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Biking on Beacon: Why did the neighbor cross the road?

August 25th, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Posted by Dylan Ahearn

…To get to our brand new park!

Jefferson Park is a wonderful community gathering space located in the heart of Beacon Hill.  It offers amazing views, brand new tennis courts, playground, cricket, lawn bowling, golfing, a community center, and soon we will have a skate park and spray pad (which would not have gotten much use this summer, somewhat diminishing the sting of construction delays).  But the irony is this community nexus acts as a physical division within our neighborhood. The golf course is not permeable by car or foot, while the park is surrounded by arterial and collector streets (Spokane, Columbian, Beacon) that are wide and unsafe to cross except at stoplight-controlled intersections.  Due to the current configuration it is difficult to access the park in a safe and efficient manner without getting in your car and driving there, which I must say, though I love my car, does take the neighborhoodiness out of things a bit—when was the last time you had a meaningful interaction with a neighbor when driving past them on 15th?

Neighbors have noticed that many people try to access the park by foot by crossing Spokane between Beacon and 15th Ave. S. (at 16th, 17th, Lafayette, and Alamo).  Though legal, crossing Spokane at these intersections across 4 lanes of fast-moving traffic with no marked crosswalks and difficult sightlines is not the most relaxing stroll to the park.  A solution proposed in Beacon Hill’s Bike and Pedestrian Circulation Plan is to create a safe pedestrian crossing at Lafayette Ave. S.  The first step to adding a new pedestrian crossing is data collection.  Within the past month folks from Beacon B.I.K.E.S. have conducted pedestrian crossing counts and even shot a nice video at the proposed crossing.

The results from the counts indicate that during peak hours around 20 people per hour will cross Spokane at these dangerous intersections.  This is considered a high enough rate by SDOT to justify a pedestrian crossing.  SDOT will soon be conducting their own counts and studies and hopefully we will get the crossing installed next year!  Of couhttp://youtu.be/dvqw7D8-6aYrse, it won’t happen without a lot of community support, so if you are interested please contactBeacon B.I.K.E.S. and send an email to Peter Hahn (SDOT director) letting him know this is something the neighborhood needs.

See you at the Park!

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