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Motorists responding to City of Mill Creek’s 35th Avenue SE traffic mitigation efforts

Speed bumps installed to deter detours through neighborhoods. Photo courtesy of the City of Mill Creek.
Speed bumps installed to deter detours through neighborhoods. Photo courtesy of the City of Mill Creek.

By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.

The City of Mill Creek’s traffic mitigation efforts are resulting in fewer cars using neighborhood streets to detour around the 35th Avenue SE Reconstruction Project. Lower average speeds through the neighborhoods have also been achieved.

According to Gina Hortillosa, Director of Public Works and Development Services, “We have been able to see the effectiveness of traffic mitigation measures reflected in several hundred fewer cars using the local neighborhoods each day than were doing so at the start of July. We’re also seeing lower average speeds, with the highest traffic volumes straddling the 23 mph mark.”

City of Mill Creek staff across three departments collaborated to address public feedback received after 35th Avenue SE closed for construction on July 2, 2018.

Staff in Public Works and Development Services, Police, and Communications and Marketing Departments implemented the following traffic mitigation efforts in the past few weeks:

  • Increasing police patrols in the Highland Trails and Silver Crest neighborhoods;
  • Adjusting height and location of detour signs and variable message boards to increase visibility and generate effective messaging;
  • Installing “no outlet signs,” “local access only” and “U-turn OK” signs to eliminate confusion by drivers;
  • Removing pedestrian detour signs located within the residential roads to reduce confusion about the City’s official detour route;
  • Installing temporary speed bumps at five different locations, including on Silver Crest Way, 33rd Drive SE, 32nd Street SE, 146th Street SE and on 144th Street SE just west of 35th (west bound lane);
  • Reaching out to adjacent businesses about detour routes for customers; and
  • Installing two City owned portable speed feedback signs that provide speed and time of day data for each car passing by them.

The Mill Creek Police Department made several hundred contacts with the public in this area over the last month.

Police Chief Greg Elwin said, “Our officers frequently and proactively patrol the area to help ensure the safety of those in the neighborhoods, including pedestrians and other motorists. Our approach is to educate people and help them make better decisions.”

According to Director of Communications and Marketing Joni Kirk, “The City will continue monitoring traffic patterns and adjusting our response accordingly. Based on the ongoing data collection from the  speed feedback signs, the City will target its education and enforcement activity around those areas of greatest concern. These include both heavy traffic congestion times and times when volume is lower and speeds are higher.”

Kirk went on to say, “The 35th Avenue SE reconstruction project is slated to be substantially complete and open to the public in December 2018. However, the final asphalt application may not occur until spring 2019.”

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