Bothell’s Public Works department is mulling over options for decreasing congestion on Main Street without changing the road’s pedestrian-friendly character.
The city hosted a May 28 open house at the Park at Bothell Landing to gather public input on the issue.
“We are trying to solicit public input to get a feel for what citizens would perceive to be good solutions,” said Bothell Capital Programs Manager Steve Morikawa.
Congestion in the area generates from the intersections at Kaysner Way and 102nd Avenue Northeast, according to Bothell staff members. Stop signs currently control the flow of traffic at those crossroads.
“The problem is that there’s a level of service failure,” Morikawa said. “Everybody takes a turn with the stop signs, but, in reality, the roads aren’t balanced.”
Congestion along Main Street has become a concern for Sound Transit, which runs 400 buses along the road each day.
The authority is expected to provide partial funding for whatever project the city green lights. Costs are currently estimated at $1.5 million.
Planners will be trying to strike a balance between improving traffic flow and maintaining Main Street’s walkability.
“We don’t want to speed things up too much because it would change the pedestrian atmosphere,” Morikawa said.
Potential improvements discussed through the Downtown Revitalization community visioning process included placing traffic signals or roundabouts at the congested intersections. The city could also limit turns during peak traffic hours.
Bothell’s City Council has ruled out the option of using a roundabout.
“A roundabout works in terms of function, but it grabs a lot more area,” Morikawa said. “There really isn’t room on 102nd and 104th (avenues).
“Signals give more flexibility to deal with things like that.”
The roundabout option would also create line-of-sight problems at the Kaysner-Main Street intersection, where a slope exists.
Bothell planners are looking at the option of using decorative traffic signals at each of the crossroads under consideration. The lights would not reach over the roadway.
“They look more like a light pole,” Morikawa said. “We don’t want something large that looks like it’s used for traffic. It has to be something that fits the scale and character of our downtown.”
The city must also decide whether the projects at 102nd and 104th avenues should take place at the same time or occur separately.
Bothell’s Public Works Department is expected to bring a final plan before the City Council in July. There will be no further public meetings to discuss the options before that time.
Work on these projects would likely begin in 2009, Morikawa said.