If you drive SW Barton west of Westwood Village [map], you might have noticed those hand-lettered signs. Residents on the block tell WSB they were startled to find out that a school-zone flashing beacon was about to be installed there – considering that the nearest school, Roxhill Elementary, is about to move, as we’ve been reporting for the past 2+ years. We also noticed a flashing beacon being installed Sunday in the same spot on SW Trenton, near 30th SW:
30th SW in that area is slated to be part of the new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway, with work starting soon, so first we checked with that SDOT project’s spokesperson; he said the beacons aren’t part of their project, and pointed us to SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program. Here’s how that program’s manager Ashley Rhead explained it, replying to us today:
The SDOT Safe Routes to School program evaluates speeds in school zones on arterial streets on an annual basis and makes recommendations for improvements based on this data. SW Trenton St has an existing 20 mph school speed zone. Last year, Seattle Public Schools assigned SW Barton St and 30th Ave SW as an adult crossing guard location. For that reason, we evaluated speeds on this corridor as well.
On both streets, we found an 85th percentile speed of 34 mph, considerably higher than the 30 mph speed limit. 30th Ave SW is a walking route to school for Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School. SDOT is also installing a neighborhood greenway along this corridor later this year. We expect this improvement to further increase the number of people walking and biking along this route.
With that said, we are revisiting the decision to install 20 mph flashing beacons on SW Barton St and collecting additional information. The plan to install the beacons is on hold for the moment. We have reached out to the school district to confirm whether SW Barton St and 30th Ave SW will continue to be an assigned crossing guard location, how many Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School students live southwest of this intersection within the school walk zones, and what education program will be housed in the Roxhill building next year.
We actually reported on the latter yesterday, with more information added to our story this morning. The programs include special education and one location of the alternative high school Interagency Academy; other details are expected at the community meeting planned for 6 pm Thursday at Roxhill (9430 30th SW). On Thistle, by the way, which borders the Sealth/Denny campus, the existing school-zone beacons don’t start until east of 28th SW.