Tag Archives: crosswalks

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

…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!

Beacon and Lander pedestrian crossing update

On July 7, Mark Holland and I (representing Beacon BIKES) met with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Sound Transit to discuss options for improving the pedestrian crossing in front of the light rail station.  As it currently stands the crossing is not very safe.  The crossing distance is very long, people do not use the crosswalks, traffic moves too fast, and the bus stops complicate the foot and vehicular traffic patterns.  Add to this the surge of people coming from the light rail station and we have an accident waiting to happen.  You can see a previous post about the dangers of the crossing here.

Sound Transit was planning to repave the section of Beacon between McClellan and Lander without improving the pedestrian crossing.  Beacon BIKES got wind of this and arranged a meeting to discuss options for pedestrian improvements as part of the repave.  SDOT was instrumental in setting up the meeting and convincing Sound Transit that this crossing needed to be improved (Thanks Sam Woods!!).  Based on our meeting SDOT came up with the following design.

The SDOT draft plan for Beacon Avenue. Click the image to load a larger, more-readable PDF of the plan.

The major features of the new design are a planted median, widened crosswalks at either end of the block, and narrowed travel lanes.  The narrowed lanes would mean that buses stop in lane.  In lane bus stops are being implemented all over the city as a means of speeding up the bus system.  The median would have a tasteful barrier down the middle so people could not stream across the street at mid block.  Instead, they would be directed to the wide crosswalks at the corners to cross.  With the widened sidewalks the crossing distance would be shortened making for a safer pedestrian experience.

The design that Beacon BIKES put forward did not have in lane bus stops but did include a raised crosswalk at mid-block.  Our logic here was that everyone wants to cross at mid-block to get to the bus, so why not give them an avenue to do that instead of forcing them around (also the raised crosswalk would act as a speed table and slow traffic down).  SDOT did not like the mid-block crossing idea because of the relatively short distance between McClellan and Lander, but we are still hoping they will reconsider.  :)

As is apparent from the rough nature of the design sheet, the plan is not finalized, so this is your chance to come up with an inspired idea that will make this pedestrian crossing safe and inviting while still accommodating bus, bike, and vehicle traffic.

In the meantime check out Beacon BIKES on Facebook, and come to our next meeting to join the fun. The meeting is on Monday, November 15, at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.

Recent photos in the BHB photo pool

These are some of the photos recently uploaded to the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr. Do you have any photos of the Hill? You are invited to add them to the pool, for possible publication here on the blog.

Josephine enjoys the playground at Jefferson Park. Photo by tkml79.
The new crosswalk was recently completed in front of the library. There are small flashing lights embedded in the crosswalk that activate when people walk between sensors on either side of the street. Photo by Wendi.

Klara Glosova's Oily Pelican sculpture was one of the artworks seen at the latest NEPO art event. Photo by Dan Bennett.

A political statement recently seen among other posters on Beacon Avenue. Photo by Wendi.

Beacon Bits: Breakfast, Black Stax, and the budget

Last week, Laura Onstot of the Seattle Weekly’s Voracious food blog visited Beacon Hill’s Despi Delite Bakery on the way to the airport on Link, and posted about her experience there.

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The new crosswalk on Beacon Avenue in front of the library is now complete and functional. When pedestrians pass between the sensors on either side of the street, flashing lights activate in the crosswalk to alert drivers.

The lights do not seem terribly bright; they are invisible during bright daylight and even in the evening, not as bright as we expected. But they should help make evening and nighttime pedestrians a bit more safe at that intersection.

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Neighbor Ray writes: “I found this guy this morning wandering and looking lost at the corner of S. Oregon and 10th Ave. S. He has no tags and no chip. I can be reached at 206-349-3147.” Is this cute lost dog yours?

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Camp Fire groups are forming in the area, with activities for boys and girls aged 3 to Grade 12. Groups can be all boys, all girls or boys and girls together. Parents decide where, when and how often to meet. For more information contact Janelle Kitson at 206-826-8910 or by email at janellek@campfire-usa.org.

