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Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

Past Minutes of the Board

Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

10 April, 2002, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Seattle Municipal Building, Fourth Floor, RH Thompson Room


SPAB Members: present John Coney (Chair.), Michael Ingram, Ethan Bacon, Charles Smith, Suzanne Anderson, Rob Ketcherside, Margaret McCauley, Mark Schultz

Seattle Transportation Staff: Megan Hoyt, Peter Lagerwey

Friends of SPAB: Lois Laughlin

Members of the public: Allan Panitch (5th Precinct Citizen Advisory Group), Mike Warren (Magnolia/QA District Council)

SPAB Members absent: Lester Goldstein, Drew Robinson

Recently resigned: Mark Gardner

  1. Amendments to the Agenda, none. (2 min.)
  2. 6:03pm Adopt minutes of 2/13/02 and 12/12/02 (2 min)
    On a motion by Anderson and Smith these minutes were adopted.
  3. 6:05 6:05 6:35 Dick Ellis, Project Engineer, WSDOT, Kristin Nielsen, Seattle Transportation, Brook Belman, EnviroIssues Presentation of Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Alternatives (SR99).

    The presentation centered on street reconnections Uptown/S. Lake Union; new street connecting central waterfront to Belltown via re-utilized Battery St. Tunnel; pedestrian potential on Central Waterfront in the Alternatives; pedestrian access in Stadiums Neighborhood.

    The alternatives for this project are divided into south, central, and north sectors. Different modes are featured in alternatives for each sector. Among the modes are mined and drilled tunnels, cut and cover tunnels, surface rights of way, and both temporary (during construction phase) and permanent elevated structures.

    The goals of the project include maintaining three SR99 lanes both northbound and southbound during and after construction, distributing traffic into downtown, providing bike/pedestrian facilities, retaining the waterfront trolley service, and replacing the seawall from King St. to Eagle St. (roughly the central sector of the waterfront.)

    One attraction of Central Design Plan C and D is the opportunity to combine the construction and engineering for the traffic lanes and the seawall through a cut and cover solution.

    Members of SPAB noted that the cut and cover solution offers the best pedestrian right of way potential in the central waterfront.

    A new potential pedestrian right of way could be included in the new street starting on the central waterfront at Madison and connecting via a re-utilized Battery St. Tunnel to the bourdary of Belltown and Uptown Urban Center at approximately Aurora/Republican. This new connection can also serve an extension of the Waterfront Trolley system.

    North sector alternates all offer the potential to reconnect east/west streets providing additional access between South Lake Union/Denny Triangle and Queen Anne's Uptown Urban Center/Seattle Center. North Design Plans B and D utilizing tunnels with an Elliott Ave. portal and an Aurora Ave. portal offer the most east/west street reconnections across Aurora. Both alternatives NDP B and D reconnect John, Thomas, Harrison, Republican, Mercer (as a bridge), and Roy.

    There is major pedestrian right of way potential in these connecting streets. The Mercer and Roy potential overcrossings of Aurora simplify the establishment of the Potlatch Trail pedestrian and bicycle approaches to Seattle Center linking the Center to the South Lake Union Park.

    All south sector alternatives preserve pedestrian routes to the sports stadia from the waterfront and from Pioneer Square. Occidental St. is not an element of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Alternatives. It can remain as a pedestrian access street.
      Future Board actions: Endorse
    • Central Design Plans C and D,
    • North Design Plans B and D,
    • further urban design to ensure pedestrian access to sports stadia in the south sector.,
    • New connection from central waterfront to Belltown/Uptown via new street and re-utilized Battery St. Tunnel.
    More input from Seattle Transportation should be sought by SPAB on these matters on a schedule that allows timely input from SPAB.
    (25 min)
  4. Nytasha Sowers - WSDOT, Rich Merideth, Seattle Transportation Presentation on SR99 North Safety/Mobility Study now underway.

    Sowers explained that SR99 North (Aurora Ave.) is owned by the State but operated by the City.

    The study area is Aurora from the Battery St. Tunnel Portal to N. 145.

    Partners in the Study are WSDOT, City of Seattle, King County Metro, City of Shoreline. The Shoreline SR99 plan abuts the Seattle sector of the Study.

