More Time to Walk along Mercer

Two months ago, SDOT implemented a new adaptive signal control system along Mercer called “SCOOT.” While the system helped reduce travel times along the Mercer, Valley and Roy Street corridors, pedestrians initially noticed a reduction in the “walk time.” Our traffic signal staff recently gave pedestrians along Mercer Street more time to cross at six intersections.

An SDOT Signal Electrician adjusts the pedestrian signal equipment on Mercer.

The “walk time” is the time given for pedestrians to step off the curb and begin to cross the street. This is followed by the flashing “don’t walk” signal which gives pedestrians time to finish crossing. These changes provide an additional 8 to 33 seconds where the “walk” signal is displayed for crossing side streets along Mercer:

Location  Before (sec)  After (sec) 
 Fairview Ave and Mercer           7 15
 Terry Ave and Mercer St           7 40
 Westlake Ave and Mercer St 7 15
 Dexter Ave and Mercer St        7 15
 6th Ave and Mercer St                 7 40
 Taylor Ave and Mercer St         7 40

The extra time given at the six intersections was determined by analyzing the amount of time SCOOT already gives roadway traffic. Over the last two weeks the increase in “walk time” has not had a negative impact on travel times along Mercer.

Mercer St and Dexter Ave

Our traffic signal staff also adjusted signals at 1st Ave N and Mercer and Queen Anne and Mercer. These changes allowed our engineers to decrease the amount of time it takes for signals to cycle through at each intersection in the entire Uptown area by 12 seconds. This means all users (pedestrians, cars, buses and bicyclists) have to wait less time for their turn to go.

We are continuing to monitor operations and look at additional ways to improve pedestrian accessibility along Mercer Street. For more information please visit the project website.