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Chris Daniels: Vacating Occidental Ave would have "small impact" on traffic

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Jason Puckett

Chris Daniels just published a new article over at KING5.com, citing a month-long study conducted by the site evaluating traffic at three different dates and times on Occidental Ave. On February 4 from 3:45 to 4:45 pm, February 11 from 12:10 to 1:10 pm, and February 26 from 10 to 11 am, KING5 found roughly three cars/box trucks per minute, and a grand total of two semi trucks over the three hours, on the street that the Seattle Times has dubbed "irreplaceable." Daniels points out that not only was there little traffic on Occidental, but the traffic on adjacent 1st Ave S, as well as nearby Edgar Martinez Dr and Holgate Way, had no congestion whatsoever.

In the article, Daniels also reminds us of the Seattle Mariners, a vocal opponent of the street vacation and the arena it would clear the way for, who asked for - and were subsequently granted - a vacation of Occidental Ave back in 1996 in order to build Safeco Field. At that time, the Seattle Times referred to the location as "hassle-free" and the Mariners said that "the street proposed for vacation is used for local access only... Through traffic will be diverted to alternate routes, with no appreciable difference in travel time."

At that time, Seattle Marine Business Coalition head Lise Kenworthy wrote that "Freight mobility is essential to Seattle's economic health," in a letter to the City Council. William Feldt of the Manufacturing Industrial Council, in another letter, said that vacating the street would "limit, deny and impede traffic flow" and mentioned specifically a company called Nordic Cold Storage.

The owner of Nordic Cold Storage, Tom McQuad, was asked how the loss of the street has affected his company twenty years later. "It definitely put a bottleneck to and from I-5," he said. Ultimately, however, "we're still here."