Tag Archive for 'georgetown'

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.


Walking Georgetown Industrial Area

People don’t normally think of the industrial area in Georgetown as a good place to walk. An area with warehouses and other light industrial uses, it is criss-crossed by a grid of streets that are often traveled by large trucks and sometimes not served with sidewalks. However, if you know where to go, you can stay on the sidewalks and walk along some quiet residential streets and get a feel for this unique part of Seattle. Also, this time of year many cherry trees are blossoming, so let’s go for a nice walk in the industrial (and residential) part of Georgetown.

View Larger Map

You can get here by driving and there should be short-term parking available on many nearby streets, or you can take the 23 or 124 bus from downtown.

Start at 4th Ave S and S Lucile St. At the northeast corner of the intersection you’ll see the Vac Shop – notice the vacuums outside made to look like robots and animals. Walk north along the east (right) side of the road.

Cross S Brandon St and turn right on S Brandon St. At the right time of the year, you’ll see the trees on the right side of the street covered in beautiful pink cherry blossoms. On your left you’ll pass Oasis Water Gardens, a nursery for water gardeners.

The intersection with 5th Ave S is one of those Seattle intersections with no signage, so cross traffic may not stop. At the next intersection, traffic at 6th Ave S has the right of way. Continue walking along S Brandon St. On the right side of the street, you’ll see some of the houses that are scattered throughout Georgetown. At Maynard Ave S, you’ll see Lect’s Soup Stop serving soups out of an old train switching location.

Turn right at Maynard Ave S. Unfortunately, while some of the east-west streets in this area well-served by sidewalks and consistently lined with trees, many of the north-south streets are lacking in amenities. Still, this street has a sidewalk, but rather than grass and trees insulating you from the street, there may be parked cars instead.

When clear, cross S Lucile St and continue heading south and cross S Findlay St where Maynard Ave S curves left and changes into S Homer St. Stay on the right side of the street so that you can remain on the sidewalk. The streets in this area may be lined with parked rigs, which are not uncommon in this area. Continue and cross 7th Ave S and the old railroad tracks along the road. The block on your right is completely residential, including some nicely maintained and colorfully painted houses. As you approach Padilla Pl S, you may see the Georgetown Playground on your left.

Turn right on Padilla Pl S before you get to the New Direction Missionary Church and then turn right on S Orcas St. There is a substantial buffer between the sidewalk and the street, and despite the King County maintenance building on the left side of the street, this area feels like many other quiet residential areas. Here is what the sidewalk on the left (south) side of the street looks like when the cherry blossoms are in season:

Cherry blossoms in season along S Orcas St

Walking westward when the cherry blossoms are in season toward 7th Ave S on S Orcas St

Continue across 7th Ave S. You’ll pass the Georgetown branch of the US Post Office on your right. The street curves left and you’ll cross 6th Ave S. On your right are the headquarters for kitchenware retailer Sur La Table, which opened its first store in 1972 in Pike Place Market. The store in Kirkland regularly offers cooking classes. On your left is the Seattle Design Center, where interior designers (and other interested parties) can tour 65 home decor showrooms.

Cherry blossoms between Seattle Design Ctr and Sur La Table

Cherry blossoms between Seattle Design Ctr and Sur La Table on South Orcas st

You’ll continue on S Orcas St, past the Tiger Lounge on your right, back to 4th Ave S.

Turn right on 4th Ave S and walk two blocks back to our starting point of 4th Ave S and S Lucile St. From here, you can call it quits, or we can continue walking on the other side of 4th Ave S. Cross 4th Ave S and turn left (south). You’ll walk past a pho restaurant, where the sidewalk may be partially occupied by parked cars, and you’ll pass a Subway, and Marco Polo Bar & Grill, which has some of the best fried chicken in town and karaoke on Friday nights.

Turn right on S Orcas St. This side of 4th Ave S is more industrial, with a few scattered houses, but is still a good, quiet place to walk. As we continue, feel free to stop at the Little Deli Mart on the right if you want a bottled drink. Otherwise, turn right on 1st Ave S. You’ll walk by Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack and the Pig Iron Bar-B-Q, either of which would be a fine place to stop and eat.

Continue to S Lucile St and turn right. Walk east towards 4th Ave S. At 3rd Ave S, you might notice the Sherman Supply company, which has 6 butts on the wall:

Butts on wall at Sherman Supply Co

Butts used for advertising on the wall of Sherman Supply Co on S Lucile St

Past that is a lot where you can buy lawn statuary, including an alien holding a football, as well as slightly classier lawn ornaments, though no marble columns for sale.

Anyway, here is where our walk ends, back where we started. Despite perhaps looking like an uninviting and dull industrial area, even this part of Georgetown offers a pleasant walk.

Highlights: Relatively quiet streets, beautiful cherry blossoms at the right time of year, some quirky establishments, a diversity of houses and light industrial, some good places to stop and eat or drink

Lowlights: Care required to cross some streets, not very popular, light industrial creates some dead spots, walking across railroad tracks can be slippery