An Update on the Highland Park Way/SW Holden Intersection

Neighbors,

This afternoon I received word from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) that in the coming weeks there will be improvements to the intersection of SW Holden Street and Highland Park Way SW to promote safety and predictability. Residents near the intersection can expect to receive letters in the proceeding days, but the communication can also be found here.

Indeed, this is a positive development that should encourage safer access for commuters!

I have been assured, however, that this work does not preclude the development of a roundabout for which our community has been advocating for the previous 6 years. The Seattle Department of Transportation has applied for a City Safety Program grant with the Washington Department of Transportation and will expect to receive word of whether this project has been funded by January.

In the meantime, we must continue to press for commitments to this project so that our neighborhood can be safer. To that end, I encourage you to express support to the Seattle City council for District 1 Representative Lisa Herbold’s proposal to add the Highland Park Way Roundabout project to the Seattle Department of Transportation Capital Improvement Program for the 2019-2024 period.

If you have time, you are highly encouraged to attend the Public Hearing on the Budget on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 5:30 PM. In order to comment, please line up before 5 PM so that you can add your name to the roster!

If you are unable to attend the public hearing, please consider emailing or calling the following council-members by October 23 to let them know that this project is greatly needed in our neighborhood:

Sally Bagshaw

Chair, Select Budget Committee

E: sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov

T: 206-684-8801

Teresa Mosqueda

E: Teresa.Mosqueda@seattle.gov

T: 206-684-8806

Lorena Gonzalez

E: Lorena.Gonzalez@seattle.gov

T: 206-684-8802

Mike O’Brien

Chair, Transportation Committee

E: Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov

T: 206-684-8800

While personalized messages are most helpful (and telephone calls are highly encouraged), we have provided the following template for convenience for you to copy and paste in your communication to the above council-members (please be sure to also copy council-member Lisa Herbold: Lisa.Herbold@seattle.gov):

Dear Councilmember ____,

I am writing in favor of Council-member Lisa Herbold’s proposed addition of the Highland Park Way/Southwest Holden Street Roundabout Project to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2019-2024 as part of this year’s budget process.

As a resident of West Seattle, I frequently use Highland Park Way to access the peninsula and can attest that the intersection at SW Holden Street is in dire need of significant improvements to increase safety for vehicles and pedestrians alike, as well as improve traffic flow.

Highland Park Way is one of only three access points to West Seattle. Our current infrastructure is not adequate to meet the demands of heavy usage due to increasing density. During daily commute hours, traffic on SW Holden St backs up significantly, sometimes 6 or more blocks deep, as commuters try to access Highland Park Way SW. Southwest Holden St. is the most direct route from several arterial roads in the area and forms a bottleneck on the way to Highland Park Way.

Further, the design of the current intersection does not provide a safe route for pedestrian crossing. Pedestrians are often crossing 3 lanes of traffic just to access the King County Metro bus stop. Young children must navigate treacherous road conditions every morning to catch their bus to school.

The Highland Park Way/SW Holden Roundabout Project would go a long way to increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and commuters while accommodating future growth, development, and density in the area.

Please favorably consider adding this project to the SDOT CIP for 2019-2024.

If you have any questions, please contact me at __________.

Sincerely,

________

We can also expect to continue our conversation with the office of Mayor Jenny Durkan come January.

I look forward to your continued advocacy for our neighborhood. Please let me know if you have questions or concerns about SDOT’s proposed work.

Sincerely,

Charlie Omana – Chair,  Highland Park Action Committe

A Formal Request for Funding for the Highland Park Way Roundabout

Neighbors,

Two weeks ago, the Highland Park Action Committee submitted a letter to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan requesting funding to complete the Highland Park Way/SW Holden St Roundabout project. Please find the content of the letter below:

July 17, 2018

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan

City of Seattle

600 4th Ave, 7th Floor

Seattle, WA 98104

Dear Mayor Durkan:

The Highland Park Action Committee is pleased to learn that you will be joining us for our next meeting on September 26, 2018 and the community looks forward to your visit. In anticipation of your meeting with us and with the timeliness of the budget process currently underway, we are requesting your support in the solution proposed by the Seattle Department of Transportation to address the safety and infrastructure needs at the Highland Park Way/ SW Holden Street intersection.

On June 13, 2018, we had the pleasure of participating in a neighborhood walk-through with your Director of External Relations and Outreach, Kyla Blair, to highlight our top infrastructure needs. Our key concern is the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden Street, which has a problematic history dating back at least 77 years.

In an effort to reduce dangerous collisions and discourage traffic from cutting into adjacent neighborhood streets to bypass the intersection, our organization has been working with SDOT to develop a long-term solution. In 2012, SDOT suggested that a large-scale roundabout (the first in the city, if built) would go a long way in promoting safety and reducing congestion. However, with a total project cost of $2.5 million, we have had little success over the last 6 years in getting this project funded. In the meantime, accidents continue to occur, including the most recent of which happened only a few days after Kyla Blair’s visit.

