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Community Transit talks Park and Ride

From left, Community Transit Capital Facilities Planner Joe Brown discusses the Cedar and Grove Park and Ride station with Krong-thip Sangkapreecha and Mark Hamilton, who work for the Tulalip Tribes.   - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Community Transit Capital Facilities Planner Joe Brown discusses the Cedar and Grove Park and Ride station with Krong-thip Sangkapreecha and Mark Hamilton, who work for the Tulalip Tribes.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Community Transit staff staged an open house June 16 at the Marysville Library to discuss the Marysville Cedar and Grove Park and Ride project with the public.

Community Transit Capital Facilities Planner Joe Brown and Public Information Specialist Tom Pearce were on hand to answer questions and share information, including the tentative construction schedule.

Plats Plus, Inc., is the Marysville-based contractor that’s been retained for the park and ride station being developed at the northeast corner of the intersection between Cedar Avenue and Grove Street, whose approximately two-acre lot will include 213 parking spaces, with additional parking for motorcycles and bicycles, and room for up to three buses. Plats Plus provided the lowest of 11 bids received for the project, at approximately $1.63 million. Federal grants and matching local funds from Community Transit will pay for the project.

Community Transit plans for construction to begin in early July and be completed by December of this year. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project is scheduled for July 1 at 1:30 p.m. at the site, where U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen is set to speak.

The park and ride will feature a boarding area with a large shelter, as well as bright lighting, landscaping and security cameras throughout the lot. Brown and Pearce touted the park and ride’s “centrally located” proximity to existing bus routes and businesses on State Avenue, allowing area residents to use it to commute locally, or to catch connections to other locations. It’s being positioned as an alternative to the busy park and ride lots at Ash Avenue. It’s only a block west of State Avenue, where four local routes operate frequent service, and the routes expected to serve the Cedar and Grove lot include 207 to Boeing in Everett, 421 to downtown Seattle and 821 to the University District.

Mishayla Panchot and her mother Annette are co-owners of the espresso stand just south of the Cedar and Grove lot, across Grove Street from where the park and ride will be sited. Although they’d heard of plans to turn the lot into a park and ride, they’d previously expected it might happen in 2010. The two admitted that they were a bit nervous about the prospect of construction on a crosswalk, between their lot and the park and ride lot, blocking traffic on the streets adjoining their business, but Brown informed them that any such disturbances would probably be limited to less than a week, in the latter part of construction.

“We’re really excited by the prospect of commuters coming by,” said Mishayla Panchot, who noted that their espresso stand will be adding walk-up service to its pre-existing drive-through service. “I hope there are a lot of people who will get bored while waiting there and decide that they want something to eat or drink,” she laughed.

Mark Hamilton and Krong-thip Sangkapreecha both work for the Tulalip Tribes and they attended the open house to see how the new park and ride might affect the Tribes’ plans to create greater connectivity between bus routes in Marysville and those on the reservation. Brown noted that the Ash Avenue Park and Ride, which is currently “at or exceeding capacity,” will remain in operation and added that a mixed-use development, of which both Hamilton and Sangkapreecha spoke favorably, would be difficult for the Cedar and Grove Park and Ride, since it’s in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

Pearce elaborated that Community Transit had examined close to 20 sites in the Marysville and Smokey Point areas for their fitness as prospective park and ride sites, and he reported that the Cedar and Grove lot “ranked as one of the highest, if not the highest,” based on criteria ranging from traffic patterns to “cultural significance.” Sangkapreecha inquired whether any sites on reservation lands had undergone such preliminary analysis. According to Pearce they had, but the Tribes’ preference for leasing such lands, rather than selling them outright, had made them less feasible sites by Community Transit standards.

“Let say we signed a 50-year lease, and at the end of that period the lease owner said, ‘Thank you, but we won’t be renewing your lease,’” Pearce said. “At that point, we’d have to find a whole new site to replace the one that we’d lost, and if you think it’s hard to find land that’s open for development today, by tomorrow it’s going to be as scarce and valuable as gold.”

Brown clarified that the eastbound bus pullout, on the south side of Grove Street, is technically a separate project from the Cedar and Grove Park and Ride itself, one that he anticipated might be built within 2010. He added that Community Transit has discussed reciprocal parking arrangements with the church adjacent to the park and ride lot, so that the church and the park and ride could use one another’s lots for extra parking, according to their respective needs.

This will be Community Transit’s third park and ride in central Marysville. The agency has others at Ash Avenue and Second Street, and at Ash Avenue and Sixth Street. Community Transit also operates a park and ride further north, at 116th Street and Interstate 5.

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