April 17 | 126th Avenue Gate and Intersection Improvements
Posted on 04/20/2018

The Newcastle City Council roundups offer a digest of notable items for those who can't make it to the regular meetings. Listen to the audio from the April 17 meeting here and view the meeting agenda packet here

126th Avenue Gate Stays Closed

The 126th Avenue Southeast gate will remain closed after the Newcastle City Council chose to end discussion on the topic and direct staff not to proceed with any further analysis at this time.

The debate over the Hazelwood Ridge subdivision gate drew a record turnout as citizens in the standing-room-only crowd shared their concerns about the barrier. During a public comment period that lasted about 30 minutes, several residents from the Hazelwood neighborhood north of the gate urged the council to keep it closed, while a few citizens spoke in favor of opening it.

Safety was the biggest concern expressed. Residents from the Hazelwood community said opening the gate would lead to increased traffic on an already narrow corridor, making it dangerous for the community’s pedestrians. Those in favor of opening the gate expressed concerns about the barrier blocking police and fire vehicles in the event of an emergency. Staff members will look into this issue to ensure the city’s emergency services have the ability to open the gate.

Some speakers also pointed to Comprehensive Plan elements that encourage connectivity among city streets as another reason the barrier should be open. Others highlighted Comprehensive Plan components that discourage through-traffic on local access streets as a reason to keep it closed.

The City Council was very vocal in thanking all of the citizens for voicing their opinions during the meeting.

Study Recommends Roundabout at Intersection

An analysis performed by a city consultant shows some concern about the 116th Avenue Southeast and Newcastle Way intersection. The analysis also studied possible improvements for the intersection located at the corner of Vera Risdon Middle School. The intent was to perform an analysis several years in advance of the need to install improvements.

Currently the intersection is failing westbound during morning peak hours. The consultant is recommending a roundabout as the best solution. The consultant study compared the effectiveness of three intersection control methods: Installing a traffic signal, the roundabout or the existing all-way stop. Based on factors including public safety, traffic operations and pedestrian access, the roundabout was considered the best alternative, but also the most expensive at an estimated $2.6 million. The traffic signal was rated behind the roundabout, while the current four-way stop was the least preferred option. The city will continue to monitor the intersection.

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