Community-proposed projects, repaving update, more @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council’s first 2013 meeting

Big community participation at the first Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting of the year, with more than two dozen people crowding into a cozy conference room at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center last night. The agenda was weighted toward transportation topics — including the Bicycle Master Plan Update, community proposals for Bridging the Gap levy-funded grant money, and, kicking off the meeting, the latest on the Delridge repaving project:

(WSB photo from today – Delridge project pieces including manhole components have arrived)
DELRIDGE REPAVING, AFTER WEEK 1: Communications lead LeAnne Nelson and SDOT’s new paving-program manager Sue Byers opened with a quick update on the project, just finishing its first week. Nelson mentioned the changes made early on, including the 4-way stop at Barton/25th and the turn restrictions at Delridge/Trenton. She says it’s tentatively planned that the 2nd and 3rd weekends in February are when the two intersections (Delridge/Trenton and Delridge/Henderson) will be closed in both directions for work. Taking questions from those in attendance, the SDOT duo were asked about the Delridge/Trenton signal and why it hasn’t just been switched to 4-way flashing given the restrictions; they said they would have an engineer check on it. Cement grinding is now starting, the SDOT team noted, and this phase, they say, is still on track for completion around the end of February. (Updated detour map and other info is on this page of the city website.)

GRANT APPLICATIONS: Chair Mat McBride explained that the contenders are applying for a share of the last distribution from the past Bridging the Gap levy – though, he noted, a new Bridging the Gap levy is under consideration. Unlike some grant programs, there is no guarantee that any given district will have at least one project approved, it was explained; this presentation precedes a vote by member groups of which grant/s they will recommend for approval.

First project, Highland Park Greenway (route to make it easier for people to walk/bike). Craig Rankin made the presentation; co-sponsor Carolyn Stauffer, Highland Park Action Committee co-chair, was on hand too:
–Route would run between Roxbury and Myrtle on the south/north, between 16th and 10th on the east/west
–Schools, parks, churches are along the route
–Responding to a question, Carolyn said that some of what’s needed to make it a greenway is already there.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Second project, (5400 block) 23rd SW Drainage/Pedestrian Improvements. Patrick Baer and Aaron Jennings made the presentation:
-Location: The area is near the under-construction DESC Delridge Supportive Housing 66-unit complex and Boren school, currently home to K-5 STEM, as well as part of the Brandon Node business area – “it’s a little embarrassing to have the neighborhood adjoining the node be basically mud,” Jennings said.
-He also said the “extent of paving” on his street has been chip seal laid down about a decade ago. Though as of today the weather’s been dry for about four days, “there’s still water flowing down the street,” he explained.
–“Does the city know about this?” they were asked. The proposers believe it does – but nothing’s been done about the situation.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Third project: Olmsted Brothers’ Puget Boulevard/23rd SW (presented by Mike Dady).
Mapped out by the Olmsted Brothers, the fabled designers of Seattle’s historic park system.

–The current state of Puget Blvd. “is a disgrace,” Dady declared. He noted that homes were built without sidewalks, street trees, because city code at the time did not require it. The street is two blocks long from Alaska to Hudson and still has vacant lots on slopes, “all getting picked off by developers.” Dady proposes to bring it up to “complete street” standards – and hoisted a bike and cane to show that people who walk and ride can only do it in the middle of the street.
He also circulated a photo of a man going down the street in a wheelchair – against traffic – because there was no sidewalk.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Fourth project: Highland Park Way/Holden improvements (presented by Carolyn Stauffer).
–Route: “One of two ways out of West Seattle,” as Carolyn explained
–Signal or roundabout suggested, as well as new sidewalk (or sidewalk repair), crosswalk/s
–Stauffer said speed and other problems make it a dangerous intersection.
–Asked if the roundabout might not pose more of a challenge to pedestrian safety, Stauffer said she felt there would be ways to work around that.
–Chair McBride noted that “anecdotally, there seems to be a wreck or more per week at that intersection.”
–Read details of the proposal here.

Fifth project: Delridge and Findlay drainage improvements (presented by Pete Spalding and Steve Daschle):
–Same problems as the other drainage-improvement proposal – a continuation of it, really, the proposers note
–Replace failing wooden structures and connect into main drain
–Neighbors used to maintain – but that’s changed over the years.
–It’s not connected to the main drainage system.
–Concerns included whether this is an application related to impacts on the alley by the DESC project – for which the proposers sit on the Community Advisory Council – and “beyond the scope of what these grants should be funding.” It was suggested that instead of seeking a grant for levy funds, the District Council should consider pressing the city to take care of what is a long-neglected problem.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Sixth project: Brandon Green Superhighway. (Presented by Jake Vanderplas)
–This would allow people to get from Seaview to the West Duwamish Greenbelt via SW Brandon. It also connects to the 26th SW greenway, he noted.
–Currently, some of the city right-of-way along SW Brandon isn’t even usable by pedestrians
–“The vision is to be wide, have low-growing plants, paths, maybe ADA access,” explained Vanderplas. He says the only reason the right-of-way hadn’t been developed before is that “it’s too steep.”
–A concern was raised that the section between 30th and 34th might be too steep to be usable.
–26th and Brandon is a dangerous intersection, another person pointed out; and then it was noted that the intersection is slated for some improvements when work begins on the 26th greenway.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Seventh project: 26th SW Family Safety Sidewalk Project (presented by Meave Ellsworth and Jean Claude Derieux Cortes)
–“We’re a young family,” Ellsworth noted, saying that gave them a view into why many others want to come to this community and enjoy it.
–They were excited about their neighborhood – and then noticed what happened, for example, when it rained. She lauded North Delridge Neighborhood Council members for giving her advice on trying to do what she thought needed to be done on the street. She showed photos of the street with runoff, and cars parked over areas where oil would leak and leach into the watershed.
–Sidewalks would be built between Juneau and Brandon along 26th. “I understand it’s expensive and I have no idea how much it would cost, but …” She pointed out the recently completed 25th SW project using the same fund (with green stormwater drainage and sidewalks). The 26th greenway would stop before her street, she explained.
–Comments included a supporter saying this project is essential to make up for past neglect in the neighborhood. Ellsworth said the presentation was quick to make “because this is what I get up to every day. … I see a lot of opportunity for this community.”
–Read details of the proposal here.

