FOLLOWUP: Alki Point’s future as a Stay Healthy/Keep Moving Street dependent on ‘outreach’

When – and how – will SDOT decide whether the no-through-traffic Keep Moving/Stay Healthy Street around Alki Point will be permanent?

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.

38 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Alki Point's future as a Stay Healthy/Keep Moving Street dependent on 'outreach'"

  • Kyle January 9, 2021 (9:29 pm)

    Any idea on how these “users/mile” number are counted? Are they taking sample days and counting people? Is it hopefully more scientific than that?

  • Darius January 9, 2021 (10:05 pm)

    There is just so much of our public space dedicated to cars and parking. How is it remotely contrarian to dedicate a small fraction of the street space as shared (not even dedicated) between pedestrians and cars? Particularly in such residential and trafficked areas, it’s a necessity. This is a wonderful program and should be celebrated and expanded.

    • StopCuttingDownTrees January 10, 2021 (3:04 am)

      This stretch at Alki has ALWAYS been open to all: those using bicycles, pedestrians, skateboarders, motorists, and parking. Now it’s restricted and not open to motorists and those who wish to park their vehicles. The exception is the privileged few who can afford to live on that street who can continue to park in front of their view-homes. SDOT, at Mayor Durkan’s orders, has effectively turned it into a private road free of charge to those who own homes there.

      • Foop January 11, 2021 (4:00 pm)

        You can drive on and to the street and park there to enjoy. I fail to understand how not being able to drive thru hurts you in anyway. 63rd is quicker anyhow, and alki still has viewsm also it’s not strictly closes to cars, so your narrative falls apart rather quickly.

    • Eldorado January 10, 2021 (9:17 am)

      I agree, but this is a cherished spot for all… walkers, bikers, skaters and drivers alike. I think the compromise would be to make it one way traffic to avoid the log jams and in addition to widening the waterside sidewalk, thereby creating more space for walkers. 

  • Don January 9, 2021 (11:38 pm)

    Streets are for motor vehicles, bikes and other wheeled transportation.  If someone wants to walk use the sidewalk.

    • Lbalm January 10, 2021 (6:28 am)

      During the pandemic the sidewalks don’t allow enough space to socially distance. I find myself walking in the street in many areas that aren’t even designated as Stay Healthy Streets. Other pedestrians often aren’t wearing masks (still) or walk in a group that spreads across the whole sidewalk and don’t seem to know to move to the right for oncoming pedestrians. The sidewalks in busy areas weren’t wide enough even before the pandemic. 

    • MM January 10, 2021 (8:20 am)

      You are 👍👍👍right on Don!!!  I totally agree.

    • Eldorado January 10, 2021 (9:13 am)

      I’ll drink to that!

    • Ryan Packer January 10, 2021 (9:38 am)

      24% of Seattle streets do not have sidewalks.

      • StopCuttingDownTrees January 10, 2021 (3:46 pm)

        Regardless, the Alki location we’re talking about has ample sidewalks. Plus, it’s hard to “stay healthy” if you’re struck by a delivery truck because you’re walking in the middle of the Stay Healthy Street.

        • WSB January 10, 2021 (4:05 pm)

          No, actually, it does not. The water side of Constellation Park is particularly narrow – to pass someone at 6′, one person would have to go into the street. If you haven’t been there, see Google Street View. Everyone can have their opinions on whether SHS are merited, but it’s a fact that passing at at least 6′ is tough on many sidewalks (we walk in a non-scenic, entirely residential area and at least once each walk have to go into the street because someone is headed our way on both sides of the street). The water side on the Alki Ave stretch is narrow in spots too (brings back memories of the battle over installation of that sidewalk 13 years ago) … TR

          • StopCuttingDownTrees January 10, 2021 (9:20 pm)

            Sidewalks exist on both sides of the Alki Stay Healthy Street. If pedestrians use the right sidewalk for one direction and the left sidewalk for the other direction of travel, they’d have an entire 2-lane street keeping them socially-distanced. Simple signage can accomplish that.

          • zark00 January 11, 2021 (12:10 pm)

            Seems like it should be easy enough to have human beings walk on one side heading one direction and the other side heading the other direction.  We’re handing out private streets to the richest residents because people can’t tell left from right?

          • Keep to the Right Side of the Sidewalk January 11, 2021 (1:43 pm)

            People come from all over, of all ages, ethnicities, and incomes, not just residents, to walk along Beach, and they walk by the water side of the street because that’s the most scenic. This is a matter of a sidewalk that’s not wide enough for all citizens and visitors from other countries. 

  • namercury January 10, 2021 (1:26 am)

    There should
    be a basic review of the “Keep Moving/Stay Healthy
    program. To my knowledge, there has never been a thorough public
    review considering whether we should have a “Keep Moving/Stay Healthy Street”
    program at all.  The review which is the
    subject of this blog begins with the bad assumption that we have the program;
    now how should we implement it.  This is
    in effect “putting the cart before the horse”.  

