What SDOT heard at HPAC discussion. of Delridge/Highland Park ‘Stay Healthy Streets’ future, and your chance to comment today

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

SDOT has proposed a permanent route for the Delridge/Highland Park “Stay Healthy Streets,” with some current blocks to be dropped – but keeping the stretch that’s been the source of the loudest community concerns. They’re nonetheless asking for opinions, and hosting an outdoor “open house” today on 11th SW by Highland Park Elementary, 2-4 pm. In advance of that, SDOT reps were at Wednesday night’s HPAC meeting to talk about the Stay Healthy Streets as well as traffic-mitigation/calming events elsewhere.

STAY HEALTHY STREETS: first, a little backstory. These streets are closed to through-traffic, open to drivers who live, work, study, or otherwise have business on them, and open to people walking/running/riding/rolling in the street. The city launched the SHS concept early in the pandemic as a way to get around with more social distancing, but has expanded the mission beyond the pandemic, and is now making many of them permanent. The Delridge-Highland Park SHS network (designated in May of last year) would be the second in the city (after Greenwood) to be made permanent, SDOT’s Madison Linkenmeyer told HPAC.

She recapped what they’ve heard from the community:

SDOT’s Brittany Quan brought slides showing what they found about usage:

They want to keep the much-discussed SW Trenton section because, in part, they say neighbors there support it.

What would the gateway to a permanent SHS be? Linkenmeyer showed some concepts:

She mentioned this afternoon’s “open house” on 11th SW – they’ll bring some of those concepts so you can get a firsthand look. They’ll also bring candy.

Discussion ensued, first with an attendee telling her story. Resident Barbara talked about a day in which she was heading to Westcrest Park with her son in a jogging stroller – she can’t use it on the sidewalks because they’re in bad condition. So she used a Stay Healthy Street. She said a woman in an SUV yelled at her to “get out of the f—ing street.” Going home on Trenton, eight car drivers harassed her. She said she polled area residents on social media and they all aid it’s not safe at all. So she asked SDOT to redesign the street “so one else (can) violently threaten” people like her using it as an SHS. Either choose an alternate street or find designs to make it safer.

HPAC co-chair Kay Kirkpatrick noted that the choice of Trenton as an SHS has confused drivers because it’s long been a “main arterial” for the neighborhood. Attendee Marianne observed that the street was closed just as the bridge closure brought tens of thousands more drivers to Highland Park and South Delridge. “At the very very least, between 17th and 16th (on Trenton), that has to be taken down because nobody pays attention to it. … That’s where our biggest problem in our neighborhood is.” People in the neighborhood use Trenton to go shopping, to go to the post office, elsewhere. Pushing traffic to Henderson with all the other drivers does not make sense.

Attendee Katherine said the SHS designation for Trenton makes it more dangerous, and affirmed that the neighborhood uses it as a “minor arterial.”

It was suggested that SDOT come observe/evaluate 16th/Trenton and 17th/Trenton. Others chimed in that the Trenton stretch should go.

Besides gathering feedback now, what’s next? No specific date other than that a permanent route would be finalized early next year. Linkenmeyer promised to return to HPAC early in the new year (this is the group’s last meeting this year). If you weren’t there and can’t get to this afternoon’s event, contact info for sharing your opinion on the Stay Healthy Streets’ future is here.

Earlier in the meeting, another SDOT team had updates on a different area:

OTHER SDOT UPDATES: Sara Zora and David Burgesser brought updates on traffic-calming and traffic-mitigation work, including Reconnect West Seattle projects. 10 RWS projects are still ahead for 2022, before the bridge reopens, two of them in HPAC’s jurisdiction. They’re also continuing to pitch the Flip Your Trip program to encourage people to try transit or biking as alternatives to single-occupancy-vehicle travel.

Burgesser said remaining speed cushions for 9th SW got SFD approval but some proposed for non-arterial routes are “still in evaluation,” including one on SW Cloverdale.

