by Christine Clarridge
Some brazen South Lake Union pedestrians who have felt the urge to cross Denny Way in the middle of a perilous block have a small but significant reason to celebrate.
The installation of a new traffic light and crosswalk was completed Tuesday morning (August 15th) at Terry Avenue North, meaning pedestrians will no longer have the temptation to take their lives in their hands to cross an unprotected intersection on Denny Way between Boren and Westlake avenues.
Many people would cross the intersection, which separates much of the South Lake Union workforce from public-transit options just to the south, mid-block to avoid walking down to Westlake or up to Fairview.
People so used to crossing the unprotected intersection didn’t seem to even notice the new traffic feature as they loped across Denny, just feet away from the white crosswalk lines, according to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) spokeswoman Mafara Hobson. But those who noticed have been pleased, she said.
“Everybody has been saying ‘Thank God you did it,’” Hobson said, moments after the traffic light — a project costing the city about $100,000 — was turned on for the first time.
The impetus for the new crossing came from the state’s former secretary of transportation, Douglas MacDonald, who has been on a personal mission to walk many of the city’s streets looking for improvements, according to SDOT Director Scott Kubly. MacDonald reported to the city in January what many South Lake Union employees have been privately griping about for a few years, as the volume of pedestrian traffic in the area has increased dramatically in the booming neighborhood home to Amazon’s urban campus.
Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen said he’s pleased and relieved by the new crosswalk, which can be seen from the company’s newsroom windows just up the hill.