ARLINGTON — City officials are asking folks to take a walk.
Plans are in the works to make the streets of Arlington more accessible for all modes of transportation, including walking, bicycling or catching the bus.
The Arlington City Council last year adopted a resolution to work on what the city is calling Complete Streets. This month, the city is hosting “walkshops” — public walks, each less than a mile, around different areas of the city. The goal is for people to take a stroll and make note of features that work well for pedestrians, along with obstacles that make areas less friendly for foot traffic.
That information will be compiled into an assessment of current conditions on and alongside Arlington’s streets, city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said. The City Council aims to approve an ordinance by the end of the year that would link the Complete Streets planning with development codes and the city’s comprehensive plan.
It’s unclear what the final streets plan will look like, and whether it could lead to new rules about the design of roads and walkways.
“The best way to make sure our roadways are complete and walkable may be to require it,” Banfield said.
At minimum, the project would provide a guide for the city and private developers as they consider new projects. It also opens the door to talk about other service expansions, such as bus routes, that might be needed, Banfield said.
As new homes and businesses are built, and the city pushes for additional industrial development, Arlington is poised to keep growing. That means city leaders and planners need to take a hard look at roads, traffic and access to alternative transportation.
“It’s the perfect time to get this plan in place,” Banfield said. “We’re a growing community, and the faster we get it in place, the more walkable our community is going to be and the better those connections will be.”
People who participate in the walks are asked to complete a short survey. They’ll be entered into a drawing for a Fitbit activity tracker provided by a consultant working with the city.
Walks are rain or shine, so dress for the weather, Banfield said.
Those who cannot attend are invited to submit suggestions by email to complete firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Just like the majority of cities across the United States, our roadway system was built to access destinations by personal automobile,” Banfield said. “Now it’s kind of going back to those alternate modes of transportation that were available before the automobile … Sometimes people have to use a car, but we want to provide as many options as possible to get as many cars off the road as possible.”
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.
When and where to walk
• 10 a.m. May 12 from the Stillaguamish Senior Center to the Smokey Point Safeway (.8 miles)
• 5:30 p.m. May 15 from the Arlington Boys & Girls Club to the Arlington Airport office (.5 miles)
• 10 a.m. May 20 from Haller Middle School to the Kona Neighborhood (.8 miles)
• 2 p.m. May 24 from Jensen Park to Bartell Drugs (.5 miles)
• 5:30 p.m. May 29 from Post Middle School to the Arlington Library (.5 miles)