New crosswalk markings on 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 80th Street.
New crosswalk markings and a “pedestrians” sign have gone in on 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 80th Street. This is a heavily used crossing area for people going to Wedgwood Presbyterian Church on that corner, or to the post office in the block to the south. With traffic lights only at NE 75th and 85th Streets, it is a long stretch without any place for pedestrians to cross 35th Ave NE — until now.
In Wedgwood’s recent traffic meetings it has been pointed out that the best way to prevent accidents is to use many different methods to SLOW the traffic. The presence of pedestrian-crossing signs at NE 80th Street will help to do that. Children must be taught safety rules, however, that when using a crosswalk they must make sure that cars stop before pedestrians step off the curb.
Schulte memorial, April 1, 2013, photo courtesy of SeattlePI.com
Hundreds of Wedgwoodians and other supporters turned out for a Memorial March on Monday evening, April 1st, to honor the Schulte family. Dennis and Judy Schulte were killed while crossing NE 75th Street on Monday afternoon, March 25. Their daughter-in-law Karina Ulriksen-Schulte and her infant son, Elias, who was then only ten days old, remain hospitalized to date. Here is the memorial walk as reviewed by Casey McNerthney of Seattle PI.com with photographer Jordan Stead.
Check here for updates to the memorial and medical funds established for the Schulte family, and consider attending the important meeting on Tuesday, April 2, 7 PM at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, to give your support to needed changes — let’s work together to make our streets safer.
UPDATE: A lot of of bad things went down this afternoon in front of Eckstein, where one Tweeter pointed out to the Police and Mayor McGinn is where SPD had recently set up a speed sign. We corrected the title to reflect that 4 pedestrians were hit. Please keep the young, twenty-something woman and the infant, who are both at Harborview, in your thoughts. For that matter, keep all four of the pedestrians hit in your thoughts! A lot has been written about this already and there’s not much more we can add, so we recommend checking out the following posts:
As we write, NE 75th Street is blocked as 3 pedestrians were hit by a vehicle. Reports suggest that 2 of the 3
4 have died and that Police are evaluating the male driver for possible impairment. Seattle Police have set up detours while the investigation takes place. We will provide more information once reports provide more information. In the mean time, you can follow the @SeattlePD twitter feed
or their Seattle Police Blotter blog
At their March 19 meeting the Citizens Advisory Committee of Seattle Children’s Hospital heard the final design presentation for the Burke-Gilman Trail Connection, part of the Livable Streets plan. There is now a signalized intersection on Sand Point Way NE at 40th Ave NE, and a landscape architect, Jim Keller of Site Workshop, has been working on the design for a bike/pedestrian path from the Burke-Gilman Trail to the intersection.
Seattle Children’s owns a building on the corner of 40th & Sand Point Way NE, the Hartmann Building, which contains medical offices. A design has been developed to put a bike/pedestrian path past the building and out to the intersection where bikes and people may safely cross Sand Point Way. On the east side of the intersection, Seattle Children’s has already constructed a path to the hospital at 4800 Sand Point Way NE.
The Hartmann Building at the intersection of 40th & Sand Point Way NE was once owned by a physician, Dr. John Hartmann, who was on staff at the hospital. In September 2000 his estate sold the building to Seattle Children’s, whose current ownership of the building has made it possible to put the Trail Connection through that property. The Hartmann Building “has its back” to the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the proposed path would go around the building to meet the street-crossing at the intersection.
The proposal for the final design has modifications made possible by giving up eight parking spaces at the Hartmann building. With this additional space for the Trail Connection, the slope of the path will be gentler, no stairs will be necessary, and the path can now thread its way through more of the trees on the site, including some large sequoias. The trees on the site have been inventoried. Unhealthy specimens and invasives such as cherry runners will be taken out, and the path routed around the preserved trees. A retaining wall will be built on the existing parking lot, and because of the space and setback this plan has the additional advantage that the retaining wall will not impact the roots of trees.
It is not known how many people will use the Trail Connection to get to Seattle Children’s. Certainly some employees will use it, and it is believed that neighborhood people will benefit from the ability to cross Sand Point Way NE safely and get to stores and banks in the business districts on either side of the street. The Trail Connection will have security lights and low shrubbery along the path for visibility. Invasive plants have already been partially removed by volunteer groups, and when the Trail Connection is finished landscaping will be done with native plants. Now that the plan is being finalized, the permitting and construction process for the Trail Connection will begin soon.
New Burke Gilman Trail Connection at Hartmann Building
Seattle Children’s Final Design Concept Open House
Saturday, February 2nd at Gould Hall, 10AM – 2PM
Have you ever tried to cross Sand Point Way NE on foot or on bike? Now you can, and live to tell about it: the new traffic signal at Sand Point Way NE and 40th Ave NE is already operational, thanks to the Livable Streets initiative of Seattle Children’s Hospital. Crosswalks are in, and a left turn lane onto 40th Ave NE. In addition, King County Metro has built bus shelters on both sides of Sand Point Way NE at the intersection. Together the improvements will help traffic flow more smoothly, make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to cross and make it more convenient to use transit.
