Although some Queen Anne community members have concerns, SDOT says it prefers the so called “curved” option for 6th Ave North around the new Gates Foundation campus on Lower Queen Anne. During last night’s meeting of the Queen Anne Community Council, SDOT laid out the pros and cons of both the curved option and the straight option. It’s all part of the Mercer Corridor Improvement Project that will widen Mercer and convert it to a two-way operation going east and west.
The curved option for 6th Ave N (seen below) would go around the Gates campus instead of cutting through it.
- Half signal at the intersection of 6th and Mercer
- Traffic on Mercer going west won’t stop at the intersection
- No left turn from Mercer onto 6th
- Protected lane barrier for drivers turning left from 6th onto Mercer
- No pedestrian crossing at 6th and Mercer
- Pedestrian crossings only at Taylor and Dexter
- 6.5% grade
The straight option (below), which SDOT is moving away from and is not supported by the Gates Foundation, would cut through part of the Gates campus and under one building.
- Full signal allowing all movements at intersection 6th and Mercer
- Pedestrian crossings at 6th, Taylor and Dexter
- 4.5% grade
Although the straight option may looking more appealing at first glance, SDOT says the costs will be much lower by going with the curved option. Some members of the council and residents in the audience worried that SDOT is trying to “choke” traffic and make it more difficult for drivers. They also expressed concerns about freight mobility, saying the higher grade of the road on the curved option might prove difficult for truckers.
One other interesting detail came out in the meeting. SDOT is considering an additional lane on Mercer Place all the way up the hill from Elliott Avenue, instead of the current quick merge into one lane at the bottom of the intersection. One person urged SDOT to consider sidewalks on Mercer Place if that change is made.
SDOT will host an open house on the Mercer project on September 21 from 4:30 to 7:30pm in the Seattle Center’s Lopez Room.
What the completed curved option would look like (looking south toward downtown)