    • Don_Brubeck January 10, 2021 (9:32 am)

      The counts, the surveys and the outreach are part of a basic and thorough review of the experiments to see where and how they are working and whether or not they are having negative impacts as well as positive impacts. Some seem to be very well used. Others hardly any use at all. First you have to try something. Then you can review it and change it, end it, or continue it. The experiment is the horse. The review is the cart.

    • Lola January 14, 2021 (11:04 am)

      Namecury,Thank you for your explanation.  Apparently I ruffle too many feathers on here when I explain why we should not have these Healthy Safe Streets.  It should be put before the Public but we all know how Our Mayor and Seattle City Council does stuff around here.  

  • Lola January 10, 2021 (4:49 am)

    Now that we have made these safe streets for walkers, all walkers, runners and such think that every road is a Safe Street to walk in.  I encounter it daily on my way to work and it is entirely getting to be too much.  If nobody is on the sidewalk then walk on it not in the street.  There is plenty of outdoor space to take your walk that you do not have to walk in the street im-peading drivers to now have to watch out for you.  Many people who live down in the area by Alki need to use the streets with their cars to get home, and should not have to worry about dirty looks or yelled at that they are not supposed to go down that street.  Get rid of the Safe Streets Please!

    • KM January 10, 2021 (12:03 pm)

      It wouldn’t be a stay healthy streets article without Lola complaining that she has to watch out for other people while driving! VVVRRROOOOOMMMM!

      • Lola January 10, 2021 (3:42 pm)

        Km,Looks like you like to do the same and complain about a comment that someone does not agree with you.  I should not have to make sure that I am not running over someone at o dark early morning hours because they feel the need to walk down the middle of the street.  This pandemic has created havoc with Pedestrians and Cars now.  Why should I have to fight for my right to drive down a street that my tax dollars pay for?  As Mark stated below it does not look like they took in to consideration anybody but the Pandemic Stricken walkers.  I have many friends who walk, Jog and exercise all over WS and not one of them has ever complained that they do not have enough room to do this activity on.

        • Lagartija Nick January 10, 2021 (8:45 pm)

          Lola, this has got to be the most tone deaf self absorbed comment I have ever seen on this blog. EVERYONE pays taxes to maintain public streets, that includes walkers, joggers, and bikers. AND every time you get behind the wheel you should be paying attention to other users whether it’s dark and raining or not. Get over yourself.

          • Foop January 11, 2021 (4:05 pm)

            I’d bet lola is one of the many drivers who don’t yield to me at crosswalks, even the marked with a crossing sign, in my daily walks. Or maybe that drive that turned into the road I was already crossing. Spare me if I don’t pity drivers around here, as a walker, driver, and cyclist.

  • Phil January 10, 2021 (7:13 am)

    There should be more community outreach before a final decision. Never heard of a single meeting in West Seatte. Cannot believe Alki is so popular with the bridge being out. I’m on Alki alot and don’t see that many people. How and when do they do a count?

  • Shell January 10, 2021 (8:43 am)

    Just remember that there are thousands of people that live within that triangle of blocked streets that own cars and need to get in and out. So it will never be free of cars.

  • PleaseSirMayIWalkBy January 10, 2021 (9:35 am)

    This will be an unpopular opinion but you shouldn’t be allowed to close streets without engaging in a formal process because you are impacting thousands of residents, motorists and those visiting the area. Are these decision being made equitably? Why are select residents on Alki more deserving of waterfront property without traffic when just one block away others are being subjected to the increased traffic and parking? This is a form of favoritism that is not surprising lavished on those who are more affluent and have the means to advocate for themselves and their property values. Maybe they can start charging us peasants for walking rights through the street? Oh that’s right, they already are in the form of taxes. 

    • Mark Schletty January 10, 2021 (12:58 pm)

      They are not allowed to close them this way. City ordinance and SDOT directives require a thorough impact and input process. They have a process for appeal. Months ago I filed a legal formal appeal of the Alki closing. I followed the exact process required and cited all the appropriate City Codes.  I cited where the City was in violation and my demand for the City and SDOT to cease with the closure until proper required process was followed.  This formal appeal was sent to the SDOT, the Mayor,  the entire City Council and the City Attorney. To this date I have received no reply from the SDOT or the City. Not even a notice of receipt. Herbold did respond after a couple months but offered no help or resolution proposal. The City Attorney just dumped it back on the SDOT.  I still hope the City will follow its own requirements and allow for a thorough study of the necessity of this closure including broad citizen input. This particular closing affects both a public street and a public park and open equal access thereto. 

