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Community Transit breaks ground in Marysville at Cedar and Grove for new park and ride

MARYSVILLE — City, county and federal-level dignitaries descended July 1 upon the approximately two-acre lot at the northeast corner of the intersection between Cedar Avenue and Grove Street, to break ground at the site of what will be Marysville's fourth park and ride station.

Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor noted that the Ash Avenue park and ride stations were opened six years ago, and added that Marysville was a "founding city" of Community Transit in 1976. She cited the number of Marysville representatives who have been actively involved in Community Transit, among them Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall, a Board member and past Board chair of Community Transit.

"We have seen tremendous growth in ridership in Marysville, and we've increased service here because of that demand," Eleanor said. "Our three existing park and rides in Marysville are full every day. In just six years, commuter ridership between Marysville and downtown Seattle is up 34 percent, and in the past year alone, local bus ridership has gone up 23 percent."

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen deemed mass transit an engine of family-wage job creation and a foundation of economic growth, not only because it provides people with transportation to and from work, but also because it reduces pollution, eases congestion on freeways and at intersections, and allows commuters to spend "less time in traffic, and more time with their families," thereby increasing quality of life. He pointed out that 80 percent of the park and ride's $4 million total cost, or $3.2 million, will be federally funded.

As Larsen joins his fellow Congressmen and women in writing the federal transportation bill that will cover the next half-dozen years, he listed rising gas prices, aging highways, transportation choke-points, tighter budgets and a depleted highway trust fund as among the legislators' concerns. Nonetheless, he and his fellow House Democrats hope to provide $450 billion to roads, highways, bridges and mass transit over the course of the next six years, with mass transit alone slated to receive nearly $100 billion.

Community Transit Board Chair Carlton Gipson explained that the Cedar Avenue and Grove Street lot was selected as the best of 20 possible sites for the park and ride, due to its "convenient location" one block west of State Avenue, where four local routes operate frequent service, as well as its flat terrain, which makes it easier to develop. Among the routes he sees serving the Cedar and Grove lot are 207 to Boeing in Everett, 421 to downtown Seattle and 821 to the University District.

Gipson elaborated that the Cedar and Grove park and ride will feature a boarding area with a large shelter, as well as bright lighting, landscaping and security cameras throughout the lot. He again touted the benefits of the park and ride's location, noting that it's not only close 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 — including Quil Ceda Village, Smokey Point, Everett, Lake Stevens and Lynnwood — but also adding that it's removed from the freeway, to cut down on freeway congestion and pollution.

The Cedar and Grove park and ride will include 213 parking spaces, with additional parking for motorcycles and bicycles, and room for up to three buses. To reduce its environmental impact, its construction will utilize reusable and recycled materials, trees will be planted on site, and storm water will percolate through the ground on site, with an on-site garden set aside for storm water overflow.

Kendall informed attendees that the city of Marysville's population has grown by 48 percent, or 12,000 people, since 2000, and once the currently unincorporated urban growth area is annexed into the city, it will have an additional 20,000 citizens, for a total of 57,000 residents. Given this significant rate of growth, he emphasized the importance of "getting cars off the freeway," for the benefit of both commuters and the environment, and he praised Community Transit for striving to provide "affordable and accessible" transportation.

"We have buses stopping on State Avenue every 15 minutes," Kendall said. "This helps out our State Avenue businesses. Plus, by contracting this project to Plats Plus of Marysville, Community Transit is helping us out, by providing us with some construction sales tax, and when those Plats Plus employees spend the money they've earned, it increases our sales tax revenues."

Community Transit plans for construction to begin later on this month, and to be complete by December of this year.

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