Often 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.
In 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).