I followed with interest recent efforts of Stanwood to again study placing roundabouts on Highway 532.
Regarding the Ovenell Park roundabout, creating a new intersection with a bypass connection to Old Pacific Highway, the city planner stated, “Even if the bypass is not feasible, we think we the roundabout will help with the traffic.” It is questionable to provide a new roundabout intersection for solely a park driveway generating very low volumes. Perhaps it could be opened more cost-effectively with right-turn only access with westbound access at Lover's Road via the Stillaguamish bridge underpass and Saratoga Road.
The apparent intent to make these roundabouts "gateways" to the city is traffic calming effects. Planners have expressed an interest in making the highway corridor pedestrian-friendly, but there are few opportunities for pedestrian-oriented development along the roadway due to a wide right of way, flood hazards and access restrictions.
Designing intersection improvements without an eye on the need for future capacity is short-sighted. I urge the city, Island County and state Department of Transportation to join each other and do a robust study of the corridor in a design report that could phase improvements over the next 20 years. It is clear that Island County is absent as a major partner in this effort while 23,000 current trips on and off Camano Island are captive each day. Camano residents comprise a large portion of Stanwood's market. Similar efforts are needed on Camano Island to keep the roadway from becoming a commercial strip with a proliferation of accesses.
I support recent comments urging placement of a moratorium on growth on Camano Island until Stanwood and Island County become aware they are choking the goose that lays the golden egg.