The Bitter Lake Neighborhood Plan has made to improve safety conditions and mitigate the dangers of a much-used arterial in Seattle – Aurora Avenue – all have sustainable walkability in mind. Now they just need the City and Seattle Department of Transportation to stand behind them as they take the steps they want to take!
The crosswalk on Aurora and North 130th step in the right direction for safety, but it’s going to take more than that to bring this heavily used section of Seattle’s road system to acceptable standards of pedestrian and cyclist protection. Unfortunately, although the city had elaborate, three-phase plans to work on Aurora/99, the project has been put on hold due to funding issues.
Posted by Megan Risley September 13, 2011
Aurora sees over 40,000 cars and 7,200 bus riders a day – this puts the 358 Metro bus route, which runs along Aurora, among King County’s top five busiest routes. The population around the Bitter Lake Hub Village is exploding with senior citizens and people with disabilities. And the city has decided to stop funding the improvement plans it laid out – and which the surrounding neighborhood labeled as a priority.
Feet First has lobbied for safe crosswalks before: a few years ago, a “crosswalk action” was held in order to raise awareness about unsafe crosswalks, to both show support for installing crosswalks where needed as well as making existing ones more secure.
Feet First stands with the neighborhoods impacted by the hazardous conditions of Aurora Avenue North, and the goals of their Neighborhood Plan. This plan has determined to “design and construct a primary network of concrete sidewalks (to include curbs, curb ramps, and gutters and planting strips) in the Broadview/Bitter Lake/Haller Lake planning area, based on the following prioritized list: Both sides of Aurora Ave N from 105th to 145th, 130th St from I-5 to 3rd Ave NW, Greenwood Ave N from 105th to 145th, Northgate Way from Meridian Ave N to Greenwood Ave, N 125th St from Densmore to 3rd Ave NW, N 115th St. from Meridian to Aurora Ave, 3rd Avenue NW from Holman Rd to N 145th, 3rd Ave NE between NE 116th and NE 115th, and wide, permeable, sand and paver stone brick sidewalks, concrete curbs and gutters and curb ramps on both sides of Linden Ave N from N 128th to 145th St.” Recently, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) completed a project that installed concrete sidewalks on both sides of Greenwood Avenue from Holman Road to 112th and from 130th to 137th for a total of 14 blocks, which is a step in the right direction.
The communities that Aurora runs through have put together a plan that reflects their desire to move toward sustainable, safe and enjoyable walking and cycling. They, as part of the Seattle community, need the City (including City departments like SDOT) to stand behind them and walk with them as they take steps towards walkability and safety for all.
The Neighborhood Plan was established in 1999, with walkability and safety goals designed to be reached by 2020. Over a decade later, the community is now taking stock and looking at the progress they have made. In 2005, the $6.4-million-dollar project was put on hold by the city. Main arterials like 125th and 130th remain dangerous to cross. The proposed Linden multi-modal project, which would make Linden Ave North the first complete street in the Bitter Lake area, has, it seems, stalled, too. Seattle Department of Transportation has named Greenwood Ave North a ‘safe route to school’ to Broadview Thomson K-8 – even though there are no sidewalks north of 135th on Greenwood. Greenwood has also seen several pedestrian fatalities.