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Move Seattle: The NE 95th ST Sidewalk Project

If you live in North Seattle, you know all too well that an evening walk with the intention of staying on the sidewalk can be a bit of a guessing game. Some blocks are great, others with no sidewalk at all, and sometimes you end up thinking you’re on a sidewalk and before you know it you’re walking in someone’s front yard (I’m looking at you… 75th and 40th).

Regardless, one of the worst offenders is 95th street, connecting Lake City Way and 35th, two major arterials for commuters, and the street that yours truly walks almost daily after hopping off the 312 bus. Walking up 95th can feel a bit like Frogger, running between sections where the sidewalk is non-existent to get on more protected pedestrian territory. In recent winter months, I have instead opted to walk up the hill as soon as possible and use 94th as it seems like a safer alternative, perhaps on occasion swinging into Fiddler’s Inn to have a quick beer before heading home.

However, there is new hope for safe foot traffic between these two arterials! In 2011, the city worked with local residents to improve foot traffic safety on 95th. The plan called to fix one of the worst sections of the street, with a full sidewalk rework between 32nd-35th, and more room for street parking. After years of delays and budget issues, the project is now on track, and slated to be finished in May if weather holds (there have been a few delays due to heavy rain this winter).

Below you can see some of the progress of the project:

I spoke with a resident who lives in-between the project’s construction zone, and she was very excited about the upcoming change. She mentioned that the city has covered the cost of the re-landscaping, giving several of the houses a fresh rock wall (as seen in the photos above). No property had to be purchased from residents to start this project, but there was some community outreach conducted to ensure that the locals wanted this fix to take place.

Between the street and sidewalk there will be a small easement where the city plans to plant trees, which should improve the look and feel of 95th in this section as well.

The strange thing about the project is that it only stretches between two intersections. 95th is a very long street for pedestrians, and while there are sections have have some sidewalk, for the most part this project seems to shortchange the majority of the street. It would be nice to see the project connect the entire Lake City – 35th corridor to drive more foot traffic safely between these two thoroughfares.

Regardless, this project is taking care of one of the worst parts of the street, so it’s exciting to see this progress.

This article was written by Rob Toledo, editor at exstreamist.com and sportfacts.org.

1st Anniversary Results are in for the University of Washington Light Rail Station – and it’s stunning

Sound Transit just announced in a press release on Friday that since adding the University of Washington station to the Central Link line, ridership has increased by 89% on the average weekday.  This means that 65,000 people are now riding Link Light Rail any given day.  Apparently, weekend ridership is also up 73% as well.

For most North Seattleites, the University of Washington Light Rail station has been a welcome, but half-step towards accessing our nascent public transit system.  The Roosevelt and Northgate stations are slated to open up in 2021, which should bring almost full operations to North Seattle.  Also, since ST3 passed, the 130th infill station will be on the docket, but much further down the road.

Here’s the press release:

Since light rail began serving Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, average ridership on Link grew to 65,100 people each weekday

One year ago Sunday, Sound Transit launched light rail service to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium, contributing to an 89 percent growth in average weekday ridership on Link from February 2016 to February 2017.

Weekend ridership on Link has also been strong, averaging 39,400 on Saturdays and 29,200 on Sundays—a 73 percent jump to last year.

In February alone, 1.5 million people rode light rail—a 78 percent increase for the month compared to February last year.

“I can’t think of a better way to mark U Link’s first birthday than by celebrating the dramatic growth in ridership since light rail service began serving Capitol Hill and UW last March,” said Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “As we expand light rail to other communities, thousands more will soon enjoy the ease and comfort of riding Link.”

“The demand for light rail service—during the work week and weekends—is proof that investments in its continued expansion is critically needed,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “Light rail expansions now and in the future will provide a vital regional transit network that is essential to supporting population growth, jobs and a robust regional economy.”

During the fourth quarter last year, the UW and Capitol Hill stations accounted for 16,000 of 65,600 average weekday boardings on Link.

More ridership information can be found here: soundtransit.org/ridership.