He also had an update on traffic calming for 16th SW:

A rapid-flashing-beacon crosswalk at 16th and Myrtle is planned, too. This is a followup to last month’s announcement of backpedaling on plans for some speed cushions (which have breaks in the middle, unlike speed humps) on the south section, due to SFD concerns. Why were the 16th/Holly cushions approved but others to the south rejected? asked an attendee. Zora wasn’t sure. But Burgesser said that after the newly planned changes are made, the results will be evaluated by midyear. they’ll also watch pedestrian usage, to see if crossing improvements are needed.

Regarding the newly planned “refuge islands,” one attendee who rides a bicycle voiced concern that they will cause drivers to veer toward the edge of the road, where people are riding. Zora said the intent is to maximize safety.

Burgesser also had Home Zone updates, including an upcoming meeting with neighbors on 14th and repair of “sidewalk upheaval” on the west side of Henderson Place SW. Throughout the Home Zone areas, they’re collecting more traffic data now.

One attendee pointed out that many streetlights are out along Delridge and that’s a safety concern. Followup was promised.

HPAC’s next scheduled meeting is in January; watch for updates at hpacws.org.

49 Replies to "What SDOT heard at HPAC discussion. of Delridge/Highland Park 'Stay Healthy Streets' future, and your chance to comment today"

  • James Holden October 29, 2021 (12:30 pm)

    Citing the wishes of residents along the SHS for them to remain closed as evidence of community support of the closure is disingenuous to the extreme.  OF COURSE people who benefit from decreased traffic near their homes will be in favor of that.   I live on Holden Street (aka Highway 99 West).  Please close it to through traffic as well, I’m positive everyone who lives on this street will agree.  Just ignore the other people who use it and want it to stay open, their opinions don’t matter, right?

    • No kidding October 29, 2021 (1:55 pm)

      I am on Holden too , yes please close it.  The Speed bumps didn’t work. What else do you have for the Holden Hwy. I see people passing cars going over the speed bumps because they are going to slow.  In a corner too. 

    • Doug on 15th October 29, 2021 (2:04 pm)

      Also live (very, very near) Holden and cannot wait for the bridge to get fixed so this area stops being plagued with all the traffic, honking, and noise. Just 8-10 more months of this I hope. It’s become beyond miserable, especially the noise. It has made me much more empathetic to other areas of the city and I definitely use my horn a lot less now outside of the freeways and interstates, and not at all near anyone’s home. It’s brutal living near all this traffic. I’m sure the folks near Fauntleroy and the bridge aren’t excited to have it all coming back to them soon. 

      • Leon October 29, 2021 (3:00 pm)

        The noise is particularly horrible at the 16th and Holden intersection. Truly unreal how inconsiderate some people are of their neighbors. 

  • Keith Jordan October 29, 2021 (12:32 pm)

    Wait. I thought Seattle was a liberal city? Closing streets so only the wealthy who can afford to buy the houses there can drive on them is not very liberal. If the streets are to be closed to vehicular traffic, then they should be closed to ALL traffic. The people that live on those streets can park on another street or get rid of their automobiles. Otherwise, this is nothing more than the wealthy closing off “their” part of town to those less fortunate. 

    • WSB October 29, 2021 (12:54 pm)

      Separate from the issue of support or opposition to SHS – Are you familiar with Highland Park? None of its neighborhoods are “wealthy” unless you’re taking the global view that anyone who owns a home is “wealthy.” Or maybe you’re confusing this with the (miles away) Alki Point stretch (which was discussed by a different group at a different meeting on a different night this week, separate story to come).

      • DC October 29, 2021 (3:49 pm)

        21st Ave. seems pretty wealthy to me. And it does seem like it will inflate the value of homes along the SHS while deflating value for their neighbors whose streets will become more busy.

