A single design is slated for the extension of 191st Avenue Southeast into downtown.
Monroe city staff will pursue planning of a rural road section with a walking path estimated at $2.2 million. The route will follow the old, abandoned road grade, starting immediately south of Rainier View Road and connecting to the roundabout on Chain Lake Road.
City councilmembers approved the plan at last Tuesday’s meeting following a presentation from Monroe Public Works senior engineer Scott Peterson on the public feedback gathered during a Jan. 26 open house at the Monroe Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Roughly 40 people showed up to weigh in on four design concepts, each with an urban and rural option.
“It was one of the more successful events we’ve had,” Peterson said.
Urban routes, which Peterson said residents weren’t generally interested in, included two car lanes, sidewalks and bicycle lanes. A rural route would have two car lanes and sidewalks. The project is being proposed to ease congestion on the only arterial that leads in and out of the area directly north of downtown, and to provide a backup escape for residents. A developer had planned to build a roadway at one point in the area, Frontage Road 7, but didn’t follow through.
“The city appears to be approving building at a pace that is faster than the current infrastructure can sustain,” one resident wrote. “It is very important to the current residents that traffic is alleviated as these developments go in.”
The first route, the second-highest rated option by residents, is a straight shot from Rainier View Road that ends at the tip of Galaxy Way. While the shortest option, it is also the most expensive, estimated at $4.8 million because of necessary earthwork.
The second route would end at the roundabout on Chain Lake Road, and is priced between $3.2 million and $4.1 million, according to the agenda bill. It could be quite impactful on sensitive wetlands. All routes, however, would likely pass through some sort of sensitive area, and require Washington State Department of Transportation coordination, according to the bill.
“The goal is to always minimize sensitive-areas impacts, because mitigation does cost money,” Peterson said previously.
The third route would start on a spur southwest of Rainier View Road, and end at the intersection of Chain Lake and Mountain View roads, and is estimated between $2.7 million and $3.2 million. Peterson previously said the route might also have some trouble with increased traffic. The Chain Lake roundabout is the only intersection he knows for certain was planned to handle more growth.
A resident commented that connecting the road at the roundabout was the only viable option, and egress onto North Kelsey Street would be problematic.
North Kelsey is a heavily traveled roadway targeted for other city improvement projects.
The route approved at the Feb. 21 meeting will have more sharp turns, steeper grades, require the least amount of earthwork and be the longest of the four concepts — it is also the cheapest.
Councilmember Kevin Hanford said he liked that it was half the cost of the second-highest rated option, and having a sidewalk would allow pedestrians to travel safely in and out of downtown.
Because of the steep grades, Hanford and fellow Councilmember Patsy Cudaback said they were in support of potentially constructing a staircase separate from the roadway that extends into downtown. Mayor Geoffrey Thomas said it might be preferable to eventually have both a staircase and sidewalk loop.
Peterson said the next step is working with WSDOT, since the roadway will pass through the U.S. Highway 2 corridor. Approval is essential before the city moves forward with paying for studies or designs. He provided a rough timeline for the project. Surveying critical areas and some design development will take place in 2018-19, obtaining right of ways in 2019, and carrying out construction from 2020-21.
Thomas said the council will likely have to approve spending on designs and studies if WSDOT approves the project.
“In fact, that would probably be the next touch point for council,” he said.