Welcome to View Ridge, Seattle’s unofficial stroller capitol. Heading down NE 70th Street and need a ramp? A few weeks ago, you had to pop a wheelie to cross the street at a corner. Now, take your pick from among more than 55 ramps in a 14-block stretch (between 51st Avenue NE and 37th Avenue NE). And more apparently are planned — based on painted outlines dotting the street.
The temporary asphalt ramps were put into place by SDOT, serving as an alternate way of crossing the street while permanent ramps are built at corners over the next few weeks.
And that’s either A, an uncommonly thoughtful approach to construction or B, a huge waste of money.
Count Bob Lucas, chair of the View Ridge Community Council’s Traffic and Safety Committee, as being in the “B” camp. “Why spend thousands of dollars on temporary ramps when they will be replaced by the real things shortly?,” Lucas wrote in a letter to SDOT that he shared with the Wedgwood View. “This has not been done elsewhere in the past. This is another example of unnecessary wasted money.”
Lucas argues that the money could have been used to build a pedestrian crossing across NE 65th Street near Bryant Park. Others have been equally upset by the asphalt ramps, several saying they are poorly placed (some in the middle of parking strips, some already near residential driveways) and a danger to bicyclists and perhaps cars.
One resident who twice had spoken to SDOT about the ramps said she was told that the temporary ramps are not even wide enough for wheelchair-bound people. That means they apparently are for stoller-pushers, wagon-pullers and kids on trikes, etc.
SDOT did not respond to an email inquiry from the Wedgwood View on Friday. More information, when available, will be posted here.
UPDATE@5:15pm / March 8, 2010:Each asphalt ramp is built at a cost of $118.56, says SDOT’s Rick Sheridan in an email. About 55 of the ramps had been built as of Monday morning. A little quick math reveals that so far $6,520.08 has been spent on ramp construction. Give or take.
UPDATE@1:45pm / March 9, 2010:Just found out that a representative from SDOT will be at the next View Ridge Community Council meeting (Tuesday, March 16). The invitation came from VRCC and the representative will be happy to talk about the asphalt ramps and other issues.