Admiral Way bike-lane widening: City finally unveils new plan

July 2, 2014 at 9:04 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 32 Comments

It’s been almost ten months since SDOT announced it was shelving and redesigning a plan to widen the bike lane and buffer on the Admiral Way hill north of the West Seattle Bridge – here’s the last thing we published, back in September. The city said residents had voiced concerns about loss of parking spaces and time restrictions on what remained. At the time, they said a new version would be out “early” this year. It’s just arrived today:

As you know, SDOT has been studying how to make the uphill bicycle lane on SW Admiral Way safer and more inviting by widening the bike lane and buffer from SW City View Street to 80 feet south of 3508 SW Admiral Way. We originally proposed to restrict on-street parking on the east side of SW Admiral Way within this section to allow for the improvement. After receiving concerns about the impacts, we delayed implementation of the project to work on an alternative that would preserve some on-street parking.

The attached revised design preserves on-street parking in front of the residences, while restricting parking in the green belt area. Time restrictions will not be installed. The work is expected to be completed this summer.

Here’s a closer look at each of the color-coded configurations:

See all of the above in one PDF with the configurations next to the map here. And if you want to compare it to what SDOT originally proposed in May 2013, you can see that map here.

P.S. Speaking of SDOT, Mayor Murray is set to announce at 11 am today who he’s chosen to be the department’s next director.

32 Comments »

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  1. Really? We dont have money to fix the ever widening whole at the base of Admiral way but we sure have money to use on bike lanes.

    Comment by Cinder — 9:23 am July 2, 2014 #

  2. What “ever widening hole” and have you called SDOT about it lately? 206-684-ROAD.

    Comment by WSB — 9:34 am July 2, 2014 #

  3. Got to love west seattle and the almost comedic requisite complaining every single time bikes are mentioned.. Stay classy.

    Comment by Clem — 9:40 am July 2, 2014 #

  4. Don’t be preposterous. That would require actual effort beyond typing a nebulous complaint into a comment box on WSB.
    .
    P.S. Use ‘Find It Fix It’ for stuff like this

    Comment by Brian Connolly — 9:50 am July 2, 2014 #

  5. I’m all for making things safer for pedestrians and bicyclists but not at the expense of efficient movement of traffic. It’s unrealistic to think that cars will maneuver well in ever shrinking lane sizes and to assume that repainting lines is going to keep people in their assigned spaces. Admiral Way is major part of the the commuter route out of West Seattle and making it even more difficult to negotiate by trimming lane sizes is a bad idea. It’s often backed up past the top of Admiral Way. We used to add about 1/2 hour to our estimated time schedule but now it’s more like 45 min. to an hour for traffic delays. This city has a serious transportation problem with insufficient bus service and the resulting increase in cars on the road we need to focus on moving people around the city by various modes of transportation that suit individual needs.

    Comment by Norma — 10:09 am July 2, 2014 #

  6. Before anyone complains about pot holes, you all need to remember it’s OUR JOB to report them. Almost no city DOT, here or anywhere, is going to have the resources to go and hunt or police for things like pot holes, concrete plates out of alignment, or anything else. Every single time I’ve called in a pot hole I’ve seen it gone in days or a week tops. And some, remember, will seemingly just appear out of nowhere. There was one on my street in January that I’m not making up was not there on a Sunday: flat dull road. Monday: where did this 5 inch deep pit come from? Called it in anonymously that day, and it was gone by Wednesday night.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 10:13 am July 2, 2014 #

  7. Ugh. So frustrating. I bike this fairly regularly. Of all places, this area is fine. Such a waste.

    Comment by Person — 10:24 am July 2, 2014 #

  8. The Bike Master Plan, which was approved by the City Council this spring, clearly suggests protected bike lanes for Admiral as a key piece of West Seattle’s network of safe and comfortable-for-everyone bike routes. Did the city consider protected bike lanes, as the Master Plan suggests?

    Comment by Tom F — 10:36 am July 2, 2014 #

  9. I’d love to see the bike lanes move to a protected lane in between parking and curb like many major cities have. I know, we just spent millions on taking bike lanes out and putting in “sharrows” but it seems to me it’d be safer for bicyclists and car drivers.

