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Updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 09:02 PM

Building, expansion of Seattle greenways for bicyclists, pedestrians to cost $1.8M

By Safiya Merchant
Seattle Times staff reporter

The speed humps, the signs, the outline of bicycles painted on the pavement? All signs of a neighborhood greenway.

And 6.2 more miles of them will be constructed in Seattle this year.

Neighborhood greenways are mostly on residential streets. They are designed to make getting around safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, according to a 2013 Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) online-information packet.

Another goal of greenways is to “reduce vehicle cut-through traffic” on neighborhood streets, according to the packet.

Greenways can have many different features, including speed humps, stop signs and better crossings, the packet states.

Speed humps are wider, smoother and less abrupt than speed bumps, said Dawn Schellenberg, SDOT community-engagement liaison.

SDOT plans to build new greenways this year in Olympic Hills, the University District, Madison Park, the Central Area and the Atlantic area south of East Yesler Way. The existing greenway in Wedgwood on 39th Avenue Northeast will also be extended this year.

The longest greenway, spanning 2.5 miles, will be in the Central Area. The shortest greenways — the ones in the Atlantic area and Madison Park — will be 0.3 miles long.

Construction for the new greenways, which includes a new traffic signal for the University District greenway, is estimated to cost $1,820,000, according to an email from Sandra Woods, SDOT multimodal program and project-development manager.

Greenways are mostly funded by the Bridging the Gap Levy, the nine-year, $365 million levy passed in 2006, according to the SDOT website.

Construction on the new greenways will be completed by the end of the year.

Seattle already has almost 10 miles of greenways in Delridge, Wallingford, Beacon Hill, Ballard, Wedgwood and Greenwood/Phinney Ridge.

Cathy Tuttle, the executive director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, said greenways are important because “they allow people mobility regardless of their age or their ability or their choice of the way that they get around ... it also allows people to start using their streets as public places.”

Tuttle said, “The process of building greenways has been kind of a slow evolution at the Department of Transportation.”

She said the Wallingford and 39th Avenue Northeast greenways are missing a few of the features that later greenways have incorporated. For example, the 39th Avenue Northeast greenway does not have speed humps.

An open house for the Olympic Hills greenway will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Lake City Library. The open house for the University District greenway will take place at the same time on March 20 at University Christian Church. SDOT will present the proposed routes and safety improvements and get feedback.

SDOT will hold its first outreach meeting for the 39th Avenue Northeast greenway extension on March 27 at Thornton Creek School.

Safiya Merchant: smerchant@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2299






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