City Council reviews six-year transportation plan, OKs engineering development manual

City Engineer Rich Meredith and Community and Economic Development Director Christy Osborn presented an ordinance to adopt an engineering development manual. (Images courtesy of the City of Mountlake Terrace)

The Mountlake Terrace City Council at its June 13 meeting reviewed the six-year transportation improvement plan, which includes transportation projects from 2025 to 2030.

Mountlake Terrace City Engineer Rich Meredith and City Traffic Engineer John Marek gave the presentation, with Marek joining virtually. Meredith said there were few changes since the update in February

The changes included the Main Street Revitalization Project Phase II and III and three projects between 2026 and 2030.

The proposed projects for 2026 to 2030 – which are currently unfunded – are:

– The grinding away of old asphalt and overlaying of a new surface on 220th Street Southwest from the Interurban Trail to 52nd Avenue West. The design is scheduled for 2026, with construction in 2027. The project would also install new ADA-compliant curb ramps at all crossings. The total construction cost is estimated at $14 million.

– A 44th Avenue West lane reduction from 212th to 226th Streets Southwest. Scheduled for design in 2028 and construction in 2029, this project would reduce 44th Avenue West from four lanes in each direction to two with a center lane for left-hand turns. Further, it would add ADA-compliant curb ramps at all crossings and extend the bike lanes north to 212th Street Southwest. The total construction cost is estimated at $5.42 million.

– Pavement reconstruction on 244th Street from 56th Avenue West to Cedar Way. Design is scheduled in 2029, and construction in 2030. The project would improve curbs, gutters, sidewalks, on-street parking, bicycle lanes and drainage. The total construction cost is estimated at $7.019 million.

The council agenda memo stated that potential funding sources for these projects include city Transportation Benefit District revenues and transportation impact fees, as well as federal and state transportation grants and loans such as: 

RAISE grants

Surface Transportation Program

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality

Puget Sound Regional Council

Public Works Trust Fund loans 

– Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans

– Possible municipal bonds, levies and other existing city funding such as the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET).

Each city must update its six-year transportation improvement program (TIP) annually and file a copy of the adopted program with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). 

In other business, Meredith and Community and Economic Development Director Christy Osborn presented an ordinance to adopt an engineering development manual. Meredith said that development and design standards are included in various city documents, and inconsistencies are found in most of them. This makes it difficult for the development community to understand which requirements apply. 

The proposed manual will simplify the design process by consolidating design standards into a central location and provide a better understanding of design requirements for developers and staff. Further, it streamlines the civil permit design and plan review process and creates consistent document standards.

The manual will also include parking, underground utilities, driveway access and lighting.

Meredith said that sidewalks were “a big topic.” Some standards stated a width requirement of 5 feet, some 6 feet, and other documents left the sidewalk width undefined.

“The development community has wanted this kind of process for a very long time,” Osborn said.

The council voted to hold a public hearing about the engineering development manual and related code revisions during its June 24 meeting.

Deputy City Manager Carolyne Hope presented the proposal request update for a long-range financial sustainability consultant.

Deputy City Manager Carolyn Hope then reviewed a request for proposals for a long-range financial sustainability consultant. This item was rescheduled from the June 6 council meeting and no action was taken.

The city council wants to form a long-range financial sustainability task force of community members. City staff would like the support of a facilitator and possibly financial,community engagement and communications consultants for their expertise.

According to Hope, the consultant would provide staff with additional resources and knowledge to facilitate the task force, communications and marketing, and possibly evaluate the recommendations.

Hope said that beginning in 2025, the city’s expenditures will be higher than operating revenues. The city currently has sufficient funds to cover the difference and continue contributing to reserves, but the fund balance will be depleted sometime in the next six to 10 years.

She explained that this is a result of several factors, including but not limited to:

– Washington state law limiting governmental agencies from increasing taxes by more than 1% without a vote of constituents.

– The city not using its banked capacity for property taxes.

– Inflation rates that are much higher than 1%.

– Construction costs are higher than inflation.