      • Chels P October 29, 2021 (7:43 pm)

        Brushing up on property values and prices in that area might change your mind

    • DC Morrison November 1, 2021 (10:37 am)

      Agreed. That is the choice you make when you live in a city. We run by majority rule in this Democracy. If you don’t like it have your say, but also LISTEN to other views. The street stays open, we are coming out of COVID restrictions. If people want more land, but some. The streets are not personal property.

  • Kyle October 29, 2021 (12:55 pm)

    So everyone at the meeting said Trenton as a SHS is a bad idea, but they did a select survey to homeowners on or right next to the street so they’re going to keep it…Also I feel for the woman with the stroller. I have young twins and the sidewalks in this older neighborhood can be bumpy. But it’s still safer than the street, and I’m glad we have sidewalks. SHS on 17th is fine, but Trenton gets too much use and conflict.

  • ktrapp October 29, 2021 (1:28 pm)

    The most annoying thing about Trenton is that if you’re heading Eastbound on it past Delridge, once you get to 17th, you’re faced with all three directions saying the road is closed.  There’s no indication at 18th that you’ll effectively be hitting a dead end if you follow the rules, so yes, the vast majority of drivers will just continue on to 16th.  I also feel like this is another one of those “people have been complaining about this, but we asked a select group of other people, and they were okay with it, so we’re going to proceed as planned” sort of things that the city has been doing as of late.

    • CeeBee October 29, 2021 (8:40 pm)

      I agree!  This was totally confusing the first time I ran into it.  I accidently did again several months later, wanted to take a picture and submit to “find it fix it” but I was too mad.  When I look at the map of proposed changes, it does not show the segment of 11th between Henderson and Trenton as being closed.  Is the sign there in the wrong place?  Hijacked by creative neighbors?  Anyone know why it’s there?

      • Patience October 30, 2021 (9:58 am)

        The sign in the middle of the road on eastbound Trenton at 17th is one of the signs that neighbors moved to that location (it used to be on 17th, facing north/south).   I agree it should NOT be there. As you innocently leave Westwood Village, heading east on Trenton, continuing east across Delridge – you hit that silly sign that says that road is closed between 17th and 16th.  The actual SHS street is 17th, but the foolish neighbors who moved the sign in the road at Trenton have brought the unexpected driver to a potential dead end.  I too have taken pictures as I have been fuming about this for a few months.  By the time I get home, I forget about reporting it.  We all must take time to report this craziness.  In my opinion, all these SHS should be removed throughout the city. -especially 21st between Dawson and Myrlte.  We have a grade school (Sanislo) on Myrtle between 18th and 21st.  With 21st Ave currently a designated SHS, you have indeed privatized that 1.3 mile stretch of road on 21st.  21st Ave also has the diagonal road that cuts down to Delridge to get to the Louisa Boren STEM school – this is our only way for Puget Ridge folks to get to the STEM school or library without going miles out of their way to get there via Oregon Street or Orchard Street.Back to moved signs – I reported to SDOT,  SHS, and FindIt/FixIt (late last year) that one of these signs was moved to 16th and eastbound Findlay.  I saw a crew there removing it within two business days of receiving my report.  We have neighbors over there that think they own that little dead end street on the north side of South Seattle College.

  • omg October 29, 2021 (1:37 pm)

    It is a stupid program and it needs to be shutdown.  There is no one walking in the streets for health, just take all the signs down.  Yes, Trenton has way too much traffic to have this street closed.  If you are going to leave something then 17th is the street to keep closed.

    • Shs October 29, 2021 (5:30 pm)

      There is SO MUCH foot, bike, stroller traffic on the SHS/greenways. Tons of people use them. You have no idea what youre talking about. I talk to numerous people who use our street over the last 2 years of the pandemic who love having the space and opportunity to get out and get active and not have to try and cram onto sidewalks, or not go out at all. 

