Options for Merrimount-ICW debated

On Tuesday evening, members of the Island Crest Way Citizens Panel, city officials and Island residents met to discuss the two options for improving the intersection of Island Crest Way and Merrimount chosen last month by the panel.

The two “road diet” options are as follows: 1) To improve the current lanes and re-stripe the roadway section between Merrimount Drive and 86th Avenue S.E. to a three-lane configuration (S.E. 44th Street is open to outgoing right-turn only and closed to incoming traffic). 2) To create three lanes south of Merrimount and four lanes north of Merrimount (S.E. 44th Street is open to outgoing right turn only and closed to incoming traffic).Both options will cost approximately $500,000.

The panel, along with the City Council, voted against installing a traffic light at the intersection. The two stoplight options, according to project director Anne Tonella-Howe, were to 1) install a signal with a four-lane cross-section at Island Crest Way and Merrimount or 2) Install a light with five lanes, the fifth being a turn lane at the intersection. The former option would have cost $1.5 million while the later would have cost $2.2 million. Both were rejected.

Community members present at the March 6 drop-in meeting were invited to voice their opinions on the two “road diet” options selected by the panel. Because the meeting took place after Reporter deadline, public comment was unavailable for this issue.

If the community is largely against the two road-diet options, said Tonella-Howe, the city will hold a fourth Island Crest Way Citizen Panel meeting to reconsider its choices. Otherwise, the panel’s decision will be presented to the City Council for action.

Updated information on the ICW drop-in meeting is available on the Reporter’s Web site.

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