‘Vision Zero’ to reduce speed limits on 5 West Seattle arterials; maybe another school-zone speed camera too

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Death and injury on our streets is preventable.

So declares the online overview of the city’s new Vision Zero road-safety initiative, which lays out changes ahead, including reducing speed limits on arterials, with this year’s list including five in West Seattle.

The mayor announced Vision Zero on Thursday in Lake City; the fine print includes a relatively long list of changes ahead for West Seattle. So today, we’re taking a closer look. In addition to what’s in the document made public by SDOT, we’ve also followed up to get more information on the timetable for changes, and along the way we’ve learned of at least one potential new speed-camera location for West Seattle.

First, the plan for lower speed limits. The Vision Zero plan notes that 9 of 10 pedestrians hit by drivers going 20 mph survive – but that survival rate plummets to 1 in 10 if hit at 40 mph. So, a big part of the city’s plan focuses on reducing speed limits on city streets.

20 MPH PROGRAM

You’ll see on the map above this story that a 20 mph zone is planned in the Admiral area, near Lafayette Elementary and Hiawatha Park/Community Center. The 20 mph program is for residential streets with “a high collision history,” near schools and parks. Up to 10 of these zones will be installed citywide this year, including this one.

30 MPH ARTERIAL CORRIDORS

The city plans to lower the speed limit to 30 mph on 12 arterial corridors this year, according to the Vision Zero document. Five of them are in West Seattle:

*35th Avenue SW
*SW Roxbury Street/Olson Place SW
*Delridge Way SW
*Fauntleroy Way SW
*Harbor Avenue SW

Two of those, you’ll recall, already have safety programs on the drawing boards – Roxbury and 35th. SDOT pointed this out when we followed up with them to ask when and how the changes will be put into place. The reply conveyed via SDOT spokesperson Marybeth Turner points out that it won’t just be a matter of replacing a number on the speed-limit signage:

SDOT will lower speed limits on several West Seattle corridors in 2015. Changes will occur on a street-by-street basis and we’ll notify the public in advance of the speed limit reductions. This work will get underway in West Seattle in the near future – potentially as early as March – as SDOT staff have already started reviewing traffic data and existing conditions on Fauntleroy Way SW and Delridge Way SW.

It’s important to note that SDOT will lower the speed limit to 30 mph on many streets this year but we also want drivers to actually go 30 mph. That’s why we’ll pair speed limit reductions with roadway design modifications so the design of the street dictates the speed people drive. These design changes will likely involve very simple and low-cost tweaks to our streets that will change the nature of the roadway.

We’ll also use more complex approaches to reducing speeds through the two Road Safety Corridor Projects that are underway on SW Roxbury Street and 35th Avenue SW. SDOT is in the process of scheduling another round of public meetings for our Safety Corridor Projects at this time and we’re hoping that they’ll take place during the second week of March. More details will be provided in the near future.

NEW TRAFFIC CAMERAS

The plan document says only that the city will: “In 2015, install at least twelve new cameras in six school zones …”

No locations were specified. So we followed up with SDOT about this too. The reply says there’s at least one potential location in West Seattle:

Our analysis for new school zone cameras is ongoing and new locations have not yet been finalized. However, the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle Department of Transportation SDOT have identified the Boren Building on Delridge Way SW as a candidate location. The Boren Building currently houses two schools and high speeds have been documented on Delridge Way SW. Final decisions will be made in March and the public will be notified shortly thereafter.

So far, West Seattle has three speed-enforcement cameras – on Fauntleroy Way near Gatewood Elementary, on SW Roxbury near Roxhill Elementary, and on SW Roxbury near Holy Family School. In addition, the mobile “speed van” that was first launched in 2008 has continued to be deployed on 35th SW, particularly near Our Lady of Guadalupe, at least part time.

