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Lowe's traffic troubles

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

The proposed Lowe's home improvement store is in the midst of a roundabout traffic jam.

The store is set to be built to the west of Albertson's, across South Prairie Road.

The plan calls for a 138,684 square feet store to be built on a 17.34 -acre site with a parking lot for 523 stalls; the plan allows for future expansion of the main building by 14,747 square feet and a 31,709 square feet garden center.

The parking lot will have two entrance/exit points. One is on South Prairie Road and one on 200th Court East.

A roundabout is planned for the intersection of 200th Court East and 100th Street Court East, and the proposal is causing some serious indigestion in the surrounding neighborhood.

Laurie Martin, who lives on 103rd Street, said a group of residents are circulating a petition asking for the traffic plan to be redesigned.

“We don't want all that traffic coming onto 200th,” Martin said. “There has to be a better way.”

Plans to expand and connect 200th Avenue Court East to 198th Avenue East south of Mountain View Middle School are moving forward. Once completed, the road will carry traffic from the southern Plateau region including Cascadia Development, Bonney Lake High School and the middle school.

According to Martin, �th is already over maxed. We have to come up with other roads off this hill.”

At the June 27 City Council meeting, which took place in the Bonney Lake High School Commons, several residents spoke to council members and the mayor about their concerns with the roundabout and traffic congestion in the area.

“It's ridiculous,” said Keola pang-Ching, a resident who lives near the Lowe's site. “I don't know what they are thinking.”

Public Works Director Dan Grigsby said an advantage of a roundabout is it remains low maintenance because a signal is not needed. Some of the disadvantages are more land is needed and people need to get used to using them.

Grigsby said Lowe's traffic engineers will submit a proposal, which will be reviewed by the city.

The city has contracted Sumner traffic consulting firm Parametrix and Perry Shea of Shea and Carr from Olympia. Shea is considered a leading expert on roundabouts, according to Grigsby.

“The review will establish if the roundabout will work,” Grigsby said. “A developer can propose anything. We'll review it to see if it will work. We want this first roundabout to be successful.”

Heather Stinson, the city's associate planner, said the project's permits were “deemed complete” June 15, which begins a 120-day time frame to the end of the process when the city makes a decision to approve or disapprove the project.

A public comment period began June 29 and will last 20 days. Residents should either e-mail comments to Stinson at StinsonH@ci.bonney-lake.wa.us, send comments to P.O. Box 7380, Bonney Lake or drop comments off at the Planning Department, 8720 184th Ave. E.

The project requires no public hearing since a rezone or Comprehensive Plan Amendment was not required.

Martin said her group intends to present their petition to the Planning Department.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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