Street project will have long-term benefits
June 2, 2008 · Updated 11:02 AM
The Kent City Council voted April 1 to approve a major transportation improvement along South 224th Street. When completed, the three-lane roadway will connect 84th Avenue South (East Valley Highway) and 108th Avenue
The South 224th Street project has been in the making for more than 20 years. The planning for the project began with the Citys 1984 comprehensive transportation plan and has continued until the yes vote this month. The Councils vote closed a chapter on previous efforts to plan for growth while providing transportation improvements to deal with the traffic new growth creates.
When complete, 224th will improve the overall safety and pedestrian facilities in the area. In addition, it will connect to future projects on South 228th Street, that, when taken as a whole, will join the East Hill and Interstate 5 without having to wait for trains. While this new road alone will not solve our congestion problems, it is another step forward in managing traffic in Kent.
One of the citys goals is to expand the existing sidewalk network and allow people to get out and enjoy the city without their cars. The South 224th Street project will provide a pedestrian connection between the Valley and the East Hill. Also, sidewalks with roadside planters will be constructed, making a pleasant walk much more enjoyable by not having to dodge cars, as is the case today.
The Council chose a three-lane roadway as a compromise between adding capacity while minimizing impacts to the environment and local neighborhood. The center lane will be a landscaped strip with strategically placed turning-lane pockets. Studies have shown that this boulevard effect will act as a traffic calming device, encouraging a slower speed of travel along the road. Other safety measures will include moderating the slope of the road to improve site distance visibility.
More growth is inevitable as our economy remains steady and our city remains a desirable place to live. Under the States Growth Management Act, we are required to plan for and accommodate growth within the city. This means more houses and a greater variety of housing options and sizes. The resulting traffic increase will need to be dealt with; therefore the transportation master plan has been developed to continue planning ahead.
State-of-the-art traffic modeling techniques used in the development of the citys new transportation master plan indicated the South 224th Street project and a host of other improvements, including grade separations and adding another new road between 84th Avenue South and 108th Avenue Southeast at 196th Street will be required in the coming years to keep us moving.
South 224th Street was identified along with the recently completed South
In response to issues raised by impacted neighbors, the City Council has directed formation of a design advisory committee made up of neighborhood volunteers who would like to be involved with planning the road improvements. We look forward to hearing periodic reports from
our Public Works Department staff and advisory committee members regarding their progress as we move ahead and place another piece of the transportation puzzle in place.
President, Kent City Council
Chair, Public Works Committee
City Council member