ALSO IN THE PLAN

This is part of the Roxbury plan, but it should be noted that 16th/Roxbury is one of three locations called out in the “Urban Center Safety” part of the Vision Zero document:

Bring a higher level of safety to Seattle’s Urban Centers, where high volumes of vehicular traffic, transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists merge. Data-driven improvements may include modified signal phasing, traffic calming, protected turn phases and leading or lagging pedestrian intervals …

*SW Roxbury Street and Delridge Way/16th Ave SW

The rest of the document includes a long, long list of what else is planned/proposed – but what you see above are the only West Seattle-location-specific mentions in it, so that’s what we’re highlighting. Browse it yourself here. You can also read an FAQ here. And our partners at The Seattle Times (as noted in our morning traffic/transportation roundup) have a citywide look at Vision Zero here.

108 Replies to "'Vision Zero' to reduce speed limits on 5 West Seattle arterials; maybe another school-zone speed camera too"

  • WSince86 February 13, 2015 (2:42 pm)

    FANTASTIC! How do we get California Ave added?

  • Azimuth February 13, 2015 (3:18 pm)

    35 always “felt” fast for Fauntleroy and Harbor to me. 30 seems about right.

  • Jason February 13, 2015 (3:20 pm)

    Agreed! This is wonderful news and long overdue.

  • dsa February 13, 2015 (3:35 pm)

    30 is fine, it’s what I poke along at anyway and I usually catch up to the speedsters at the next light.

  • Laura February 13, 2015 (3:36 pm)

    Because going down Delridge wasn’t already a slow painful death. I don’t care about the other streets, but Delridge…most of the people on it will have to SPEED UP to go 30. UGH!

  • wsn00b February 13, 2015 (3:49 pm)

    I disagree only for 35th Ave SW. It is perfectly safe for 35 mph. The biggest safety concern on 35th is the dangerous broken road surface that requires swerving and prevents safe lane holding.
    They should enforce distracted driving issues instead instead of slowing everybody down to a point where they continue to text/email/facebook away more conveniently at lower speeds.

  • Arbor Heights Commuter February 13, 2015 (3:50 pm)

    I’m shocked at the commenters indicating that this is good news. Many of us W Seattlites use 35th or Roxbury daily as part of long commutes. Decreasing the speed limit just adds to long commutes that will just continue to lengthen as the Viaduct/Tunnel fiasco continues. I completely agree that we need to figure out how to increase the safety of our roads, but West Seattle needs to figure out ways to get commuters to the freeways faster and more efficiently. Simply slowing down our arterials without having plans to create faster access to freeways feels short sighted.

  • Laura February 13, 2015 (3:55 pm)

    Excellent! I live right off Fauntleroy, and a lower speed limit (enforced, please) will be very welcome.

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the maniac driving has been steadily increasing lately. I’ve actually seen cars leave the ground while flying over the hill and then running the stop sign at Edmonds and 42nd. Jeesh….

  • Laura February 13, 2015 (4:01 pm)

    30 is insane. Way to slow for most times. Driving slower may reduce a few accidents, but most of the issues I’ve seen in WS stems from those who won’t follow the rules anyway. You know… use a turn signal, you do not have the right of way if you are merging, don’t tailgate, turn lanes aren’t passing lanes…etc. So, if the driver isn’t paying attention anyway, does a 5 mile reduction really help?

  • West Sea Neighbor February 13, 2015 (4:05 pm)

    Big fan of this. Now if they would just enforce 30 mph on Admiral hill more effectively.

  • sophista-tiki February 13, 2015 (4:14 pm)

    Seems to me that speed limits have very little to do with the speeds people actually drive. When you’re going the speed limit everyone and their dog races past you, cuts you off, and acts like you’re in the way.with the younger douchbag class of people moving in I doubt reducing speed limits will have any affect on their behavior what so ever.

  • KC February 13, 2015 (4:19 pm)

    Great news! Never understood why Fauntleroy was 30 south of California Ave and 35 north of it. This will help a lot with trying to pull out onto and across Fauntleroy around the S curves. So risky right now.