    Comment by AG — 10:36 am July 2, 2014 #

  10. The northbound lanes, at the exit from the WS Bridge, and more severely between Stevens and Olga have horrendous potholes and asphalt rash. I’ve sent multiple emails to SDOT with no responses. Even more frustrating: when they did the short segment repaving last year, they didn’t fix the worst section of pavement. I’m not sure how those decisions are made, but it’s a mystery how they could have missed the severely disintegrating road just a hundred feet or so up the hill from where they were working…

    Comment by Tony S — 10:49 am July 2, 2014 #

  11. I see this as a minor improvement and agree, now that the master bike plan has been approved it would be nice to see SDOT implement new infrastructure per the plan. However, I realize this planning started before the master bike plan was approved. It would be nice to have a route into West Seattle that is family friendly.

    Comment by CW — 10:58 am July 2, 2014 #

  12. But – in all three depictions of the shared lane, they show a bicycle rider who is NOT in the path indicated by the sharrow markings! The bicycle is crowded over to the side by a car who is driving on the sharrow markings.
    .
    I thought it is actually a rule that the bike rider is supposed to ride in the sharrow markings; that the engineers have determined where that is in the lane, that allows for safe riding (i.e., cyclist can be seen), and if you are a car driver behind a bike in a sharrow, it is your responsibility to follow at a distance until you can safely pass using the other lane.

    It seems strange to me that the city would designate the sharrow in the downhill lane, and then picture the bicycle rider driving in the gutter, where there are more road hazards.

    (PS, I live on a road with sharrows painted, and they greatly help the flow of cars and bicycles when cyclists stay on the painted designations, because then the cyclist’s riding is predictible.

    Comment by Community Member — 11:13 am July 2, 2014 #

  13. Tony – I don’t know about e-mails but as mentioned a few comments ago, there is the Find It Fix It section of the city website, but I tend to recommend 206-684-ROAD to everyone because it seems to get results.

    Comment by WSB — 11:39 am July 2, 2014 #

  14. Huh – I’ve ridden that stretch many times and have never though of it as a problem area – seems fine to me.
    This effort would have been much better spent making 35TH safer for riders.
    Have there been lots of bike accidents, car on bike collisions, etc. on this stretch of road? Not that I recall but maybe I’m just focused on the deathtrap that is 35th.

    Comment by zark — 12:01 pm July 2, 2014 #

  15. Scott Kubly is the new SDOT Director. Comes to us from Chicago.

    Comment by Chris — 12:40 pm July 2, 2014 #

  16. Yes, putting together the story right now. Thanks!

    Comment by WSB — 12:42 pm July 2, 2014 #

  17. Community Member, the bicyclists ARE in the sharrow lanes, which they are SHARING with the cars. Do you see the markings above the diagrams that indicate the lane divisions? Sharrows indicate that the ENTIRE lane is to be shared between bikes and cars. They do not indicate a specific position within the lane where cyclists must ride.

    Comment by KBear — 2:35 pm July 2, 2014 #

  18. Community Member, unfortunately your understanding of traffic laws is incorrect. It is unfortunate that the state does little to educate the people it licenses to operate large machinery (or the people creating their infographics labeling lanes as “drive lanes”) but that is not your fault. Sharrows indicate that bikes may be present on the roadway, anywhere on the lane. It is legal to ride a bike anywhere on the lane in any lane on the roadway, regardless of the existence or position of sharrows.

    Comment by Ham — 3:07 pm July 2, 2014 #

  19. Seems to me that this plan does not address the very real problem of Admiral narrowing at the Belvedere Overlook while still on the uphill for cyclists. While the right lane is a “shared” lane, the islands in the roadway make it very difficult for drivers to maneuver around the cyclists safely.

    As for the part of the hill covered by the plan, does anything really need to be done at this point? The shared lanes are plenty wide enough for bikes and cars.

    Comment by Greg Snyder — 3:38 pm July 2, 2014 #

  20. Is it illegal to just ride uphill on the sidewalk?
    Can’t imagine that any biker would be going too fast uphill. ??

    Comment by kj — 5:19 pm July 2, 2014 #

  21. Sharrows do not indicate where cyclists must ride within a lane, but they are intended, in part, to encourage cyclists to ride further into the lane for safety.

    When a lane is too narrow for a car to safely pass within the lane, with or without a sharrow, cyclists should ride far enough left within the lane that motorists are clearly aware that they are legally required to change lanes to pass. Riding too far to the right in narrow lanes encourages motorists to make dangerous, illegal squeeze passes.

