Earlier this month, just a few weeks after an SUV plowed into two Columbia City businesses injuring seven people, including a child, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) quietly announced the Rainier Avenue South Road Safety Corridor Project to launch next month.
“We will work in collaboration with the community to consider changes to Rainier Avenue South in an effort to reduce speeds and collisions to make the roadway safer for all users,” said City Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang in an email to community members.
The busy arterial sees tens of thousands of vehicles every day. Several elderly pedestrians have been killed crossing Rainier in the last few years, and just last weekend, a car lost control, left the roadway and crashed into the Rainier Chamber of Commerce at Rainier and 42nd Avenue South…
…Some have suggested a traffic calming “road diet” for the busy south-end speedway. A road diet often involves reducing lane widths and/or number of lanes to promote slower vehicle speeds and accommodate other modes of traffic such as bikes, pedestrians and transit.
Others say Rainier Avenue South is already busy enough and that — instead of limiting traffic — conditions for motorists should be improved in order to create a calm, steady flow of cars through the corridor.
Chang said in his email that public meetings will take place in November 2014, conceptual designs between December 2014 and February 2015, design alternative review meetings in February 2015, announcement of preferred alternative in April/May 2015 with implementation in Spring or Summer of 2015.