Trafficsignal0225

The intersection where a planned signal is to be installed at 172nd Street.

 

A new traffic signal will be installed on 172nd Street at 40th Avenue as Arlington officials hope to improve safety and pedestrian access along the corridor.

The city is currently working on the design of the new signal.

A webpage for the project is now available at bit.ly/40thAveIntersection and  includes information about the project and a survey and comment form for the public to give their input.

As part of the project a solid median will be built from 43rd Avenue to Smokey Point Boulevard.

To help vehicles have accesses to the nearby businesses, U-turns will be allowed at the signal as well.

Although previous development in Smokey Point has focused primarily on car traffic, the area is receiving more pedestrians.

“The Smokey Point area is growing and receiving a lot more pedestrian traffic,” said Jim Kelly, public works director for the city of Arlington. “Our whole society is moving away from purely a drive-and-park style of transportation."

New development has to support people using bicycling, walking or taking the bus, he said.

“We have to make sure that our infrastructure is built to accommodate all those types of transportation,” he said.

Bus pull-off lanes will also be added to the project in anticipation of future bus routes coming to the area, said Kelly.

The project will include pedestrian improvements and allow another crossing point for locals.

Kelly said a large complex of affordable senior housing is being opened on the north side of 172nd Street in that area, and with two grocery stores on the other side of the street, building more pedestrian access is even more important at that location.

“We want to provide a safe, crossable intersection that will ensure a safe path to walk for those seniors,” he said.

Because of the large amount of traffic on 172nd Street, cars also have trouble making it into the business complex nearby.

On average, the area has 8 to 13 accidents per year, said Kelly.

“Almost all the accident there are from left-hand turns,” he said.

“Some of that is from people turning left out of that business complex, and a lot of it is from people turning left into that complex as well,” he said.

A signal will allow car traffic to turn into that business complex without as much risk.

The Transportation Improvement Board is providing a grant of $1.1 million for the project.

The remaining $280,000 is coming from the city of Arlington’s growth impact fees fund. Growth impact fees are paid for by incoming businesses and are meant to help offset the cost of providing infrastructure for increasing traffic.

The city hopes to go out to bid for the project in the spring of 2021 and to perform construction 2021 and 2022.

During construction some lanes are likely to be closed, especially when work is being done to construct the media or install the signal.

“More info will be available once we have a contractor on board,” said Kelly.

 

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