    When a lane is wide enough for a car to safely pass within the lane, then a cyclist should ride as far to the right as is safe, with various exceptions for road conditions, passing other vehicles or pedestrians, preparing for a turn, etc.

    Neither of the lanes illustrated by SDOT is wide enough for a car to safely share side-by-side with a bicycle, so in both cases, the cyclist should generally be centered in the effective width of the travel lane.

    Meanwhile, in the “blue” sections, cyclists should always maintain five feet of clearance to parked cars, to avoid getting hit by opening car doors, so the far left edge of the bike lane is as far right as a cyclist should consider riding. If the buffer is not clear for cycling, cyclists concerned about safety should instead use the travel lane.

    Comment by Josh — 6:22 pm July 2, 2014 #

  22. Because the meaning of sharrows is not intuitive to many drivers, sharrows in lanes less than 16 feet wide should be accompanied by R4-11 “Bicycle May Use Full Lane” signs as suggested in Section 9B.06 of the MUTCD, the Federal standard for traffic control devices.

    Section 9B.06 Bicycles May Use Full Lane Sign (R4-11)

    Option:
    01 The Bicycles May Use Full Lane (R4-11) sign (see Figure 9B-2) may be used on roadways where no bicycle lanes or adjacent shoulders usable by bicyclists are present and where travel lanes are too narrow for bicyclists and motor vehicles to operate side by side.

    02 The Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign may be used in locations where it is important to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane.

    03 Section 9C.07 describes a Shared Lane Marking that may be used in addition to or instead of the Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane.

    Support:
    04 The Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC) defines a “substandard width lane” as a “lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the same lane.”

    Comment by Josh — 6:40 pm July 2, 2014 #

  23. Yes, I used the wrong word when I said it was a rule. But it is a guide, and I still think it is odd that the transportation dept released a picture showing the bike basically in the gutter, and not on the guide marks.
    .
    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/sharrows.htm
    .

    Shared Lane Pavement Marking a.k.a Sharrows
    .

    Shared lane pavement markings (or “sharrows”) are bicycle symbols carefully placed to guide bicyclists to the best place to ride on the road, avoid car doors and remind drivers to share the road with cyclists. Unlike bicycle lanes, sharrows do not designate a particular part of the street for the exclusive use of bicyclists. They are simply a marking to guide bicyclists to the best place to ride and help motorists expect to see and share the lane with bicyclists.
    .
    Motorists:
    • Remember to give bicyclists three feet of space when passing
    .
    Bicyclists:
    • Use the sharrow to guide where you ride within the lane
    .
    Yes, the lane is shared, and I do understand that the cyclist can ride anywhere in the lane. But Seattle city information clearly states that the marking has been painted to GUIDE THE CYCLIST TO THE BEST PLACE TO RIDE.
    .
    In the blue diagram, do you think the car is able to give 3 feet of space when passing that bike?

    Comment by Community Member — 8:28 pm July 2, 2014 #

  24. I’m with Greg. This isn’t much differen than what we have, and there typically aren’t many cars parked in the greenbelt anyway, allowing for cycling safely in the parking area.

    The real danger point of Admiral is the top where it narrows and curves, especially when the sun is shining in drivers’ eyes. You can mitigate somewhat by riding in the overlook lane, but then you have to join the street again while still on the curving road. The only part I’d like to see different than the way it is today is that curve. Before (plenty of room and visibility as it stands today) and after (plenty of visibility) are just fine.

    Comment by junctioneer — 9:15 pm July 2, 2014 #

  25. We are just looking at paint on pavement here, right? And no narrowing of traffic lanes at all, right? The painting on arterials lasts just a couple of years. Not really an extra expense to move stripes around on the road. Is this really a big deal? Seems worth a try to me. I ride it sometimes, and see that most of the parked cars along the greenbelt are curbstone for-sale cars using free no-time-limit parking. Would like some protection from cars speeding up Admiral at 35 to 50 mph in 30 mph zone.

    Comment by Don_Brubeck — 11:01 pm July 2, 2014 #

  26. I ride this every day up to the viewpoint…I don’t think the route up to that point needs much fuss. I agree that, past the viewpoint, the route needs some help for cyclists. If the city is looking for projects in this area, I’d rather see sidewalks in the fairmount ravine for pedestrians or something like that, because there are plenty of dangerous sections there (there have been very serious incidents)…and I see every day that it’s used a great deal, mostly by non-cyclists (commuters to the ferry, walkers, etc).

