3 options identified for pedestrian bridge

By Sara Bruestle | Jan 09, 2013
Artwork by: City of Mukilteo An aerial view of the potential pedestrian bridge crossings from Old Town to the waterfront. The three location options are: 1) SR-525; 2) Park Avenue; and 3) Loveland Avenue. The city is studying building a bridge to improve pedestrian safety and access.

Pedestrians cross the SR-525 bridge to get to Mukilteo’s waterfront every day, though it isn’t particularly safe. They have no choice: It’s the only way to get there on foot.

The city is studying building a footbridge from Old Town to the waterfront to improve pedestrian safety and access. It is looking at three possible crossing locations: SR-525, Park Avenue and Loveland Avenue.

An open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Rosehill Community Center for the public to review and comment on each of the three options.

“Right now the only way to get down there is to go across the 525 bridge, and that doesn’t have the best connections,” said Patricia Love, the city’s assistant director of community development.

“It’s a safety issue, but it’s also a connectivity issue. We want to get more people out of their cars and using the multimodal station.”

The bridge could cost anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million, depending on location and design, Love said. It could be built as soon as 2014, if the city gets several grants to help pay for it, she said.

All of the alternatives connect the downtown business district with the Sounder Station, ferry terminal and a future parking garage either at grade or via an elevated structure.

The pedestrian overpass would consist of a 10-foot-wide shared-use path that crosses the BNSF railroad tracks and Mukilteo Lane.

“There’s pros and cons to each one,” said Heather McCartney, the city’s community development director. “We really need to sort out these options with the property owners and residents.”

Existing pedestrian access to the waterfront isn’t great, McCartney said. BNSF doesn’t allow anyone to cross the tracks, therefore pedestrians and bicyclists alike must go across a walkway on the SR-525 bridge that is less than 3 feet wide.

Many step off the narrow path into traffic to let others pass. Bicyclists tend to ride in the ferry lane because they don’t have a designated lane.

“The existing 525 bridge is unacceptable for both bikes and pedestrians, and it’s heavily used,” McCartney said. “This bridge will help alleviate all of these issues.”

The following is an overview of each of the three options:

SR-525

The bridge would cross the BSNF tracks just east of the existing SR-525 bridge and continue over or adjacent to a future turn-around that is part of ferry terminal relocation plans.

• The total length of the overpass would be about 280 feet.

• It is the only alternative that wouldn’t require a clearance of 45 feet over the railroad tracks.

• A proposed BNSF signal arm at the location may make this option impossible.

• This option would be the least expensive.

Park Avenue

With this option, the bridge would start on Park Avenue between Second Street and Third Street, continue across the BNSF tracks and then turn east toward the future Sound Transit Station.

• The total length of the overpass would be about 1,150 feet, just under a quarter mile.

• It would require a clearance of 45 feet over the railroad tracks.

• This option would likely invite unauthorized commuter parking on nearby streets.

• It would block neighborhood views of the waterfront the most.

Loveland Avenue

At this location, the bridge would start near the intersection of Loveland Avenue and Second Street and continue north across the BNSF tracks. It would then turn east and connect to the second level of the future Sound Transit Station.

• The total length of the overpass would be about 620 feet.

• It would require a clearance of 45 feet over the railroad tracks.

• It would likely invite unauthorized commuter parking on nearby streets.

A footbridge has been in city plans since 1995, as part of the Mukilteo Multimodal Project, which includes relocating the ferry terminal. Nearly 10 years later, the city is conducting a feasibility study.

The city recently hired ABKJ Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers of Seattle for $35,000 to study the three crossing alternatives.

“It’s getting picked up now because the ferry terminal EIS has been completed and we have a better feel for where the ferry is going to go,” Love said.

Washington State Ferries selected Elliot Point 2 last year as its preferred alternative to relocate the ferry terminal further east to the Tank Farm. That option includes pedestrian access under the SR-525 bridge to Lighthouse Park.

Construction of the bridge is scheduled to be completed in two parts: The first would be a connection from Old Town to the Sounder Station, the second would connect the Sounder Station to the ferry terminal. The first part of construction is slated for the summer of 2014.

At the open house, the public is invited to discuss each of the options with city staff and project consultants. The public may also go on a walk-and-talk to each of the prospective sites. Comment cards will be available.

Staff will go to the City Council with public comments on Jan. 28. A second open house is scheduled for Feb. 21. The council is scheduled to select a preferred alternative in a meeting at City Hall at 7 p.m. Monday, March 4.

The city would then go to BNSF Railway and the Federal Railroad Administration for approval, McCartney said.

Rosehill Community Center is at 304 Lincoln Ave. in Mukilteo.

Get involved with the feasibility study: Learn more about this project or comment on the alternatives online by going to http://www.ci.mukilteo.wa.us.

Or go to City Hall at 11930 Cyrus Way in Mukilteo or contact Patricia Love at 425-263-8041 or plove@ci.mukilteo.wa.us for more information.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.