The City of Bothell celebrated another major step in the city’s downtown revitalization last week.
Around 75 people attended a ribbon cutting and mini parade Aug. 24 that marked the opening of the second phase of a project that turns Bothell Way Northeast into a multiway boulevard, a new type of roadway.
The $23 million project runs from State Route 522 to Reder Way.
“The multiway boulevard uses medians to separate through traffic from local access traffic lanes,” according to a City of Bothell video on the project. “The access lanes provide on-street parking for business customers as well as wide sidewalks and bicycle routes.”
Access lanes are one-way.
“The multiway boulevard is an innovative design, fairly new in Washington state, but you can find them in Europe, California and the East Coast,” Mayor Andy Rheaume said. “It knits together the new part of our downtown on the west side of Bothell Way with our historic downtown Main Street to the east.”
Rheaume said the project “transforms a century-old state route into a pedestrian-friendly environment separating walkers and slower-moving vehicles from arterial traffic and creating a transportation corridor that fits into our downtown rather than serving as a barrier.”
He said the project was envisioned more than a decade ago as part of the downtown plan with “considerable public input.”
“This is one of the largest public investments the city has made in downtown revitalization,” he said.
During the ceremony last week, Rheaume asked, by a show of hands, how many people use Bothell Way Northeast every day. Nearly everyone raised their hands.
“We feel your pain. Having a road under construction is a hard thing,” he said.
But now it’s over, he said, and it’s time to enjoy the benefits of this new roadway.
One such benefit will be synchronized lights, he said.
Lifetime Bothell resident Sonja Kohler-Gardner said she drives this route every few days. She said she likes the look of the new multiway boulevard.
“It’s nice,” she said. “I like seeing more life come back into the city.”
She looks forward to smooth flowing traffic in the corridor.
“Projects like this become reality through hard work,” Rheaume said.
Rheaume recognized various staff, elected officials and contractors.
The project was made possible by a “very generous” grant from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board.