Avalon/Genesee signal timing: SDOT says they’re working on it

(January 23 WSB photo)
Since the new traffic signal at Avalon and Genesee went into official operation last week, its timing has caused backups and drawn complaints. North Delridge resident Nancy Folsom has been corresponding with SDOT about it, and forwarded this update to the ND e-mail list today; we’re republishing with her permission. It’s from Dianne Thomas at SDOT:

We’re receiving a high volume of emails expressing various concerns about the new traffic signal at Avalon & Genesee. …

Whenever a new signal is installed, we monitor the operation closely and generally expect there can be a need for a few adjustments. We’re unable to be on-site 24 hours a day, so we do appreciate receiving feedback. The most helpful feedback will include the time of day and the day of the week a problem is experienced along with the details of the concern.

E-mails can be best directed to traffic.signals@seattle.gov, or anyone may access the [Customer Service Response] system directly (by going here) and choosing General Inquiry – Transportation as the service type.

SDOT also told Nancy:

One thing worth mentioning is that the uphill (westbound) approach on Genesee uses video detection, and when (an engineer) was at the site earlier this week he did notice drivers pulling forward, well past the stop bar markings. That area is not within the detection zone, so the drivers who’ve complained about waiting forever for the light to change are most likely pulling too far forward.

The eastbound approach uses in-pavement detection, and we do not use detection on main streets (in this case, Avalon).

An engineer was reported to be back at the site as of a couple hours ago.

18 Replies to "Avalon/Genesee signal timing: SDOT says they're working on it"

  • helridge January 31, 2013 (4:36 pm)

    Regarding the uphill approach from Genesee – the stop bar markings? Is that the crosswalk? Light turns red on Avalon, eastbound turns green and westbound sits until Avalon goes from green to red again. Happened to me the first time. Went up it a second time days later hoping it would be sorted out but same thing happened, people in front of me frustrated and turning right instead.

  • LAintheJunction January 31, 2013 (5:45 pm)

    It’s likely that people are pulling too far forward because that was the only hope of being able to see both directions to make a left turn onto Avalon from the uphill approach on Genesee. I guess we’ll just have to retrain ourselves to let the stoplight do the “looking” for us and pray that the cars on Avalon are stopped when Genesee gets the green light!

  • a January 31, 2013 (6:19 pm)

    The timing of that light is off. It changes way too frequently to accommodate cars on genessee. It also stays green for too long for genessee traffic. Many mornings now I have been caught behind 10 or so cars on Avalon waiting for the red light for what seems like a minute and no traffic at all is coming through from genessee. Not against having a light there just hope they can get the timing down so this doesn’t turn into yet another headache during the commute.

  • Steve January 31, 2013 (6:25 pm)

    Video sensor doesn’t work properly. Stopped at mark, light went through multiple cycles with traffic backed up ten or more cars. Resorted to traversing intersection when eastbound Genesee got the light. There will be an accident soon.

  • Anna Eileen January 31, 2013 (6:48 pm)

    Per an email exchange on the North Delridge disti list earlier this week, for many of us there was a line of cars on Genesee turning left so the theory of a car pulling to far forward doesn’t really work if there is a line of cars. I was in a long line waiting that gave up and ran the red light. Nice to have the light during rush hour but it does need better timing. The city acknowledged they might need to do adjustments and that sounds like the case.

  • helridge January 31, 2013 (6:57 pm)

    a – Apparently it’s only accommodating eastbound Genesee, and it’s already another headache! …as is the Genesee/Delridge light!!

  • Sara January 31, 2013 (9:16 pm)

    I knew we should never have installed this piece of crap light.

    Disappointing they’re telling people not to pull up all the way on that extremely steep hill. With a big line of cars, that’s exactly where you want to be – on the slope with the possibility to roll backwards or skid in the rain. (sarcasm)

    But it’s also disappointing the light lets anybody through east/westbound as soon as they pull up. The wait on Avalon is ridiculous now to get to the bridge.

