Are we having fun yet? If you happened to get stuck in this weekend’s traffic around Lower Queen Anne as well as up and over Upper Queen Anne (Taylor was a non-stop stream of cars heading uphill this evening) – brace yourself.
Stuck in Mercer traffic?
Take a deep breath and envision the future…
Not only will the same eastbound Mercer and 99/Aurora closures be in effect next weekend (unless SDOT and WSDOT have pity on us and cancel them until after the holidays…), but we also have weekday Mercer closures all this week and next week too.
That’s right. Mercer messiness right up through December 20th. Not such bad news for those holiday shopping procrastinators, but those going to PNB’s Nutcracker and other events at Seattle Center will be impacted, not to mention all of us who live in the neighborhood.
The nighttime lane restrictions will be in effect from 9pm to 5am weekday evenings from Monday, December 9th through Friday, December 2oth (with a full eastbound Mercer closure next weekend). Two lanes on eastbound Mercer Street will be re-opened to traffic during the day.
Here’s the rundown from SDOT – click the dates to see the detour routes. Uh… Happy Holidays?
Dec. 9-13: Eastbound Mercer Street lane restriction at 5th Avenue North
Beginning the evening of Monday, Dec. 9,eastbound traffic on Mercer Street between 4th and 5th Avenues will be restricted to one lane during the night as crews work to install an underground storm water detention system under the roadway.
Eastbound traffic on Mercer Street will be required to turn right on 5th Ave N and re-connect to eastbound Mercer via Harrison and eastbound Broad streets.
Northbound and southbound 5th Ave N will remain open to traffic.
Mercer Street east of 5th Ave N will remain open to traffic.
Dec. 16-20: Eastbound Mercer Street closed between 5th Ave N and Dexter Ave N
Beginning the evening of Monday, Dec. 16,eastbound Mercer Street between 5th Ave N and Dexter Ave N will be fully closed to traffic during the night as crews continue to install an underground storm water detention system and lateral storm water connection lines under the roadway.
Mercer Street east of 5th Ave N to Dexter Ave N will be fully closed to traffic.
Traffic on eastbound Mercer Street will be required to turn right on 5th Ave N and re-connect to eastbound Mercer via Harrison and eastbound Broad streets.
Northbound and southbound 5th Ave N will remain open to traffic.
Access to Mercer Street from southbound 5th Ave N will be via Harrison and eastbound Broad streets.
The sidewalk on Mercer Street will also be closed between 5th Ave N and Dexter Ave N. Pedestrians will be detoured to Broad Street.
As part of the ongoing Mercer Corridor Project, there is a full weekend closure of Aurora/99 and eastbound Mercer Street beginning tomorrow, Friday, December 6 at 11:59 pm through 5am Monday, December 9.
Plus, you can plan even further ahead as the same closures will be in place next weekend from Friday, December 13 at 11:59 pm through 5am Monday, December 16.
The closures are necessary for the completion of Mercer Street widening and SR 99 bridge replacement work, all in preparation for the Bored Tunnel North Portal in June 2014.
Per SDOT: please note that work is weather dependent and may be cancelled and rescheduled for later dates if inclement weather occurs. (so far, it looks like it’ll just be cold)
SDOT details on this weekend’s closure:
SR 99 will be fully closed to traffic between Valley Street and the southern end of the Battery Street Tunnel. Traffic traveling through Seattle via SR 99 will be directed to I-5 in northern Seattle at 85th Street or in southern Seattle at E Marginal Way and Spokane Street. More information about alternate routes during construction may be found online
Eastbound Mercer Street will be fully closed to traffic between Fifth Avenue N and Dexter Avenue N. Traffic heading east toward I-5 from Queen Anne will be detoured to eastbound Broad Street via Harrison Street and will reconnect to Mercer Street at Ninth Avenue N to continue towards the I-5 ramps at Mercer Street.
The sidewalk on Mercer Street will also be closed between Fifth Avenue N and Dexter Avenue N. Pedestrians will be detoured to Broad Street.
Broad Street and the I-5 on- and off-ramps at Mercer Street and westbound Mercer Street will remain open during the weekend work.
