Who owns 145th?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Corrected / updated 2-26-2012 8:30pm

By Brian Doennebrink

At their meeting next Monday, February 27, the Shoreline City Council may take the first step towards improving 145th. The street interests Shoreline due to the possibility of a future light rail station in the vicinity of I-5. 130th, 145th, and 155th were identified by Sound Transit as possible locations between Northgate and 185th Street stations.

The problem with 145th Street is ownership. The City of Seattle owns the eastbound lanes, the westbound lanes are King County’s, and WSDOT’s involved with the operations for the portion that’s a state highway. Shoreline, on the other hand, only gets the impacts! 

As the staff report notes, “The only way improvements to 145th Street will be untaken is if the City of Shoreline instigates, designs, and constructs them.”

The City of Seattle and King County are interested in relinquishing jurisdiction over 145th, meaning that Shoreline has an opportunity to annex the right-of-way. However, there are these annual costs that total just over $150,000/year:

  • Public safety response costs : $18,000+
  • Annual street operations and maintenance costs: $60,000
  • Twelve signalized intersections: $24,000 and eventual replacement costs
  • Approximately 150 street lights: annual electrical costs of $30,000
  • Stormwater maintenance: $21,766

If and when the road is widened, to in part handle the increased traffic to and from a light rail station: higher traffic enforcement and maintenance costs, and presumed removal of “retaining walls, structures, rockeries, and fences” that are in the right-of-way.

According to the staff report, 31,793 trips per day is used in the I-5 to 15th NE segment, about 25,000/day east and – to Aurora – west of that, below 14,000 west of Aurora. Improvements on 145th, anticipated to be strongly grant-funded, might include three-lane re-channelization and bike lanes between Greenwood and Aurora, double left turn lanes from southbound Aurora (to travel east on 145th), a five-lane cross-section between Aurora and I-5, a four or five lane cross-section east of the freeway, sidewalk and lighting improvements, transit enhancements, and much more.

The discussion item is 9 (a) on the City Council’s agenda, their Monday meeting starting at 7:00 pm. Online, you can offer comments.


Susan W,  February 26, 2012 at 2:55 AM  

Thanks for a great article and heads up on this potential major project. The beginning is the best time to get involved and start sharing comments with the city and your story helps us do that.

One question: In the sentence, "Improvements on 145th...a five-lane cross-section between Aurora and I-5, a four or five lane cross-section west of the freeway..." did you mean "a four or five lane cross-section EAST of the freeway" since the section from I-5 to Aurora -- which is west of the freeway -- was already mentioned?

Brian Doennebrink,  February 26, 2012 at 11:08 AM  

You're right, Susan, thanks for pointing that out, and I've sent that correction on to the editor! The 4-5 lane cross-section is the concept for "east" of I-5. Even as a 4 lane cross-section, I'd suspect that it would be more of a standard 4-lane cross-section, such as with safer sidewalks, than exists there now, particularly in the 5th NE-15th NE segment, which carries the most traffic of all segments.

Anonymous,  February 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM  

I read the city staff report in support of annexation and they have completely missed this bill in the Washington State House that would pay for corridor study in order to determine how to fix 145th for Sound Transit's use:


The staff analysis estimates it would cost $150K per year to maintain this street, that is around 20-25% of the auto tab fees the city collects for the transportation benefit district.

Let Sound Transit pay for the improvements for this street since they will have to pay for any impacts under the EIS for the light rail station at 145th.

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