Transportation the focus at June 3 council meeting

Transportation was the main topic of the Lynnwood City Council’s June 3 meeting. Development and business services staff began by discussing a draft of Lynnwood’s 2024 Comprehensive Plan – a document used to guide policy making and decisions for the next 20 years. 

Planner Brian Kirk and Community Planning Manager Karl Almgren presented the decision-making process used to create the plan and its seven drafted goals, each of which has a few points directing planners on how to actualize the concept:

  1. Provide a transportation system that efficiently and economically moves people and goods to local and regional destinations.
  1. Maximize the safety and accessibility of the local circulation system to guide the design of all transportation facilities, incorporating new materials and technology.
  1. Create an all ages and abilities non-motorized active transportation network that provides high quality connections throughout the city.
  1. Provide mobility standards for people walking, bicycling, using transit, driving and freight.
  1. Preserve effective maintenance of transportation infrastructure.
  2. Provide sustainable funding for transportation projects.
  3. Minimize the impacts of the transportation system on the city’s environment and neighborhood quality of life.

Almgren said that planners tried to formulate these goals using a multi-modal perspective and that the challenge in planning for transportation lies in connecting those transportation “pieces.”  He also emphasized that transit in Lynnwood was at a crucial juncture given that the Lynnwood Link light rail extension will open at the end of August 2024 and Sound Transit is working on several other large projects.

Street developments for multimodal transport

Balancing plans for pedestrian, transit, motorist and bicycling routes meant that prioritization was a challenge, he said. Safety, however, was the number-one priority. Council President George Hurst supported this point when emphasizing that safe routes near schools should be at the forefront of pedestrian and sidewalk creation projects.

Goal 3 included one point specifying that the city should “Implement bicycle facility and trail improvements to create a complete transportation network for bicyclists.” Councilmember David Parshall asked presenters to clarify what a bicycle facility was. 

They answered that in addition to being good transportation “hubs” and connections, bicycle facilities serve as a safe place to dock bicycles and sometimes include lockers. Councilmember Patrick Decker added that these could also include repair shops and that the City of Redmond would be a good model to follow when considering biking.

An imaging depicting pedestrian mobility improvements at 44th Avenue West.

City Engineer David Mach and Public Works Director Bill Franz followed that Comprehensive Plan conversation with an update about Lynnwood’s current transportation system. Mach focused on the city’s stagnant transportation budget and aging streets. He provided an overview of the costs associated with regular street maintenance as opposed to completely reconstructing an area. Mach said that maintenance for Lynnwood’s 300 lane miles of streets and 120 miles of sidewalks and 67 traffic signals had been conducted despite the fact the department had only four full-time employees from 2001 to 2022; adding one in 2023. At the  current level of city funding, public works could pave one mile per year, the presenters said.

Project planners for the Poplar Bridge anticipate that construction will begin in 2025.

Other topics included major infrastructure projects such as the Poplar Bridge and 36th Avenue West. Business and Development Services Director David Kleitsch provided information about the ongoing Costco congestion in the area of 33rd Avenue West. The council most recently heard options and suggestions for the area during an Oct. 2024 meeting, and Kleitsch informed councilmembers that a deal could be negotiated with the retailer because the congestion had affected their business operations. Kleitsch asked that the council consider allowing staff to enter into negotiations with the Costco. Public works staff are scheduled to meet with the council at a business meeting in July. 

Suggestion from the Public Works Department on how the city should manage the congestion near the North Lynnwood Costco

Also at the June 3 meeting, the council:

  • Interviewed Chelsea Wright, a candidate for a vacant position on Lynnwood’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. 
  • Received a broad overview of options for using incoming opioid settlement funds, which can be used for opioid addiction treatment or for the mitigation of “other alleged effects of the opioid abuse crisis, including on those injured as a result of the opioid abuse crisis.” Local governments must solicit public opinion for the use of funds. Lynnwood is estimated to receive about $2.9 million over the next 14 years – $547,848 has been received so far.
  • Discussed the process councilmembers will use to narrow the pool of 24 applicants for the city council vacancy to a total of eight candidates.

–By Jasmine Contreras-Lewis

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