Letters to the Editor

Another TRAP at Smokey Point?

Several years ago, Smokey Point citizens and business owners were very concerned when they discovered that funding for the planned I-5 Exit 206 (172nd Street NE) interchange improvements had been redirected to other parts of the county. This concern led to the creation of TRAP (Marysville-Arlington Transportation Relief Action Plan). As history has now recorded, trap sprung into action and with bi-partisan support from our local elected leaders and citizens, met with WSDOT officials and devised an affordable solution. We then acquired funding to get the existing bridge widened from two lanes to six lanes. This completed improvement has allowed our community to grow and prosper.
Now, we are faced with another threatening issue. Community Transit is planning a new Park and Ride to serve Smokey Point. The site that they have been reviewing is immediately south Safeway at 169th Street NE and Smokey Point Boulevard.
While we certainly understand and support the need for such facilities, we feel strongly that this site will have a significant negative impact on our most critical intersection in Smokey Point (the intersection at 172nd Street NE and Smokey Point Boulevard.) Existing rush hour northbound traffic on Smokey Point Blvd. already backs up past 169th, the point at which this facility would dump many peak hour cars onto Smokey Point Boulevard. Many of these cars would be frantically trying to get across two lanes of already backed up traffic to get into the north-bound left turn lane to get to I-5.
An alternative site has been offered to CT approximately a quarter mile south at 163rd Street NE. We believe that this is far enough south to allow controlled traffic movements without worsening the existed problem at 172nd Street NE. This proposal site is also midway between I-5 Exit 206 and the planned overpass bridge and likely future interchange, one mile to the south. Good planning would require that permanent facilities such as this Park and Ride Lot (and possible future transit location) should be sited, based not only on existing streets, but also on transportation improvements already programmed in Arlington and Marysvilles Comprehensive Plans.
We do understand that CT has spent some time reviewing the location behind Safeway. However, this facility will impact our community for many years into the future. Lets put it in the best location to serve our community with least impact.
Our committee has voted to support this newly proposed Park and Ride site at the newly proposed 163rd Street NE location. We invite CT officials and staff from Arlington and Marysville to meet with us and Smokey Point business leaders to discuss the merits of this new proposal prior to committing limited public funds for this site acquisition.
Becky Foster, Co-Chair
TRAP Steering Committee
Arlington

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