Reader report: Alki Point sidewalk-extension concern

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As first reported last month, one of the Neighborhood Street Fund projects approved by the city would extend the sidewalk along Alki Point, from this spot where it ends at the west edge of the Alki promenade. Local resident Susan Jones wrote to the city with a concern about the potential effects on the street itself, and shared the resulting e-mail exchange, which also includes word from the city that “significant community outreach” regarding the project is planned for spring:

Excerpt from her e-mail:

I am concerned that emergency vehicles may not have access to the neighborhood due to the narrow streets. I have seen fire engines struggle to navigate the curve at Alki Ave SW and Point Pl SW and I frequently have to stop to allow oncoming traffic to go through the narrow street before proceeding. I am worried that the placement of a new sidewalk will lead to more traffic congestion and increased accidents, both for pedestrians and autos.A check of fire and police reports should have the number of times emergency vehicles have responded to the Point Pl SW and Alki Ave SW area. There was a fire on the roof of the apartments at 3151 Alki Ave SW about a month ago and 4 fire trucks responded with there not being enough room on the street for them all to get to the fire. Please make sure that the safety of the residents on Alki are not compromised by the addition of a sidewalk!

Thank you
Susan Jones

The reply as forwarded by the Jones family:

Dear Ms. Jones,
Thank you for your email regarding emergency vehicle access along Alki Ave SW and particularly at Point Place SW intersection. I have been to the site and agree that the entrance to Point Place SW is not as defined as a typical intersection. Your point about emergency vehicle access is great. As with any SDOT improvement, we work with the Fire Department to ensure emergency vehicle access and we expect them to be involved during the design process. We are currently in the initial stages of working with consultants to gather baseline information in order to identify potential improvements and will have a significant community outreach effort underway in late Spring. As we have your contact information, we will send you any community involvement notices. Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Regards,
Sandra Woods
Neighborhood Street Fund Program Manager
Seattle Department of Transportation
206-733-9408

5 Replies to "Reader report: Alki Point sidewalk-extension concern"

  • CO Transplant December 15, 2007 (3:42 pm)

    A non-answer response typical of government with an agenda of its own. Susan Jones, I’m sorry SDOT politely told you to mind your own business.
    Just because the fire department is expected to be involved with the design process does not mean the fire department will be involved with the design process. And that does not mean emergency access will exist in the final product if the fire department is involved anyway.
    Based on my short experience in Seattle, new sidewalks will trump other considerations (like traffic flow and emergency access) because Green PR makes politicians and bureaucrats feel good about themselves.

  • chas redmond December 15, 2007 (4:23 pm)

    I have recent experience with Fire Station 37 and planning for the new station and from what I observed it appears that the Fire Department and access for emergency vehicles is the trump card in SDOT discussions. If the city said SFD would be part of the discussion I believe them. If SFD finds something which would hinder emergency operations, based on my experience, I’d bank on SFD winning that hand. It’s good to have brought this to the city’s attention, thank you Susan. I’d also ask the same question at the planned Spring outreach, too, since now they have been alerted and should at least have some kind of response in Spring.

  • Michael December 16, 2007 (11:24 am)

    CO: I’m going to make a recommendation that you put a little more thought into your comments here. As much as I like to hear people’s thoughts about government agendas and conspiracies, it’s not worth my time to have to wade through them to get to the point of a fairly unrelated discussion (last I checked, sidewalks aren’t really considered “green,” just safer than walking on the road itself).

    On the other hand, if you reject my advice you’ll have a bright future in the P-I’s Sound Off section. ;)

    Back on topic now: Sometimes “emergency access,” like “environmental impact,” is used as a way to try and scuttle something unwanted for other reasons, but in Susan’s case I think she’s being straightforward and will accept SFD’s recommendation.

  • Vio December 16, 2007 (12:13 pm)

    Just to get the record straight: this project was proposed by the community, not the city (or the Knights of Templar, etc.). It was one of only two projects out of dozens proposed for West Seattle, much to the chagrin of other neighborhoods who would have liked to see the $600,000 go their projects. Personally, I think it makes sense to connect the sidewalk system along the entire waterfront, and I worked on one of the other (unfunded) proposals.

    Also: let’s get sincere, WS, the issue of fire service is a red herring. I realize that the condo owners have gotten used to having this area as one large parking lot, but the land in question has always been owned by the public (all of us) and deserves to be used in a way that benefits our whole community the most. Why is it that NIMBYs always come up with ways to frame their own self-serving motives with issues of public safety? Let’s have some civic spirit, WS!

  • Chase December 18, 2007 (5:38 am)

    My spirit is here for the last 50 years I have lived here. Also my family and our 5 houses. We have had all the fun and unhappy things the beach brings our way. Parking is one of the things and traffic is a big thing also. We have may older people here. Who have never had a problem crossing the street. Has there been anybody hit? Have there been and study on this? Sidewalks on the other side of the street are just fine why not ask us? Or maybe ask the people who live here how they all feel about a new 6 millon dollar side walk? If they want it?

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