BICYCLE MASTER PLAN UPDATE: It was almost a perfect segue as Sara Zora from SDOT was introduced right after the grant-application presentations. She said they have been hearing a lot from bicycle riders and want to hear more from non-riders, in hopes of encouraging more bicycle riding. Much can be read online, she said. Neighborhood greenways is a “huge” type of bicycle “facility,” she noted – about 200 miles of them are proposed for the city, “using residential streets for better bicycling and walking is a huge part of how we’re going to get people to ride bikes within their neighborhoods” – even if they don’t ride to work or shopping.

She said she wants people to envision that bicycling can be an important part of everyone’s daily life, even if they don’t ride for commuting – everyone means people of all ages and abilities. “We want people to recognize that riding a bike is a way to get around your neighborhood,” from kids through seniors. A draft network map is available for review through January 31st, she said – take a look at it and see what’s suggested for your neighborhood. Once the public-comment period closes, they’ll compile the responses and opinions.

The full bike master plan draft update will be out this summer, Zora said. That will launch another round of public comment, and they hope the city Council will adopt it toward summer’s end so that some of the projects can begin.

“We’re moving toward buffered bike lanes” with a little more separation, she said. That could reduce “dooring,” she said – particularly if the double-striped buffer was adjacent to the parking side of the parking lane.

Another way to separate them would be “cycle tracks” in the street, at an elevation raised from the rest of the traffic – maybe sidewalk height – she explained. (They’re proposed as blue lines on the map.) She said the options include having a cycle track that goes two ways on one side of the street, or cycle tracks that flow the same direction as other traffic on each side of the street. She invited everyone to share ideas with her and the rest of the city team.

Comments included whether the city might invest in more education – for example, the bike box installed at Delridge and Andover has just turned up without any such. Zora said that a high percentage of the comments they’ve received indeed had to do with people not knowing how to use or interact with the bicycle facilities, particularly new types such as bike boxes. (She referred to a video the city put online – but acknowledged it might be difficult for people to find, and said that one idea might be to incorporate bike-facility savvy into the driver’s test that people have to take to get licensed.)

Zora was also asked about bicycle access, and she said that’s something the city hasn’t figured out yet – “we have a lot of ideas about what we SHOULD be doing,” though.

DELRIDGE WAY PLANNING: Pete Spalding recapped talking with the city about the road’s future – from the north end of the paving project to the bridge. Even though there’s no money now, he said, if the community comes up with a plan and a request, they could pursue it being a “named project” in the next Bridging the Gap Levy. This could lead to a community forum in the latter half of March, where people could “just dream about what we want to see Delridge Way look like … nothing’s off the table.” He urged people to start “putting their thinking hats on.”

GATHERING OF NEIGHBORS: Michael Taylor-Judd noted that Saturday, May 4th, is the official date for the gathering (as has been noted at other neighborhood council meetings recently). He said the event needs more support from community councils and the District Councils – not a lot of meetings, but people to take on “specific tasks and really specific projects,” from designing a poster to updating the website to making phone calls for sponsorships from neighborhood businesses, and so on. “If you’re at all interested in helping us carry off this event,” he said, contact him – he’ll make more information available soon.

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, whose members represent community councils and other organizations from around eastern West Seattle, meets monthly on the third Wednesday, 7 pm, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

3 Replies to "Community-proposed projects, repaving update, more @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council's first 2013 meeting"

  • why_cause January 18, 2013 (9:09 am)

    I drive through the intersection of Delridge and Trenton multiply times a day and drivers are completely ignoring the no left sign on to Trenton there.

  • Parkgoer January 18, 2013 (9:34 pm)

    what happened to the cones that stopped people from turning left there. They have one small no turn sign.

  • LeAnne Nelson January 24, 2013 (1:06 pm)

    To help ensure drivers turn right only, when heading southbound on Delridge Way onto Trenton, crews this week painted several right-turn-only arrows on the pavement approaching the intersection. The cones previously placed were too easy to knock over or remove so it’s hoped that this solution is an effective one.

    Regarding the request for a 4-way flashing signal, we mentioned at the meeting that the signal remains in regular operation to protect pedestrians and their allotted time to cross the roadway. However, our signal engineer is monitoring the traffic flow – especially during peak hours – and will adjust signal timing as needed.

    LeAnne Nelson, SDOT

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