The pavement along this section of S Columbian Way was significantly deteriorated, with the outside lanes crumbling. Since the outside lanes of the roadway had to be reconstructed, it was the perfect opportunity to install curbs, which help define the street edge and protect pedestrians from moving vehicles. Curbs also direct storm water to drains and help to eliminate puddles that can lead to hydroplaning and dangerous driving conditions.
To further improve drainage and hence improve safety, much of the existing sidewalk has been rebuilt at a higher elevation so that water drains towards the roadway and into the storm drainage collection system.
The reconfiguration of the formerly four-lane street to one lane in each direction with a two-way center turn-lane makes it easier for pedestrians to cross the street. A dedicated right-turn lane for traffic going to the Seattle Veterans Administration Center takes queued vehicles out of mainstream traffic. Cyclists now have bike lanes. One hundred new street trees now grace the corridor, making a more pleasant street and improving the environment.
This project was funded by the “Bridging the Gap” transportation levy approved by Seattle voters in November 2006.
(Note: see photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sdot_photos/sets/72157625275445423/ The trees are bare now. It will be much better in the spring when their leaves have grown out.)