Road plans upset new residents

MARYSVILLE – Tim Nixon has spent the past 17 years fixing up his house on a hill in the east Sunnyside neighborhood that was recently annexed to Marysville.

“It’s a nice place,” he said of his 21/2-acre property. “I’ve got the best view up there.”

The city’s plan to eventually build a new road through his neighborhood could make it a different story, he said.

“It would eliminate a whole bunch of my yard and maybe my house,” he said.

The city says two new roads will be needed in the newly annexed Whiskey Ridge-Sunnyside neighborhood to keep traffic moving through the growing area. The area is the most direct transportation link between central Marysville and Lake Stevens.

A group of 19 residents met recently to write a statement against a new road in Sunnyside. The new thoroughfare would curve to the southeast from the end of 67th Avenue NE and hook up with 71st Avenue NE at the intersection of 40th Street NE. The route would allow drivers to avoid the T-intersection of 71st and 44th Street NE.

“They can do something with the existing roads,” Nixon said, summing up the residents’ conclusion.

The other new road, planned for Whiskey Ridge, would extend 44th to the east, then south and east to connect with the west end of Highway 92 at Highway 9. Residents in that neighborhood have voiced opposition to that road as well. Improvements to some intersections are planned and some roads would be widened to three lanes.

The road plans, along with new zoning for the area that would allow for commercial areas, apartments, condos and denser single-family housing, could be approved by the City Council tonight. A public hearing is planned.

The area currently has 2,616 people and is projected to grow to 12,000 eventually. Traffic on Sunnyside Boulevard is expected to increase from about 3,000 cars per day now to as many as 20,000 by 2025.

The new roads were proposed based on the projected increases, city engineer Kevin Nielsen said.

The 67th Avenue to 71st Avenue connection is projected to cost $17 million. Altogether, road improvements currently planned in the Whiskey Ridge-Sunnyside area are pegged at $48 million.

The city has not set a definite timetable, saying the roads would be built as development occurs and funding becomes available.

Property acquisition is expected to account for about $4 million of the cost for both new roads. The connection of 67th and 71st avenues is expected to affect nine parcels.

Residents say using existing roads would cut the acquisition costs.

“Any time you put a diagonal through property, it’s going to cut it all up,” Nixon said.

The residents say expanding existing roads, and cutting acquisition costs, would enable the city to improve the system sooner.

Requiring drivers to go through the intersections on 67th and 71st avenues would create more congestion, Nielsen said.

This would discourage them from using those streets and divert about 2,000 more vehicles per day to Sunnyside Boulevard, according to a review of the city’s plan by Perteet Inc., an Everett engineering company.

This could mean that road would have to be expanded to five lanes instead of three, the review said. This would mean taking out storm water ponds already installed in the Sunnyside area for recent development, Nielsen said.

“Building a five-lane road, you run into a lot more problems trying to squeeze more roadway in,” he said.

Nielsen said traffic is the top complaint the city hears from residents.

“You’re always on a tightrope to do what’s right for the city and not have an impact to residents in a specific area,” Nielsen said. “It’s a hard balance.”

Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or

A public hearing on plans for roads and land use in the Whiskey Ridge-Sunnyside area is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 1049 State Ave.

The hearing is also open to those who may wish to comment on a planned increase in traffic impact fees charged to developers.

The City Council could vote on both subjects tonight. For more information call the city at 360-363-8000.

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