I’m a little late to the punch here (been on vacation), but shortly before I left, I noticed that SDOT had restriped a short section of Dexter, just north of Valley Street (see the picture above). In a previous post, I had noted that the intersections of Dexter at Valley and Mercer, which have always been a mess, had tipped over into daily disaster areas for all road users during the afternoon rush hour, due to some combination of temporary and permanent traffic pattern changes arising from the Mercer East project.
In addition to “Do not block intersection” warning signs and cross-hatch paint on Dexter & Mercer, to discourage rampant box-blocking, SDOT’s Marybeth Turner described the rechannelization as follows:
Before the recent reconfiguration of lanes on Dexter Avenue North, vehicles turning from southbound Dexter to Eastbound Mercer often blocked other traffic on Dexter, including buses, bikes and cars. To alleviate this problem, we have now provided a second southbound lane on Dexter that allows buses, bikes and cars to pass the congestion waiting to turn left onto eastbound Mercer ST.
To provide room for the additional southbound lane, we relocated the existing northbound left turn pocket (to SR-99 North) and removed curbside parking from the east side of the street. We also removed the buffers for the bike lines on each side of the street.
How is the new channelization working for those of you who commute through this intersection? I haven’t seen any of the epic jams that were once commonplace on Dexter, but I may just have missed them, and 9th & Mercer still seems to be a bit of a mess. Yesterday afternoon’s commute would have been an extreme stress test, as an accident at Howell & Yale gridlocked South Lake Union. Bravo to SDOT for addressing this issue promptly — and doing so without throwing bicyclists under a bus.