May 15th, 2013 by Laura
As part of the West Phase of the Mercer Corridor Project, a large portion of Aurora/99 and part of Mercer Street will be closed starting 11pm Friday, May 17 through 5am Monday, May 20. Then, beginning Monday, travel along and around Mercer will change. Expect “significant delays” for the weekend,and “major” Mercer and Aurora/99 impacts beyond the weekend.
The run-down on the closure and the aftermath are as follows from SDOT:
- Aurora/99 will be fully closed between Valley St and the southern end of the Battery St Tunnel
- Traffic traveling through Seattle via SR 99 will be directed to I-5 north of Seattle at 85th Street or south of Seattle at E Marginal Way
- Mercer Street will be fully closed to traffic between 5th Ave N and Dexter Ave N
- Traffic heading east towards I-5 will be detoured to Denny Way at 5th Ave N and will reconnect to Mercer Street at Dexter Avenue N to continue east
- Sidewalks will be closed on both sides of SR 99 between Thomas and Valley Streets and on the south side of Mercer between 5th Ave N and Dexter Ave N
Beginning Monday, May 20:
- Lane restrictions on Mercer will remain in place between 4th Ave N and 9th Ave N an alternate route for travelers heading to I-5
- Broad Street re-opens to eastbound traffic as an alternate route to I5
- Signal modifications at the intersections of 5th Ave N and Harrison St and Harrison St and Broad St will allow southbound 5th Ave N traffic to connect to eastbound Broad Street
- Due to the re-opening of Broad Street to two-way traffic, left turns from eastbound and westbound Mercer onto 9th Ave N will be restricted to facilitate traffic flow on Mercer. Travelers heading north towards Westlake and Fremont should use Dexter Avenue N to reach their destinations.
Mercer West: 5th Ave W to Dexter Ave N - Access to Northbound 99 During Construction
Mercer West: 5th Ave W to Dexter Ave N - Access to I5 During Construction
Additional traffic revisions will include:
- Mercer will be reduced to two eastbound lanes between 4th Ave N and 9th Ave N
- Local access will be maintained at Taylor Avenue N
- The sidewalk on the north side of Mercer will be closed between 5th Ave N and Dexter Ave N. The sidewalk on the south side of Mercer Street will remain open
- Aurora/99 traffic will be shifted to the west side of the roadway between Valley and Harrison streets; two lanes of SR 99 in each direction will remain open
- Northbound 99 off-ramp to Mercer will be permanently closed. A new signalized intersection at Republican Street and Dexter Avenue N will be available for northbound SR 99 traffic to reach South Lake Union
Tags: Mercer Street, Mercer West Project, road closures
May 8th, 2013 by Laura
Steel yourselves – this is just the tip of the iceberg. More on next week’s Mercer messiness and closures next week (a hint if you’re unaware: Mercer and 99 closures next weekend for Mercer West work, so enjoy this weekend…).
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers of upcoming lane restrictions on Mercer Street and Broad Street beginning tomorrow, Thursday, May 9:
- Eastbound Mercer Street will have the left lane restricted from just west of Dexter Avenue N to Ninth Avenue N on Friday, May 10 from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Westbound Mercer Street/Broad Street will have the left lane restricted from Westlake Avenue N to Harrison Street from 8:00 a.m. Thursday, May 9 until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17.
Tags: lane restrictions, Mercer, Mercer West Project
June 9th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez
SDOT hosted an open house on the Mercer West Project Wednesday evening in the Northwest Rooms Plaza of the Seattle Center, giving the public an in-depth look at what’s to come.
Similar to the West Mercer Place open house in March, the room was circled with posters illustrating various stages and aspects of the project, while SDOT officials, like SDOT Mercer West Project Manager Eric Tweit, answered questions about the project in detail. The project, and the room, was broken up into three parts: West Mercer Place, the Two-Way Conversion and the Mercer Underpass.
Another Mercer West open house will be held next winter to share the final drawings and ask for public comment, according to a video presentation. The final design for the project will be finished in mid-2012, and construction will begin shortly after.
The extension of the two left-turn lanes on Elliott Avenue West and West Mercer Place, or the fifth of five alternatives to address traffic concerns on West Mercer Place, was included in the project discussion. Construction for the three- to six-week job will begin Monday, June 13, and SDOT says it will avoid scheduling work on the weekends, in the morning and during rush hour to reduce the impacts on traffic.
