MUKILTEO — To the surprise of probably nobody, the Mukilteo Speedway lives up to its name.
As the two-lane road shoots straight up from the ferry terminal, its long sightlines and wide shoulders offer few places for traffic cops to hide.
Drivers take advantage.
“There are some people who are just really gunning their engines and taking off,” said Randy Lord, the City Council president. “It’s like as soon as they get off the ferry, it’s ‘Boom! Go!’ “
A radar survey recently showed that 15 percent of drivers sped up the hill at 12 mph over the 35 mph speed limit — or faster.
That’s about 1,000 drivers a day speeding fast enough to each earn $154 tickets — at least in theory.
Because Olympic View Middle School is at the top of the hill, those drivers are putting the school’s 800-plus students in danger, Lord said.
The situation is “just not acceptable,” said Larry Waters, public works director.
Generally, cities like to make sure that the fastest 15 percent of drivers on a road travel just 6 mph faster than the speed limit, he said.
Speeding drivers have Mukilteo looking for answers.
It could try more police enforcement, which might be difficult, or try installing a traffic-calming device such as a radar board to flash when drivers are speeding, Mayor Joe Marine said.
Speeding isn’t limited to the Speedway.
Community members have logged many complaints about vehicles racing along Fifth Street. The wide, two-lane residential road connects north Mukilteo to Everett.
A radar survey showed that drivers there routinely ignore the 25 mph speed limit. More than 15 percent of drivers drive 8 mph over the limit. That’s about 400 cars a day, the data showed. In one month earlier this year, police handed out 77 speeding tickets along the street.
The city could solve the problem by rebuilding Fifth Street, which is in disrepair, Marine said.
In the 1990s, the community rejected a $2 million proposal to install sidewalks and planter strips that would have narrowed the street, he said.
A similar proposal might have more support now, as the problems have grown, Marine said.
“We want to make sure we work with the community this time and get their buy-off with whatever we do down there,” he said.
Chris Fyall: 425-339-3447, firstname.lastname@example.org.