Archive for the 'improvements' Category

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Mayor approves 125th St rechannelization

We’re a few days late to report this, but the mayor has authorized SDOT to move forward with the road diet on 125th St.

The project was originally proposed by SDOT last August, and faced some initial opposition. As a result, SDOT spent additional time reviewing public input and doing further analysis, resulting in a reaffirmation of SDOT’s proposal to change the roadway. SDOT’s recommendation to the mayor re-energized opposition, however the mayor has approved SDOT’s proposal, and the road diet will happen.

The mayor sent a lengthy response to people who had contacted him on the issue, explaining his rationale on the decision. Seattle Bike Blog has reproduced the mayor’s letter in its entirety.


Mayor walking for health

The mayor is taking a lead in supporting healthy lifestyles and outlines a few things the city is doing to address public health concerns, several of which support walking:

Walk, Bike, Ride: We launched an update to the Transit Master Plan that will take a 20-year look ahead to the type of transit system required to meet Seattle’s needs through 2030. In 2011, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will do projects in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans including 15 miles of bike lanes and sharrows, 20 miles of bicycle routes, re-marking 300 crosswalks, and 10 blocks of new sidewalks. focuses on creating great places in neighborhoods. Additional placemaking efforts will be integrated into urban design frameworks and include finding a solution to the Martin Luther King and Rainier intersection that enables buses, cars and pedestrians to move efficiently through the area, neighborhood plan updates as the Linden Avenue North Complete Streets project continues to take shape, and identifying the improvement necessary to make Metro’s new Rapid Ride corridors to Ballard and West Seattle walkable and comfortable for transit riders.

Encouraging Safe Routes to School: In 2011, SDOT will make the following improvements at 14 schools: four school-zone beacons, six signage improvements, new curb bulbs to improve pedestrian crossings at three locations, and sidewalk repair or maintenance at Concord Elementary and Van Asselt Elementary.

Creating great places: In 2011, we will work on land use and transportation changes near King Street station by developing a hub design strategy, pedestrian and bicycle wayfinding, streetscape improvements and bike parking. These projects will occur around light rail stations and King Street station in order to better make our transit hubs a part of our neighborhoods. And that helps make our communities more walkable.


Improvements to Ravenna intersection

The intersection of NE 55th Street, Ravenna Boulevard NE and 22nd Avenue NE will be seeing some improvements soon. The intersection will be reconfigured to be safer for pedestrians. New pedestrian ramps will be added and the crosswalks will be restriped. SDOT has a PDF of the new design, which also includes a bioswale and new green space. This project is being funded by Bridging The Gap and the Neighborhood Projects Fund.


Petition to support NE 125th Road Diet

In response to opposition to changes that SDOT has recommended to 125th St NE, Cascade Bicycle club is circulating a petition in support. From Cascade (via Seattle Bike Blog):

NE 125th was chosen for this kind of project because too many drivers speed at over 40 mph – a deadly speed for the most vulnerable users of the road. More than half of collisions cause injuries on this stretch of road for drivers, passengers and bystanders. This is far higher than for most streets in the city. SDOT made the decision to move forward after careful study, and they will continue to collect data on the effectiveness of this safety project.Unfortunately, a group of well-meaning but misinformed people is pressuring our elected leaders to cancel this project. That is why it is so important to show our support for a safer street.

Click here for the petition


Seattle Industry Opposes Road Diet

Once again plans for an SDOT road diet are upsetting someone. This time it’s the road diets planned for Airport Way and East Marginal that are being opposed Seattle’s industrial interests. At a forum sponsored by the Port of Seattle, PubliCola reports:

The city has proposed some version of a “road diet” on both streets. On East Marginal Way, which carries only about half of the cars it was built to accommodate in the 1960s, the city would reduce the number of lanes from six to four, plus a turning lane. On Airport, it would add bus bulbs and reconfigure parking to improve pedestrian safety; that proposal was generated by the surrounding community.

Longshore union representative Harold Ugles said accommodating more cyclists and pedestrians on either street would lead to job losses and traffic gridlock. “We’re under attack,” Ugles said. “What we’re trying to do is prevent gridlock, because gridlock drives away the jobs, it pisses off the public, and it’s a problem for everybody.” BNSF government affairs director Terry Finn warned grimly that if Seattle keeps adding “luxuries” like sidewalks and bike lanes, we’ll end up like Portland, a supposed dystopia where “income is 20 percent below that in Seattle.”

