Fighting for sidewalks along Aurora

In the 1950s, Seattle annexed unincorporated land between N 85th St and N 145th St. However, with no local jurisdiction, much of that area was not developed with sidewalks and according to local resident Richard Dyksterhuis, little has changed since then. Like the Bitter Lake resident who wants to make his neighborhood more walkable, Dyksterhuis wants to make this part of town better for walking.

For the past five years, Dyksterhuis, 83, has rallied neighbors and contacted city officials numerous times to call attention to the lack of sidewalks on his street. “Between 800 and 1,200 low income elderly live in the Linden Avenue area,” said Dyksterhuis, who wants to make it into a complete neighborhood street where his peers can walk or use their wheelchairs safely.

There has been some improvement recently:

A 100-foot stretch of gravel and potholes has been asphalted and a line painted on the pavement to mark the path for pedestrians. Further north, bewteen 143rd and 145th streets, an 8-foot-wide sidewalk was built last fall, three years after Dyksterhuis and other neighborhood activists got Mayor Nickels to pay a visit and the project was included in the city’s budget.

However, more could be done to transform the area by making it more walkable:

But opportunity for change has opened since two car dealerships have gone out of business and the big lots have been put up for sale. “I want you to find a developer with a heart, compassion, sense of beauty and commitment to social change,” said Dyksterhuis, who envisions a residential complex with a 18-story apartment building, a European-style plaza and small businesses. “It would help transform Aurora Avenue North.”

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