Traffic projects planned

"The city of Federal Way is working to alleviate traffic congestion in its proposed downtown core. Officials say they want to create more traffic- and pedestrian-friendly roadways in town.Major traffic improvements include:* Widen South 320th to three lanes and add two, left-turn lanes onto Pacific Highway South (Highway 99) and one right turn lane. Work will begin next week and is expected to be largely completed by Thanksgiving. Federal Way's traffic engineer Rick Perez says traffic during construction will be even more challenging than it already is at that intersection. It is recommended motorists take an alternate route or plan for delays.* Widen Pacific Highway South to six lanes between South 312th and South 324th Streets.* Widen 23rd Avenue South to five lanes from South 317th to South 324th Street.* Add dual left turn lanes on South 320th to 23rd Avenue South.* Add a 1,200-stall parking garage near the area occupied by Cucina! Cucina! restaurant, off 20th Avenue South. This will be the site of a future Sound Transit Park & Ride installation.These improvements, says Perez, will reduce traffic delays for motorists by 25 percent. Currently, delays run about 80 seconds per vehicle; with the improvements, delays will drop to about 55 seconds. These numbers are based on traffic capacity analysis, or the total amount of time motorists have to slow down and start again in street gridIn addition to these projects, the city is proposing a series of smaller, two- or three-lane roads to be built in the downtown. The majority of the roads would link SeaTac Mall to areas north of the mall. Construction on them would begin next year, Perez said.The idea, says Perez, is to create a tighter city grid and make it easier to walk in the downtown. The city is also talking with the state about a possible interchange off of Interstate 5, possibly off of South 312th Street, but don't expect that soon. It would be really long range, Perez said. Possibly in the next 20 years."

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