The Southwest District Council usually meets the first Wednesday of the month but moved and shortened its meeting this month to combine with an SDOT presentation about neighborhood traffic calming – and that brought out more than a dozen extra attendees. At left, SDOT’s Christina Legazpi with a radar gun, which her colleague Jane Rebelowski explained is often the first tool to determine if your neighborhood really needs help. If you sign up and get at least four more people on your street to join you, you’ll be able to take a class on how to use a radar gun, which will be loaned to you. She suggests neighbors work in pairs to track how fast cars are going and what type of cars are seen speeding. They notch two hours of logged observations to gauge the speed problem. Then comes the next phase – SPD enforcement and/or installation of calming measures. They can include signs, humps, chicanes, chokers (chicanes right across from each other) … all explained here, all potentially funded by money you can apply for. So how effective are the various measures? she was asked – and: Why not put up more stop signs? She says the federal government outlaws simply using stop signs for traffic calming – and they’re easily ignored anyway. Some attendees said they’d applied for traffic calming and gotten turned down; Rebelowski said she’d take a look at the specifics of their applications. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to confirm whether your neighborhood has a problem, and then figure out what to do about it, e-mail her: firstname.lastname@example.org – and note that this year’s deadline to apply for projects like traffic circles is fast approaching, end of the month.
The group also heard from Andrea Petzel with the same presentation on “backyard cottages” that she gave to the Delridge District Council last month – the city is considering allowing them in more areas. One attendee asked if there would be a vote or whether the City Council would “just ram it down our throats.” Junction Neighborhood Organization president Erica Karlovits expressed concern about density; Petzel said the cottages would only be allowed on single-family lots, but Karlovits pointed out that in The Junction, single-family residences are in close proximity to the ongoing new high-density building. Petzel countered by saying the city planned a maximum of 50 permits per year and she didn’t think that would ultimately affect density. (According to the “backyard cottage” program website, they’ve been allowed in Southeast Seattle for three years, but only 18 permits have been sought.)
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