West Crown Hill residents want sidewalks

A group of Crown Hill neighbors is asking for support from the Ballard District Council for sidewalks in their area.

Every three years the voter-adopted Bridging the Gap Large Project fund comes around, bringing $4.5 million city-wide to fund neighborhood-generated transportation projects. In 2007, Ballard received $330,000 to rebuild the sidewalks in the Ballard Avenue Historic District.

In 2010, west Crown Hill residents want to see sidewalks in their neighborhood. “We would like to formally state our desire to make this neighborhood more pedestrian friendly for its residents and people passing through,” the proposal reads. “While sidewalks/walkways for the entire neighborhood would be preferable, our top priority is to receive funding from the Bridging the Gap Fund/Neighborhood Street Fund to create a safe pedestrian throughway on 18th Ave NW from NW 85th St to NW 90th St (where Soundview playfield and Whitman Middle School are located). Also, to build a safe pedestrian throughway on NW 87th St from 20th Ave NW to 15th Ave NW for pedestrians to walk to local businesses and bus stops at NW 90th, NW 87th and NW 85th streets,” according to the proposal. (Click here for a map of the area.)

At the next Ballard District Council meeting on January 13th, a six-member committee will present its recommended priority projects. According to Rob Mattson, the Ballard District Coordinator, the “review committee has spent a great deal of time discussing these proposals with applicants and city staff.” Because no city agency is running a new process for the Bridging the Gap program, the District Council will only consider unfunded projects from 2007 and any new projects which the DC considers to be a high priority. During the December meeting, more than 30 neighbors showed up to voice support for the sidewalk proposal, which is new this year.

The cost for the sidewalks in this area is estimated by organizers as either $80,000 per block/per side with a traditional curb and gutter with concrete sidewalks or up to $40,000 with curb and gutter with asphalt walkway. According to Mattson, “If there’s an equitable distribution of these resources; each of the 13 districts can expect to see funded projects valued totally $300-350K.” For more information on this project email westcrownhill@gmail.com.

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31 thoughts to “West Crown Hill residents want sidewalks”

  1. If you are going to do it, do it right. Use concrete so that it fits in with the rest of the city.

    Stupid pre-annexation King County building codes…..

  2. Haven't we learned anything? Putting in curbs funnels stormwater into drains, where pollutants end up in creeks and Puget Sound. We already have the SEA streets in NW Seattle, above Piper's Creek. Let's expand those. We can have both sidewalks AND bioswales.

  3. Not to pee in anyone's Wheaties, but if curbs on ONE side cost between $40k and $80k per block, I think that $350k will have a hard time covering the two projects (of 10 blocks combined) that have been listed here.

  4. reading the article and comments, I have just a couple of things to bring up:

    material and design of the sidewalks – use concrete. the asphalt idea is misguided and looks terrible, this is NOT a forward looking and workable long term solution. While used effectively in industrial parks should NOT be part of a neighborhood. This area is in a patttern of rebirth, and does not deserve to be hamstrung with half measures.

    The idea that this may be too much money is a non starter, as well. Quality of life, livability, safety, community expansion of services, and much more. It is not possible to put a price on those things, but you can bankrupt them easily by the price of not following through on building the sidewalks.

    The community is not asking for anything “extra” that many other projects are that are in competition with this one. This is a basic infrastructure need in neighborhoods that is long overdue.

  5. I've lived for years in a neighborhood without sidewalks except for a small stretch of asphalt with a curb which IMO is way better than nothing.

    I hope they do get concrete sidewalks but if faced with a choice between asphalt or nothing then I hope they choose asphalt.

  6. I love this line:

    ” Quality of life, livability, safety, community expansion of services…”

    Since when has the city given a rat's ass about any of those?

    How about putting ONE cop on the beat for this entire neighborhood? Oh, sorry, no money for that. Good luck out there, and be sure to dial 911 as soon as someone gets shot! But a quarter million dollars for bioswales – no problem, can do!!!

    You know, sidewalks are nice to have. But so is being able to get from your home or workplace to your car half a block away without being assaulted. Personally, I'd put a higher priority on doing something to cut down on the number of stabbings, muggings and other crime that is exploding around here, but I guess that makes me I'm a starry-eyed dreamer. Bioswales it is.

