If traveling by foot is your favorite mode of transportation, the city needs you! Queen Anne is very walkable, but regular pedestrians know that there are missing crosswalks, uneven sidewalks, and steep curbs to navigate as you make your way around the neighborhood. Our own Queen Anne Greenways community group has made great strides (pun intended) such as the crossing light at Queen Anne Ave N and Highland Drive – but you can also help via the Seattle Pedestrian Board.
Safe pedestrian crossing
The City of Seattle is now accepting applications for the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board, a volunteer group with the goal of making “walking in Seattle safer, easier and more attractive”. The Seattle City Council created the board in 1993 and it plays “an influential role in implementing Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan”.
The Seattle Pedestrian Board advises the Mayor and City Council on pedestrian issues, participates in planning and project development, evaluates policies and makes recommendations to all city departments including SDOT.
Board members serve a two-year term, with a potential second term. The board ideally includes people of all ages and mobility levels from across Seattle who frequently walk or travel via wheelchair or other mobility device. Members must be Seattle residents, and may not be city employees.
If you’re interested in applying for the board, submit a resume and cover letter explaining your interest via email to Howard Wu by 5pm on January 6, 2014.
An especially timely warning the day before little ghosts and goblins hit the streets of Queen Anne – slow down on neighborhood streets!
Even though many of the streets on the Boulevard are arterial streets, that doesn’t give drivers license to speed and roll through stop signs. Queen Anne Greenways has the goal of making our streets safer for pedestrians, but it’s a tough job.
An example, I’ve emailed SDOT about repainting the crosswalks at Queen Anne Ave N and Garfield St (the crosswalk by The Seattle Gym, a popular crossing point for people on their way home from a workout, and at Taylor Ave N and Galer St – part of the Galer Stairs that connect Upper Queen Anne to Lake Union. Both crosswalks are so faded that neither pedestrians nor cars can see them.
What was the response?
“Due to current budget constraints, SDOT had funding to remark a minimal number of crosswalks in 2013 out of approximately 6,000 crosswalks installed. The Pedestrian Master Plan provides us with a priority ranking that helps us direct our resources to those locations that have the highest need. Factors, such as collision history, traffic volumes, land use, and economic/social equity, were considered for the ranking. The Pedestrian Master Plan ensures that we make our decisions on whether to address requests that we receive from our residents fairly and in an informed way. At this time, our 2013 remark list has been completed and approved, and these locations did not rank high enough to make our 2013 remarking schedule. However, we will add this location to our 2014 list of potential remarks.”
I understand budget constraints, but here’s the odd thing – I submitted my request after they repainted existing bike lanes that were in perfect shape on Taylor Ave N. That’s right, they repainted something that didn’t need paint and ignored (or maybe didn’t even see) the super-faded crosswalk at Galer St. They lives of cyclists are important, but so are the lives of pedestrians – and crosswalks that are invisible to drivers should be a priority over bike lanes that are visible to all.
Not sure where other crosswalks along the Boulevard rank in the list, but check out this video filmed on Queen Anne that shows why we 1) need more crosswalks, and 2) need drivers to slow down.
The curvy section of the Boulevard near Mt Pleasant Cemetery has seen its fair share of accidents, and the 5th Avenue West/4th Avenue West Block Watch is petitioning SDOT to make traffic-calming improvements for this key Queen Anne arterial.
The spot of concern runs along 5th Ave W & W Raye St, at the intersections of W Smith St & 5th Ave W & W. Raye & 7th Ave W. (yes, it’s a confusing mix of streets – but the point is that traffic travels too fast along this stretch of the Boulevard).
According to the Block Watch, there have been a number of accidents caused by excessive speed, including the death of a motorcyclist in 2004 and several cars totaled when drivers missed the curve in the road and hit other cars or Boulevard trees.
And, in the last 3 months:
a driver hit a tree on 5th Ave W and Raye St
an early morning hit and run driver ran into a car on 5th Ave W
a driver speeding eastbound crashed into the yard of a home on 5th Ave W and W Raye St damaging two properties
This street is not only part of the Crown of Queen Anne/Boulevard – popular with walkers, runners, and cyclists – but it’s also just a few blocks away from Coe Elementary.
The Block Watch has connected with Queen Anne Greenways, but they still need your help. Sign their petition online, and show your support for safe Queen Anne streets by joining the Queen Anne Greenways community group.
If you walk, bike, or run the Crown of Queen Anne, you know that crossing Queen Anne Ave N at Highland can be tricky. It’s one of the busiest pedestrian crossings on Queen Anne, and while there’s a crosswalk and flashing light, there’s no guarantee that traffic will stop for you when you step out into that crosswalk.
