Editorial | Moving on
December 15, 2009 · 1:48 PM
The vote by the City Council to go with a three-lane configuration for the vexing Island Crest Way and Merrimount intersection should signal the end of any further discussion about the fate of the road there. The vote of four to three for the “road diet” option has put the change in motion. However, it is interesting to note that Councilmembers Mike Cero, El Jahncke and Steve Litzow voted against the concept. Not quite a ringing endorsement — it seems to mirror the split in the collective opinion of Islanders about the roadway as a whole. The constraints facing any plans or any decision to upgrade the intersection are steep — just like the slopes along the side of the road there. Widening the intersection would cost plenty just in terms of land costs. Placing a traffic light also costs too much, and planners say that would not ease traffic flow issues. But the final three-lane version did little to sway those who insisted that a light was the best way to ease congestion and ensure safety for both drivers and pedestrians. However, we trust that city planners will make it work. We are glad to see that many improvements are planned to make crossing the street safer along the entire corridor.
And speaking of safe and cheap transportation, we applaud a simple move by Sen. Patty Murray to help ease traffic woes during busy weekends in the region. Sen. Murray has introduced changes to the Senate Transportation Appropriations bill to restore the ability for King County Metro to provide transit service to a number of major sporting and special events. Such a move will make it cheaper for fans to get to games and help unclog both freeways and local streets. Private carriers were unable to pick up the slack and keep rates reasonable.