SDOT is holding an open house to discuss the Mercer West project. Included in the project is a two-way cycle path next to Mercer as it goes under Aurora, connecting Dexter to Lower Queen Anne (finally). Roy will also become a two-way street with bike lanes in each direction.
I asked before, What do bikers want from the Mercer project? It’s a very expensive roads project serving a route that is currently something of a black hole of bike routes. While bikes are nowhere close to the centerpiece of this project, we need to be sure this project is going to fit our needs. The current road mess clearly shows that bikes were disregarded last time it was “designed,” so we need to be sure that doesn’t happen again.
If you have the chance and you’re in the area, get to this open house and take a look at the plans from a bike’s point of view. When so much of the discussion is based around other debates and concerns (the Gate’s Foundation/6th debate being the loudest so far), we don’t want to get overlooked.
Date: September 21
Where: Seattle Center, Northwest Rooms Plaza, Lopez Room
(at the intersection of Warren Avenue North and West Republican Street)
Time: 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.
The project team will be available to solicit ideas from the public and answer questions about current design concepts for:
- Widening the Mercer Street 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.
For more information on the Mercer West Project, visit: www.seattle.gov/transportation/mercer_west.htm.
With Seattle so pressed for cash, I wonder how much they’d save by only having to excavate for 2 lanes and bigger sidewalks each direction for the section under 99. You could even do without a turn lane for that short segment. That 7 lane underpass just seems ridiculous.
I went to the thing this afternoon. Roy doesn’t go through as a bicycle corridor. You have to take Roy to Dexter. Left and then right onto Mercer on the planned wide sidewalk (16ft, currently 5), then right on Taylor and left up Roy.
Also, Gates Foundation is pushing for the curved alignment that would make a steeper grade in and out of the Mercer underpass. There was some talk by engineers present about making the sidewalk less steep and have it not completely follow the contour of the street. I hope that is the case.
At this point, there are no bike lanes planned for Mercer Street between Dexter and 1st Ave N. The assumption is that cyclists will flip to Roy and then come back onto to Mercer at Queen Anne Ave where the bike lane will continue to 3rd Ave W. There will be no bike lane between 3rd Ave west and Elliott Ave. Studies will be performed to determine if another uphill lane can be installed on Mercer Place but one source at the meeting told me that cutting back Kinnear Park to make way for a transportation enlargement is a non-starter with the city of Seattle.
I can’t really determine at this point what the city has planned to fix the gridlock that will be placed at the corner of new Aurora and Harrison, where the new off ramp will be. I was also met with smirks when I asked where the toll booths are going to be placed. The best reply, besides “that’s not my area…….” was that they will take pictures of your license plate and bill you every 6 times you go through the tunnel. Nice idea but don’t people get out of red light camera tickets by just stating that they were not driving their car? Will that loophole be changed or will the city just collect tolls from the honest people? What about out of staters?
So my reply to the license plate photography was “that will go over great with the tea partiers” which brought stunned, deer in the headlights, looks from people.
Should be interesting, but it will look so much better and much less complicated if Aurora just has a series of stoplights starting at Roy.