Lakeview Blvd.’s missing sidewalk — a hazard and barrier to pedestrians

Your last chance — ends Sun., May 5 — to vote on whether the City should build the missing sidewalk on the east side of Lakeview Blvd. to connect the Blaine and Howe Street public stairways. The one block of missing sidewalk between these much-loved stairs is a hazard and barrier for pedestrians and bicyclists. City funding is possible, but only if YOU vote for it NOW or by May 5 on-line or at a library.

To vote on-line: http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NSF_English_Ballot (click here);
OR http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/neighborhood-street-fund (click here for several language choices including English). Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the small light blue box marked “continue”. You need to select District 3, where the project is #2019-1, “Lakeview Blvd. E. Sidewalk Connection.”

The City says that on-line voting will be open until midnight Sun., May 5, but just in case there is a problem, please vote NOW on-line. Or vote in person at any branch of the Seattle Public Library. Anyone who lives, works, volunteers, or just visits in Seattle is eligible to vote, so please SHARE THIS OPPORTUNITY with family and friends. Minimum age is eleven—a chance for children to cast their first vote ever.

For background, links, and contacts: http://eastlakeseattle.org/?page=lakeviewsidewalk. For questions, comments, to volunteer, or if having trouble navigating the City’s on-line site: info@eastlakeseattle.org or phone/text: 206-322-5463. Vote now! Last day is Sun., May 5.

SUMMARY

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s selection of pedestrian projects for the Neighborhood Street Fund occurs just once every three years, and this is the year, with 300 competing applications citywide. The proposal is to build the one block of sidewalk that is missing on the east side of Seattle’s Lakeview Blvd. between the Blaine and Howe St. stairs. Believing that the lack of a sidewalk poses a serious danger and inconvenience to pedestrians, the Eastlake Community Council board of directors has endorsed this project for funding.

This project will happen only if the many people who would benefit from it voice their support in the on-line voting process which will end on May 5. The final funding decision will be made later in the year by SDOT and its Levy Oversight Committee.

See above section for how to vote on-line or at any Seattle Public Library branch. Without your help by voting and by spreading the word, few of the many who walk or bicycle through this area regularly will participate, so please share the present web link http://eastlakeseattle.org/?page=lakeviewsidewalk soon and widely with others.

And please help spread the word by social media. It is urgent for news of this voting opportunity to be posted on on Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor, Instagram, and other sites. Facebook has created unofficial pages for the Blaine Street Stairs and the Howe Street Stairs, but no one is managing them, with almost no usage. We need volunteers to improve these social media pages or create your own—especially one that is about the Lakeview sidewalk proposal itself. Can you help soon?

This is urgent! The deadline is Sunday, May 5, 2019 (maybe midnight that night, but in the first round the City cut people off by noon, so don’t delay!). For questions, suggestions, or to volunteer, please contact the Eastlake Community Council at info@eastlakeseattle.org or phone/text to 206-322-5463.

PLEASE CIRCULATE AND SIGN THE PETITION REQUESTING THAT CITY OFFICIALS INSTALL THE SIDEWALK THAT IS MISSING ON THE EAST SIDE OF LAKEVIEW BLVD. BETWEEN THE BLAINE AND HOWE STREET STAIRS

For a copy of the petition, click here. Please send original of the petition or drop it by to the Eastlake Community Council at 117 E. Louisa St. #1, Seattle, WA 98102. Must have original signatures and contact information for each. Can have as few as one signer. See below for background and contact information. For questions on any aspect of this effort: info@eastlakeseattle.org.

BACKGROUND

The E. Blaine and E. Howe Street public staircases, just one block apart, are among the longest and most heavily used in Seattle (about their history and use, click here). Unfortunately, at their lower end (on the east side of Lakeview Blvd.) there is no sidewalk to connect these staircases. (See photo below.) The missing sidewalk is a risk and barrier for the many pedestrians from throughout Seattle and beyond who use this area for commuting, exercise, sight-seeing, or to reach homes, businesses, schools, parks, or transit.

The missing sidewalk is especially needed by the thousands each week who use the E. Blaine and E. Howe Street public staircases that extend east from Lakeview Blvd. up Capitol Hill to 10th Avenue East, and west to Lake Union via the Park Department’s Howe St. public staircase through the I-5 Colonnade Open Space. Many enjoy these two staircases as an exercise circuit, including the block of Lakeview Blvd. that connects them.

Lakeview Blvd. is a principal arterial and a major walking and bicycling route to downtown via Melrose Avenue or the Lakeview overpass and to the University District via either Eastlake Ave. or Harvard and 10th Aves. It offers access to points north, south, east, and west. All the rest of Lakeview Blvd. has sidewalks on both sides, but for this one block on the arterial’s east side between the Blaine and Howe Street stairs, the sidewalk is missing.

To traverse the east side of this block of Lakeview Blvd., pedestrians must either walk in the traffic lanes on the roadway’s east side, or make two crossings of Lakeview to use the sidewalk on its west side. Either way, they encounter fast-moving arterial traffic, including from the I-5 northbound off-ramp. It’s one of the City’s worse sidewalk gaps, and a tragedy waiting to happen.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has studied installing 340 feet of 6-foot sidewalk, concrete curb and gutter, and a retaining wall. The retaining wall is needed because the hillside is gradually slumping across the curb into the roadway, forcing pedestrians further into the street. But motor vehicles and bicycles in the Lakeview Blvd. roadway are also being squeezed by the gradual landslide, and could face fatal consequences in the event of a major slide (as has happened in the past). Even without a sidewalk, a retaining wall is needed.

The City of Seattle government has not funded engineering or construction of this needed project, but the sidewalk may get built if even a fraction of the thousands of people who use the Blaine and Howe St. stairs, speak up. Volunteers are needed to reach out to stair users and to help with a web site, e-mail list, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media; media relations; and liaison with other organizations and with SDOT and elected officials. It is urgent to build support.

SDOT is now considering this sidewalk for support from its Neighborhood Street Fund, which exists specifically to support pedestrian projects. As sliding already threatens Lakeview’s motor vehicle and bicycle traffic, not just pedestrians, the cost of the needed retaining wall should come also from SDOT’s main budget, not just from pedestrian funds.

Volunteers are needed to reach out to stair users and to help with a web site, e-mail list, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media; media relations; and liaison with other organizations and with SDOT and elected officials. If you have questions or would like to help in any way, please contact the Eastlake Community Council at info@eastlakeseattle.org or phone/text 206-322-5463. ECC is a neighborhood association founded in 1971.

site-of-proposed-retaining-wall-and-sidewalk.jpg
In the photo above, we are looking north on Lakeview Blvd. The Blaine Street stairs are at right with the block of missing sidewalk also at right. The Howe Street stairs come down to Lakeview Blvd. at the next utility pole to the north.

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