A recent traffic study showed that 57th Avenue Southeast, a residential street in Lacey east of Ruddell Road, is home to 2,400 cars a day and about 60% of those drivers were passing 25 miles at the hour.
And resident Ron Stormer isn’t happy about it. Stormer sat on a Lacey Town Council transport committee in September and the committee revisited the topic on October 4 to determine a way forward.
At the September meeting, Stormer said he was walking along Stockton Street near 57th one evening when a car suddenly approached at a speed he estimated at 50 miles per hour, or 25 miles per hour over the speed limit.
“I gave the driver a hand signal to slow down, and he gave me a very different hand signal,” he said.
Stormer appeared frustrated at the September meeting, saying he wasn’t sure if the answer to the traffic slowdown was bike lanes, more parking or curb changes.
“I don’t know what else to do,” he said.
To move the traffic calming process forward, the city needs neighborhood support in two ways: they need a support petition to install temporary traffic calming devices on the street, and more later, if the neighborhood wants to make these changes permanent, they need a neighborhood vote from the owners. Both stages require 60% support to advance, according to city data.
But how do you determine the ward boundary for the petition and potential vote?
That’s what the transportation committee wrestled with on Tuesday, ultimately deciding that a smaller limit focused on homes closest to 57th Avenue had the best chance of success.
“My personal opinion is that the greater district (district boundary) will fail,” Public Works Director Scott Egger said. “The people most affected are on 57th Avenue.”
The permanent solution to slowing traffic on 57th Avenue is the use of what the city calls “speed bumps.” And in Lacey, if a neighborhood agrees to a permanent solution, those costs are split 50/50 between the city and the neighbors.
The first estimate of the cost of three speed bumps is $25,000, or about $380 per owner in the smaller limit put forward by the transportation committee on Tuesday. For a larger limit, these costs go down to $180 per owner.
There is one more thing the city needs to sort out before moving the process forward. On Tuesday, Technical Transportation Manager Martin Hoppe told the committee that resident Stormer was now considering a move. If he moves, who will solicit contributions for the petition?
“We need a neighborhood champion,” City Manager Scott Spence said.