In the summer of 2013 we will see changes and improvements to the NE 75th Street corridor from Wedgwood all the way west to the freeway. At recent traffic info sessions, input was given on how to improve safety on this busy street, especially in light of the heartbreaking deaths and injuries of the Schulte family which took place on March 25. Since that time a warning beacon has been installed at the corner of 33rd Ave NE and other permanent changes and improvements are in process.
The Wedgwood Community Council held a meeting on May 15 with our 46th District state representatives to address the legislative side of traffic safety, including current legislation to combat DUI (Driving Under the Influence.) We encourage everyone to review the info presented and contact your legislators to indicate your support.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has created a webpage for the NE 75th Street Road Safety Corridor Project. All updates will be posted on that page and you can also sign up there to receive e-mail updates. On Friday, May 17th, traffic engineer Jim Curtin sent out info via e-mail, which will soon be posted. Here is an excerpt of some of the main points:
The Seattle Department of Transportation thanks north Seattle residents for providing valuable input into the NE 75th Street Road Safety Project. Hundreds of comments have been collected through three public meetings and we’ve received more than 100 emails, letters, and completed comment sheets. We are in the process of mapping all of the concerns and suggestions we received through this process. The map will be completed and distributed via this email listserv next week.
Here’s What We Heard – Common Themes
Flashing beacon lights have been installed in the Eckstein School Zone.
· Channelization improvements were requested along segments of NE 65th Street, NE 75th Street, 25th Avenue NE, 35th Avenue NE and Banner Way NE and at several signalized intersections.
· Speeding is a problem along the NE 75th Street corridor and along segments of nearby arterial streets.
· There is a strong desire to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety throughout the area. Suggestions included adding more and improving existing marked crosswalks, constructing sidewalks, adding bicycle facilities to NE 65th Street and NE 75th Street, and improving signal performance for pedestrians and cyclists.
· Increased enforcement efforts are needed area-wide to address speeding, distraction driving, impaired driving, and pedestrian and bicycle safety issues.
SDOT will evaluate public input alongside traffic data and our Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans to develop options to improve safety for NE 75th Street and nearby roadways. We’ll present these options to the community in July. In the meantime, please contact us if we’ve missed anything.
Thanks again for your support,
Seattle Department of Transportation
700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3768
Seattle, WA 98124
Join Summer Paint Out: whether you are a group or an individual, you can tackle graffiti in your neighborhood. The City of Seattle supports volunteers with free supplies, including white, brown, or gray paint, rollers, brushes, scrapers and gloves. Sign up at SummerPaintOut, call Daniel Sims at 684-7790 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Graffiti paint-out is an excellent service project for youth during the summer and can also be a neighborhood Block Watch activity. Removing or painting over graffiti immediately is the best way prevent more graffiti. If you are assisting a private property owner by painting out graffiti, they will need to sign a waiver. The Paint Out program can provide you with waiver forms.
Residential water rates are higher from May 16 through September 15 each year – the higher rates will start this Thursday, May 16th. Peak rates incorporate a three-tiered rate structure – the more water you use, the more you pay. With higher rates in effect, we want to conserve water and use strategies to reduce the need to water outdoor plants. You may invest in water barrels, plant drought-tolerant shrubbery or create a Rain Garden. Channeling rain water into your garden will conserve water, reduce your rates, and protect the environment, too, by allowing runoff to filter through the soil. Take a Savvy Gardener class, sponsored by the Saving Water Partnership, to learn more garden rainwater strategies.
What is a Rain Garden? It is a place for collecting water, but it can become a beautiful and useful part of landscaping in your yard. Rain Gardens can be thought of as a personal water quality system. A water-runoff area is planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses, located so as to receive the water from a roof, sidewalk or driveway. Rain Gardens slow down the rush of water and hold it, allowing the water to naturally infiltrate into the ground. Do you have a lake in front of your house after heavy rains? Install a Rain Garden and do your part to prevent polluted runoff from entering our waterways.
Why is slowing the flow of stormwater important?
During heavy rains, the volume of stormwater may exceed the capacity of drainage pipes. Polluted stormwater runoff from rooftops, streets and other hard surfaces may go directly into our waterways. For this reason, Seattle Public Utilities is helping Seattle residents protect Puget Sound and Lake Washington by the use of Rain Gardens.
On Monday, May 13, Seattle Public Utilities will host a RainWise presentation, 6:30 PM at 5801 Sand Point Way NE, the Center for Spiritual Living building. You can talk to residents of Ballard and Northeast Seattle who have had Rain Gardens installed, and meet contractors who install the rain gardens. If you live south of NE 85th Street, you may be eligible for a rebate — Check the rebate page and take a virtual tour to see some of the Rain Gardens which have been done.
