The Seattle Neighborhood Coalition is hosting a panel discussion this Saturday, July 12 at 9 a.m. on the proposed mountain bike pilot project in Cheasty Greenspace. The panel will include Mark Mead from Seattle Parks and Recreation, proposal proponent Jay Gairson and opponent Patricia Naumann, natural areas expert Ruth Williams, and former Parks Board member John Barber.
The SNC meets on the second Saturday of each month at The Central, located at 500 30th Ave. S. in the Leschi neighborhood in the Central District. The Central is one block south of South Jackson Street and the #14 Metro bus.
This is a breakfast meeting (complete rotating buffet and beverages, $12 or $5 for beverage service), with the first 30 minutes focused on networking and engagement with fellow activists. This is followed by a speaker’s presentation and up to an hour of lively Q&A.
I drove the length of the Beacon Hill Neighborhood Greenway from the freeway to Jefferson Park on April 7. It was parallel to my usual route and I was curious. There were no bikes anywhere to be seen on the Greenway, but I did see two bicyclists pass northbound on Beacon Avenue when I was parked for a minute or two at South Hanford Street and Beacon Avenue South contemplating what to do about a traffic revision blocking my path. I could have chosen backing up a block and illegally around a corner to get back onto 18th, after discovering that anyone headed for Victrola on the opposite side of Beacon Avenue now needs to make a right turn, a U-turn, and another right turn to get across Beacon Avenue on Hanford Street. I’ll use my Fifth Amendment right to deflect any questions about which option I chose to find a route across the street.
The car counts and traffic history of the intersection at Beacon Avenue South and South Hanford Street prior to the recent “improvement” have been normally uneventful, and there is simply no reason for obstructing any normal vehicular access in any direction to continue safe bicycle use at that intersection. Yet we see a river of money being wasted there inconveniencing and endangering the high frequency of bicyclists using that intersection bound north-south on Beacon Avenue South, in favor of nearly mythical bicycle usage frequencies east-west on South Hanford Street.
The newly created islands at Beacon and Hanford are a hazard to bicycle traffic. They create a choke point in the north-south traffic flow on Beacon Avenue. There are north- and southbound bus stops in both curb lanes of Beacon Avenue South at South Hanford Street. The new concrete traffic islands squeeze all north- and southbound through traffic into a much narrower than usual lane width on either side of the concrete island. The new concrete islands block and occupy what used to be, and is everywhere else, the relatively traffic-free safe refuge area provided by a continuous two-way center left-turn lane. The hazard that represents to bicyclists on Beacon Avenue South should have been sufficient reason to prevent the islands from ever being built. But it did not. Now if we want to prevent inevitable injury at that intersection, we are faced with having to overcome the inertia of embarrassed SDOT engineers to remove the three recently built left-turn-lane-blocking islands there. I hope that public opinion will help that process move swiftly.
The needless disruption of normal turning movements of automobile traffic into and out of the neighborhoods east of Beacon Avenue South from and across Beacon Avenue, both westbound and eastbound, should motivate residents there to call for remedial action. When you consider that South Hanford Street is the only street connecting with Beacon Avenue South that goes east of 19th Ave S. between South Spokane Street and South Stevens Street, interfering with left turns southbound on Beacon Avenue South represents a very significant disruption of normal traffic in and out of a very large neighborhood area east of Beacon Avenue for hundreds of families every day. Rerouting daily east-west trips on South Hanford that would go left or cross Beacon Avenue, to South Stevens Street or onto the already overloaded Spokane Street unfairly burdens their neighbors living on the South Stevens Street route with the displaced traffic. The new median islands and traffic restrictions at Beacon Avenue South and South Hanford Street are, unsafe and are frankly ridiculous traffic engineering overkill. Bicycles and bicyclists as a special interest group do need to be accommodated, on every street, but not to the point of reckless endangerment and/or exclusion of other rightful users of the streets.
George Robertson is a Beacon Hill resident of more than twenty years, an architect, an artist, and an occasional writer of self-described “often-incendiary rants that annoy the neighbors.”
We recently received the following message from a neighbor:
From Abde Elshafei and Family:
Dear North Beacon Hill Neighbors,
I moved to the neighborhood last August in a house that my friend Niko purchased on 12th Ave S. I have experienced nothing but a very friendly and cool vibe from all my new neighbors.
That changed this Monday, March 25th. While riding my bicycle back from the Red Apple market I was struck by a car on the 13th Ave S and S Stevens Street intersection. The impact knocked me completely unconscious, broke my pelvis, injured my shoulder and I received a severe concussion that included bleeding internal to my brain.
I was fortunate enough to survive the accident and I am very grateful for that and I just found out that a few friendly neighbors near that intersection immediately came out to help me and called emergency services.
Unfortunately, the driver that struck me fled the scene and my family and I have been unable to find out who that driver is. The knowledge that we do have is that they were going down south on 13th Ave S in a white or grey sedan and that they made a quick left on S Winthrop Street.
