The plan got only a vague mention during Wednesday night’s briefing on the citywide SHS program for the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Boards, and SDOT didn’t clarify it further on followup.
It was early May when the city announced the north end of Beach Drive, along Constellation Park, would get the designation. A few days later, the west end of Alki Avenue SW was added. In a usage-comparison chart shown at Wednesday’s meeting, the Beach Drive/Alki Avenue stretch was the most used, the two other West Seattle stretches – High Point/Sunrise Heights and Highland Park/Puget Ridge – among the least:
The two non-coastal West Seattle Stay Healthy Streets’ futures are not final yet either – SDOT’s SHS program leader Summer Jawson told the boards that the city has 26 miles of Stay Healthy Streets now and will make “up to 20” of those miles permanent by summertime. So, she said, “community engagement” is ahead both for those streets and Beach Drive/Alki Avenue SW. as well as the others round the city.
She shared results from last year’s SHS online survey, including how respondents said they use the streets:
Results, Jawson said, also indicated the confusion over when it’s OK to drive on a SHS or KMS, given the “street closed” signage. So what next? Jawson said they’re working “to make sure we’ve got (SHS) in the right place moving into a post-pandemic situation” – for example, with more students returning to in-person learning, how will they deal with streets that school buses need to access? In general, here’s how they’re going to decide what becomes permanent:
The Alki Point stretch, however, is something of a special case, the SDOT reps said. “We’re going to talk more about Alki Point,” which is shown as a neighborhood greenway ‘eventually” in the Bicycle Master Plan, they said (though it’s not on the “implementation plan” running through 2024), so that might be one option for its future – keeping it a KMS and making it a greenway. They said “community-based design” is the next step, with other options including keeping it the way it is now, or splitting the street with a one-way vehicle-traffic lane and a walking/riding/rolling lane. “We’ll look at a couple different alternatives.”
The day after the meeting, we asked SDOT to elaborate on the timeline and process for the Alki Point decision, seeking more specifics – would the “outreach” entail a meeting? a survey? or? Spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg, who had also been at the boards’ meeting, would only say, “We are working on possible street concepts and developing the outreach scope,” and that the “outreach” would start in the first quarter – sometime before the end of March.