Emerging Issue: Robot Delivery Devices May Be Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

Coming soon: delivery by robot! While the state offers some guidance on safety requirements and where these devices can operate, local governments will need to consider creating their own regulations, including where device storage units can be located.

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Six Suggested Actions for Planners during the Extended COVID-19 Pandemic

This blog suggests some action items planners can undertake during the COVID-19 pandemic to encourage commerce, promote recreational opportunities, and streamline the planning process. 

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Creative Use of Street ROW During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This blog post reviews how local governments can allow temporary use of the public ROW for business activity during the pandemic. 

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Street Names: Where Policy and History Meet

Wherever you travel the names of the local streets can help you find your way, confuse you, or very often tell you a bit about the unique history of the community. Having a logical, local policy on street naming (or renaming) can provide help future generations understand and retain the original meaning.

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Understanding Municipal Rights-of-Way: From Centerline to Edge (Part 3)

In Part 3 of Legal Consultant Oskar Rey's series on municipal rights-of-way, he looks at utilities, franchises, small cell facilities, and right-of-way use permits. 

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Understanding Municipal Rights-of-Way: From Centerline to Edge (Part 2)

In the second of three posts on understanding municipal rights-of-way, Legal Consultant Oskar Rey discusses sidewalks, street trees, and the areas near the outer edge of the right-of-way. 

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Understanding Municipal Rights-of-Way: From Centerline to Edge (Part 1)

MRSC gets a lot of inquiries about street rights-of-way. In this multi-part series, we cover the fundamentals of rights-of-way and the duties of local government and abutting owners.

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Smarter, Safer Roads by Design

This post looks at how "smart roads" of the future might impact how local and state agencies design roads and traffic management systems.

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Municipalities Now Responsible for Addressing View-Obstructing Roadside Vegetation

In a short, unanimous opinion issued last week, the Washington Supreme Court concluded that a municipality – a city or county – can be held liable for hazardous conditions on its roads created by naturally occurring roadside vegetation.

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Filling Gaps in your City’s Streetscape

How can cities or towns orchestrate streetscape retrofits adjacent to undeveloped lots so that the improvements are installed in a manner that is cost-effective and not haphazard?

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What is the Nature of a Public Right-of-Way?

I often come across misconceptions that local government officials have regarding the nature of a city or county right-of-way – the improved part termed a “street” if located in a city and a “road” if located in the unincorporated county. These misconceptions center on the issue of ownership.

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