No, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. Floating Bridge Brewing will buy you a beer on April 1, if you attend that evening’s community Project Development meeting at U-Heights Center and stop by the brewery afterward.
The Project Development meeting is part of the Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks & Streets initiative in which “Seattle residents democratically decide how to spend a portion of the City’s budget on small-scale park and street improvements.” Ideas were collected by community members earlier this year, and the Project Development meeting is intended to prioritize that earlier brainstorm into 8-10 ideas per city council district. Projects funded in 2018 by Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks & Streets in District 4 (which includes a large part of Wallingford) included crosswalk improvements at Stone Way and the Burke-Gilman Trail, traffic calming on 20th Ave NE at 65th Street, and crossing improvements at NE 77th Street and 25 Avenue NE.
One project that was pitched last year but did not get funding was an improved pedestrian crossing at NE 45th Street and 8th Avenue NE. Oddly, ADA ramps were installed at this intersection between Kinko’s and Petco a couple of years ago, but no other improvements for pedestrian safety were made. Last year’s “Project Idea” was to install a marked crosswalk and center-turn-lane pedestrian island on NE 45th Street. It appears that SDOT revised that proposal, eliminating the pedestrian island and adding a pedestrian crossing signal instead. Unfortunately the project did not make the cut.
But despite not getting funding last year, an improved crossing at this intersection is a fantastic idea. Many nearby retailers offer goods and services unique to the neighborhood (art supplies, fish food, and freshly-brewed beer to name a few), and these businesses and their customers would benefit greatly by improved walkability. And with increased housing density and light rail coming to the neighborhood, pedestrian traffic through this corridor will increase dramatically in the next couple of years.
So if you like safer streets and free beer, make your voice heard on April 1.