Traffic is increasing in Montlake. We experience gridlock and cut-through traffic routinely. The SR 520 project is adding pressure on the neighborhood at a rate unplanned for by SDOT and WSDOT. Various projects need to happen in order to mitigate the effect.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has funded some of these efforts through Vision Zero Project. Additionally, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has given SDOT $250,000 for traffic calming work outlined in the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan.
A few of the changes will be done before the next Phase of SR 520 begins in late 2018/early 2019. The Montlake Community Club has requested additional projects, however, at this time SDOT is unable to fund them.
This is a report of projects completed, underway or under discussion. We will also address the 23rd Avenue East Vision Zero project and the SR520 project in future articles.
|Identified Projects||Status||Funding Source|
|3-way stop at 19th Avenue & Lynn||Complete except for trees and landscaping to come this fall||SDOT Safe Routes to School (part of Vision Zero Project)|
|Interlaken Park Path and Stairway Replacement||Construction started in July. This project includes stairs, a guardrail, and a bike runnel.||Seattle Metropolitan Park District Funds and SDOT Details here.|
|All way stop at intersection of Lynn/23rd/22nd Avenue||Based on neighborhood feedback the change will not be installed. In anticipation of installation, guidelines were spray painted on the street. These will fade with time.
|Lane changes – 23rd/24th Ave E between E John St and E Boyer||Summer/Fall 2018||SDOT 23rd Avenue East Vision Zero Project|
|Crosswalk alignment at Lake Washington Blvd. and Boyer Avenue||Summer 2018||Arboretum Trail Project – SR 520 Mitigation Project|
|Curb Extension – Lake Washington Blvd. at Miller Street||Completed||WSDOT 520 mitigation|
|Pedestrian Traffic Signaled Crossing at 24th Avenue East and Lynn Street||Preliminary design work has begun. SDOT will work on restricting left-turns on 24th Avenue. Work scheduled for late 2019.||SDOT 23rd Avenue East Vision Zero Project|
|Speed Bumps – 25th and 26th Avenue East between Boyer Avenue E. and E. Lynn||Completed||WSDOT SR 520 mitigation|
|Montlake Blvd. East at E. Shelby Street Sidewalk widening||Underway||SDOT|
|Potential Projects||Status||Funding Source|
|5-way Stop: Boyer/Lynn/Delmar/16th||Improvement under discussion||SDOT- funds yet to be identified|
|Enhanced Crosswalk at Delmar and Interlaken||Improvement under discussion||SDOT- funds yet to be identified|
|Added speed humps along Lynn from 24th to 26th||Discussions with SDOT||Unknown|
|Traffic calming measure at 20th and E. Lynn||Discussions with SDOT||Unknown|
|Added Tunnel under Lake Washington Blvd. from 26th to the Land Bridge||Discussions with SDOT and WSDOT||Unknown|
|Roanoke Greenway from 20th to Lake Washington Blvd.||SDOT – Early Planning Stages||TBD (Greenways)|
|Pedestrian crossing at Roanoke and Lake Washington Blvd.||Discussed with SDOT/WSDOT. Potential NTMP Project – SDOT/WSDOT||Unknown (WSDOT SR 520 Mitigation?)|
|Other Suggested Projects||Status||Funding Source|
|Traffic calming measures along McGraw from Boyer to 18th||Discussed with SDOT||Unknown|
|Speed Humps along Lynn, McGraw, Calhoun and Miller from 23rd to 19th||Discussed with SDOT – Potential NTMP Project SDOT/WSDOT||Unknown (WSDOT SR 520 Mitigation?)|
Regarding public transportation, the 23rd Avenue Corridor is one of seven planned RapidRide lines in the City. The RapidRide Expansion Program is a partnership between the City of Seattle and Metro Transit to deliver convenient, high-quality public transportation options. It was originally scheduled for opening in 2024, but currently, no funding exists for this project. It is hard to understand the lack of funding when the #25 was discontinued and service of the #43 has been drastically reduced. Even with Light Rail, our community is underserved with transit options.
It is critical that all Montlake residents influence these projects. Please continue to put pressure on SDOT and ask them to fund all of the requested projects (email SDOT). When emailing SDOT please put “Montlake Traffic Calming Measures” in the subject line. You are encouraged to use the City of Seattle “Find IT, FIX IT” app (www.seattle.gov/customer-service-bureau/find-it-fix-it-mobile-app) to post any request you think should be addressed. That includes the items listed above. WSDOT, SDOT and the City of Seattle need to hear from each of us if we expect anything to be done.
