QACC transportation committee votes to endorse SDOT’s alternative 5 for West Mercer Place

Posted on April 29th, 2011 by Editor


The Queen Anne Community Council transportation committee voted to endorse SDOT’s alternative 5 to improve traffic flow on Elliot Avenue West and West Mercer Place last night at a particularly packed committee meeting.

The vote to endorse the alternative that would extend the two left-turn lanes on Elliott Avenue West before West Mercer Place came after much debate between councilmembers and West Mercer Place residents. The endorsement letter will be presented at the QACC meeting next Wednesday for final approval, after which it will be sent to SDOT and other appropriate parties.

Alternative 5, which by SDOT’s estimates is much cheaper than the other alternatives and can boast the most improvement on travel time reduction, has also recently been supported by the Port of Seattle, according to Transportation Committee Chair Glenn Avery. The five alternatives were presented at an open house put on by SDOT in mid-March.

The four elements in the letter endorsing Alternative 5 are: extending the turn pocket on Elliott; eliminating the Business Access and Transit (BAT) lane south of West Mercer Place; restating the position of the QACC for a reconsideration of the Nickerson road diet; and consideration of pedestrian safety.

Queen Anne Community Council President Ellen Monrad said she was told that, if approved, SDOT would implement the project soon and would likely be working on it this year.

A second letter regarding the addition of traffic lights and pedestrian crossing along West Mercer Place was also voted on and approved by the committee. The three elements of the letter include: pedestrian safety in the Mercer/Roy Corridor; additional crosswalks and traffic lights on West Mercer Street at Fourth and Fifth Avenue West; and the addition of sidewalks if SDOT performs any projects on West Mercer Place.

Since the Nickerson Street road diet, and with the coming changes from the Mercer West Project and the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, increased freight traffic through the neighborhood along West Mercer Place has been a growing concern to residents.

The wording and contents of the letter endorsing the alternative came before the vote, with some residents wanting to add more mention of neighborhood preservation. Mike Warren and other councilmembers floated the idea of a separate committee of residents, the Queen Anne Community Council and the Uptown Alliance with funding from a Small and Simple grant to comprehensively address neighborhood preservation.


  • Matt the Engineer

    Ah, the cheapest option with the fastest traffic. And no bike lanes or sidewalks. And a request to remove a bus lane and re-fatten Nickerson.

    Apparently Queen Anne wants to be less like a city and more like Phoenix.

  • Matt the Engineer

    Ah, the cheapest option with the fastest traffic. And no bike lanes or sidewalks. And a request to remove a bus lane and re-fatten Nickerson.

    Apparently Queen Anne wants to be less like a city and more like Phoenix.

  • Brent

    This is disheartening to see a neighborhood group declare war on anything but cars.

    Travel time will be faster, *as long as you are driving a car*.

    Walking will take the brunt, as there will be no sidewalks.

    Bus riders will take the brunt, as transit lanes get removed. Disincentivizing bus riding will put more cars on the road, BTW.

    And this will do nothing for freight, as truck drivers who know what they are doing will take the new Alaskan Way, which will be much faster than Mercer + tunnel.

    Historic character? Is Lower Queen Anne really a suburban strip?

  • Brent

    This is disheartening to see a neighborhood group declare war on anything but cars.

    Travel time will be faster, *as long as you are driving a car*.

    Walking will take the brunt, as there will be no sidewalks.

    Bus riders will take the brunt, as transit lanes get removed. Disincentivizing bus riding will put more cars on the road, BTW.

    And this will do nothing for freight, as truck drivers who know what they are doing will take the new Alaskan Way, which will be much faster than Mercer + tunnel.

    Historic character? Is Lower Queen Anne really a suburban strip?

  • Bruce

    Do the people on the Queen Anne Transportation Committee actually live in Queen Anne? This is horrifying stupid.

  • Bruce

    Do the people on the Queen Anne Transportation Committee actually live in Queen Anne? This is horrifying stupid.

  • Unbelievable

    Ridiculous!

    Elliott-to-Mercer traffic was infinitely better back when the left turn lanes received a short green signal every 45 seconds or so. The left turn lanes never filled up, the merge was never a problem, West Mercer never backed between W 5th and Queen Anne Ave, and no one (bus or car) ever had to wait very long.

    Then SDOT decided to “highway-ize” Elliott, giving rush-hour through traffic priority at the expense of those turning on to Mercer. The minimum wait to turn is now 90 seconds, and the maximum (weekday afternoons) is nearly 4 minutes. Thus the backups and merge problems.

    Extending the left turn lanes won’t fix anything. How about reversing the original cause of the problem instead of sticking expendable fingers in dykes?

  • Unbelievable

    Ridiculous!

    Elliott-to-Mercer traffic was infinitely better back when the left turn lanes received a short green signal every 45 seconds or so. The left turn lanes never filled up, the merge was never a problem, West Mercer never backed between W 5th and Queen Anne Ave, and no one (bus or car) ever had to wait very long.

    Then SDOT decided to “highway-ize” Elliott, giving rush-hour through traffic priority at the expense of those turning on to Mercer. The minimum wait to turn is now 90 seconds, and the maximum (weekday afternoons) is nearly 4 minutes. Thus the backups and merge problems.

