If you ever travel on the south border of our city (and county), 244th St. SW, you’ve probably noticed that it has been repaved between Ballinger Way and 56th Ave W. While there is temporary striping on the road right now, the final striping will be quite different than what you’re used to.
The 244th/205th repaving/restriping project is a joint project between the city of Mountlake Terrace and the city of Shoreline, as each city owns half the street. The project is being managed by King County (confused yet?). The new pavement was finished last week and the final striping should be completed in the next month.
The current striping and lane arrangement from Ballinger way to 59th will remain the same. This is a tricky section to maneuver in your car, especially when turning left from eastbound Ballinger Way. A few years ago the striping in this section was improved and it will be restriped exactly the same as it has been since then.
Once you get east of the entrance to Gateway Plaza (Canyon’s, Cinebarre) things are going to be different. The image below shows the existing cross section of the street (note that, in reality, there is no landscape strip between the sidewalk and curb.)
The section has four 11′ lanes. The new arrangement (shown below) will have 3 lanes: one 11′ through lane going in each direction, a 12′ shared left turn lane and a 5′ bike lane on each side (this street has been designated as a bike route in the 2007 Transportation Master Plan).
The new 3-lane options is a better alternative for a number of reasons:
- When 244th was expanded to 4 lanes 30 years ago, the properties on the north side of the street were mostly houses. Now they are mostly businesses and many will likely be redeveloped in the coming years to larger and busier businesses. The number of left turns has increased substantially. By adding a left turn lane, the motorist can move out of the flow of traffic while waiting for a gap to turn.
- Additionally the number of cars turning left on to 244th has increased. They will now be able to turn in to the left turn lane instead of having to wait for an open spot in the left through lane while also watching for cars in the right through lane changing lanes.
- The current left through lane (heading east) is a left turn only lane at 56th Ave W. Many time I’ve seen motorist get confused and try to change lanes in to the right lane at the last minute to continue heading east on 244th. The new arrangement will prevent this confusion.
- There is currently no buffer between the pedestrians on the sidewalk and traffic. Many streets have a landscape strip between the sidewalk and the curb but this section of 244th doesn’t. By adding a bike lane, there is now a 5′ buffer between the traveling lane and pedestrians. I’ve personally experienced this when trying to walk on the sidewalk with a stroller and a dog, the traffic is just too close for comfort.
The new 3-lane option is a big improvement because it’s safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
View 244th in a larger map