A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

MUKILTEO — Most Mukilteo city Facebook posts get maybe three or four comments, if any.

This one got 565.

What’s up with that?

The post asks for feedback on renaming the Mukilteo Speedway.

Damn near all favor keeping the name.

Ditto for an online public survey to rename Mukilteo’s main drag. The survey is live until Friday at tinyurl.com/ycxwkwvz.

In the first week, the survey got over 1,500 responses in a city of 21,000 people. Compare that to a previous city survey last year for input on naming a $75,000 robotic lawnmower beast that got about 100 responses. The mower was bestowed Sir Mows-A-Lot.

Mayor Joe Marine launched the campaign to rename Mukilteo Speedway.

“Nobody really knows where Speedway came from,” Marine said. “What I’ve always thought is, why would you ever name your main thoroughfare a speedway? It seems like an odd thing.”

This is his third term as mayor, so it wasn’t a rash decision.

“It’s an opportunity to name it something that reflects our community and our history better than speedway,” Marine said.

Speedway typically refers to racetracks, such as Evergreen Speedway in Monroe where cars go way over 100 mph. The posted speed limit on Mukilteo Speedway in town is 25 mph, or 20 in flashing school zones, to a high of 40. (You could call it the Mukilteo Speedtrap, when traffic cameras are installed at three spots later this year.)

The Mukilteo Speedway stretch from Beverly Park Road to First Street is officially Highway 525. That won’t change. The other name is a secondary way to identify the stretch, sort of like how Highway 99 goes by Evergreen Way in part of Everett and Aurora Avenue in Shoreline and Seattle.

Highway 525 runs about 30 miles, from the I-405 and I-5 interchange to Coupeville on Whidbey Island. The ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton travels on an imaginary sea version of the highway.

Marine said he reached out to the city’s Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce and the Tulalip Tribes for input before asking council members for feedback in an April work session to discuss the public survey as a first step. He got the nod from the all of the above to proceed.

The online survey begins with a question whether to change the name of Mukilteo Speedway. At this writing, over 75% of respondents voted no.

Next is ranking four name suggestions:

• Mukilteo Lighthouse Parkway;

• Mukilteo Point Elliott Highway;

• Mukilteo Salish Highway; or

• Mukilteo Salish Sea Parkway.

So far, Lighthouse is the leader.

The final step is to write-in a name under “Other.”

Guess what the top suggestion is, by far?

Mukilteo Speedway.

“Actually, most of the people want Mukilteo Marine Way,” the mayor jokingly said.

He might be underwater on this issue, though nobody has suggested Marine Go-Away Way.

On the Facebook post, many comments say the name change is a waste of time and money.

A common sentiment is that everyone is still going to continue to call it the Speedway anyway.

“Mukilteo Speedway has a nice ring to it,” several said.

A few offered name suggestions:

“Mukilteo Autobahn.”

“We’ve always called it the Mukilteo Slow-way.”

And, of course: “Speedy McSpeedFace.”

The process for naming a state highway is administered by the Washington State Transportation Commission.

“There’s really no cost to us other than staff time,” Marine said. “If they have a Mukilteo Speedway address they are not going to stop getting their mail. The emergency first responders will still show up.”

Not to worry, breakfast and lunch will still be served at Mukilteo Speedway Cafe.

Council member Steve Schmalz opposes the name change.

He gets asked, “Don’t you guys have better things to do?”

“The council should be spending its time on issues important to citizens,” Schmalz said.

It will be up to the council to decide whether to change the name of the highway.

I vote for Sir Honks-A-Lot.

Is there a person, place or thing making you wonder “What’s Up With That?” Contact reporter Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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