City targets speed and safety near Sacajawea Middle School

Sacajawea Middle School is located at 1101 S. Dash Point Road. - Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror
Sacajawea Middle School is located at 1101 S. Dash Point Road.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror

The Parks, Recreation, Human Services and Public Safety Committee approved a safety improvement project for Sacajawea Middle School to add "flashers" that warn drivers to slow down.

Along with this, the city is also petitioning the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to change the speed limit on a stretch of State Route 509 from 40 mph to 35 mph — although that effort is a bit more uncertain, according to Parks and Public Works director Cary Roe.

"The 85th percentile speed limit is around 40 mph, and a little less in one direction. That's what they usually use (to determine a speed limit), and I know that's not a great sign for us," Roe said during the committee's July 9 meeting. "(SR 509) is a very challenging road in regards to the curvature. There's some grade to it as well. Some blind corners."

"Really, that stretch you mentioned is the only stretch that's at 40 mph," said committee and Federal Way City Councilmember Jeanne Burbidge.

That point is the strongest part of the city's argument to change the speed limit, Roe said, citing the fact that most of the rest of SR 509 sits at 35 mph.

"Our strongest argument is consistency," he said.

Roe said he submitted a letter to a regional manager for WSDOT, and that he hoped to hear back soon on that particular proposal.

As far as the flashers are concerned, Roe said the city won a $7,500 grant, and would be able to cover the remaining costs out of city funds.

"We're also proposing to use $20,000 from the the neighborhood traffic safety fund," Roe said. "So the net…in regards to what would come out of the photo enforcement, traffic safety fund, would be about $29,500."

Roe said he'd anticipate the Sacajawea project would likely get done sometime in the fall, perhaps starting in October. The committee also reviewed some options on perhaps holding a "kickoff" kind of announcement with Federal Way Public Schools to let students, parents and community members know about the Sacajawea project, and a number of other school safety improvement projects that happening throughout the summer.

(Pictured: Sacajawea Middle School is located at 1101 S. Dash Point Road)


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