City Council should study Tukwila International Boulevard before making | Letter to the editor

It’s apparent the City Council, mayor and the city are pushing hard to redevelop Tukwila International Boulevard (Highway 99) as a destination option for diners, some retail shoppers, entertainment, stop and shop by creating Tukwila Village.

It is a well-intended endeavor, but is potentially a bridge too far when roadway traffic is reduced from four to two lanes and speed limits from 35 or 40 mph to 25 mph on TIB. Be prepared for 42nd Avenue South and Military Road to become serious secondary arterials placing more auto traffic in our student traffic areas and residential communities.

Before the council commits absolutely to this envisioned, two-lane TIB redevelopment, a study of mock two-lane auto traffic or computer modeling with reduced speed to 25 mph and traffic lighted intersections should be conducted to see if this vision, unchangeable once in place, is going to be viable and acceptable to our city residents. It is becoming increasingly difficult to exit some of our home driveways onto the streets of our city.The growth of automobile traffic continues to outstrip the building of street and road capacities as our population growth explodes.

Given there are similar redevelopments to draw on but no two are the same, a real-time mockup or computer model feasibly study would show absolutely and corroborate the results the city could expect today from two-lane TIB auto traffic, which will likely increase for the foreseeable future and exacerbate the auto traffic problem. It would be tax dollars well spent before the city commits to the project, beyond the point of no return.

Barring that, in Burien, 152nd Street is a two-lane main drag with traffic lights, crosswalks, etc., and in many ways epitomizes the envisioned TIB redevelopment, except it includes a bit of on-street parking, with only two traffic lanes. The council, mayor, city department heads and Tukwila residents are encouraged to drive 152nd in Burien and to imagine Highway 99 traffic being directed through that constricted two-lane street and envision the traffic jams that would likely ensue, perhaps, somewhat typical of a two-lane TIB.

Our city is building new fire stations to help improve response times, and a new public safety building, favored to be on TIB, to maintain or improve police response times some of which depends on removing emergency vehicle choke points. So, instead of a two lane 99, reduce speed limit to 25mph and utilize tunnels and/or skybridges as crosswalks thereby avoiding a TIB traffic choke point that would increase emergency response times.

We, city residents, should become more involved and participate in this super momentous plan envisioned to create Tukwila Village and make it better than it would otherwise be. Hopefully, our council candidates will let us know where they stand on this issue.

— BIll Holstine