– The region’s demand for workers, which creates a very competitive job market, including the costs of employing people.

– The regional cost of living, which is one of the highest in the U.S.

– Mountlake Terrace’s aging infrastructure, which requires replacement. 

– The city’s significant growth, which is mandated by the state and will require further infrastructure improvements.

Hope said if the revenue shortfall continues after the task force evaluates the impact of new residents, businesses, fees and more, the city must determine how to “right-size” the budget. The adjustments would be made by reducing services, increasing revenues, identifying other economic or revenue-generating opportunities, or combining those actions.

The scope of work for the consultant would be to:

– Assist city staff with developing a recruiting process for the task force.

– Collaborate with staff to develop the curriculum.

– Develop the syllabus and agendas and work with staff on any meeting materials or notes.

– Coordinate with staff to arrange for guest speakers.

– Facilitate task force meetings.

– Develop communications and messaging strategies for the broader community about this work.

– Assist with strategies and presentation materials for additional community engagement activities related to long-range financial strategy and planning.

– Make presentations to the city council.

– Prepare reports and final recommendations from the task force.

– Make recommendations for implementation steps to be taken by staff and city council.

The 2024 budget for the consultant is $25,000. Staff anticipate 12 to 18 months of work, with recruitment beginning this summer and will propose additional funding for the 2025-2026 budget to continue the work into the new biennium.

Task force recruitment is expected to begin this summer.

City Manager Jeff Niten presented the board and commission appointment recommendations to the city council, among other items.

In other business, the city council approved board and commission appointment recommendations for terms expiring at the end of June, as presented by City Manager Jeff Niten.

The city council subcommittee, which included Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright, Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Wahl and Councilmember Erin Murray, interviewed candidates in person and via teleconference on June 5 and 6. 

Following the interviews, the subcommittee made the following recommendations, effective July 1, 2024: 

Arts Advisory Commission (Three-year term expiring June 30, 2027) 

– Benjamin Hou: Reappointment 

– Sarah Frost: New appointment to replace Marla French.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission (Two-year student term expiring June 30, 2026) 

– Patricia Pottinger: New Appointment

Planning Commission (Four-year term expiring June 30, 2028.)

– Nick Bautista: Reappointment 

Recreation and Park Advisory Commission (Three-year term expiring June 30, 2027) 

– Joe Cross: New Appointment 

Salary Commission (Term expires Nov. 30, 2024) 

– Chris Finch 

– Sarah Frost 

– Julie St. George 

– Denene Thompson 

– Cameron Wu 

Formal appointments are scheduled for the June 20 regular meeting, with terms beginning on July 1.

The city council also reviewed the revised council vision and strategic plan goals with City Manager Niten and Deputy City Manager Hope.

The goals discussed were growing a vibrant community with active arts, culture and diversity; responsible governance to ensure the desired level of service and environmental sustainability and resiliency.

To see the complete action plan, click here.

Once the council approves the goals and plans, they will be combined into a strategic plan for 2025-2029.

The next meeting will start at 7 p.m. June 20, at Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 23204 58th Avenue West, Mountlake Terrace.

To attend the meeting online, visit and enter meeting ID 810 1113 9518; no passcode is needed.

To make a public comment remotely, complete the registration form within 24 hours of the meeting’s start at

To listen via telephone, call 1-253-215-8782 and enter the same meeting ID.

Livestreamed meetings and past video recordings at agenda can be viewed here.

— By Rick Sinnett

  1. There is too much traffic on 44th Ave W now to choke it down to two lanes. 44th Ave W was two lanes when we moved into the east side of MLT nearly 60 years ago. Traffic has increased exponentially since then. Traffic is halted during commuting hours on the two lane 220th St SW fills with gasoline wasting idling vehicles. The same thing will occur on 44 during commuting hours and other times. Traffic will also be stopped by mail trucks delivering mail and when CT buses are at bus stops. Also note that the unnecessary proposed bike lanes will only used by a few riders each day as is occuring on every other bike lane in the city.

    Please don’t permanently choke the only arterial on the east side of Mountlake Terrace.

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