The Voice for Industry
|March 5, 2009|
||Elliott Curb Bulb
Last week, Seattle Industry once again took a few kicks at the notorious City of Seattle curb bulb located inside the Elliott on ramp to State Route 99 just north of the Pike Place Market. The bulb defects are displayed in the photos to the left.
What the photos don't show is that the curb bulb may be doomed, a victim of the plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep bore tunnel. Good news comes along sometimes when you least expect it. Here's the scenario.
Thirty three thousands vehicles presently use the Elliott and Western ramps north of the market to get onto and off of the viaduct and SR 99 every business day. That's a full third of all vehicles that use the viaduct and the traffic flow is evenly divided between the ramps, with each ramp moving about 16,000 vehicles daily. For through put, Western is almost as bad as Elliott because of uncontrolled conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians along Western under the viaduct.
Elliott and Western would no longer connect with SR 99 if SR 99 is moved east to the tunnel and comes out of the ground on Aurora somewhere north of the existing Battery Street Tunnel.
The viaduct would then be torn down and replaced by a new four lane ramp near the market that would extend south from Elliott and Western down over the railroad tracks, touching down on the ground within the footprint of the existing viaduct at the entrance to the Pike Street hill climb.
The new road would then continue south to the ferry dock where it would broaden to six lanes until it somehow links up with SR 99 and other thoroughfares near the sports stadiums.
The existing Alaskan Way surface road would be connected with the new one near the aquarium between Pike and Union, also lined up with the hill climb. The existing road would then extend north as it does today past the aquarium and the Port HQ before reconnecting with Elliott via Broad.
Elliott and Western would be connected to the ramp and their existing ramps replaced with two lanes of road each. The widening would not only eliminate the notorious curb bulb, it should present an opportunity for a much better design that, at least on paper, should make traffic flow better near the market than it does today.
State planners believe that the tunnel would change north end traffic patterns and reduce traffic on Elliott and Western from 33,000 daily vehicles to about 25,000. So, Elliott and Western would each have two lanes to handle about 12,500 vehicles instead of the 16,000 vehicles that presently squeeze through the bollixed up, one lane ramps.
More traffic modeling is required to figure out how the north end through put would mesh on the waterfront with no doubt a mega crosswalk between the hill climb and the aquarium as well as the ferry traffic, traffic signals, trolleys, bike paths, velodromes, curb bulbs, carp ponds, wind farms, wildlife refuges and bridle trails for unicorns that are probably also being planned for the viaduct-free waterfront even as you read this.
But, any day that the Elliott curb bulb appears doomed, the sun shines a little bit brighter.
Learn more about the deep bore plan at a community forum Monday, March 23, 7-9 pm, cosponsored by the district councils of Magnolia, Queen Ann and Ballard and the BINMIC Action Committee. The forum will be held in the auditorium at Ballard High School.
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FREIGHT TRAVEL ALERT - SR 16 Nalley Valley bridge
Westbound lanes will be closed 10 p.m. Friday, March 6 until 10 a.m. Saturday, March 7. Drivers from Interstate 5 can access westbound SR 16, but must take the first exit at Sprague Avenue. The detour back to westbound SR 16 is west on South 19th Street, then south on Union Avenue.
Eastbound lanes will be closed 10 p.m. Saturday, March 7 until 10 a.m. Sunday, March 8. The detour route takes traffic off SR 16 at Union Avenue, south to 38th Street, then east to I-5.
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