Followup: New Genesee/Avalon stoplight finally working

January 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 34 Comments

Just got two reports that the Genesee/Avalon traffic signal is finally out of testing mode and into official operation – co-publisher Patrick spotted it (and sent the above photo), while North Delridge’s Holli Margell just tweeted about it. It’s been in testing mode for three weeks; installment work started three months ago. Metro’s Route 50 has been awaiting this light so it can travel its intended route; that, we were told earlier this month, will happen when the next service change takes effect February 16th. The new traffic signal, years in the making, is the result of neighborhood leaders seeking and finally getting a city grant for it.

34 Comments

  1. Thanks for the update! Now I’m waiting to see if Metro Transit is going to change the 50 Route, which will affect the kids who catch the bus to WSHS over by The Chelan Cafe every morning. I signed up for a Route Alert (or whatever it’s called) but if the Wonderful WSB hears the news first, please let us know…

    Comment by Laurie — 3:07 pm January 23, 2013 #

  2. Supposedly the Route 50 will change with the 02-16-13 Metro Service change. I personally wish it would stay on the reroute provides more than one option under the bridge.

    Comment by BWD — 3:24 pm January 23, 2013 #

  3. Now if we could just get a speed bump installed on Genesee to keep people from treating it like it’s a drag strip, it’ll be perfect!

    Comment by Stef — 3:41 pm January 23, 2013 #

  4. So glad this is working. Turning onto Avalon is always so scarey. Especially on nights like this with darkness and rain.

    Comment by AEL — 4:31 pm January 23, 2013 #

  5. Does anybody know if the rt. 50 changes will include a new bus stop in Delridge? Going through the neighborhood is rather pointless if there is no stop between Delridge/Andover and 35th/Avalon.

    Comment by Jake — 4:37 pm January 23, 2013 #

  6. Yay! So glad that my drive up to the junction will now be safer. Speed bumps on Genesee would be great as well. ;). This is a great start though.

    Comment by kayo — 5:34 pm January 23, 2013 #

  7. I never had problems turning onto Avalon – it’s not “scarey” at all.
    They need to work out the light timing though. Today I pulled up to a red on Avalon, about the 7th car back or so. Once it turned green, all of a sudden it started counting down again because someone had pulled up from those apartments!! Ridiculous! I had to sit through two red lights while the people on Genessee went as soon as they pulled up.
    That light is not needed.

    Comment by Sara — 6:22 pm January 23, 2013 #

  8. This is a terrible addition to our neighborhood. As a resident of the area downhill from this light (by Nucor) I am completely disappointed. The number of cars cutting through side streets has already dramatically increased. The light itself is a complete failure. At 7:20 PM there was a lineup of about 15 cars waiting on the hill up to Avalon. Maybe 5 cars made it through the light. This light eliminated a major egress point from our neighborhood and made the streets far less safe for our children. What was gained?

    Comment by Matt — 7:32 pm January 23, 2013 #

  9. @Sara, maybe you should look at that intersection from the perspective of not being a car…

    Comment by EdSane — 8:10 pm January 23, 2013 #

  10. “The new traffic signal, years in the making, is the result of neighborhood leaders seeking and finally getting a city grant for it.”

    Truly amazing. Just to get a traffic light.

    Comment by Ken T — 8:17 pm January 23, 2013 #

  11. Matt – agree 100%. If the cars at the top of the hill on Genessee can go whenever it’s clear, they get on the road faster. I don’t know who would approve all the $ that went into this and why.
    @EdSane – I have never in all of my 2x a day commutes seen a bicyclist or walker waiting to cross there, if that’s what you’re insinuating. Why in the world wouldn’t they cross somewhere else on Avalon? Somewhere lower where it’s safer with more visibility, or up closer to 35th would make more sense than Genessee, a turning point on a hill.

    Comment by Sara — 10:29 pm January 23, 2013 #

  12. I don’t think this light was worth all the money.. It’s oddly placed and coming from Genessee I’ve never had to wait that long to turn.. It isn’t that busy on Avalon to warrant the light and I think it actually causes more traffic.. Speed bumps on Genessee however is a brilliant plan!

    Comment by Royce — 10:58 pm January 23, 2013 #

  13. @Sara, to get to the bus stop on the otherside? Well since I actually live in the area and am not just “commuting through” I have out of the goodness of my heart assisted small children and older individuals cross this intersection on a regular basis. This light is needed at this intersection especially early in the morning and at dusk.

    Comment by EdSane — 12:12 am January 24, 2013 #

  14. But answer me again – WHY would you cross right there? That’s ludicrous. As I said, cross somewhere closer to the bus stop which is either lower or higher on the hill with better visibility.

    Comment by Sara — 1:41 am January 24, 2013 #

  15. A school bus picks up at that intersection. Why should they cross elsewhere? Why do you feel that you should be given preference over anyone else? Again, you clearly dont think its a great place to cross unassisted. Thats probably why in part they installed the light.

