Here’s a rundown of current and recently completed SDOT projects that promote pedestrian mobility:
Tired of potholes in your alley? Check out this do-it-yourself project these Greenwood residents are doing (via Feet First):
Thirteen Greenwood neighbors in Seattle are giving their alley a makeover. After only 3 months of conversation (not a whole lot of process in Seattle terms), these neighbors have come together with $450 ($35 each) to pour crushed rock along the alley between 95th and 97th in the Seattle Greenwood neighborhood.
The folks in this neighborhood knew it would probably be many years before the city would fix the potholes and the puddles of water that accumulate during a rainfall, so they decided to take matters into their own hands. And, without a large transportation budget, they are making it a lot easier for people to use this public right of way.
On Saturday, May 14th at 12pm at the alley at 95th and 97th between Phinney and Dayton, residents are coming together to spread the crushed rock along their alley. Alleys are gaining popularity as their appearance–narrow spaces that move people, create connections, which inspire a new way for people to see their neighborhood. Come out and learn about this neighborhood’s DIY transportation improvement that will inspire you to do some street repair in your neighborhood!
As part of the Aurora Traffic Safety project, which has been reviewed here (part 1, part 2), the intersection with Halladay St will be improved. This intersection has one of the highest amounts of crashes for motor vehicles (nearly 20 per year), and also poses danger to pedestrians due to vehicles turning off Aurora at a high rate of speed. The new traffic island at this intersection will be constructed with concrete and feature new curb ramps and a better walking surface for pedestrians.
Additionally, radar speed limit signs will be installed at five locations along Aurora. These signs have been shown to reduce vehicle speeds by 3-5 miles per hour. The high speed of traffic along Aurora is one reason why it has so many fatalities.
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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Today the kiosk at 5th and Union will be removed and the sidewalk restored. The removal of the kiosk will require a crane and in addition to obstructing pedestrian traffic, will also close two lanes of vehicle traffic. (View Larger Map)
This kiosk will be the third kiosk that has been removed of the five that were originally installed. These kiosks were installed from Pine to Seneca as part of a 1978 Fifth Avenue Improvement project. While originally well-intended, and probably an enhancement to the pedestrian experience at the time, the kiosks have not been used in a few years and are an obstruction to the pedestrian right of way.
Kiosk at 5th and Pine, before removal. Photo courtesy SDOT.
5th and Pine after Kiosk removal. Photo courtesy SDOT.
The kiosks are privately owned by the adjacent property owners and this removal was requested by the Metropolitan Improvement District. According to SDOT, the MID “worked with the Department of Neighborhoods and the Seattle Department of Transportation to obtain the grant from the Neighborhood Projects Fund to pay for the removal.” These kiosks currently house an electrical box, so SDOT is involved to replace the existing electrical box with a less obtrusive structure. The MID hopes to have the remaining two kiosks removed over the next four years.
An SDOT press release describes two ongoing stairway repairs:
SEATTLE — The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is currently rehabilitating two public stairways—one in West Seattle at SW Genesee Street between SW 22nd and SW 23rd streets, and one in Southeast Seattle at South Ferdinand Street and 31st Avenue South near the Columbia City light rail station.
The crews working on the Genesee Street stairway in West Seattle expect to complete the work by March. Work on the Ferdinand Street stairway in Southeast Seattle (Phase 2 of work that was completed last year) is scheduled for completion in May.
SDOT maintains approximately 480 public stairways. The stairs are important for helping pedestrians to get around in the city, since they traverse steep hills where streets do not continue through to the next block. They provide local access to schools, parks, bus stops, and business areas. Many are located in wooded areas, providing pleasant walks for recreation and exercise.
Have you used one or both of these stairways? What kind of condition are they in?
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.
Impacts to pedestrians continue for pedestrians trying get around Mercer. In addition to the closed crosswalk across Mercer on the east side of Westlake, sidewalks on both sides of 9th Ave N are now closed. Click here to see the latest map showing all the closures in the area.
A reader sent in photos of a new asphalt walkway on 15th Ave NE between 94th and 97th St. This project was requested by the community and funded by the Neighborhood Projects Fund.
Better than nothing I suppose, but assuming they survive the elements over the next 5-10 years, what’s to prevent them from becoming parking strips for local residents and their guests? Nor do they connect with the nearest bus stop. Meanwhile we hear about the ‘war on cars’. I think that war was lost years ago.
While the new asphalt walkway certainly isn’t as good as a legitimate sidewalk, it does appear to be better than what was there before.
The Bridging the Gap transportation levy approved by voters in 2006 continues to pay dividends for pedestrians. Last year, SDOT announces, the levy paid for 15 blocks of new sidewalk and repairs to 23 blocks of existing sidewalks. 40 intersections received new pedestrian countdown signals. There were also 42 crossing improvements and 630 crosswalks re-striped.
Since 2006, 69 blocks of new sidewalk have been constructed and 89 blocks have been repaired. 3,312 crosswalks have been re-striped. The program will continue through 2016, so we should continue to see many important improvements to pedestrian infrastructure.