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.