Federal Way Council reviews Panther Lake trail project

City of Federal Way - Contributed
City of Federal Way
— image credit: Contributed

A proposed trail project at Panther Lake has reached the 85 percent design phase, prompting a review by Public Works Director Carrie Roe to the Federal Way City Council, during the council’s Dec. 3 meeting.

The project is set for three phases, and will include refining the existing trail and making it accessible to those with disabilities, along with the installation of park facilities and a parking lot.

“The first phase is the trail itself. The second phase would be the parking lot entrance, (a) monument sign and utility connections, and the third phase would be the park facilities/amenities, inclusive of the playground, picnic shelter, restrooms, etc.,” Roe said during his presentation.

Roe indicated the projected total cost of the project is approximately $2.1 million. As it stands right now, the city has $998,000 for the project, but Roe anticipates that a recently-approved parks and trail levy for King County, along with other funding sources, could bring the project to full completion financially. That being said, Roe noted the numbers he shared and the actual cost will probably be different.

“I would anticipate the total project cost of $2 million, again, you don’t know what project costs until you bid it, but based on my experience, I would anticipate this being less than a $2 million project,” he said.

The aforementioned parking lot would include 41 stalls, and would be accessible from Southwest Campus Drive. Council member Bob Celski wondered if there had been any consideration given to adjacent facilities, such as the King County Aquatic Center, overrunning the parking lot. Roe said it is something he and his staff have considered as they’ve worked on the project.

“I think that will be a challenge. I think we will see some spillover, I don’t have a solid answer to it yet,” Roe replied. “I think we’ll devise an answer, some gating options…I think it will be a complementary feature, when families are at Little League or the Aquatic Center, I think they’ll use this trail in some of the downtime. So I don’t know if limiting the use completely would make sense either. We’re trying to think of how to manage that.”

Celski followed up by asking if the parking lot would create traffic issues along Southwest Campus Drive.

“With regard to access and egress from the parking lot, of course it’s going to share the parking lot with the Little League, is there any concern needing traffic control there?” Celski asked.

“I don’t believe so. I think the 41 additional stalls will be insignificant to the loading you see…today,” Roe answered. “Obviously, people need to make good decisions and be patient, but I think the history at that location is insignificant regarding accidents, so I don’t anticipate 41 stalls having a significant impact on the turning movements at that location.”

Roe also revisited some questions he was asked about the project at a recent Parks and Recreation, Human Services and Public Safety Committee meeting. One of those was what issues might arise if the project is put on hold or delayed in any manner, something Roe said could be problematic, especially with the King County levy funding.

“The city’s receiving Prop 2 (the ballot name for the trail levy) proceeds are encouraged to expend their share of those funds as soon as practicable, and funding may be pooled across multiple years. Final expenditure of Prop 2 funds should be complete by Dec. 31, 2014,” he said.

Roe also noted that construction costs have been on the rise recently, meaning any delay would likely increase costs. He also noted that the city had to wrangle with King County to get those trail levy funds, and part of the deal with the county was to narrow the use of those funds to a specific range of activities.

The Council voted yes to move the project to a completed design stage in a unanimous vote. Roe anticipates the project to be complete in two to five years, if everything goes favorably for the city and its funding sources.


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