Move Seattle money will be put into action soon, with a detailed work list for repaving arterials and making areas around schools safer for walking and biking. Other spending, down the road, is less settled.
Second-grader Anabelle Masters leaned forward to cross the road next to Sanislo Elementary, when her mom suddenly reached for her: “Wait!”
A car was approaching the unmarked intersection.
“This crossing is horrible. You have cars piling in from all different directions,” said mom Sara Masters, who just moved to the West Seattle neighborhood. “I have to walk to the edge. I won’t let her cross that road by herself.”
Some relief is coming next year, aided by the $930 million Move Seattle levy voters approved last week.
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It’s a lot of money, and Seattleites are eager to know what changes they might be seeing soon. Already, the city has a detailed work list to repave 250 lane miles of arterial streets and to make the areas around schools safer. The design remains mostly unsettled for seven bus corridors and 50 miles of protected bike lanes that were part of the Move Seattle campaign.
Sanislo, on a wooded bluff above Delridge Way Southwest, is among 23 schools scheduled for safety projectsnext year.
Sidewalks will be added to three of four corners at 18th Avenue Southwest and Southwest Orchard Street, near Sanislo. A nearby Y-shaped intersection, where cars zip through, will be replaced with a right angle, to slow cars.
Seattle already collects a net of $5 million a year from speed cameras to fund Safe Routes to School, an effort to make it easier for students to walk and bike to school, plus some grants. Move Seattle adds $800,000 a year — and millions more where schools sit alongside the levy-funded 60 miles of low-speed greenways, or 375 blocks of new and repaired sidewalks.
Mayor Ed Murray campaigned that every public-school zone in the city will be improved during the nine-year levy that will cost the owner of a $450,000 home $279 a year.
Crews will rotate around the city doing spot projects. A school might get flashing signs right away, and sidewalks two years later.
Sanislo Principal Bruce Rhodes said the 289-student campus also needs sidewalks next to the playground, on the west side of campus, so children can safely catch a ride home. “That was supposed to be done last year, but it wasn’t done,” he said.
Just like suburban families, many Sanislo parents drive children to school, seeing walk routes as dangerous. There’s also fast cut-through traffic to South Seattle College, and commuters between the Delridge and Duwamish areas — on supposedly 25 mph residential streets.
The 23 school-area projects include five in Rainier Valley, where a new “road diet” removed a lane each direction, making crosswalks more plausible.
Two lanes of Westlake Avenue North are due to become transit-only sometime next year, to complement a RapidRide C Line bus extension to South Lake Union in March, while making streetcars quicker.
Levy funds will buy better features at Westlake, Murray said after the vote totals came in Tuesday night, such as longer platforms where two vehicles can stop at the same time.
City schedules show $14 million to add sidewalks near bus stops at the booming Fauntleroy Way triangle in West Seattle starting next year, to rebuild the roadway, add bike lanes and plant trees.
However, it’s already apparent the city will strain to fulfill its campaign-map vision of seven bus rapid-transit (BRT) corridors.
Transportation officials told Seattle Transit Blog on Thursday that under the latest preliminary option, Madison Street BRT would run in general traffic east of 18th Avenue. The First Hill area from Ninth to 13th avenues would have central bus lanes and platforms; while the rest would run curbside with right-turning traffic.
City spokesman Rick Sheridan told The Seattle Times, “The travel-time analysis does not show the need for dedicated transit lanes to maintain speed and reliability from 18th to MLK.” Signals will be set to give buses priority, he said.
He said this option better serves the community of Madison Valley by continuing down the backside of Capitol Hill, rather than terminating at 23rd Avenue.
However, city drawings in May suggested longer, dedicated bus lanes, as far as 20th Avenue — and removing some curbside parking if buses reached the valley.
A public open house will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave.
The $385 million Move Seattle pool to fix streets and bridges looks like the most specific part of the levy plan — if the Seattle Department of Transportation can avoid the kinds of overpromising that took place in the previous nine-year Bridging the Gap levy.
Of the 76 major arterials listed in the new nine-year plan, those scheduled for repaving during 2016 are:
Third Avenue in the north section from Virginia Street to Denny Way; 23rd Avenue South from South Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue South; Renton Avenue South near Rainier Beach; Meridian Avenue North near Northgate; lower Spokane Street at Harbor Island; and Greenwood Avenue North near the city limits.