Pedestrian improvements on the way, funded by city transportation levy

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

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SEATTLE - In a five-block section of Seattle's South Cloverdale Street, there's no sidewalk on the north edge of the street.

"It is pretty hard for pedestrians to walk around here," said Christian Tugade, who lives along the street.

But better walking is on the way, as part of $22 million the city will spend in 2017 for 50 blocks of new sidewalks.

"We are on schedule to build 250 new blocks of sidewalks by 2024," Mayor Ed Murray said Monday.

Murray announced details of pedestrian safety improvements that will be paid for by the $930 million Move Seattle levy that voters passed in 2015.

The list of improvements includes new speedbumps near Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School and a marked crosswalk near the school at 44th and South Willow, which is close to where Nicole Geimer lives.

"We see people just blow the stop sign all the time," Geimer said.

Across the city, pedestrian improvements include traffic signals that give walkers a head start before drivers get a green light.

It makes pedestrians more visible to turning drivers.

"We want to keep traffic and speed down, and cars out of our buildings," said Phyllis Porter, of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

A 2014 crash in which a vehicle plowed into a building in Columbia City led to demands for safety improvements.

The city redesigned Rainier Avenue in Columbia City and says collisions are down 14 percent.

City officials say they plan to accelerate similar work on the south end of the Rainier Avenue corridor, completing it by 2019.