New crop of city projects getting underway this spring

It is spring and time for the annual repair and refreshment of city streets and parks. There are re-paving projects and park facilities repairs planned throughout the Island.

The most visible work will be the installation of four new traffic signals: two in the Town Center and two pedestrian-operated signals along Island Crest Way, south of 40th Street. In parks and open space, contractors and students will help fix steps, pull ivy and restore natural areas.

But first, more traffic controls are coming to the Island.

Traffic signals are to be installed along S.E. 27th Street at 77th and 78th Avenues S.E. in the Town Center. A long time in the works, the signals are expected to eliminate congestion at these key intersections. The traffic signals are intended to improve traffic flow and improve the ability for pedestrians to safely cross the street at these intersections. Bids were opened for the project in April with construction planned to begin mid-summer and continue into the fall.

Next, two new signals to be installed along Island Crest Way are at two locations where people have been hit crossing the busy arterial. The pedestrian signals will be placed on Island Crest Way at S.E. 42nd Street and at S.E. 47th Street.

At both locations, the signal will cycle to red to stop traffic on Island Crest Way when activated by a pedestrian who wants to cross the street. During all other times, the signal will remain green, allowing traffic to flow north and south on Island Crest Way unimpeded. Both locations will have pedestrian crossing signs, marked crosswalks and curb ramps. Roadway lighting will be enhanced at both locations and a sidewalk will be installed at S.E. 47th Street on the east side of Island Crest Way, where none exists today, from the crosswalk to S.E. 47th Street. Construction is anticipated to begin in August and is expected to take two months to complete all work.

The work on city streets and parks will begin in earnest as 200 high school students are expected to help re-gravel the Mercerdale stairs on May 23. But there is much more planned.

Roadside shoulder paving on East Mercer Way continues from the 5600 block to the 6200 block. Residential street paving and resurfacing is scheduled for the Upper Mercerdale neighborhood, beginning in July and lasting through September. The Parkwood neighborhood is scheduled for 2012.

Restoration in Mercer Island parks will be ongoing throughout 2011 and will include:

• Work at 19 parks and open spaces, including Pioneer Park, Mercerdale Hillside, S.E. 53rd Street Open Space and Luther Burbank Park.

• More than 137 acres of contracted work in these areas includes removal of ivy from trees, planting approximately 3,000 trees, invasive plant removal and maintenance of previous restoration sites.

• EarthCorps and Mountains to Sound Greenway will organize and manage 33 more volunteer events in eight parks.

The city has applied for a grant to replace the decking and also replace the failing floats on the public portion of the I-90 boat launch dock. This fall, the Luther Burbank playground restroom roof will be repaired. Fixtures at the swim beach restrooms will be replaced.

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