Nickerson Road Diet to move ahead as planned

Some questions were recently raised by Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen about a proposed re-striping of Nickerson Street. The “road diet” would add lanes for cyclists and a center turn lane for traffic by removing one vehicle lane from each direction.

Previous road diets along Stone Way and Fauntleroy Way SW have been successful at decreasing vehicle speeds and accidents and making the street more comfortable for bicyclists and pedestrians.

However, these road diets were also controversial when proposed. The idea of removing lanes implies a reduction in vehicle capacity and more gridlock, when history has often shown the opposite to be true.

The recent City Council transportation committee meeting had several people speaking out for and against the proposed road diet. PubliCola covered this meeting.

Apparently the meeting helped to answer Council Member Rasmussen’s questions, as he agreed that the road diet will happen.

The disputed Nickerson Street “road diet” will begin in July as planned, says Tom Rasmussen, chairman of the City Council’s transportation committee.

In a road diet, a four-lane road is re-striped to have only two lanes, plus a two-way left-turn lane and bike lanes. Three crosswalks are to be improved on Nickerson, which is to revert to four lanes near the Fremont and Ballard bridges.

Dozens of people testified Tuesday morning at Rasmussen’s committee meeting.

This is likely not the end of the road diets, though. The city may need to take on a more streamlined approach to these, as Josh Cohen suggests on PubliCola:

If we’re going to make a significant environmental shift in this city, as we at least pretend we want to, we cannot afford to have progress constantly marred by unfounded protest.

Re-striping is scheduled for next month.


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