Original Source

 

Correction: We had originally called this the University District Light Rail station, largely because that’s how it’s seen now, even though there will be a University District light rail station coming in 2021, around about the same time they open the Northgate Station.

Sand Point Way Closure Update

Quick update to the closure of Sand Point Way

From Art Brochet, City of Seattle:

This is an update on the emergency replacement for a retaining wall in the 8500 block of Sand Point Way NE.  Please feel free to share with others.

As of noon on Tuesday February 23rd the contractor had set 8 steel I-beams into the slope just east of the shoulder of Sand Point Way NE.  Each I-beam is 60 foot long, 24 inches across and weighs 11,568 pounds.  The steel beams are set into 36 inch diameter holes, partially filled with concrete.  After the concrete sets, wood timbers are fit in between the steel beams to hold back the slope – and the roadway.

The cranes which bore the holes and set the steel beams block the entire width of the road – which is the reason for the detours on Sand Point Way NE.  However, even after the remaining steel beams are set and the cranes moved off site, further work will be required – restoring the water main, rebuilding the road shoulder and repaving the road surface.  Crews are continuing to work 6 days a week, typically 10 hours a day, in an effort to restore Sand Point Way NE to use as soon as possible.

Traffic along the detour route – along NE 70th Street, 35th Avenue NE and NE 95th Street – has been very congested, especially during peak travel hours.  Please be considerate of pedestrians attempting to cross at intersections along this route and be patient with everyone.  The Seattle Police Department has been requested to provide speed enforcement patrols in the area to enhance everyone’s safety.

For those unfamiliar with the project or its schedule, or are interested in photos of the project, please refer to the website http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/sandpoint_retainingwall.htm . If you have specific questions about the project itself, or if you would like to be added to the list for receiving this construction update bulletin, please email me at art.brochet@seattle.gov .

Thank you for your interest and please travel safely.

Here are a few photos of the replacement (All Courtesy the City of Seattle):

Sand Point Way Closure | Courtesy City of Seattle

Sand Point Way Closure | Courtesy City of Seattle

145th Corridor Open House: Wednesday

Our neighbors to the North are having an Open House to talk about how to improve the 145th Corridor.  Though this is a Shoreline initiative, it affects the North Seattle Community in a big way.  This is a major East-West arterial for the very north end of Seattle, which provides access to I-5, Aurora, and Lake City Way.  Also, it’s the border between Seattle and Shoreline.

This may be something that North Seattleites will want to participate in.  Even though it requires a cross into a different town, this is still very important for us to be involved in.

Details:
Wednesday, February 24th from 6:00pm-8:00pm (Presentation at 6:30pm)
Shorecrest High School

From the City of Shoreline:

Save the date… a third open house for the 145th Street Multimodal Corridor Study is scheduled for Wednesday, February 24, 2016. At this time, a draft preferred concept for the corridor will be presented and the project team would like to hear your comments. 

Due to the overwhelming turnout at the second open house, there will be a new venue.  Everyone is invited to attend from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.(with a presentation at 6:30 p.m.) at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline.  For those of you unable to attend, some information from the open house will be made available on this webpage along with a survey (for a limited time) shortly after the 24th. 

Here’s a link for more information on the project: http://www.shorelinewa.gov/government/departments/145th-street-corridor

Thanks to Chris Roberts – Shoreline Mayor – for this information.

 

What to do About Your Alley

Did you know that the City of Seattle has an official policy on how to deal with your unpaved alley? And that essentially the policy is that they won’t do anything to fix your alley, but you still have to get approval to make any changes.

As we approach the end of winter, and the potholes intensify, we will start to see neighbors out, inspecting their alleyways and trying to band together to fix them.  The official policy says:

Unpaved Alleys – Alleys which are not paved to City standards (e.g. dirt and gravel alleys) are not funded for any maintenance, repair, or improvements by the City.  Adjacent property owners can maintain or make improvements to the alleys at their expense.  All work requires a Street Use Permit.

Essentially what this means is that you are required, with your neighbors, to maintain your alleyway.  However, if you would like to make any improvements, you have to obtain a permit.

Does anyone have any advice for neighbors looking to make improvements to their alleyways?