If you want to learn more or get involved, reach out to the MCC, join the transportation committee, or attend one of our monthly meetings. Meetings take place at the Boyer Children’s clinic on the second Tuesday of each month (September-June) at 7:00 pm. We have made great progress, but it requires continued community involvement.
Thank you to everyone who has advocated for our marvelous, historic and lovely neighborhood.
Traffic Calming is being explored for Montlake, and not just for our main street—24th Ave East. It’s equally important for safety and livability on all the streets of our neighborhood.
Developed in Europe in the 70’s, traffic calming is a system of street design strategies aimed to balance movement of traffic with other human interests, like walking, playing, shopping, working—you know, life. Over the years, a number of calming measures have been added to our neighborhood side streets. When you take a walk around Montlake, you can find traffic circles, speed bumps and cushions, pedestrian-controlled crossing lights, marked crosswalks, roadway striping and painting, curb bulbs and good old signage. In other Seattle neighborhoods you can also see chicanes, raised crosswalks, textured “rumble strips,” diverters, and chokers. Some have calmed traffic; some, not so much.
Now to Montlake comes even more traffic on 24th Ave E. and seemingly endless Hwy. 520 construction. We’re feeling spill-over headaches as impatient drivers look for shortcuts and faster routes along our residential streets. It sure seems like we need more of the traffic calming methods in additional locations. Jim Curtin, SDOT’s Senior Traffic Planner & leader of Seattle’s Vision Zero road safety initiative knows the whole traffic calming toolbox—and he’s not afraid to use those tools if doing so makes life safer and more pleasant on our streets—all our streets.
At the November MCC Board Meeting, Curtin explained that SDOT is still evaluating “a slew of options” for the 23rd /24th Traffic Corridor Improvement Project Phase 3. He stressed that entire “neighborhood traffic calming is a priority, no matter what design is ultimately selected” for 24th Ave E. The other day, he reiterated this whole-neighborhood concern after reviewing reader responses to the November 23, 2016 Flyer article. All along, Jim has also said that for the best solutions to be found, SDOT planners need to learn from the community about specific problems in particular locations. Your observations and experiences can then be crafted into accounts to share with SDOT decision makers. Bottom line: The better SDOT’s understanding of particulars, the more likely their fixes will work for us.
So, Montlakers, let’s do our part. We can start by naming specific neighborhood locations and the particular traffic problems observed and experienced there. Write these in the comment section following this article or send them to the Montlake Community Club Board (Board@montlake.net). Montlake Community meetings on Phase 3 will also be coming up in early 2017. Attend those meetings to be informed and to offer your specifics and particulars there. Let’s give SDOT the information they need to provide us with workable traffic calming solutions to our Montlake street safety and livability issues.
Want to know more about Traffic Calming? Here are some online resources:
Several Montlake residents attended the Seattle Design Commission (SDC) meeting on Thursday, July 7th to listen and comment on WSDOT’s plans for construction of the SR 520 Rest of the West Project. Those attending were Jon Decker, Kathy Laughman, John O’Neil, Lionel Job and Barbara Wright.
The meeting agenda called for WSDOT to discuss its Request for Proposals (RFP) process and the role that the Commission will have in that process.
The commissioners asked for clarification on several points made by WSDOT. Among them were:
- How does WSDOT plan to have transparency in the design process and finality of design decisions if it plans to utilize a design-build method in this phase of the construction?
- What process does WSDOT have for mitigating environmental and quality of live concerns the residents in the surrounding area will have during the duration of construction, especially since the construction will take 11 – 12 years to complete?
Barbara Wright and Lionel Job, chosen earlier to speak for the group, expressed their concerns about WSDOT not being open and not honestly taking the community needs into consideration. Lionel mentioned the example of discovering on the day of the June 28th WSDOT Open House that there was a plan to demolish the Montlake Blvd Market and the 76 Station to make way for a construction staging area.
