Brian Dougherty, SDOT’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator, says that Green Lake Elementary School was chosen for improvements due to a variety of factors, including the proximity of the NE 65th St and Latona Ave NE business district, a history of collisions in the area, and the nearby location of arterial streets N 65th St and Woodlawn Ave NE.
“We want more kids walking and biking to school,” Dougherty says. To that end, SDOT is working on street and sidewalk improvements, traffic enforcement, and education to teach kids how to navigate busy streets.
About a month ago, Dougherty led a walking audit around some of the primary walking routes to Green Lake Elementary. Using this audit, SDOT identified the marked crosswalk on N 65th St at 1st Ave NE as a primary location for safety improvements. According to Dougherty, there is a history of pedestrians being hit while using the crosswalk. In the mid-1970s, he says, a child was struck.
SDOT will soon be installing an overhead flashing light and a downward-focused spotlight at the crosswalk.
Improvements are also being made to the sidewalks surrounding the school. During Spring Break, the cracked and bumpy sidewalk in front of the school was removed and replaced with a flat surface. A large European Birch tree located next the sidewalk was saved during the process. The tree will now will have more room to grow due to a narrower sidewalk.
More sidewalk repairs will be made this summer, particularly on Sunnyside Ave N, where trees have buckled the sidewalk.
Curb ramps will also be installed at N 65th St and Sunnyside Ave N, making crossing easier at the legal, unmarked, corner-to-corner crosswalk.
SDOT will also be installing bike lanes and sharrows to N/NE 65th St this summer. You can read more about that project here.
The Safe Routes to School program will wrap up at Green Lake Elementary School in the fall with an educational campaign for 2nd graders about safe walking and crossing habits.