Lander Festival Street
Lander Festival Street

While poking around SDOT’s website after seeing the photo above, I found a nice long list of past and potential sidewalk and traffic calm projects  funded by Bridging the Gap, via the Neighborhood Street Fund. Over the past year I have seen many of the current projects, but didn’t realize they were the result of a specific, neighborhood led program. The photo above shows the Lander Festival Street, which will act as a continuation of the Beacon Hill station plaza. A ribbon cutting event will be held on December 5th. This is just one project funded by the program over the last year. I’m a bit disappointed that they didn’t use bricks or some other kind of non-concrete paving material material but I’m sure there is a long story behind that.

SDOT is working with the Neighborhood Councils to rank and prioritize the next round of potential projects. Thanksgiving is always a slow news day, so if you need a distraction from family stuff, take a look at the project list. There is a good number of them.

Which is your favorite? Which do you think is most necessary?

16 Replies to “Neighborhood Street Fund”

  1. Not gonna lie, thats a lot of stuff to read though. But on that paving material topic, the city should consider using permeable concrete in light-duty applications, such as walkways and bikeways. A city just constructed bike lanes in a street, using permeable concrete, and it eliminated most runoff as it infiltrated into the ground. Its a good way to reduce pollutants going into our creeks and the Puget Sound. An example of this pavement is used for the pedestrian path along the SLUT.

    1. SHA and SVR used a lot of permeable concrete in High Point as well. Definitely something to consider when looking at NSF projects, although it does drive up the costs.

  2. Regarding the paving: I don’t know the full story but I believe the neighborhood group pushing for the pedestrian/festival street had wanted permeable pavers. However ST already had the contracts for the reconstruction and any change orders would be expensive. As a result SDOT build this portion on top of the completed concrete roadway rather than tearing out what had been rebuilt, so the permeable pavement wouldn’t do much good and was cut from the final design.

    1. Yeah I thought that might have been the case. However isn’t it possible to put brink over cement? Or do you run into runoff problems?

      I really want to know more about this. Once I even check out a book from the CAUP library on the subject but it didn’t help much.

  3. A strength of the neighborhood matching programs is that citizens propose the projects and invest time in completing them. That saves money and adds inspiration and commitment. It stretches dollars and makes sure the projects uniquely fit neighborhood needs.

    A weakness is that the selection process guarantees that every neighborhood gets a project, whether needed or not, and whether the project can be completed for the amount available or not. Every district sends a representative, and each expects to walk away with a project. Neighborhoods with sidewalks are on an equal footing for sidewalk projects with neighborhoods without – despite one neighborhood clearly having a higher level of need than the other. And if there’s $X million available, each of the project needs to cost about $X/36 (or however many districts there are) even if the original project idea would cost 10 times that amount. So sidewalks that should be concrete (or permeable pavement or having brick details) and on both sides of the street for several blocks can turn into one block of stamped asphalt paving on one side of the street to fit the money available. Next year, you’re unlikely to get a phase 2 project to finish the job that’s actually needed, because it will be time to distribute projects to different neighbors. It’s not a good way to make sure the right projects get completed in the right places, because it’s all about distributing the political benefits rather than filling the needs.

    1. I completely agree, however I believe that these projects are just a part of much larger pedestrian and traffic calming program, which can be prioritized upon need. I think in the big picture though the city simply needs to dedicate much more money to pedestrian and bicycle project than it currently is, and with McGinn I think the chances of this happening are good.

  4. I’d like the city to concentrate on making *all* intersections have dipped curbs to allow wheelchairs easier access to cross streets. Along 23rd Avenue for instance there are at least 30 intersections that have no dipped curbs.

  5. Thanks Adam. I didn’t realize this was a specific program either.

    The Capitol Hill Community Council just got the go ahead to pursue this type of design for John St. between Olive and Summit Ave. (adjacent to the future John and Summit P-Patch and Park). Hopefully we can utilize this fund for financing on this project.

  6. Ps. If that site pictured is not a prime TOD site, I don’t know what is! I sure hope we see plans develop for this land soon.

    1. I believe so. I have to say I wasn’t actually able to find a final design. I know there will be some bollards somewhere but I don’t know if they will be at the end of the street or along it. I’m guessing along it.

      1. Yes, this is the woonerf. Or at least, that is what they were calling it a while back.

        According to , “the project will include construction of a new roadway with decorative pavers, at the same level as the sidewalks, making the street ‘curbless’; adding removable bollards that can be used to close the street during events; adding other side treatments to delineate the roadway surface; and installing pedestrian-scale lighting.” So this implies to me that the bollards will be at the end of the street to keep the cars out during events.

        I think I’ve seen a drawing of the design, but I’m not sure… at any rate, it opens next Saturday, so we don’t have long to wait.

  7. Close to being on topic— I wish our city fathers and planners would take a trip to downtown Centralia in its historic district and see what they have done with all of the ways cement can be shapped, etched, and made to look like other materials. It’s beautiful. I could see it as a neighborhood boon– say doing it to Pike as it proceeds up to talHill.

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