New pedestrian-activated lights installed at Highland crossing
Well, thanks to work by multiple community groups, including our own Queen Anne Greenways, crossing Queen Anne Ave N at Highland just got safer. Last week, SDOT installed a pedestrian activated signal at the intersection, and it should be activated any day.
Next up: let’s see if our local groups can get a 4-way stop at W McGraw St and 7th Ave W – it’s right near Coe Elementary. Also, how about getting the crosswalks repainted all over Queen Anne? Some are so faint, even pedestrians can’t see them!
If you support these ideas, or have some of your own, drop in on the next Queen Anne Greenways meeting on September 24th, 6:30-7:45pm at the Queen Anne Library. The group meets the 4th Tuesday of every month and it’s open to all!
Queen Anne Greenways is a group of neighborhood volunteers who work together to help make Queen Anne safer for all. If you bike, walk, or run on Queen Anne, then you have a vested interest in what this group is all about. And, it’s open to everyone, so if you have thoughts, opinions, or feedback to share, feel free to join in!
Then next Queen Anne Greenways meeting is this Tuesday, July 23, 6:30-7:45pm at the Queen Anne Library. The group will convene in the public meeting room (enter on 4th Ave W). On tap for this month’s agenda is a discussion of ideas for improving pedestrian safety in and around Queen Anne, and setting key goals for the future.
The group has a great mission that affects everyone on Queen Anne, so if you want to help shape the priorities or just volunteer for fun activities, stop in at Tuesday’s meeting!
The Queen Anne Greenways community group last met in late January, kicking off the group’s efforts for the year with new members and goals for 2013. The group is open to all, and it’s not too late to join in on the discussion about making our streets, sidewalks, and intersections more pedestrian-friendly.
Fifteen Queen Anne residents attended the January meeting, a great mix of residents with many volunteering to take on the all-important roles of political focal point, leader, secretary, and treasurer, as well as liaisons for the Uptown Alliance and Seattle Greenways. If you’re interested in taking on a leadership role or just voicing your thoughts and opinions, you’re welcome to join this week’s meeting as well as upcoming meetings on the 4th Tuesday of each month.
Key goals identified by the group for 2013 include:
Back in November, the initial meet-n-greet Queen Anne Greenways meetings were held to capture initial thoughts about pedestrian safety on Queen Anne. Now, it’s time to organize the group, and there’s a meeting at the Queen Anne Library on Tuesday to get things started – and everyone is welcome to attend and share your thoughts.
On tap is a discussion on how to set up the group and reach out to the Queen Anne community. If you’re interested in safer streets, whether through additional lighting, more (or re-painted) crosswalks, or new stop signs at critical intersections, then plan on joining the discussion on Tuesday.
In advance of construction time SDOT is inviting the public to learn more about the project, including information on traffic detours and area impacts throughout the construction period, from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight, Thursday, May 26 in the Elliott Bay Room of Homewood Suites, located at 206 Western Ave W, near the overpass site. From SDOT:
SDOT project staff will be available to explain design and construction details, and answer questions. There will not be a formal presentation, so participants may show up any time between 5 and 7 p.m. Complimentary parking underneath the Homewood Suites building is available by checking in at the front desk and obtaining a key card to enter the secure parking garage.
When the overpass is completed it will provide access over the very busy Elliott Ave W and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks to Myrtle Edwards Park. It will also serve as a connection for bicyclists, part of a future Lake Bay Loop – a planned bicycle route that will run between South Lake Union, Seattle Center and the existing bicycle trail in Myrtle Edwards Park.
The project, part of the Walk, Bike, Ride initiative and funded by the Park Levy I and II, grant funds from the Puget Sound Regional Council and King County, and private donations, is estimated to cost a total of $10 million.
From 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow, members of Picture Perfect Queen Anne, a volunteer-based neighborhood alliance funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Office of Economic Development, will be installing plants around the new pedestrian plaza at Queen Anne Ave N and W Galer St, as well as curb bulbs near the new crosswalks at Queen Anne Ave N and W McGraw Street. The group welcomes anyone interested in assisting with the planting throughout the day.
At 3 p.m. the ribbon cutting and ceremony will take place at the pedestrian plaza (Queen Anne Ave N and W Galer St.) with SDOT Director Grace Crunican.
The project was requested by Picture Perfect Queen Anne, who is working to revitalize Queen Anne Ave N from Galer to McGraw to provide a vibrant pedestrian and family-safe street-scape, through the Neighborhood Street Fund and funding by the Bridging the Gap Levy.