The intersection of SR 520, Montlake Blvd. and Montlake Place is the second busiest intersection in the city. Barbara & Lionel asked the Seattle Design Commission to consider this fact and how this constant traffic and the planned construction will impact the surrounding communities. They hoped the Commission would urge the City to take an active and transparent role in working with WSDOT to protect the integrity of the environment and surrounding neighborhoods. Both the Council and the Mayor’s Office need to be actively involved in the project (design, implementation, and construction) to ensure we build a transportation project, they said.
John O’Neil, Montlake Community Club board trustee for transportation, also spoke in regard to the safety and environmental concerns that the long construction period will have on the students at Seattle Prep High School.
The Seattle Design Commission will be presenting recommendations to the City Council at its 9:30 a.m. briefing meeting on July 18th. The public may attend this meeting but is not traditionally permitted to make comments. Therefore the group which attended the recent SDC meeting has sent a list of written concerns that will be used to brief the Council in advance of this meeting. The City Council will then be up to update on the concerns that the surrounding neighborhoods want to address regarding the SR 520 Rest of the West Project’s impact on their communities.
A follow-up article will be posted to the Montlake Flyer with the details after the July 18th meeting.
A packed agenda for your Montlake Community Club Board last Tuesday night (June 14), but the Board was up to it. President Bryan Haworth offered our Community’s thanks to the Board members completing their terms: LeAna Alvarado-Smith, Tomitha Blake, Kathy Laughman. He announced that Kathy Laughman, though retiring from the Board, has agreed to be Project Lead on the City funded initiative to create an improvement plan for Montlake’s business district. Haworth then gave election results and welcomed the five new Board members: Darcy LaBelle, Rohit Manokaran, John O’Neil, Tyler Blitz and Carol Cordy. Congratulations to these five new community members who’ve stepped forward to serve their Montlake neighbors. (Their photos and bios will appear soon on the Montlake website.)
Special guest, Paul Fuesel of Studio KPG kicked off conversation with the Board and guests about our Business District Improvement Project and the work KPG will be doing as the contracted consultants. Paul described how this project, funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, will result in a plan crafted by KPG in collaboration with the MCC project team and designed specifically for our neighborhood. It will take advantage of what they’ve learned from changes that worked well in other locations in Seattle as well as surrounding communities.
The Project’s Functional Goals: Revitalization of the Business District to support Existing Restaurants and Service Businesses, Increase of Outdoor Seating; Pedestrian Safety, Accessibility & Street Crossings; Street Diet Traffic Calming on 24th; Safe Routes to School Children across 24th; Wider Sidewalks where feasible; Street Tree Replacement; Signal at E. Lynn Street; Friendlier Bus Stops.
The Project Aesthetic Goals: “Place Making”, so that the business district is “a place people want to spend time;” District Identity & Branding; Bike and Pedestrian Wayfinding (bike routes to/from Arboretum and the U-District; Support Historic Character; Public Art Integration; Connect ‘isolated section’ between Montlake Bridge & Business district; Enhance Montlake Boulevard Market at 520 “Look & Feel”; Enhance 22nd Ave E. Greenway Connections “Look & Feel.”
Fuesel responded to questions from the Board members and talked about next steps in the planning process. Up first will be outreach to the community. To that end, the Board agreed to schedule a Community Meeting inviting all Montlakers for an informative session, with opportunities for comments, questions, and input of ideas. That meeting is scheduled for July 26, with location to be determined. Be assured that you’ll get more details and reminders of this meeting as the date near.
Several other special guests were given time to present information or request action on other issues. Scott Forbes, former MCC Board member, explained that he was now a candidate for State Representative for the 43rd District. Allan Seidenverg and Ann Rudd asked the Board to offer a letter of support for the ARCH. It would use a highway ramp piece to be placed in the Arboretum as a concrete memorial structure reminding us of the courage of local citizens who led a successful campaign to stop the construction of the R.H.Thompson freeway in the early 60’s. Lyle Bicknell, Seattle’s Montlake liaison to the WSDOT 520 construction project, reported on progress of the construction effort through Montlake and highlighted positive changes to the design stimulated by earlier community input. He talked of the timeliness of our planning project in relation to the 520 work and the near-future Phase 3 City construction efforts along the 23rd/24th Avenue corridor.
Your truly, Nathalie Gehrke, was recognized for her agreement to serve as the community reporter for the coming year’s business district improvement planning initiative. Watch for my reports as things progress. I’ll try to keep them lively.
*You can get all the details of the evening’s agenda by visiting the Community Club Meeting Minutes at Montlake.net