West Seattle road safety: Temporary speed signs on 35th SW; flashing beacons for 3 school zones

January 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

We’ve talked a lot about road safety here – and this week, new signage in multiple areas of West Seattle is being noticed. First, in the wake of the most recent discussions about 35th Avenue SW, temporary signage has been brought in. SDOT‘s Jim Curtin explains:

Two Speed Watch Trailers were recently deployed to 35th Avenue SW in an effort to reduce speeds on the corridor. These devices detect and display the speed of oncoming vehicles and provide direct feedback to drivers about their speed. They do not record data but raise awareness about speeds on this principal arterial roadway. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) studies show that these signs generally result in speed reductions in the range of 1 to 7 mph. In Seattle, our experiences with these devices typically result in speed reductions of 3 to 5 mph and significant reductions in the number of people traveling 10+ miles per hour over the speed limit. These function in a similar manner to the permanent radar speed signs that exist in four locations on 35th Avenue SW.

The portable speed watch trailers will remain in place for the next week or two and will be deployed periodically on the corridor. At this point, we are evaluating other measures that might help address speeding and other safety concerns on 35th.

Meantime, the online petition launched by neighborhood advocates on Tuesday passed 500 signatures today.

SCHOOL-ZONE BEACONS: We’ve been working on a closer look at safety concerns on Delridge by the Boren school building, which houses K-5 STEM now and will also be temporary home to Arbor Heights Elementary for the next school year. Halfway through the second year of classes there, Boren is finally getting flashing lights – “beacons” – to warn drivers about the school zone.

Robin Graham from the K-5 STEM PTA shared that photo of installation that was under way today. After hearing from a reader about an installation under way on California SW near Gatewood Elementary, we checked with SDOT’s Brian Dougherty to ask for the big picture:

There are three new sets of flashing school zone beacons being installed this month in West Seattle. They are located at:

· Delridge Way SW approaching SW Juneau St for the STEM (and future Arbor Heights) School
· SW Thistle approaching 26th Ave SW for Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School
· California Ave SW approaching SW Frontenac St for Gatewood Elementary

None of these will include permanent automated speed-enforcement cameras at this time. The beacons have all been installed and there is some sign work that needs to occur before the beacons can be turned on. The sign work is scheduled to occur in February and I expect the beacons will be fully functional sometime around March 1st. This spring, we will ask Seattle Police to conduct targeted enforcement to remind drivers not to exceed 20 mph when the lights are flashing.

There are two other spots where speed cameras ARE on the way – as previously reported – on SW Roxbury by Roxhill Elementary and Holy Family School. As of our most recent check, those are not expected to be in operation until this fall, as the next school year begins.

16 Comments

  1. Saw those today. Didn’t stop the fool nb just north of morgan tailgating me (I was at 34 mph) with his phone at his right ear. Or the idiot nb about 4p who ran the red light at Raymond @ a fast clip right in front of the library. Slow down people, and @ 5p you need to turn on your headlights!

    Comment by carole — 10:41 pm January 30, 2014 #

  2. Two of these radar signs were placed south of Roxbury a few years ago after neighbors petitioned for them. They seem to help, but are not the sole answer to the problem; once drivers realize there is no camera attached they blow right through them. In addition, these two signs were placed (deliberately, I think) in the two spots on N/S lanes where they would be least effective, especially in terms of data-gathering. One is at the corner of 35th & 100th, a major turning corner that slows traffic almost constantly. The second is in the northbound lane of 35th south of 106th, where there is very little traffic at all. Most of the northbound speeders in this stretch have come off of 106th. I think that SDOT does this stuff so that they can “prove” there really isn’t a problem – therefore no action is required from them.

    Comment by anonyme — 6:40 am January 31, 2014 #

  3. Maybe a few days emphasis patrol with lots of tickets would drive this home a bit. Make ‘ em pay!

    Comment by JanS — 6:43 am January 31, 2014 #

  4. Thank you, SDOT!! I was VERY excited to see them going up near Boren and frustrated when I was passed right in front of the school at pick up. I don’t have a student there, but I appreciate these being installed in our neighborhood. I hope they make a difference.

    Comment by NorDel — 8:08 am January 31, 2014 #

  5. This won’t gain any support, but there are already school zones that can elicit someone a ticket, there are already “speeder” speed limit signs…yes, people need to slow down on 35th but honestly it’s a MAIN artery, if not the aorta of West Seattle, if it’s made any slower how will we navigate the neighborhood without just being on foot…Safety is priority but we need to realize that thousands of people live on the peninsula and we all have places to go, just because several rotten apples have ruined our bushel doesn’t mean the rest of us have to be punished…yep, my two cents, I’m sure I will be barraged with negative comments

    Comment by Greystreet — 9:06 am January 31, 2014 #

  6. This is a good start. Another easy fix would be to make the pedestrian activated light at the High Point library instantaneous instead of timed. The frustrating and as far as I can tell meaningless wait makes it less likely for people to use that crossing more often. I understand the timing delay when there are people who have just crossed, but it seems to me that the long wait happens regardless of situation.

