By Kevin Lee – UW News Lab
SDOT hosted its second open house at the Ballard High School last night addressing its plan on making NW 58th St a neighborhood greenway. Nearly 80 local residents attended the event, which comprised of a presentation followed by a Q&A session to learn more about the initiative.
The presentation included the changes that SDOT plan to implement to install the greenway. Some of the major changes to NW 58th St include widening the sidewalk at Seaview Ave NW from five feet to ten feet, allowing bikers and pedestrians more space. There will be flashing beacons installed at 24th Ave NE, which help alert vehicles to stop for people crossing. The project also plans to place partial diverters at 15th Ave NW to restrict eastbound traffic going onto 58th St.
According to SDOT, $915,000 in funding will be dedicated to the project. Their goal is to create safer, more comfortable streets for people of all ages and abilities to walk and bike. There will be sidewalk repairs, pavement repairs, new speed humps and stop signs installed at 12 intersections to improve the safety of the area.
A few residents of 58th St were concerned about the possible increase of bikers around where they live, hoping SDOT would provide a better outreach to the locals directly affected by the greenways project. Although SDOT had no projection on the increase of foot and bicycle traffic, they provided “The Ballard Box” (pictured below) at the open house, which is a street map of Ballard where residents were able to post suggestions and concerns for future projects.
Local resident Susan Griffith was among many others who thought the greenways project will bring positive changes to the neighborhood. “Bikers come in all ages now, so it is good to have separation between people who want to go faster and people who go slower,” said Griffith. Other locations where neighborhood greenways have been installed, such as Wallingford, Portland and Vancouver, have all received good feedback from the local communities.
SDOT representatives predict that the NW 58th St greenway will primarily be for new users, including families who want to travel to community destinations safely.
The project will be implemented in May of 2013, followed by installation and construction during the summer. SDOT will conduct its after studies on the project in 2014.