By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Sizable turnout tonight at Alki Bathhouse for SDOT‘s open house to show its “early design” for turning the west ends of Beach Drive and Alki Avenue into a permanent “Healthy Street“ and Neighborhood Greenway. The stretch around Alki Point has had “Stay Healthy Street”/”Keep Moving Street” status since early in the pandemic, declaring the street closed to vehicle through-traffic, but aside from the “Street Closed” signs at either end, it’s been largely unchanged. Now that the city has decided to permanently change the street, the question is how. What they showed at tonight’s open house included added traffic-calming features to narrow the street, such as paint-and-post curb bulbs and a traffic circle. One display tonight showed this array of possibilities:
The other three showed these actual early-design concepts (in the first one, the “cul-de-sac” effect would involve moving the Alki Avenue street-closed sign a bit further west, to where the bike lane ends now, and narrowing the road entrance to one lane):
On the displays as well as on a long paper rendering of the street, attendees were invited to leave post-it-note comments:
Some of the suggestions we read included “more speed bumps” and residential parking permits.
Sheets of paper for longer comments were available too, and periodic reminders to fill them out were shouted over the din. We listened in on some of the conversations; many attendees identified themselves as residents in the Healthy Street area. One attendee talking with SDOT’s Healthy Streets program manager Summer Jawson expressed concern about equitable access to the area; Jawson stressed that they planned to include additional accessible parking spaces, and that none of the current parking would be removed.
ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson sent us a clarification on Jawson’s parking comment, saying she was speaking “in reference to specific areas near intersections where we planned to install painted curb extensions … clarifying that this would not remove legal parking spaces because it is already illegal to park within 30 feet of these intersections (or in the intersection itself). We do anticipate removing parking in a few specific locations to make room for drivers to turn around at the cul-de-sac and to support some of the traffic calming and public space enhancements along the waterfront. One of our next steps on the project will be to complete a parking analysis to map out specific parking changes.”
WHAT’S NEXT? An online open house is planned at noon next Tuesday (November 15); the link is supposed to be posted any day now on the project website. Now that the “early design” has gone public, you also are invited to send comments to AlkiKeepMovingStreet@seattle.gov by December 9.