North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Construction of Smokey Point transit center has begun

Renovations will improve and expand an existing bus stop into a crossroads for many bus routes.

 

Courtesy of Community Transit

A sketch of Community Transit's plans for the new transit center currently under construction in Smokey Point. The new center, with increased shelters and bus bays, could be finished by this summer.

Community Transit plans to improve local community transportation around Smokey Point Boulevard by renovating a bus stop into a transit center.

The new transit center on Smokey Point Boulevard and Smokey Point Drive (behind the Arlington Alfy's Pizza location) will feature five bus bays instead of two, and will include more shelters, seating and lighting.

Construction of the renovation began this September and could be finished in summer.

The project will likely cost approximately $4 million, said Martin Munguia, the corporate communications manager for Community Transit.

Bus routes that serve the area have to stop in a variety of different places, some inside the transit center and others on Smokey Point Boulevard.

"That forces people to have to cross the street to catch their connecting bus, and sometimes there are only a few minutes to make that connection. The reason for the project is to make connections easier and safer," said Munguia.

Only two buses can currently fit into the stop area, but the new center will be able to hold four active buses as well as give spaces for buses that are stopped on layover. Because the area is often an end point for bus routes, many buses need to stop there.

There is enough capacity for more routes in the future as well. "Because this area is growing, we see the potential for more trips to existing routes and possibly new routes in the future. This transit center is designed to handle that future capacity," Munguia said.

The station will provide a transfer point for local Routes 201, 202, 220, 227 and 240. Commuter routes are a possibility in the future.

Community Transit wants to get the project 'Greenroads certified' as an environmentally sound construction project, according to the website. The agency intends to manage and treat stormwater runoff, reduce light pollution and use long-life pavement.

While construction is ongoing, there will be slight changes to bus routes 201, 202 and 220. Questions about bus routes can be answered at 425-353-7433 or riders@commtrans.org.

The current stop has no parking and the renovation will not add any. The area currently has park-and-ride lots in downtown Arlington, at the Smokey Point Community church, and near Lakewood Crossing west of I-5.

There was push-back from citizens and the city council several years ago after Community Transit proposed a large-scale transit center and park-and-ride near Safeway because of concerns of attracting traffic to the busy Smokey Point Boulevard and 172nd Street intersection, said Munguia.

However, after the recession Community Transit's revenues were greatly reduced and they backed out of the project. With the economy rebounding slowly, Community Transit is proceeding with this similar project.

"This Smokey Point Transit Center renovation is an affordable project that accomplishes the convenient and safe connections objective that our previous transit center proposal had, but without the parking. We feel this will greatly benefit the local community, and provide opportunity to increase transit service in the future," said Munguia.

Questions about the project can be answered at 425-353-7433 or riders@commtrans.org.

 

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