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Q&A on Traffic, Road Construction & Relief
Traffic in Fife and the surrounding areas is awful. There is no sugar coating it. We are receiving daily calls and e-mails asking what Fife is doing to make it better. We wish it were a simple fix, but construction is slow, lack of funding for large projects hampers development and an economic boom compound the complex issues that create the traffic jams in the South Sound. Fife Community Development Director Steve Friddle answers some common questions below:
Why is traffic so bad on Interstate 5?
In addition to growth, there are many construction projects happening, all which will eventually help, but currently add to the traffic congestion while under construction:
The net result is that our local streets get as congested as I-5. WSDOT will eventually finish their projects, but in the meantime, they’ll continue to make changes that will chase traffic onto Fife streets.
Why don’t we just build what we need?
Federal, State and regional funding lags or is insufficient to commence/complete large Interstate and alternative transportation projects. Fife is working with our regional partners on three additional large projects which are in the hopper:
What additional local projects are we working on that will help?
Because of Fife’s unique location inside the Puyallup Tribe’s Reservation, next to an international Port and intersected by an Interstate Freeway, any local project requires a huge inter-agency coordination component to make the following projects happen:
What does this all mean?
Again, we are very fortunate to live in a vibrant growing community and share the goal and expectation that we are always improving. This includes a long list of recent success stories delivering transportation projects by the State, Tacoma, Port and Fife that have lessen congestion and should be celebrated. However, from this planners perspective, these success stories lag well behind growth and are quickly forgotten as congestion worsens and solutions continue to get more difficult and costly.
I remain confident that the continued, concerted effort and creativity of our leaders, residents, business and all the regional partners will result in solutions. In the interim, continue to direct questions and ideas to me since I am one of several persons responsible for finding the solution to make the city function better again.
Traffic will soon move a little smoother along four miles of southbound Interstate 5 between Fife and Tacoma with the help of several new ramp meters, which are traffic signals that regulate the flow of vehicles merging onto the highway.
Starting Tuesday, July 18, the Washington State Department of Transportation will activate ramp meters for the first time at four interchanges between 54th Avenue in Fife and Portland Avenue in Tacoma where traffic routinely slows to a crawl during peak-hour commutes.
“Ramp metering is a proven, cost-effective approach to reducing freeway congestion and collisions, providing drivers a better, more reliable trip,” said WSDOT Olympic Region Administrator John Wynands. “While these ramp meters won’t put an end to congestion along the corridor, they will help reduce the length of time the congestion is in place.”
A ramp meter is a traffic signal that operates according to real-time conditions on both the freeway and the ramp. They help reduce congestion by providing consistent gaps between vehicles, rather than allowing multiple vehicles to flood the freeway at once.
“When vehicles enter traffic at an even pace, the freeway flows better and the rate of merge-related crashes decreases,” added Wynands. “Ramp meter systems have proven to reduce collisions by up to 30 percent.”
The newly installed ramp meters are located on the following ramps:
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Hooray! A full service grocery store will be built at the corner of 70th and 20th.
The Fife City Council authorized a Sales Agreement that will result in a full service grocery store on surplus City property located at the southwest corner of 70th Ave. E and 20th Street East.
The Agreement with and Jeffrey E. Davis, with Davis Development Services, LLC states the store will be approximately 11,000 square feet and will sell meat, fresh produce, dairy, frozen foods and other miscellaneous foods and sundries found in standard grocery stores of similar size.
The City of Fife issued a Request for Proposal and Mr. Davis responded proposing two commercial buildings. The first building is a retail store consisting of 20,200 square feet, with at least 11,000 square feet full service grocery store along with other associated and compatible allowed retail uses. It is a two story concrete tilt-up commercial building fronting on 20th Avenue East.
The second building will consist of an one-story, approximately 48,000 square foot, concrete tilt-up building for production, warehouse, distribution, wholesale and limited retail fronting on 70th Street East.
The sale is contingent on Mr. Davis obtaining permits for development and construction in compliance with all codes substantially as shown in the site plan and schematic above.
For more information, contact Steve Friddle, Fife’s Community Development Director by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (253) 778-3484.
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