Community Post

Pedestrian Plans for the CD

Walking around the Central District should get a little easier and a little bit safer in the next few years. A draft version of the city’s Pedestrian Master Plan was released yesterday, specifying the highest priority projects to improve the pedestrian experience around the city.

The city has identified twelve locations in the neighborhood that have the highest priority for improvements:

  • 12th & Madison
  • 12th & Jefferson
  • 23rd & Marion
  • 21st & Cherry
  • 23rd & Jefferson
  • 25th & Yesler
  • 23rd S. & S. Main
  • 23rd S. & S. Jackson
  • MLK S. & S. Jackson
  • MLK S. & S. Dearborn
  • MLK S. & S. Norman 

So far there’s no details on exactly what those improvements might be, but generally they’ll include things like marked crosswalks, new traffic signals, and extended curb bulbs.

It’s good to see something planned for 23rd between Union & Cherry. It’s currently a death-defying exercise to cross at either Columbia or Marion, so having an improvement of some sort at Marion will be a big improvement. It’s also good to see some improvements planned for MLK through Judkins Park, which can sometimes seem like an expressway and has seen some serious accidents recently.

But what do you think is missing?  The northern end of MLK seems like a missed opportunity, with a really wide street, fast traffic, and no crosswalks except at the major intersections. And so far there’s no talk of really transformative plans such as a road diet for 23rd Ave.

Have your own pedestrian wishlist? Leave a comment below

0 thoughts on “Pedestrian Plans for the CD

  1. While I would support one, that tool was outside the scope of the PMP effort. The ped plan is oriented around more specific improvements at this stage – generally smaller projects with direct pedestrian benefit. Road diets definitely make pedestrians safer – you don’t have to worry about crossing too many traffic lanes at the same time and have one car stop while another one goes sailing through. Unfortunately, that kind of behavior occurs on our single-lane roads now, where you can watch drivers on Union “pass on the right” when someone stops for a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. Engineering is no panacea, unfortunately.

  2. I’m sure they’re pricey, but those flashing crosswalks are effective in slowing down the traffic for ped’s (e.g., on Cherry by SU and on 31st Ave. S. between Leschi/Mt. Baker.) Would be a great addition in front of Powell-Barnett Park.

  3. too many of them and they lose their effectiveness. Non-barrier improvements (lights, signs, etc.) work best when they’re somewhat unexpected or unusual…otherwise they become like stop lines or flashing yellow warning lights, people get accustomed to them and start ignoring them.

    MLK/Alder has some improvements planned – something tells me CDNews will have coverage on that soon :)

  4. The only thing that works are stop lights that are activated by ped. wanting to cross. Everything else is ignored!

  5. If they only flashed when someone was about to cross/crossing, then they’d be more effective. The one on Cherry spanning the two sides of the Seattle University campus is a great example…the road turtles that outline the crosswalk blink when someone pushes the signal change button…very attention-getting!

  6. Both ends of Barnett Park along MLK, Alder and Jefferson, need improvement. The crosswalk and yellow flags on Alder are still hair-raising, and there’s nothing but determination to get you across the speedway on Jefferson. Both feed Garfield, and Jefferson has been, may still be, a bus pick-up site for small ones.

  7. Or abouts there appears to be a relatively new pedestrian crossing. I think its new or maybe I only noticed it recently?

  8. These are great in theory, and sometimes in practice, but I’ve pretty much stopped driving Cherry Street past SU because some prankster students have learned to time their crossings, going one by one so that the pedestrian light is flashing for several minutes at a time. Such fun!

  9. about the Ped Plan, much like the Bike Plan, is that there is zero dedicated revenue for these improvements, outside of what little comes from the Bridging the Gap levy passed a while back. Pedestrian infrastructure is pretty much the lowest priority the City has, and while much of what’s in this plan may not seem particularly revolutionary, the *real* changes it has brought within SDOT are incredibly important. Traffic operations folks getting training on pedestrian design and safety is HUGE and will lead to many gradual improvements in the long term.

    Ultimately, if you want to see better pedestrian infrastructure around the City (and keep in mind that whatever our problems here in the CD, at least we *have* a sidewalk network) you need to let the Council and Mayor know that WE NEED FUNDING, and support groups like Feet First who are working to improve the pedestrian environment.

  10. Does anyone know specifics on what is planned for 23rd and Marion? Will the fact that there are bus stops on either side of the street play into how beefy the crosswalk will be?

  11. People CAN’T jaywalk “on every block” in the CD. Jaywalking is legally defined as crossing mid-block on a block that has signals on both ends. The vast majority of blocks in the CD don’t have signals.

    Having said that, we all need to work harder at respecting each other and sharing the streets together. That’s not unique to any mode of transportation.