Council July 14 reviews Transit Connection Corridor Project, Main Street right-of-way acquistion

City Manager Scott Hugill, far left, on Thursday discusses quarterly goals with Mountlake Terrace City Councilmembers, clockwise from left, Bryan Wahl, Kyoko Matsumoto Wright, Doug McCardle, Steve Woodard and Erin Murray. Councilmembers Laura Sonmore and Rick Ryan were absent from the meeting.

The Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Thursday, July 14 work/study session reviewed a proposed contract with OTAK Engineering to complete design work on the Transit Connection Corridor Project, heard more about right-of-way acquistion for the Main Street Phase II project, and also talked about its quarterly goals.

The Transit Connection Corridor Project includes the Veterans Memorial Park trail system and the public plaza adjacent to the light rail station on 236th Street Southwest. Parks Project Manager Donnelle Dayao explained that the contract will complete two separate design efforts around the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center, in preparation for the arrival of light rail in 2024.

The intent, she said, is to provide “access to the transit center as well as a gathering place for commuters and residents.”

The first element of the project involves updates to the Veterans Memorial Park trail system, identified in the Veterans Memorial Park Master Plan approved by council in October 2021. The scope of the current project will focus on design of a dirt path and gravel trail system and installing lighted asphalt pathways throughout the park, while attempting to provide ADA accessibility where feasible.

“It also includes the addition of an asphalt pathway from the Civic Campus connecting to the transit center,” Dayao said.

In addition, initial work will cover a tree survey and assessment and a geotechnical investigation.

The second element of the contract under council consideration is completion of design for Gateway Plaza, a 2,000-square-foot public plaza adjacent to the light rail station on 236th Street Southwest. The design was supported by Sound Transit Access Enhancement Funds, with final construction and future maintenance coordinated by the city.

Design is 90 percent finished, and was developed through several community meetings, Dayao said. It incorporates various hardscape seating elements, lighting and landscaping, and also will include art or a water feature.

Once the design is completed on these elements, the two will be combined into one contract for future construction.

Otak was the sole bidder on the Transit Connection Corridor Project, and the final contract amount is $525,889. Of that, $482,165 will be for the Veterans Memorial Park trail system and $43,724 dedicated to the plaza.

The design and future construction are being funded through numerous sources including the Sound Transit Access Enhancement Fund ($2 million), Puget Sound Regional Council-CMAQ ($577,581), Sound Transit System Access Fund ($500,000), and federal Community Project funding from the Highway Infrastructure Program ($2 million).

The Transit Connections Corridor Project contract is scheduled to appear on the council’s consent agenda for approval during its Monday, July 18 business meeting.

Public Works Director Eric LaFrance, far right, discusses right-of-way acquistion for the Main Street Phase 2 project. Councilmembers shown (L-R) are Doug McCardle, Steve Woodard and Erin Murray.

In other business Thursday night, the council heard an update from Public Works Director Eric LaFrance regarding right-of-way acqusition for Phase 2 of Main Street project construction along 56th Avenue West. Main Street Phase 1 construction included 236th Street Southwest from Interstate 5 to 56th Avenue; the second phase will be located along 56th Avenue West from 236th to 230th Streets Southwest. “The result of that improvement will be wider sidewalks, more accessible for ADA, two travel lanes, a two-way left-turn lane and bike lanes on both sides,” he said.

The city will need to acquire a small amount of right-of-way from adjacent property owners to complete the project, and LaFrance noted that Mountlake Terrace is preparing to submit its right-of-way acquistion plan to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The city is required to go through WSDOT, or a consultant that WSDOT has certified, to conduct property appraisals to ensure they are fair and equitable. The  consultant the city is using — Epic Land Solutions — has sent a letter to all 46 affected property owners, LaFrance added.

If negotiations with a property owner fails, the city’s final recourse is to condemn the property. LaFrance said he will be coming back to the council in the next month or two with a condemnation ordinance that will allow the city to take that step, if necessary.

Finally, the council reviewed its quarterly goals, which include:

  • An informed and engaged community
  • A vibrant town center and economic vitality that provides jobs, services and activities
  • Sustainability and environmental stewardship
  • Events that celebrate arts, neighborhoods and culture
  • Housing choices for all income levels
  • Active and passive parks that provide a variety of recreation opportunities for all ages and abilities
  • Feeling safe and welcome throughout the community
  • Multi-modal connections to all neighborhoods
  • Responsible government

Councilmembers said they were excited to get moving on several important projects related to these goals, including work to ensure more housing choices citywide. Related to that, the council will be having a followup discussion at its July 18 business meeting on implementing a Multifamily Property Tax Exemption Program (MFTE) in Mountlake Terrace. Many communities throughout the region have used the program to incentivize the development of housing units that are more affordable.

The council is also scheduled July 18 to issue a proclamation recognizing the 70th anniversary of Mountlake Terrace American Legion Post 234.

The in-person July 18 business meeting will be at Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 23204 58th Ave. W.  To attend online, click this link. To listen via telephone, call 1-253-215-8782. The online meeting ID is 860 2817 5009 and the passcode is 071822.

You can see the complete agenda here.

— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel

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