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Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

Past Minutes of the Board


June 11, 2003, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Key Tower, 700 5th Ave. at Columbia St.
Room 4096

Board Members Present: Rob Ketcherside (Chair), Jean Healy, Peg Staeheli, Matthew Amster-Burton, Megan Hoyt, Suzanne Anderson, Amy Clark, Rob Fellows, Margaret McCauley

SDOT Liaison to SPAB: Megan Hoyt

Presenters: Grace Crunican, Director, SDOT

  1. Adopted minutes of 05.14.03 meeting on motion by McCauley and Healy.
  2. Round Robin

    Amster-Burton attended the Action: Better City film, “Viaduct? What Viaduct?” and heard the panel discussion on the waterfront post-viaduct.

  3. Q&A: Grace Crunican, Director, SDOT

    Question: How can SPAB help SDOT enhance the pedestrian environment?

    Answer: Think for and instead of SDOT, and formulate questions independently; create a list of SPAB budget priorities, as there will most certainly be budget cuts; don’t protest cuts just because they are cuts. Where sidewalks are concerned, there are both concrete sidewalk and lesser options, but true sidewalks, built using local improvement districts (LIDs), add significantly to property value. SDOT needs a “forward thrust” for identifying walking as a mode of transportation, tying sidewalk growth to the transit way.

    Q: How does SDOT work with other transportation agencies, including Sound Transit, monorail, WSDOT, and Metro, regarding pedestrian issues?

    A: However, SDOT has good relations with Metro, and that agency sometimes sees problems ahead of SDOT. SDOT does follow through with other agencies like ST in terms of permitting and okaying certain projects or decisions.

    Q: Are sidewalks being funded with money for drainage projects?

    A: Yes, out of desperation, prioritization of sidewalks by the executive, and the city council’s rejection of community development block grant money as an option. The mayor’s goal is 32 new sidewalks, which could be accomplished through use of SeaStreets, which utilize natural soil drainage systems, cutting costs. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) puts in the drainage, and SDOT puts in the sidewalks. SDOT expects to afford 16 block faces of sidewalk this way. In the past, high drainage costs stopped many transportation projects from happening, but now there is better agency coordination.

    Q: What are the costs of LIDs, including associated costs?

    A: SDOT is using a budget-oriented approach: building what the neighborhood can afford. The aim is to build concrete sidewalks, with the hope that property owners would appreciate the long-lasting value of clear demarcation between what space is reserved for cars and what space is reserved for pedestrians. Crunican referred to Roy Hoffman of SPU as someone who made great efforts to help overcome SPU and SDOT’s institutional problems.

    Q: Will there be pedestrian voices on the Citizens’ Transportation Advisory Committee?

    A: Crunican expects pedestrians to put themselves on the committee and push for sidewalk funding. Federal money, parks money, utilities funding, and public housing money can all be directed towards pedestrian goals, but state legislative dollars tend to go only for highway projects.

    Q: How can SPAB get signals changed if the board sees a problem?

    A: The board must alert SDOT to problems or else they may be missed. Crunican suggested taking herself and Rob Spillar, head of traffic management for SDOT, on a tour of four to eight bad pedestrian crossings about every six months. She would also be happy to come to the board every six months or more often, if there is a project the board is working on directly with her.

  4. Round Robin (continued)

    Healy attended the West Seattle monorail station design workshop and attempted to learn more about their plans for ADA accommodations, with very little success. She is meeting with people from SDOT on vibrating signals later in the month.

    Ketcherside attended the Rainier Valley Runaround, the first Pedestrian Summer event. He will try to get the Wing Luke Museum’s maps of the International District to future events. Ketcherside also spoke with Marco Lowe from the mayor’s office, hoping to bring new mayoral appointees onto the board as soon as possible.

    Fellows expressed interest in appointment to the Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Committee. The committee is short-term and will have six appointees each from the mayor and from the city council.

    Clark observed a number of signals in Washington, DC that were equipped with a countdown, showing pedestrians how much time was left to legally cross the street. She found this extremely helpful, and a lengthy signalization discussion ensued. Hoyt explained that there is no real policy for the installation of pushbuttons at pedestrian signals, only for their removal. Amster-Burton will keep a running list of signals the board wants reviewed.

    Clark also attended the Action: Better City film showing. Amster-Burton spoke with Bob Chandler afterwards about the new alternatives for the Alaskan Way Viaduct project, which include a “tunnel bypass” which allows through traffic to pass underneath a local-access boulevard. The Central Waterfront Plan kick-off discussions will be June 26 and 28.

    Anderson attended the Northgate neighborhood forum, and the South Lake Union community forum. Both were well attended, and community members voiced their approval of pedestrian-friendly designs, which did not necessarily reflect the plans of developers in the case of the Northgate forum. There will be a South Lake Union open house on July 15.

    Hoyt announced that the list of new crosswalks is out. She suggested that Rob Spillar might be a good presenter for a future meeting, July or later.

    McCauley noted the publicity pedestrian stings are receiving. She may be able to bring the A:BC viaduct film for the July meeting.

  5. Business items: Ketcherside

    Ketcherside went over the edited projects list and “life cycle of an issue” document from the retreat.

    Next month’s agenda should include follow-up on Crunican’s topics; a presenter on pedestrian-activated signals; possible viaduct movie; and the International District streetscape/open space plan.

  6. Adjourn: 8:12 PM

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

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