We all know how terrible it can be trying to get around the "Mercer mess" which is a total tangle of barriers and blockages. I avoid Mercer at all costs if I can. The dept. of transportation recently proposed widening Mercer between I-5 and Dexter Avenue North to include three travel lanes in both directions. Those lanes would be divided by a median of trees and with left turn lanes at many intersections. Both sides of the street would also feature a lane for parking, a path for bicycles and expanded sidewalks. SDOT believes it will provide a more direct route from I-5 to the Seattle Center, Queen Anne, Fremont, Ballard and Magnolia.
Most neighborhoods however, are not too keen on the idea. Will the proposed plan actually work? Representatives of Ballard, Magnolia and Queen Anne, say the project will bring nothing but major inconvenience and traffic congestion.
The Mercer proposal has been controversial since it was first brought up by Greg Nickels in 2002. In fact, a study solicited by the city found that the proposal would actually increase eastbound travel times and would decrease overall capacity.
Many believe the project is pure vanity and completely useless. So the question is, will the project really reduce traffic and better connect neighborhoods? Or will it be a huge chunk of tax dollars spent on simply "beautifying" the neighborhood?