      • Canton October 29, 2021 (11:32 pm)

        Have to disagree. Live nearby, and do not see the bike/pedestrian activity that the city suggests is happening. The blockades actually cause a safety issue with people trying to get kids to school nearby. As others have mentioned,  Trenton was a great route to school and nearby shopping. The current speed bumps slow down the traffic enough to keep it safe.

        • Jort October 30, 2021 (7:20 pm)

          Do you have any data to suggest that the “blockades” (not actually blockades) are actually causing a “safety issue” or are you just saying it’s a “safety issue” because you don’t like them? Hurt feelings are not data. 

          • Canton October 31, 2021 (8:59 am)

            The only data I have is lived experience living directly in the area. Do you live nearby and have eyes on the situation? Thought not, just your “hurt feelings” about the reasonable flow of cars. Getting the kid to school is a safety issue with all the neighborhood doing the same on a limited grid. The blockade on the top of Trenton, with the street parking, make it difficult see oncoming traffic uphill and downhill. Then the circus of late parents,  double parking, blocking of driveways, makes the situation a bit chaotic. Can you present your relative data?

          • Jort October 31, 2021 (10:32 am)

            I didn’t make the unsupported claim, you did. I’m not under any obligation to do your homework for you and disprove your wildly false allegation. Thank you for admitting you have no data to support your claim – it helps very much with ascertaining the validity of your wildly false statement.

          • Chesney October 31, 2021 (2:17 pm)

            That’s pretty rich coming from the guy who argues from a position of nothing but his own extremely biased opinion 99% of the time.

      • Notend October 30, 2021 (9:53 am)

          “our street” ?

        • SHS October 30, 2021 (11:16 am)

            “our street” ?Yes, it a quite common, and much more efficient way of saying ‘the street at which the address of our residence is reachable by the US Postal Service and recorded with the County Clerk’.   Don’t read much into it.  #eyeroll

      • 1994 October 30, 2021 (12:30 pm)

        Cram onto sidewalks??? I have yet to see sidewalks being crammed in the areas that have sidewalks in 27+ years of living in West Seattle. People only are crammed on sidewalks at outdoor events  that draw a lot of people. And with the ‘rona many people know better than to cram against each other.

      • DC Morrison November 1, 2021 (10:46 am)

        No, people do not use it 85% of the time. This SHS garbage is a land grab.
        The street is only used for strolling If it’s clear weather and daytime. The rest of us use all of These streets for mobility.
        If they want a gated community then move to one and pay for your own street.Btw, are The rest of OUR city streets “unhealthy??”

  • 1994 October 29, 2021 (1:43 pm)

    Get rid of these designated ‘safe streets’ and make ALL streets safe. Forcing drivers to take detours does not make ANY street safer.  And, YES, driving is still allowed last time I checked our democracy status. 

    • K October 29, 2021 (7:59 pm)

      We should be making all streets safer, and the easiest way to do that is to de-prioritize driving. 

    • Jort October 30, 2021 (7:21 pm)

      Driving is still permitted because it is a privilege, and not a right, no matter how much people like to think there is a right to free parking and driving in the Bill of Rights. Your privilege to drive, which can be revoked or removed, has nothing to do with democracy.

  • WS Resident October 29, 2021 (2:03 pm)

    Closing a public street to all cars but the people who live on the street is using public funds to create a private driveway. It is absolutely criminal, as is the amount of time and resources the city is wasting in pushing this. Imagine if these resources were put to an actual good use. The city should work to expand access to its public spaces, not restrict them to the benefit of a very select few. 

    • Dani October 29, 2021 (3:11 pm)

      Interesting the rich, white privileged homeowners have been successful in keeping their exclusive Alki, beach drive street closed, but a middle class that incorporates people of color nope open that street up.

