SDOT on 34th/Morgan: “My staff will be out there today”

We videotaped that close call in mid-January while reporting on the situation at 34th/Morgan, where kids from the growing High Point area cross Morgan to head south on 34th toward West Seattle Elementary. Neighborhood and pedestrian-safety activists have been fighting a long time to get improvements at that corner, where there’s no marked crosswalk and no “school zone” lights. Denise Sharify from Neighborhood House testified this morning to the city council’s Special Committee on Pedestrian Safety, asking for help. Councilmember Nick Licata, who surveyed High Point pedestrian-safety challenges with Sharify and others last November (WSB coverage here), asked SDOT’s Wayne Wentz what’s being done — Wentz said that’s not supposed to be a school crossing; the city would prefer that kids go to 35th and cross at the signal (which would be backtracking for most). Well, Licata noted, things change, and intersections should be re-evaluated. Wentz promptly replied, “My staff will go to the location by the end of the day.” We’ll drop by a few times to see if we bump into them; if we don’t see them, we’ll check with the city tomorrow to see if the promise was kept.

11 Replies to "SDOT on 34th/Morgan: "My staff will be out there today""

  • Al April 1, 2008 (12:51 pm)

    Typical response from Wentz. He’s car-centric. Ask him if he walks ANYWHERE.

  • JT April 1, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    Using 35th is a terrible idea. I cross there and cars make left turns onto Morgan from 35th all the time at full speed. There’s no turn signal and they’re all racing to beat the light. Little kids would have to walk backwards to be aware of someone coming from that direction, and even then, could not outrun a car who is concentrating on a break in traffic. At least at 34th you can see both directions before you run.

  • flipjack April 1, 2008 (1:55 pm)

    Ummm aren’t the kids on spring break right now????
    Wouldn’t be much action today.

  • WSB April 1, 2008 (2:01 pm)

    That occurred to me while I was driving by (and I should have thought of it sooner because a spring break-ee is in the next room) … however, I’m not completely sure the school factor is all they’re going to look at. Some of the other details I didn’t get into involve whether construction vehicles and others are parking too close to the corners at that intersection and hampering visibility (after driving by a few minutes ago, it looks to me like YES, they still are) for any and all crossers.

  • flipjack April 1, 2008 (2:32 pm)

    Yeah, makes sense. I wasn’t saying duh to you WSB..I was referring to Wentz and co. Since the study seemed geared toward what school kids were doing in that area.
    Anyhoo…yeah lot’s of intersections are getting more dangerous with increased traffic and people…good to keep an eye on those things.

  • paul April 1, 2008 (4:53 pm)

    One thing to note, telling/asking a kid to walk an extra block to a cross walk….hum, when I was a kid, I would have said yes and done the opposite. Not that I was a trouble maker, but I would have a difficult time with this idea, and I am thinking that kids today would really want to not go the extra block.

  • Wet Head April 1, 2008 (6:08 pm)

    It’s also dangerous a half block away from there. There seem to be more and more people crossing at the alley (or there abouts) between 34th and 35th. I had a jaywalker in that spot yell at me one day to slow down. As I was only going 30mph on a non school day, I was a bit puzzled and ticked off. Tempers seem on edge around there.

  • old timer April 1, 2008 (6:46 pm)

    ” the city would prefer that kids go to 35th and cross at the signal”

    So, what he’s really saying is:
    “We don’t want to accommodate people who won’t walk out of their way, on a regular and routine basis.”
    What arrogance. Only someone with tenure could take that attitude.

  • Ken April 2, 2008 (1:01 pm)

    It is a set up.
    Wentz has a crew one block east installing the cables for either a traffic light or a pedestrian crossing light. (Can’t tell until the cross arms are installed) The majority of the foot traffic will cross there as soon as they release the intersection and SHA removes the barricade that has been in place for 5+ years.

    The 4 dangerous intersections, degraded pavement and too narrow streets are all approved by the mayor and the council as a necessary part of the Highpoint redevelopment.

    The big winners? The BIAWA and the wingnut developers with their fake “green building” PR stunts and misleading sales strategy.

    This situation is completely under the control of the city council as the oversight body for the SDOT and the SHA. Anyone who tells you different or passes the buck is lying. Make them justify it if they can.

  • WSB April 2, 2008 (1:06 pm)

    Thanks for mentioning the crew you saw – will ask about that during my followup phone call.

  • Lisa April 3, 2008 (9:18 pm)

    What!? “Have the kids go on 35th instead”? Good luck SDOT. Can you do better than that? I guess not, once again, low income communities are not in the City’s list.

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