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Group forms to support Nickerson Street diet

May 28th, 2010 · 71 Comments

Just a few days after the 15th Avenue W. Transportation Coalition was formed, another group was created to challenge one of the coalition’s stances.  Support the Nickerson Street Road Diet is now on Facebook and Google.  The man who formed it, Charles Redell, first read about the coalition in this Magnolia Voice article. 

The 15th Ave W. Coalition, made up of Magnolia Community Club, the Queen Anne Community Council, and the North Seattle Industrial Association, is worried that the 15th Ave. corridor is being squeezed by big projects.  But they’ve also come out against the so called Nickerson Street Diet, saying a plan to eliminate a car lane in each direction of Nickerson while adding a bike lane and bike sharrow is “unacceptable.”  Their stance against the road diet got Redell’s attention.



“The fact that Magnolia Community Council wrote a letter against the project in which it claimed to represent 24,000 Magnolia residents got under my skin because I fully support the road diet for Nickerson,” Redell said in an e-mail.

Redell pointed to a recent study the city did on the impact of the Stone Way traffic diet which showed motorists drove at speeds closer to the posted limit, collisions dropped 14%, bike trips increased 35% while collisions per bicycle trip have dropped, and the road still easily accomodates car traffic.

Diana Dearmin, president of the Magnolia Community Club, tells us the Nickerson Street diet is just one of many projects she’s worried about.  She says the city is openly promoting Nickerson as the main alternative to West Mercer Way to access the tunnel that will replace the viaduct, and worries about the added traffic being funneled onto a road that’s been put on a diet.

“Our goal is to find a balance.  We support people who can take alternative forms of transportation.  But for those who don’t ride bikes or the bus there has to be a balance,” said Dearmin.

Dearmin says the 15th Ave. Coalition’s main goal is to find a coordinated, comprehensive approach to protect the corridor from the many competing projects instead of piecemealing it together.  The coalition says it may reach out to community clubs and councils in other nearby neighborhoods including Ballard and Fremont.

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  • Val


  • hught78

    This is great! Thanks Charles for taking the initiative and putting all of this together. I’ve joined the FB and Google groups. See you at Critical Mass!


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  • Nickerson ‘ain’t Stoneway

    The Nickerson and Stoneway segments in question aren’t comparable, especially when you take into consideration the proposed projects that will effect Nickerson.

    Dave, to be blunt, you got your panties in a bunch when MCC claimed to reprersent all of Magnolia, when they should have expressed they are representing the view of the majority of Magnolians.

    I respect your right to speak your peace, but you are unquestionably in the minority.

    Just putting things into perspective.

    Peace out.

  • Mag98199

    This Magnolian, and every other Magnolian that I know, is totally against the Nickerson Street Diet. To compare Nickerson, one of only a few east-west arterials, with Stone Way, one of numerous north-south arterials, is just plain ignorant. How many thousands of cars that daily travel on Nickerson will be inconvenienced to accomodate how many hundreds bicyclists?

  • FamGuy

    I know this is a forum and not an election, but this Magnolian supports the diet, and the facts and studies seem to be on my side. Safer streets for all, no decrease in capacity, what is there to oppose here?

  • Frank

    This Magnolian, and every other Magnolian I know, is “totally” for the Road Diet. It is time to realize, Mag98199, that you and the small number of people you have discussed this with (relatively speaking) does not necessarily represent the majority of Magnolians’ viewpoint…as hard as that may be for you to believe.

    When will people in this neighborhood realize that Magnolia is full of people with diverse needs and viewpoints? I am so tired of people like Mag98199 always stating things in black and white.

  • Val

    How could we be “unquestionably” in the minority? Because the leadership of a club that requires paying dues has a different opinion? Even if it were a real community council operating under democratic principals, the only way for that conclusion to be “unquestionable” would be if every member of Magnolia were able to vote on that specific issue.

    Stop equating a pay-to-play club with something capable of providing democratic representation of our neighborhood.


  • Heidi

    Thank Charles for setting this up. I support the road diet and am disappointed in the MCC’s actions. The MCC should attempt to ascertain the views of Magnolians before actually purporting to represent them. Its action on this issue has undermined its future creditability, which will only serve to harm Magnolia residents in the long run. It is unfortunate.

