Earlier this week I wrote a blog post (with some fabulous cell phone photos) about the sudden revisions to S. 13th Street between Pacific Avenue and A Street.
It had confused some folks who work in the area, especially those who park in the Well Fargo Building Garage.
I asked the city to fill me in on why the change was made and I heard nothing back until today. This came from city spokesman Rob McNair-Huff.
Here is the explanation:
The Public Works Department received a request from a downtown developer to review the possibility of changing South 13th from a one-way street to a two-way street to match the existing 13th Street configuration west of Pacific Avenue. The purpose of the request was to improve east/west traffic flow and access on South 13th Street
Previously, motorists entering downtown from SR-705 wanting to travel west on to 13th Street were forced to travel west on 14th Street, northbound on Pacific Avenue, and then turning onto 13th Street or traveling north to South 11th Street, turning west to Pacific Avenue, and turning south back to 13th Street.
Changing 13th Street to two-way provides direct westbound access from the SR-705 off-ramp at ‘A’ Street and reduces traffic congestion on 14th Street, Pacific Avenue, and 11th Street.
Changing South 13th Street to two-way was analyzed in conjunction with the proposed Pacific Avenue Streetscape project. The analysis indicated that the traffic revision would not negatively impact the operation of the traffic signals on South 13th Street at Pacific Avenue and at ‘A’ Street. The original plan was to add the 13th Street revision to the Pacific Avenue project, but it was decided to expedite the revision to provide improved access to coincide with the new grocery store opening.
The striping revisions to 13th Street were added to the recently completed sidewalk and pavement project.
Public Works regrets that in expediting the 13th Street two-way revision, public notification was inadequate. The main breakdown was not providing sufficient notice to the management of the Wells Fargo Building to disseminate information to their tenants regarding the street revision and impacts to the driveway.
Access is improved for the Wells Fargo Building from ‘A’ Street and for people leaving and heading westbound on 13th Street, but there is an operational concern with the way the driveway was designed to work with a one-way street. Public Works has been in contact with the building manager and is meeting Tuesday morning to work on a solution.
The developer referenced was Dan Putnam of Pacific Plaza, LLC. The grocery store is the Tacoma City Grocers that is set to open this Wednesday.