Meetings to discuss roundabouts

Published on Thu, Apr 16, 2009 by Tara Nelson

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A series of meetings this month hosted by the Washington State Department of Transportation will help provide answers to questions regarding two planned roundabouts near the I-5 and D Street overpass.

Of the two single-lane roundabouts planned, one will replace the two stoplights at the intersection of Peace Portal Drive and Marine Drive. The other will replace the stoplight on the east side of the freeway at the intersection of D and Second streets.

DOT project manager Chris Damitio, during a regular meeting of Blaine City Council Monday, told council members construction of the $13 million roundabouts is planned for spring of 2010, just after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. They are expected to be completed by late that fall.

The meeting is an effort by project engineers to hear concerns from individuals or businesses who may be negatively impacted by the new construction, such as Dale Schrader, owner of the Subway at the corner of Peace Portal and Marine Drive.

Schrader said the project would eliminate most of his parking spaces, which are already limited because of lot restrictions.

“They are at this point, going to take our parking for the roundabout and it will destroy our business,” Schrader said. “Without parking we have no chance for survival.”

Blaine public works director Steve Banham said because the DOT acquired access rights, which restrict egress and ingress from the street, during the 1960s, Schrader was never “entitled” to the parking spaces according to the property deed.

Banham, however, said the city is working with Schrader to try to find an alternative. Banham said that may include working with Burlington Northern railroad to lease parking.

“Although he was never entitled to those parking spaces, he’s still a local business owner and because of that, we want to work with him,” he said. “We want to do what we can to help Mr. Schrader stay in business.”

Damitio said the situation between Schrader and the DOT is unfortunate because they were not aware the business was operating out of compliance with their rights of ways.

The meetings are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 22 and from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29.

The April 29 session will include an open house from 6 to 7 p.m. and a formal access hearing from 7 to 9 p.m.

Those who attend the open house can view designs of the project and talk directly to project staff, ask questions and voice concerns in an informal setting.