  • GenHill55 February 13, 2015 (4:22 pm)

    The speed limit on Calif Ave has been 30 mph for years.

  • Peter February 13, 2015 (4:41 pm)

    Love it!

  • Chris February 13, 2015 (4:56 pm)

    This is great news. Perhaps this will help calm down what feels like increasingly frantic and manic traffic in West Seattle in recent years.

  • Jennifer February 13, 2015 (4:59 pm)

    35 is not unreasonable for 35th. The problem isn’t the posted speed, it’s people exceeding it, lack of good ped crossings, and too many stretches where it is not well lit at night. Any info on what type of traffic calming devices they will use? Short of that, I don’t see many people seriously reducing to 30.

  • hmmm February 13, 2015 (5:10 pm)

    Interesting! Increase enforcement, for sure. This will probably be just part of an overall approach. Didn’t used to be quite so bad, for some reason.

  • Ray February 13, 2015 (5:11 pm)

    Not needed for either 35th or Delridge.

    More BS trying to force people to consider Metro.

  • Mama4 February 13, 2015 (5:11 pm)

    YES! Please reduce the speed on Delridge and add the cameras in at Boren.
    I’d add that I’m in Delridge between 2-5 times a day for different kids at schools – and it’s rare I don’t see a near miss involving a pedestrian or vehicle.

  • Wendy February 13, 2015 (5:25 pm)

    700 children currently attend school in the Boren Building. With this site now being our permanent location as we co-house with Arbor Heights and then roll-up to a K-8, I can tell you that the STEM community is thrilled to hear about both the speed reductions and the possibility of a speed zone camera being installed. Our kids deserve these safety measurements. We could not be happier!

  • Paul February 13, 2015 (5:32 pm)

    Aren’t arterials meant to move traffic at a faster rate than side streets? With this change, 35th will have a speed limit so close to the side streets that people will look for alternative routes to avoid traffic lights. Unfortunately, because it’s WS they’ll find a bunch of dead-ends. ;) I don’t think 35 mph is unreasonable for 35th since it is our only real arterial from north to south end of WS. The commute from Arbor Heights/Gatewood/WC to downtown is going to be so slow and painful now it will probably lead some drivers to do bad things out of frustration. I have to believe there’s a better way.

  • Rachael Wright February 13, 2015 (5:41 pm)

    So great!

  • SGG February 13, 2015 (5:45 pm)

    Let’s do it, especially I-35! 35th is treated like a 4 lane highway. Bring it down to 25 and slow it down.

  • Busrider February 13, 2015 (5:48 pm)

    It should be 20 at all schools and parks adjacent to arterials. I have seen it work well in other neighborhoods, city. As scott notes i would rather take an extra minute to keep my community safe than speed through a neighborhood. If u want to speed go to a highway

  • Paul February 13, 2015 (5:48 pm)

    Also, since we’re talking about WS arterials, is there any plan to ever improve the road surface on Delridge? They really don’t even need to reduce the speed limit there because the road surface is so bad that nobody can even get up to the speed limit!

  • dcn February 13, 2015 (5:54 pm)

    From the FAQs linked in the story: “Will lowering the speed limit make traffic worse? No.” I can maybe buy this since I rarely see traffic travel more than 30 mph on Delridge anyway, at least during rush hour.
    .
    But, also from the FAQs: “We will get rid of dual turn lanes (where there are two lanes side-by-side turning the same direction).” This will definitely make traffic worse. Imagine the left turn from Fauntleroy (coming off the WS Bridge) onto 35th southbound. Reducing this to one lane would cause backups across the bridge as people will have to sit through several light cycles to turn left.
    .
    I’d love to see the city ADD a dual left turn lane from S Atlantic street (coming from I-90 or I-5) onto South Bound 1st Ave S. This left turn often backs up all the way up the hill to the over pass at 4th Ave. People try to work around it by turning early onto Occidental (a minor side street) or going through the intersection and then pulling a U-turn. Neither of these is ideal or the safest option, but it can beat sitting through several light cycles trying to get onto 1st.
    .
    I think the city ought to realize that they can do their best to make it more difficult for cars to get around town in the name of safety, but frustrated drivers can become reckless drivers pretty quickly. Will that really make things safer?

