Port of Seattle study of Nickerson confirmed the project would not affect traffic – UPDATED

UPDATED: The Port denies this study ever existed. See update at bottom of story.

Publicola found out an interesting little tidbit the other day. After hearing concerns from many industrial and maritime businesses that the Nickerson changes would adversely affect traffic, the Port of Seattle conducted their own study. Guess what it showed:

In response to complaints from industrial and maritime businesses, staff with the Port of Seattle reportedly did an analysis of the controversial Nickerson St. road diet (the city narrowed Nickerson, which used to be two lanes in each direction, to two travel lanes plus a left-turning lane) that confirmed prior analysis by the city’s Department of Transportation: The road diet will not negatively impact Nickerson’s capacity to carry freight trucks or automobiles.

Although Port spokesman Peter McGraw wasn’t aware of any such study, in an email to Cascade Bicycle Club policy director David Hiller, Port Commissioner John Creighton wrote, “Port staff has confirmed SDOT’s modeling, and I think the noise level amounts to little more than demagoguery.”

UPDATE 9/10/10: I received the following email from Charla Skaggs, Corporate Media Officer for the Port of Seattle.

Tom,

I saw your blog item today about a supposed study done by the port on the Nickerson road diet.  Below is a statement that Commissioner Creighton provided to Erica Barnett at Publicola; we did not conduct any study or analysis of this issue.  As you can see from the email below, Commissioner Creighton was referring to a conversation with port staff.

I would appreciate a correction on your blog.

Thanks!  If you have any questions, please let me know.

Warmly,

Charla Skaggs

And the letter sent to Erica at Publicola:

Erica,

I would like to clarify my position about the Nickerson road diet. I have not seen any study by the port related to this issue. It was my conclusion, after consulting with staff, that the Nickerson road diet would not have a negative effect on port-related traffic and may improve safety.  However, we are hearing concerns from freight companies and others about the changes, and we have urged SDOT to continue to monitor the situation closely.  The port is committed to supporting policies within a multi-faceted, multi-modal city that improve mobility and safety for all citizens; however, the port also urges caution where policies may negatively impact industrial uses that provide thousands of good paying jobs for the region.

John Creighton
Port Commissioner

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