SDOT is also trying to improve pedestrian crossing at Fifth Avenue West and West Mercer Street, a matter of serious concern to residents living in that immediate area.
Much of the information presented at the open house can be seen on the SDOT website here.
FOLKpark Chair Debi Frausto was also on hand to discuss the Lower Kinnear Park Enhancement Plan, the Uptown Loop and a letter sent to SDOT on the needs of the park with respect to changes from SDOT’s proposed alternatives. According to the letter, the chosen Alternative 5 doesn’t provide for bicycles on West Mercer Place, so improvements would need to be made on the sidewalks and park entrance. In addition, the added noise and air pollution from the increase in traffic would need enhanced planting buffers.
An interdepartmental meeting between FOLKpark, SDOT, Seattle Utilities, Seattle Parks and others will take place next Monday “to talk about green infrastructure solutions for this area,” said Frausto.
The organization estimates it needs between $60,000 and $80,000 more to finish the design work, but they already have enough money in the bank to begin construction next year, Frausto said. They’re currently exploring different ideas on how to raise the remaining funds.
“We are well underway,” said Frausto. “We could very well be in construction this time next year.”
Tags: Debi Frausto, FOLKpark, Lower Kinnear Park Enhancement Plan, Mercer West Project, SDOT, SDOT Open House, Uptown Loop, West Mercer Place
June 7th, 2011 by Thea
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is hosting an open house on the Mercer West Project from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8 at Seattle Center’s Rainier Room, located within the Northwest Rooms Plaza.
At the meeting representatives from SDOT will discuss the preliminary designs for the project, including information on the underpass at Aurora Ave and the two-way conversion of Roy and Mercer streets between 5th Ave N and Queen Anne Ave N. SDOT will also present recommendations for West Mercer Place and West Mercer Street, based on evaluation of the alternatives and input from stakeholders.
The SDOT project team will be available to solicit ideas from the public and answer questions attendees may have about current preliminary design concepts for the following:
- A wider Mercer Underpass at Aurora Avenue North;
- Converting Mercer and Roy Streets from one‐way to two‐way operation;
- And improving intersections, street connections and bike access.
The Mercer West Project would complete the City’s vision for a direct, two‐way connection between I‐5 and Elliott Avenue West, continuing where the Mercer East Project leaves off. The proposed improvements include:
- Widening Mercer between Dexter Avenue N and Fifth Avenue N, including the underpass at Aurora to provide three lanes in each direction, left‐turn lanes, wider sidewalks, and a bicycle path;
- Converting Mercer Street to two‐way operation with two lanes in each direction and turn pockets between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N;
- Converting Roy Street to a two‐way street with one lane in each direction and bicycle lanes between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N;
- Creating a new Sixth Avenue N connection between Mercer and Harrison Streets; and;
- Closing Broad Street to re‐connect the street grid between Ninth Ave N and Fifth Ave N.
Read more about the Mercer West Project on the project website, and in our ongoing coverage.
Tags: bike access, community meeting, I-5, intersection improvements, Mercer Underpass, Mercer West Project, open house, Queen Anne Ave N, SDOT, Seattle Center, traffic
May 6th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez
Appropriate to the recent “green” holidays, the May Queen Anne Community Council meeting dedicated much of its time to guests speaking on behalf of trees and forests last Wednesday night.
Kay Napton, a member of the Seattle Planning Commission and FOLKpark, spoke on the need of FOLKpark to raise money to fund their $1.5 million project. The amount raised from grants, about $850,000, falls well short, said Napton. She asked the QACC to help broaden FOLKparks breadth of contacts, such as leaders in the community and environmental groups, that can help raise the remaining funds needed to renovate Lower Kinnear Park.
Plant ecologist Michael Yadrick spoke about the Green Seattle Partnership and their efforts to enhance the tree canopy across the city. He said the organization was six years into its 20-year plan to reforest 2,500 acres, which include the Northeast, Southwest and Kinnear Park Greenbelts. Much of the work is done through volunteers, and Yadrick said Green Seattle Partnership will be looking to engage and recruit citizens in the area to be involved in the reforestation process.
Queen Anne resident Judy Leshner spoke about her development of Queen Anne tree tours based in part on the work of Arthur Lee Jacobson and his book “Trees of Seattle.” Leshner has created five self-guided Queen Anne tree tours to date, but still needs to finalize the tours by verifying some of the information with an arborist.