  • kayo January 31, 2013 (9:21 pm)

    I have not experienced this problem yet even though I have been through the intersection several times in different configurations heading west on Genesee. Not sure why i have not run into these problems. I have been glad for the light so far. If I have any issues I guess I will send in an email as it sounds like there are some kinks to work out based on other’s experiences.

  • Cclarue January 31, 2013 (10:41 pm)

    I am just glad it is there!!

  • m January 31, 2013 (10:55 pm)

    last sunday, was on genesee and going uphill. stopped at the red light at the avalon intersection, wanting to turn left. waited while the avalon lights went through 3 cycles, cars lining up behind me and then finally turned right instead. noticed all the cars behind me did the same thing as i was driving away.

  • kayo February 1, 2013 (7:38 am)

    “The wait on Avalon is ridiculous now to get to the bridge.” Wait a minute. Avalon is NOT a freeway on ramp. If you are in such a big hurry go up to 35th and get on the bridge that way. Attitudes like this are EXACTLY why this light was needed. People going 50 mph on Avalon to get to the freeway needed to be slowed down. As someone heading west on Genesee at least a few times every single day, I feel much safer with the light there. The kinks (which I have not personally experienced) will get worked out.

  • GAnative February 1, 2013 (9:15 am)

    “uphill (westbound) approach on Genesee uses video detection, and when (an engineer) was at the site earlier this week he did notice drivers pulling forward, well past the stop bar markings”

    OK, so the first car pulled up too far but the video detection should be able to see at least one of the 15 cars lined up behind the first car that waited through 5 cycles of the light turning red on Avalon but never turning green on Genesee before they gave up and started turning left on red. I was car #2.

  • Nancy F. February 1, 2013 (9:34 am)

    As reported, SDOT sent an engineer out to review it _yesterday_ afternoon (Thursday).
    If new problems have cropped up since yesterday, or if the old issue is still occurring, please write to traffic.signals@seattle.gov and report the day, time of day, and problem. I suggest that you say what direction you were headed, whether you were turning left or right, and whether you were in a line of cars.
    I believe they changed the setting for westbound Genesee to recognize vehicles stopped further up. This means that it may be triggered by people turning right. I expect that may, again, need tweaking. The intersection is a bear.
    I would encourage you to write, also, if you have problems starting up mid-hill, especially when it’s wet. (Though, remember to downshift!)
    I doubt that the fact one is occasionally inconvenienced by their fellows is the sort of problem a traffic engineer can solve.

  • sb2780 February 1, 2013 (10:47 am)

    This is sort of a side issue–but even more of a problem now with the light, is the problem of people attempting to turn left onto avalon out of the 7-11. I have seen more than a few people in the last week turn into the oncoming traffic lane to try and bypass folks lined up in the left turn lane for 35th. I don’t understand why people don’t just turn right and use the genessee street exit off of the WS bridge–especially now that there is a light there.

  • Nancy F. February 1, 2013 (11:59 am)

    @sb2780: The 35th Ave / Avalon / Fauntleroy…area is a pain. I thought it was illegal to turn left across a double yellow line as people do when turning left out of the 7-11 to east/north on Avalon. But from what I read in the code, it’s not. It’s still not something I would attempt. For what it’s worth, I don’t know of a Genesee exit from the West Seattle Bridge. Genesee does run into Fauntleroy just past where 35th hits Fauntleroy, but it’s a local traffic only street between Fauntleroy and Avalon. And that’s a 124.00 fine, IIRC. So, unfortunately, it’s not a great solution. It would be nice to know what, if any, plans are in the works for that area now that Rapid Ride is routed.

  • Alex February 2, 2013 (9:38 am)

    Take it out.

  • Robert February 2, 2013 (10:36 am)


  • helridge February 2, 2013 (12:19 pm)

    Eh Robert, maybe some of them idiots know how to spell…and follow a conversation.

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