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

Marysville hopes to create vision for State Avenue

 


Marysville officials hope to build a plan for the future of State Avenue with community members over the summer and their first workshop was held June 26.

The plan is meant to guide the future of one of the city’s primary streets as growth continues to come to the area.

“State Avenue is the most challenging corridor in the city. It’s really long and a lot of it developed in a different era for the city,” said Angela Gemmer, a senior planner with the City of Marysville.

With an estimated growth of 25,000 people over the next couple of decades, State Avenue is likely to change with the community.

“Some of that growth is going to be happening along the corridor,” said Gemmer.

“We want to be sure that when growth occurs it’s going to be consistent with the community vision and is going to enhance our community,” she said.

Creating plans is meant to provide a guideline for how the city should plan for new development.

“We need to update our zoning and codes so that when development comes in, it’s going to be the type that fosters that sense of community that meets your needs,” said John Owen, a partner at Makers Architecture who is helping the city with their State Avenue plan.

“The city is looking ahead now and saying ‘what do we need to prepare for that,’” he said.

That can be tricky for main corridors like State Avenue, said Owen, which have three main priorities: supporting development, moving people and goods and being attractive.

“It’s like trying to breed a work horse, a race horse and a show horse all together, so it’s a tough problem,” he said.

Especially with a road that was designed in the mid-1900s for a more auto-oriented society.

“Most of our development in the Puget Sound region is along the highway or these big arterials,” said Owen. “It’s a difficult place to foster a sense of community."

The city had already sent out a survey in 2016 in anticipation of looking at State Avenue and Gemmer said that they learned a lot.

People responded that they wanted better traffic flow, synchronization of traffic lights and updated buildings.

Safer sidewalks and better pedestrian access was also a concern.

“They wanted some physical separation between the pedestrians and the vehicles that are traveling,” said Gemmer.

Homelessness and panhandling were also a frequent complaint.

“These are things not easily addressed by a plan, but it is something that the city is working on,” said Gemmer.

At the workshop community member said that they hoped for more businesses and buildings that showed the town’s character.

“There’s a lot of fast food restaurants but not a lot of sit down options,” said Gemmer.

Community members wanted more greenery and “less concrete” along State Avenue.

Activity was also rated as a positive, especially being able to fill empty buildings.

“People like the renovation that has gone on at Fourth Street. Instead of the shuttered restaurant, we have Mod Pizza and Coastal Community Bank and there’s more going on at all times of the day,” said Gemmer.

City officials hope to come together soon for a second meeting with the public and have scheduled a tentative meeting date of July 17.

A plan will eventually be drafted by the city’s Planning Commission followed by review by the Marysville City Council.

Gemmer said it was unlikely change comes quickly, but a plan will help guide the future of the street.

“We’re not expecting anyone to come in and do a grand overhaul of the corridor but, instead, we will probably see incremental changes over a long time,” she said.

 

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