  • thatguyinmagnolia

    Thanks Charles. Safety and transportation alternatives should be the priority.
    All research shows Nickerson street will be better for all users after the diet.

  • EB1

    As long as the SPD fails to enforce speed limits I will support any project that will force vehicles to slow down. Thanks, Charles for stepping up and taking the initiative to protect vulnerable street users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists of economical-light weight vehicles.

  • Peanut

    Perhaps a poll should be taken.
    This Magnolian does *not* support the Nickerson diet.

  • seattlejitterbalm

    I support the Nickerson Street road diet.

    For a year I dropped off my daughter at Hilltop Preschool on Nickerson. I had a “triangle” commute from Capitol Hill to Lower Queen Anne, and from there to work in downtown Seattle. I purchased a folding bike to place in my trunk, so I could park my car, unfold my bike, and commute to work. The problem I experienced was that Nickerson is dangerous for bicycles. Speed limits are surpassed all the time. It is tricky to cross the street as a pedestrian (I recall that a pedestrian was killed crossing the street at a designated crosswalk).

    A road diet would decrease the pervasive behavior of cars and trucks, and would create enough space to allow more bicycle commuting via Nickerson. Joining Nickerson to Dexter and the Burke Gilman would add new cyclists and reduce the number of cars on the road.

    Adding a middle turn lane will reduce vehicular accidents.

    I agree about the comments re: backups travelling Eastbound on Nickerson when the Fremont bridge is up. This is frustrating whether you are in a car, bus, or truck, and the timing of the lights needs improvement.

    My opinion is that most Seattle throughfares that are relatively flat should be laid out with bike lanes and a middle turn lane. I bike and drive Stone Way and honest to God do not see a problem with the changes.

    On a personal level, I’m selling our car because we cannot afford it (I’m unemployed). Bicycles are by far the most economical form of transportation (other than feet.) I don’t think that we are the only family who can no longer afford a car in this city, in this economy.

    Bringing up a macro vision, are you not devastated by what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico? Not to guilt trip anyone, but we are all responsible for that. Why not shed fat, gain years of life, and join the new frontier on a bike (if you are physically able to)? Some of us in Ballard, Magnolia, Queen Anne, Fremont, Capitol Hill and beyond recognize that car ownership as an American entitlement is changing. And therefore capacity for vehicular traffic as an unquestioned priority is also changing. Welcome to the world of your children and grandchildren. Let’s make room for them.

  • thatguyinmagnolia

    Why not?
    Do you have a reason based in fact?

  • Nickerson Diet is Bad Planning

    The facts show that the City’s current plan to re-stripe Nickerson down to 3 lanes and a bike lane will create a roadway capable of serving only the upper range of traffic capable of being carried on that roadway today (let alone next year), with increased congestion at intersections today, and substantial increased congestion in the future. All of that will happen unless additional currently unplanned and unfunded improvements are made.

    From the City of Seattle’s SDOT website, the 2007 Traffic Study:

    Section 3.1, page 17: “The existing traffic volumes on W Nickerson Street range up to 1,470 vehicles per hour during the PM peak hour, and 20,300 per day. These volumes are at the upper range of what is accommodated on other three-lane arterials in Seattle.”

    Section 3.3, page 19: “the three-lane configuration would result in higher overall intersection delays than with the four-lane configuration.”

    Section 3.4, page 19: “The biggest disadvantage of a three-lane configuration is the effect that it has on transit. Current practice at SDOT is to only allow buses to stop in a traffic lane if there are two or more lanes in each direction. If a bus stops in the lane of traffic where there is only one travel lane, it causes vehicles to queue behind the bus or pass the bus in the center two-way-left-turn lane, which can be dangerous to oncoming motorists and pedestrians. If the bus pulls to the curb to load and unload passengers, the bus may have difficulty re-entering the traffic stream. Therefore, a three-lane alternative would be worse for transit than the current four-lane configuration.”

    Section 6, pages 28 – 31: These are tables that are hard to quote or summarize in a posting, but which show that without additional new signals and other improvements, the road diet degrades future operations of Nickerson. Period.

    What all of this means is that the position that this is just paint and that the traffic flow will be just fine is NOT true and is not supported by the City’s own studies. Unless the money for the future improvements is banked today – and if anybody knows that it is, show me, please! — it simply isn’t true that the Road Diet will have no impact, let alone a positive impact on traffic operations. I wish that I could expect more from my City government than this, and I sincerely hope that someone can prove me wrong. But until you can, it’s why I support groups like the MCC in their efforts to push the City to comply with their own expert studies and analysis, and to tell the whole truth.

