Conceptual rendering for a future section of Smokey Point Boulevard between 174th Place NE and 200th Street NE. (City of Arlington)

Conceptual rendering for a future section of Smokey Point Boulevard between 174th Place NE and 200th Street NE. (City of Arlington)

Plan seeks to transform Smokey Point Blvd. into ‘neighborhood corridor’

City officials hope roundabouts, sidewalks and more will turn 2 miles of busy road into a neighborhood street.

ARLINGTON — Four roundabouts, sidewalks, bike lanes and bus access are on the horizon for a new “neighborhood corridor” on a roughly 2-mile section of Smokey Point Boulevard.

This week the Arlington City Council reviewed road designs between 174th Place NE and 200th Street NE.

The project is planned amid rapid growth in Arlington, a city of about 21,000 in north Snohomish County. As many as 7,000 new residents and 3,000 housing units are expected by 2040, while the Cascade Industrial Center may add up to 20,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

Public Works Director James Kelly said the vision is to build up a neighborhood along that section of Smokey Point Boulevard. The city expects to see multi-family housing, shops, restaurants and offices pop up thanks to mixed-use development regulations passed in late 2017.

The City of Arlington is planning improvements for a 2-mile stretch of Smokey Point Boulevard. (City of Arlington)

The City of Arlington is planning improvements for a 2-mile stretch of Smokey Point Boulevard. (City of Arlington)

Smokey Point road work will be done in pieces as development goes up, officials said. The ambitious project may take 10 years or more to complete.

The city received a $959,600 grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council for the project’s first phase, hiring engineering firm Perteet in 2021.

The public shared feedback on the Smokey Point project last winter. A survey, posted November through early January, drew 280 responses. Respondents wanted bike lanes, fewer traffic delays, more sidewalks and crosswalks and better bus stops and waiting areas.

Cyclists would share a lane with cars on portions of the road, according to concept drawings. (City of Arlington)

Cyclists would share a lane with cars on portions of the road, according to concept drawings. (City of Arlington)

A report presented to the council on Monday recommends four single-lane roundabouts: at 174th Place NE, 180th Street NE, 183rd Place NE and 188th Street NE. Roundabouts make intersections safer and keep traffic moving, Perteet’s Dan Hansen said.

The report also recommends keeping the 2-mile stretch of Smokey Point Boulevard, a major north-south arterial, as a two-lane road.

Four lanes “were definitely feasible, but more costly and did not meet the ultimate goal of the project to slow traffic down and have a community-focused development,” Hansen said.

Currently, the road has patches of sidewalks or none at all. Hansen said 12-foot-wide sidewalks were selected to accommodate a restaurant, for example.

Drawings show tree-lined streets with landscaped medians. There’s a travel lane in each direction, plus an aisle on each side with back-in angle parking.

Four roundabouts are proposed on Smokey Point Boulevard between 174th Place NE and 200th Street NE. (City of Arlington)

Four roundabouts are proposed on Smokey Point Boulevard between 174th Place NE and 200th Street NE. (City of Arlington)

In some spots, bikes have their own lane, separated by buffers or painted stripes, drawings show. In other places, bikes ride with cars in the parking aisles, marked with the “sharrow” pavement symbol. Council member Debora Nelson asked about the safety of the shared lanes.

Hansen replied driving speeds are lower in the parking lanes, compared to the faster-moving through lanes.

“I think it’s a beautiful vision,” council member Michele Blythe said of the designs.

Mayor Barb Tolbert requested more lighting for public safety in future plans.

Cyclists would share a lane with cars on portions of the road, according to concept drawings. (City of Arlington)

Cyclists would share a lane with cars on portions of the road, according to concept drawings. (City of Arlington)

The work will occur in phases. Hansen said the roundabouts at 180th and 188th street should go up in 2024, followed by the 174th place roundabout.

Developers will fund some of the improvements. Sarah Lopez, a city spokesperson, said the city will fund the roundabouts, through lanes, center median, buffer medians, utilities and landscaping. Developers will pay for the sharrow lanes, on-street parking and sidewalks, she said.

The City Council may approve designs at its meeting Oct. 3. After that, there will be a chance for public comment before plans are finalized.

For more information, visit arlingtonwa.gov/663/Smokey-Point-Blvd-Corridor-Project.

Jacqueline Allison: 425-339-3434; jacqueline.allison@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jacq_allison.

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