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The Official Website of the City of Kent

Newsletter Number 1, Spring 2006

English version (PDF, 660KB)
Spanish version (PDF, 595KB)
Russian version (PDF, 610KB) 

Creating a Plan That Will Improve Transportation in Kent

The City is developing a Transportation Master Plan (TMP)—and wants your input! What do you think are the largest transportation challenges for Kent now and in the future? How do you think we should address them? Read on to see how you can help enhance the quality of life in our community!

Over the past 20 years, our population has nearly tripled! So the TMP is needed to describe a vision for our transportation future, identify ways to help achieve that vision, and articulate a funding program to make this vision a reality.

The TMP is intended to:

  • Gather information from citizens,
  • Inventory roadway characteristics,
  • Identify problems,
  • Create solutions that address the problems (such as improving congestion through road widening, improving connectivity, or providing safe walking routes),
  • Prioritize solutions to improve the transportation system, and
  • Develop a funding plan to make sure improvements happen over time.

We're Listening to You …

Over the past two months, we have met with YOU—the people who live, work, and study in the City of Kent—and gained insights about how to improve all aspects of Kent's transportation system. We have conducted over 35 individual interviews and met with several focus groups to help define Kent's transportation issues.

The people we interviewed represent the entire Kent community: parents, senior citizens, commuters, freight representatives, business owners, students, community leaders, transit users, citizens with disabilities, bicyclists, developers, builders, fire and emergency workers, ethnic communities, and more!

… And This Is What You Said

  • You are stuck in traffic—congestion happens all day long.
  • Bottlenecks and congestion block travel on east-west roads.
  • Trains frequently block roads, backing up cars and buses.
  • No easy access to freeways (SR 167 and I-5).
  • Need more and safer sidewalks.
  • Need more buses to get around Kent.
  • Need better connections to other cities.
  • Few roads link East Hill and West Hill to the valley.
  • Can't get to I-5 from downtown Kent.
  • Cars and trucks both need to use the roads.
  • People can't safely cross Military Road, Central Avenue/84th Street, Kent-Kangley Road/SR 516.

Mapping Our Top Transportation Issues

Kent Base Map 

 

A lot of people travel in and through Kent. We are truly a gateway city! This helps to keep our economy and culture vibrant, but it also means that transportation is a growing concern that needs to be addressed with a long-range plan. As part of the TMP, planners are modeling existing and future traffic flows and charting problem areas. The map on this page shows some of the results of our investigations so far. It lists the primary congested roads, traffic bottlenecks, and key areas of pedestrian concerns. The purpose of the TMP is to identify ways to improve many of the concerns shown on this page. The items listed below describe some of your concerns in more detail.

Roadway Network Issues

Getting into and out of Kent is a big issue, but getting around within the City is also difficult. Drivers become frustrated as congestion lasts longer each day.

Road congestion occurs due to:

  • Backups from SR 167 ramp metering
  • Lack of adequate regional transit service
  • Limited access to and from SR 167 and I-5
  • Drivers using local streets to avoid SR 167 congestion
  • Delays at railroad crossings
  • Slow-moving trucks on busy streets
  • Not enough east-west roads or alternate routes
  • Lack of road connections to Auburn, Maple Valley, and Covington
  • Lack of signal timing and road capacity

Safety concerns are rising due to:

  • Drivers running red lights and apparent lack of awareness about traffic laws
  • High volumes on busy arterial routes, such as Meeker, Central, and James
  • Lack of safe pedestrian crossings, especially on long blocks
  • Speeding in neighborhoods

Pedestrian and Bicycle Issues

Residents asked for safe crossings, continuous sidewalks, and connections to key destinations such as schools, parks, transit, and retail centers.

Some things pedestrians and cyclists would like to see more of:

  • Pedestrian protection along Meeker, Central, James, Smith, and Railroad Avenue
  • More sidewalks near schools
  • Safe crossings across busy roads
  • Separation between sidewalks and traffic
  • North, south, east, and west bike routes for commuters and recreational bicyclists
  • Pedestrian safety enhancements around Kent Transit Center
  • Education/enforcement for drivers about pedestrian safety

Transit Issues

Top transit needs include:

  • More frequent buses and trains
  • Better information about routes and schedules
  • Improved connections to the Sounder train
  • Better coverage in the East Hill and West Hill areas
  • Safe crossings along 104th/Benson Highway or other large roadways, and at bus stop locations
  • Additional service within Kent, as well as more connections to other cities in the region.

And the Survey Says …

During March 2006, we conducted a random survey of 401 Kent households to find out what residents think about transit. Results from the survey include:

  • 65% of Kent citizens commute to work or school outside of Kent-34% to Seattle, and 14% to Bellevue.
  • 34% had used a bus in the past year, while 9% had used the Sounder train.
  • 12% would like to use the bus, but they have no bus stops near their homes or destinations, such as work, hospital, housing developments, shopping, services.

TMP Task Force Selected to Represent Community Interests

The City is dedicated to developing a community-endorsed TMP. To make sure we are accountable to you, we selected the members of the TMP Task Force to reflect Kent's community of neighborhoods, parents, youth, builders, truckers, seniors, cultural community groups, transit users, businesses, and others.

The Task Force will meet six times over the course of the next seven months and will learn about transportation issues, help develop solutions, rank improvement projects, discuss funding options, and make recommendations to staff and the City Council.

Meet Your Representatives on the TMP Task Force!

Mayor Cooke has invited the following representatives to serve on the Task Force: Igor Bilas; Patrick Binion; Tina Busenius; Carol Carlile; Bill Castagno; Debbie Eckley; Bill Ellison; Robert Faamausili; Gurey Faarah; Mark Gagnon; Roberto Gonzales; Kirstin Jenson; Marilyn Kielbauch; Omar Lee; Marcelle Pechler; Dana Ralph; Mel Roberts; Manmeet Shami; Tom Sharp; Helen Shindell-Butler; and Grant Toschi.

Contact these volunteers at tmp@kentwa.gov so they can better represent your voice!

Mayor Cooke Talks Transportation on Kent Today TV Debut

Mayor Suzette Cooke will host Kent Today, an issues talk show featuring a variety of guests. The first episode of this ongoing program will focus on the City's top issue: transportation.

The show will focus on keeping cars, trucks, pedestrians, buses, and bikes flowing smoothly and safely through Kent. You can expect discussions about congestion, safety, bicycle access, new construction, and transit service. But who knows what will come up? Although the Mayor will be there to facilitate the conversation, the discussion will be determined by the participating citizens.

Episodes of Kent Today will run monthly on Comcast cable TV channel 21.

Stay Informed and Give Us Your Input

Look for Mayor Suzette Cooke's Kent Today TV show in May, and stay tuned for a program in the late summer focusing on the TMP.

Updated information, survey opportunities, and meeting announcements will be posted on the TMP Web site: kentwa.gov/transportation/TMP/ 

  • E-mail us: tmp@kentwa.gov. 
  • Call us: (253) 856-5566
  • Mail us: City of Kent Public Works, TMP, 220 Fourth Ave. South, Kent, WA 98032

Newsletter Available in Spanish (PDF, 580KB) and Russian (PDF, 610KB) 

Para recibir esta publicación en español, llamar al (235) 856-5566 o envia un correo al tmp@kentwa.gov.

Чтобы получить эту брошюру на русском языке, позвоните (253) 856-5566 или пошлите электронной почтой tmp@ci.kent.us.