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Council News Release

8/13/2008  9:24:00 AM
Lisa Herbold, Licata Office, (206) 684-5331

Councilmember Nick Licata

Councilmembers are concerned by sidewalk closures due to construction

SEATTLE— The Office of the City Auditor today released its report titled: “City Should Take Steps to Enhance Pedestrian and Cyclist Mobility Through and Around Construction Sites.” After studying the issue, the Auditor’s Office had four main recommendations: 1) making pedestrian and cyclist mobility a priority; 2) coordinating multiple projects located in the same area; 3) improving inspection and enforcement; and 4) communicating with the public.

Councilmember Nick Licata, co-chair of the Pedestrian Safety Committee, was pleased with the report’s findings and said, “Construction sometimes results in a crazy patchwork of sidewalk closures. Seattle residents routinely ask me how we can be a ‘pedestrian friendly city’ when so many sidewalk closings either discourage walking or in some cases make it downright dangerous.”

Seattle City Councilmembers, in response to citizen complaints and their own observations, asked the Office of City Auditor to assess whether the City of Seattle was doing everything it could to minimize the duration and impact of street and sidewalk closures on pedestrians and cyclists. They were particularly interested in alternative solutions for better pedestrian access, given the current volume of construction activity in the City’s downtown core.

As part of the report, the Office of City Auditor and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) agreed to six action items covering the Auditor’s four recommendation areas: 1) develop a set of preferred and alternative methods for pedestrian protection based on the Washington D.C. model; 2) enforce Americans with Disabilities (ADA) accessibility standards for pedestrians; 3) dedicate a street use inspector to coordinate multiple construction projects located in the same area; 4) develop a policy for waiving inspections; 5) require applicants for street use permits to submit a notification plan; 6) Make information on sidewalk closures and alternative routes available on SDOT’s website.

The report will be available on the Office of City Auditor’s website , on Thursday, August 14. If you would like a copy of report, please contact David G. Jones, Deputy City Auditor, , (206) 233-1095. The Council’s Transportation Committee will receive a briefing on the Auditor’s report on Tuesday, September 30, 9:30 a.m.


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