      • Foop January 11, 2021 (4:06 pm)

        The. Streets. Are. Not. Closed. Or did they not teach reading comprehension at west seattle high?

    • alki_2008 January 11, 2021 (1:35 am)

      There are numerous streets that were closed for the program and they aren’t just in affluent areas.  And it wasn’t just residents of Alki Ave/Beach Dr that wanted the street closed, and a fair number will not support it if the outcome is that the street becomes a one-way.

      What residents on that stretch, especially the Beach Dr side, do like is the lessening of car groups parking and being loud on the water side – but that could be reduced just from the bridge closure. Or if the police would come out and move them along when it’s 2am and the music is blaring, but those nuisance calls don’t get addressed on the un-closed Alki Beach area either.

      • BeachLover January 11, 2021 (9:00 am)

        Living near the Junction is cars with loud music all day long but our streets aren’t being closed despite the fact that thousands of people walk through these side streets every single day. Also, this problem didn’t arise after you bought your waterfront home, it has existed for years, and now you want the view and to limit access to it for others. Those others being the “bridge & tunnel” crowd who apparently don’t deserve the same access. If you want to address this issue go through the right process so the city can pass an ordinance limiting loud music, but you can’t indiscriminantly restrict access.  

  • Please Walk on the Right Side January 10, 2021 (10:26 am)

    PLEASESIRMAYIWALKBY “Why are select residents on Alki more deserving of waterfront property without traffic when just one block away others are being subjected to the increased traffic and parking?”Ask SDOT, that’s who made the decision which streets would be selected, not the residents who live there. If you look at the SDOT website, affluence is not one of the criteria in their selection process. 

  • Kathy January 10, 2021 (1:11 pm)

    Technically, if you walk in the street to get around crowded sidewalks, you could be cited for jaywalking.  It is mind boggling the amount of whining by people who say they are defending their right to just drive past Constellation Park over the right of people trying to walk to it . There would normally be only one legal crossing for pedestrians at 64th Ave SW on this long stretch of Beach Drive to the end of the south beach. You want to take away the protection that SDOT has provided by making it a Keep Moving Street? That is just shameless. You say jaywalking is not enforced, well speeding and drag racing are not enforced either, with much worse potential consequences.

  • CarDriver January 10, 2021 (4:42 pm)

    Kathy.  People cross the street all the time. They wait for any passing cars to go by and walk across.  If there’s a packed sidewalk my solution has always been to look for any car’s coming and wait for them to go by then walk around the crowd. I’ve found that it’s really not complicated and it’s really easy to not impact car’s,bikes or yourself or the crowd on the sidewalk.  

  • Kathy January 10, 2021 (4:58 pm)

    You mean play frogger. Because that is what it was before through traffic was restricted. Thanks.

  • Robin January 10, 2021 (5:16 pm)

    We all need to remember why the streets were closed in the first place; the pandemic.  Hopefully this situation will go away in the near future and there will no longer be the need for social distancing.

  • namercury January 11, 2021 (2:15 am)

    The “Keep Moving/Stay Healthy Street” program is being railroaded through by SDOT without adequate required public involvement and explanation of funding.  On October 7th 2020, I mailed letters (snail mail) individually addressed to Mayor Durkan and Councilmember Alex Pedersen, Chair of the Transportation and Utilities Committee with copy to Councilmember Herbold objecting to the program and asking for justification for SDOT spending money on this program considering the limitations on funding of park/recreation activities by SDOT considering that Washington State Constitution Article II, Section 40 strictly limits uses of transportation/road/street funding to transportation/road/street activities.  I followed up with letters dated November 19th 2020 and January 4th 2021 reminding the addressees that I have received no response and that I expected a response.   Apparently “Mark Schletty” has similarly objected to SDOT process and received no response.  See “Mark Schletty January10, 2021 (12:58 PM)” comment above. 

  • zark00 January 11, 2021 (12:18 pm)

    @ Kathy – the Seattle jaywalking laws are actually only for unsafely going into the street when vehicles are coming. It’s legal to cross any street in Seattle, if a crosswalk is not present, as long as you don’t hinder motor vehicle traffic in any way.

  • zark00 January 11, 2021 (12:26 pm)

    @ PleaseSirNot an unpopular opinion at all, the majority, by a huge margin, or West Seattle residents do not want the stay healthy streets, do not use the stay healthy streets, and find them far more of a nuisance than a benefit.  The added traffic to surrounding streets is a huge decrease in safety, it’s becoming untenable.  Everyone who lives on a street NEXT to a stay healthy street is suffering.  People who live ON stay healthy streets are freeloaders, expecting their neighbors to foot the bill for their special private street.  It’s a complete slap in the face to 99% of West Seattle residents.  West Seattle is FAR more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists with the Stay Healthy streets than without. Unless you are one of the elite who live on a special private street.

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