SDOT has started work on on block of Terry Avenue between Virginia and Lenora that will turn it from a street that has some parking into a street that has less parking and way more trees and sidewalks. The total cost for the project is $500,000, mostly funded by a Federal Transit Administration grant, according to the SDOT blog:
The street is now closed to all vehicles, and will remain closed until the end of August; however, the street will remain open to pedestrians and bicycles, and access to all buildings on this block will be maintained. SDOT will narrow the roadway and remove 35 on-street parking spaces, replacing them with landscaping (including 13 trees) and wider sidewalks. Three granite slab benches will be added.
While this one block will not help bicycle travel a whole lot, Terry is supposed to some day get a makeover that turns it into a shared space corridor, similar to a woonerf, through South Lake Union. If all of Terry were to be completed as planned, it could be a pleasant and safe way to get from downtown to bike and pedestrian routes north, such as Westlake and Fairview.
I am also excited about the possible expansion of the concept of a woonerf in Seattle. In short, a woonerf is a shared space street where bicycles and pedestrians have priority over cars. Cars are still able to use the streets, but they should expect to move much more slowly than on a typical street. Seattle sort of already has one, as Pike Place is basically a woonerf.
This concept could also work (and, in many ways, already does) for much of Fairview Ave north of Galer. Really, the woonerf seems like a great option in many situations. Cars don’t get to go as fast as on other streets, but that is often a good thing. It’s a great alternative to closing a street to car traffic entirely, and provides more space where pedestrians and bicycles can move about freely and safely.
Here are plans for Terry from back in 2005. There is no plan for crossing Denny Way in this document, which would make it slightly difficult to connect to this new green street block:
Here’s a map of the one block currently under construction: