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Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

October 28, 2002

Nytasha Sowers
WSDOT SR99 North Corridor
Safety and Mobility Study
401 2nd Ave S, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98104-2887

Dear Ms. Sowers:

The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board (SPAB) would like to thank you for attending our October 16th meeting and updating us on the status of the SR99 North study.

We were pleased that several of our recommendations had been incorporated into the recent proposal. These represent significant improvements for pedestrian users of the corridor:

  • Retaining walkways on both sides of the bridge
  • Focusing on Pedestrian Accident Locations for short term improvements including enhanced and increased crossings
  • Reducing the amount of left turns from the center lane
  • Providing a buffer between pedestrians and the roadway such as bushes
  • Not widening lanes to 12f
  • Allowing for 10f sidewalks
  • Improving lighting

As the study continues to progress we have several points that we would like to emphasize or have clarified:

  • Specifics on lighting. Security lighting is only mentioned briefly on your website (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr99/prelimrecs.htm) as an improvement that will affect "All Modes" in the corridor. This lighting should include the pedestrian environment. Preferably it would include low-level lights. If high roadway lights are relied upon, they need to be bright enough to be useful for pedestrians at night.
  • Although buffers were mentioned at the meeting, they are not included in the proposal. Presumably they are a detail that was left out, but it would be useful to know when and where they will be included. As parking will be removed in many sections of the corridor at least during peak times, their utility will be magnified.
  • Trees along the sidewalk and median were not discussed in the proposal. We continue to support their inclusion wherever possible.
  • No mention seems to have been made of a reduction in driveways along the corridor. Driveways, also called "curb cuts", are necessary for parking access, but when superfluously located they provide unnecessary points of conflict between pedestrians and vehicles crossing their path. The proposal lessens the impact by removing some left turn actions through the curb cuts, but SPAB still feels many of the curb cuts in the corridor are actually unnecessary.
  • There is some confusion regarding when pedestrian improvements will occur. The fold out map which you provided at our meeting lists pedestrian improvements for the "north focus area" as being short term improvements to be concluded in the next ten years. However, your website lists these as long term improvements with no timeline. This disparity needs to be addressed. Specifically, the listing for curb and sidewalk construction seems inconsistent.
  • Although lane width is specified on the bridge deck and north focus area, other areas are not clearly depicted. SPAB hopes that these lanes will not reach the 12f width that was originally considered.
  • It appears that sidewalks will thankfully not be reduced in the short or long term, but it would be useful if this was clarified in the proposal.
  • The speeds of the corridor are not discussed in the proposal. SPAB is still convinced that increasing the speed limit will not increase peak hour capacity, not significantly impact travel times, and will only put pedestrians at a significantly increased risk of fatality.

We look forward to continuing to provide advice on the SR99 North Study as it reaches its conclusion.

Sincerely,

Rob Ketcherside
Chair Elect, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

cc: State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells
Seattle City Council Member Richard Conlin - Chair. Transportation Committee
Seattle City Council Members Nick Licata, Heidi Wills, Richard McIver - members, Transportation Committee
Mayor Greg Nickels