Tag Archive for 'City of Seattle'

Stairway lighting combined with other projects due to limited budget

With five stairway improvements underway by SDOT this year, a reader was wondering about SDOT’s policy about lighting these stairways.

Aside from the Wilcox Wall stairs (8th Avenue in Queen Anne) and maybe one or two stairways on Magnolia, most all the stairs that I recall walking in Seattle are unlighted. That’s usually not a problem in the summer, but once winter comes around the lack of lighting combines with overgrown vegetation and a lack of regular sweeping to make most of Seattle’s stairways a bit treacherous and downright creepy.

One of the stairways under construction this year will receive lighting – the stairway at Ferdinand Street that provides a connection to Martin Luther King, Jr Way. However, the city’s annual budget determines how much SDOT can spend on stairway lighting, and this amount is “very little,” according to SDOT.

When possible, SDOT tries to fund lighting along with other maintenance projects. “So often, these separate programs, Lighting, Stairways and Sidewalks are combined to save money in the long run.”

For example, SDOT says “It makes sense to excavate for installation of lighting conduits and pole foundation before constructing a new stair or sidewalk.”

It is not clear, however why the Ferdinand Street stairway improvement received lighting while the other projects did not. This decision may have been based on factors such as pedestrian traffic, length of stairway, vegetation in the area, crime statistics, and ability of neighborhood funding. Once lighting is constructed by SDOT, Seattle City Light performs maintenance.


Mayor proposes additional funding for pedestrian projects

With the city facing a budget crisis, Mayor Mike McGinn has announced his budget, which includes quite a few cuts. The budget also includes additional funding for the pedestrian master plan, including more sidewalks, crosswalks, stairways, and pedestrian lighting. It also includes funding for more Summer Streets events.

Streets for All Seattle had been campaigning for more funding for the pedestrian master plan and it is no surprise that the mayor has supported that to an extent. However, in a year with service cuts, it may be hard to sell the city council and taxpayers on a budget that gives more money towards alternative transportation. PubliCola has additional coverage of these budget items here.


City budget hearings

As some of you may know, Seattle has a Pedestrian Master Plan to make Seattle the most walkable city in the country. However, this plan won’t accomplish much until it is funded by the city. Conveniently, the Seattle City Council is currently considering its budget priorities for next year and the Pedestrian Master Plan might be something worth reminding them of.

Here are a couple things you can do, if you’re so inclined:

  1. Send an email to the City CouncilStreets for All Seattle has a form and a template to make it easier to share your thoughts with the City Council.
  2. Attend a public budget hearing – Scheduled for the evenings of Sept 29, Oct 13, and Oct 26, attend and encourage the council to fund the Pedestrian Master Plan.

Mercer West Kick-Off Open House

The city is hosting an Open House next Tuesday on the Mercer West project. This project will provide two-way access for vehicles between Elliott Ave and I-5, among other things:

  • Widening Mercer between Dexter Avenue N and Fifth Avenue N, including the underpass at Aurora to provide three lanes in each direction, left-turn lanes, wider sidewalks, and a bicycle path;
  • Converting Mercer Street to two-way operation with two lanes in each direction and turn pockets between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N;
  • Converting Roy Street to a two-way street with bicycle lanes between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N;
  • Creating a new Sixth Avenue N connection between Mercer and Harrison streets; and
  • Closing Broad Street to re-connect the street grid between Ninth Ave N and Fifth Ave N.

This project is largely vehicle-oriented, but wider sidewalks along Mercer, and reconnecting the street grid will be much-needed improvements for getting around the area by foot.

To learn more about the project and offer your feedback, attend the kick-off meeting this Tuesday from 4:30 – 7 pm at Seattle Center. More information can be found on the project page.