  • Greystreet February 13, 2015 (5:56 pm)

    I’m so glad I decided to live in Arbor Heights, 30mph on a 4 lane road seems totally plausible, so one might say “what’s 5mph?” It means a ton when you also have to go up some rather steep hills and I know my comments will fall on annoyed ears but seriously, this will only cause more people to break the speed limit. I agree with the previous comment about it has nothing to do with speed limits and everything to do with rule enforcement and accountability, yea! Let’s lower the speed limit but not increase surveillance

  • Eric1 February 13, 2015 (5:59 pm)

    I don’t know why people speed down 35th or Delridge. You might get to the bridge faster but then you wait on the bridge to get onto I-5 or I-90. Of course, these are probably the same guys who wait until the end to cut into back into line but they are so much more important than you or I.
    .
    If work is that critical, you need to leave earlier. Otherwise, it is just work. Better to get there and get back home alive.

  • wsgal February 13, 2015 (5:59 pm)

    I would like to see a turn pocket go in at Delridge Way SW and SW Thistle St in the northbound lane. Vehicles and buses are backed up for two/three blocks sometimes more on this section of road.
    I love the road diet on Fautleroy Way SW. It has become a much safer street to travel on.
    I feel like this one lane each direction road diet works really well, when there are not a lot of traffic lights in a mile radius.

  • dsa February 13, 2015 (6:01 pm)

    Ah gee whiz, Paul found the fatal flaw to the Zero Vision, I mean Vision Zero plan.

  • Keith February 13, 2015 (6:09 pm)

    Any discussion of pedestrian safety should include improved lighting along roadways. Dark streets plus traditional Seattle dark clothing is a recipe for danger.

  • Les February 13, 2015 (6:10 pm)

    The real problem is people only looking at their smart phone as they cross the street. They are basically zombies that are not paying any attention to anything else. Fine them problem solved.

  • Bree February 13, 2015 (6:10 pm)

    So often coming up Admiral from the beach, we have people tailgating wanting to go faster. We pull over and they tailgate someone else. It seems like some won’t even go 30 & in the 35 mile zones same thing – they want to go faster than the speed limit. There is a lot of speeding – wanting to go faster. My friends tell me to be careful going the speed limit as they’ll try to run over you & they have tried. Sometimes they weave back and forth in back & tailgating. If get out of their way and there is a speed checking sign, we see 40 or sometimes 45 in the 30 on Admiral. Same on Fauntleroy. This should be interesting getting those already speeding to slow down more. Hoping for police monitoring to catch these people.

  • Janet M. February 13, 2015 (6:14 pm)

    Also wish they would lower California Avenue to 30. Speeding cars race up and down Gatewood Hill,
    much faster than the 35 posted. Crossing California here at the top of the hill is quite frightening. Maybe 30 would reduce them to 45.

  • South west seattleite February 13, 2015 (6:32 pm)

    A 30 mph limit on 35th is ridiculous. Especially considering it’s the only real arterial from down here in south west seattle. All the pearl clutching stay at home moms in admiral and the junction applaud it cuz it doesn’t effect them. Some of us have to get to work.

  • busrider February 13, 2015 (6:32 pm)

    Glad to see Fauntleroy Way targeted.

  • Marko February 13, 2015 (6:35 pm)

    When I drive 35th at night I’m puzzled by the reality that SDOT doesn’t put reflective lane dividers on the pavement. I think better striping with reflectivity and illumination would be a step towards preventing accidents. Oh and repair potholes and degraded pavement. They make everyone move about in their lane to avoid these hazards.

