Paving the way for Delridge Way = Delridge ‘boulevard’

The newly passed city budget includes a $250,000 allocation to start planning a “Green Boulevard” along Fauntleroy Way in The Triangle. But that might not be the only “boulevard” in West Seattle’s future. Two City Councilmembers and key SDOT staffers joined the most recent meeting of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council to hear a community pitch for potential “boulevard” treatment of Delridge Way SW:

One major supporter of the concept is Delridge-area activist/advocate Pete Spalding, who explained to Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Sally Bagshaw that a median, trees, and pedestrian-friendly features could “make it feel more like a community than a piece of concrete passing through our neighborhood.”

Those types of improvements could have “a significant impact on the entire community,” added DNDC chair Mat McBride.

As Spalding said, this has been discussed “for a long time” – but new urgency emerged when it was discovered that the city has set aside Bridging the Gap” levy money to pave a major section of Delridge Way. So they invited key people from the city to come discuss whether the boulevard concept could fold into that; besides the councilmembers – two SDOT managers (who also happen to be West Seattleites), community traffic liaison Jim Curtin and paving-project manager Jessica Murphy (who we saw a lot of during the Fauntleroy Way rebuilding project two years ago). The topic also was at the heart of last month’s DNDC meeting (WSB coverage here).

The boulevard features not only would “calm” traffic, supporters say, it also would be more conducive to business – friendly to those who stop and shop/dine, rather than the current “just keep driving” mood the street seems to encourage.

“The idea of a boulevard down here is very appealing,” Councilmember Bagshaw agreed. “Make it an environment where people want to be.” Just a few weeks earlier, she had been in Delridge to talk with neighbors about bringing the “greenway” concept to 26th, just west of Delridge. The discussion meandered off in that direction for a few minutes before returning to the boulevard.

The city’s Bicycle Master Plan calls for bike lanes along Delridge between Andover and Holden, said Curtin, in response to a question. Murphy added that even with those lanes and other “amenities,” Delridge is still wide enough to hold a boulevard. The SDOT reps also noted that “boulevard” doesn’t necessarily mean “island down the middle of the road” – the concept can involve improvements on the sides instead, or in addition to. And as for bike lanes – Curtin observed that if 26th becomes earmarked as a greenway, just to the west, that could mean omitting them on Delridge, in favor of directing bicyclists to the nearby greenway.

As other ideas started to percolate – including the need for a speed-limit-reminder sign just before Andover, to catch those coming off the bridge (Spalding said he’d once been told it could happen, but then the story changed to “no money for it”) – Councilmember Rasmussen suggested a community meeting with SDOT to talk “specifically about simple low-cost ideas that could make a difference.” That could be an “on-site” conversation, Curtin enthused.

Murphy interjected that the actual paving project that kickstarted the current conversation is currently on the docket for the narrower southern end of Delridge, “not wide enough for the true boulevard, but might still be opportunities for some of the boulevard feel,” from Orchard to Henderson. She said she’s hoping that by the time it happens, there might be enough funding to “continue a little further south, to Roxbury, to address some of the worst pavement needs.”

The project is currently at the 30 percent design stage, identifying pavement conditions and required drainage – stormwater-storage pipes will be put in during the work, which currently isn’t scheduled until 2014, but might – just maybe – move up to 2013, the SDOT reps said.

No time to waste, then, on getting the “boulevard” vision into the picture, it was agreed – especially if some city neighborhood-projects funding could be procured for projects as part of it.

Next steps: While SDOT continues to plan the basic project as it is now, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council will continue to discuss and strategize, too. Watch their upcoming meeting agendas, as this may be the subject of an upcoming edition of the visioning discussion that precedes each monthly DNDC meeting (third Wednesday of the month, with visioning/strategizing at 6, business agenda at 7, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center).

13 Replies to "Paving the way for Delridge Way = Delridge 'boulevard'"

  • G November 22, 2011 (3:00 pm)

    Delridge a boulevard? This is a joke, right?

  • k2 November 22, 2011 (6:07 pm)

    great, now ALL cars will scream down 26th to avoid the boulevard slowdown…can’t wait.

  • coffee November 22, 2011 (6:09 pm)

    I am for this, to stop the people that thing the middle turn lane is a passing lane. Also a speed “reminder” for Andover?? How about first talking to Metro? The busses come by at a rate that shakes my building. I have called and called and called Metro on this and they don’t do a thing about it. Perhaps a cop at the dead end street Charleston, which is on the North side of the Skylark Cafe for a few weeks would help. THey would make a FORTUNE in speeding tickets.

