H Street slated for improvements
East Blaine will need new roads as its population continues to grow, according to a report by Perteet, Inc. an Everett-based engineering and planning firm contracted by the city.
In a regular Blaine City Council meeting Monday, Perteet’s senior associate Peter De Boldt recommended a widening of H Street between Allan Street and Odell Road to include a new center turn lane, a sidewalk on the north side, aesthetically-pleasing retaining walls and a wide shoulder on the south side for a second sidewalk to be constructed at a later date.
Blaine public works director Steve Banham said East Blaine street improvements as part of the city’s six-year road plan may include a bicycle lane and a roundabout near Ludwick Road, as well as other traffic calming measures.
“It’s very preliminary, but we’re talking about it,” he said.
Population projections for the east Blaine subarea, a narrow strip of 1,114 acres that stretches along H Street from State Route 543 to Blaine city limits, were estimated in 2002 to increase from 625 people to more than 1,200 but recent developments such as Ken Hertz’s Grandis Pond and Doug Connelly’s East Maple Ridge will likely double that number.
De Boldt recommended the city add a new center turn lane but stopped short of recommending a four-lane road because of the safety risks associated with several residential driveways and because of the potential for speeding.
“When you have a wide area, people tend to drive faster,” De Boldt said. “In a narrower, more contained space, they tend to slow down.”
A recent traffic count completed by Perteet estimated about 15,000 average daily trips near the commercial center on H Street. Banham said the additional homes anticipated with Hertz’s and Connelly’s developments would add likely another 30,000 to 40,000 trips per day.
About half of those trips could be diverted to a second east-west collector road planned for D Street as well as several small north-south collector roads.
“We know we won’t be able to handle it with one roadway,” he said. “But we also realize that some of these trips will go east or use Harvey road”
Banham said the additional roads will help prevent traffic back ups as the population continues to grow and allow for greater access to commercial centers such as the Blaine International Mall on H Street.
De Boldt estimated the project would cost between $3.8 and $5 million while a four-lane road would likely cost between $4.2 and $5.5 million, he said.
The urban growth management act requires that road improvements be made in concurrence with development and will require developers Connelly and Hertz to pay for a portion of road improvements along H Street as well as fund partial construction of the new roads throughout the subarea.
Banham said the city will schedule a public meeting in January to present more details to the community.