News blog for Seattle's Wedgwood and View Ridge neighborhoods

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SDOT official on ramps: ‘Not our brightest moment’

Posted by Kate Bergman on March 16th, 2010

Here’s an unlikely combination for you: A laugh-filled community meeting and a mea culping-offering city official.

The two came together Tuesday night at the View Ridge Community Council meeting when Brian Doughterty of the Seattle Department of Transportation took the hot seat. The SDOT official was invited to talk to residents who are annoyed by the temporary asphalt ramps that are appearing here, there and everywhere on NE 70th Street.

“Not our brightest moment,” he said, drawing laughs. “A bit of overzealousness on the part of the crew,” he said later. And when asked — with great annoyance — what SDOT was thinking, he replied simply, “We weren’t.”

By the time he left, the 35 attendees were smiling and several thanked him for his candor.

He also said that SDOT will no longer install temporary asphalt ramps — unless they are needed because construction makes an existing ramp unusable. That’s a change of practice from NE 70th Street, which got at least 55 temporary asphalt ramps during the construction of corner ramps — even though the intersections had been fine forever without ramps.

He also clarified that each asphalt ramp costs $200 for materials only (labor and disposal costs are added on top of that). Last week an SDOT official told the Wedgwood View that each ramp costs only $118. Dougherty also said work was expected to be done by mid-April and that he welcomed residents to contact him directly if any of the temporary ramps were causing drainage or safety issues.

The other big topic of the night was burglaries, featuring the always-entertaining Diane Horswill, crime prevention officer for Seattle Police’s North Precinct. She gave out a list eight burglaries that occurred in View Ridge and Hawthorne Hills, mostly in February and many occurring while residents were home.

She emphasized locking doors and windows; using your home alarm, if you have one; and neighbors getting to know each other and each others’ living patterns. She also said the same person might have done some or most of the burglaries in our area and may already have moved on. But, she added cautiously, SPD might be close to making an arrest.

In addition to telling a few stories, she also offered to come out to residents’ homes to do free security checks.

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3 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Maria Christensen // Mar 20, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I've been driving by and wondering about those ramps – thanks for the reporting and confirming my suspicions about them. Still shaking my head though.

    Glad to see this blog up and running! I love this neighborhood.

  • 2 Charles // Mar 22, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    “… even though the intersections had been fine forever without ramps.”
    For whom? Seems like the new permanent ramps when installed will be serving someone, eh? Probably a lot of someones.
    Just saying…

  • 3 waynewurzer // Mar 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Good point Charles.

    Instead of saying the intersections have been “fine forever,” it should say something along the lines of “instead of having the intersections — which have never had ramps — go another couple of weeks without them.”

    Even the editor needs an editor sometimes — thanks for the good point and for reading.

    Wayne Wurzer
    Editor, Wedgwood View