Everyone is invited to an Open House on Saturday, February 2, to see the final concept design info for a Burke-Gilman Trail connection across Sand Point Way NE to reach the Seattle Children’s Hospital complex (see sketch to the right). This new trail connection is targeted for completion in late 2013 to cross Sand Point Way NE at 40th Ave NE. Seattle Children’s had committed to spend nearly $4 million on transportation improvements in northeast Seattle as part of their Major Institution Master Plan. The Open House-Final Design Concept will be this Saturday, February 2, from 10 AM to 2 PM. The Open House will be at Gould Hall, 3949 15th Ave NE, across the street from the main University of Washington campus. Bring the kids and their bicycles: next to the Livable Streets design display there will be an (indoor) bicycle safety activity area and free safety inspections.
At the end of 2012, we asked you a couple questions: What are your priorities for 2013 and what was your favorite Wedgwood event of 2012? The poll, which was open for over a month, gave us some great direction and reaffirmed much of the work that the trustees have been working towards throughout 2012 and earlier.
According to the poll, the top three priorities for Wedgwoodians are:
- Land use planning (design guidelines, 35th Ave NE zoning, streetscape),
- Pedestrian improvements (sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian overlay zone), and
- Public safety (police presence, block watch, emergency preparedness)
Land Use Planning
As you may know, the WCC has a land use committee that was formed out of the Wedgwood Vision Plan steering committee. While this committee hasn’t been meeting regularly in recent months, there are several things that will see this change in the very near future. First, the results of this poll confirm that the community values the land use planning activities that it has been working towards. Second, and perhaps more importantly logistically, is that we are fortunate to have a new trustee who is excited to chair the committee! If you’re interested in being part of the Wedgwood Land Use Committee, please email » us and let us know!
Based on the comments we received, there are many people in the community who are concerned about the proposed new school on the Thornton Creek Elementary School site. While we share the concerns of the project, especially the loss of the playfields, we have also tried to explain our position on the proposed school (see the bottom of this post). Should the BEX IV levy succeed and the Thornton Creek Elementary School site is chosen for the new school, we intend to work with the School District to make sure the community is part of the design process.
The single most surprising thing for me to learn before working on pedestrian improvements was just how expensive they are. It is very expensive for the City to design and construct many of the improvements that we hear about (e.g., more sidewalks) for a variety of issues. However, there are some simpler forms of improvements that may have a great positive impact at a low cost. In 2012, we worked towards large projects which will result several blocks of new sidewalks as well as smaller projects, such as a new crosswalk at 35th Ave NE and NE 80th Street. The poll results again reaffirms our work on these improvements and will encourage us to continue seeking pedestrian improvements, both large and small, as we move forward. If you have specific blocks, intersections, or forms of improvement that you suggest we work on, please let us know. Better yet, get involved and help us out! The more the merrier!
In 2012, we saw a rash of armed burglaries at 3 of our banks. This level of crime is unusual for our neighborhood and it reminds us that we need to keep our ears and eyes open for any suspicious activity. We also began the process of revamping our Wedgwood Block Watch and transition from our old email system to a new Wedgwood Block Watch Google Group. 2012 also saw us partnering with Sustainable NE Seattle to secure a grant for emergency preparedness. The purpose of the grant was to help our NE Seattle residents prepare for emergencies, learn to respond as a community in such an event, and establish our Wedgwood Emergency HUB located at the Hunter Farm Gathering Place. There is an upcoming emergency preparedness training on Wednesday, January 30th at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, from 7-9 PM.
We know there are other priorities for Wedgwoodians as well as land use planning, pedestrian improvements, and public safety. We’re continuing to work on increasing public open space, including the park acquisition process (which is going slower than we hoped) and funding a trail system through the Inverness Ravine Park.
What do you think of these rankings? Share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.
The WCC is an all volunteer council that advocates on behalf of the Wedgwood neighborhood. We aren’t nearly as successful without your involvement and your donations (or membership dues!). We would love to talk with anyone in Wedgwood who would like to become involved and serve as a WCC trustee? Please email » Per Johnson or email » to discuss further.
Wedgwood residents have expressed a desire for a safer, more walkable 35th Ave NE through the Wedgwood Vision Plan, several community meetings, and comments on our website. Last year, the Wedgwood community identified pedestrian improvements and traffic/transit improvements as your #3 and #5 priority. The WCC has been working to identify specific projects and has been supportive of a community-driven planning effort looking at the future of 35th Ave NE. In 2013, SDOT has 2 projects planned for 35th Ave NE that are intended to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow through 35th Ave NE.
New Turning Lanes at 35th Ave NE/NE 75th Street
In 2011, SDOT completed a signal revision on east/west bound lanes at the intersection of 35th Ave NE and NE 75th Street. They installed new signals and pocket turn lanes along NE 75th Street. In 2013, they plan on completing a similar signal revision along 35th Ave NE for north/south bound lanes. This revision should help to alleviate the wait time for cars travelling north/south who get stuck waiting behind left turning vehicles and improve traffic flow through that intersection. No date for construction has been set for these improvements as of yet.
