Shoreline celebrates completion of Aurora and Interurban Trail projects

  • <br>Enterprise staff
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 12:59pm

The city of Shoreline will officially celebrate the completion of the Aurora Corridor Project — North 145th to North 165th streets — and the Interurban Trail Pedestrian bridges at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 16.

The celebration will begin at 12:30 p.m. between the two bridges near Denny’s at Aurora and North 155th Street and will feature music, refreshments, balloons for the kids and project tours by Aurora and Interurban Trail project manager Kirk McKinley. U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee will speak, Transportation Improvement Board director Stevan Gorcester will present a congratulatory plaque and the Puget Sound Regional Council will honor the city with an award.

There will be no event parking near the bridges or Denny’s. Parking is available in the lower Sears lot off Aurora via North 160th Street. Participants are asked to respect “no parking” signs protecting local merchants’ spaces.

“As the first mile of Aurora is completed, Shoreline drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, business owners, the disabled and transit users are already noticing substantial improvements,” Shoreline Mayor Bob Ransom said. “The improvements are in safety, traffic flow and convenience. Improving Aurora has been a community goal since before the city incorporated in 1995, and I am proud to say we have created the beginning of a safer and easier-to-use Aurora Avenue.”

Tours of the improvements will be offered before and after the event. The first will begin at 11:30 a.m., meeting in front of Shoreline Bank on Aurora and North 160th Street. The second tour will meet on the Aurora Interurban Trail Bridge at approximately 1:40 p.m., following the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The completion of the project represents years of community work and planning by Shoreline residents, businesses, property owners, state and federal agencies, utility companies and other groups. Construction began in the summer of 2005 and included the Interurban Trail Pedestrian Bridges Project. Combining the projects into one integrated construction effort helped reduce cost and impacts.

“We know construction is hard, especially on businesses, so we really appreciated their patience and willingness to work with the city during construction,” Shoreline city manager Bob Olander said. “We hope the community will find the changes improve everyone’s experience on Aurora and make visiting local businesses easier and more enjoyable.”

Now landmarks for Shoreline, the bridges are already being used by pedestrians and cyclists to cross two arterial streets, Aurora Avenue and 155th Street. Shoreline’s final segment of the trail, between North 175th and North 192nd streets, will be completed in July.

The city of Shoreline has begun working on the next two miles of Aurora. The environmental process is underway and the city council is scheduled to select a preferred design alternative in late summer.

Shoreline has over $41.2 million committed to improving the rest of Aurora: $13.7 million in federal dollars, $14.6 million in state money and $2.4 million in county dollars plus $10.5 million in city funds. Approximately $40 million in additional funding is needed to be able to complete the next two miles. The Regional Transit Investment District’s (RTID) “Blueprint for Progress,” part of the planned Roads and Transit ballot measure in November jointly developed with Sound Transit, includes $40 million for the business access/transit (BAT) lanes for Shoreline’s remaining two miles of Aurora.

Shoreline’s section of Aurora carries approximately 45,000 vehicles per day and is a major transit route. Improving safety for both pedestrians and motorists is one of the driving forces of the project. Other goals are improving pedestrian and disabled access, vehicle capacity, traffic flow, transit speed and reliability, nighttime visibility and safety, storm- water quality and economic investment potential.

In anticipation of the first mile of Aurora construction, Shoreline Bank built its headquarters on the corner of Aurora and North 160th Street three years ago. Projects that have been completed in the past year along the recently completed section of Aurora include the new Watermark Credit Union building, the expansion of Shurgard Storage to a four-story building and a completely new McDonald’s. A new office building and Napa Auto Parts store are under construction. Other proposed projects include a 35,000-square-foot office and retail building with 65 condominiums as well as upgrades to some existing businesses.

New projects along the next two miles of Aurora include the Gateway Plaza Shopping Center with 65,000 square feet of retail space on the corner of North 185th Street and, across the street, a complete remodel of Fred Meyer. Also new on Aurora is a Walgreen’s near North 175th Street and a Discount Tire on North 200th Street. An eight-acre site near Echo Lake is being developed to include office space, a multi-family development and a new YMCA, and plans are in the works for a three-story medical building and redevelopment of Sky Nursery with display gardens.

For more information about the Aurora Corridor Project, contact Aurora Corridor Project manager Kirk McKinley at 206-546-3901 or kmckinle@ci.shoreline.wa.us.

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