Much maligned Magnolia intersection gets four-way stop

At Pat Craft’s desk sit eight three-inch notebooks, filled with outreach to the City of Seattle regarding one of Magnolia’s most precarious intersections.

“It was a two-year process,” he said. “It was really quite complicated, maybe unbelievably frustrating but ultimately validating in the sense that we finally got the city’s attention and helped them see things our way.”

Earlier this month, the repeated calls for a “Stop at the Pop” were heeded, with the addition of a four-way stop near the pool at 32nd Avenue West and West Raye Street.

The push from Craft started when budget cuts meant the end of the school-organized adult crossing guard for the intersection. For Craft, it was the “last straw,” after living nearby for more than a decade, and walking his child to the Catharine Blaine K-8.

“We just watched for years in repeated frustration about the lack of sightlines, and the lack of yielding and the general overall confusion of all vehicles in all directions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Craft’s work as a realtor took him around the city, which gave him the opportunity to see what improvements were being made for pedestrian safety in other parts of Seattle.

“I felt familiar with what could be done, and ought to be done, and should be done for an intersection like that,” he said. “And certainly what wasn’t being done.”

At first, it seemed like a relatively simple task.

“You think you could have just picked up the phone and got a common sense answer,” he said, “and then you realize that’s not the way that’s going to work.”

Craft then sought the advice of longtime locals, and those familiar with the process of working with the city.

From there, he gathered community support, and worked on crafting a succinct message, while continuing to put pressure on the city to make the intersection safer.

It was that final cog that would prove to be the hardest.

“All the different diversions, excuses, general deflection that we had to endure to get it done, it was crazy,” he said. “I wish there was a better method, but there is not currently a better method for neighborhoods to voice their concern and find resolution.”

And while the route to getting the new stop was circuituitous, the goal never wavered.

“There were many layers to building the message,” he said, “but our message was clear from the get go. We just had to keep hammering it home.”

During a recent community meeting, Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly was on hand, and took the time to visit the intersection, and listen to the concerns of neighbors.

Soon after, the four-way stop was installed.

“He’s the hero of the story,” Craft said.

And while Craft was at the forefront of the efforts, he deflected the credit to the broader community in successfully getting the work done.

“This story was never about me,” he said. “This story is about the community who had long felt ignored, organized themselves, and captured the city’s ear finally to solve a problem that we had all been living with.”

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