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Mill Creek Community Association seeking members’ permission to sell Swift II bus rapid transit station easement to Community Transit

Community Transit's proposed rapid bus transit stations shown in blue. Image courtesy of Community Transit.
Community Transit's proposed northbound and southbound rapid bus transit stations shown in blue. Image courtesy of Community Transit.

By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.

Last year Community Transit Benefit District voters approved a sales tax increase that funds a number of projects designed to aid commuters.

The biggest project is Swift II, Community Transit’s second bus rapid transit line costing $67 million, which will connect Canyon Park and Boeing’s Everett manufacturing facility along the Bothell-Everett Highway and 132nd Street SE through Mill Creek.

Full funding has been secured from the Federal Government and Washington State, which allowed Community Transit to begin Swift II’s design engineering and they are now procuring easements along the route to build the new bus transit stations.

There are going to be a total of 32 new bus rapid transit stations, one northbound and one southbound at 16 locations, built along the Swift II route. There will be 10 stations in Mill Creek.

Not all property owners have agreed to sell right of way easements to Community Transit. Those who do not agree face condemnation actions that take the easements anyway.

According to Mill Creek City Councilmember and Community Transit Boardmember Mike Todd, the Community Transit Board of Directors approved 14 condemnation actions along the Swift II route at their Thursday, February 2, 2017, meeting.

Todd said not all condemnation actions actually go forward in situations like this because property owners and Community Transit usually come to agreement before court action is necessary.

One of the approved condemnation actions is for Mill Creek Community Association property on the northeast corner of Mill Creek Road and Bothell-Everett Highway.

Mill Creek Community Association is the largest homeowners association in Mill Creek representing 10,000 people, which is half of the city’s population.

Community Transit has offered the Mill Creek Community Association $5,825 for a temporary construction easement and a permanent rapid transit bus station easement at that location.

Legally, the Mill Creek Community Association Board of Directors needs two thirds of their membership to approve the transaction. They hope members will give their approval at a February 15th meeting, because Community Transit will get easements through the condemnation action anyway.

Mill Creek Community Association Executive Administrator Mary Ann Heine said, “We’re hoping our members agree to the easements as a community service, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars if the matter has to go to court. This is going to happen no matter what.”

Proxies have been sent out to all Mill Creek Community association members so that everyone doesn’t have to show up at their February 15th meeting.

Heine said there is a lot of confusion about the changes Community Transit will make at the intersection of Bothell-Everett Highway, Mill Creek Road, and 164th Street SE. She said the big issue for most is eliminating the “free right turn” for cars turning north on Bothell-Everett Highway from Mill Creek Road.

Community Transit’s new northbound rapid bus transit station on Bothell-Everett Highway at Mill Creek Road will be built where the existing local bus stop now is. The local bus stop will be relocated a hundred feet or so further north.

Pedestrian and motorist safety at the reconfigured intersection requires a full stop for vehicles turning north from Mill Creek Road onto the Bothell-Everett Highway, hence no more “yield” sign and sweeping right turn.

There will still be a dedicated right turn lane, but drivers who are turning right will have to come to a full stop at red lights.

Mill Creek Community Association members who have questions regarding their proxies and the upcoming meeting can contact Mary Ann Heine via email or phone her at 425-357-9737.

Swift II Project Map showing station pairs along route. Image courtesy of Community Transit.

Click on the following link to see the Mill Creek Community Association Right of Way Proxy.