A major infrastructure project is slated to get underway this winter right in the heart of Madison Park.
The intersection of East Madison Street, McGilvra Boulevard East and East Garfield Street is a messy, convoluted one. The Seattle Department of Transportation has heard complaints from residents and is seeking to make some major changes to make it safer and easier to navigate. The focus of the project is to add curb bulbs to effectively narrow the street but make turns into traffic along busy Madison Street less direct and with better visibility.
Five changes to the intersection were proposed, including two which came directly from community suggestions. Both of these were denied for various reasons.
Sue Romero, senior public relations specialist for SDOT, said that the department took residents’ thoughts into its plans.
“SDOT did take community concerns into consideration, which is why we reviewed the project and looked at ways to lessen the impact on trees,” she wrote in an email. “As a result, only one tree is scheduled to be removed at Madison/McGilvra (the tree is not in good condition) and we are also adding a tree. The new tree will be on the west side of McGilvra Boulevard and will be larger and more mature than customary replacement trees.”
The tree removed at 3914 E Garfield St. is in section one of the project, which also includes the loss of two on-street parking spots and the moving of a disabled parking space to the west. SDOT claims the removal of the tree will accommodate a shifted bike ramp and make pedestrians more visible
The second approved change in the project is at 3927 E Madison St. with another shifted bike ramp, to help avoid cyclists from riding on a property owner’s lawn. The third approved change is another bike ramp between the corner of McGilvra Boulevard East and East Madison Street to the west side of Madison.
All told, four on-street parking spaces will be eliminated in the already packed area.
The two community proposals were rejected because they failed to meet some standards.
“The proposal to reorient curb ramps to face one another on the west side of Madison at Garfield does not meet SDOT standards because multi-use ramps are required to be 10 feet – the proposed location was only 6 feet,” Romero said. “This also does not meet ADA standards as facing curb ramps would be too steep for users.”
The other change, a midblock crossing on the north side of Madison/McGilvra was rejected because SDOT does not install mid-block crossings.
The project is slated to cost $490,000 and is funded by MOVE Seattle and the city of Seattle’s Neighborhood Park and Street Fund, which is now part of the participatory budgeting process. While it was still running, it “provided funds annually to neighborhoods for small-scale improvements to streets and parks.” Projects funded by this fund scheduled for 2017 totaled up to $2 million, with $90,000 going to the Garfield Street project in Madison Park.
MOVE Seattle is part of Mayor Ed Murray’s “10-year strategic vision for transportation.”
Design on the project is complete and construction is expected to begin this winter, according to SDOT.