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

April 29th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez

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.

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