Federal Way’s downtown flag pole is located along S. 320th Street. File photo

Federal Way’s downtown flag pole is located along S. 320th Street. File photo

City council approves feasibility study to dip S. 320th Street

The dip design creates greater pedestrian access and development opportunities, city planners say.

“The Dip” is the right ingredient for a vibrant downtown, city planners told the Federal Way City Council on May 17, before the council unanimously approved funding a feasibility study for the project.

The study will evaluate the possibility of lowering South 320th Street near 21st Avenue South and creating an at-grade pedestrian crossing.

“As planners, our objective is to dream big and plan for places to be the best they can be,” said Chaney Skadsen, senior planner for the City of Federal Way.

For the study, the project is aided by $100,000 in funds currently appropriated to the planning division of the Community Development Department’s operating budget and $200,000 in uncommitted funds from the Sound Transit Capital Fund, Skadsen said.

The feasibility study will analyze traffic modeling, storm water evaluation, utility relocation and identify any potential limitations of the design with the help of a consultant.

In addition to improving access for pedestrians, the dip design will further development possibilities for land owners on either side of South 320th Street, Skadsen said.

“The 320th [Street] barrier is not going to go away and may only get more difficult to address over time,” Skadsen said.

If the design is found to be a viable solution, future downtown development could also shape itself around this feature. Lowering the street creates a gateway to connect people and the possibility for a pedestrian-oriented space, unlike much of Federal Way’s vehicle-centered design.

Deputy Mayor Susan Honda spoke in support of the design. Councilmember Jack Dovey asked fellow council members to keep an open mind in the future when voting on projects which require large investments

The study takes place until February 2023, and then planning division will discuss results and construction options with the city council in March 2023.

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