“I wanted to come up with something that was of interest and use to the Queen Anne community,” said Leshner. “As a former school teacher, I thought would be interesting to school children … and to those in the community and outside, who may go to businesses once they’re here.”
Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce Director of Marketing Mary Chapman said she was interested in putting Leshner’s tree tours on her organization’s upcoming “Visit Queen Anne” website. She was also given ideas by council members on grants and city and organizational contacts.
Apart from the Earth Day and Arbor Day concerns, the transportation committee report headed by committee chair Glenn Avery discussed two letters addressed to SDOT and other interested parties that was passed in a vote at last week’s transportation committee meeting. Both letters were also passed by the council.
The first letter stated several points, including: QACC’s approval of SDOT’s alternative 5 for West Mercer Place; that the project be done this year; that the BAT lane south of West Mercer Place on Elliot Avenue West be converted to general traffic; and that SDOT conduct studies when finished extending the turn lanes on Elliott Avenue West to find out whether the desired results were achieved.
The second letter addressed West Mercer Place and the Mercer West Project more generally. It asked for comprehensive planning for pedestrian safety and movement throughout the Mercer/Roy corridor, as well as planning for parking requirements to sustain area businesses; the incorporation of crosswalks and traffic lights at Fourth Avenue West and Mercer Street and other corners where needed; three lanes each way on Mercer Street under the Aurora Avenue North underpass; the exclusion of in-lane bus stops on Mercer Street unless there are additional unblocked lanes; no construction to take place while the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement, including the Viaduct demolition, is underway; and comprehensive review of the project when it’s finished to find out whether it’s working or if it needs changes.
In addition, another “stronger” letter specifically addressing parking in Uptown with respect to the Mercer West Project will be written.
Councilmember Kirk Robbins also spoke about the possibility of Lake City’s temporary tent city moving to one of two sites in the Magnolia/Queen Anne area. The mayor convened a panel that picked seven possible sites for a permanent tent city, said Robbins, including one at the West Yard down on the waterfront and another on a Seattle City Light site in the West Dravus Street area of Magnolia. All of these sites are “back on the table,” and the evaluation process by the Seattle City Council was extended into July, said Robbins. QACC Chair Ellen Monrad said that they will continue to monitor the city’s decision making on the permanent tent city, and council members floated the idea of writing a letter.
Tags: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement, Arthur Lee Jacobson, Ellen Monrad, FOLKpark, Great Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, Green Seattle Partnership, Interbay, Judy Leshner, Kay Napton, Kinnear Park Greenbelt, Kirk Robbins, meetings, Mercer West Project, Michael Yadrick, Queen Anne Community Council, SDOT, Seattle Planning Commission, Tent City, tree canopy, trees, Uptown, Visit Queen Anne, West Mercer Place
April 8th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez
The April Queen Anne Community Council meeting was well engaged in transportation matters Wednesday night with two presentations by representatives of SDOT and WSDOT.
SDOT Project Manager Eric Tweit gave an overview of the West Mercer Place alternatives that arose in response to problems some Uptown residents have with the Mercer West Project. He mentioned that this had become an issue because of the concerns of the community regarding increased traffic and the lack of pedestrian and bike crossings. The illustrations of alternative No. 1 and No. 2 can be seen here, No. 3 and No. 4 can be seen here, and Elliot Avenue West left-turn lane extension with the alternatives summary can be seen here.
Tweit said that since SDOT’s West Mercer Place open house they’ve been presenting the alternatives to different community groups and will continue to do so through the end of this month. In May, they will make a recommendation to the mayor who will ultimately decide what improvements, if any, will be included in the Mercer West Project.
He cautioned that the $100 million budget for the Mercer West Project doesn’t include the alternatives that are being considered, and the money for any improvement would add to the budget. This new budget would then be subject to a budget submittal process next fall for the Seattle City Council to approve.
During the question portion, residents of West Mercer Place commented on the lack of crosswalks and the effects the increased traffic has had and will have on West Mercer Place.
“I think that one neighborhood is being impacted and taking the hit on this Mercer Street Corridor,” said Freeburg. “The whole area is being devastated by this plan.”
The effects of the Nickerson Street road diet on traffic through West Mercer Place were also discussed at length. Councilmember Marty Kaplan asked Tweit if it was possible to end the road diet for the sake of alleviating some of the traffic through Lower Queen Anne.