    Comment by RS — 11:14 pm July 2, 2014 #

  27. They city is focussing on the wrong area. Cyclist going up hill typically ride on the sidewalk, from what I’ve seen the past 11 years driving up Admiral pretty much every single day. Only at the top near the viewpoint does it become a major issue. THAT is the area they need to concentrate on, even for automotive traffic. Numerous times I’ve nearly been hit by the driver near me who’s not aware it’s a tight bend with a center median full of plants. Cycling in that area near all those cars so tight together is dangerous, not the hill part. Clear sidewalks, cut back brush, repave sidewalks, widen sidewalks. THAT makes more sense.

    Comment by Mike — 12:09 am July 3, 2014 #

  28. RS mentioned the ever increasing popular alternative to the Admiral Way hill the Fairmount ravine. I agree sidewalks on Fairmount would be great (plenty of space to expand). I’d suggest putting a few street lights on that road to start. I won’t take Fairmount anymore at night after riding up into a group of thugs hanging out drinking beer under the bridge. With a few lights, fewer dump violations would probably occur as well. The safety of cyclists would greatly be improved as access to Alki Trail across Harbor Ave near Saltys is done by a very safe designated pedestrian crosswalk.

    Comment by steven — 10:02 am July 3, 2014 #

  29. My observation as a relative new resident to the area , we have a fair amount of cyclists that use 30th ave. s. w. to cut up and out City View on to Admiral Way and most ride up the sidewalk . Not sure as the legality of riding on the sidewalk that is for pedestrians. If you live in that area its tough to negotiate among the parked cars and bicycle riders in a safe manner. The Alki Trail when used to commute by cyclists can be a safety hazard for walker and joggers as my wife,has been clipped by cyclists twice in the last year from behind without warning once to almost take her off her feet! Sooner or later someone is going to get hurt. With a improvement up Admiral Way may help the other safety concerns.

    Comment by Bill Yarger — 2:33 pm July 3, 2014 #

  30. Most of Alki Trail has ‘separated’ pedestrian and wheels (bikes, strollers, rollerblades, skateboards) sections divided by a grassy median. Numerous pedestrians insist on walking in the wheels lane. Pedestrians in the wheels lane make it unsafe for everyone. Bill Yarger: I don’t know if your wife was jogging in the wheels lane when she was clipped. Not all people on bikes are cyclists and not all cyclists are skilled or safety conscious. Sometimes when pedestrians are walking in the wheels lane during times of heavy bicycle use, I smack my forehead and think “why don’t they just walk in the street amongst car traffic”. There are separated facilities and if used as intended it’s much safer for all.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 5:47 pm July 3, 2014 #

  31. Multiuse trails like parts of Alki Trail are intended for walkers, joggers, skaters and cyclists. Making use of those trails in a safe way by all -away from automobile traffic is the goal.

    Comment by Eric — 10:43 pm July 3, 2014 #

  32. Alki Trail is multi use for over half its length from Spokane Street to the Anchor Park (2 miles). As it gets busier we all need to use the trail safely. Everyone (peds, joggers, wheeled) keep to the right unless passing (we are not England or Japan), pass on the left, wheeled traffic use a bell or call out when passing slower traffic and go single file, foot traffic be predictable with your movements and look before crossing, dog walkers keep them on a short leash while on the trail. Don’t speed on the multi-use trail (bikers use the street if you must go fast – I would say over 14 mph).

    Admiral Hill desperately needs safety improvements to make all users (and residents) feel safe, primarily because the current road design encourages vehicular speeding which threatens us all. It is a main residential arterial, not just for cars. Access to safe bicycle routes both at the top and at the bottom are serious problems needing a solution. Remember the serious bike accident in the southbound lanes at the bottom of the hill a few years ago and many car accidents at the top of the hill in the northbound lanes. I personally believe reducing the lanes on Admiral Hill (then widening to 4 lanes between the west end of the Admiral bridge-41st Ave and California Ave) is the best safety solution and would not slow down traffic significantly – look at how well this worked on Fauntleroy Way.

    P.S. If you are threatening me by speeding on Admiral Hill in a commercial vehicle, I will send an email to your boss and complain about your poor driving behavior.

    Comment by Kathy — 10:18 am July 5, 2014 #

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