Access to Seattle Center from I-5 via westbound Mercer and Broad streets and from southbound SR 99 at Valley Street will be open through the weekend.
Happy Thanksgiving a day early! Here are the events to keep you busy over the long holiday weekend, from the annual Turkey Trot to the Macy’s Holiday Parade to the Apple Cup to Indies First at Queen Anne Book Company. There’s something for everyone, including those who are kicking off the shopping season – be sure to Shop Small on Saturday! Watch for traffic around the Seattle Center on Saturday and Sunday mornings (Seattle Marathon 5K and Marathon/Half Marathon foot and vehicle traffic), and Go Hawks!on Monday Night Football!
An especially timely warning the day before little ghosts and goblins hit the streets of Queen Anne – slow down on neighborhood streets!
Even though many of the streets on the Boulevard are arterial streets, that doesn’t give drivers license to speed and roll through stop signs. Queen Anne Greenways has the goal of making our streets safer for pedestrians, but it’s a tough job.
An example, I’ve emailed SDOT about repainting the crosswalks at Queen Anne Ave N and Garfield St (the crosswalk by The Seattle Gym, a popular crossing point for people on their way home from a workout, and at Taylor Ave N and Galer St – part of the Galer Stairs that connect Upper Queen Anne to Lake Union. Both crosswalks are so faded that neither pedestrians nor cars can see them.
What was the response?
“Due to current budget constraints, SDOT had funding to remark a minimal number of crosswalks in 2013 out of approximately 6,000 crosswalks installed. The Pedestrian Master Plan provides us with a priority ranking that helps us direct our resources to those locations that have the highest need. Factors, such as collision history, traffic volumes, land use, and economic/social equity, were considered for the ranking. The Pedestrian Master Plan ensures that we make our decisions on whether to address requests that we receive from our residents fairly and in an informed way. At this time, our 2013 remark list has been completed and approved, and these locations did not rank high enough to make our 2013 remarking schedule. However, we will add this location to our 2014 list of potential remarks.”
I understand budget constraints, but here’s the odd thing – I submitted my request after they repainted existing bike lanes that were in perfect shape on Taylor Ave N. That’s right, they repainted something that didn’t need paint and ignored (or maybe didn’t even see) the super-faded crosswalk at Galer St. They lives of cyclists are important, but so are the lives of pedestrians – and crosswalks that are invisible to drivers should be a priority over bike lanes that are visible to all.
Not sure where other crosswalks along the Boulevard rank in the list, but check out this video filmed on Queen Anne that shows why we 1) need more crosswalks, and 2) need drivers to slow down.
Halloween is just around the corner – fun up and down Queen Anne Ave next Thursday… but, until then, we have the weekend! Remember the closure of eastbound Mercer before you head out, and Saturday morning also brings the Puget Sound Heart & Stroke Walk and street closures around the Seattle Center.
Mercer: full weekend closure eastbound Mercer, 11:59pm Friday, Oct 25 to 5am, Monday, Oct 28
Heads up – due to emergency sewer repairs, eastbound Mercer Street is closed this weekend, from 11:59pm Friday, October 25 to 5am Monday, October 28. Here are the details from SDOT:
Eastbound Mercer Street will be fully closed to traffic between 5th Ave N and 9th Ave N. Travelers heading east from 5th Ave N should take Harrison St to eastbound Broad St to re-connect with Mercer St. More information about alternate routes are online.
Westbound Mercer Street, Broad St, SR 99 and the I-5 on- and off-ramps at Mercer St will remain open during the weekend work.
Per SDOT, “travelers can expect significant traffic and delays and should plan ahead and use alternate routes” – and the Puget Sound Heart and Stroke Walk is this Saturday, October 26 with street closures near the Seattle Center campus between 9am and 11am.
The curvy section of the Boulevard near Mt Pleasant Cemetery has seen its fair share of accidents, and the 5th Avenue West/4th Avenue West Block Watch is petitioning SDOT to make traffic-calming improvements for this key Queen Anne arterial.