“As far as I know, and from what I’ve heard from my director as well, it’s just paint on Nickerson, and the cost to changing it is a lot less than rebuilding the street,” replied Tweit. “That is and always will be an option … West Mercer Place conditions could play into that.”
Mike Rigsby, a consultant working for the Washington Department of Transportation, was also there to discuss the latest developments of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Program. The information presented can be seen via their website.
An update on the Queen Anne Farmers Market was given by Julie Whitehorn after the SDOT presentation, which was concluded with a tense exchange between Whitehorn and councilmember Michael Lapin.
The position of manager for the Queen Anne Farmers Market, held by Whitehorn since 2009, has been uncertain as Whitehorn and Queen Anne Neighbors for Responsible Growth, the parent organization of the market, of which Lapin is a board member, quarrel over financial matters. The dispute between the two sides – QANRG and the Queen Anne Farmers Market Association – was being mediated by the Seattle Office of Economic Development, but negotiations broke down and QANRG is currently looking at another person to manage the market, said Lapin.
“I’m surprised that you came given the fact of all the disarray between OED, Queen Anne Neighbors, and you,” said Lapin, followed by a restrained argument between the two.
Afterwards, Lapin said that he never publicly or privately disparaged anything Whitehorn had done for the market and that she did a great job bringing the farmers market to its current success.
Whitehorn’s Queen Anne Farmers Market update included:
- The farmers market ran for 22 weeks last year and grossed $475,000, up 72 percent over the previous year.
- In 2010, there were 64 total vendors, up 36 percent.
- The market had 30,000 visitors last summer, up 94 percent over the previous year.
- They have more farms signed up for this year’s market.
- It’s running from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. this summer, rather than closing at 7 p.m., and it’s being held from June 2 to Oct. 6.
Chair Ellen Monrad asked for a volunteer from the board to serve on the Office of Economic Development’s advisory panel regarding the dispute between Whitehorn and the QANRG.
At the end of the meeting, Monrad announced that Queen Anne won the Molly Moon’s contest to be the new locale for the local ice cream shop. The tentative location for the new Molly Moons will be on West Galer Street next to Top Pot donuts, said Monrad.
Tags: Alaskan Way Viaduct, Mercer West Project, Molly Moon's, Nickerson Street "road diet", Office of Economic Development, Queen Anne Farmer's Market, Queen Anne Farmers Market Association, Queen Anne Neighbors for Responsible Growth, SDOT, West Mercer Place, WSDOT
March 31st, 2011 by Jesus Chavez
The transportation committee for the Queen Anne Community Council met last night at Queen Anne Manor and discussed SDOT’s five alternative plans for West Mercer Place.
Transportation Chair Glenn Avery led the discussion, giving an overview of each plan to the group. The illustrations of alternative No. 1 and No. 2 can be seen here, No. 3 and No. 4 can be seen here, and No. 5–Elliot Avenue West left-turn lane extension with the alternatives summary–can be seen here. The committee went on to discuss the plans in terms of reduction in travel time and cost.
West Mercer Place resident Fred Freeburg questioned the lack of mention of anticipated westward traffic growth on Mercer from I-5. All the discussion thus far had focused on eastward traffic growth, a point the committee members agreed with.
“The problem is every truck going to the waterfront off of I-5 is going to come down that straight shot on Mercer,” said Freeburg. “Open up Mercer to two-way and we have a freeway going west and nobody has said anything about it.”
The need for lights and pedestrian crossing, particularly at Fourth Avenue West and West Mercer Street, and a sidewalk on West Mercer Place were also discussed.
The five alternative plans were unveiled to the public at SDOT’s open house held March 15 and will be presented by representatives of SDOT at next Wednesday’s monthly Queen Anne Community Council meeting. The meeting, to be held downstairs in the activity room of Queen Anne Manor at 7:15 p.m., will focus on transportation issues, said Avery.
Public comments and questions regarding the Mercer West Project are welcome at the upcoming meeting. The council discussed earlier in the month the problem of lack of speaking time at the February meeting and steps will be taken to allow more time for public responses.
Another committee topic was the recent Port of Seattle freight mobility meeting attended by Avery. Discussed at this meeting were road diets proposed for Airport Way and East Marginal Way and the importance of freight and freight mobility for the local economy. All five Port of Seattle commissioners were in agreement that a road diet should not be imposed on Airport Way and East Marginal Way, said Avery. The next Port of Seattle Commission meeting will be held Tuesday, April 5 at Pier 69.