New Crosswalk at 35th Ave NE and NE 80th Street
In 2011, the WCC submitted a Neighborhood Street Fund grant application to install a crosswalk at 35th Ave NE and NE 80th Street. (Many thanks to WCC Trustee, Gretchen Bear, for championing this project!) The WCC had submitted grant applications for similar crosswalk proposals at the same intersection for numerous years, but the project had been denied funding for various reasons. This time, however, we submitted an application for a simple crosswalk design (no overhead lights) which was recommended by SDOT to the City Council for funding in late 2012. As part of the City’s budget approval, the Council agreed with SDOT and included our crosswalk for funding. It’s our understanding, as part of the crosswalk installation, SDOT will be making some changes to the parking restrictions along part of 35th Ave NE as well to reduce traffic speeds and improve safety between NE 75th Street and NE 85th Street. We understanding that these improvements will be coming to 35th Ave NE sometime in the Spring of 2013.
Here’s to a safer 2013 for drivers and pedestrians alike along 35th Ave NE!
Katie Traverse, a WCC Trustee and the President of the Wedgwood Elementary PTA, has been on a mission for sveral years to bring vital pedestrian and safety improvements to several blocks around Wedgwood Elementary. There are no sidewalks around the elementary school or surrounding neighborhood. With more and more kids walking and biking to school commingled together in the street with large yellow school buses and passenger vehicles, it’s only a matter of time before something regrettable happens.
In 2011, she sponsored a Neighborhood Street Fund grant application to develop a design for pedestrian and safety improvements along 28th Avenue NE , NE 83rd Street, and NE 85th Street. The NE District Council (NEDC), which is a citizens group comprised of neighborhood representatives throughout NE Seattle and who is responsible for pre-ranking Neighborhood Matching Fund and Neighborhood Street Fund grant applications, ranked her application #1. Her project went on to be funded and SDOT has completed 60% design drawings for the improvements. However, funds for construction have not been secured.
With design in hand, Katie is now working with SDOT to locate funding for the “Complete the Street Project.” SDOT has submitted a Safe Routes to School grant application to the WSDOT, which has forwarded their recommendation for $439,000 on to the State legislature for approval. Katie submitted an application in December 2012 for a Neighborhood Street Fund grant to provide additional funding for project construction.
Last week, the NEDC reviewed and ranked numerous Neighborhood Street Fund applications submitting in December throughout NE Seattle. All of them well deserving and important to making NE Seattle a safer place. After their deliberations though, they ranked Katie’s Complete the Street Project #1. Given SDOT’s involvement with this project, we’re hopeful that they too will recommend the Complete the Street project for funding and new sidewalks and pedestrian improvements will be coming to Wedgwood Elementary School!
UPDATE: This post has been revised to reflect the new name of the project that will be seeking funding. WE CAN Safety Project was the original project that was funded through design. The Complete the Street Project is the new project seeking funding to construct the design. Additionally, the 60% design drawings have been linked to for your viewing.
Wedgwood Elementary School at 2720 NE 85th Street (corner of 30th Ave NE) is located in a single-family neighborhood with few pedestrian amenities and a pattern of speeding, according to a study by Seattle Dept. of Transportation (SDOT). As part of the Wedgwood Vision Plan
completed in 2010, a survey showed that a high percentage of residents are concerned about pedestrian safety, traffic and speed control. Since that time the WCC and the PTA of Wedgwood Elementary School
have been engaged in the arduous process of applying for grant funding to improve safety.
The “Wedgwood Elementary Children and Neighbors (WE CAN) Safety Project” received funding in 2011 for a project design for sidewalks on some adjacent streets, so that children can safely walk and bike to school. The project design connects sidewalks at the front of Wedgwood School along NE 85th Street, south on 28th Avenue NE and along NE 83rd Street continuously to Ravenna Ave NE where new sidewalks and bike lanes were recently completed (thanks to WCC Trustee, Gretchen Bear). The project design also includes new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, planter strips, drainage, educational materials and events, speed feedback signs and emphasis patrols. You can view the 60% design drawings prepared by SDOT here.
WCC trustee and Wedgwood School PTA President Katie Traverse will submit the project this month to Seattle’s Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) for the “Complete the Street Project,” which is seeking funds to construct the project. The WCC President has written a letter of support on behalf of WCC recommending the project to SDOT and to the NSF Oversight Committee. The Washington State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) has already recommended $439,000 for the project be approved by the State Legislature under the Safe Routes to School Program.
Wedgwood School opened in September 1953 with all-portables because there were so many children that the school district couldn’t wait for the permanent building to be completed. In a case of deja vu all over again, this year the schools of northeast Seattle are once again overflowing and are adding portable classrooms. As Wedgwood School approaches its sixtieth year, there still are no sidewalks on some adjacent streets for children to safely walk or bike to school! We thank Katie Traverse and her grant-writing team for their efforts, and we’ll let you know the progress on the grant application.