Commitment to three key infrastructure projects listed in Puyallup’s six-year Transportation Improvement Plan got the green light.
The Puyallup City Council voted 5-2 last week to authorize the application for Transportation Improvement Board grants that would support funding of Phase 1 of the Shaw Road corridor improvement project, the 9th Street Southwest corridor safety and capacity improvements, and the Wildwood Park Drive pedestrian improvements. The grant application deadline is Friday.
The second and third road projects are substantially smaller when they’re compared to the Shaw Road improvements. The city reports the Shaw Road project will cost $2.6 million during the next three years.
The $2.6 million represents the 20 percent required match mandated by an approved TIB grant. The total cost for the Shaw Road phase 1 project is $13 million.
The council will appropriate the first $400,000 this November when it approves the 2014 general fund budget. In 2015, the appropriation will be $1.6 million. The remaining $600,000 will be in the 2016 budget.
Council members John Hopkins and Kent Boyle opposed the vote Aug. 13.
“I have some heartburn about where the $2.6 million is going to come from,” Hopkins said. “We’ve turned the corner on road maintenance, but we’re not in good shape for new road construction.”
Phase 1 of the Shaw Road corridor improvements would take place on Shaw Road between 23rd Avenue Southeast and 39th Avenue Southeast. They would involve the design and construction of three lanes, including two travel lanes, a two-way left turn lane, bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the corridor, pedestrian improvements and street lighting, a city document stated.
Hopkins said he approved of the design and construction and said the project is long overdue. But he felt he couldn’t vote yes without knowing exactly where the money would come from.
Council member John Palmer, who voted in favor, asked if money could be used for the project from the stormwater utilities fund. Public Works Director Rob Andreotti’s said yes.
Hopkins was concerned about that option.
“My fear is money may be taken out of our street maintenance budget,” Hopkins said. “If we do take money out of our stormwater utilities to match, that is going to leave our stormwater utilities fund short.”
Meanwhile, Boyle said he supports the project and its necessity. However, he encouraged city staff members to conduct a traffic impact study on Shaw Road to ensure the project, as currently designed, would be worth the investment.
Boyle said a traffic impact study also would consider what future development there could be along Shaw Road, such as warehouse or industrial projects. He also said the proposed three lanes in Phase 1 are not adequate enough to accommodate the anticipated demand such future development would put on the corridor.
Boyle said he would like to see upwards of five lanes constructed along Shaw Road.
“Putting three lanes on Shaw Road is like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound,” he said. “As leaders, we have to take care of today but also look at tomorrow.”
Council member John Knutsen said the three proposed lanes is a good option.
“The sad thing about Shaw Road is, the bigger you make it, the more crowded it will be,” Knutsen said.
Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.