  7. so let me get this straight….

    you haven't seen a cop, so let's tank this proposal? that's a bit non-sequiter, doncha think?

    i'm not trying to be antogonistic here, and you do bring up opportunity for another point.

    just as grafitti has been shown to increase crime and bring down safety and quality of life, i'm putting out there for consideration that basic “walkability” (for lack of a better word) stands in the way of community building, and by extention quality of life, livability, safety, and community expansion of services.

    this group wants sidewalks, and that has a quantifiable benefit. I think you'd agree if you read their proposal.

    i agree that an increased police presence would be good as well. with a community that is walking more, property values increasing, and involved members of the business community taking advantage of the new climate – don't you believe that an increased police presence would happen as a matter of course?

    and if you don't believe so, you are free to form a community group, write up a proposal, and go after funding.

    just as these people have

  8. What's wrong with asphalt? is it really an aesthetic thing or do you guys work for Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel.

    Come to think of it, the Burke Gilman Trail extension would be asphalt, not concrete, which might be why they're needlessly delaying it.

    a smooth surface is all I want. I don't care if it 'matches' the rest of the city. beggars can't be choosers you know.

  9. well, it isn't an either or thing be it 1. toally aesthetic or considerations 2. we own a piece of some gravel pit.

    yes, aesthetically concrete sidewalks and curbs are nicer looking. i don't think anyone should have to apologize for wanting something that looks nicer.

    but it's also more than that. the concrete sidewalks and curbs last longer. can't get away from that, no matter what you say.

    go look at any industrial complex or housing unit older than five years that use asphalt as their walkway/curb solution. the cracks forming are spiderwebbed with tar sealent. the raised “curb” breaks easily, and does. and both of these things mean you are constantly repairing and patching. functional? sure. but then so are lobotamies…. it doesn't mean they are the desired solution. cheap too, but i think i've made my point.

    then think of the home-owners. their property values would most likely take a hit with the perceived value or hit depending on which solution is adopted. think this isn't important? let's take a vote among homeowners at large – and if you think this neighborhood should go asphalt, please remain consistent with yourselves and insist on ripping out your concrete sidewalks and curbs to be replaced by asphalt.

    others have mentioned that there are other priorities for money, but this proposal dovetails nicely into the mutual goals of elevating the quality of life for the community and services.

    “beggars can't be choosers” indeed. but we are not beggers. we have paid into the city the same property taxes, paid the same in utilities, suffered the same property owner setbacks as those of you who presently enjoy concrete sidewalks and curbs in this area. you sound more along the lines of “i got mine, you should have to beg for yours”.

  10. Try doing the math sometime. $250k is a LOT less than hiring a cop.

    BTW, I think you're being just a tad bombastic. Yes, violent crime is up but “exploding” is overstating things just a tad.

  11. “and if you don't believe so, you are free to form a community group, write up a proposal, and go after funding.”

    But that would require effort! Can't expect people to actually do more than snivel and whine can we? ;)

  12. need as defined by whom?

    could be said i *want* the kids in my neighborhood to be able to walk to the bus stops without having to jump into the ditch to keep from being hit, and the families of the senior citizens want their parents able to walk to Safeway without risk of injury.

    or is that a need?

    i could go on, buy i have a question – does your house have sidewalks in front of it? if not, how much do you walk to the store, bus, or for enjoyment…. and how much do your neighbors who i'm assuming also don't.

  13. I didn't say that I don't think it's worthy of want-ed-ness, just doubtful that it will get funding.

    With tax dollars as short as they are it is totally about “needs”. The city's stance is that until someone gets hit by a car there is no need. Stop signs on every block is something that would make Ballard Neighborhoods safer… they are something I want, but it won't happen in the current economy. Fremont as similar woes about 5 years ago.

  14. Yes, but mine were here when I moved in. I didn't move into a place without them assuming I had the right to them.

    I like the asphalt myself. I have a hard time believing that use of this material would bring down property values.

  15. No it's not a “need” on any level. The cities needs are going to be keeping the sewer, water and electrical systems running. Trying to afford their Police and Fire departments and trying not to close down more school and social programs. 10-20 year (recessions) don't give you a lot of wiggle room. The reality is that when things got good we got stadiums. There are plenty of neighborhoods in Magnolia and other parts of the city that don't have sidewalks. My guess is that the city expects people to buy homes where they feel safe.

    I think that if anything people in Crown Hill should stand up and tell each other not to speed and to look out for families first. I did live on 88th for a while and I know about people zooming around and no sidewalks. That is why we choose NOT to buy a home over there. The problem is the people zooming around on many streets that are supposed to be 10-15 MPH. Even if you HAD sidewalk you still have the issue of cars when you cross the street. People need to speak up to their neighbors or speeders and say “slow down”.

  16. ugh, don't even mention the stadiums, please….

    i recall moving here 15 years ago (or so) and being very confused watching the news, “wait. another stadium? i thought they just approved a stadium a minute ago??” $500,000,000 for safeco? eech. tax money well spent indeed.

    ah, socialism is grand ain't it?

