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John/Thomas intersections from Capitol Hill Station to Miller Park selected for major pedestrian improvements

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-11-05-59-amOften overshadowed by the more bustling sections of Capitol Hill, the “John and Thomas corridor” is nonetheless a crucial pedestrian and transit passageway through the neighborhood. Thanks to a community-initiated proposal, 11 intersections in the corridor between Broadway and 23rd Ave are on deck for a $1 million pedestrian safety upgrade paid for by the Seattle Neighborhood Street Fund.

The proposal from David Seater, a volunteer with Central Seattle Greenways, calls for installing curb bulbs along all the corridor’s un-signaled intersections. It was recently approved by the Neighborhood District Council, setting up a final vote at City Council.

“I walk along John/Thomas frequently and have been frustrated with how unsafe and difficult it can be to cross at any of the intersections without signals,” Seater said.

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-11-06-13-amIn addition to supporting Metro’s 8 and 10 routes, E John and E Thomas offer direct pedestrian access to the Capitol Hill light rail station. Unfortunately, the corridor can be difficult to navigate by foot, as Seater explains in the project proposal.

Many people driving fail to yield to pedestrians at the unmarked crosswalks along the corridor, and pedestrians are obscured behind cars parked near the intersec ons. John and Thomas are very wide streets, leading to high vehicle speeds and long crossing distances. This makes it hard to access bus stops along the corridor and to travel north/south to the many parks, businesses, and homes on Capitol Hill.

The intersection at 10th and E John was highlighted as especially concerning.

This intersection is close to the signalized intersection at Broadway so drivers are focused on the traffic lights there, or have just come through a green light. Many fail to yield to people trying to cross John. The East District Council ranked an NPSF proposal to construct a raised intersection here as their #2 priority.

An initial budget for the project would combine around $1 million from the NSF with $300,000 from the Seattle Department of Transportation.

While no legal on-street parking would be removed, an SDOT evaluation of the project noted it may be perceived that way. And while traffic is expected to slow through the corridor, SDOT says it should not affect bus schedules.

The NSF pays for community-initiated transportation projects, generally between $100,000 and $1 million, after they are vetted and approved through several steps. The John/Thomas corridor project was first approved by the East District Council and then made it into the Move Seattle oversight committee’s top 65 selection.

Other projects selected by the NDC include improved lighting and wayfaring at First Hill’s Freeway Park and pedestrian safety improvements around Bailey Gatzert Elementary.

You can view the complete proposal here (PDF).

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12 thoughts on “John/Thomas intersections from Capitol Hill Station to Miller Park selected for major pedestrian improvements

  1. Thank you to this person. Only thing I’d add is plenty of drivers completely see someone trying to cross and do the Seattle passive aggressive, oh i’m not going to stop, i’m already going, game cf chicken, oh i can’t help but violate pedestrian right of way, thing. Some will continue to do that even with the improvements but this will help overall, and make for no excuses.

    • My favorite thing is when drivers just cannot wait until the bus lets its passengers off at 16th so they pass blindly on the wrong side of the road….. It’s crazy dangerous to even try to cross the street when a bus is at the stop and I’ve seen plenty of times when westbound cars have had to swerve out of the way of someone in their lane!

  2. with the increased number of apartments and apodments in the neighborhood, it only makes sense that there will be more pedestrians walking in/through/around the area. I sure hope the powers that be approve this plan!

  3. My partner and I have often been annoyed at how many cars don’t bother to stop at the MARKED crosswalk at 10th & John. It’s great to know they’re going to install the very solutions we’ve often talked about. Of course, we’re moving to Spokane in December, so y’all enjoy your newfound safety;-)

  4. Fantastic. Thank you to all involved to make this happen. Curious, will any currently unmarked crosswalks become marked? Would love to see the westbound bus stop locations at both Broadway and 12th moved eastward to the other side of the intersection.

  5. I can only add my voice to the chorus. I lived right there for 15 years and in recent years it has gotten quite worse. Traffic has increased exponentially and John has really become a barrier when trying to cross the street, even at marked crosswalks.

  6. This project leaves me wondering how SDOT determines its responsibilities to plan and provide normal safe streets and where t Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) program fits into the general scope of work. Shouldn’t this be done with or without the Street Fund?
    I know the Street Fund is suppose to be for transportation projects identified and prioritized by the community. Projects range from crossing improvements to creating unique public spaces. I do not have answers–just questions.

  7. I’d like to see more enforcement of traffic regulations. People will stop making U turns, speeding down residential streets, running stop signs and begin stopping for pedestrians only when they are forced to under the threat of fines.