    Comment by Gatewooder — 9:18 am January 31, 2014 #

  7. Greystreet: See the discussion following previous petition coverage. Meantime, also mentioned there but we’ll mention it again here since we haven’t done a breakout on it yet – the city has mapped its most-recent numbers on traffic (motor vehicle) volume around the city. http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/2012_Traffic_Flow.pdf – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:20 am January 31, 2014 #

  8. Greystreet, I’m with you. If West Seattle were a separate city it would be something like the eighth largest city in the state. We need arterial routes that can move a fair amount of traffic through, and there are also considerations for emergency vehicles and large delivery vehicles, not to mention buses. I drive at least a portion of 35th almost every day and it seems to me that people really have slowed down in general. Yes, there are some a$$ hats who zip along, but fewer of them than there used to be. I think stepped up speed enforcement and perhaps a few more pedestrian activated lights would be helpful, along with improved lighting and eliminating street parking. I don’t see going to single lane directional traffic with a turn lane as working well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost been hit head on on Avalon by somebody zipping around the bus coming into the opposite traffic lane. Stop a couple of buses, a UPS truck and an aid car on a one-lane 35th and you’d have gridlock.

    Comment by Elikapeka — 9:46 am January 31, 2014 #

  9. The speed is ridiculous on 16th Ave SW between Holden & the S. Seattle Community College, 30mph zone & they regularly do 50mph!

    Even when the elementary school zone lights are flashing most people are still doing 35-40 … they just don’t care & blow right thru them.

    Comment by 16th Ave SW — 9:54 am January 31, 2014 #

  10. Yay! Brian Dougherty said back in Nov that Gatewood was getting a new signal/flasher on California in January – and they totally hit their target!
    Excellent job Transpo Planning dept. keep up the good work.

    Comment by zark — 1:24 pm January 31, 2014 #

  11. Crazy, but stay with me here…

    How about instead of additional speed monitoring signs, we have people getting nailed for breaking the law, and perhaps, now here’s the big one, actually paying the full cost of the fine?

    I know, this idea is really out there.

    Comment by K — 2:15 pm January 31, 2014 #

  12. Being aware of your surroundings is an important part of driving safely. Acknowledging that you are in a School Zone and children may be crossing in front of you should be reason enough to slow down. Good to see that actions are being taken to help in slowing speeding drivers down.

    Comment by Stan Orville — 2:26 pm January 31, 2014 #

  13. Now how long is it going to be before the city addresses the unsafe speeds and traffic on the north end of the 35th arterial called 37th Ave SW. This section starts right after the stoplight for the west Seattle bridge. Cars speed though the two straightaways like its a 3-4 laner when in reality it’s 1.5 lanes.

    Back when this was a collateral-arterial before admiral and Oregon were around it made since to have a 30mph speed limit. Now, decades later you have larger streets to sustain speeds and larger cars BUT not this street. On 37th Ave from Hanford to Manning. School buses and deliver trucks have to stop for cars to pass. Cars in the parking side of the street have to park with half their vehicle in the easement and still get their side mirrors wacked. His area is increasing in vehicle size and speed when it is not built for it. We have had t-bones, vehicle hit and runs, and lots if close calls. The city bus is gone now- time for some stop signs, speed reduction by 10mph AND police speed monitoring. Do we have to wait for a fatality also?

    Comment by Admiral Res — 2:45 pm January 31, 2014 #

  14. its bad right there in that area, something needs to be done in this area

    Comment by w.s. maverick — 4:58 pm January 31, 2014 #

  15. I suggest creating a new department in the Seattle Police Department called: Department of Traffic Control.

    Hire a ten year old kid to run the department, with the only goal being:

    Enforcing SPEED LIMITS.
    TICKETING scofflaws.
    That is it. Nail the vermin.

    Comment by Genesee Hill — 5:21 pm January 31, 2014 #

  16. I was a parent at Gatewood. The school has tried for years to decrease speed by the school. The city police have been called and asked to monitor speed a thousand times. People came flying down California going 40 mph headed north bound toward Fauntleroy. When I would go 20 mph drivers behind me would flip out. Honking horns and giving the finger. If you are that late for work get up earlier. Killing people by your driving to get to work should never be a thought. We hired a crossing guard just so the kids could be safe crossing the street there. The school zone signs are covered by branches. This is the city’s responsibility to maintain. But they do not. We do however have lovely bike routes throughout the city. Why, because bicyclist got together and said enough is enough. 35th Ave has drivers averaging 45 mph, frankly I’m not surprised there are not more head on collisions through there. People crossing the street risk their lives crossing. There should be more stop lights gauged to be timed, if your going 35 you keep going. If you speed, you stop at each light.

    Comment by Parent Education — 8:17 am February 12, 2014 #

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