update on 35th ave NE safety project
Nov 27, 2018 —
Dear supporters of a safer 35th Ave NE for everyone-
As you may have heard, representatives of Safe 35th have been taking part in facilitated discussions with the Mayor’s Office and SDOT to further enable community input into the design for 35th Ave NE when the paving is finished next spring.
Discussions wrapped up a couple weeks ago. The Mayor’s Office will make a final decision on 35th Avenue NE’s new street configuration by the end of the year - choosing between the current “contracted design” and a new "alternative" that closely resembles a suggestion made by Save35th leadership last fall. We hold firm that the contracted design already represents a compromise, and that the alternative would be less safe, and would not serve the needs of the community. Although there has already been a great deal of community input on this issue, we appreciated the opportunity to work with the City in a less combative setting to deliver our message that the community wants streets designed to prioritize the safety of all users.
Over the course of the conversations, both the Safe and Save groups supported calming traffic, adding painted crosswalks, and investigating options for protected left turn signals on 35th. Although many of these requests are difficult due to engineering or financial constraints, the City has agreed to pursue a lowered speed limit of 25 mph, an additional crosswalk at NE 50th St, and a protected left turn at NE 85th St.
At the final meeting, SDOT presented two designs (pictured at the end of this message) for 35th Ave between 65th and 89th st:
-the contracted design with:
-A parking-protected bike lane on the east side of the street and a striped bike lane on the west side
-Motor vehicle parking consolidated to the east side of the street
-an “alternative” design with:
-No bike lanes
-The addition of a center turn lane
-Parking consolidated on the east side, rather than the west side, of the street.
Our response to the “alternative” design was the same as it has been for the last year: All users of 35th, including the people who ride bikes – or want to – should be able to safely get to businesses and residences. Bike lanes also provide an additional level of safety and comfort for pedestrians that would not be delivered by the “alternative.”
From a broader perspective, we are very concerned by the precedence it would set for the City to ignore their own Bike Master Plan, Complete Streets Ordinance, and Transportation Equity program. With another dire climate report released just last week, we also cannot understate the importance of giving people options to get around that don’t involve getting into a car.
The City did not discuss design options for the section south of 65th where the 32’ wide roadway would not allow for three travel lanes and parking. We were encouraged to hear that the existing condition is considered too dangerous to be re-implemented, but in recognizing this we hope the City does everything in its power to make the road safer as soon as possible.
As we await the mayor’s decision on this, we thank you for your continued support for applying proven engineering practices to curb our traffic safety epidemic while still making sure neighbors in our growing city can get where they are going. If you would like to help, we encourage you take advantage of Giving Tuesday to contribute to the many organizations continuously fighting to make our streets safer places to shop, work, and live.
The Safe 35th team.
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