New traffic signals improve safety near schools

MARYSVILLE — Two new traffic signals have been activated to improve pedestrian safety to and from the Shoultes and Cascade elementary schools.

On Feb. 2, the first traffic signal was activated at the intersection of 136th Street NE and 51st Avenue NE, in front of Shoultes Elementary. On Feb. 3, the second traffic signal was activated at the intersection of 100th Street NE and 51st Street NE, next to Cascade Elementary. Staff from Snohomish County and the city of Marysville have been on site to assist pedestrians and drivers with the transition.

"Our children should not have to walk to school in fear of their safety," Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon said. "These improvements will help keep children out of harm's way."

The traffic signals are part of the work Snohomish County Public Works has undertaken to improve conditions for pedestrians, including students, on 51st Avenue NE next to the two schools. Sidewalks, wheelchair ramps and crosswalks have also been added at all legs of the two intersections, whose left-turn lanes have been improved for better flow of traffic.

During 2009, the county made similar improvements to the 51st Avenue NE intersection at 122nd Street NE.

For environmental protection, porous asphalt was installed in the middle of 51st Avenue NE, north of 136th Street. The porous asphalt will allow storm water to drain through the surface of the road, removing pollutants as the water filters through the asphalt and soil. This "green building" practice eliminated the need for a detention pond and the cost of purchasing extra right-of-way at the intersection.

Funding for these improvements was provided through the Enhanced Community Infrastructure Development Initiative, which was developed by Reardon and added to and approved by the Snohomish County Council in 2006 to speed up the delivery of 46 projects to neighborhoods throughout the county. The projects were designed to improve roadways for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, as well as expand recreational opportunities, improve water quality, restore streams and reduce flooding. By building as early as 10 years sooner in some cases, the county has avoided rising costs and saved money.

The 136th Street NE and 100th Street NE intersections are in an area recently annexed by the city of Marysville and will be maintained by the city.

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