Safer Route to School in West Woodland

Safe School Route improvements.

Safe School Route improvements.

 

Kids should be excited by going to school and by the process of getting there. SDOT has been improving the pedestrian routes to many schools with a mix of crosswalks, curb bulbs, and repair or installation of sidewalks, including near West Woodland Elementary.

The intersection of 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street is one of Seattle’s 5-way intersections with fairly steep grades and limited lines of sight, which presents a challenging situation for drivers and pedestrians, particularly before and after school. 3rd Avenue is a well-loved north-south route on the west slope of Phinney Ridge running from NW Leary Way beyond NW 85thStreet. NW 55th Place to NW 56th Street is a northeast – southwest route that connects NW Market Street to the north side of the Woodland Park Zoo.

The crossing was selected by both the Neighborhood Street Fund program (using Bridging the Gap levy money) and by the Safe Routes to School program for improvements. After discussions with the PTSA, neighbors and project sponsors, a balance was found that provides a much safer crossing, while not significantly affecting traffic flows when pedestrians aren’t crossing.

As shown in the (above) diagram, one leg of the intersection will be shifted south and made a one-way street, headed away from the intersection. (Folks headed from Ballard on NW Market Street will still be able to turn north onto 3rd Avenue NW from NW 55th Place, just a half-block away.) The intersection itself will become an all-way stop on the remaining four legs and get curb bulbs – to shorten crossing distances – and crosswalk striping.

SDOT is also replacing the school zone flashing beacons, which will be timed with school arrival and dismal times to help pedestrians cross the street. These will be located on 3rd Avenue NW, facing both north- and south-bound traffic.  The design is essentially complete, the specifications written and the contract for this work, along with four other Neighborhood Street Fund Projects is being put together.

The package will be put out to bid and construction will take place in 2015. We’re pretty excited by helping to make schools safer in general, but especially about this project for the West Woodland Elementary neighborhood. Please visit the website http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/westwoodland.htm and if you have any specific questions about the project, please contact Art Brochet at art.brochet@seattle.gov .