Round one is complete. On March 10, applicants were given a chance to present their 2014 Neighborhood Park and Street Fund proposals to the East District Council, which were then voted on and ranked by members. Of the top three projects selected, each advocated for pedestrian safety.
In case you missed it, the NPSF is approximately $1 million of city funds that are allocated to community-proposed neighborhood and street improvements. Each of Seattle’s 13 districts is allotted about $90,000 from the pot.
Within Seattle’s East District, which Capitol Hill is part of, nine projects were submitted. Proposals included adding playground equipment to First Hill Park, improving lighting in Cal Anderson Park, making the intersection of 9th Avenue and University Street safer for people with disabilities, as well as improving a handful of crossings where pedestrians on foot or bike are vulnerable to harm.
The project that got the most votes was to improve a crossing along East Madison Street, between East Galer Street and McGilvra Boulevard East, where a resident, Dan Miller, was in a near fatal accident last summer.
“We studied the situation for six months, until we finally understood what was going on. It turns out that drivers and pedestrians simply can’t see each other in time to react,” Bob Edmiston told the council.
Alice Lanczos, who submitted the project, suggested adding a median pedestrian refuge island and sinage to shorten crossing distances, adding curb extensions to both sides of the street, and flashing lights to alert drivers when someone is crossing.
Second was a project submitted by Lionel Job (for the second time), which addressed the intersection at 23rd Avenue East and Boyer Avenue East. Job said that the intersection is extremely wide by any city’s standards, and exposes pedestrians to oncoming traffic. Oftentimes these pedestrians are kids walking to Montlake Elementary School or the Boyer Children’s Clinic. Many of the children who attend Boyer Children’s Clinic have disabilities, and use wheelchairs, walkers, or adapted strollers. Job suggested adding two curb bulbs and a marked crosswalk to square up the intersection.
“It will not effect the amount of traffic; it will simply reduce the speed of the cars,” he said.
Jim Erickson’s project to replace parts of the sidewalk along Madison at its northeast Boren Avenue intersection was the final proposal that will move to the next round. That part of the sidewalk was gradually destroyed and narrowed by a street tree that caused heaving in the cement. Over the last three years, Erickson with the First Hill Improvement Association secured funding for 11 of 12 needed sidewalk repairs along Madison Street, and this would be the final piece.
“This project will be the high point and crowing achievement of our neighborhood’s three-year search for funding sources,” Erickson said.
So, what happens now? Those three projects will hang out with the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks and Recreation, which will do a cost analysis of each now through May. The projects will then be returned to the EDC to be reviewed and ranked a second time, then returned to the Department of Neighborhoods. Implementation begins in 2015.
“If all three projects cost under than $90,000, then we take all three. If the top ranked, number one project is $90,000, that’s the one that we go with,” Tim Durkan, the DON’s Central Region District Coordinator, told the EDC.
For the rest of the projects, there’s always next year.