    A Bus Rapid Transit service (BRT) is proposed for Aurora. Potentially a monorail phase two "Blue Line" could connect Downtown to South Lake Union and the Aurora corridor.

    The key outcomes of the Study include
    • Long range cross-section for new development that does not limit future mobility and safety improvement options;
    • Safety improvement recommendations;
    • Defined process for partnering agencies to make long-range operational decision;
    • Approach for matching up with Shoreline's Aurora Corridor Plan.
      Deadlines for input:
    • Improvement Options finalized by 6/02.
    • Improvement Proposal written by 11/02.
    No construction funding is presently appropriated.

    Pedestrian High Accident Zones, High Accident


    There are six High Accident Locations (HALs) and twelve Pedestrian Accident Locations (HALs).

    Merideth indicated locations of safety concern.
    • The blocks of Aurora from the Battery St. Tunnel portal to N. 50th is the state's third worst Pedestrian Accident Zone. Societal cost is estimated at $47,475,000. This High Accident Corridor has the highest number of accidents in Central Puget Sound and the highest number of disabling accidents.
    • Aurora/98th and Aurora/140th are the worst pedestrian accident locations.
    • A continuous median strip replacing the continuous, two-way turn center lane is recommended for Aurora between 75th to 105th.
    • A pedestrian refuge in the center median strip is recommended at Aurora/95th.
    • A new pedestrian crossing is recommended at Aurora/140th, a sector with no median strip.
    Mike Warren, former Chair. of the Magnolia/Queen Anne District Council and a parent who lost a son to a head-on collision on the Aurora Bridge asked what solutions are under study for mitigating the head-on collision rate on the bridge.

    Merideth unveiled a concept for widening the traffic lanes and installing a center median barrier. To allow the median barrier, the two 10 foot wide walkways would be hung directly below their present locations.

    Lagerwey pointed out that the most difficult part of that design is the routing of access in each direction to the underslung walkways at each end of the bridge.

    Sowers and Merideth spoke of recommending specific left turn pockets, minimizing the continuous, two-way, center turn lane along stretches of Aurora. These turn lanes create easy access by left turning vehicles to businesses on the other side of the street, but are dangerous for pedestrians crossing the many curb cuts leading to these businesses.

    Sowers discussed pedestrian facilities existing and possibly recommended for future improvements when funded.

    Questions by SPAB members not answered definitively: Sidewalk width? Curb planter strip? Business access vs. ped safety/environment conflict?

    Note: Seattle Times op-ed piece re/Shoreline SR99N Plan forwarded to SPAB Members. This op-ed points out conflicts between roadside frontage business interests and public safety improvement needs. A community review process was held in Shoreline which resulted in the resolution of some of these conflicting interests and the adoption of a plan which serves business and the public which uses the right of way. SeaTran conducted such a community process in developing a plan for the Westlake corridor bike/pedestrian facility which encountered similar conflicts between business and the public.

    Board Action : none. Because SPAB will need to communicate with Seattle Transportation and WSDOT prior to June, The Advisory Committee will e-mail a position paper to Members for consideration at the May meeting of SPAB.
  5. 6:55 Sgt. Paul Gracey Seattle Police Department Presentation on enforcement of pedestrian rights of way blockage by such as vehicles, vendors:

    Sgt Gracey of the Traffic Division reviewed the problems his division has in enforcing blockage of pedestrian row by vehicles. He listed the violations: parking on sidewalks, parking in drives across sidewalks, intrusion into pedestrian crosswalks downtown by left or right turning vehicles, etc.

    There are 46 officers in the Traffic Division with limited overtime budget. Many officers on the street directing traffic are paid on OT by such as the Mariners and Seahawks for services during events.

    SPAB members asked about more enforcement of pedestrian violation and blockage of pedestrian crossings by vehicles.

    There was some discussion of the advantages to having an officer in downtown intersections at traffic peaks.

    SPD does not enforce sandwich sign and cafe table blockage.

    Note: McCauley's e-mail in response to this presentation. We may want a draft advisory on the May agenda.
    (10 min)
  6. 7:15 Michael Ingram, Chair. Standards Com.

