A self-imposed deadline for Seattle Department of Transportation officials to sort out a plan with Seattle Public Schools for what happens next to the “S Path,” the curving public sidewalk between Federal and 11th Ave E that has been fenced off since the start of adjacent Lowell Elementary’s school year, has come and gone.
SDOT’s Genesee Adkins, chief of staff for the department, tells CHS that city representative have met with schools officials and heard the district’s requirements for reopening the route to the public right of way:
We met with the school district a little more than a week ago to understand what they want to do going forward. Now we’re working internally at the city to see how quickly we can make some of those options happen on the ground. I know I’m not giving you too much specificity, but we’re still in flux at this moment. We had hoped to have a long-term solution identified by the end of November, and I don’t think we’ll be too far off of that, but I’m afraid we’re not quite there yet today.
CHS reached out to the school district to learn more about its requirements. A SPS spokesperson said district representatives met on Friday to discuss proposals but we haven’t yet heard back on specifics. Clearly, they have bigger issues to sort out.
Lowell Elementary serves children from across Central Seattle and is home to the district’s program for medically fragile students. Parents said they have been cleaning up garbage and dangerous needles from addicts and homeless campers left along the path for months. Adkins said that the situation had reached an “acute” level and the closure to start the school year was the only prudent course of action to take while longer term solutions were addressed.
City officials met with community members and school parents this fall to hear from some their concerns about the path’s dangers and other’s their desire to restore the public route near the school.