Followup: City Council proposes full funding for long-sought 47th/Admiral traffic signal

June 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 20 Comments

(WSB photo, November 2011)
Tomorrow morning, when the City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee considers mid-year budget changes/additions, they will include half a million dollars for a traffic signal long sought by the Admiral Neighborhood Association and other neighborhood advocates. The dangers of the top-of-hill, on-a-curve intersection got a tragedy-borne spotlight when 26-year-old Tatsuo Nakata was hit and killed in November 2006. Some safety improvements have been made, but getting a full signal has proven elusive – though the ANA has continued to push, including with the November 2011 demonstration shown above.

The new proposal is an major upgrade from just one month ago, when Mayor McGinn announced a plan for a “flashing pedestrian beacon” at the intersection, and the start of a technical study for a full signal, as part of a list of projects to be pursued with savings from the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project. Yesterday, the council issued its own announcement about a “re-alignment” of midyear transportation spending – including some changes from the mayor’s May proposal; most notably for West Seattle, the “full traffic signal” for 47th/Admiral.

We’ve been seeking additional details since then, and obtained them today from Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s office. While the documentation for tomorrow morning’s meeting is not finalized yet, we’ve seen a draft version of the 47th/Admiral proposal, which would explain that “Councilmember Rasmussen proposes to add $480,000 in additional funding (on top of $20,000 in the Mayor’s initial proposal) for SDOT’s more comprehensive approach of full signalization of the intersection, which would place each of the 10 entering side streets into full traffic control; possibly adding an additional crosswalk on Admiral …” As soon as the official document is available, we’ll share it. Tomorrow’s council committee meeting is at 9:30 am at City Hall.

20 Comments

  1. I’m glad to hear that this is going in, what a disaster waiting to happen this intersection is.

    Comment by Driez206 — 2:57 pm June 18, 2013 #

  2. What awesome news – I have goosebumps!!

    Comment by Sassy — 3:23 pm June 18, 2013 #

  3. However great the tragedy is of someone losing their life merely crossing the street. I do not think putting a stop light there will solve the greater problem of inattentive drivers and pedestrians crossing the street with out looking or just expecting the cars to stop for them.

    People need pay attention to there surroundings. I have never once felt that the intersection was dangerous or risky.

    Comment by Alki Life — 4:05 pm June 18, 2013 #

  4. Good! We lived over there when we first moved to Seattle. I would cross there with a stroller or baby in tow – and 99% of the time cars would drive (fast!) straight through. Happy to hear it’s being (finally!) fixed!

    Comment by Mama3boys — 5:39 pm June 18, 2013 #

  5. Why aren’t they talking about installation of a half signal (a green light that becomes a red light only when activated by a pedestrian waiting to cross the street) instead of a full signal? A full signal is probably (I’m guessing here) more expensive and harder to get approved than a half signal. And a flashing beacon would be virtually ignored by drivers since its light will be flashing all the time whether or not someone is in or is waiting to enter the crosswalk.

    Comment by Alvis — 6:03 pm June 18, 2013 #

  6. Alvis is correct. It doesn’t warrant a full signal just as SDOT has said all along. Push buttons are what is needed. The council seems bent on a spending spree.

    Comment by dsa — 7:28 pm June 18, 2013 #

  7. Half a million for a single stoplight? The location makes sense, but the price tag…..??? I’d like to see the line item budget.

    Comment by onion — 7:43 pm June 18, 2013 #

  8. @onion: +1.

    500K for signals at an intersection? Really?!

    Comment by wsn00b — 8:12 pm June 18, 2013 #

  9. A half signal, as described by Alvis, makes much more sense at this intersection. We drive through it mostly during non-commuter hours and don’t see too many pedestrians. Something more than currently exists is definitely needed but not a full traffic signal.

    Comment by mrsB — 8:37 pm June 18, 2013 #

  10. Seems to me if drivers were following the speed limit (maybe lower it on that curve) and paying attention and the people crossing the cross walk make eye contact with drivers there would not be a problem. How about moving the cross walk off that corner down hill (west) 125′ seems a lot cheaper solution. It would be a better spot for a for a light also instead of a down hill corner like that, or is this really for cars to access Admiral in the morning ? Been here over 50yrs going up and down that hill and it is no different than many streets in this in this area. Is the city going to start putting islands at all the cross streets as drivers will start flying down the side streets to try and get around the stop light and traffic. 500k for a light in this city is cheap as they probably had 10 people engineering it for the last 6 months and will need 10 people to install it and 4 to time it correctly.

    Comment by wetone — 9:40 pm June 18, 2013 #

  11. I overlook this crosswalk and see and experience many close calls and can say the inattentiveness is on the drivers’ side. Peds are hyper aware and hyper vigilent crossing there 100% of the time I’m watching and expect that the cars will NOT stop for them. A ped activated light makes sense. It is currently a constantly flashing caution light. Glad to see our efforts to make it safer are paying off.