I ask anybody who has any knowledge of said incident to please contact my friend Niko via phone or e-mail. His information is below:
The Beacon Hill Family Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, a project of Beacon BIKES and the City of Seattle, has won a 2012 VISION 2040 Award from the Puget Sound Regional Council. Vision 2040 Awards honor real-life examples of sustainable growth and improvements to quality of life in Puget Sound communities.
Dylan Ahearn of Beacon BIKES sent us a celebratory announcement and photo:
“It is the small things that count.
“After months of persistent effort, hours of off-the-cuff design work, and even construction management, out own Ryan Harrison has, with the gracious support of our friends at the Beacon Merchants Association and Red Apple, succeeded in shepherding the construction of a sweet new bike corral at Red Apple. As you can see from the attached photo we are jumping for joy up on Beacon Hill.
“Way to go Ryan for all the hard work, the Beacon Merchants Association for supplying a $500 grant, and Red Apple for footing the rest of the bill.
“Ryan has all the details if you want more.
“Show the Apple some love and roll in soon for your next shopping trip.”
The folks at Beacon B.I.K.E.S. sent out the following appeal on Facebook yesterday:
Hello Beacon BIKErs,
This is a call to anyone who is on this list that lives on Beacon Hill and wants to see our Greenway be built.
SDOT had a community open house on July 19, I saw many of you there. They collected public comments, many of which were positive. However, there have been a few individuals that have been very vocal in their opposition and their voices are drowning out the broad-based support we have for this project in our community. Please take 5 minutes to write an email showing support for the project to SDOT and Council. I have spoken with key individuals at the City and they say these emails are the single most important thing we can do right now. If you can, add why the project is important to you personally. They have heard from me and a couple other active members many times, to have a really powerful effect it would be wonderful if those of you who have not been very active could write an email.
Address to: Brian.Dougherty@seattle.gov
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Douglas.Cox@seattle.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and anyone else you want…
Thank you for your help in making Beacon Hill a safer and more livable neighborhood.
The proposed greenway would follow 18th Avenue South from the I-90 trail south to South Hanford street, where it would zigzag over to Lafayette Avenue South, then along the edge of Jefferson Park to South Dakota Street, then south on 12th Avenue South to South Lucile Street. The greenway route would have improvements and repairs to make the street safer for cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians alike, including new signage and street markings, crossing islands at certain intersections, a new left turn lane on South Spokane Street, and others. As mentioned above, details may be found here.
All are invited to a Seattle Department of Transportation open house on Thursday, July 19 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Jefferson Community Center (3801 Beacon Ave. S.) to discuss the Beacon Hill Neighborhood Greenway.
The greenway is a 2.8 mile long pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly route through North Beacon Hill, providing improved access to locations including the I-90 Trail, Beacon Hill Station, Beacon Hill Library, Jefferson Park, Maplewood Playfield, Mercer Middle School, Maple Elementary School, and Cleveland High School.
The route has changed slightly since the earlier proposed version of the Greenway. The current route will start at the I-90 Trail and 18th Avenue South, then continue south along 18th. The greenway will then turn and cross Beacon Avenue South at South Hanford Street, and continue on Lafayette Avenue South into Jefferson Park. The route will continue south of Jefferson Park, crossing 15th Avenue South at South Dakota Street, and continuing on 12th Avenue South to South Lucile Street.
What makes a run-of-the-mill route a neighborhood greenway? Greenways are non-arterial street routes that have improvements to encourage and support safe bicycle and pedestrian use, in combination with reduced auto speeds and volumes. In the case of the Beacon Hill Greenway, these enhanced features have been proposed:
Signs and pavement legends along the greenway
Stop signs to control traffic crossing the greenway
A median island with new marked crosswalks at Lafayette Avenue South and South Spokane Street
A median island with new marked crosswalks at Beacon Avenue South and SouthHanford Street
Rechannelization and signal improvements at Beacon Avenue South and South Spokane Street
A widened sidewalk on South Dakota Street between 16th Avenue South and 14th Avenue South
If you are able to help, meet the group at 2809 S. Alaska Pl. Tools and gloves will be provided, but volunteers should bring water and perhaps snacks to share.
In other Cheasty Greenspace news, a group of neighbors are working together to create an Opportunity Fund proposal to build a multi-use trail system (including mountain bike trails) in the north part of the Greenspace. Find out more at the Beacon Bike Park website.
Beacon Hill commuters participating in Bike to Work Day should bike by the corner of Beacon and Columbian between 6-9 a.m. this morning, where Bike Works will be hosting a Bike to Work Day commute station with free souvenirs, snacks, and bicycle advice.
Today is Bike to Work Day, but if you participate, don’t forget to lock up your bike! Neighbors on the Beacon Hill mailing list have reported several bike thefts recently. The thefts were from the areas of 19th and Waite, 19th and Horton, and 18th and Horton. One neighbor reported “two bikes [were] stolen from our garage while we were doing yardwork.” Another bike was stolen while parked in an alley. “I haven’t been able to keep a bike more than a season,” added another neighbor. “It’s cheap bikes and security cameras from now on for us.”
If your bicycle is stolen and its value is less than $500, you can file a police report online here. If the bicycle stolen is worth more than $500, report the theft by calling the police non-emergency number, 206-625-5011.