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Have you seen the new sidewalks in Lake City and South Park?

We installed artistic curb bulbs on 8th Ave S. Photo Credit: Dahvee Enciso.

Sidewalks are the building blocks of an effective pedestrian network. There are currently more than 2,000 miles of sidewalks in Seattle, and we’re growing that number every day. 

We are committed to increasing the number of sidewalks in the city with your help! Your tax dollars are hard at work through the Levy to Move Seattle to fund sidewalk maintenance and improvement projects. In addition to local funds, we also look for state or federal grants to build sidewalks. 

Information on planned sidewalk projects can be found in our Pedestrian Master Plan. You can also learn more about and completed Seattle sidewalk projects by clicking through our interactive map

On 30th Ave NE, we built new sidewalks and a natural drainage system to make it easier and safer to walk or roll along the street. 

Phase One: NE 130th St to NE 137th St 

In spring 2019, we partnered with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to complete the first phase of new sidewalks and a natural drainage system (natural drainage) along the east side of 30th Ave NE between NE 130th St and NE 137th. These improvements make it safer, easier, and more pleasant for everyone to walk or roll along 30th Ave NE.  

Natural drainage is built to capture stormwater runoff and filter pollutants before it becomes groundwater. An NDS uses specific plants and soils to help clean and slow the water. Plants are selected to help the natural drainage do its job: clean stormwater and allow it to slowly seep into the ground. The natural drainage helps capture and treat polluted stormwater runoff before it reaches Thornton Creek, which improves water quality and reduces pollution in Lake Washington. The natural drainage was designed, constructed, and will be maintained by SPU. 

This project was selected as part of our Sidewalk Development Program and as part of SPU’s Integrated Plan to treat polluted stormwater within Thornton Creek Basin. The project captures efficiencies in design and construction, and fosters improved coordination between City departments and their individual projects. 

Take a look at the project map to see where the new sidewalks, natural drainage system, and more are located. 

Phase Two: NE 137th St to NE 143rd St 

We heard from neighbors during early outreach that the new sidewalks completed in the first phase should be extended north towards N 145th St, so we made those improvements as part of the second phase. To begin creating a clear walking path along 30th Ave NE, we have completed interim improvements between NE 137th and NE 143rd St. The project elements included new gravel, vegetation clearing, and parking restrictions. We completed concrete sidewalks in December 2020 as the final part of this work.  

This project was a challenge for everyone involved because we had to adjust people’s driveways along 30th Ave NE. We’re so grateful to the neighbors who managed the inconvenience of occasional driveway closures and nearby construction. This contribution to the health and safety of our community does not go unnoticed. Thank you, South Park residents! 

On 8th Ave S in South Park, we installed colorful curb bulbs and completed a new sidewalk. 

The east side of 8th Ave S today, with new sidewalk and parking restored
The east side of 8th Ave S, with new sidewalk and parking restored. Photo Credit: David Burgesser. 

Back in September 2020, we wrote about new sidewalks and other creative improvements in South Park. As part of this work, we completed a new sidewalk on the east side of the street where a temporary in-street walkway was installed in 2016 and we also replaced the existing sidewalk on the west side. The new sidewalk meets current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, making it easier and safer for people of all ages and abilities to walk to destinations like the South Park Community Center, South Park Library, and bus stops. Among other challenges, this project involved accommodating the area’s established big leaf maple trees. Read more about the project here. 

We are continuing to install art reflecting the neighborhood in South Park.  

In 2018, we worked with South Park neighbors to create an art installation that uses public space to reflect the vibrancy and culture of the neighborhood.  

A neighborhood committee collected street design submissions and held a block party where community members could anonymously vote on their favorite designs. Out of 22 submissions, the winning design embraces the colorful memorials and expressive costumes that are part of Día de los Muertos and remembering the spirits of deceased loved ones. 

The design came from our own Pavement Engineering Crew Chief, Dahvee Enciso. Enciso says he put his “heart and soul” into the South Park installation, “in remembrance of my mother, Eva.” 

Enciso with his crosswalk design. Photo Credit: SDOT. 

Based on positive feedback from neighbors, we wanted to take the opportunity to expand the art further north up 8th Ave S. In late 2020, we installed more art (also designed by Enciso) within the “paint and post” curb bulbs between S Sullivan and S Southern streets.  

Next, we will install a decorative crosswalk on the north side of SW Cloverdale St and 8th Ave SW inspired by a popular Mexican decorative art form, papel picado. Papel picado can be translated into English as “perforated paper” and is used for many occasions including the birth of a child, holidays, birthdays, weddings, deaths, and more. Read more about the history and art of papel picado here

Colorful crosswalk inspired by papel picado. The crosswalk is indoors, not yet installed.
We plan to install the papel picado crosswalk (above) on the north side of 8th Ave S and S Cloverdale St this spring. Photo Credit: Dahvee Enciso. 

Here’s what a neighbor had to say:  

I have lived and operated a small childcare on the corner of 8th Ave S and S Southern St for many years.  The old sidewalks were in such bad shape that the preschool children and I would avoid using them because they often had standing water and the bumps and cracks made it difficult to push the stroller. Our new sidewalks are flat, dry & beautiful! Our little preschool group loved watching the construction. The cement trucks were definitely crowd pleasers. AND the beautiful new corner art is like the icing on the cake. Now everyone can see, what we in the neighborhood already knew, South Park is a very special and beautiful place.

Shawna Murphy, South Park Resident 

Thank you for your investment and support of these important projects! We look forward to many more in 2021.