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Local hip hop group Black Stax are opening for Les Nubians just down the hill at Showbox SODO this Thursday, September 23. You may remember that Black Stax performed on the rooftop of Spoons (at 15th and Beacon) last summer.

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As the City Council works to balance the city’s 2011-2012 budget, they are seeking input from residents to develop a budget that best reflects the needs of the city. To do this, the Council is inviting everyone to participate in this year’s budget process in one of the following ways:

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The Beacon Hill P-Patch needs volunteers on October 2 for a clean-up work party. Volunteers will weed and aid in brush removal in the upper slope of the P-Patch, and afterward gather for food, drinks, and socializing.

Further information and RSVP here.

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Nearly 800 freshmen and transfer students at Seattle Pacific University will be volunteering on Beacon Hill on Saturday, September 25 as part of SPU’s “CityQuest” program. From 10:30 am until 2:30 pm, SPU student and staff volunteers will be working on an orchard and a public garden at Dr. Jose Rizal Park, helping Operation Nightwatch with a community clean-up, and clearing out invasive plants at Lewis Park.

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Because of an all-staff meeting, all locations of the Seattle Public Library will open late on Thursday, September 30. All library locations will open at 1:00 pm that day.

People waiting for the library to open in the morning. On Thursday, September 30, library patrons will have to wait a bit longer because the library will open late. Photo by Jason.

Opinion: Pedestrian crossing at Beacon and Lander demands attention

Since the light rail station opened last summer, the crosswalk at Beacon and Lander has become the busiest on Beacon Hill. The majority of the people exiting the station are headed west to go to the bank, Red Apple, the southbound bus stop, or home. All of these people must cross Beacon, and many get very creative in the process. Because the crossing is way out at the corner and runs diagonally to the corner away from Red Apple and the bus stop, many people choose to just cross through the middle of the street. Because the crosswalk—which now has flashing beacons and signage, but once only had markings on the pavement—is at the intersection with Lander, there is not only north-south traffic moving through but also people turning onto Beacon from Lander. With the long crossing, the multitude of car approaches, and the scurrying light rail riders, it is ripe for an accident.

The other day I camped out at the crosswalk from 5:00-6:00 pm and filmed about 16 pedestrian crossings when cars were around. I put them together and, with very little editing, made this video:

This was not a “best of” video, but simply what you see at every rush hour here. After bemoaning the miserable state of our most popular Beacon crossing, I started to think about how the pedestrian infrastructure at all the other light rail stations in Seattle seemed satisfactory and even exemplary. Yesterday I decided to take a ride on the light rail and check out each station and then do a little compare and contrast with what we have been dealt. The results from this foray are here:

Apparently Sound Transit is only responsible for putting things back the way they found them, and Seattle’s Complete Streets Ordinance—which requires attention to pedestrian safety among other things—does not apply to them when they do their repave this summer. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has been working with Beacon BIKES! to improve this crossing, but they have limited funds. I am suggesting that Sound Transit work with us and SDOT to improve this crossing as part of the repave this summer. If you want to get involved please email me at dsahearn@gmail.com, and attend the next Beacon BIKES! meeting on Monday, June 21, at 6:00 pm at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.

Be Safe!

(This is Dylan’s first post for the Beacon Hill Blog. Thanks, Dylan! — Editor.)

Crosswalk beacons now working at Beacon and Lander

We have received a few questions over the last couple of months about the new crosswalk beacons on Beacon Avenue South at South Lander, just in front of Beacon Hill Station. The crosswalk signs and lights were installed in October, but the lights did not function, and no buttons were installed to activate them.

The lights have just started working recently. According to SDOT, the delay was caused when the lights were installed by Sound Transit’s contractor, who installed the wrong wiring for them. The contractor removed and replaced the wiring, and now the overhead crosswalk beacons are on and flashing. (They won’t be button-controlled.)

New pedestrian warning signage on Beacon Avenue South