On our way to tonight’s West Seattle Community Safety Partnership meeting at the Southwest Precinct, we spotted that radar-powered speed sign along westbound Morgan, just west of 40th, where people barrel down the hill toward Fauntleroy/California (we only registered 7 mph because we had to slow down for the photo!). This was a timely sighting because most of the WSCSP meeting was about this type of solution to some of West Seattle’s traffic problems — the method the experts refer to as “traffic calming” — here’s some of what’s in store, and where:
Luke Korpi from the city Transportation Department’s Neighborhood Traffic division explained that’s just a portable sign, moved around from spot to spot. Right now, West Seattle has only one permanent radar-speed-measuring sign — along Fauntleroy near Lincoln Park — but more are in the works, including two along Fauntleroy closer to California, and two on 35th near Juneau.
Korpi said that’s not the only thing in the works for what some frustrated neighborhood advocates have dubbed “I-35” — he also says changing the pedestrian light at 35th/Raymond to a “full traffic light” is among SDOT’s “highest priorities.”
He and co-worker Jim Curtin, a West Seattleite who is changing roles inside SDOT to take over a newly created job as “community traffic liaison, talked a lot tonight about “traffic calming” on arterial streets, and how it differs from what’s possible on side streets. He says they’ll be paying a lot more attention to this challenge — previously, arterials were just viewed as main thoroughfares for unimpeded traffic, but now, SDOT realizes they “are neighborhood streets too.”
Besides 35th, another arterial that sparked a attendee complaints was Beach Drive. The “speed cushions” near Jacobsen should be replicated elsewhere, to slow people down, said the neighbor. Korpi said that will be studied, though he couldn’t make any promises.
Additional speed cushions are almost a sure bet for the Dawson downhill to Delridge from SSCC, he said, pending a final decision on the best way to slow down the drivers there. Further east, Curtin said the Avalon/Genesee/Yancy/Andover area is in line for some pedestrian-safety help — “significant improvements” were his words.
And he elaborated on the forthcoming improvements along Barton by Roxhill Park, first confirmed by Westwood Neighborhood Council president Steve Fischer last week — particularly the crosswalk that connects to the Longfellow Creek-linked trail along the bog, from mid-Westwood Village. Curtin said work will be done soon to match up the crosswalk and the curb cuts, which were out of alignment because of the misplaced island in the center of Barton — it will be realigned as well. “We jumped right on that,” Curtin said.
Seattle Police play a role in “traffic calming,” too; before the SDOT guests even came up in the program, one meeting attendee asked what’s being done about speeders on Roxbury, including large trucks servicing Westwood Village. Police say motorcycle enforcement officers are out at least once or twice a week in that area of Roxbury, hoping to act as a deterrent in addition to citing anyone they catch breaking the laws. Their other spots for extra emphasis include Admiral Way, particularly the speeder-beset hill, as well as Highland Park Way, which has similar issues.
ANOTHER WSCSP NOTE: Under the new officers elected a few months ago, the group is hoping to change its name to something simpler and clearer. Vice president Kay Newton, who led tonight’s meeting, asks that ideas be sent to the group’s Seattle Neighborhood Group liaison staffer, Jennifer Duong, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Suggested names will be discussed at the next WSCSP meeting May 20, and there will likely be a vote to choose a new name at the meeting after that. (Also on May 20, new Southwest Precinct Captain Joe Kessler — who chatted with WSB briefly last week — is expected to attend.)