Tags: community council meeting, Mercer West Project, Port of Seattle, Queen Anne Community Council, SDOT, Seattle Department of Transportation, transportation committee, West Mercer Place
March 16th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez
The Seattle Department of Transportation held an open house to inform and answer questions about the West Mercer Place portion of the Mercer West Project on Tuesday night.
The open house, held from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Northwest Rooms Plaza of the Seattle Center, gave the public a look at different possible plans for the street while providing a forum for comment and criticism with SDOT representatives. In the Rainier Room, posters of the different plans, stages of development, area studies and traffic analysis were displayed with a short video presentation at the front of the room.
“It’s been a good conversation and I think we had a good turnout,” said SDOT Project Manager Eric Tweit.
SDOT presented five alternative plans for West Mercer Place: Alternative No. 1 adds a sidewalk to West Mercer Place, Alternative No. 2 adds a sidewalk and a bike lane, Alternative No. 3 and No. 4 add the sidewalk and bike lane and extends the merge lane on West Mercer Place. Alternative No. 5, which can be a standalone or combined with any of the previous 4 alternatives, would extend the left-turn lanes on Elliott Avenue West. The illustrations of alternative No. 1 and No. 2 can be seen here, No. 3 and No. 4 can be seen here, and Elliot Avenue West left-turn lane extension with the alternatives summary can be seen here.
“More traffic is going to try to use Mercer, so the question became can West Mercer Place handle it? Do we need to or do we want to even increase the capacity?” said Tweit. “We were pretty concerned about what the cost and impact would be, so this is really the culmination of that evaluation of whether there is a benefit to doing it.”
The changes in traffic through West Mercer Place with the Mercer Corridor Project and the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct prompted many of those who live in that area to voice their opposition. (See our past coverage of public meetings and community events surrounding this debate here.)
“We recently heard from a lot of reasonably and understandably concerned people who live on West Mercer Place, so this is an opportunity… for people to see and comment on the project,” said Tweit.
Tweit said that those he spoke to were opposed to the addition of a lane on West Mercer Place, and, along with the increased traffic, many of them were concerned about the possible loss of parking in the area. He said of the alternatives, No. 1 and No. 5, those that made the least amount of change to the area, were most popular.
Community representatives, from organizations like the Queen Anne Community Council, the Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Neighborhoods were on hand to speak to the public and SDOT officials. Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce Director of Marketing Mary Chapman said she was glad to see SDOT taking input from residents and businesses in the area and thought it was a positive sign.
“I feel that the mayor did not listen to us in terms of the Nickerson street road diet, [the Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce] does not support the road diet, but we really hope that they will be listening more actively as the plans for West Mercer are being developed by the Seattle Department of Transportation,” said Chapman. “We highly suggest that everybody make comments and do so very soon so that they can get as much realistic input from the people who live in the neighborhood as possible.”
FOLKpark volunteers were on hand to present their conceptual plan for Lower Kinnear Park and the proposed Uptown Loop, a collection of pedestrian and bicycle routes that circle and traverse lower Queen Anne. FOLKpark Chair Debi Frausto said that, as the Mercer West Project coincide with Kinnear Park projects, they hope they can leverage dollars with SDOT to save money on different aspects of development, like design and surveys.
“There are things where there are overlaps between us, like at entrances to the park. Let’s work together so that where we do them coordinates with pedestrian crossings, bicycle safety and those types of things so that we’re not designing in isolation,” said Frausto.
The next step for SDOT is to present the alternative plans to the local community organizations and councils and evaluate public comments. This will last through April, after which SDOT will make a recommendation to Mayor McGinn.
Comments on the alternative plans or other ideas and considerations can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 4:40 p.m.: Traffic moving through West Mercer Place is projected to reach more than 800 vehicles every hour by 2015, according to figures by KPFF, an engineering firm used by SDOT. These figures, presented at the open house, take into account the waterfront construction during that time. Between 590 to 660 vehicles per hour are expected to move through West Mercer Place after the Mercer Corridor and waterfront construction is completed, compared to the estimated 372 an hour that move through the street now.
