Dancing the Two-Step to Powell Barnett Park

SDOT just wrapped up pedestrian improvements making it easier to walk to Powell Barnett Park on Martin Luther King Jr Way. We’ve done this partly by splitting the crossing of MLK Jr Way into two steps.

The improvements include 1) a raised crosswalk at E Alder Street to reduce vehicle speeds at the intersection where pedestrians are crossing, and 2) a median island at E Jefferson Street – this is where the two steps come in.

If you’re not familiar with median islands, they’re a good tool to help pedestrian crossings on multi-lane streets. They provide a protected place for a pedestrian to stand mid-point when crossing the street. If they’re protected, pedestrians can concentrate on crossing one direction of traffic at a time.

Initial observations show that cars are slowing as they go over the crosswalk

Initial observations show that cars are slowing as they go over the crosswalk

In addition, the median island can have a traffic calming affect by visually narrowing the roadway. When drivers perceive the street to be narrower, they instinctively go slower. Since completion we’ve noted people slowing down for the crosswalk and have placed traffic counters on site to see if the data backs up our initial observations. Stay tuned for results!

This project was requested by the Leschi Community Council through the Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) funded by the Bridging the Gap transportation levy approved by Seattle voters in 2006.