  • Ashley

    I live in Magnolia and I work in Fremont and I definitely support the Nickerson lane reductions. If it ends up taking me one or two more minutes to drive along Nickerson in the stretch that will get the lane reductions I’m pretty sure that I can live with that, it’s only one or two minutes out of my day, afterall.

    And increasing safety for all vehicles that use the road and encouraging biking and mass transit options should take priority over making single-occupant car trips as quick and as convenient as possible.

  • Nickerson Diet is Good Planning

    @Nickerson Diet is Bad Planning (NDBP)

    Thanks for the link. Except you left out one major point on your list of quotes from the report – check the CONCLUSION (Section 7, pg. 32): It states,

    “The above analysis shows that the W Nickerson Street corridor would benefit by changing the current four-lane configuration to three-lane configuration. Although some intersections along the corridor would experience increased delay as a result, the delays would not exceed the threshold for LOS D, which is an acceptable level of operation.”

    LOS = Levels of Service.

    Just so people know – this report estimates that LOS will remain the same during peak AM and PM hours with or without the 3-lane change through 2012. (see Table 5) For a list of pro’s and con’s for the different scenarios see Table 4, pg 21.

    To top it off, the very first bullet point in the recommendations section (7.1) states, “Convert the roadway configuration to three lanes from just east of Warren Avenue N to west 13th Avenue W.” Hmm, isn’t that EXACTLY what they are doing?

    Did you think no one would read this?

  • Nickerson Diet is Bad Planning

    @16 – I hoped that anyone who read the study would read all of the study. You cite only the first bullet point of the recommendations and say since the City is doing that, the conclusion is valid that there will be a benefit from this project. You miss the point. The study supports a benefit from the road “diet” only if every item on that long list of recommendations is followed. But there’s no funding or plan to accomplish anything but the first bullet point.

  • Common Cents

    How can any sane peson condone the reduction buy half of one of only two East-West arteries that are dedicated two way streets? (Nickerson and Denny) It makes no common sense. Do bikers really think they are going to get everyone out of their cars and trucks and buses just to show support for the “claim the lane” bicycle bullies when the sane bikers take the trails along the cut?

  • TrappedinMagnolia

    This article incorrectly states the position of the 15th Avenue W. Transportation Coalition. If you read the Coalition Statement, the Coalition supports pedestrian safety and does not take a position as to how pedestrian safety is addressed specifically. However, it does take the position that a reduction in the carrying capacity of Nickerson is unacceptable due to the critical nature of the arterial. Pedestrian safety can be achieved by strategically placed signalized crosswalks and regular SPD speed traps. A road diet is not the only solution. This “solution” appears to be less about pedestrian safety and increasing Metro ridership (as the City plans to work with Metro to REDUCE the number of stops along Nickerson to improve traffic flow) and more about installing bike lanes where there is already a parallel dedicated bike trail, just awaiting completion. Talk about special interests!

  • Stella

    Finish the “parallel dedicated bike trail” along the cut and I will gladly use it. I don’t want to be on Nickerson on my bike (bike path or no bike path) any more than you want me there. But, unfortunately, due to the incomplete nature and “missing links” of the bike trails in the Seattle area, I am forced out on the street, whether it be on Nickerson or in Ballard on Leary or in downtown Seattle on Alaska Way. Trust me, it is much nicer to be on a bike trail but when the trail discontinues, I have no choice but to go on the street.

    The purpose of the Nickerson road diet is not to create the bike lanes, but to slow down the traffic along Nickerson. SDOT plans to do this by reducing the number of traffic lanes, which fortutiously creates room for a bike lane. This plan was not created to benefit cyclists, it was created to reduce reckless driving.

  • Nodiet

    I think the nikerson road diet is a terrible idea. I commute from Wallingford to interbay via nickerson every single day and twice on many of those days. I am not exaggerating when I say the total # of cyclists vs the total # of cars isn’t even close. Id hate to see drivers is sitting in a damn traffic jam while 3-5 bikes ride by comfortably. This isn’t what Seattle needs right now. I’m all for a greener, safer city but this is not an good solution.

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