Have you noticed the speed bumps on South 160th Street east of 42nd Avenue South? The Public Works department calls them speed cushions. They are a pilot project. These “vertical deflection” traffic calming devices are far less expensive than the usual speed bumps we see elsewhere. However, the jury is out concerning their effectiveness and durability. Are there on-going maintenance requirements that raise the overall costs? How long will they last? Time is needed to assess these factors. Notice the slots or gaps in the speed cushions. These are intended for the use of emergency vehicles. We don’t want emergency vehicles to slow down on their way to save homes and lives. We also do not want to destroy vehicle suspension systems. I confess that I try to drive through the gaps with my vehicle. I suppose that I should not. However, I do have to reduce speed, and that is the idea, isn’t it? Residents on South 160th Street requested traffic calming steps several years ago. I witnessed this request while attending a transportation committee meeting. While I don’t recall the year, Jim Haggerton was mayor, and Jim Morrow was the director of Public Works.
There is a significant project coming up starting around the middle of next year. Work will leave 53rd Avenue South north of South 144th Street unavailable, except for local access, for about a year. Foster Park is along that street and generates a lot of traffic. It is also a commonly used route going to and coming from Interurban Avenue South. Fortunately, 58th Avenue South will serve as a convenient detour. This project will add curbs, sidewalks and under-grounding of some utilities. It will become a two-lane street.
The Cascade View Safe Routes to School Phase 2 will be finished by the end of this year. This project is a big deal for the children who walk to Cascade View Elementary; again curbs and sidewalks on one side of 33rd and 34th avenues south.
By the time you read this column, South 144th Street between 42nd Avenue S and Tukwila International Boulevard (TIB) will be open with parallel parking and a bike lane. It will be an entry point into Tukwila Village.
Eventually, we will have a traffic signal at South 144th Street and 42nd Avenue South. This will make it safer for everyone as our high school students walk to and from school. So, now you have some idea of the continuous improvement efforts of our city government.
May the holiday season find you in good spirits.
Tukwila Reporter columnist Chuck Parrish can be reached via email at email@example.com.