originally published in the Columbia City Source
Last night’s packed meeting at the Columbia School was the current step in SDOT’s ongoing efforts to tackle Rainier Ave’s major safety problems. The meeting began by quickly establishing that Rainier has, without question, some alarming safety concerns and that the road is in dire need of some major rethinking and redesign.
In addition to some easy changes that can be made right away–lowering the speed limit through Columbia and Hillman city to 25mph (which got a big applause), re-timing pedestrian crosswalks (more applause), making sure lanes and signals are visible, etc.–SDOT proposed three different options for significant redesigns of Rainier Ave S:
- A road diet from S. Alaska to S. Henderson
- Reduction from four lanes to two lanes…with a designated turning lane in the middle.
- Same as option 1A but with the addition of protected bike lanes between Columbia and Hillman City (the most involved and expensive option)
- Essentially the same as option 1A but with designated transit lanes running intermittently the whole four-mile stretch. No bike lanes.
Although there are variations with separate benefits and limitations to each plan, all share essentially the same key features:
Reduce top collision types (left turns, sideswipe, parked car)
Lower vehicle speeds
Better conditions for people walking
Opportunities for new crossings
Easier turning movements – especially for large vehicles
The full presentation can be viewed here and, of course, SDOT’s slideshow goes into much more detail than the quick summaries provided above. To better understand the implications of each option, be sure to really explore the data provided and the ideas behind each proposal. Comments, questions, and concerns regarding each proposal were welcomed and addressed at the end of the meeting. Continued input from the community was encouraged.
The next meeting (addressing much of the same info that was provided tonight as well as some additional, specific information for areas of concern north of Hillman) will be:
Tuesday , March 3, 2015
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, The Ethiopian Community Center,
8323 Rainier Ave S
In the months to come, SDOT will continue to review and study the options, continue to seek out feedback and input from the community, and come back with a decision around May. From there, implementation will begin–which, depending on the decision, may be a very long process. Questions and comments about the proposals can be directed here: