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.
Archive for the 'improvements' Category
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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.”
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.
Release from SDOT:
SEATTLE — Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation are replacing a sidewalk on Rainer Avenue South at the intersection with South Jackson Street this week. The curb lane on the eastern side of Rainier Avenue South between South King and South Jackson streets will be closed 24-hours a day while the sidewalk is excavated, tree roots trimmed, and new sidewalk poured. Pedestrians will use the sidewalk on the western side of Rainier. The crews expect to complete the work by Friday, March 4.
This follows some other work that SDOT has completed at this intersection:
Installed concrete bus bulbs (curb and sidewalk extensions) that allow buses to load and unload passengers without having to pull in and out of traffic. The wider sidewalks also provide more room for pedestrians.
· Improved street lighting and drainage related to the new bus bulbs at several locations.
· Added curb ramps at several locations along the corridor
· Removed the traffic island and installed a new traffic signal at the northwest corner of Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King, Junior Way South, opening the new, safer southbound turn lane from Rainier onto Martin Luther King.
These improvements were funded by the “Bridging the Gap” transportation initiative approved by Seattle voters.
SDOT is currently selecting pedestrian improvements for 2011. Their blog gives some insight into this process:
Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan places a high value on data to determine where new projects will be built. SDOT planners utilize a wide variety of information when deciding where to build new sidewalks – existing facilities, the potential demand for new infrastructure, traffic volumes, street width, and socioeconomic and health factors to name just a few. The goal of this analysis is to focus investment in new infrastructure where people need it most. Once our data has been run through a Geographic Information System (GIS), our planners visit candidate project locations to ensure that the new facility can be built within our budget. If the project cost estimate exceeds the budget, we seek funding from other sources to complete the project.
SDOT has identified 9 locations in the city to build new sidewalks:
- N 125 th Street between Greenwood Ave N & the Interurban Trail (north side)
- 26 th Avenue NE between NE 125 th-127 th Streets (west side)
- 8 th Avenue NE between NE 106 th St & NE Northgate Way (west side)
- College Way N between N 97 th-100 th Streets (west side)
- S McClellan Street between 25 th & 26 th Avenues S (north side)
- 1 st Avenue S between S Dawson & Bennett Streets (west side)
- 4 th Avenue S between S Fidalgo & Front Streets (east side)
- SW Cloverdale Street between 8 th-9 th Avenues SW (south side)
- SW Barton Place at 22 nd Avenue SW
Visit the Sidewalk Development Program website to see a map of these improved sidewalk locations.