Central District council says SDOT went rogue with community-driven street improvements

The Judkins Park Community Council says its solution for the stretch of Jackson SDOT focused on would cost $500 (Image: Judkins Park Community Council)

A Central District neighborhood group had the strange experience earlier this month of asking the city to stop work on improvements Seattle Department of Transportation claimed it asked for.

“It is heartbreaking as we were so excited to get a grant to have improvements in the Jackson Street Business District,” organizers for the Judkins Park Community Council posted about the situation. “But this project, which we may not be able to actually stop at this point, being done in our name with our hard work on getting the grant, is not acceptable.”

According to updates to the group’s Facebook page, the community council had worked with SDOT in 2017 to shape a neighborhood package of improvements the group hoped would add “infrastructure improvement to our business district between 23rd Ave S and MLK.” It was a process similar to the “Your Voice, Your Choice” project meeting CHS reported on here earlier this year.

But when SDOT announced the grants and projects this spring, the Judkins Park group found its priorities had been replaced by new projects including a “Real-time information signs (RTIS) at the bus stops at S Jackson St and 23rd Ave S,” a wider $300,000 sidewalk and bike lane, and a curb bulb near Washington Middle School on Jackson, being done, the department said in the name of the Judkins Park Community Council.

SDOT has not responded back to CHS on what went wrong in the process.

According to the community council, the larger projects near the school are under contract and moving forward but the city has said its prioritized projects have not been forgotten. The next meeting of the community council on June 6th will be dedicated to getting the projects back on the board for SDOT.

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12 thoughts on “Central District council says SDOT went rogue with community-driven street improvements

  1. Another SDOT disgrace. SDOT never wastes an opportunity to squander taxpayer funds for unnecessary projects while letting most roads and sidewalks rot. The malfeasance never ends with SDOT. Somebody should put a list of unnecessary or over-budget SDOT projects together. The entire department should be disbanded, and reconstructed from bottom up. Maybe the people of Seattle will be wise enough to say “hell no” next time they ask for an unnecessary levy. If you’re not aware of the “Move Seattle” levy’s track record of incomplete and over-budget projects then please read up.

  2. SDOT keeps creating boondoggles regarding bicycles while ignoring failing/failed arterial pavement. The powers-that-be must know funds must eventually be made available for repaving arterials no matter what, so SDOT is making hay while the sun shines.

  3. It is so interesting to see SDOT do more than expected with regards to bike infrastructure, usually they leave a project with critical sections incomplete. It is nice to see them step up for a change.
    Tho this is only a small piece of the overall Jackson street thoroughfare. The rest of the bike lanes on Jackson are skinny, unsafe door zone hazards, which disappear at critical intersections. Jackson would be a great street for a protected connection to Pioneer Square….some day

  4. SDOT is an embarassment. Look no further than the mess they turned Broadway into.

    I’m all for supporting various forms of transportation but when you cram them all onto one street, none of them work particularly well.

    Is there anything they won’t overbuild?

  5. It’s also shocking to see the lack of outcry around the (dramatically more expensive) second Central District greenway being built, 5 blocks away from the current, barely-used one — when there are so much more pressing basic routes like connecting Capitol Hill to downtown and SLU.

    I have literally only seen one other bicyclist on the current CD/Capitol Hill greenway.

    But hey, maybe people need 2 choices of routes from the CD to Volunteer Park for their annual summer bike trip?

    I feel so sorry for my friends who volunteered for, and believed in, Move Seattle (but more sorry for myself for the $10,000 in taxes I will personally pay.)

    • @ Eli: A lot of students use that greenway to get to and from school. It’s not perfect, but it is used–I’m on it with my son 2 times a day and see multiple other families and solo commuters. Perhaps you’re just on it at different times than some of us other folks? My presumption is that they are prioritizing school walk/bike routes. I can understand why that could be frustrating to tax payers without children, but for those of us who need a safe way for our kids to get to school these are very important…and keep cars off the road.

    • If not fix, maybe mildly enforce any traffic laws at?

      I go to that 24 Hour Fitness to run in the afternoon and watching the free-for-all out there is kind of entertaining but I don’t like almost getting ran over when I have to walk through there to come back up the hill.

  6. Wow, I really have no idea what people are upset about. This SDOT project will be a great improvement to pedestrian safety. I cross Jackson to get to Washington Middle School all the time with my kids and this will be fantastic. I also ride my bike, with my kids, along Jackson and this will also be great for that.

    Also, there are lots of folks who use the Central/Capitol Hill greenway. I use it all the time, including often with my kids, and I see plenty of other folks using it too. Adults going to and from work, kids riding to and from school (Stevens Elementary, Meany Middle School, Washington Middle School), and folks just getting around the neighborhood. Having stop signs to stop cross traffic is great, having buttons to activate signals at key arterials is great.

  7. The point is that people did the volunteer work to get a proposal agreed to, a long process that invited community members in. SDOT took the money to do something else. The website should absolutely not reference anything about the process that committed the funds or the community groups involved. It’s a different project. And, now people you know how much the city values YOUR time.

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