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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
5/12/2008  3:10:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jodie Vice, Drago Office, (206) 684-8801

Councilmember Jan Drago
Council President Richard Conlin

COUNCIL PASSES MAJOR TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS
Transportation Chair Drago leads bold action to create better conditions for all modes of travel

SEATTLE The Council today authorized major transportation improvements for the Spokane Street Viaduct and the Mercer Street Corridor. Councilmember Jan Drago, chair of the Transportation Committee, said, These investments will give Seattle residents more transportation choices by encouraging transit use, bicycling, and walking while also helping general vehicle traffic and freight mobility. Council President Richard Conlin said, These transportation projects will improve the movement of people and goods across many modes of travel. Thats precisely where transportation needs to be in the 21st Century.

Under the legislation, the Spokane Viaduct Project will move into construction this summer. It will improve the stretch of roadway that connects the West Seattle Bridge to I-5 by expanding it to three lanes in each direction and adding on- and off-ramps, including one exclusively for buses. While the improvements will help move transit, freight, and vehicles on the Viaduct, they will also provide better access on Spokane Street (below the Viaduct) for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The legislation also authorizes further design and environmental work on the Mercer Corridor Project, but requires the Seattle Department of Transportation to come back to the Council for further approval when a complete financing plan has been developed. The Mercer Street Corridor Project will build a grand, two-way boulevard on Mercer Street in South Lake Union that will widen sidewalks, support economic development, and create safer travel for freight, transit, pedestrians, and private vehicles. Two-way Mercer Street will also add signals, crosswalks, and a center median. At the same time, the Mercer Project will transform Valley Street by adding a bike path and making urban design changes to make it possible for all to more fully enjoy the new, world-class Lake Union Park. The City Council will revisit the Mercer Corridor funding during this years budget process, where they hope to hear about success of receiving state and federal grants for the project, todays action moves forward with initial funding and work on the project.

Councilmember Drago said, This project will once and for all end the Mercer Mess. Instead of the Mess, the City will build a roadway that serves the neighborhood and the region much better. Councilmember Conlin said, Spokane Street is an essential corridor for West Seattle, and it is our top priority. The Mercer Project does a great job of advancing dual goalsgreat urban design as well as mobility.

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