A Lakewood city official said some progress is being made in reducing cut-through traffic in a neighborhood north of American Lake adjacent to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
City officials will provide an update to neighbors during an open house starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, in the gymnasium of Harrison Prep School, 8800 121st St. SW. A representative from the Army-Air Force base also will attend.
Residents in the neighborhood north of American Lake have raised concerns that growth at the part of the base known as Lewis North is prompting drivers to divert onto their quiet streets. Neighbors say drivers speed and blow past stop signs to get around the rush-hour gridlock on Interstate 5.
The city installed a sign last month to prohibit right turns from 4-6 p.m. at a key intersection to prevent traffic from diverting onto other streets in the neighborhood to avoid long backups at the intersection of Northgate Road and Edgewood Avenue, which isn’t designed to handle at much traffic
Desiree Winkler, the city’s transportation division manager, said the sign combined with enforcement has reduced these peak-hour right turns to about 100 from 250 each day.
“It has significantly cut down on the number of cut-throughs,” she said.
She said the city will continue to have officers on scene to enforce the turn restriction.
In addition, the city continues to collect traffic data at two locations on Kenwood Drive to determine if speeding remains a problem. If the data shows it does, the city will talk with neighbors about installing improvements to help reduce speeds, including speed humps.
The city also will install an all-way stop at Northgate and Edgewood within the next two weeks. The change will improve safety and may reduce backups as motorists will know traffic on Edgewood must stop, Winkler explained.
Winkler said she will apply for a grant this summer to make long-term improvements to the intersection.
Lewis-McChord already has agreed to apply for Pentagon funds designated for off-base public road improvements in an attempt to fix a problem intersection that is at the center of the gridlock.
“If we were able to scrape some money together, it would probably go a little more quickly,” she said.
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