A Quick-and-Dirty Fix for Sidewalkless Streets

Seattle DOT Director Dongho Chang calls this cheap-and-easy sidewalk trick a "protected walking lane." Photo:  Dongho Chang
Seattle DOT Director Dongho Chang calls this cheap-and-easy sidewalk trick a "protected walking lane." Photo: Dongho Chang

The most basic necessity for a walkable street is a sidewalk. But a surprising number of urban streets lack dedicated paths for walking, and cities often struggle with the expense of adding concrete.

Seattle has found a way to get a safe walking space on the ground quickly for a fraction of the price. Seattle DOT Director Dongho Chang snapped the above photo of what he calls a “protected walking lane.” It’s a makeshift sidewalk built using just paint and concrete bumpers.

This particular spot, NE 110th Street, is an important walking route for several local schools, according to Sue Romero, a spokesperson for the Seattle Department of Transportation. The city worked with the surrounding neighborhoods to make safe spaces for kids. In addition to these “protected walking lanes,” the city also installed corner sidewalk extensions and two crosswalks, Romero reports.

Seattle has used painted walkways in other parts of the city, she says: On 8th Ave S in the South Park neighborhood and along the waterfront.

Seattle officials report this “protected walking path” cost $26,000 to construct. The full sidewalk is estimated at $300,000.

Updated February 5th with new information from the city of Seattle. 

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Vote for the Best Urban Street Transformation of 2015

|
It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2015, which means we’re about to hand out Streetsies to recognize achievements for walking, biking, and transit in American cities this year. Earlier this month we asked readers for nominations for the Best Urban Street Transformation of the year, and here are the standouts from your submissions. It’s a great batch and […]

What to Do Where the Sidewalk Ends

|
Sidewalks blocked by construction are a problem everywhere — perhaps even more so since the real estate bubble burst, and so many projects have been indefinitely halted. Today on the Streetsblog Network, Broken Sidewalk reports on the issue from Louisville, Kentucky. Apparently developers in that city routinely make no provision for the safe passage of […]

Adding Sidewalks Shouldn’t Cost a Bundle

|
Even in some of America’s biggest cities, you’d be amazed at the gaps in sidewalk networks. Most of Seattle has sidewalks, says Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog, but some of the more recently annexed sections of the city do not. The cost to fill in the gaps was recently pegged at a whopping $3.6 billion. But Seattle […]