West Seattle crosswalk safety: Flag basket becomes trash basket

What looks like a trash basket attached to a signpole on the east side of California at Dawson (map) is supposed to be a basket of safety flags to be used by pedestrians – at a crossing where someone was hit and killed a year and a half ago. Efram and Kim, who live nearby, e-mailed WSB to say they’ve reported to SDOT multiple times that the flags need to be replenished, but they haven’t been – and the empty basket repeatedly fills with trash. This was one of three baskets of flags placed by SDOT almost two years ago. Right after photographing the Dawson basket Tuesday afternoon, we checked on the other two:

Further north on California, the basket at Dakota (photo above; here’s a map) still had flags, as did the third of the placements, at Avalon/Yancy (photo below; here’s a map):

That intersection, by the way, has a whole separate set of safety concerns, and we’ve been working on a story about that. Back to Dawson/California – Kim says she even spoke to someone with the Walk and Bike Program, but, “More than a month later, nothing. I think the pail was even emptied of its garbage just after I called the Walk and Bike Program! I hoped that flags would soon appear but they never did and the garbage just piled back up.” We suggested to Efram and Kim that they try 684-ROAD, the general SDOT hotline, again; if that doesn’t result in replenishment, we will check with SDOT to see if perhaps there’s been a change in the program. Kim says, “It’s pretty scary crossing the street at the crosswak at California SW and SW Dawson. I thought pedestrians had the right of way at crosswalks but you wouldn’t know that at all at ours.”

14 Replies to "West Seattle crosswalk safety: Flag basket becomes trash basket"

  • Julie May 26, 2010 (7:59 pm)

    It’s really annoying, and sometimes disgusting, for the volunteers who keep the flags replenished, when people use these buckets for trash. A staff member from Tilden School tries to keep the Dakota crosswalk supplied; she suggested a redesign of the holders–for example, turning them upside-down and drilling holes for the flag handles, so they don’t look so much like trash receptacles.

    We could also take this as an encouraging sign that if trash buckets were available, they would be used–so less trash on the street, perhaps? Of course, they’d need to be maintained. I realize this is a problem.

  • WSfan May 26, 2010 (8:00 pm)

    Contact Jim Curtin at the City of Seattle. He works on ped/bike issues AND lives in West Seattle!

  • Rick May 26, 2010 (8:02 pm)

    The city came to me a few years back to ask if I would volunteer to be “custodian” of that particular crosswalk (RiteAid). I’ve e-mailed and left voice messages requesting new flags but no response. I’ll give it another shot ~

  • Bill Lenth May 26, 2010 (8:27 pm)

    What is the value of these flags to the punks that walk off with them? It is the same old story of lack of respect for the property of others and endangering the well being of others. Perhaps they. the punks, use the flags as wipes on their hands after they do their graffiti.

  • Rebecca May 26, 2010 (8:28 pm)

    Why don’t they at minimum turn the bucket over and have holes drilled for putting the flags into it. This appears to be what the picture depicts for another site. While that still doesn’t address the missing flag issues, atleast people couldn’t place trash in the bucket.

  • rw May 26, 2010 (8:43 pm)

    Not to put too unkind a spin on this, but people who can’t be troubled to put a flag back into a wide open bucket are not going to take the effort to put the flag into a round flag pole into a round hole. The level of effort required (or IQ) is just not there.

    As for the trash, I kind of agree with Julie’s original comment that at least we see the value of having more trash cans available so there is a bit less litter on streets and elsewhere.

  • A May 26, 2010 (8:46 pm)

    The ones right smack in the middle of the Junction have one tattered flag left. Wonder why that one wasn’t included in your photos.

    • WSB May 26, 2010 (9:44 pm)

      A – These are the only three that were officially placed by the city in fall of 2008. There are several citizen-placed flag baskets at spots around West Seattle, from The Junction to North Admiral to Luna Park, but the city did not install them and does not have responsibility for them. – TR

  • Carol Wagener May 26, 2010 (8:57 pm)

    This is a little bit off the subject, but I’ve been trying to get some sort of crosswalk established on 35th Ave. SW at Dawson to cross over to Camp Long. I tried a few years ago, then gave up, but decided to give it another go and am currently in e-mail contact with someone from the city who says she will conduct a traffice survey, but wanted to wait until the construction work at the Camp Long Lodge was complete so that usage at the park would be more normal. IF anyone else is interested in getting a crosswalk of ANY kind placed at the Camp Long intersection, now would be a good time to contact the city and let them know since many voices are better than one. Thanks!

  • Alki Resident May 26, 2010 (9:58 pm)

    My sister made flags awhile back for the admiral crosswalk.They are expensive to make but used all the time.I remember the elderly lady that had been killed in front of rite-aid.Even today,its still very hard to see people on the store side/west side of the street.The tall trees shade the street so much it makes it dark even on the sunniest of days.Its very dangerous there.Because I know of the fatality Im more aware of that crosswalk but others may not which isnt good.

  • vortex2.71 May 27, 2010 (8:40 am)

    I’m wondering if those in the know could further explain the organizations that take care of these two types of flags and holders. It seems that three spots are supported by the city and that several other spots are volunteer supported? Who are the volunteer groups that support these? How do we help out or make donations? Also, will the city sites take donations so that proper funding is in place to replace the signs? If it does not already exist, it seems like it would be useful to start a unified “West Seattle Crosswalk Coalition” volunteer group that could coordinate between various groups, individuals, and the city.

    • WSB May 27, 2010 (9:36 am)

      The only “group” involvement I know of is the West Seattle Junction Association re: the ones in The Junction, which were announced this past February.

  • WSB May 27, 2010 (9:50 am)

    P.S. Heard from Kim this morning. She says flags have suddenly appeared in the baskets. Will be going by for a photo in a bit – TR

  • uglybrowncrow May 27, 2010 (10:20 am)

    Such bad people to take things that doesn’t belong to them.

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