Tags: Alaskan Way Viaduct, Debi Frausto, FOLKpark, Lower Kinnear Park, Mary Chapman, Mayor McGinn, Mercer Corridor Project, Mercer West Project, Nickerson Road Diet, QACC, Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, Queen Anne Community Council, SDOT, Seattle Department of Transportation, Uptown Loop, West Mercer Place
March 4th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez
The Queen Anne Community Council held its last board meeting at the community center Wednesday night. The council will no longer be able to meet there due to the reduced hours of operation from Parks and Recreation Department budget cuts, but it was announced that future meetings will be held inside Queen Anne Manor located at 100 Crockett St.
Fittingly, the council discussed Jim Cunningham’s membership in the Community Center Advisory Team, spearheaded by Seattle Councilmember Sally Bagshaw to find possible solutions to the financial woes of the city’s community centers. Cunningham discovered in a budgeting statement received at the last CCAT meeting that the QA Community Center looses $700,000 a year. The public has been asked to submit ideas for saving money or generating revenue for the centers. Ideas can be submitted via a link found here.
Conversely, the Parks Committee report by Don Harper announced that the Parks and Green Spaces Levy had an excess of $10 million due to the lack of inflation. The excess funds will go into the opportunity fund and can be spent on projects chosen by community groups.
The disorganization and difficulty receiving public comments at last month’s meeting was also addressed. Ideas were offered on how to do a better job in the event of a large public turnout for a contentious issue, such as: signing up to speak, giving more time to hear public comments, signs to indicate time left to speak, using a timer, giving committee reports by e-mail if time is running short.
Additional council matters:
- Two council vacancies were filled in a vote.
- Board Member Scot Baker met with the owner of the Queen Anne Avenue North 7-Eleven regarding the sale of high-octane alcohol. Council Chair Ellen Monrad said the issue is not yet resolved, but it was a good first meeting in an on-going discussion.
- In the Transportation Committee report, Glenn Avery said that SDOT will give a public presentation of the West Mercer Place portion of the project March 15 at the Seattle Center Rainier Room from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (link). Also, SDOT is expected to attend the next council meeting.
- According to studies, the Kinnear Park forest is dying, said Harper. The plan is to cut down most of the trees and replace them with a different species. Climate change was cited as the reason.
Correction 3/7: An earlier version of this story misspelled Jim Cunningham’s last name.
Tags: Community Center Advisory Team, Kinnear Park, Mercer West Project, Opportunity Fund, Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee, Parks and Recreation Department, Queen Anne Community Center, Queen Anne Community Council, Queen Anne Manor, Seattle Department of Transportation, West Mercer Place
February 25th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez
The Queen Anne Community Council’s Transportation Committee meetingon Wednesday evening devoted itself to discussing West Mercer Place concerns over the Mercer West Project. Transportation Chair Glenn Avery and Uptown Alliance Co-President John Coney answered questions on the project posed by West Mercer Place area representative Greg Thompson.
Coney spoke about the Seattle Department of Transportation’s presentation on the plans for Mercer West tentatively scheduled for the middle of March and encouraged West Mercer Place residents to attend Mayor McGinn’s town hall meeting in Magnolia on March 1. The public has an opportunity to sign up to speak for two minutes at this event.
The 40-minute meeting was held in Queen Anne Community Center at 7:30 p.m. A cold, slightly snowy night may have contributed to the small turnout – only five people were in attendance.
Tags: Mercer West Project, Queen Anne Community Council, SDOT, Seattle Department of Transportation, transportation committee, West Mercer Place
February 16th, 2011 by Thea
The folks in the West Mercer Mercer Place group are hosting a letter writing rally this Sunday, February 20 opposing the SDOT’s Mercer West Project.
Uptown residents concerned over the proposed one-lane widening of West Mercer Place and West Mercer discussed plans to petition the city and City Councilmembers not to follow-through with the project at last week’s Uptown Alliance meeting. In addition to sending an official letter from the Uptown Alliance to the Mayor, City Council, and SDOT, the group also decided to hold a rally to get more neighbors involved in the campaign.
The letter writing rally will be held in the parking lot at 5th Ave W and West Mercer from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 20. Community members are invited to write letters, discuss the issue, or just meet the neighbors. Participants should bring a stamped envelope with a return address on it.
For more information, check out the West Mercer Mercer Place Facebook page. Read more about the issue here.
