Shoreline sidewalks

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Bus stop and bus pad - but no sidewalks
at 198th and Meridian

By Diane Hettrick

The City of Shoreline held its second open house on sidewalks on March 22 (see previous article) at City Hall Council Chambers.

Sidewalks have been a hot button topic since incorporation, always coming up high as a priority in resident surveys. However, unlike maintenance of city streets, they have never fully made it into the city budget other than in a limited way.

The issue is that sidewalks are extremely expensive. Many iterations of the city council have looked at the cost and decided that limited funds were best spent elsewhere. City staff have always been very resourceful about finding grants, such as federal Safe Routes to School money.

Developers have often been required to put sidewalks in front of their projects, making for an odd patchwork of dirt and concrete along residential streets.

City money has been spent on repairs, mostly to damage from the street trees which were planted by King county before city incorporation.

Now complying with disability law is an issue for existing sidewalks.

In 2011 the City created a priority list for sidewalk money. It is now updating those priorities with the assistance of a large citizen advisory committee.

City council set goals for the prioritization:
  1. Safety - based on collisions, traffic speed and volume, as well as opportunities for trails and paths
  2. Equity - support for populations with the greatest need, i.e. children, older adults, disabled people, lower income communities, under-served communities
  3. Proximity - improves pedestrian connections to schools, parks, transit, activity centers
  4. Connectivity - builds a network of connected pedestrian routes

It appears that the city is leaning heavily toward non-traditional sidewalks. "Alternative treatments such as pinned down curbs, curbless sidewalks, and painted shoulders can be used successfully -- and offer a variety of additional benefits -- when used in the right context."

For a lot more information on this topic, see the handout from the March 22, 2018 meeting and the city webpage on sidewalks.


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