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?