More change planned for Mukilteo waterfront

By Brandon Gustafson | Nov 28, 2018

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct information regarding the Port of Everett's involvement with the project. The Port of Everett's involvement just an authorization so the Port of South Whidbey can pursue possibly building a parking facility.


The city of Mukilteo has been changing quite a bit in the last few years.

The main change by far has been with the city’s waterfront, where the new ferry terminal is currently being constructed and is expected to be finished in 2020.

Now, more change appears to be coming to the waterfront, as multiple local agencies are working to build a parking lot on Mukilteo land owned by the Tulalip Tribes.

The Port of South Whidbey and the Tulalip Tribes are working to build a parking lot on a section of land where the old tank farm used to be. The land is in the Port of Everett’s district, and, per the Port of Everett, "Our involvement is an inter-district authorization for the Port of South Whidbey to pursue the possibility of a parking facility for ferry commuter traffic in our district. We don’t have any role with the construction, operation or siting of such a facility."

The new lot would have roughly 250 parking spots, mostly compact, with some sections meant for overnight parking. There would also be charging stations for electric cars.

Curt Gordon, a Port of South Whidbey commissioner, and Stan Reeves, the Port of South Whidbey’s executive director, gave a presentation to the Mukilteo City Council during a special meeting Monday, Nov. 26, to present the scope of the project, with the hope that the city of Mukilteo would be on board with assisting the project.

Reeves said the project is in its “infancy stage” at the moment, but that the overall goal is to build a lot where people could leave their cars and walk on to the ferry in Mukilteo.

Reeves said the Port of South Whidbey was awarded $500,000 from a Washington State Department of Commerce grant in March, and would need a state Regional Mobility Grant to fully fund the construction of the lot, which is expected to cost over $2 million.

“We cannot touch that money until we have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Tribes … which gives the Port of South Whidbey a document that says we have site control over the area we’re going to build the parking lot,” Reeves said.

The next step after the MOU is signed, Reeves said, is to conduct a traffic study.

“We want to do that in conjunction with the city to make sure your concerns and any particular areas you want looked at are included in this traffic study,” he said.

After the study, a developer’s agreement would be needed between the city of Mukilteo and Tulalip Tribes before moving on to permitting and design and hearing whether the Regional Mobility Grant from the state funds the rest of the project. That will come this summer.

Their current estimate is that the lot would be finished around mid-May of 2020.

Council President Steve Schmalz wanted to know the scope of the traffic study, and whether the Port of South Whidbey had met with the city of Mukilteo. Schmalz also said a new lot in Mukilteo would be unpopular for Old Town residents, as it further alters the view of the waterfront while increasing traffic.

Gordon said in this project, the Port of South Whidbey is “a contractor to the city,” and that the study would be driven by the requests of both the city of Mukilteo and its residents.

Multiple councilmembers noted the condition of Mukilteo Lane, which would be affected by the new lot, saying it’s in rough shape, is narrow, and has a lot of pedestrian traffic.

As far as cost for parking at the new lot, that is undecided, and will be determined by the Tulalip Tribes. Councilmembers expressed that the cost should be in line with parking costs at the waterfront.

Gordon agreed, saying they don’t want this lot to be “the cheap lot.”

Gordon also noted that this lot in reality is more of a short-term solution to the traffic problem at the waterfront.

“The agreement is for 10 years,” he said. “It won’t solve the problem, but will take pressure of both sides (Mukilteo and Clinton).”

Gordon said Washington State Ferries needs to assist with alleviating the traffic problem by helping decrease the number of cars that take the ferry, but felt that parking isn’t a high priority for the ferry system.

Former Mukilteo City Councilmember Charlie Pancerzewski, who lives in Old Town, said Mukilteo should not become a parking lot for Whidbey Island, and voiced support for a park and ride further up the Mukilteo Speedway, as opposed to a new parking lot at the waterfront.

It is unclear when the Port of South Whidbey will conduct its traffic study, Reeves said, as they want to hear from the city and residents first.



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