By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Shut down the busiest street in the city, and suddenly numerous other streets have to deal with unprecedented traffic trouble.
10 months after the West Seattle Bridge closure, SDOT is still working on ways to handle that – including the Home Zone program, a major topic at Wednesday night’s meeting of HPAC, the neighborhood coalition for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge. After community conversations and walking tours, draft plans have just debuted, and it’s time for your feedback, via a new survey.
Here’s a video recording of the meeting. First, what you need to know about what’s being proposed:
RECONNECT WEST SEATTLE/HOME ZONE: Danielle Friedman from the Department of Neighborhoods and Shauna Walgren, Sara Zora, and David Burgesser from SDOT were there. Walgren started the Home Zone presentation. She showed what they found in their investigation of side streets:
For south Highland Park, here’s the draft plan, showing where traffic-calming features including speed bumps (humps) and painted curb bulbs would be added:
Walgren pointed out that 15th SW gets a lot of use – 2,000 cars a day. SW Barton will become a Neighborhood Greenway, which was described as long-planned, this year.
For the Riverview section of the plan, SDOT’s David Burgesser showed that draft:
In particular, SDOT reps explained, SW Holden west of 16th needs to be made more like a neighborhood street, since it was never meant to be an arterial, though it is getting that kind of use right now. There may also be future Seattle Public Utilities projects in the area, like “natural drainage.” At Dumar/Orchard, they’ll add radar speed signs and upgrade the Austin transit stop. There’ll also be speed humps on 12th SW along Riverview Playfield, and there’ll be a new walkway along the south side of the playfield.
Here’s the draft plan for north Highland Park:
They’re evaluating Neighborhood Greenway route options for that area.
Now it’s time for your feedback. A community survey just opened yesterday and will run through February 15th. You can answer it here (four language options). The timeline after that:
And if you want SDOT-provided yard signs in the meantime to remind drivers to slow down, stop for pedestrians, etc.? email@example.com is where to email your request.
“It’s a really robust plan,” commented HPAC/HPIC’s Kay Kirkpatrick.
Attendees brought up trouble spots around the area; if they don’t appear to be addressed by the plan, the SDOT reps said, bring them up in the survey. One concern was no-through-traffic Stay Healthy Streets and some non-positive effects, such as resulting traffic pressure on nearby streets. The signage changes haven’t made a difference, said residents. The designation of part of SW Trenton, which was brought up in the early going as problematic, still is. The city will launch a survey about that separately, Burgesser noted.
Other questions included: Why speed bumps on 12th instead of 11th, since the latter is more used for biking and walking? Also, given the traffic circles on 12th, are the speed humps really necessary? They’re very effective, was the reply, especially considering how long the blocks are.
Note that these plans will not result in a postal mailing to residents – the SDOT team claimed there was no money for that – so if you’re in the area, make sure your neighbors know about the survey.
Two other shorter discussions with guests at Wednesday night’s meeting:
WESTWOOD-HIGHLAND PARK NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING: Janet Shull from the city gave a quick overview of what’s ahead. She’s from the city Office of Planning and Community Development. Though a citywide update on the Comprehensive Plan will be launched this year, this is not part of that. It’ll be similar to the North Delridge Action Plan and Duwamish Valley Action Plan. A city team is being formed now, from multiple departments, and “team-building” will happen over the next few months. The entire planning effort will last a year and a half to two years. At the heart of it, a year spent planning key strategies – and deciding what outcomes are desired. But if something needs to be done along the way, it won’t have to wait “until a formal plan.” You can email her with thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. A webpage for the project will be launched within a few weeks and it’ll include a signup for email updates.
POLICE UPDATE: Southwest Precinct night-shift Lt. Chris Johnson updated the Highland Park assault case (the suspect was arrested hours later – here’s our followup from Thursday). Overall, operationally, he said “We’re doing the best we can with what we have” and mentioned, as he had during the Alki Community Council meeting last week (WSB coverage here), staffing woes. “I’m not going to sugar-coat it to you guys.” They are hiring, but “the hiring process is slow” – a year between offer and hitting the streets; training takes time. He invited questions and community concerns. One person living on the south side of Westcrest Park mentioned a problem house where there had been a shooting a few weeks ago. He stressed, every time you see something happen, call 911. “When you hammer these little problems, they don’t become big problems.” How do you get through the 911 operator, who might dismiss the call? Stress “I want to talk to an officer in person” … because “then they have to put the call through.” If you still have trouble, then ask to speak to the dispatcher’s supervisor. If they don’t get calls, they don’t know what’s going on, and they might further lose resources. “The citizens of Seattle have to say, no more, (and that) they want their streets back.” Another question was about LEAD coming to the Southwest Precinct. Contrary to what’s been said before by city and other reps, Lt. Johnson said he hadn’t heard anything about that. Aaron Burkhalter from the Public Defender Association, which is closely involved with LEAD, was among the attendees and says they’ve talked with the mayor’s office and received a few referrals.
NEXT MEETING: HPAC usually meets on fourth Wednesdays, online, at 7 pm. Watch hpacws.org for updates.