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.