Guest Blog with Paulo Nunes-Ueno, Director of  Transportation & Sustainability

In my last two blogs, I described how sustainability drove the choice of building materials for our Building Hope expansion and how the new facility will conserve natural resources.  But our commitment to creating a safe and healthy environment extends beyond our campus. As we planned the expansion, we created a Livable Streets initiative that supports our focus on green and sustainable design by improving how people travel to and from Seattle Children’s.

With input from the community, we selected six projects to build in this phase of our project. Besides improving traffic flows, these projects will make the neighborhood more walkable and bikeable, providing healthy alternatives to driving that will help people stay active and reduce pollution.

The proposed projects are

  • A new traffic signal and redesigned intersection at 40th Ave. NE and Sand Point Way NE. The project will make it easier to cross four lanes of traffic at this busy spot.   This signal features a demonstration of an innovative technology that senses the presence of pedestrians in the crosswalk and holds the red for them to finish crossing. If someone crosses more quickly, the green light will allow traffic to flow sooner.
  • A two-way cycletrack with separate paths for bikes and pedestrians along our Sand Point Way NE frontage.
  • A neighborhood greenway – a quiet street with improvements for pedestrian and bike safety – on 39th Ave. NE. connecting Thorton Creek Elementary School and the Wedgewood and Bryant neighborhoods with the Burke-Gilman Trail.
  • Curb extensions to reduce crossing distances on NE 45th Street and 42nd Ave NE
  • Curb extensions to reduce crossing distances and connect to a new sidewalk (requested by neighbors through a city matching fund) on NE 50th Street between NE 50th Street and 40th Ave. NE.
  • A new crossing at 52nd Ave NE and Sand Point Way is also being considered. This project would create an important connection between Burke Gilman Park and Laurelhurst Elementary and Laurelhurst Park. It would also make it easier for neighbors in Laurelhurst to bike and walk to Metropolitan Market

These projects are part of nearly $4 million – plus an additional sum for the 40thAve./Sand Point Way intersection – we committed to spend on neighborhood transportation improvements as part of our 20-year master plan.