  17. The fact is the city didn't pay for our sidewalks in the first place. They simply required sidewalks to be built. Whoever platted the land into lots and sold off the lots was responsible for the streets and sidewalks. North of 85th, they weren't required so the developers skipped them. Having sidewalks made the initial cost of the houses higher, and subsequently our houses have an improved value, meaning people who live in front of sidewalks now have paid for the luxury.

    I agree with the whole “beggars can't be choosers” statement. You guys are lucky that the city is even thinking about buying sidewalks for you. It is definitely not their responsibility. Everyone south of 85th had to pay for theirs, and now the city wants to pay for yours and you are complaining about them not being nice enough.

    Personally I don't think that the city should spend money that belongs to us all to improve property values of a few. If a neighborhood wants sidewalks, the city should impose a LID on that neighborhood and collect extra property taxes to pay for the projects. It is the only fair way to do it.

    My house cost more than yours because it came with sidewalks. If you want sidewalks, buy a house with them, or have the city impose a LID. Don't make me pay for your sidewalks, I already had to pay for mine.

  18. All this over sidewalks. Yada yada yada. Just wait for government run health care. The bitching has barely begun. And this has a lot to do with the topic. It points out the silliness of “consensus”. I have my sidewalk. You don't? TS buddy. Getting 15 people here to agree the sky is blue stands little chance. As in “describe blue”?

  19. “Personally I don't think that the city should spend money that belongs to us all to improve property values of a few. “

    It's not just a property values issue. Sidewalks improve pedestrian safety and many of those pedestrians are people who don't live on those streets (such as students walking to the school and people walking to the park). Pedestrian safety is an issue that falls under the responsibility of the city.

    The very basis of your argument – all of us shouldn't pay for something which only a few people use is VERY deeply flawed and a sign you've never spent even a single minute sitting in a basic economics class. Other examples of things that are paid for with tax dollars but only used by a few people include: parks, libraries, schools, paramedics and freeways (and that's a very short list!) Are you in favor of eliminating tax payer funding for all of those programs as well?

  20. Actually on 18th they do yell at motorists. Problem is the motorists on 18th don't live in the neighborhood. They're people from outside the neighborhood who go down 18th thinking they can get to the park. My friend lives on 18th and I see parents go speeding down that street trying to get their spawn to little league/football practice only to see them go speeding back down it a few seconds later when they realize the street doesn't go through to the park. Instead of sidewalks they should just put up a big “No park access” sign.

  21. I agree. While we're at why should I pay for libraries? Want a book go buy it yourself! Same for schools – why should I have to pay for your kid to go to school? Brilliant argument.

  22. We already have government run healthcare. It's called Medicare, the VA, the Seattle Fire Department (the vast majority of their calls are medical related despite the “fire” name), etc.

    I say we just eliminate all government and let things descend to a Lord of the Flies level. ;)

  23. If Crown Hill gets sidewalks, the cars people park in their front yards won't cause as much damage to the immaculate lawns in the neighborhood. Loyal Heights Rules!

  24. I will speak on behalf of the first name here: what planet are you on?? At some point the money being spent on bioswales is money NOT being spent on a cop. So it's actually a great opportunity to bring up this point.

    “with a community that is walking more, property values increasing, and involved members of the business community taking advantage of the new climate – don't you believe that an increased police presence would happen as a matter of course?” this is a despicable and dangerous attitude. citizens must hope the neighborhood gentrifies in order to warrant more public safety??? Huh????

    Nobody should have to form a community group, draft a proposal for getting an actual beat cop into an area that has seen a noticeable increase in crime….and if they did are you of the mind then their proposal should compete with the bioswales folks?? Guess it does all tie together!

  25. Libraries and schools improve education which are economy depends on. Without them we would be living in a 3rd world country. Paramedics aren't necessarily used by everyone but everyone benefits from the assurance that they are there when needed. Parks are great for our quality of life and are geographically spread throughout our city. Our economy also depends on freeways and transit and even if you don't use them personally, you greatly benefit from them.

    While a lot of sidewalks aren't necessarily exclusively used by residents near them, most of the use for the crown hill neighborhood would be from nearby residents. My point was that the city required developers to build sidewalks, passing the cost on to home buyers, effectively making us the ones who paid for them. Now the annexed areas, who haven't paid for sidewalks, want the entire city to pay for theirs when they didn't chip in for ours. Parks, libraries, schools, paramedics and freeways are all funded quite differently with taxes covering the costs for the entire city, not just certain parts.

    The fair and equitable way to fund sidewalks would be through a local improvement district. If enough property owners in an area want sidewalks, have the city create a LID and the special assessment on property tax will pay for it. In reality, this is the best chance these neighborhoods have and thats what they should do if they are serious about sidewalks.

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