The Marysville II P&R just before the arrival of the last northbound 422 of the day (photo by author)

The Tulalip Tribes, in cooperation with WSDOT, the FHWA, Snohomish County and the City of Marysville, is currently rebuilding the 116th Street NE interchange on I-5, one of the two primary access points for the reservation’s outlet mall and casino complex. The current interchange, built in 1971 and handling traffic far beyond its capacity, also includes a pair of Community Transit bus stops adjacent to a small park-and-ride lot. Though the 57-space lot and interchange only see 4 trips per day from Stanwood to Seattle (Route 422) and Paine Field (Route 247), The Everett Herald reported in June that its spots are regularly full by 8 a.m.

The completed interchange will be the third single-point urban interchange (abbreviated as SPUI), in the Puget Sound region, with the other two at I-705/SR509 in Tacoma and at I-5/41st Street in Everett. SPUIs require a single signalized intersection with three light cycles, but due to the lack of thru lanes they do not facilitate quick reentry to the interstate and are thus incompatible with transit flyer stops.

A Double Tall on route 422 and the two cranes tasked with the erection of a new NE 116th Street overpass (photo by author)

In an email, a representative from Community Transit explained that the park and ride would instead be used by carpool and vanpool users after the stops are permanently closed. An email to the project team at the Tulalip Tribes was not returned.

With no real alternative mentioned by either agency, the 57 cars in the lot using both routes will have to spread out to other nearby lots that already have overcrowding issues.  Those who bike and walk from the flyer stops will instead have to take routes 201 and 202 on the slow route through Marysville from the nearest park and ride.

The park and ride was partially closed in 2008 for the first phase of the project, which temporarily removed access to the lot from 116th Street NE, forcing users on a long and looping detour via Quil Ceda Boulevard and 34th Avenue NE. The current phase of the project, rebuilding the overpass, will close up to 20 parking spaces next summer and is expected to be finished by October 2016.

10 Replies to “Freeway Project Eliminates CT Service at Marysville II Park & Ride”

  1. Really not too happy about this. One wonders if ridership will take a hit, and how the optics of this conflict with the upcoming vital Community Transit Proposition 1.

    But on the other hand it DOES cost a lot of money for Community Transit to serve Stanwood direct to Seattle… and people who choose to live in Stanwood but work in Seattle and demand a 1-seat ride sure are straining the very same blue, white & green transit net I want stretched farther.

  2. SPUI is a classic example of prioritizing car throughput by completely by abandoning all other modes of transportation. As wikipedia’s entry indicates, transit is not the only casualty of this:

    “Also, due to the large intersection area, the traffic lights need a longer yellow and red phase to clear the intersection, and even then it may not be long enough for a bicyclist entering on green or yellow to make it across before opposing traffic gets a green.[3] In general, SPUI designs should not be used where bicycle traffic is expected unless fairly substantial changes to the design or special accommodations are provided.[7]

    Pedestrians are usually not able to get through the intersection with one green light. It can take up to four cycles to walk through the entire length of a SPUI.[7]”

    1. If they weren’t installing a SPUI they’d probably be installing some other interchange sharing its worst attributes for pedestrians. The 405/116th interchange in Kirkland has pedestrians cross ramps at four separate signalized crosswalks on the south side, and it’s not even a full interchange (if it was a full interchange the same thing would be true on the north side)! I think WSDOT is mostly past the point of installing uncontrolled merges onto arterials from the freeway, but they’re perfectly willing to have uncontrolled ramp-style exits to the freeway. That may be rational from a vehicle safety perspective, but it’s still terrible for pedestrians.

      In some ways this is another manifestation of the classic American urban planning problem. If everything is built highwayside or in offramp settlements, these places develop pressing ped/bike/transit access problems that can never be solved satisfactorily; even the unsatisfactory solutions are insanely expensive. If instead we planned to keep through-traffic and interchanges away from the important destinations we could live with cheap, basic designs for the interchanges, and the natural places for flyer stops and ped/bike freeway crossings would be away from interchanges, where they are cheaper to build and work better.

      1. Nor did WSDOT expect much bicycle/pedestrian traffic at the time they built I-5 over Northgate. The fact is, there numerous examples of highway departments all over the country using development patterns at the time of planning as an excuse for not bothering with the slightest accommodations towards non-motorized transportation. Then, when the urbanized area expands and people start getting run over trying to walk places where no one was walking before, nothing can be done about it because there is no solution that is no insanely expensive.

      2. The difference is, we’re trying as hard as we can to hit the brakes on the sort of sprawl that followed the 50s highway boom that created those sorts of traffic patterns.

      3. I’m not saying it’s good that WSDOT is not planning for bicycle and pedestrian traffic there. I think it’s a travesty that the workforce at the casino and outlet mall mostly need to spend their meager income on a car to get to work. But I doubt there would be much bike and pedestrian traffic through the interchange even if it was built for it. This is Marysville. It’s the very definition of sprawl. There’s nowhere to walk even if you could do it safely. And while you and I and the other readers of this blog might be working to stop the sprawl, Marysville isn’t, because if they were, they’d cease to exist. Frankly, I’m much more concerned about the sprawly development patterns in Kirkland and Redmond. If we can get more housing there (housing that appeals to families), maybe there would be less demand for sprawl in Marysville, though that particular interchange is mostly about accommodating the traffic from Seattle going shopping and gambling.

  3. Perhaps a flyer stop like the one previously at 116th in Smokey Point is in order. There are better/more connections to other routes in Smokey Point anyway.

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