Next step for West Seattle Walking Trails

walkmapgrab.jpgWe first told you one month ago about the West Seattle Walking Trails project, as the map was made public for comment — now, Chas Redmond e-mails to say it’s time for the next step, development of wayfinding kiosks — and today, there’s a call for artists. Read on:

For the past few years residents of West Seattle and the many community associations here on the peninsula have been working to develop a walking trails system. The map showing these trails will be published soon and distributed throughout West Seattle. Our next step in this walking trails project is the development and installation of wayfinding kiosks in nearly two dozen locations throughout West Seattle – from Alki to White Center, from Delridge to Lincoln Park, and pretty much all areas in between.

These wayfinding kiosks will be large street features similar in size to the downtown Metro bus station kiosks. The project is now at a stage where we are considering the incorporation of local art into the design of the kiosks. Each different kiosk would reflect the area it’s located in with specific art appropriate to that section of West Seattle.

This brings us to a “Call for Artists.” We are looking for artistic advisors to be part of a panel helping to design, manufacture, and install the wayfinding kiosks of the West Seattle Trails System. The kiosks are part of a community-led wayfinding project developing a network of trails throughout the peninsula. Twenty-three kiosks are part of the system to inform users about where they are, what is nearby, local history, and local happenings. Though a common design will flow between all the kiosks (a design using cement, brushed metal, and a space for tiles made of cement or ceramic), each one will be enhanced with artwork and characteristics designed by the local community. The role of the artistic advisers would be to assist in the community charrettes to design the artwork, to advise the fabrication of the artwork, and to advise in or install the final art. A small stipend will be available. This will be a great opportunity to do community work and help produce art the whole peninsula will enjoy.

We could use as few as 3 artists, and probably no more than 5. The artists would not be producing the art, they would be helping the community to produce the art.

Anyone who is an artist, art teacher or professor, or associated with a gallery or art festival as artistic director would qualify. The work will be mostly volunteer work and will occur over a series of citizen meetings expected to be scheduled later this Spring and Summer. Individuals interested in this project are encouraged to contact Chas Redmond at 206-932-6003 or “credmond (at)”.

7 Replies to "Next step for West Seattle Walking Trails"

  • hopey March 25, 2008 (3:32 pm)

    I have tried sending email to Chas Redmond with my concerns about what this project intends to do in my neighborhood (Arbor Heights) on the street and block where I live, but I did not receive any response.

    I would like the community to know that there are at least some neighborhoods where the residents who would be impacted by these plans have not been contacted AT ALL regarding things like benches, signs, etc. being placed in their neighborhood, on residential streets, in front of their homes. In particular, I believe the “viewing platform” they intend to utilize in my neighborhood is actually on private land and privately maintained. I asked about this specifically, and did not receive any reply.

    While the overall idea is commendable, perhaps the organizers of this project should take the time to reach out and contact the neighborhood residents who would be directly impacted by increased pedestrian traffic on a one-lane dead end street with numerous blind driveways. Personally, I am not interested in advertising a walking route down this street, as I feel it presents a potential safety hazard for pedestrians (and their dogs, who are frequently unleashed) unfamiliar with the street’s many blind driveways.

  • chas redmond March 25, 2008 (3:43 pm)


    We did take a look at the condition you raised in a previous email. The location of the trails has been verified by the city (SDOT) to be on public right-of-way, so the concerns about private property are valid but inappropriate for these trails. Throughout the process we have continually worked with SDOT, SPU and City Light to ensure that any trails identified by residents are on public land. To date, they all are.

    The project does not involve benches or any other form of street furniture. It involves kiosks which would serve as way-finding stations for individuals using the trails. Keep in mind that the “trails” are really only a collection of the most-recommended routes chosen by local residents in any given area and involve the use of sidewalks, primitive trails in parks, staircases and, in some instances, the actual street in cases where there is no sidewalk but the traffic count is very low on the street.

    A completely separate but sympatico activity is being undertaken by the city’s Pedestrian Master Plan process, which will – among other things – make recommendations to SDOT later this year on areas without sidewalks and how to prioritize and fund sidewalk or pathway construction. Arbor Heights is one of the areas in the city with scant few actual sidewalks, so concern about safety is completely appropriate.

    I would like to remind everyone, though, that a public right-of-way is just that – public.

