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Lakewood residents vexed over traffic
MARYSVILLE Residents near the new Lakewood Crossing shopping center are livid over traffic in the northern part of town and are demanding changes to nearby residential streets swamped with cars during the weekend shopping rush. Many say that traffic will not let them out of their neighborhoods during peak shopping times.
Crystal Tree Village is a mobile home park tucked just a couple blocks away from the 460,000-square-foot retail center anchored by Costco and Target. Several other big box stores will open on the site soon, including a Circuit City, Linens and Things, a national-chain restaurant and several more large retail stores. In all the center is estimated to eventually bring 28,000 daily weekday car trips to what is essentially a dead-end street along Twin Lakes Avenue just west of I-5. It is currently drawing about half that amount.
Elwood Corulli is the manager of Crystal Tree Village and he is demanding action from the city of Marysville, which annexed the area in February of 2005. He feels the city is focused on the economic benefits of the shopping center and is slighting the residents of his residential area which has been in existence for 60 years under different names.
Im sick and tired of everybody passing the buck, Corulli said. Its time for some action.
Corulli has met with at least seven city administrators and has made himself a pest at City Hall and the Marysville Public Works Department as he discussed traffic patterns and speed limits in his neighborhood just west of Lakewood Crossing. He said they have responded to some of his concerns but Corulli is afraid a pedestrian is going to get hurt by speeding drivers.
JoAnn DeLazzari is a resident of the park and notes that many of the elderly use wheelchairs and scooters and they roll to Costco for cheap prescription drugs. The city has a wheelchair ramp installed on 169th Street that forced those folks to wheel around the corner to cross 27th Avenue NE, the street leading to Target and Costco. Combined with the busy streets and speeding drivers, theres trouble brewing, she said.
It is a tragedy waiting to happen, DeLazzari said. Basically its like we dont exist back here, as far as traffic flow.
City Engineer Kevin Nielsen has met with Corulli and said the city has addressed some of his concerns and will take more action once a new traffic study is completed. Marysville directed the developer of Lakewood Crossing to conduct a new traffic survey to gauge how traffic is affecting the area. Kirkland-based Powell Development is paying for the study, which should be completed later this week.
Before the center with 14 retail pads was developed on the 48-acre site, a plant nursery attracted an average of 1,708 cars trips per day during weekdays. Initial data showed that Costco and Target were bringing in 13,000 daily trips, and the new study should update those figures.
We have a lot of things for those residents out there, Nielsen said.
Neighbors have made several demands and some are in the works, others might not be feasible, Nielsen warned.
The wheelchair ramp, known as a cut in, was a mistake and will be moved to front directly onto 27th, he pledged. DeLazzari noted that by Sunday, Oct. 29, markings were made by public works personnel to show where the new ramp would go. Corulli already asked for double-yellow no-passing lines to be extended around the corner and that has been done, he acknowledged. A request for a 25 mile-per-hour speed limit was met, with new, orange signs installed.
Other needs are being studied. One request was to have the painted center turn lanes replaced with concrete curbing to keep southbound drivers on 27th Avenue from changing lanes. Two lanes face south on 27th and one is a center turn lane for drivers to turn left onto Twin Lakes Avenue. Corulli and DeLazzari say that people will use the center turn lane to race south to Lakewood Crossing and endanger pedestrians trying to cross the street. They think curbing is needed to stop that.
Thats not going to happen, according to traffic engineer John Cowling. He and Nielsen said the C-curbing is an impediment to semi-trucks when they are turning and that it can cause other problems, such as drivers backing out of turn lanes when they make a mistake or driving the wrong way into traffic. That was a problem on 88th Street NE after the new Applebees opened, Nielsen said. The same curbing was installed in the center lanes of 172nd Street NE by the state department of transportation and the city wished that hadnt been done, Neilsen added.
Residents have also asked for a four-way stop sign or a stoplight at the intersection of 169th Avenue NE and 27th. That might happen but the city has strict policies on placing stop signs because they cause accidents, Nielsen said. Stop signs should not be used as traffic calming devices either, or to redirect traffic, he said.
The new traffic study being done by Powell Development will provide data for engineers to decide whether a four-way stop should be installed. Currently 27th Avenue drivers north and south face no stop signs, but drivers east and westbound on 169th do.
Powell Development did not return calls or emails for this story, but vice president Don Barker spoke to the Oct. 23 Marysville City Council meeting about ingress and egress to an adjacent strip mall on 172nd where The Village Restaurant and Chevron share a private drive with the John L. Scott Realty office. He said Powell is working with the seven owners of that private drive to make sure it is realigned with the entrance to a new Linens and Things store. He did not address other traffic concerns at the meeting.
Residents say they were told that another north-south road to the west of Lakewood Crossing would be finished before the shopping center was completed. Two blocks west of the shopping center is 25th Avenue NE, a short spur that bends southwards and dead ends at Crystal Tree Village. Developers will extend that north to connect with 172nd Street as part of their permitting requirements, according to Nielsen.
Theyre moving pretty quick, Nielsen said. There are more retail and residential developments slated for the area soon but they will actually help things, he emphasized. Builders are required to put roads in before the sticks go up, and projects now on the table will help the city create a proper grid of streets where a mess of dead end streets are now. Theres some real possibilities real soon, Nielsen said.
The city is moving forward with plans for a railroad overpass somewhere in the area to the south of the mall and recently hired a consultant to bring residents together to decide on a route for the $5 bridge. That study will be done by December according to Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall and everyone involved will be consulted. The city of Arlington, the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe railroad, the Tulalip Tribes and nearby homeowners will be appraised and involved, Kendall said.
I know that those folks there will be included, he said referring to Crystal Tree Village and other housing developments.
That crossover will replace one closed by BNSF several years ago at 156th Street NE. The railroad has authority to close some crossings without state, county or city input and neither Snohomish County or the City of Marysville were happy about the closing.