The spot of concern runs along 5th Ave W & W Raye St, at the intersections of W Smith St & 5th Ave W & W. Raye & 7th Ave W. (yes, it’s a confusing mix of streets – but the point is that traffic travels too fast along this stretch of the Boulevard).
According to the Block Watch, there have been a number of accidents caused by excessive speed, including the death of a motorcyclist in 2004 and several cars totaled when drivers missed the curve in the road and hit other cars or Boulevard trees.
And, in the last 3 months:
a driver hit a tree on 5th Ave W and Raye St
an early morning hit and run driver ran into a car on 5th Ave W
a driver speeding eastbound crashed into the yard of a home on 5th Ave W and W Raye St damaging two properties
This street is not only part of the Crown of Queen Anne/Boulevard – popular with walkers, runners, and cyclists – but it’s also just a few blocks away from Coe Elementary.
The Block Watch has connected with Queen Anne Greenways, but they still need your help. Sign their petition online, and show your support for safe Queen Anne streets by joining the Queen Anne Greenways community group.
Before you head out this weekend, remember the 99 and Viaduct closures – it’ll make traffic woes increase around Queen Anne. A good reason to stick around and walk to your Queen Anne destination, the weather is even supposed to cooperate!
99/Aurora/Viaduct: full weekend closure of Aurora/99 from 11pm Friday, Oct 4 to 5am, Monday, Oct 7. The Viaduct is closed from 5am-6pm Saturday and 6am-6pm Sunday.
Montlake Bridge: closed to vehicular traffic from 5am Saturday, Oct 5 until 5am Monday, Oct 7 for bridge maintenance work.
If you’re heading south from Queen Anne (or north to return) this weekend, don’t plan on doing it via Aurora/99… and plan on slow going with “significant” delays expected.
Per SDOT, there will be a full weekend closure of Aurora/99 from 11pm Friday, October 4 to 5am, Monday, October 7 for Mercer Corridor Project work. It will coincide with WSDOT’s semi-annual Viaduct safety inspection, which closes the Viaduct from 5am-6pm Saturday and 6am-6pm Sunday.
Here are the details from SDOT:
SR 99 will be fully closed to traffic between Valley Street and the southern end of the Battery Street Tunnel. Traffic traveling through Seattle via SR 99 will be directed to I-5 in northern Seattle at North 85th Street or in southern Seattle at East Marginal Way South and South Spokane Street.
Mercer Street, Broad Street, and the I-5 on- and off-ramps at Mercer Street will remain open.
Pedestrian access will be maintained on the south side of Mercer Street between 5th Ave N and Dexter Ave N or via Broad Street.
Travelers can expect significant traffic and delays and should plan ahead and use alternate routes.
Heads up if you have to drive around Lower Queen Anne/Uptown tomorrow, Thursday, September 26th – the annual Microsoft Company Meeting is at Key Arena.
The meeting starts at 10am and concludes at 4pm. Expect traffic in the morning rush hour to be significantly increased en route to the Key. Afternoon/early evening traffic will also be impacted.
Microsoft plans to shuttle many employess to the Key, but with 20,000 employees expected to attend, there are going to be plenty of additional cars traveling through the Mercer corridor and around the Key.
If you walk, bike, or run the Crown of Queen Anne, you know that crossing Queen Anne Ave N at Highland can be tricky. It’s one of the busiest pedestrian crossings on Queen Anne, and while there’s a crosswalk and flashing light, there’s no guarantee that traffic will stop for you when you step out into that crosswalk.
New pedestrian-activated lights installed at Highland crossing
Well, thanks to work by multiple community groups, including our own Queen Anne Greenways, crossing Queen Anne Ave N at Highland just got safer. Last week, SDOT installed a pedestrian activated signal at the intersection, and it should be activated any day.
Next up: let’s see if our local groups can get a 4-way stop at W McGraw St and 7th Ave W – it’s right near Coe Elementary. Also, how about getting the crosswalks repainted all over Queen Anne? Some are so faint, even pedestrians can’t see them!
If you support these ideas, or have some of your own, drop in on the next Queen Anne Greenways meeting on September 24th, 6:30-7:45pm at the Queen Anne Library. The group meets the 4th Tuesday of every month and it’s open to all!