At the crossroads with a ‘roundabout’

Do you travel on Willis Street (State Route 516) to commute to work or shop?

If so, are you aware that a city/ state development is underway to replace the signal-controlled intersection of Fourth Avenue South and West Willis Street with a European-style “roundabout?”

This issue has tended to fly under our community radar, lost in the deluge of information you’ve received about local and national elections.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has contributed more than $3 million toward this project and insisted it is the only way it will allow Kent to create a short north-south extension of 72nd Avenue South. The city wants this extension for the sole purpose of enticing access to a now-vacant expanse north of Willis for commercial speculation.

If you live on East Hill or Covington and travel on Willis to access State Route 167, this will affect and should concern you. If you live on the West Hill and use the Willis corridor to access Kent Station or the ShoWare Center, this development will affect and concern you.

If you are a business that requires the use of this intersection to reach downtown Kent for deliveries, this project will impact you. If you are a person who often crosses Willis Street as a pedestrian, this “improvement” will surely affect you.

A public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. at the Kent City Council Chambers, 220 Fourth Ave. S. I urge everyone to attend this forum in order to express your concerns.

This project cannot be stopped – underground infrastructure installation has already begun – but its eventual impact can’t be understated.

– Perry Sobolik, Kent

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