Crews will put in a new pedestrian crossing along West James Street at Second Avenue North to improve access to the Sounder train at Kent Station.
The Kent City Council approved a $207,296 contract on Dec. 8 with Puyallup-based Northwest Cascade Inc. to install the crosswalk to better connect with the North Park neighborhood. A grant from Sound Transit will pay for the project.
The crossing will include a rectangular rapid flashing beacon (which pedestrians can activate by pushing a button) and ADA ramps on West James Street at Second Avenue North. This crossing will improve access to the Kent Station by reducing the distance between the existing crossings from 0.3 miles to 0.16 miles. People often illegally cross in the area, according to city documents.
Northwest Cascade had the lowest of seven bids. The other bids ranged between $210,000 and $248,000. Northwest Cascade also had the low bid of $4.4 million in May for improvements along 76th Avenue South to reduce flooding.
Construction of the crosswalk will start in early 2021 and take a few months to complete, according to city documents. James Street will remain open to traffic in each direction during construction but drivers can expect lane closures and traffic delays during non-peak hours.
Sound Transit awarded the grant to the city in September 2019 when its board approved applications from 27 jurisdictions in the agency’s five subareas in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, with funding totaling more than $40 million, to improve pedestrian and bicycle access to Link light rail and Sounder train stations.
The money comes from a 2016 voter-approved Sound Transit measure that included a system access fund for projects such as safe sidewalks, protected bike lanes, shared-use paths, bus transfer facilities and new pickup and drop-off areas. The system access fund provides $100 million and is allocated equally among the agency’s five subareas for projects that make it easier and more convenient to get to transit. Up to $10 million was available for each subarea in the first round.
Kent also applied for a grant of $800,000 for lighting and pedestrian improvements along West James Street and West Smith Street between the James Street Park & Ride lot and Sounder’s Kent Station to encourage more people to park and walk to the train.
City officials said that project didn’t score as well on Sound Transit criteria as the West James Street pedestrian crossing, which received an exceptional rating.
Sound Transit received 53 applications from 33 jurisdictions totaling more than $86 million in requests.