OLYMPIA, Wash. — Intercity Transit, Thurston County, the cities of Lacey and Olympia, and Thurston Regional Planning Council are seeking feedback on alternatives for the future of transportation and land use along Martin Way. In May, the public is invited to an online open house for the Martin Way Corridor Study, with a virtual public meeting on Thursday, May 12, 2022, from 5:30-7:00 pm.
Martin Way is a crucial urban artery that links multiple jurisdictions and connects people throughout the region to homes, businesses, and services. Over its 85-year history, Martin Way has evolved from its roots as a state highway to a local route that supports many uses and users. More than 40,000 vehicles travel Martin Way every day, and the corridor is home to nearly 9,000 residents and 13,000 jobs. Over the next 20 to 30 years, Martin Way will help define how the region adapts to growth: what mix of housing, offices, and retail areas will meet community needs? Will more people choose to walk, bike, or use transit to get where they need to go, or will most drive by car? How will these changes impact the flow of traffic and access to businesses?
Thurston Regional Planning Council, in collaboration with Intercity Transit, Thurston County, and the cities of Lacey and Olympia, have been looking into these questions to define a vision for the Martin Way corridor and identify transportation and other improvements to make that vision a reality. This work has included evaluating alternatives for land use and transportation, to see what policies and projects will support inclusive growth, make it safer and easier to travel by different modes, and build the corridor’s appeal. Information gathered during the public events will inform an action plan later this year to guide future work on the Martin Way Corridor.
The study has given partners an opportunity to think beyond their borders to how the roadway connects them and affects the wider region. “The Martin Way corridor is integral to our community,” says Rick Walk, Lacey Community & Economic Development Director. “We are excited to see this work come together, because it builds on the lessons from past projects, like the Urban Corridors Task Force and Sustainable Thurston that called out the importance of this inter-jurisdictional work, and will help us fine tune solutions to improve safety, establish consistent design, and create opportunities for people to reinvest in and shape the corridor.” Eric Phillips, Development Director for Intercity Transit, adds that, “About a million trips each year, or close to a quarter of Intercity Transit’s daily riders, currently use public transportation to access housing, jobs, and services along the growing Martin Way corridor each day. Working with the community to better understand how future transit services can be planned to best serve the community is an important aspect of the Martin Way corridor project.”
In May, members of the public will have multiple opportunities to review these alternatives and provide input. An online open house that runs through May 31 includes information on the project and a survey. A public meeting on May 12 will include a brief presentation followed by two group discussions – one centered on potential changes in Olympia and the other on Lacey and its unincorporated urban growth area. The event will be recorded and posted to the project website for those unable to make it.
“Help us envision a new Martin Way, one that transitions this important corridor from its roots as Old Highway 99 into a vibrant urban street where people like to live, work, and shop,” invites Olympia Public Works Director, Rich Hoey. “Help us envision how we can make this busy roadway safer for people walking, biking, and accessing transit.”
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