    Ingram reported on the Standards Com. analysis of the draft of the "Traffic Control Manual for In-Street Work".

    Please see Ingram's draft letter advising Marilyn Vancil (ST) and CM Richard Conlin on three additions. The draft will be e-mailed to SPAB members and will be printed on SPAB letterhead by Ethan Bacon and signed by Coney.

    Ingram recommended that SPAB support the Chris Leman proposed Comp Plan Amendment calling for mapping and maintenance of public stairways

    Lagerwey noted that a stairway inventory and pictures exists, and that it is not necessary to list every stairway facility in a Comp Plan Amendment.

    Board Action: Motion passed to submit an advisory letter to CM Nicastro supporting a Comp Plan Amendment on Stairways. Leman has been asked to draft a letter.
    (10 min)
  7. Charles Smith submitted a plan for a walking/running course around Jefferson Park Golf Course.

    Lagerwey hailed this proposal as a breakthrough concept, applicable to the City's other golf courses and some parks.

    A motion by Smith and Anderson was approved to support walking/running course around Jefferson Park Golf Course. Smith will draft a letter for a vote at the SPAB May meeting.
  8. 7:25 Rob Ketcherside, Chair. Plans Com. Report Elevated Transportation Co. Monorail Project DEIS has been issued. A significant missing piece of funding and a missing task in the activities listed is station area planning (SAP) for monorail stations in neighborhoods.

    Coney noted that because of the mass transit sections of the Queen Anne Neighborhood Plan that community was able to plan effectively with ETC and Seattle Center for acceptable route/station locations to be included (at the last minute) in the DEIS.

    Ketcherside will prepare a draft advisory for action by SPAB in its May meeting. The Advisory will deal with pedestrian requirements and issues in and around monorail stations.
    (10 min)
  9. 7:35 Discussion of Spring SPAB Retreat (Postponed till May meeting.) Location, Agenda topics, Select Retreat Chair. (20 min)
    • What kind of priority does SPAB set for influencing (advising) City policies (comp plan) (and ordinances) re/pedestrian facilities, environments, maintenance? (Goldstein)
    • How can SPAB execute its advice effectively? (Goldstein)
    • What makes a good pedestrian facility, route, and environment? (Lagerwey)
    • I there a difference between advocacy and advising? Would the content of such different communications from SPAB be different? What is appropriate for SPAB's top priority? (Coney , Lagerwey)
    • Consider Leman list of continuing and future topics: Pedestrian LOS implementation; More signal lights (Signal Warrant revision); Utility pole placement; Skybridge alternatives requirement; Tree wells extending into pedestrian row; Stairways maintenance; Intelligent transportation Systems impact on pedestrians; pedestrian push button elimination; Gas tax for pedestrian facilities. Some of this is old news and SPAB has dealt with it.
    • Sharpening "SPAB Responsibilities, Policies, and Procedures" document.(Coney)
  10. 7:30 Public Comment: There was none.(1 min)
  11. 7:55 Future Agenda Items (5 min.):
    • "SEATTLE STREET IMPROVEMENT MANUAL" (SeaTran Standards for Pedestrian Facilities construction.) (Standards Committee)
    • Street Use Policies and Enforcement (Advertising and vendors on sidewalks) (Advisory Committee)
    • Trans Lake Washington (I-90 walkway alternatives, SR520 S. Lake Union Intersection impacts)
    • Seattle Parks Levy Oversight Committee (pathways in parks, new, funded connections for pedestrians into parks.) (Plans Committee)
  12. 8:05pm Adjourn.

For further information contact John Coney, Chair. SPAB 206/283-2049,

All SPAB meetings are public meetings of a City Advisory Board. Check the SPAB website at for SPAB minutes, advisories, meetings.


  • Planning the Retreat
  • Introducing Grace Crunican
  • Marco Lowe, Dir. Public Relations, Mayor's Office
  • Monorail Station Area Planning (Ketcherside)
  • Rapid Reports: Segway Bill campaign (Goldstein/Coney);
  • Budget Advisory meetings in progress (Coney)
  • SR99N (Aurora) Safety/Mobility Plan advisory draft (Shoreline Planners)
  • Jefferson Park Golf Course running/walking track (Smith)