Community Post

Sidewalk maintenance coming to Madrona, despite limited funds

If you walk in the neighborhood frequently, you’ve probably stopped paying attention to the cracked pavement, jutting tree roots and uneven sidewalks up and down Union and Cherry Streets and on 34th Avenue – not to mention similar conditions on the residential streets. 

But Liz Ellis, Program Coordinator for SDOT Bridging the Gap Sidewalk Safety Repair, is hoping to do at least something to improve the quality of Madrona’s sidewalks.

“It’s one of several neighborhoods on my radar screen,” Ellis said in a phone call earlier this week. “I know that we need to make things better.”

Ellis identified three specific arterials in Madrona as the most in need of repair – E. Union Street from MLK to 34th Avenue, E. Cherry Street from MLK to 34th Avenue and 34th Avenue between E. Cherry and E. Pike. 

She’s meeting with a crew chief to discuss plans for repairs on E. Union St. as early as this month or in the first few weeks of November, to take advantage of good weather. That street was prioritized because it’s nearest to Madrona K-8 and sees a lot of foot traffic, both from school and from the bus stops. The repairs would include taking up lifted cracks, root pruning and putting in level asphalt patches.

While they would prefer to avoid removing trees, there are two candidates on Union Street for removal, Ellis said. The expensive maintenance of frequent root prunings is difficult with Bridging the Gap’s limited funds, so sometimes tree removal is the most cost-effective way to limit ongoing maintenance of sidewalks.

Long-term, Ellis said she hopes to work with the Madrona community to put together a strategy for improving all the sidewalks in the neighborhood by applying for additional grant funding and identifying priorities for repairs.

Numerous emails from community members asking what can be done about cracked sidewalks indicate there is interest, but Ellis emphasized that the business owners and residents need to work together with SDOT on a focused sidewalk repair project. In other neighborhoods like Madison Park, residents have applied for Neighborhood Street Funds and leveraged funds from SDOT’s Sidewalk Safety Repair Program and private contributions.

Which sidewalks do you think are priorities for repair? What do you think is the best way to coordinate that maintenance and funding?

0 thoughts on “Sidewalk maintenance coming to Madrona, despite limited funds

  1. We know the tree canopy of this town is fairly rapidly shrinking, and the recent removal of two, 70 ft. tall evergreens on the corner of 34th and Howell is an example (of a private property owner fully exercising their property rights, and to be honest they may have been sick or hazardous..you can still see the saw dust on the NE house’s roof). The trees hanging over the streets are especially important to control radiative heat during the warmer months…both union and cherry streets are sporting excellent fall foliage right now and we need to fully examine this practice of tree removal..

    I’m all for sidewalk repair for sure, but is there not another solution, ie flexible sidewalks, a slight rerouting of the sidewalk around the main root system, etc. If the trees are sick or poor example of street tree then so be it, remove and replace–however replace with a proper, tree with a 2-3″ trunk diameter, and provide enough planting space for its root system to grow down and have a decent chance of survival. Its not exactly a rough and tumble neighborhood we are talking about here, but an immature unprotected street tree with very limited soil space would not stand a chance here…

    Thanks for the coverage and please follow up!

  2. Glad to see the city is doing this. I’d rather have trees taken down then people falling and getting hurt. The bottom line is increased human density (through TOD and other efforts) will result in less of a tree canopy.

  3. The sidewalks are pretty torn up between MLK and 23rd as well. And driving the block of 24th between Cherry and Columbia is liking riding on the surface of the moon.

  4. Save the trees asked which 2 trees are likely candidates for removal. There is a maple at 3101 which has substantially heaved the sidewalk. SDOT will evaluate the tree for root pruning before we consider removal. The other tree is east of this on the south side of E Union and is small, stunted, and struggling from being planted right underneath a big leaf maple.

    To meet the Americans with Disabilities Act, sidewalks must be at least four feet wide as well as meet acceptable grades and cross slopes. In areas where there is a wide street right of way and conducive topography, we’ve been able to shift the sidewalk further from the tree to give the trees more growing space and maintain a serviceable sidewalk. There isn’t much room to work with along E Union and so we will do our best to be creative where we can.

    SDOT has tried a number of different paving treatments. There is no perfect paving material to use adjacent to trees as ones that are modular, like pavers and allow spot repairs with less impact on trees and the site, are more expensive to install and maintain per square foot. Because they cost more, we’ve limited their use to sidewalks adjacent to street trees that have plenty of growing room so that the maintenace and life cycle will be longer.

    Tree Cheers and Safe Sidewalks! Liz Ellis, SDOT Sidewalk Repair 233-2768 or Liz.Ellis@Seattle.Gov

  5. Actually, the sidewalks going from MLK up to 23rd are in far better shape than the ones going up from MLK to 34th in Madrona, and if you go out and look where Liz has marked them up, you’ll see it firsthand.

    And 24th is not an arterial. The City’s resources are focused on arterials; unless you have a sinkhole or some serious damage, it’s rare to see anything more than spot repairs on non-arterial streets.

  6. I’d argue that’s a false dichotomy. There are plenty of ways to preserve trees while increasing human density; the key is to decrease the amount of space set aside for motor vehicles.

  7. While they’re working on smoothing the sidewalks and waring with the trees, would be great to see a speed limit sign or two on the 34th Ave “commuter raceway”. A marked cross walk at 34th and E Pike would be nice as well for the many kids and adults cross to access businesses and the park.

    Pushing a stroller along a bumpy sidewalk is not fun, but trying to cross 34th is dangerous.

  8. Please, whoever is taking on the 34th ave sidewalk repairs….no asphalt patched repairs in the concrete sidewalk! It looks hideous, especially considering it’s Madrona’s main pedestrian path.

  9. we have developed a unique way to remove trip hazards on sidewalks by lifting the raised section in the air,moving it aside,then remove the tree roots lifting the sidewalk then put it back level with the adjacent two peices
    guarauntee in writing if we break the section beibg lifter we will replace it with new at no additional charge
    this unique solution is permanet and costs just a little more than grinding and only takes a couple hours

  10. i’m a property management supervisor for keystone pacific in irvine ca and have contracted with real estate repairs in orange ca to lift and level dozens of sidewalks for our h.o.a thru out orange county and it is fast,cost effective and permanet with out any changes to the uniform look of the walkways at a very fair price