Point Wells traffic study planned

WOODWAY — A traffic study set to begin later this spring will try to gauge the effect of the proposed Point Wells luxury high-rise development on roadways to the south.

It’s the result of a formal agreement announced last week by the city of Shoreline and developer Blue Square Real Estate.

Traffic has been the largest source of controversy surrounding the plan to turn the waterfront industrial site into 3,000 condos, shops and a public beach.

Point Wells contains 61 acres on unincorporated Snohomish County land next to Woodway. The only way to reach it is a dead-end road through the city of Shoreline, on the other side of the county line, where its effects would be felt most.

The new traffic analysis goes beyond the environmental study set to begin later this year as a requirement for Snohomish County’s permitting process. Up to six public meetings about traffic are expected, at dates to be announced.

These studies, “represent key steps in fulfilling our vision of Point Wells as a world-class, sustainable community the entire region will take pride in,” Ze’ev Stein, Chief Executive Officer for Blue Square Real Estate, said in a statement. “Our aim has been, and will be, to design a project that will connect and integrate into the surrounding community.”

Blue Square, part of Israeli holding company Alon Group, formed a local company called BSRE Point Wells for the south Snohomish County development.

The transportation study will focus on a corridor comprised of Richmond Beach Drive, the two-lane road leading up to Point Wells, and of Richmond Beach Road, the four-lane arterial that turns into Shoreline’s 185th Street NW. Spillover onto side streets would be examined as well.

For now, Point Wells houses petroleum storage tanks and an asphalt plant. Redevelopment would include cleaning up a century’s worth of industrial pollution.

Beyond condos, Blue Square’s plan calls for 250,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The developer also has promised to give the public access to the beach and a 1,000-foot pier.

The project is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Town of Woodway and the Save Richmond Beach neighborhood group seeking to limit its size. The state Court of Appeals in January struck down a lower-court decision forcing the project to adhere to newer, more restrictive building rules. The state Supreme Court has yet to decide whether it will consider the case.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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