Council approves overlay in neighborhoods that had chip seal last summer
After months of debate and hours of public testimony from angry residents, the Mill Creek City Council voted Tuesday night to overlay the pavement in four neighborhoods that had been left uneven and unsightly after stop gap measures fell short of expectations.
The council voted unanimously to accept the recommendation from City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto that the more permanent solution be applied to the streets in the Wildflower and Mill Park Village neighborhoods after the scheduled inspection and repair of sewer and storm water lines in June.
Existing pavement will be ground down and new pavement applied in the Wildflower and Mill Park Village neighborhoods, as well as in two Heatherwood West neighborhoods, including 26th Avenue SE and the “Racetrack” area comprising 27th Drive SE and 28th Avenue SE.
The council added their commitment to overlay portions of 26th Ave. SE after additional underground inspections and repairs are completed.
The decision to overly pavement was the most costly option the council considered. The unanimous vote came after councilmembers heard from residents of the two communities at public hearings, at home by email and in-person in the community.
“It’s time for us to step up and do the right thing,” Councilmember Donna Michelson told her colleagues. Scott Smith, who resigned from his position as public works director earlier this month, described the chip seal repair done last summer as “B-minus work.”
“We are not a B-minus city,” Michelson declared. “We are an A-plus city and we should start acting like one.”
According to Smith, the chip seal repair is estimated to last less than 6 years. The overlay can hold up for 20-30 years.
Angry residents were not concerned with the cost of street repairs. Dozens of people addressed the council at previous meetings with complaints about the loose gravel and uneven surfaces that made it impossible for their children to safely ride bikes or roller skate in their own neighborhood. They also voiced displeasure with the tar stains and loose gravel tracked into their homes from the “mediocre repairs.”
Estimates for the cost of overlay was more than $250,000. The Wildflower neighborhood represented almost $100,000 of the total estimate. The projected cost for Mill Park Village is $76,000, while overlay to the portion of 26th Ave. SE came in at $85,000.
The council will need to approve the actual bids for the work before repairs can begin.
Mayor Pam Pruitt had one comment after the final vote had been tallied, “We’re done…for a while.”
Resident Carolyn Drake addressed the council on Tuesday with prepared remarks during the Audience Communication portion of the meeting. Drake warned the council of “another ballot revolt” over the proposed changes to Community Transit routes through Mill Creek that would eliminate stops in Mays Pond and along the Bothell-Everett Hwy corridor north of 164th Street SE.
“The heart of the problem is that CT planners and (Councilmember) Mike Todd don’t actually ride the bus because they are well aware of CT’s systematic dysfunction and don’t personally want to suffer the consequences of poorly conceived and executed decisions,” Drake said. “It has left me with comment fatigue. And I’m cranky.”
Drake, who is disabled and dependent on the bus, said passengers who commute from Mays Pond to the University of Washington will be “livid when they discover their route has been eliminated.” She claims that most of the commuters “are glued to their mobile devices” and are unaware of the pending changes.
Proposed changes to Routes 105 and 106 operated by Community Transit were outlined to the council during a presentation to the council at its meeting on March 7. The changes, according to CT CEO Emmett Health, are being made to establish a link between the high-tech corridor in the Canyon Park portion of Bothell and the Boeing facilities at Paine Field.
The CT service expansion is scheduled to take place in two phases in coordination with the start of the SWIFT II routes along the Bothell-Everett Hwy. The first changes are scheduled to be implemented in September of this year. Additional changes are planned for March of 2018.