In recent months, local residents saw big changes in downtown Bothell, with more planned for the near future. One active area is Main Street, which is receiving a revamp as part of the city’s Main Street Enhancement Project, a key element in the overall Downtown Revitalization Plan.
While the City of Bothell’s Main Street Enhancement website listed a Thanksgiving 2017 completion deadline, things have been postponed to sometime in February.
Despite the delay, progress continues, exemplified by the daily sights and sounds of construction. The scene of active workers, loud machinery and detours can’t be mistaken for anything else. Recently, the block between Bothell Way and 101st Avenue Northeast was reopened to vehicle traffic in both directions, while construction begins on the block directly east between 101st Avenue Northeast and 102nd Avenue Northeast.
According to the city’s website, the project’s intention is to renovate the street and replace the archaic public utilities as well as create a more welcoming vibe in the area. Plans aim to make the area more pedestrian friendly by incorporating modern features, while simultaneously maintaining the historic feel.
One of the project’s main design elements is to eliminate the previously curvy street and create a straighter one to provide more room for wider sidewalks on both sides, with additional room for lampposts and bollards, according to the city website. This additional space will make it easier to add benches and bike racks.
With more foot traffic comes the necessity to ensure safety and comfort at all hours.
Decorative twin-headed LED lights mounted on 16-foot poles, supplemented by tree uplights in certain locations, will provide light for all hours while relying on efficient light sources, according to the website. Aside from utilizing old-fashioned poles, designers also included specifications to use poles that can accommodate hanging flower baskets, banners and outlets to power seasonal lighting.
A final major element of the project will be the introduction of flexible-use zones along the roadway, separating the road from the sidewalk. These flexible zones are “designed as modules based on a single 22-foot long by 8-foot wide parallel parking space. Each module can be open or closed to the vehicle travel lane and designated for parking or pedestrian use respectively,” the website states.
When closed, these zones could “accommodate a range of uses including cafe seating for adjacent restaurants, retail merchandise displays, street vendors, street musicians, outdoor art exhibits, additional public open space and seating, bicycle parking, parade seating or 10-foot (max) square market tents,” according to the website.
Jessica Thomson, a Kirkland resident who works in Bothell, is familiar with the work that has been going on in the area. Originally, she worried the construction would impact her daily commute, forcing her to start the day early to beat the traffic. However, this has not been the case.
Regarding the integration of newer design elements, she felt it will improve Bothell.
“It will encourage people to walk around the city and it’s especially convenient for those who ride their bikes, walk or run on the Burke Gilman trail,” Thomson said.
As for the project completion being postponed, it wasn’t much of a surprise for her.
“Local construction seems to take centuries these days,” she said. “I think if I were a Bothell local, as a taxpaying citizen, I may feel a little more strongly about it, but because Bothell isn’t as big as Seattle, I don’t think I would really make a huge fuss about it.”
For more information on the Main Street Enhancement Project, visit tinyurl.com/ybwyab9t.
Nektaryos Xenos is a student at the University of Washington Bothell.