Uncivil engineering on Stone Way

I hope the added congestion and the added pollution of cars stuck in traffic are worth whatever social benefit the citizens of Seattle are receiving after the city eliminated two of four traffic lanes on Stone Way [North] between [North] 50th [Street] and the waterfront.

Although the huge two-way, left-turn lane is nice, and it is good that bicyclists have their own lane, we could still have given the bicyclists their space without the turn lane. At rush hour, far more motorists want to get between home and work than to turn left.

Last week at 5 p.m, it took 15 minutes and eight or nine changes of the lights to go just 10 blocks north on Stone Way, from 40th Avenue North, past North 45th and the five-points light at North 50th Street/Green Lake Way.

Think of all the good it does for the atmosphere with all the extra heat and hydrocarbon emissions released as cars wait and wait and wait (those whose drivers don't run red lights out of frustration).

Think how much more dangerous it makes it for cars to get onto Stone Way from all of the driveways and side streets.

And where are the signs warning people coming south to Stone Way from Green Lake that the newly resurfaced street only has one, not two, southbound traffic lanes?

I'm sure all the folks on Wallingford Avenue [North], Meridian Avenue [North] and Latona Avenue [North] love the extra influx of rush-hour traffic through their residential neighborhoods trying to avoid Stone Way.

The unprotected intersection of Latona and [North] 65th Street was especially fun to get through.

The mayor might say, "Ride a bike" or "Take a bus." Only one bus line runs on Stone Way, the No. 16, and it goes north and south without connecting to the University District or other neighborhoods to the east, like Roosevelt or Ravenna.

Sure, we can wait at bus stops (unprotected from the elements) to transfer, but why should it take an hour and a half and two buses to make what used to be a 15-minute commute from Ravenna to the edge of Fremont?

Not all folks with health issues, like heart conditions, are up to riding a bike to work five or six miles in the rain or heat.

This is a case of social engineering being given higher priority than civil engineering, creating a very uncivil traffic mess.

John Livingston

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