      • nonni October 30, 2021 (1:32 pm)

        Along “our” Highland Park Safe Healthy Street you will find one Hispanic household, two Filipino, one Korean and one African American, none of whom requested any of the speed bumps, excessive signage or oversized intersection-clogging sandwich boards. For our troubles, every one of our curb-parked cars, essential to reach our places of employment, was keyed along its entire length. I don’t believe in teaching pets and small children to walk in the gutter. Why not repair the sidewalks instead, many of which have slabs jacked up as much as two inches by overgrown tree roots.

        • neighbor October 30, 2021 (8:14 pm)

          Sadly, the city has taken the position that fixing the sidewalks is your responsibility, not theirs. 

  • Sasquatch October 29, 2021 (4:44 pm)

    In addition to the complaints from residents who live on Trenton, there is a massive park right there. In fact it’s one of the best play fields in all of west Seattle. And an amazing playground. And a walking path that goes through the park that is about two blocks long.Asking children to play in the streets that are partially closed does not seem nearly as safe… So I don’t understand the point of this. Adults can use the sidewalk

  • Marianne McCord October 29, 2021 (5:18 pm)

    I was walking with my 3 yr. old grandson at 3:45 today, Friday. Oct 29. When we got to the corner of 17th and Trenton, there was a full-size school bus trying to navigate around the circle and TWO barriers. It was on the closed section of Trenton- driving onto the closed section of 17th! But wait….as the constant stream of cars going east on Trenton into the intersection disregarded the barrier, I observed a mid-size SDOT truck and a State Trooper SUV go through the barriers.  For Pete’s sake, if the school, law enforcement and SDOT’s own department are not obeying this asinine street closure TAKE DOWN THE BARRIERS!!!In regards to the meeting, it was extremely obvious that SDOT was not interested in hearing our overwhelming negative feedback to the proposed Trenton St closure becoming permanent. No data was presented on the Trenton St intersections though plenty was given on others. SDOT acknowledged that the Trenton Street closure was NOT being utilized for walking/ biking/ etc. SDOT’s response was to “educate the public” how to use Henderson as the arterial and stay off other streets. For crying out loud- PLEASE LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC AND 1,200+ DAILY VEHICLES THAT USED TRENTON PRIOR TO THE CLOSURE! NO ONE WANTS TO USE TRENTON AS A Stay Healthy Street. So stop forcing this! I feel like I should reprint my previous comment but no one is listening anyway.

    • Jort October 30, 2021 (7:23 pm)

      Oh, please, please, please don’t say that “no one” wants the Trenton Stay Healthy Street, because that’s completely untrue. I want the Stay Healthy Street. The drivers can go around and find another way, or they can stop driving if it makes them too mad. Big deal.

  • Mj October 29, 2021 (5:55 pm)

    If only SDoT used it’s resources to maintain existing infrastructure this whole fiasco may have been avoided in the first place.  Use the $’s to maintain bridges so other communities are not screwed in the future.  

  • LD October 29, 2021 (7:16 pm)

    Time to end the street closures, especially the Alki Point one.  It was a good idea when we were all trapped in our homes and needed an outlet.  Now it isn’t being used for these purposes.  Time to create access for all again.  

    • Kathy October 29, 2021 (9:48 pm)

      All people have access. Please don’t spread misinformation. If  you want to just stay in your car use the arterials, that is what they are designed for.

      • WS Resident October 30, 2021 (6:56 am)

        If “all people have access,” why are there closure signs meant to keep all but local drivers out?

        • Jort October 30, 2021 (7:24 pm)

          Park you car, get out, and walk. See?! You have access, too. Your car is not an extension of yourself. 

          • WS Resident October 30, 2021 (8:08 pm)

            That isn’t equal access to OUR public streets!!! 

  • Rumbles October 29, 2021 (7:59 pm)

    The most ridiculous program I’ve heard of, stop making parks out of streets.  How about spend money on maintaining actual parks?  Maybe find the money to finish the park expansion of Morgan Junction Park that was promised, how about that?  How about resurface the various running tracks around the area, maybe add some lighting so people can use it in the evening?  SMH. 

