NE 75th Street in Wedgwood gets facelift after tragedy

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SEATTLE — From tragedy there is now change on NE 75th Street in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood.

SEATTLE — After Dennis and Judy Schulte were hit by an alleged drunk driver and killed while crossing the busy street last spring the Seattle Department of Transportation decided something needed to be done.

After meetings with the community SDOT decided on the new configuration.

One lane of traffic in each direction instead of two, new bike lanes on both sides, a marked crosswalk at 25th and a dedicated, continuous left turn lane.

Neighbors called for change and this is it.

wedgwood2“In general I think it’s good because I think the two lanes going east, I don’t think it was helping anything.  I think there was a lot of confusion whether it was two lanes or not, so I think having the dedicated left turn lane, I think it will be a good thing,” neighbor Tom Kuder said.

“When that back there was two wide we would just have so many cars going past our house and it’s awful. It was awful and loud,” neighbor Maddie McGriff said.

But not everyone is happy with the changes.

With the addition of the left turn lane and bike lanes, curbside parking had to go, except in front of Eckstein Middle School where the school bus stop and curbside parking will remain.

Jonathan Schultz says a lot of neighbors believe the city chose the wrong plan.

“One of them was to put parking lanes in instead of a turn lane.  I think most people in the neighborhood would think that’s the better idea. We don’t have anything.  We’ve got a whole bunch of people coming over tomorrow that won’t have any place to park,” neighbor Jonathan Schultz said.

Schultz and more than 50 of his neighbors are collecting signatures on a petition to change the configuration and bring back curbside parking.

Already cars that were once parked on 75th are now crowding neighborhood cross streets.

As one neighbor put it; parking is now a nightmare here.

But the city insists, the new configuration is what the majority of the neighbors wanted and provides the most safety for everyone.

“We also heard that parked cars along the corridor really inhibited visibility of cars and so by removing the parking and having the bike lane it improves the distance between travel vehicles and also pedestrians that are walking along the corridor,” SDOT spokesman Dong Ho Chang said.

Chang also says the new configuration will reduce the average speeds in this area.

The final change is still in the works.

The city will soon add school zone speed cameras in front of Ecksteain Middle School.

No word yet on when those cameras will be installed.

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