We have been lucky to have a strong advocate in our District 1 Councilmember, Lisa Herbold, who has been able to allocate $200K of city funding towards design for this project. An additional $300K was also identified by SDOT, for a total of $500K to date. Still, this is only 20% of the total project cost, and other efforts have been unsuccessful, including a failed WSDOT grant application in 2017 with strong support from elected officials.

Mayor, we are asking you today for assistance in closing the funding gap for the Highland Park Way SW Roundabout project. We understand that the budget proposal process is in the late stages, but we hope that you will be sympathetic to our concerns.

We have been encouraged by recent developments like the Duwamish Valley Action Plan and the awarding of $5.5K through the Equitable Development Initiative, which highlight the City of Seattle’s commitment to promoting equity in many of Seattle’s historically underserved communities.

The origins of the Highland Park neighborhood go back over a century, when the development of a private streetcar line spurred residential development in what had previously been farm-, timber-, and wildlands. When streetcar service was interrupted after a particularly nasty landslide just north of Highland Park, ownership of the line was passed to the City of Seattle, who repaired the tracks and resumed service a few years later. What was arguably the city’s first municipally owned and operated streetcar line allowed development to flourish along the service route, including neighborhoods like Highland Park.

The advent of the Great Depression and subsequent cessation of streetcar service interrupted future development in Highland Park for several years. The economic impacts were severe, and most of the Delridge area, including Highland Park, were redlined in the 1930s by the Federal Government. Only with the Second World War did development resume as the area struggled to adequately house the influx of residents who came to work in the industrial Duwamish Valley below. Highland Park became so synonymized with its working-class residents that the geological formation on which the neighborhood sits became known as “Boeing Hill.”

Future development has been punctuated by boom and bust cycles ever since, but our neighborhood has never truly recovered from the adverse effects of redlining and recessions. Data from the American Community Survey (5-year Series, 2009-2013) show that Highland Park (Census Tract 113) has a lower median income ($53,182) than Seattle as a whole ($65,277). Additionally, Highland Park has a higher proportion of residents who identify as a race or ethnicity other than White (49.8% versus Seattle’s 29.4%), and racial disparities in income inequality are well documented. Even with the recent favorable real estate market, homes in greater Delridge are still selling for well below the average price per square foot of other neighborhoods. The City has even recognized through its own analysis that residents of the Westwood-Highland Park urban village face a high risk of displacement with low access to opportunity. Mayor, Highland Park has long been in need of the kinds of improvements and investments that have spurred economic development and social opportunities in wealthier neighborhoods.

West Seattle is physically isolated from the rest of the city, and Highland Park Way SW serves as one of only three egresses off the peninsula. As West Seattle continues to densify, there will be greater pressure placed on this intersection which was not built to sustain the wear and tear of a main arterial. Additionally, increasing traffic, lack of adequate crosswalks, and awkward channelization make this intersection extremely perilous for the residents of Highland Park, including the many young children who must cross the dangerous road to catch their bus.

We understand that the additional $2 million cost needed to fully implement this project represents a significant investment. Relative to other transportation projects, however, this smaller project will have a proportionally greater impact in improving neighborhood safety for Highland Park and West Seattle commuters. With the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold, one consideration might be to re-allocate part of that project’s $15-18 million funding towards the Highland Park Way roundabout.

Of course, the roundabout is not our neighborhood’s only infrastructural need. For example, we have been asking for a protected southbound left-turn signal at 16th Ave SW and SW Holden Street—our second-most problematic intersection—but have been told by SDOT that there is currently no project that will implement this improvement. Other needed infrastructural improvements include crosswalks and traffic calming measures.

We hope that our neighborhood can continue to work with the City of Seattle to bring needed infrastructural improvements online. Our needs are many, and they will not be fulfilled entirely through a single program or grant fund. It would be helpful, therefore, if the City could work with us to develop a broader neighborhood plan. I would like to note that the current Delridge Action Plan does not cover the southerly neighborhoods of greater Delridge.

In the meantime, we hope that you will favorably consider our request for funding to complete the Highland Park Way SW Roundabout project. In anticipation of your visit to Highland Park in late September, I will be following up with you in the coming months to provide more background on our neighborhood needs and concerns related to safety and community development.

Sincerely,

Charlie Omana

Chair, Highland Park Action Committee

(206) 880-1506

hpacchair@gmail.com

Gunner Scott, Vice Chair

CC: Kyla Blair, Director of External Relations and Outreach

Amanda Hohlfeld, Office of the Mayor

Andrés Mantilla, Interim Director, Department of Neighborhoods

Samuel Assefa, Director, Office of Planning and Community Development

Council Member Lisa Herbold, Chair: Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts

Council Member Kshama Sawant, Chair: Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights

Council Member Mike O’Brien, Chair: Sustainability and Transportation

Speak Up for Highland Park Way/SW Holden Intersection Improvements!