    Extending the left turn lanes won’t fix anything. How about reversing the original cause of the problem instead of sticking expendable fingers in dykes?

  • Have those of you who are complaining even read the documentation of options that SDOT proposed to Lower Queen Anne residents? I live at 5th Ave W near Mercer, love using transit, and frequently scale the steep grade of W. Mercer Pl. And, I endorsed Option #5 at the open house! Endorsing #5 is really a no-brainer when you actually look at the other options (HUGE wall at lower Kinear Park to accommodate WIDENING W. Mercer Pl, etc).

    Option 5 gives the capacity increase that SDOT is demanding with the tunnel build, without turning W. Mercer Pl. into a multi-lane boulevard going up the hill. It just so happens that it is also the cheapest and reduces travel times the most. How would you not endorse that over adding extra car lanes rumbling through the neighborhood? Please understand the options presented before crying foul and telling Lower Queen Anne residents how you think they feel about their neighborhood.

  • Have those of you who are complaining even read the documentation of options that SDOT proposed to Lower Queen Anne residents? I live at 5th Ave W near Mercer, love using transit, and frequently scale the steep grade of W. Mercer Pl. And, I endorsed Option #5 at the open house! Endorsing #5 is really a no-brainer when you actually look at the other options (HUGE wall at lower Kinear Park to accommodate WIDENING W. Mercer Pl, etc).

    Option 5 gives the capacity increase that SDOT is demanding with the tunnel build, without turning W. Mercer Pl. into a multi-lane boulevard going up the hill. It just so happens that it is also the cheapest and reduces travel times the most. How would you not endorse that over adding extra car lanes rumbling through the neighborhood? Please understand the options presented before crying foul and telling Lower Queen Anne residents how you think they feel about their neighborhood.

  • Brent

    Yes, Kevin, I read the documentation. If you are fine with no sidewalks to get down to Elliott, making that distance impassable for pedestrians, so be it.

    But with no bus lane on Mercer, the RapidRide Line D will need to move to Denny, where it can have a bus lane and signal priority.

    Also, why are your neighbors continuing to fight the BAT lanes on 15th Ave W? Wouldn’t a simpler solution be to allow freight to have access to those lanes?

    Same with E Marginal Way and Airport Way, since the Queen Anne TC has decided to weigh in against pedestrian and bicycle safety on those corridors.

  • Brent

    Yes, Kevin, I read the documentation. If you are fine with no sidewalks to get down to Elliott, making that distance impassable for pedestrians, so be it.

    But with no bus lane on Mercer, the RapidRide Line D will need to move to Denny, where it can have a bus lane and signal priority.

    Also, why are your neighbors continuing to fight the BAT lanes on 15th Ave W? Wouldn’t a simpler solution be to allow freight to have access to those lanes?

    Same with E Marginal Way and Airport Way, since the Queen Anne TC has decided to weigh in against pedestrian and bicycle safety on those corridors.

  • W. Mercer Pl. has been this way for a very long time. Why are folks from outside the neighborhood just now speaking up to complain about a lack of sidewalks? If a lack of sidewalks along W. Mercer Pl. degraded LQA’s standing as a great in-city neighborhood, why has the neighborhood received praise in the past? I think this is a case of folks being quick with the typing fingers without understanding the whole picture.

    Sure, I’ve wished that W Mercer Pl had sidewalks since I moved here, but I am willing to give them up due to the high cost associated with building them along that (literally) cliff and the fact that Lower Kinnear Park is being revitalized and reinvisioned as a great pedestrian to points west/north of LQA.

    I’ll admit I don’t know what the provision to eliminate the BAT lane south of W. Mercer Pl. is all about. Perhaps someone can, thoughtfully, weigh in?

    Lastly, none of SDOT’s options for W. Mercer Pl. (remember, this is ONLY regarding W Mercer Pl, not W Mercer St) had provisions for transit lanes, so I don’t know why RapidRide is in this discussion. The options only address the uphill merging issue.

  • W. Mercer Pl. has been this way for a very long time. Why are folks from outside the neighborhood just now speaking up to complain about a lack of sidewalks? If a lack of sidewalks along W. Mercer Pl. degraded LQA’s standing as a great in-city neighborhood, why has the neighborhood received praise in the past? I think this is a case of folks being quick with the typing fingers without understanding the whole picture.

    Sure, I’ve wished that W Mercer Pl had sidewalks since I moved here, but I am willing to give them up due to the high cost associated with building them along that (literally) cliff and the fact that Lower Kinnear Park is being revitalized and reinvisioned as a great pedestrian to points west/north of LQA.

    I’ll admit I don’t know what the provision to eliminate the BAT lane south of W. Mercer Pl. is all about. Perhaps someone can, thoughtfully, weigh in?

    Lastly, none of SDOT’s options for W. Mercer Pl. (remember, this is ONLY regarding W Mercer Pl, not W Mercer St) had provisions for transit lanes, so I don’t know why RapidRide is in this discussion. The options only address the uphill merging issue.


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