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Mayor announces 50 blocks of new sidewalks

Plus 200 more by 2024

A new sidewalk along Beacon Avenue South

Earlier week, Mayor Ed Murray announced some brand-new sidewalks going up over the next year.

The $22 million investment, part of the Pedestrian Master Plan, will create 50 blocks of new sidewalks in Beacon Hill, Roxbury Heights, Rainier Valley, Greenwood, Lake City, and Ballard over the next year.

Mayor Murray says these first improvements will prioritize routes to schools and transit corridors. The Pedestrian Master Plan identified high-priority areas based on demand, equity, and function.

The funding comes from the nine-year, $930 million Move Seattle levy voters approved in November 2015.

200 more blocks of sidewalk—totaling 250—will be installed by the end of the levy in 2024.

“Providing access to transit, providing safer routes to schools, is ultimately not just a safety issue and not just a mobility issue. It is also an equity issue,” said Murray at a press conference Monday. “It affects the values of this city’s budget.”

Murray made his announcement from Martin Luther King, Jr. elementary to highlight recent improvements to Rainier Avenue South, and to announce an accelerated timeline for an extension of the project.

An improvement project in 2015 lowered the speed limit, prioritized bus lanes, and cut the number of traffic lanes from Alaska Way South to South Kenny Street, while adding pedestrian crossings.

The Mayor says this was a win-win for the city, pedestrians, transit riders, and drivers alike: In addition to improving safety on the corridor, the project improved car travel time by three minutes during peak hours.

Safety improved dramatically along the corridor after the improvements, but there’s always room for more. As Erica C. Barnett pointed out in the South Seattle Emerald, a collision occurred just an hour after the press conference at Rainier and Alaska.

Phase Two of the Rainier Project, from South Kenny Street to South Henderson Street, will be moved up by one year. The Seattle Department of Transportation is accepting online comments about the project through March 26.

It’s of eight corridors improving over next two years on the city, says the Mayor.