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New Parking Restrictions on Mercer Ways Could Take Effect by May 1

An effort to increase cyclist and pedestrian safety has led the city to impose "dawn to dusk" parking restrictions on several miles of the windy Island throughfares West, East and North Mercer Way.

A public hearing concerning a City ordinance that would implement a "No Parking on Pavement Dawn to Dusk" restriction on sections of the Mercer Ways will be held at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21. 

The ordinance is a renewed push to bolster safety along the arterial roadways, in particular for cyclists and pedestrians whose only option is to use the new shoulders installed along the roads over the last decade. In 2002, the Mercer Island City Council established the Roadside Shoulder Development Program to provide paved shoulders to increase safety for pedestrian and bicyclists along the Mercer Ways, according to a city press release. By the end of 2011, the City had paved approximately seven miles of the roadside shoulders — which feature blind corners and hairpin turns at several points.

Last November, because of concerns that cars parked on the new shoulders were abruptly forcing pedestrians and cyclists into the main roadway creating a safety concern, the City Council decided to move to implement additional parking restrictions on the Mercer Ways (Click on the images to the right of this article for maps and more information). 

The ordinance proposes the City will install "No Parking on Pavement Dawn to Dusk" signs along East Mercer Way, West Mercer Way, and portions of North Mercer Way in those places where improved, paved shoulders have been built. Assistant City Engineer Anne Tonella-Howe said the restrictions will prohibit anyone from parking vehicles on the paved shoulders during daylight hours. Exceptions for snow and ice, special events, and construction activities are addressed.

A first reading of the proposed ordinance is planned for this meeting, with a second reading and possible adoption planned for the March 5 meeting.

Several sections along the Mercer Ways are already signed for "No Parking Anytime." These existing restrictions are expected to remain in place. A section along West Mercer Way near West Mercer Elementary is currently signed for variable restricted hours on school days. This restriction would change to "No Parking on Pavement."

The new parking restrictions would go into effect 30 days after approved by the City Council and notification of the approval is given to the public. The Police Department will allow a two-week grace period for residents to adjust to the parking restriction. Enforcement of new parking restrictions would begin May 1.

For additional information or clarification, please contact Anne Tonella-Howe, Assistant City Engineer, at (206) 275-7813, or Glenn Boettcher, Assistant City Manager, at (206) 275-7802.

Implementation Schedule First Reading Parking Ordinance February 21 Second Reading Parking Ordinance March 5 Publication of Approved Ordinance March 14 Ordinance goes into effect April 13 Signs Installed February – April 12, 2012 Signs Uncovered April 16 Enforcement Begins May 1
Kim Fackrell February 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Thank you for passing this ordinance! My kids and I walk to school everyday on West Mercer Way and it is dangerous enough without cars and trucks being parked on the shoulder. Many of the cars that drive this road are driving way to fast and this will at least give us "an out" when they are crossing into the shoulder as they speed by. As Jeff Lebowski stated, enforcement will be key. While we are at it, maybe we could enforce the speed limit too!
x February 28, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I really don't think parking along these arterials is the issue, but how people park. So many drivers and homeowners try to angle park two cars in one car spaces resulting in portions of the parked cars (or inventing a parking space) that blocks the bicycle/walking lane or worse. I see no reason to be ticketed if the parked car is free and clear of the legal "roadway". Perhaps, far too many people believe blocking part of the roadway isn't a big deal (and it isn't) until some negative event occurs because of a poorly parked car. MI has always been a challenging place to build homes because of terrain and finding adequate places for on street arterial parking has been equally challenging, but should not be at the risk of the walking/bicycling public. I don't think enforcement is the best solution, but homeowners along the affected road portions taking responsibility for the safety of their neighbors as they pass by their property and that means managing roadway parking to minimize risks for everyone. The only reason for all of this is simple, it has been a recurring problem for many years.

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