Residents decry road expansion in Lk. Stevens

By KATHY KORENGEL

Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS — A proposal to build a four-lane road through a residential area has some neighbors up in arms.

Diane Bilansky, whose three-bedroom rambler backs up to the existing two-lane road, said the proposal is forcing her family to consider moving.

"I see the justification of punching the road all the way through, but not making it four lanes," she said, adding that she’s a stay-at-home mom with two small children.

"They say people will only go 35 miles per hour. It’s a dead-end now, and they go 50 miles per hour," Bilansky said.

The proposal entails widening and extending the two-lane road west of Highway 9 to a four-lane road, as well as putting in a stoplight at its intersection with Highway 204.

Currently, 66 homes sit along the east side of what would become a four-lane road, and another 140 are planned for a development under construction at the south end of the existing road.

The county proposed the project as a way to lessen traffic in the Frontier Village area and provide residents easier access to that shopping center. Some residents, however, see it becoming a new through route, particularly for trucks, which they say would make their quiet streets less safe, noisier, dirtier and less private.

Snohomish County Public Works plans an open house Thursday about the proposal to extend Lundeen Park Way south from its terminus near 15th Street NE to Highway 204.

Bilansky also is unhappy that the county, when it expands the road, does not plan to replace privacy trees behind her house, nor build noise walls on the expanded roadway.

"Both kids’ bedrooms are on the back of the house," Bilansky said. "I’m worried about congestion, noise, people looking in our yard and throwing things in our yard."

She and other neighbors also are concerned that no stoplight is planned for the four-lane street. Bilansky said she is particularly concerned because of the number of serious accidents that take place near the intersection of Highway 9 and Lundeen Park Way. This portion of Highway 9 is part of one of the most accident-prone roadways in the county.

"What is it going to take to get a stoplight? Another fatality?" she asked.

Bilansky lastly said she was not happy with the county’s offer to compensate homeowners for land being bought for the project, saying it’s not enough to make up for the impact of the project or how it will lower home values.

Sam Filetti, manager for the project with the county public works department, said the extension was planned in the late 1980s.

He said the $7.4 million project is the final link in a corridor to allow local traffic to stay on local roads and not use the highways. Previously, Market Place, also known as Meridian, was extended from Highway 204 east to Chapel Hill. In the overall plan, bike lanes will also be built along Lundeen Park Way to Wyatt Park.

"It gives people more opportunities to get around in Frontier Village," Filetti said.

He said the project was planned as a four-lane road based on traffic projections. He also said, partly as a result of neighbors’ concerns, public works plans to redo those projections to verify that four lanes are warranted.

He also said that the county plans to use "the maximum authority" it has to limit truck traffic on the route.

"The road will be 35 miles per hour," Filetti said. "On Highway 9, it’s 55 and then 40 going into Frontier Village. The trucks can keep a little higher speed on the highway and most likely will stay on the highway."

Filetti said no stoplights are planned, but could be installed in the future. That decision would be based on traffic counts and county budget constraints, he said.

He also said nearby property owners are each being offered money based on an appraisal of the value of their land, not as compensation for the project’s impact.

If the project is approved, the county has set a tentative schedule of putting construction work up for bid in spring 2002, beginning construction in the summer of 2002 and completing the project by late 2004.

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