Seattle transportation director Peter Hahn tried to counter the dire warnings, noting that although opponents have predicted disaster every time the city has proposed a road diet, those predictions have never come true. “The harm that has been forecast did not occur.” And if it did, Hahn noted, the city could always just re-stripe the road for cars again. “It doesn’t cost millions to reverse it.”

Seattle Industry, a magazine and web site covering issues important to industry, laments that “SDOT’s top priority isn’t mobility – it’s safety, especially more safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.” (via PubliCola) The industry eBulletin suggests that this focus on safety threatens Boeing Field’s productivity.

However, as usual the impact of these road diets will be minimal to mobility and significant for safety. The lane rechannelization on East Marginal takes 5 lanes of vehicle traffic to 4, taking a lane away from the less-busy side of the road, which now has 3 lanes. The road diet on Airport Way makes the neighborhood of Georgetown safer for pedestrians by adding curb bulbs to allow pedestrians to cross safer. This closes a southbound lane to vehicular traffic (the less-busy side of the road, again) that is currently used for parking the 22 out of 24 hours in the day.


SDOT recommends 125th St road diet, opposition targets mayor

SDOT is recommending to move forward with its plan to rechannel the lanes along 125th St to make them safer for everyone, including pedestrians.

This idea had been discussed in August and SDOT has spent the past few months considering input from the public and doing additional analysis. The 85th percentile of traffic currently travels along this 30 mph road at 39 mph. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 40 mph is 85% likely to die, whereas a pedestrian struck at 30 mph has a 45% chance of death.

From SDOT:

The project would bring speeds closer to the posted speed limit, make turning on and off the street easier, allow safer crossings by pedestrians and provide dedicated space for bicyclists.

Tom Fucoloro with Seattle Bike Blog has a good writeup on SDOT’s decision to recommend this and on the opposition to the project. The project will delay vehicle travel time during peak hours by only 4-25 seconds, though opponents claim that buses will bottleneck the route. SDOT’s recommendation is currently pending Mayor McGinn’s approval and he will likely do so this month, however the opposition is urging people to call the mayor.


Sidewalk rehabilitation on S McClellan St

SDOT is repairing a block of sidewalk along S McClellan St near Beacon Hill between 24th and 25th Ave S. This route is one of few walking routes between Rainier Ave and Beacon Hill in this area. Construction will last for the duration of the week.

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New park and sidewalk in Northgate

An old park & ride near Northgate Mall is being converted into a park. This new park, Hubbard Homestead Park, will be opening soon and features “3.7 acres of landscaped open space” according to SDOT’s blog. There will also be a nice new 12-foot-wide sidewalk along the western perimeter of the park that should open very shortly. Visit SDOT’s post about this for more details.

How do you think Hubbard Homestead Park will stack up against Seattle’s many other parks?


Ballard resident requests illuminated crosswalk

My Ballard reports on a resident’s request to add a pedestrian-activated crosswalk at the intersection of 24th Ave NW and NW 58th St. Kevin Tice has applied for this improvement to be included by the Ballard District Council on the list of projects that are sent to the city for funding by the Neighborhood Projects Fund.

In the application Tice writes, “The current crosswalk has an outdated overhanging crosswalk light that is barely noticeable by cars, especially during overcast weather. The crosswalk signs (one for each side) unfortunately do not deter the vehicles driving at speeds of 25-40 mph from stopping for many pedestrians. I have attached videos [see above] that I took recently of numerous cars passing waiting pedestrians, either because of their speed, or because they could not see them waiting due to parked cars near the intersection. In a span of 30 minutes, I recorded 10 such incidents. I personally have had to run across 24th avenue due to cars not stopping.”


Overhead crosswalk sign added in West Seattle

West Seattle Blog reports that a flashing-light crosswalk sign has been installed at SW Findlay Street across California Ave. Previously there had been a hanging sign (without flashing lights). While California includes only two lanes of motorized traffic and a center turn lane, this project was requested by community leaders and funded through the Neighborhood Street Fund. According to one commenter, drivers rarely stop for pedestrians at this intersection, so hopefully the flashing lights will change that.

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