Seattle's Department of Transportation (SDOT) has big plans for a stretch of roadway that runs through northeast Seattle. Just over two miles will get a fresh coat of asphalt and a pretty big makeover, but SDOT’s plans have divided neighbors in that area.
“I think an important thing to note is both sides really want this street safer. Everybody wants a nice street where they can access local businesses,” Liam Bradshaw explained.
Bradshaw is part of a group known as Safe 35th.
“We're a group of people who organized because we support the plan,” he said. That plan includes eliminating much of the parking on the west side of the street and adding a bike lane.
On the other side of this issue is the group that goes by the name Save 35th.
“The Northeast District Council and about 2,400 neighbors have come out in support of our concerns basically telling the city to pump the brakes on the project,” Gabe Galenda explained.
Save 35th worries it will hurt businesses and cause parking problems. Some members support some of the crosswalks and other parts of the plan, but Galenda believes SDOT did not follow proper procedures to tell people what changes are coming.
Members of Safe 35th say they're tired of the countless accidents and close calls that put people in danger on that stretch every day.
“There's really a human cost for doing nothing,” Bradshaw said.
Both sides have their signs, their meet-ups, their passion and their petitions. Still, the disagreement remains respectful.
“The division is unfortunate, and I do blame City Hall for that,” Galenda said.
“It's a compromise there's just not enough space to fit everybody,” Bradshaw explained.
Save 35th is pushing for the mayor to put the brakes on it, while Safe 35th is hoping SDOT will get construction underway this spring. Until it's all settled the community will, respectfully, see different directions for a better way forward.