Patrick Robinson
Joe Joe Szilagyi was taking notes as SDOT Community Traffic Liaison spoke before a meeting of the Westwood-Roxhill- Arbor Heights Community Council on Tues. March 4.

SDOT offers a glimpse of possible traffic changes for Roxbury at WWRHAH meeting

Photo enforcement cameras going up in two places on Roxbury this Spring

The March 4 meeting of the Westwood Roxhill Arbor Heights Community Council featured SDOT's Community Traffic Liaison Jim Curtin who offered a glimpse at possible changes coming to Roxbury Street S.W. The council and others in the community have been asking for months for road improvements on the street that stretches from 35th S.W. to 4th Ave. S.W. that is still among the most dangerous roads in the Seattle area. Curtin pointed out that 13,000 cars a day use the west end of the street, near 35th, and as many as 25,000 per day are on it near 8th Ave. S.W. the scene of numerous accidents. While the volume of traffic is lower to the west, speed, "go way up" said Curtin. That means photo enforcement is coming to both school locations outside Roxhill Elementary and Holy Family Church and school. The cameras will be installed this Spring.

Curtin explained that through four public sessions on what to do about the road they've heard about the need for more pedestrian safety, about the noise and vibration and about the speeding and car accidents. He said they are looking into the "rechannelization of the western portion of Roxbury" which means they would put it on a "road diet" that reduces four lanes to three lanes. Curtin said Roxbury is, "pretty ripe for this kind of treatment." The area "west of White Center" seems very likely for this change.

He also addressed the condition of the roadway noting that the roadway, comprised of 10 x 10 foot concrete panels, out in front of Holy Family Church and School is "super atrocious" since the expansion joints between the panels make for raised edges, either up or down causing noise and vibration. Some may need to be replaced though this is not a low cost solution. "You can only put a bandaid on things so many times," he noted. Those panels cost "a minimum of $10,000 each to replace." Concrete he explained is still the most durable road surface.

In the community meetings Curtin said he heard from many people including those who attended the recent White Center Community Summit who took advantage of the language translation offered to share their views. He said he got some really good ideas from all part of the community including the potential of additional traffic signals somewhere along the street.

SDOT is just about to enter the second phase of their community outreach and have contracted with White Center Community Development to organize meetings in the area. SDOT also plans to meet with every business that lines the corridor as part of the process. "They are affected too," said Curtin.

By this July Curtin said they will have a better idea of what is feasible given community concerns and budget constraints and will at that time call for another community meeting to share those more refined ideas.

The current work being done near Roxhill Elementary on 30th Ave. S.W. will be completed by the end of March and 900 feet of new sidewalk will be poured in the near future near the school.

In the fall they will begin the process of addressing 35th Ave. S.W. which has seen five pedestrian deaths in the last seven years.

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