  • Laurie November 22, 2011 (7:45 pm)

    G, what do you mean? Delridge has the potential to be beautiful and pedestrian-friendly, especially when there are bike lanes on it (or on 26th – either street).

  • Why Dump on Delridge Again? November 22, 2011 (9:43 pm)

    The Longfellow Creek Trail is already more beautiful than Delridge ever could be.
    And it is bike free and designed for pedestrians.

    Delridge is lined by cheap old inefficient dilapidated houses and even cheaper crappier newer multi-family ones.

    Beauty must be in the eye of the beholder.

  • Jim P. November 22, 2011 (10:21 pm)

    Just as long as they do something about the pavement in the roadway…I like the almost rural feel one gets in this part of Seattle but the road reminds me too much of something used by tractors and cattle. Riding the bus sometimes causes my kidneys to wind up somewhere north of my lungs along some patches of road.

    Repainting a few crosswalks would be nice too and some lane markers and parkway trimming in the areas where there’s no housing.

    A speed limit sign can’t cost *that* much to tack up on a light post as you come off the Indianapolis Speedway…err I mean the West Seattle Bridge.

  • Mel November 23, 2011 (1:52 am)

    I find this highly amusing:
    1) Anyone who believes Delridge needs traffic “calming” doesn’t actually pay attention to the traffic. Traffic JAMS, aka NON-moving traffic, are the future of Delridge. There’s precisely one block, i.e., southbound immediately off the WS Bridge, where traffic is a bit fast, but since things usually jam up at Andover, problem solved after that.
    2) The reason people don’t stop in Delridge? There’s nothing here to do! We’re not ZONED to have anything to do here! We have houses, condos, and soon a giant no-income apartment building to take us back socioeconomically to the dark ages of pre-2000. The only thing to stop for will be people crossing the street very slowly in the middle of the block.

  • Pete November 23, 2011 (7:46 am)

    There are some great comments here. Now is the time to have your say and give SDOT & DNDC your feedback. Get involved. Sitting on the sidelines and offering editorial comment is so very easy. Actually becoming invovled to make a difference in your community is something entirely different.
    What is your vision for the future of Delridge Way SW? If you have ideas how to improve traffic flow, make Delridge Way SW more pedestrian friendly, or to improve the look and feel of the neighborhood now is your opportunity to do that. Get involved in making your community better.

  • amalia November 23, 2011 (8:40 am)

    Mel, I invite you to ride my bike down Delridge and then come back and tell me it doesn’t need “calming.”

  • Mel November 23, 2011 (3:22 pm)

    I agree that riding a bike on a very busy street is scary. However, that doesn’t mean everyone’s speeding.

  • Down In Delridge November 24, 2011 (10:22 am)

    Hard to take seriously the guy commenting that people should get involved in Delridge. News flash, in case you missed it, the city is shoving another housing project into Delridge even though a whole bunch of Delridge people got involved and tried to stop it or at least slow or scale it down. Bottom line is that the message sent to people down in Delridge is that there is no point in getting involved when those that are well connected have a larger agenda and do not live here.

  • anonyme November 24, 2011 (1:11 pm)

    These same SDOT representatives have made hard core PROMISES in the past to improve other streets in West Seattle. It’s all BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. They never followed through on any of it, despite numerous promises of “next week, two more weeks, just a few more weeks” to “uh, never”. I’m also tired of huge amounts of money being thrown at the same neighborhoods again and again, while others decay without a cent.

  • alex November 29, 2011 (12:10 pm)

    This sounds like a great idea. Beautify the street and also help slow down the traffic. I too, have been passed in the middle lane by drivers when going the speed limit.
    The whole stretch of the Delridge corridor needs to be upzoned for multi-family/retail/mixed-use developments. It seems unpleasant to own a single-family home there, since the street is a major thoroughfare. I like what’s going in the “Downtown Delridge” section. We need more of that on the street to attract pedestrians and encourage a lively streetscape. The plans for the new mixed-use development near the Shell station is exactly what Delridge needs more of…Not those crappy townhouses with a fence facing Delridge. Bleh.
    More development will lead to more people living in the corridor, which will lead to more amenities/services/grocery stores. Just what the neighborhood needs!

Sorry, comment time is over.