    Comment by CJ — 9:43 pm June 18, 2013 #

  12. Wrong place for a crosswalk, wrong place for the light. MOVE the crosswalk to a more visible location that is SAFE. You can put all the flashing lights, stop lights, horns, sirens, yellow signs, blaze orange flags you want, it’s still not a safe location. The problem is not lights.

    Comment by Mike — 10:53 pm June 18, 2013 #

  13. First thing to do is paint the white stripes on the road every six months. They are completely worn out. Way less expansive I guess and could be done next week.
    Especially non-local drivers just don’t get the very unclear situation with the hill, the curve and the angle of the crosswalk fast enough.

    Comment by driver — 11:40 pm June 18, 2013 #

  14. A near tragedy that happened at that cross walk a few years ago is burned into my memory. My husband and I stopped our vehicle so that a mother (orange flag in hand) with stroller could safely cross. A car came flying up behind us, laid on the horn and swerved AROUND our car to continue down the hill. That car was inches away from taking out that stroller with baby inside as they were just passing in front of us. After making sure mom and baby were OK, we continued home, only to find out that jerk driver was our neighbor. We had some words…

    I don’t care what the cost of putting a traffic light is, if it can prevent the death or injury of one of our community members. I can’t imagine how horrifying it would have been if that car had hit that mother and child.

    Comment by LC — 8:35 am June 19, 2013 #

  15. I am glad to see they are considering a full signal. With the demolition of single family homes being replaced by row houses in the neighborhood west of the crosswalk and the possibility of development of the Life Care property once it is sold, a full signal will be beneficial. We live in the neighborhood west of the crosswalk and find it is extremely difficult on sunny summer days to get onto Admiral from Waite street because of the traffic heading to and from the beach. I hope a full signal light will help.

    Comment by clementine — 8:44 am June 19, 2013 #

  16. I don’t know about moving it west. I cross Admiral at 49th a lot and the road has a similar curve there only reversed and still find it very dangerous. Cars speed up the hill weekends and evenings too and very often I have to wait a while to cross before there’s a break in traffic. Speeding cars, in my experience, do not stop for a pedestrian waiting to cross.

    Comment by Busrider — 9:04 am June 19, 2013 #

  17. This is the right place for a crosswalk. Where people need to cross. Wrong place for a freeway. Which is what many drivers think Admiral Way is/should be. Admiral needs traffic calming design because too many drivers disrespect the speed limit and pedestrians.

    Comment by Kathy — 9:20 am June 19, 2013 #

  18. Just this past weekend, I was driving up Admiral a couple of blocks further east of this intersection and had stopped to let some pedestrians cross the road (at the intersection where they had the right-of-way). While stopped, a crazy driver came roaring up from behind and pulled into the parking lane to go around me. I laid on the horn to warn the pedestrians and crazy driver finally noticed them and slammed on her brakes partway into the intersection. After the people had crossed, both the crazy driver and I continued east on Admiral, proving that crazy driver was just going to illegally blast around a stopped vehicle without even thinking.
    .
    People need to stop driving as if pedestrians are obstacles and annoyances. They need to start treating all users of the roads as fellow human beings deserving of respect. Follow the rules of the road. Slow down. Drive like you’re behind the wheel of a couple of tons of metal that has the potential to kill or maim.
    .
    In other words, drive responsibly.

    Comment by Huindekmi — 9:36 am June 19, 2013 #

  19. +1 to the half-signal. -1 to the full signal. This crosswalk location is similar to the one at the Admiral viewpoint bus stop (downhill sloping corner, etc.), only that section of Admiral Way has more and faster traffic. Crossing there after getting off the bus was by far the most dangerous thing I regularly did until they put the current light in, and I climb mountains for fun. The warning lights above the corner seem to be doing their job. A full light at 47th and Admiral seems overkill. No excuse, but part of the reason people are frustrated and in a hurry is it took so long to get through the 41st – 43rd (California Ave) obstacle course with the poorly timed lights on each block. And $500K for a light? Seriously ??

    Comment by Peter — 12:25 pm June 19, 2013 #

  20. People definitely speed here, esp. when engaged with a whole line of cars fresh off a green light at California. It’s like trying to stop a horse race halfway through. Quoted price seems steep, but regardless of style or type, only a RED LIGHT makes people stop. It’s ingrained, and let’s face it, it’s far more visible than any other sort of signal. Even well-intentioned drivers get distracted at times. Few would intentionally mow someone down, but they don’t get the part about driving the speed limit.
    Just an aside, I really hate those stop signs with the fine print that says “when pedestrians are present.” A stop sign makes me stop, no matter how teeny it is. Those just say “maybe you should stop”. Design something different, please. A skull and crossbones is always effective…..

    Comment by Gina — 2:54 am June 23, 2013 #

Sorry, comment time is over.

All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^