  • hopey March 25, 2008 (3:58 pm)

    Thanks for the reply. However, my point still stands — I did not receive any kind of response to my initial email, nor have I or any of the neighbors I’ve chatted with been contacted directly regarding this project.

    My question regarding public vs. private property was in reference to the viewing platform, not the walking trail itself. Additionally, the staircase intended to be part of the trail is in very poor condition.

    As far as benches, the Arbor Heights project page specifically mentions adding benches and other signs to the viewing platform. From the Draft Route Plan 2, page 22:
    “There is a platform at the top of the California staircase which would be a good place for providing a map and information about trails, connections, and other community resources. A bench for resting and enjoying the view could also be provided.”

    I am quite concerned about a “kiosk” the size of a Metro bus shelter being placed in our very residential neighborhood. Something that large would be completely out of character.

    Again, this all boils down to communication. I know of one other neighbor who reads West Seattle Blog, but other neighbors do not have the time or interest. If you want the walking trail neighborhoods to support your efforts, perhaps the project group should contact the residents directly for their feedback.

  • chas redmond March 25, 2008 (4:23 pm)

    The reference to adding benches was in the area of the document which cited improvements which could be done locally, with neighborhood matching fund grants. There’s no push for any of this. Each neighborhood, community center, urban village or even settlement is unique and the local residents should and probably will do what is right for them. These documents – the analysis and descriptive ones – were intended to be templates for local residents to use should they desire these further improvements.

    Part of what we are trying to do is create a method which can be replicated in other areas of the city. That meant that for every line drawn on a map by a resident of some neighborhood or other, me and quite a few others went to that area and took photographs, made observations, noted discrepancies, and put all that into a section for that particular trail. This would allow anyone in that area to use that same information in the preparation of a grant request.

    And, everyone involved with this, especially me, is completely aware of and – actually – inspired by the fact that this is and will be an evolving “system.” Maybe one of the positive things which comes from this is all the local drivers become more aware that there may be pedestrians using a rarely-used road. In some areas of Admiral there are recommendations to provide curbing so people can at least step “off” the highway when a car comes by.

    And, Hopey, perhaps we didn’t respond directly, but we did put your comments into the map database and we are trying – within the confines of a two-color map – to come up with methods of rating the routes on a sliding scale for safety. That would include steep inclines in primitive trails, by the way. We’ve had some comments that the 51st and Genesee trail is barely navigable. That’s true because it’s an actual wildnerness trail – right there up the hill from Mee Kwa Mooks park. But, caution is required, as it is in Arbor Heights.

  • hopey March 25, 2008 (7:28 pm)

    Thanks for your reply. It has not been at all clear what the expected timeframes would be like for this project; in fact, it seemed like things were moving rather swiftly. It is also not clear that the documents are intended as templates. They appear to be very well thought-out plans for definitive action. With the production of the map it does mean that pedestrian traffic on my street will begin increasing as soon as the maps are distributed.
    As I said before, I do applaud the general motives behind the project. However, it seems that despite community group involvement, there are still residents “out of the loop” who may find all of this quite alarming once it is brought to their attention. I would encourage your group to find ways to alert and educate those who reside on the various walking routes, so they can fully participate in the process, as you seem to intend.

  • chas redmond March 25, 2008 (8:47 pm)

    Well, there’s an upcoming round of community charrettes and we’ll post the notice on as wide a notice board as we can.

    The documents are a record of what was done for this project and what “could” be done for this project. At every public meeting where we discuss the documents, we stress that they were created for others to use as guides (or templates) for additional work – if such work is the desire of that community. There were 10 regularly-meeting neighborhood associations and two district councils whose members were regularly briefed up to this point. It’s pretty hard to canvass everyone in West Seattle, but through these interactive and open meetings and the to-be-scheduled charrettes we (the many groups working this project including DNDA, MoCA, and Feet First) hope to get even more direct resident feedback.

    That being said, it still remains the case that although Arbor Heights has very few sidewalks and has a number of streets with hidden driveways, it still is a wonderful place to walk, bike or push a stroller. There are some amazing Sound views from some of Arbor Heights lesser-known areas.

  • MikeDady March 26, 2008 (7:44 am)

    Thanks to Chas and all who are making this a reality!

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