Tags: community action, events, Letter Writing Rally, Mercer West Project, Uptown Alliance, West Mercer Merder Place
February 11th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez
Turnout at last night’s monthly Uptown Alliance meeting was high due to concerns from West Mercer Place residents over SDOT’s Mercer West Project.
A group of West Mercer Place residents submitted to the Alliance a letter voicing their opposition to plans for expanding West Mercer Place and West Mercer by one lane. The letter, covering such concerns as freight traffic, pedestrian sidewalks and parking, was addressed to Mayor McGinn, the Seattle City Council, and SDOT. The residents asked that the Alliance to send it as representative of their position. The vote on the motion to adopt the letter was approved.
The original draft of the letter was written by Bob Pennington, who also wrote the letter submitted to the Queen Anne Community Council last week that failed to be adopted, but prompted the council to write letters of their own that incorporated the same issues.
Held in the Uptown Metropolitan Market’s restaurant space, residents voiced their concerns and passed out fliers at the meeting. One issue addressed was the possible reallocating of 15 to 20 feet of land from Lower Kinnear Park to expand into an additional third lane of West Mercer Place, an area that is home to some 24 old-growth trees, according to one opponent, and would require the construction of a concrete retaining wall along the easternmost edge of the park. They also announced a “letter writing rally” (see the event flier here and Facebook event info here) to oppose the West Mercer traffic expansion.
“This Mercer West Place expansion, I don’t believe it’s going to stop there – I think this is a trend that we’re going to see over the next few years and beyond, for the continual aggression of traffic into our neighborhoods,” warned Pennington. “We have to take a stand on it now.”
SDOT Deputy Project Manager for the Mercer West Project Eric O’Brien attended but didn’t speak until the end of the meeting. He passed out a FAQ sheet on the possible changes to West Mercer Place and said he was available to speak to individuals after the meeting adjourned.
The FAQ sheet said they are “looking at the feasibility of several changes to West Mercer Place in the future. We may do a few of these or we may do none of them,” noting that SDOT expects to complete and present its results in March.
Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, chair of the Seattle Public Utilities and Department of Neighborhoods, was a guest at the meeting and spoke on the restructuring of the Department of Neighborhoods due to the budget cuts. Although O’Brien said the mission of the department is the same, he doesn’t believe that they’ve seen the last of the cuts, and further “refining” is likely.
Photo from the West Mercer Place Facebook Page
“The question is how do we meet the neighborhoods’ goals, the citizens of Seattle’s needs with fewer resources, and I don’t know what the answer is,” O’Brien said.
He also spoke on the concerns of West Mercer and West Mercer Place residents, advising them to stay organized, attend meetings, perform letter or e-mail campaigns, encouraging them to reach out to city council members, and “if you want to get really creative and dress up in customs and stand in the street, that gets our attention too.”
“Folks who live closest to these things have a very important powerful voice, but they’re not the only voice in the city… everyone will be heard,” said O’Brien, adding, “I have some serious concerns with doing much to widen that roadway.”
Also discussed at the meeting:
- Co-President Rick Hooper provided a new construction report regarding four new projects in development for apartment buildings in Uptown under the Multifamily Property Tax Exemption Program. These projects are not yet under construction.
- Co-President John Coney reported that the governor has recommended in her draft budget a 50 percent cut in the Regional Mobility Grant line item, which would have adverse consequences for the Ballard RapidRide line, such as putting future lines at risk.
- Secretary Jean Sundborg discussed the three-day rummage sale the weekend of Feb. 25 held by the Uptown Alliance and FOLKpark to raise money for different projects in Uptown. She also reminded everyone of the Clean and Green event this Saturday beginning 9 a.m. at Counterbalance Park.
- Coney announced there is a town meeting with the mayor Tuesday, March 1 5:30 p.m. at Blaine School in Magnolia.
- It was found that the recently installed lights at Counterbalance Park were not designed for the outdoors. Parks and Recreation has ordered the parts to correct the matter, but the completion of the project is expected to take some time.
The next Uptown Alliance meeting will be Thursday, March 10 at the same location (Metropolitan Market). A report from SDOT on the Mercer West Project, including plans for West Mercer Place, is expected at that time.
Tags: Ballard RapidRide, Clean and Green, Councilmember Mike O'Brien, Department of Neighborhoods, Mercer Corridor Project, Mercer West Project, Queen Anne Community Council, Rumage Sale, SDOT, SDOT Deputy Project Manager, Uptown Alliance