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Arlington planning future of its roads

 

Christopher Andersson

photo BY CHRISTOPHER ANDERSSON Local Kathy Bullene, right, and Toole Design Group senior planner Carol Kachadoorian, put together a plan for what 172nd Street could look like in the future during a Complete Streets workshop in Arlington on April 26.

The city of Arlington has begun to make a master plan for how their future streets should look for commuters, bikers and pedestrians as the community grows.

As part of this effort they met with local community members in a "Complete Streets Workshop" on April 26 and will be holding more public events over the next couple of months.

The city's plan is meant to help guide future development.

"We really want to make sure we're shaping it for the future," said Nova Heaton, Complete Streets program manager and who works for the city of Arlington's Community and Economic Development Department.

"We're thinking about where do we want to live, what kind of community do we want to live in and how do we want that community to feel," she said.

"Complete Streets" is meant to look at a full spectrum of transportation, including public transit, cars, bikes and walking.

"It's really about not just transportation of cars, but also of pedestrians, bikes and making sure its accessible, and we're targeting all our users, such as kids," said Heaton.

The city hopes to learn what routes people want more transportation options.

"Do we want to be able to commute by bike from Gleneagle out to the bus station? Is that something people want? Or maybe people would prefer to keep driving on 172nd every day,"

The process started in response to the increasing population and development that has occurred in Arlington, which many estimates project to continue for some time.

"It really has to do with the growth that we're seeing," said Heaton.

"Arlington is growing really fast and there is a lot of interest from developers coming here wanting to do things in our town," she said.

The city hopes to build a plan to outlay general needs and for some specific streets as well.

The area on 172nd Street between the Smokey Point Walmart and 67th Avenue is expected to see some work begin soon from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) which would bring additional lanes.

"As they expand that we want to make sure that they're meeting our needs for our community. It's not just whatever WSDOT thinks they should put in there," said Heaton.

Those needs could include bike lanes, wider sidewalks, places for trees to grow and crosswalks to help people cross 172nd Street safely.

"If you've walked through Smokey Point you've probably seen someone jaywalking through that giant lane of traffic," said Heaton.

Other ideas include having on-street parking on Smokey Point Boulevard as that area grows.

"We expect to see quite a bit of development so some of the things we're looking at are having on-street parking, drop lanes and bike lanes," said Heaton.

The city also hopes to improve the amount of bike racks in the community.

"Bike racks are absolutely something we want to improve," said Heaton. "We don't have enough and the ones we do have are not actually a safe as they should be."

Improving connectivity between parts of the city was also an important goal.

"We have old town and we have Smokey Point so we really want to work to connect those, not just by bike, car and pedestrian, but by community as well," said Heaton.

"These are two distinct communities right now and we want to work to bring them together as a whole," she said.

The city hopes to draft and develop a plan over the next few months and finalize the master plan in September or October.

They want to submit a final plan for review by the Arlington City Council by November.

A number of community "walkshops" will be taking place in May which locals are encouraged to attend.

City officials and community members will walk a certain part of the city and discuss walkability concerns.

There are numerous "walkshops," including May 3 at 2 p.m. beginning at Terrace Park, May 12 at 10 a.m. beginning at the Stillaguamish Senior Center, May 15 at 5:30 p.m. beginning at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, May 20 at 10 a.m. beginning at Haller Middle School, May 24 at 2 p.m. beginning at Jensen Park, and May 29 at 5:30 p.m. beginning at Post Middle School.

More information and updates about the Complete Streets program are available at http://arlingtonwa.gov/574.

 

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