Responsiveness on 35th

Mill Creek Shows Responsiveness to Residents on Issues Surrounding 35th Avenue SE Reconstruction Project
Posted on 08/07/2018
Changes to traffic mitigation techniques and bolstered community education programs related to the 35th Avenue SE reconstruction project in Mill Creek are a direct result of the community’s feedback to City leaders.

“In the first full month of construction, residents from Mill Creek and surrounding jurisdictions have adjusted their routine driving patterns due to this full road closure,” said Gina Hortillosa, director of Public Works and Development Services. “In that process, we received thoughtful feedback from residents on things that would smooth out traffic flow, provide better instruction and improve safety.”

City staff in the Public Works and Development Services, Police, and Communications and Marketing departments worked collaboratively to address the feedback. This work included:
  • 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, 146th Street SE and on 144th Street SE just west of 35th (west bound lane);
  • Outreach 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.

The Police Department placed an emphasis on directed patrols in the Highland Trails and Silver Crest neighborhoods that resulted in several hundred contacts with the public, ranging from traffic stops for law violations, speed enforcement, security and educational interactions.

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

The City’s communications efforts have helped facilitate two-way conversations about challenges and solutions.

“We have continued to push out messages across social media about the installation of speed bumps, keeping speed low and not using neighborhoods adjacent to 35th as detour routes,” said Joni Kirk, director of Communications and Marketing. “The City is engaging with citizens on other social forums to answer questions and provide details about the project. We also have utilized our opt-in email notification to 269 subscribers, distributed updates to our neighborhood focus group members to share with their residents and provided current status messages on the City’s 35th phone hotline.”

The results of this collaborative work are clear.

“The portable speed signs we installed collect daily traffic counts and speed distribution data,” said Hortillosa. “We have been able to see the effectiveness of traffic mitigation measures reflected in several hundred fewer cars using the local access 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.”

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.

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.

As the City has project updates or answers questions, the project website will be continually updated. Sign up for e-notifications at www.cityofmillcreek.com/35th.