Flashing beacon lights have been installed in the Eckstein School Zone.
Two community-input meetings have been held with the City of Seattle’s traffic engineering department (SDOT) to gather ideas for improvements on NE 75th Street. Both meetings had good attendance and a wealth of great observations on how car, pedestrian and bicycle traffic can be improved for greater safety for everyone. Steady progress is being made, with some improvements already done, such as this week’s installation of flashing beacons in the Eckstein School Zone.
At the meetings on April 23 and 25 SDOT engineers Dongho Chang and Jim Curtin reviewed the improvements to NE 75th which have been made so far. This week flashing lights have been mounted to help cars be alert to pedestrian crossings, and new crosswalk markings have been put in at 31st Ave NE. In-process are better drop-off procedures for parents bringing students to Eckstein Middle School by car.
The intent of the NE 75th Street Road Corridor Improvement Project is to improve safety and traffic flow along the NE 75th Street corridor from the intersection of 35th Ave NE, all the way west to I-5. For that reason the third community-input traffic meeting will be held in Maple Leaf/Roosevelt at Calvary Christian Assembly, 6801 Roosevelt Way NE. The meetings are open to everyone, so if you haven’t yet had opportunity to attend, please consider attending on Wednesday, May 1st, 7 to 9 PM.
SDOT traffic engineer Dongho Chang
Traffic engineer Dongho Chang explained that two of the main ways to improve safety on NE 75th Street are to deal with speed and with confusion. People drive in excess of the speed limit; they swerve around slower cars, because it is not clear where the traffic lanes are. One of the main ideas being considered by SDOT is to re-stripe NE 75th Street as ONE lane in each direction, with a turn lane in the middle. Narrowing the street to just one lane will slow the traffic.
Where the roadway is wide enough to include a dedicated lane for right-turning cars, this could help to smooth the flow of traffic as well. Two of the chief right-turn trouble spots are at 28th Ave NE and at 35th Ave NE. The Wedgwood Swim Pool is north of NE 75th Street and the only way to get to it is on 28th Ave NE. There have been “close calls” at 28th where drivers were so busy watching other cars and feeling pressured by high-speed traffic coming up behind them on NE 75th Street, that they did not notice pedestrians crossing. The same has happened at the intersection of 35th Ave NE; drivers have too many things to watch and will sometimes turn without seeing a pedestrian, even in the marked crosswalk.
Traffic safety solutions with SDOT engineer Jim Curtin (right)
It has been shown that slowing traffic and helping drivers be more aware of pedestrians are the two main ways to prevent accidents. When drivers see a lot of pedestrians and are alerted by lighted crosswalks, drivers will slow down. In connection to being alert to pedestrians, SDOT is working with Eckstein Middle School on safety issues for students, including safe walking and biking routes and improved car drop-off patterns.
Schulte family members mourn at the crash memorial site on NE 75th Street
The March 25, 2013 traffic deaths and injuries on NE 75th Street were caused by drunk driving. Combating DUI was mentioned at the recent community meetings but the measures that need to be taken, must be addressed by our state legislature. Citizens are urged to write to state legislators and attend a Wedgwood Community Council meeting on May 15 when you may speak with our 46th District senator and representatives in person.
Input is still being gathered. Please consider attending the next community meeting on May 1st, look at the webpage that has been created for the NE 75th Street Road Corridor Improvement Project, and send in your ideas. You can send input to Jim.Curtin@seattle.gov or to Dongho.Chang@seattle.gov or by mail to SDOT, PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA 98124.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has posted a new website for the NE 75th Street Road Safety Corridor Project. Outlined on the page are the safety improvements that have been made so far, next steps, and meeting dates for seeking suggestions on further work. We are all heartsick at what happened on NE 75th Street and we need to turn our energy into constructive next steps. What can we do? One way of helping is to attend upcoming meetings and give suggestions for traffic improvements. Coming up are three meetings, April 23, April 25, and May 1st, where SDOT will hear ideas from residents.
As of 1954 in front of Eckstein School, NE 75th Street was not paved.
SDOT has set a schedule from May through August for synthesizing community input and defining roadway improvement alternatives. At the bottom of the new NE 75th Street page there is “Stay Connected” info where you may subscribe to email updates on this project, and contact info for SDOT staff who will work on the NE 75th Street Project. Note that under “Implementation” it is stated that “SDOT will develop a funding strategy for longer term improvements.” It should be noted that the City does not necessarily have money on hand, so funding specifically for NE 75th Street needs to be sought. Anyone who has grant-funding ideas, please jump in to help!