By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
Washington State requires the City of Mill Creek to keep a list of transportation projects that the city may or may not undertake in the next six years.
This list is called the Transportation Improvement Plan and must be reviewed and approved by the city council each year in order for the city to be eligible for federal, state, and regional transportation grants.
The city’s Transportation Improvement Plan was not updated during former City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto’s term and as a result the interlocal agreement with Snohomish County lapsed. This meant the county didn’t share hundreds of thousand of dollars of traffic mitigation fees with the city that were paid by developers who built housing and retail projects within Mill Creek’s Urban Growth Area.
On October 9, 2018, the Mill Creek City Council reviewed and approved the 2019-2025 Transportation Improvement Plan presented to them by Interim City Manager Bob Stowe and Public Works Director Gina Hortillosa. This action revived the interlocal agreement with Snohomish County allowing the city to again share traffic mitigation fees from that point on.
At two October 2019 city council meetings Hortillosa led discussions providing councilmembers to set Mill Creek transportation priorities and policy. The October 22nd meeting included a public hearing allowing public comments on the proposed Transportation Improvement Plan.
City councilmembers debated the merits of each project and made a number of significant policy decisions including the elimination of the planned East Gateway Urban Village “Spine Road” East Connection saving approximately $6 million. They also added of a number of pedestrian improvements throughout the city.
At the October city council meetings Hortillosa explained that the Transportation Improvement Plan is aspirational, and doesn’t obligate the city to undertake any projects on the list. She went on to say that listing these projects allows city staff to seek federal, state, and regional grants where these projects align with the other agencies’ plans and aspirations.
The city’s budgeted capital projects are also included in the Transportation Improvement Plan.
Here are the funded projects the city intends to work on in 2020 as part of the budgeted Capital Improvement Plan:
- Seattle Hill Road Pavement Preservation - $1,750,000.
- Street Pavement Marking Program - $120,000.
- Mill Creek Boulevard Corridor Improvements Study - $50,000.
- Concrete Sidewalk Replacement Program - $100,000.
- Pavement Preservation and Rehabilitation Program - $750,000.
- Citywide Traffic Signal Upgrades - $75,000.
- Bridge Monitoring & Improvement Program - $50,000.
- 132nd Street SE (SR 96) at 35th Avenue Intersection Improvements - $150,000.
- Traffic Safety and Calming Program - $25,000.
- (Old) Seattle Hill Road at Bothell Everett Highway (SR 527) Traffic Light and Crosswalk - $150,000.
The city council plans to review a final version of the Transportation Improvement Plan at their November 5th regular meeting.