    Comment by EdSane — 4:26 am January 24, 2013 #

  16. My mother lived in “those apartments” until she passed away almost two years ago. For people crossing Avalon to catch the bus to the Junction, this light is totally necessary. My mother had macular degeneration, making it difficult to see traffic clearly, let alone cross a busy street. There was a bus stop there at the time and it was not an easy street to cross! She’s smiling down from heaven that it’s now safe.

    Comment by Patricia — 6:59 am January 24, 2013 #

  17. With all the new construction going on along Avalon & for that matter farther south along Fauntleroy & Alaska- more & more cars (at least more than now) & pedestrians will be using Avalon – so a light there could be even more of a necessity.

    Comment by Anne — 7:17 am January 24, 2013 #

  18. Why not leave the lite a blinking amber for vehicles,then when a pedestrian arrives they can hit the to change button? Or wouldn’t this work?
    Seems traffic flow would not be impeded and safe for the walking populace.

    Comment by let them swim — 7:30 am January 24, 2013 #

  19. Sara, it’s not so simple for some folks that need to cross a street to walk a block or two to another intersection, when they need to simply get directly across the street to the bus stop, to visit a friend, business, or whatever, when they have mobility issues, or a breathing condition that makes walking uphill a struggle.

    .

    Should there be a traffic light at every intersection on a busy arterial? Of course not. But this one is needed, for both vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

    .

    I agree, sometimes it seems you wait forever for a light to change in a situation like this, and miss some opportunities to turn left or cross, if there were no light there. My favorite example of this is the “T” intersection of I-35 & Alaska Street. I could swear that years ago, when there was a stop sign there, one would wait forever to turn left, and since the signal went in, there seem to be several breaks in traffic, as folks wait for the red light on Alaska.

    .

    But that is on SDOT. For the better part of twenty year now, they have been burying wires in the ground at intersections, to make the signals traffic actuated. So, there is no reason to be waiting at a red light for a great length of time, when there is no traffic on the street with the green light.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 7:30 am January 24, 2013 #

  20. Even if it takes me a little longer to get up to the junction from n. Delridge, I still think the trade off is worth it from a “safety for all” perspective. A side benefit will be slowing people going way too fast on Avalon. People treat that road like a freeway onramp. The negative consequence of folks using neighborhood streets to get around the light needs to be addressed by speed bumps or other mitigation measures which may need to happen sooner rather than later. I believe this will be the case on 26th with the Greenway, but I can see that the neighborhood to the north of Genesee and east of Avalon could be negatively impacted by this light. Unfortunately, people will try to get around this sort of thing and there is no way to stop that. We live on 26th and have to deal with speeders avoiding Delridge backups and it is quite annoying and unsafe.

    Comment by kayo — 7:42 am January 24, 2013 #

  21. A few comments:
    1. The light has been discussed for years through the North Delridge Neighborhood Council (which the WSB kindly reports on). It didn’t happen in a vacuum.

    2. There will never be a speed bump on Genesee, or so we were told by SDOT. As they pointed out, bumps on hills are dangerous for bicyclists. I wouldn’t like it in a car, either. At least two speed studies that have been conducted on Genesee in the past five years have shown that far fewer than the normal 15% of drivers exceed the speed limit. I thought speeding was a huge problem, too, til I spent hours on my own with a speed gun.

    3. That intersection is used by pedestrian and bicyclists. I see them frequently. I’m not too surprised car commuters are less aware since I’ve watch many cars blow through the crosswalk despite someone obviously waiting and the blinking light. Watching for cyclists, pedestrians, plus four lanes of traffic (including turns) from Genesee onto Avalon has been nerve wracking.

    4. As mentioned, it’s been under public discussion for years. The light is now installed, it’s not going away. So, what we can do now is request SDOT to revise timing (they have to do that for all lights as traffic patterns change).

    Comment by Nancy F. — 7:56 am January 24, 2013 #

  22. Yay! Neighborhood power! Thanks to everyone who stepped up and followed through to make this happen.

    Comment by Rodriguez — 8:13 am January 24, 2013 #

  23. The timing of that light, especially at rush hour, is HORRIBLE. Back ups all the way to 35th this morning for no reason…

    Comment by WS Taxpayer — 8:23 am January 24, 2013 #

  24. Obviously lots of bugs to work out. I was heading down Avalon this morning around 7:30 and got “stuck” at a light for the first time. Was backed up almost to 7-11. I was wondering why the backup, until I remembered the new light. When it finally changed I made it up to 4th or 5th back when it went red again. The only green at that time was for the eastbound traffic coming down Genessee, which there was NONE. It was red for westbound Genesee and all of Avalon for probably 25-30 seconds with nobody moving. I think priority should be given to Avalon due to the higher volume it receives.

    Comment by JS — 9:43 am January 24, 2013 #

  25. Don’t know what the problem is, SDOT says we have plenty of road capacity in WS and there should be no traffic issues from all the data and research they have studied. Can’t wait for the next 4-5 years when you have 3-5 thousand more people in that area. But I guess we have Rapid Ride to help us out. It will be fun to get a lawn chair and a cold one and watch the action on that hill when it gets frosty or wet.

