Planning for Highway 99 is a priority | City Corner

By Shane Hope, City of Edmonds Development Services director | Feb 17, 2016

Envisioning the future of the Edmonds Highway 99 area is an exciting opportunity for public input, as the city prioritizes development of a long-term plan.

How should the Highway 99 corridor through Edmonds look and function in the future? What improvements would be helpful for walkers, transit-riders, motorists? What transportation improvements should be a priority for attracting state and federal funds?

Can city projects tie in with the improvements that the City of Shoreline has undertaken? And what are the preferred opportunities for land use, economic development and housing on properties near Highway 99? How can the Highway 99 neighborhood feel more connected with the rest of Edmonds and vice-versa?

How should the city recognize the diversity and strength of the Highway 99 area and encourage desirable businesses, affordable housing, community health/safety and other objectives? What would help the area be an even better place to live, work or visit?

The questions above are examples of what is being considered during the Highway 99 area planning process. Answers, based on both a vision and realistic perspective, will come through the planning process, as public input is provided and an array of information is studied. Completion of the plan is expected by late 2016.

At a Feb. 9 City Council meeting, the project consultant team (Fregonese Associates) presented several approaches that will be used for gathering input and showing ideas for the future.

These approaches include a public workshop, stakeholder meetings, online surveys, an open house, webpage, flyers, comment opportunities, visualization graphics and public meetings.

The next big event is a public workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the City Hall Brackett Room, third floor. Anyone with an interest in the Highway 99 area of Edmonds is especially welcome.

Of course, planning for this area is not entirely new. Studies have been done in the past to address vehicle traffic and various land uses. The effort now is to craft an up-to-date vision and a series of actions to achieve it.

We all know that Highway 99 and its impacts don't stop at city boundaries. This area – like Edmonds in general – is part of a greater urban region.

Coordination with the state department of transportation, transit agencies and neighboring cities and counties is essential in forging a plan that meets both community and regional needs.

Sixty years ago, the Highway 99 area was a very different place. It catered to the newest trend – car-driving! The roadway itself was part of a major US highway spanning from Mexico to Canada-the only one, since I-5 was not yet built. Nearby land uses were different then too. Major medical facilities, such as the hospital (now operated as Swedish Edmonds) didn't exist.

The Highway 99 area continues to change. In 10, 20, 40 and 60 years, it will be different from now in many ways – perhaps in some ways that we can't imagine today. Planning ahead will help our community guide its future and make positive changes.

To view more details about the Highway 99 planning project, including past studies, go to the city's webpage at www.edmondswa.gov and click the box labeled "Highway 99 Corridor /Subarea Plan.” This page will be updated periodically to add information.

 

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