Here’s How Bad the Sidewalk Problem is in North Seattle

It’s well known – Sidewalks in North Seattle leave something to be desired.  When I walk to the bus in the morning from my house, I walk 3 blocks.  Only 1 of those blocks has a sidewalk on it, and I’m one of the lucky ones.  The rest of the time, I’m dodging cars on the side of the road.

But how bad is the problem? It’s pretty bad.  Here’s a file (Source: City of Seattle/SDOT) that really shows you just how bad this is.  Take a look at this diagram and you’ll see that North Seattle as a whole is the most shortchanged of all neighborhoods in Seattle.

And the issue is widespread in North Seattle.  All the way from the Sound to Lake Washington, we see Tier 1 sidewalks across the North Seattle region.

Yet, in reports, such as this one, or this one from the City of Seattle don’t mention any of the North Seattle neighborhoods once.  This means that in strategic plans produced by SDOT, they have essentially de-prioritized all of North Seattle.  No matter that we are a center of families and commuters to downtown, we just don’t end up getting a piece of the pie on sidewalks.

How to fix this? As a friend of mine once told me when I was dealing with what seemed to be an insurmountable problem: keep asking the hard questions.  Write to City Council. Talk about this issue.  Tell your friends.

North Seattle is underserved – and it’s clear from the lack of sidewalks.  Some of this is history, some of this is representation.  But none of this means that we can’t move forward with the rest of Seattle.

Sand Point Way Closure Starts Feb 8 UPDATE: FEB 3

UPDATE 6:00pm 2/1/16: I just heard from SDOT that the closure will start on the 3rd.

I just received notification that Seattle DOT will be closing Sand Point Way at the 8500 block for emergency repairs.  I’ve heard reports that the actual closure might be on the 8th, and some have said it will start on the 3rd.  Currently they’re estimating around 3-4 weeks for the repair, which means a detour will be running for quite a while.

Here’s what the flier says that came from Seattle DOT:

  • No traffic through the construction zone in the 8500 block of Sand Point Way NE; detour will be in place using NE 70th Street, 35th Avenue NE and NE 95th Street – see map on reverse side
  • No access for bicycles and pedestrians through the construction zone; travel along the Burke-Gilman Trail will not be affected
  • Large equipment with heavy loads operating in the roadway 5 to 7 days a week, typically for 9-12 hours per day
  • Temporary relocation of utilities, potential short term service disruptions
  • Significant excavation work, boring for new support piles and retaining wall construction
  • For King County Metro service stop relocations and service advisories please refer to http://metro.kingcounty.gov/alerts/ (Editors note: nothing has been posted yet on the KC Metro alerts page)

Here’s a map of the affected area, courtesy of Seattle DOT:

Sand Point Way Closure

Courtesy of Seattle DOT

I’ll post updates as I get them.  Thanks to Phil on Nextdoor for the tip.

Video: New Light Rail Extension

Check out this cool video from Sound Transit (@SoundTransit) that’s being discussed a lot among North Seattle residents.  Here’s the first foray that Light Rail will make into North Seattle.

Light Rail has a long and tumultuous history here in Seattle – several times the voters approved massive transportation system studies and encouraged the government move ahead with building grade-separated rail for easy transport. Every single time, these proposals failed.

Finally, Sound Transit cleaned up its act (and we really mean that) and started building Light Rail. Though this tends to be one of the least efficient ways to transport people, it’s what we’ve got and we need a lot of it.

Note in this video the proposed 130th St station.  This would be a big deal for North Seattle, if we could get this built.  Also, what if we had a line that went up through Ballard under 15th, followed Holman Road, went under Northgate Way, connected with the Northgate Transit system, hung a left at Lake City Way and went up to Bothell, Kenmore and eventually Woodinville.  We can only dream, right?

Make sure you stay in contact with Sound Transit if you’re interested in Light Rail.  They are typically helpful, and most of their recent projects have come in ahead of schedule and under budget.  Also, this is something that I’m very interested in, and can have a seriously positive impact on our neighborhoods here in North Seattle.

Check out the video and discuss!