DELRIDGE PROJECT: Trees saved; diverters or ‘Stay Healthy Street’ for 26th SW; plus, the work that’s ahead

Three components to this week’s update on the Delridge road work paving the way for RapidRide H Line:

(WSB photo)

TREES SAVED: Two weeks ago, we reported on neighbors’ campaign to save the big trees outside Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, after the project team made a late-in-the-plan decision to remove them. SDOT told us that after neighborhood outcry, they were working on design revisions in hopes of saving them – and this week’s project bulletin says they succeeded:

This design change included a lane reduction for vehicles and reducing the size of the planted median. Additionally, we were able to extend the curb next to the trees even further than previously, which is better for tree health. We are not always able to preserve trees on project corridors and have already needed to remove other trees on Delridge Way SW. In all, we are replanting around 150 new trees on the corridor with only 6 planned removals.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Regarding the “lane reduction,” SDOT clarifies in response to our followup question that it’s a lane WIDTH reduction, not a removal of a lane.

DIVERTERS OR STAY HEALTHY STREET? Another late-in-the-process change that drew neighborhood pushback, once revealed, was shelved – but is now back on the table: We reported on this two months ago – a plan for “diverters” at two intersections where the 26th SW greenway crosses, at Brandon and at Genesee. Here’s the flyer neighbors received over the summer:

SDOT told us at the time they had dropped the idea – but now it’s been revived, and SDOT is running a survey right now asking about it (with other alternatives), open through October 14th, and plans an online community meeting Wednesday (October 7th) at 6:30 pm. The survey goes into extensive detail about three options SDOT says are now being considered: #1, the previous diverter plan; #2, a “modified” diverter plan described as “for people driving, 26th Ave SW would be an exit-only street at the intersections of SW Brandon St and SW Genesee St.”; #3, turn 26th between Brandon and Genesee into a “no-through-vehicle-traffic” Stay Healthy Street. The survey link is here; the meeting link is here.

OTHER WORK AHEAD: As for what’s happening on the project right now – remember that SW Oregon is closed east of Delridge this weekend, and there’ll be another closure next Friday through Sunday (October 9-11). Also of note, this week crews will “begin demolishing the roadway between SW Hudson St and Puget Blvd SW on the west side.” The full list of planned work ahead is in this week’s bulletin here.

19 Replies to "DELRIDGE PROJECT: Trees saved; diverters or 'Stay Healthy Street' for 26th SW; plus, the work that's ahead"

  • bolo October 3, 2020 (11:53 pm)

    Wait– what? I was all for saving the trees until it entailed a lane reduction. Changed my mind. No way. We need a do-over.

  • SpicyCurry October 4, 2020 (6:50 am)

    Be careful what you ask for!!

  • Joan October 4, 2020 (8:00 am)

    Wow! Kudos to the tree protectors!

  • Birds and the bees please October 4, 2020 (8:17 am)

    A win for the trees!

    The extra curb/sidewalk space and trees will be good for pedestrians, maybe some bee friendly flower boxes and benches can go in there too.

  • dcn October 4, 2020 (10:26 am)

    I love those trees, particularly in fall, but I’m also worried about the lane reduction. This is an incredibly congested area in the morning rush commute (before the bridge broke), and was already one lane each way for cars, with a bus lane northbound. Which lane did they get rid of, the bus lane? Maybe they are starting the bus lane further north, past the trees? It would be nice to see a drawing of what they are now planning. 

    • WSB October 4, 2020 (11:43 am)

      I will be following up on Monday.

  • Stevie J October 4, 2020 (12:52 pm)

    Definition of cognitive dissonance: saying you love trees and also want more lanes for polluting the planet with your automobile in the same breath.

    • dcn October 4, 2020 (5:29 pm)

      It’s not cognitive dissonance at all. First, I didn’t say I wanted more lanes, but we need at least one car lane to let traffic through. Second, minimizing traffic congestion on Delridge will do more to reduce carbon in the atmosphere than reducing mobility to a standstill. The trees will be healthier if cars are not idling right next to them. 

      • Joe Z October 4, 2020 (9:20 pm)

        More lanes = more cars = more CO2 emissions
        Most cars these days turn off when idling. 

        • Foop October 6, 2020 (9:05 am)

          this comment section epitomizes west seattle for me. We want trees, but only when they don’t block my views or my roads. Getting upset after supporting saving these trees because of a lane reduction? Take the bus, ride a bike, walk. Fewer lanes means slower speeds, safer roads for everyone, more access for pedestrians. Prioritize mass transit over single occupancy vehicles. More people are capable of walking than those with drivers licenses, and most people don’t work out of their vehicles. Let’s build a system that gets cars off roads and makes it easier for those that do drive for a living. And let’s preserve some nature while we are at it. Yeesh.

          • dcn October 6, 2020 (3:00 pm)

            Sigh. Once again, my comment was due to the fact that Delridge is already only one lane each direction for cars. So, unless they want to turn a major arterial into a one-way street for one lane of cars going southbound, then the only lane that can be removed in this area is the north-bound bus lane (which will increase congestion somewhat). That’s why I’m curious about seeing a drawing of their plan. I’d rather have the bus lane removed here than see the trees cut down, but I’m wondering if that’s their plan. I don’t think they can remove all north-bound car traffic, since not everyone who uses Delridge can bike or bus to their destinations, as has been rehashed endlessly over the years.

          • WSB October 6, 2020 (3:08 pm)

            I’m still waiting for a reply to my request to see the revised design and will publish that as soon as I get it.

          • WSB October 6, 2020 (4:08 pm)

            Update: The SDOT bulletin was badly worded. Project spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth just replied to us, “Just to clarify – the lane width and median width near the trees are being reduced. We are not removing lanes. These width reductions allow us to keep the trees.”

  • Kyle October 4, 2020 (2:15 pm)

    Would love to hear the criteria SDOT used to flip flop the tree decision. Do they just listen to the loudest voice? This seems like a case study in unintended consequences.

  • Kathy October 4, 2020 (3:46 pm)

    Stay Healthy Street – make it happen on 26th Ave SW between SW Andover and SW Genesee streets please. Since they are eliminating the bike lane on Delridge Way we need a safe alternative for bike commuters without having to contend with a lot of cut through motor vehicle traffic.

  • anonyme October 6, 2020 (7:22 am)

    It’s not really a case of “listening to the loudest voice” when the trees were not supposed to be removed in the first place.  SDOT has proved to be a very poor tree steward.  It is unfortunate that public outcry is the only way to counter poor planning and erratic decision-making.

  • JES October 6, 2020 (12:33 pm)

    These diverters would make it incredibly difficult to get to and from my house on 26th and Brandon. If there were other blocks to divert around, but the giant park and golf course make that impossible. If this was scraped, how is it back on the table??

    • Kathy October 6, 2020 (3:36 pm)

      I think the story shows pictures of the originally planned diverters which were objected to. The survey had pictures of an alternative to the diverters and asked for people to vote on the two diverter options and/or Stay Healthy Street closure. I don’t know where else you can go to see the alterative since I can no longer get into the survey after taking it. If you don’t like the diverter shown in the story, you should definitely take the survey and vote against it.

  • alkiobserver October 6, 2020 (12:57 pm)

    Excellent! Glad the city wisely deferred to the will of those that voiced outcry. It would be nice if they always did that. Neighbors that go to the trouble to voice opposition deserve to get their way. Mass transit was the way of the pre-pandemic and pre-work from home world.

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