By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
More than 70 locations for speed humps/cushions are part of the final plans for “Home Zone” traffic-calming in Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge neighborhoods besieged by detouring drivers since the West Seattle Bridge closed a year ago.
THE PLANS: First, the definition of Home Zone:
SDOT did traffic counts at more than 39 locations and took three walking tours while coming up with the draft plan presented in January. They also offered a survey that brought 542 responses. 59 percent of respondents felt the draft plan was missing something that would make them feel safer – 300 suggestions came in. “About 30 percent were things we can accommodate in the Home Zone plan or look into further,” said SDOT’s David Burgesser. The rest were too general, not feasible, too expensive, or put aside for future consideration.
SOUTH AREA HOME ZONE PLAN
SDOT’s Shauna Walgren went through the plans. The speed humps/cushions are going in at spots where many drivers were speeding. One stretch of 9th SW will have a pre-cast concrete “wheel-stop” curb added. The Delridge/Barton intersection will be “upgraded,” coordinated with the ongoing RapidRide H Line preparation project:
NORTH AREA HOME ZONE PLAN
Burgesser walked through this one. New speed cushions are planned for 16th SW (those are different from speed humps – they can be used on arterials and emergency routes). 14th SW has one block planned for wheel-stop curbing to narrow the street by getting parked cars further into it. The intersections of 14th/Thistle and 14th/Kenyon will get some TBA changes. 9th SW will get some painted curb bulbs. SDOT will be collecting more traffic data on 9th to see if more traffic calming is needed. On SW Webster, wheel stops might be added because it’s too steep for speed cushions/humps. At 15th/Webster, some ADA access is planned.
Biggest addition – they’re converting a stretch of 12th into a greenway, including a crossing signal at 12th/Holden, which would require the flashing beacon at 11th/Holden to be removed. Here’s how they chose 12th:
RIVERVIEW HOME ZONE PLAN
More speed cushions and painted curb bulbs are planned to encourage heavy traffic like trucks to use Dumar/Orchard. At one spot on the latter, a new rapid flashing crossing beacon is planned.
The “goal” is to get all of this done by year’s end, though the team admitted a little nervousness regarding pandemic effects getting in the way.
Before breaking out into 3 groups, participants voiced questions and concerns, including the need for more to be done on Highland Park Way; SDOT’s Sara Zora pointed out that’s a separate project. The future Highland Park Corner Store at 9th/Kenyon was pointed out as a spot where a pedestrian crossing is needed; Burgesser said they can re-examine that intersection once the business opens.
After the breakouts, recaps included a note that the “big picture” is the ultimate culprit – Sylvan/Orchard/Dumar/Austin detour traffic to get to Holden, backing up light by light – “twenty minutes to go four blocks,” at times. Zora said she’ll ask that signal-operation staffers take a look. 16th/Holden is a challenge too, it was noted. The Highland Park/South group suggested a look at 14th/Henderson, as well as – down the line – 4th/Roxbury/Olson. “We have a 100 percent design [for a separate project] there,” said Zora, adding that it would take $2.5 million, so it’s a possibility for 2022. “It’s hugely on our radar screen, for sure.” Highland Park neighborhood advocate Kay Kirkpatrick said they need to know how things are going on the Highland Park Way/Holden Improvements project, as communication with its team had fallen into “a black hole.” Zora promised to fix that.
How will all this be communicated? Individual outreach efforts, community groups, an e-mail list are among the plans. For items like speed humps, it’ll be an FYI to neighbors, but for something like the wheel-stop curbs, that’ll be a larger discussion.
ALSO NOTED AT THE MEETING
One slide pointed out that lots of city projects are touching on Highland Park:
As for the high bridge, Zora said Wednesday’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting – watch it here at noon – will present a “whole lot of information” about the 30 percent design milestone for the high-bridge repairs.
-Continuing to plan for future replacement of the high bridge (even though optimally that’s 40 years away)
-Working on three low-bridge projects:
-Recapped the low-bridge restrictions
-Recapped Reconnect West Seattle traffic-management work and encouraging other modes of crossing the river IF you can try something new – see the project dashboard/map on the RWS webpage – here are the top 10 projects in the areas covered by the meeting last night:
Those projects, and the ones in the Home Zone plans, are all designed to be small enough to be handled by SDOT crews.