Overview of West Mercer Project meeting Thursday

The Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce is hosting an overview of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s West Mercer Project tomorrow, Thursday, May 19 from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Executive Inn Best Western, located at 200 Taylor Avenue North. The meeting will include a presentation by SDOT’s Sonia Palma on the latest developments on the project. The event is $20 for chamber members and $25 for non members. To RSVP email contact@qachamber.org.

If you can’t make the Chamber meeting Thursday, but would still like to catch up on the issue, SDOT will be hosting an open house on the West Mercer Project from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8 in the Rainier Room at Seattle Center. Items to be covered at that meeting include:

  • Viewing the preliminary plans and giving SDOT your feedback on:
    • A wider Mercer Underpass at Aurora Ave N
    • Converting Mercer St and Roy St from one-way to two-way
    • Improved intersections, new street connections, and new bike lanes
  • Viewing and commenting on project art concepts
  • Learning about the recommendation for West Mercer Place improvements

For more information on the West Mercer Project, check out SDOT’s project website, and our past coverage here.

SDOT presents five alternative plans at West Mercer Place open house Tuesday

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 mercerwest@seattle.gov.

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.

Queen Anne/Magnolia Neighborhood Service Center to close down for good effective January 1

The Queen Anne/Magnolia Neighborhood Service Center, at 160 Roy St, Suite 100, will be permanently closed as of January 1, 2011, due to citywide budget cuts for the 2011-2012 year.

Photos courtesy of the Department of Neighborhoods.

The QA/Magnolia office is one of six neighborhood service centers that are shutting down for good at the end of this year. The others include the Capitol Hill NSC, Downtown NSC, Fremont NSC, Greater Duwamish NSC, and Greenwood NSC. The service centers that will remain open include the Central NSC, University NSC, Ballard NSC, Lake City NSC, Southeast NSC, Delridge NSC, and West Seattle NSC.

Located in each of the city’s 13 districts, these service centers have served as “Little City Halls”, where community members can go to find information about Seattle services and programs, visit their Neighborhood District Coordinator, or connect with other neighborhood-based groups.

The Neighborhood District Coordinator for Queen Anne and Magnolia, Christa Dumpys, will be continuing her work despite the loss of office space. According to a Queen Anne NDC staffer, she is currently in the process of looking for a new office “somewhere in Queen Anne,” so that she may continue to work closely within the community, she said.

The rest of the service center’s staff, however, will not be keeping their positions, and both the Uptown Alliance and Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, which currently share office space with the QA/Magnolia service center in Lower Queen Anne, will also have to relocate.

We’re waiting for a call back from Christa about how the loss of the service center will affect the Queen Anne community, and will update this story as we hear more.

Local businesses honored at annual Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce luncheon

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Merrill Gardens was named the winner of the 2009 Large Business Award by the Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce at their 4th annual awards luncheon on April 22. But Merrill Gardens wasn’t he only neighborhood business to be honored.

(Photo courtesy of the QA Chamber. Left to right: Evan Perrollaz, General Manager, Merrill Gardens at Queen Anne; R.W. Clay, newly retired Executive Director, Swedish Cultural Center; Craig Wilson, owner of Video Isle; Ann Pearce, Church of Scientology).

In fact, annual awards were handed out to four “businesses and organizations that have supported both the Chamber and the greater Queen Anne Community during the past year.”

In addition to Merrill Gardens’ award, the Swedish Cultural Center received the President’s Award, Video Isle received the Small Business Award and the Church of Scientology of Washington State was given the Community Service Award.

“We are pleased to honor the recipients of this year’s Chamber awards for their outstanding contributions to the Chamber and to the greater Queen Anne community,” said Chamber president Dave Peterson.

Congratulations to the winners!

Merrill Gardens voted best large business in 2009 by Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce

The Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce awarded Merrill Gardens at Queen Anne the 2009 Large Business Award for the neighborhood this week.

“We are pleased to be a part of the vibrant Queen Anne business community and honored to accept this award on behalf of the seniors that live at Merrill Gardens,” said Evan Perrollaz, General Manager at Merrill Gardens at Queen Anne (pictured above), in a press release published yesterday.

Merrill Gardens first joined the chamber in 2006, and has since been a very active member, hosting four events from the chamber in 2009, including the annual Chamber BBQ and Christmas party, the Fundraiser for Fallen Officers Dinner, and fundraisers benefiting both the Queen Anne Helpline and Northwest Harvest.

Queen Anne & SLU Public Safety Forum April 21

The Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce, Uptown Alliance and Queen Anne Community Council are teaming up to host a Public Safety Forum at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, in the Rainier Room at Seattle Center.

Topics covered will include public safety, Block Watch programs,  graffiti reporting and more. Speakers and panelists include Sgt. Paul Gracey, Terrie Johnston and Commander Captain Steve Brown from SPD, Daniel Sims from Seattle Public Utilities, Council member and Queen Anne resident Tim Burgess, and Catholic Community Services representative Eileen McComb.

Nancy Guppy, the host and producer of Art Zone with Nancy Guppy (viewable on Seattle Channel and KCTS), will be the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Here’s what attendees can expect:

Sgt. Paul Gracy and Terrie Johnston of Seattle’s West Precinct will brief South Lake Union, Uptown, and Queen Anne neighbors on how and when to report suspicious or criminal activity to the Seattle Police Department.  They will explain how the Police respond to citizens’ reports. Learn about the actual crime levels in our Center City neighborhoods. Hear about the staffing that is now available for patrols in South Lake Union and Uptown/Queen Anne. Learn how you and your neighbors can participate in the Block Watch Program to discourage criminal activity where we live and shop.

Daniel Sims of Seattle Public Utilities will brief neighbors on when and how to report graffiti and how it can be removed promptly.

Hear presentations and interact with a panel which will include City Councilmember Tim Burgess who will explain how the City Council is supporting crime prevention, safety of the public, and improved civility on our streets. Captain Steve Brown, Commander of SPD West Precinct will show how police protection for Seattle’s citizens in being improved and will answer questions. Eileen McComb of Catholic Community Services will speak about the role of shelters in helping homeless individuals and families to fit into our Center City neighborhoods.

Community members are invited to comment on public safety and civility in the community at the forum, where they will be compiled and made available to City government.