Photos and story by Jesse Moore, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets.
Last month, Georgetown neighbors and business owners gathered with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) staff to celebrate the completion of a new signal and marked crosswalk at Airport Way South and South Doris Street, in the heart of this popular South End arts and culture hub.
According to Georgetown Merchant Association Chairman, Larry Reid (of the legendary Fantagraphics Books), it took 8.5 years of persistence to create this much-needed improvement for safety in one of the busiest areas for pedestrian activity in Georgetown.
Larry, and GMA member John Bennet, cut yellow ribbons with large scissors (courtesy of SDOT) on both sides of the street, to much applause, the clinking of plastic cups and distribution of boxes of salted caramels from neighboring Fran's Chocolates.
After the celebration, much of the crowd walked to nearby Machine House Brewery for a beverage and the monthly GMA meeting where Diane Wiatr, Serena Lehman and Ian Macek from Seattle Department of Transportation gave an update on additional Georgetown-area pedestrian safety improvements currently in the works.
According to the presenters, the plan to build a multi-use bike/walk trail connecting Georgetown and South Park’s business districts is on track.The first step involves gathering public input on the trail’s alignment—that's happening this summer.
Attendees also got a first look at a conceptual design aiming to control traffic speeds at the I-5 off-ramp at Corson Ave South.
The heavily trafficked off-ramp and intersection at South Michigan and Corson separates two halves of the residential neighborhood, Georgetown’s two public parks, as well as two halves of Georgetown’s retail commercial core.
The Corson/Michigan/Bailey intersection and the area around the Corson off-ramp have received many requests for improvements to pedestrian safety and comfort in a recent mobility study conducted by SDOT, as well as in other neighborhood planning efforts.
Meeting-goers seemed encouraged by the attention being given by SDOT to rethinking the design of this intersection.
If this new trend of Georgetown and SDOT working together to improve safety for people walking and biking continues, hopefully we can look forward to ribbon cutting celebrations for completing both the Georgetown to South Park Trail and this intersection improvement project, and it won’t take another 8.5 years.