  • Carpooler October 29, 2021 (8:01 pm)

    Maybe if the stay healthy streets we’re really for staying heathy and not another form of traffic control, more people might be more interested in keeping them. Delridge is no longer an arterial, it’s a bus channel, I personally drive further just to stay off Delridge and soon all the way to Burien.  We need our arterials back to keep our neighborhoods safe.

  • Charles October 29, 2021 (9:11 pm)

    The SHS idea seems to have trained people to walk down the middle of my non-SHS as if were safe to do so. Foolish and dangerous, but very common after the rollout of the SHS program. I think the program creates a false sense of safety for pedestrians and bikers with some select streets deemed to be safe. None of those streets are auto traffic-free, just reduced traffic that still allows residents on the block rightful and necessary vehicular access. Make all streets designed to accommodate vehicles open to vehicles and encourage people, and especially kids, to use sidewalks and crosswalks to get home, to parks, schools where there car-free areas to recreate. 

  • S.A. October 29, 2021 (9:21 pm)

    You know who needs outdoor space? People who live in apartments. You know who isn’t going to get a “healthy street” in front of their home? People who live in apartments, because zoning keeps them restricted to arterials.

  • Patrick October 29, 2021 (9:48 pm)

    Why did they make biking on Delridge so dangerous now? As soon as the bridge opens it going to suck with no bike lanes…

  • WS Resident October 30, 2021 (6:54 am)

    Excuse me? Where do you see me advocating to keep the Alki SHS open? Don’t get my words twisted. I think all SHS’s are criminal no matter their location. The Alki SHS private driveway needs to be reopened to all public equally, too. 

  • TM7302 October 30, 2021 (11:28 am)

    Looking at the slide deck for SHS to gauge use for the 15th Ave SW SHS, I’ve got to wonder about their data collection.  I guess using the signal to “flip” the light is monitored but does that really have anything to do with 15th Ave SW as a SHS?  I think everyone would use it because it makes sense to use the light and have the traffic yield to them (novel concept).  I uses the signal when I want to make a left turn on to SW Holden (I use an umbrella to trigger the switch).  Furthermore, I’ve been stuck at home since July to an injury and there is no way, SDOTs numbers can justify SHS on 15th.  I have yet to see them place equipment or personnel to collect any real data which would be used to make sensible decisions.  Seems as if this is SDOTs MO for a lot of what they do. 

  • MG October 30, 2021 (12:21 pm)

    End the program.  It makes no sense to walk in the street and very dangerous on Trenton.  I walk this area all the time and I see most everyone walking and jogging on the sidewalks.  If even one person gets killed or injured from being in the street then it is not worth it.  I have seen many angry drivers on their horns and driving around the circles trying to push thru.   So on 16th the drivers trying to move on to Trenton get stuck in the street waiting for a line of cars coming thru as they navigate around the city signs in the street.  Very poorly laid out plan and needs to end.

  • Pdiddy October 30, 2021 (6:05 pm)

    I am not in favor of the safe streets over sidewalks. Lets take 21St ave SW as well as 23rd Ave SW near where I live. 21st has NO sidewalks and that is a huge problem. There is also some guy with a bunch of junky unlicensed vehicles and a lot of the parking is adhoc. If they installed a wide sidewalk on one side, impacts to parking would be minimal for most but it would make this street much much safer and pleasant to walk on. As to 23rd coming from Delridge, the sidewalk on one side is narrow, often overgrown and has obstacles like power poles, mail boxes and garbage and recycle containers. They need to be redone and the mailboxes should not be allowed in the center of the sidewalk. Its a safety issue. If the city would work to clean up the growth and add and maintain sidewalks, cars and people would have a lot less conflict. Pretty much no streets in our area have sidewalks while the top pigeon point hill has all sidewalks. I think its an inequality issue that needs to be addressed.

Sorry, comment time is over.