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Street improvements that Seattle residents want the most

Crosswalks at South Atlantic Street and Alaskan Way South in Seattle. (WSDOT)

What do Seattleites want? Crosswalks. When do they want them? Whenever $2 million worth of work can be completed.

In February, the City of Seattle asked Seattleites what they want to be fixed around town. Their answers ranged from solar-powered lights in Volunteer Park to more planter boxes along 2nd Avenue through downtown to separate the bike and car lanes.

Related: Seattle to install more cultural crosswalks

But the top priority for many Seattle residents is crosswalks, according to the list of suggestions submitted by residents to the city. Most of the 900 community recommendations focus on unsafe crossings, crosswalk upgrades, or crossing improvements throughout Seattle. But as the Seattle Bike Blog points out, just one project could cost up to $90,000. So the $2 million can only fund about 23 projects total.

Crosswalks and other ideas

Many of the ideas are labeled as “not feasible,” most likely because they are found to be too expensive, or require significant community feedback. A gateway over the road into Little Saigon, for example, is among that list.

Click on just about any pinpoint on the city’s map of the 900 suggestions, and you’ll likely find a reference to an unsafe crossing. Or even a related issue such as traffic calming, or other improvements for pedestrians. Other references cite how people just drive too fast around Seattle. The solutions for those are often more visible crosswalks.

Northlake Way is a good example. A community member noted that drivers often speed on the road, which is dangerous given that there are parks in that area, attracting many pedestrians. Aside from installing a radar/speeding sign along the route, more visible and lighted crosswalks are recommended.

Another suggestion: Implement an all-walk crossing at the busy Broadway and Pike intersection. The same is suggested for the intersection at Olive and Bellevue Ways.

But the range of crosswalks aren’t the only ideas on the list. There are a few others that speak to Seattleites’ desire for drivers to slow down. Others want more green to balance out all the concrete. And some just want the city to clean up the streets.

• Trash clean up along the Burke-Gilman Trail in Wallingford left from encampments. (Not a physical infrastructure project)
• Paint the intersection of Highpoint Drive and SW Morgan Street with a bumblebee, tree, flower, salmon or a ladybug with the aim of slowing traffic through that intersection. (Not feasible)
• Install a smoking station at Terry Avenue and University Street to contain second-hand smoke that currently flows into the office buildings in that area. (Not feasible)
• Cover the basketball court in Cal Anderson Park so people can gather year-round in the area. (Not feasible)
• Install a bike lane along Rainier Avenue. (Not feasible, too expensive)
• Large chess/checker tables and adult activities in Columbia Park.
• A push-button water park in Columbia Park. (Not feasible / too expensive)

The idea-collection was part of the city’s Your Voice, Your Choice outreach program. It’s designed to collect suggestions for street and park projects. Many of the suggestions were taken online. But the process is not over. Those projects will be voted on in each district in June. The city will follow the public’s lead and fund whichever projects get the most votes. Each district will get $285,000 to use in 2018.

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