By Ejong Herd
After four years of planning, Bothell is now ready for its spark. According to the City of Bothell, the Revitalization Plan will clear 1 million square feet from 2010 to 2020 for commercial and residential development surrounding Main Street and Bothell Landing. The goal of the Bothell Revitalization Plan is to make the downtown area look and feel like the heart of the city.
“It’s been a small town for too long,” said Dillon Austin, who helps manage a family-owned restaurant called Ranch Drive-In on State Route 527.
“It’s the way of the future – not too big, but not too small.”
Currently, the daily commuter population outweighs the number of residents, but the City of Bothell seeks to unite the challenging tasks of remaining commuter-friendly while also creating a pedestrian-focus downtown.
The Bothell Revitalization Plan kicked-off in 2008 with the South Access project, a recently constructed south-side entrance to the University of Washington Bothell campus. State Route 522 was also aggressively expanded at the Wayne Curve, a five-lane segment that now features seven lanes, transit by-pass lanes and sidewalks.
Within the next two years, the City of Bothell is preparing the downtown area for interested developers and businesses through the addition of seven city initiatives. The cost for these infrastructure improvements is estimated at about $150 million.
“I don’t care about Bothell right now because there is nothing here,” said Tanner Austin, Dillon’s twin brother who also helps manage the Ranch Drive-In. “But I do care about its development and our future here in Bothell.”
Two important initiatives in the Revitalization Plan are the Crossroads and Multi-Way Boulevard projects.
The Crossroads project will realign State Route 522 at the State Route 527 and Main Street intersection. City of Bothell studies suggest that 44,000 vehicles move through this intersection daily, so immediate development is paramount to a successful revitalization. The City of Bothell website touches on the current condition of this intersection, stating, “The existing intersection of State Route 522 and State Route performs poorly and is expected to degrade further without action”.
Another problem with this intersection is that it makes the downtown area invisible to commuters. Driving through State Route 522 makes Bothell appear like a shallow, one-street city. The growth of downtown Bothell will rely on establishing visible presence to commuters. The Revitalization Plan seeks to “redesign the crossroads to enhance regional mobility and benefit downtown business and community identity.”
The second project that will help make the Revitalization Plan effective is the Multi-Way Boulevard project.
This project focuses on widening State Route 527 and creating spacious, tree-lined sidewalks that will make the planned walking-culture achievable and will connect downtown to the Sammamish River. State Route 527 will define the future of downtown Bothell with new compact housing, new retail and restaurant offerings and a growing work-place environment.
The Revitalization Plan also traces on a few types of anchors that may refresh downtown Bothell.
The first major anchor that the City of Bothell would to see is the addition of another supermarket in an effort to help keep shoppers buying locally. With the near-by Woodinville shopping centers, a few major attractions would be necessary to shift the tide in Bothell’s favor. A few related anchors that the City of Bothell is considering include addition of beverage, clothing, and books and music locations.
Additionally, the City of Bothell would like to add a campus bookstore to serve the University of Washington and Cascadia campus. The City places a high-priority on the Bothell campus community because of the close-proximity of students, faculty and staff to downtown Bothell. The plan encourages the development of more points of interest targeted at the campus community, including the addition of pubs and arts and entertainment venues.
While progress has been noticeable in the Bothell community, the Revitalization Plan will begin to shape the targeted downtown area in the coming months.
These initiatives will create a foundation for new businesses and anchors to call Bothell home. The Bothell campus will also benefit from a reorganized and energized downtown Bothell, through the addition of college-friendly venues to explore and enjoy.
Within the next few years, the commuter-based culture of Bothell will begin to shift in favor of a new pedestrian-based, residential culture. As a result, commuters might share Dillon Austin’s excitement for the future of Bothell: “Hey Seattle tolls – check, and mate.”
More additional information on the Bothell Revitalization Plan, click here.