Island Transit seeks ‘park’ and ride

As work begins on developing a master site plan for the Greenbank Farm, Island Transit hopes its plan for a park and ride will be incorporated into the final documents.

Island Transit wants the lot at the farm to fill in a gap of park and ride lots throughout Whidbey Island.

“Their goal is to space these out accordingly to create a flow,” said Tim Goodman, a project manager for Carletti Architects, a Mount Vernon firm hired by Island Transit. “From Coupeville to Freeland, there is a very large gap.”

Island Transit proposes to place such a lot near the intersection of Highway 525 and Wonn Road.

Officials want a park and ride lot that emphasizes the word “park” with plenty of landscaping.

“We want to have park and ride lots that are parks,” said Martha Rose, Island Transit director.

Island Transit officials attended the Jan. 9 Port of Coupeville meeting to update the commissioners about Island Transit’s plans and how to proceed.

The port commissioners said that Island Transit should contact with the volunteers helping create the Greenbank Farm’s master site plan. Focus groups are forming to study various aspects of the farm.

“As I see it, there are several committees who want to look at this,” said Benye Weber, president of the Port of Coupeville.

Island Transit is under a deadline to complete its park and ride lots. The system received $2.5 million from the state for park and ride lots and it has to use that money by June 30, 2009, Rose said.

Rob Harbour, one-time candidate for a recent vacancy on the port commission and former manager of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, shared some thoughts on the possible lot at the farm.

He said in a letter to the port that creating an intermodal hub at the Greenbank Farm would be a great benefit to the Whidbey Island Community.

He pointed out that the lots north of Oak Harbor, at Bayview and the intersection of Highway 20 and Wanamaker Road detract from the rural and scenic qualities that the county comprehensive plan, corridor management plan and the recently-adopted port comprehensive plan are designed to protect.

Rose responded that the Bayview park and ride lot has been a pet peeve to her, but the issues surrounding improving the lot have been complicated.

Park and ride lots don’t have to be ugly and shouldn’t be sited to stand alone in an otherwise rural environment, according to Harbour. Copious use of concrete “Jersey barriers” to define and organize a lot space is inappropriate.

“It would not be difficult to design a park and ride facility that will complement the historic buildings and existing design elements of the farm,” Harbour said.

Rose said she thought Harbour’s remarks were great. Island Transit officials now have to get in contact with Donna Keeler, who is heading up the master site plan work for the port.

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