If you’re heading to to the North Renton area in 2018, you’ll soon notice a change in few of the street names.
The proposal to change North Park Drive to North Southport Drive, and Northeast Park Drive to Northeast Sunset Boulevard respectively, was brought to the council Monday.
The request for the street name changes is headed by SECO Development, the mastermind behind Hyatt Regency Lake Washington, the proposed water taxi project and the upcoming office buildings in the Southport area.
Rocale Timmons, director of planning and development at SECO, said the decision to initiate the street name changes was a logical step to provide more wayfinding in the area.
“We’re expecting an influx of first-time visitors into the community with the opening of the Hyatt, and we’ll be completing the office towers late 2018. There will be a significant amount of vehicles in the area we want to make sure people know where they’re going. We felt like changing the street name to something that’s readily identifiable would assist motorists in navigating the area,” she said.
The changes will also help reduce confusion in the area, she added.
Currently Northeast Sunset Boulevard transitions into Northeast Park Drive going east from the Highlands, and Northeast Park Drive transitions into Park Avenue North west of Interstate 405. The proposed changes would have Northeast Sunset Boulevard on the east of I-405 transitioning into Southport Drive North on the west of the interstate.
“It’s just really confusing,” said Timmons. “No one really knows what’s going on there. By having these street name changes clears up all the confusion relating to the existing street name.”
Councilmember Don Persson agreed, and said the change is a welcomed one.
“I never understood why we had Park Drive Northeast to start with when it was first built. It has confused people for years and years. I think this change will straighten that out,” he said at the meeting.
Apart from the improving wayfinding and reducing confusion, Timmons said changing the street names helps establish a “sense of place” in the Southport area.
“We don’t believe Southport is a particular project,” she said. “We believe it’s a neighborhood and community. By establishing a street name where formerly Park Drive was located would better establish a sense of, that also extends the eater-front identity from the Shoreline further South.”
Southport comprises of the 2.4 million square-foot mixed-use development area that sits on the shores of Lake Washington. By initiating the process of to change the street names, SECO continues to grow their footprint and impact within the city.
“We are certainly establishing a footprint here,” Timmons said. “Seventeen acres on the shore of Lake Washington, wasn’t a small footprint to begin with. We’re really excited about the project we’ve built. We’re excited about the opening of the office towers at the end of 2018 and we look forward to the future projects.”
SECO Development agreed to expense, design, fabricate and install all signs, including the ones in the city and along I-405. Timmons said they are working with the city, Washington State Department of Transportation, King and Snohomish Development Services divisions to initiate the process and change the necessary signage.
Timmons said they did not have an estimate on how much the entire project will cost, but said SECO is working with transportation consultant Transportation Engineering Northwest (TENW) to figure out the details.
It is uncertain when the name changes will be made or when the changes will be reflected on GPS services, but SECO is hoping to update the street names sometime in the beginning of 2018.
The street name will not impact future addressing nor does it affect any current civic addresses, according to the Committee of the Whole report.
The city reached out to various city departments, including Renton Regional Fire Authority, Renton Police Department, transportation, community services, and there no opposition were raised.
WSDOT did not have any opposition to the proposed changes, as long as it did not have to bear any of the costs.
A public hearing was held at the Dec. 4 City Council meeting, and no other objections were raised. The city does not have a administrative process to change city names, which means the council need only approve a committee report. The report was authorized at the Monday council meeting.