    Comment by wetone — 11:35 am January 24, 2013 #

  26. I live in a complex right at this intersection and I am grateful for this light. The point of it is to stop having pedestrians have to sprint across the street after waiting 5 minutes for a small gap in cars coming from all ways. It was super dangerous.

    Comment by Nick — 5:28 pm January 24, 2013 #

  27. Thank you Nancy F. for being the voice of reason in this thread. There are others as well, and I thank them to for their contribution in trying, albeit in vane, to convey to the couple of naysayers as to why this signal was long overdue. As for those naysayers, you do not know what you are talking about. Period.

    Comment by Been There — 6:41 pm January 24, 2013 #

  28. I am really grateful that our city has made our roads safer. We are westseattleites. We live here so we don’t have to face the chaos of “city” life. Perhaps it’s lights like this one that cause us to stop and appreciate the beautiful community we live in.

    Comment by Lover of 26th Ave SW — 7:06 pm January 24, 2013 #

  29. typical city engineering with poor incompetent traffic engineers…again. is it really that “new” to time a light according to which road takes priority? NO! if cars had to sit for 3-4 minutes on Genesse, that’s nothing, as there is not that much traffic on that street, but Avalon likely has 20x’s more traffic, thus Avalon should have the majority of the lite.

    Comment by Dan — 7:26 pm January 24, 2013 #

  30. To those of you who are frustrated by the delay on Avalon, I ask that you try to look at it from the point of view of all the citizens passing through that spot.

    When the traffic is backed up to 35th, this meant that trying to turn onto Avalon from Genesee, especially left, before the light, meant that I would wait for all that traffic, plus traffic coming UP Avalon, traffic trying to turn from the other direction on Genesee, while also watching for pedestrians trying to cross the street in either direction, and cars pulling out of several apartment building driveways.

    The Avalon drivers’ red light was less than a minute (at least as I timed it this morning). Is even one minute really so long to wait to allow everyone, not just you, to more smoothly proceed along the thoroughfare?

    I understand our own interests and schedules loom ever larger in our own minds, but there are many people other than ourselves with whom we can cooperate.

    To try and put some perspective on it, you benefit from other drivers being inconvenienced. I can’t turn left from 35th onto Avalon between 7 am and 7 pm. I have to go an additional mile through three more lights to get from a frequent stop near the water tower to my house which would otherwise be only 1-1/2 miles all together.

    Lastly, to speak up for the SDOT people (and they are people, who live in Seattle and drive on Seattle’s streets), the ones I’ve spoken with about this intersection have been very passionate about their work and highly trained. They are also tasked with balancing the needs of the entire city, not just one small collection of people. Not that they don’t make mistakes.

    I guarantee one has a better chance of influencing decisions before they are made rather than after.

    Comment by Nancy F. — 11:43 am January 25, 2013 #

  31. I’d like to also put out a pitch to remind drivers that in Seattle, every intersection is a crosswalk (as I was informed by SDOT). This means that if you see someone waiting to cross at an intersection, you are required to stop for them.

    I’ve seen people stop and scream and swear at people crossing to a park with their kids. I’ve been yelled at for crossing the street, and I’ve been yelled at for stopping for pedestrians.

    Comment by Nancy F. — 11:48 am January 25, 2013 #

  32. @Nancy – You don’t put the speed bump on the hill, you put it on the flat at the bottom of the hill.

    I find that 15% figure awfully hard to believe based on what I see flying by on a daily basis. I would guess it’s more along the lines of only 15% of people follow the speed limit.

    Comment by Stef — 9:01 pm January 25, 2013 #

  33. Amen Nancy F.!

    Comment by kayo — 7:11 am January 26, 2013 #

  34. @Stef: It doesn’t matter where on the hill the speed bump would be, it can’t have a speed bump for safety reasons. All, I’m doing is reporting what SDOT told me in response to my question at a neighborhood meeting.

    I understand the feeling that there are more speeders, but, again, as I stated, two studies within five years have shown there are not an inordinate number of speeders. I was glad I had a chance to do it myself (the process has since changed) so I could see what, exactly, 30 mph looks like. There are not as many people exceeding the speed limit by a significant amount. Yes, some get up to 35 going down hill, though there weren’t as many as I thought, but they slow down. Anyway, here is a link to info on what’s involved in street speed studies: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ntcp_arterial.htm

    Another tip SDOT gave was that many speeders are actually residents of the area. So, “the best thing you can do to slow traffic is make sure you are doing the speed limit.” Not the thing we want to hear, but, it also makes sense since we’re the ones most familiar with the routes and traffic patterns. I’m also working on being very conscious of, and respectful of, the speed limits in other people’s neighborhoods.

    Comment by Nancy F. — 5:28 pm January 26, 2013 #

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