Traffic options near Parker Road throw a curve to Island Transit

The intersection of Parker Road and Highway 20 presents a problem for Island Transit.  - Nathan Whalen / The Record
The intersection of Parker Road and Highway 20 presents a problem for Island Transit.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen / The Record

Months after residents questioned the safety of proposed changes to the intersection of Parker Road and Highway 20, transportation officials are looking at making changes to the area.

The officials are developing several options to alter the intersection that is an important part of the Island Transit headquarters construction project. The public transportation agency wants the intersection improvements to make room for a secondary access to the headquarters. That second access point is a requirement for Island Transit’s occupancy permit, said Martha Rose, executive director.

“We’re still working on our evaluation of options,” said Todd Harrison, regional administrator for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Options being considered range from installing a roundabout, installing left turn lanes or realigning the intersections.

Staff are looking at the costs of the options being considered. Once those options are finalized, a public meeting will be set.

The state Department of Transportation hadn’t planned for any project concerning the intersections with Parker and Morris roads. Harrison said the highest priority safety project in the area is to install a left-turn lane from southbound Highway 20 into the county solid waste transfer station located north of Island Transit’s headquarters. The left turn lane project is scheduled to begin in 2014.

While WSDOT doesn’t have money for construction changes to the Parker and Morris roads areas of Highway 20, it does have $1.5 million in federal gas tax dollars to do the planning.

Island Transit officials had originally wanted to close the intersections at Parker and Morris roads and build a new intersection between the two; however, plans changed when local residents voiced concerns the new intersection would be more dangerous than current conditions.

Rose said Island Transit held public meetings and worked with staff from Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve when its original plan was developed.

Construction is under way for a 51,000-square-foot facility located next to its current headquarters near the edge of Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve. Construction of the $17 million facility is expected to be complete sometime in the summer of 2013.

Rose said plans for the intersection changes are on hold until the new options are decided.

“We won’t have a secondary access until this is resolved,” Rose said.

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