From last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting:
SDOT’S ADMIRAL WAY PROJECT UPDATE: SDOT’s Dawn Schellenberg and Sam Woods returned with an update, less than two weeks before the restriping of Admiral Way is set to start. Schellenberg reiterated the goals – to lower speeds, reduce collisions, make it “comfortable” for people to ride bicycles – and that the project has been a year and a half in the making. She recapped the final version of the plan, announced via e-mail in July, including where the center turn lane will be kept and where it will not. Another mailer is going out soon, she said, before pausing for Q & A.
“Why did the city spend money repainting parts of that corridor” before the current striping is set to be changed? asked ANA’s Mark Jacobs. “That seems like such a waste of money – literally within the past month they’ve been out repainting.”
Schellenberg said that repainting was done in June, and that it was part of SDOT’s annual restriping done by sectors. “Rather than leave the striping undone and leave potential confusion, we let the striping continue.” Woods added, “We use a new technique (to remove the markings) that does less damage to the roadway.” Jacobs and another attendee said they both liked the center turn lane along the entire stretch. “It’s unfathomable,” said the attendee. “All over the city, you’re putting in two-way turn lanes … here you’re taking them out.” Woods pointed out that they are leaving the left-turn “pockets” at the places where they counted the most vehicles turning.
Schellenberg reiterated that while bike ridership is not high right now, the point of projects like this is to encourage and make possible more of it.
Another attendee said she felt that slowing down traffic is very important to make the road safer, particularly for pedestrians.
What about controlling bicycle riders’ speed? Woods and Schellenberg said their data didn’t show that as a major problem, but they would be sure to watch and evaluate.
ANA secretary John Noonan asked what metrics would be watched in the next year or so to see how this is working, once it’s in place. Woods said they would look at the speed, collision, traffic volumes, and bicycle-use volumes. “Obviously the two goals everyone agreed on is lower speeds and reducing crashes.” There’s been a 28 percent increase in crashes just while they’ve been working on the project, she pointed out. Has the volume increased? asked Jacobs. Schellenberg said they would want to reduce the volume of crashes regardless of that.
When will the studies be done? Schellenberg said usually about a year after changes are implemented.
If data doesn’t show that it works, will it be changed back? Jacobs asked.
“That’s an option,” Schellenberg replied.
After that, they discussed the construction schedule, first noting – as reported here last week – that the lane markings have been laid out. “The work is scheduled to begin the week of September 26th – if weather is good, it will take approximately three days, but we are saying we have the whole week in case there needs to be some shifting.” Parking will be restricted on each side between 7 am and 5 pm during the work so that people can continue to get through. The contractor is thinking they’ll start on the east end of Admiral, work down the north side to 63rd, and then go back up the other side. But that is subject to change.
The project cost: $300,000.
SIDE QUESTION: Who’s accountable for the road patching done after construction projects dig up sections of road? Schellenberg said SDOT has a program under way to address that but she didn’t have full details handy. “It’s super-frustrating for us as well.”
VEHICLE-NOISE STUDY: Jesse Robbins, a private citizen – not affiliated with any government agencies – said his goal “is to better understand how neighborhoods and cities deal with and experience noise pollution from vehicles with after-market mufflers.” He said his project is very specifically limited to “the people who put (those mufflers) on their vehicles to make loud noise,” both cars and motorcycles. He’s talked to neighborhood organizations in Kent, Renton, Lynnwood, and other communities, and to the staff of Councilmembers Lisa Herbold, Sally Bagshaw, and Bruce Harrell. He said Bagshaw is currently drafting legislation to deal with noise pollution. He also has spoken with police departments. Why is he doing this? For one, “I hate being woken up at 2 am by a loud car … noise pollution at all hours of the day … leads to anxiety, stress, depression, inability to focus, sleep deprivation …”
He reiterated that he and a friend are doing this out of concern about noise pollution and its effect. First, they are trying to find out where this is a problem, and how much of a problem it is. One challenge – many people don’t bother reporting it to police, and seem “resigned to their fate,” so because police aren’t hearing about vehicle noise, there’s no evidence there’s a problem. “So here I am trying to understand if this is a problem.”
ANA member Diane Vincent said this topic came up at the North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting one night earlier and that an SPD rep said there was little they could do about it unless an officer witnessed and could measure it.
The discussion veered off to a variety of noise issues from there, and it was also pointed out that “caravanning” of loud vehicles is an increasing problem. Robbins brought it back to: How much of a problem is this, when and where, and do you want the city to spend more time on it?
Groups of motorcyclists on Alki can be heard even in Admiral, it was pointed out. (Robbins said he had already spoken with the Alki Community Council.) The discussion meandered again to other noise concerns, such as emergency vehicles.
Robbins’ next question was, is it affecting your quality of life? “Not a big deal” was the most-common response. But one person said it has gotten much worse in the past two years and she would like to see more enforcement.
Bottom line, Robbins said, what he is working on is trying to head off the fact that this will get worse “if people are not held accountable” for it.
CONCERT SERIES: “We’re still looking for somebody to step forward” to take over Summer Concerts at Hiawatha, announced president Wymer. Katy Walum, the former ANA president who founded the series, announced at this year’s last concert (Caspar Babypants on August 25th) that she was stepping aside from that volunteer role after eight years. (If you are interested in helping – firstname.lastname@example.org is how to reach ANA leadership.)
ADOPT-A-STREET: Eight people volunteered during the last Adopt-A-Street event on Labor Day weekend, Wymer announced.
SEATTLE SUMMER PARKWAYS: The big “car-free day” event on Alki is coming up September 25th, the group was reminded. As reported here previously, the day will start with the Orca Half (marathon) and then the SSS activities start at 11 am. A variety of groups are participating, and the Department of Neighborhoods will be giving out free ice cream 1-3 pm.
UPDATING MAILING LIST AND WEBSITE: Looking for ANA information online and/or via e-mail? ANA secretary Noonan is working on transferring over to a new e-mail service, and will be updating its website too. Once they’re ready for new subscribers, we’ll publish an update, so you can sign up for the mailing list if you’re not already on it.
The Admiral Neighborhood Association meets second Tuesdays at 7 pm, at The Sanctuary at Admiral.