Let’s fix Highland Park Way/SW Holden Intersection We need your support!

Highland Park Action Committee (HPAC) is gathering letters of support for an SDOT grant application to the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board for a “Compact Roundabout” at intersection of Highland Parkway and SW Holden St. in West Seattle.
In hopes of increasing the chances for funding, SDOT has asked for a showing community support for the project. We are hoping you will provide a letter of support for this project. We are collecting all the letters so SDOT may include them in the grant application.
 
You can download our Template Letter Letter for WTIB that you can also edit if you choose.
HPAC needs to have all letters by July 25th 
Please either:
We will also have postcards you can sign at all HPIC events in July and at Dutchboy Coffee
Please contact us  if you have any questions or comments. Please feel free to forward to any neighbors, groups, or businesses as well.
 
Thanks
Co-chairs

Text of the Template Letter for WTIB

 

Washington State Transportation Improvement Board
Republic Building, 505 Union Ave SE #350
Olympia, WA 98501

Date

To whom it may concern,

As a resident I am writing to support the City of Seattle’s grant application for a “Compact Roundabout” for the intersection of Highland Park Way and SW Holden St. in West Seattle.

Highland Park Way is a major arterial off the peninsula; it is one of the three ways out of West Seattle. The Highland Park neighborhood has been advocating for over 70 years for infrastructure improvements for the intersection of Highland Park Way and SW Holden, because of consistent accidents that could have been avoided and increasing traffic backups.

This project meets WSTIB criteria for a successful arterial project as it will increase safety for pedestrians, bikes, and commuters; it will address current needs and be flexible to meet the future growth, development, and density of the area; it will greatly improve the physical condition of the area as there has not been any significant infrastructure in this area for many years; and it greatly increase mobility for residents, visitors, and commercial traffic.

It is time to bring Highland Park Way into the 21st century.
Thank you,

Name
Street Address
City, State Zip
Phone

Neighborhood Happenings and News

Seattle City Council District 8 and 9 Candidate Forum
Tuesday, July 25th, from 7-9 pm
Hosted by the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council and the Highland Park Improvement Club

The format of the forum: each candidate will have 5 minutes to share their message. After after all candidates have presented, there will be a mixer where candidates can mingle with attending members of the West Seattle community to chat about specific items until 9 pm.
Who: Seattle City Council District 8 and 9 candidates
What: Candidate forum – 5 minutes presentation followed by mingling with prospective constituents
Where: Highland Park Improvement Club – 1116 SW Holden, Seattle, 98106
Why: Because voters shouldn’t look at a ballot and say “I have no idea who this is”
When: Tuesday, July 25th, from 7-9 pm
Contact: Mat McBride, Chair, Delridge Neighborhoods District Council

Please donate to Save Highland Park Elementary School’s Reading Program

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The  Reading Partners tutoring program at Highland Park Elementary School, southwest Seattle, is facing elimination due to deep budget cuts. We volunteer tutors need to raise $30,000 to keep the program. Fundraising deadline is July 15 – donations will be refunded if the goal is not met. Please contribute, to benefit students’ future success!

To donate use their Go Fund Me page.

Tutors and students work one-on-one to help students gain the skills to read at grade level. Research shows that when students can read at grade level entering 4th grade, they are 4 times more likely to graduate from high school.

Donations go to the Seattle chapter of Reading Partners, a 501(c)(3) organization, and are tax deductible: http://readingpartners.org/

Thank you for your support!  And the kids thank you, too!

Save Highland Park Reading Partners from Dina Lydia on Vimeo.

Have you give feedback on MHA Environmental Impact Statement for HALA yet?

What is MHA?

From City of Seattle’s website “Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) is a new policy to ensure that growth brings affordability. MHA will require new development to include affordable homes or contribute to a City fund for affordable housing. To put MHA into effect, Seattle needs to make zoning changes that add development capacity and expand housing choices.”

What is an EIS?

“An environmental impact statement (EIS) is prepared when the lead agency has determined a proposal is likely to result in significant adverse environmental impacts (see section on how to Assess Significance). The EIS process is a tool for identifying and analyzing probable adverse environmental impacts, reasonable alternatives, and possible mitigation.”

HPAC Request:

Did you know?

HPAC maintains a Facebook page and Twitter account where we post neighborhood news, grant opportunities, and updates. Please join us on social media.

            

There is also a Highland Park Facebook group as well where group members can post events, info, and updates, it is run by and for the neighbors of Highland Park, West Seattle.