(From WSB files, rough concept of proposed Highland Park roundabout)
2:34 PM: Though the city had hopes that the state would say “yes” to funding the Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout proposal, the answer’s in, and it’s “no.” After we got a tip from neighborhood advocate Michele Witzki, SDOT’s Jim Curtin confirmed the rejection:
We did not receive funding for the roundabout at Highland Park Way and SW Holden St. We’re reaching out to the granting agency to learn why our project was selected for funding. As we currently understand the situation, the project did not meet collision thresholds that the granting agency was looking for and our local matching funds were insufficient relative to the project cost.
We have briefed Councilmember Herbold’s office on the news and we intend to discuss our options for this project soon. In the meantime, SDOT continues to advance design with existing funds (we have $500K for planning and design) and will continue to pursue funding to enhance this intersection.
We have a message out to the councilmember asking for comment. The roundabout also had previously drawn support for Mayor Jenny Durkan, who said during her Highland Park visit in September that a “Plan B” would be found if the state said no. And the topic came up in our recent conversation with State Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon and Eileen Cody – published here last night – that they might be able to pursue a funding request via legislative action, if the grant application was denied (which now it has been). The city had previously committed some funding, including design dollars discussed a year and a half ago. And SDOT heard about traffic-safety concerns again at a Highland Park meeting just a month ago. The roundabout idea goes back at least six years.
ADDED 5:48 PM: Comment from Councilmember Herbold, in response to our inquiry: “It’s definitely disappointing news. We’ve been told that a combination of a larger local match and reducing the size of the project will make the project more competitive. We’ve got $500,000 of the City of Seattle’s match so far. I’ll be looking at ways to increase what I’ve already got earmarked in the City CIP. I understand that the community may be pursuing a Your Voice Your Choice proposal as well.”