  • wb February 13, 2015 (6:57 pm)

    Love the people who think 35 on I-35 is reasonable. For the sake of those who actually live on it, the suggestion is 20 MPH, 15 for all the bloated SUVs.

  • Chad February 13, 2015 (6:59 pm)

    I’m all for it. Lower the speed limit and enforce it with cameras. Lower it to 20 on the residential streets as well.

  • Captain Dave February 13, 2015 (7:02 pm)

    The speed reduction plan is just another tactic to disrupt traffic in order to drive up the demand for downtown condos and apartments. If you really want to know why it is more difficult every month to get around Seattle, see the website: “Democrats Against Agenda 21” and watch the videos (http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com). Seattle is a member of ICLEI (international Council on Local Environmental Initiatives) an arm of the United Nations. We are no longer in control of our local planning.

  • Trickycoolj February 13, 2015 (7:07 pm)

    Honest question: how are these changes going to impact Metro’s scheduling on these arterials. For every 5mph reduction how much lag does that create between buses? How many buses do they have to add to preserve timing on routes like the RR with 5min between each?

  • Craig February 13, 2015 (7:09 pm)

    Great news for WS.

    I agree with WSgal regarding the need of a north bound left turn lane at Delridge and Thistle. I also question the lack of a north bound right turn lane onto Orchard. I see lots of people using the bike lane at Orchard as a right turn lane. While I feel we need to allow safe travel for both bikers and drivers, the current configuration doesn’t serve either group well. There isn’t a continuous bike lane for any great length on Delridge and we are seeing large backups because of the lack of a right turn lane so why not make the right lane at Orchard a sharrow (used by both bikers and drivers)? If we can free these bottlenecks and others we might be able to offset lower speeds with decreased wait times at intersections. Same potential effect with a roundabout at 9th and Highland Park Way. Keep people moving safely.

    Thanks to SDOT for making the area safer.

  • L February 13, 2015 (7:13 pm)

    I like how SDOT’s comments completely ignore the impact this will have on drivers who frequent these arterials.

    If the T in SDOT isn’t a priority, maybe we should, you know, just shut down all the roads completely. For safety.

  • Off Fauntleroy February 13, 2015 (7:21 pm)

    If Vision Zero is about increasing the safety in our neighborhoods, why doesn’t the city improve the crosswalk at Fauntleroy & Juneau! That thing could be a possible death trap. No one stops for pedestrians there.

  • B February 13, 2015 (7:26 pm)

    Ah, the city’s war on cars continues.

  • wb February 13, 2015 (7:54 pm)

    I like how “L’s” comment completely ignores the fact that people live along these arterials.

  • dbf February 13, 2015 (8:05 pm)

    How about they install cameras on the portable radar traffic check signs. No one will know where and when they will be stationed, save the police for other crime.

  • Anna February 13, 2015 (8:05 pm)

    This is great news! Streets are for everyone- cars, people, bikes, buses, etc. Build streets just for cars and you build streets that aren’t safe for anyone else. The Vision Zero efforts reflect this- I just hope the plans to strengthen bike lanes throughout Seattle are followed through. A huge part of our traffic problem in this city is that people don’t feel attracted to any alternatives to driving their cars (usually single occupancy). We can continue to develop if we do it in a smart manner and don’t ignore the critical transportation needs.

  • seattletimebandit February 13, 2015 (8:31 pm)

    All who think this is a great idea just stay in the right-hand lane an we’ll all get along…

  • Anna February 13, 2015 (8:33 pm)

    Dude ICLEI is not an arm of the UN.

  • Art Critic February 13, 2015 (8:39 pm)

    as I posted in a WSB article in Nov 2014 about a pedestrian being killed on Delridge:

    We are devastated by the news, and especially that it was a resident of the DESC. And the life of the driver that is forever changed.
    If someone is hit by a car at 40 mph they are 90% likely to be killed.
    If someone is hit by a car at 30 mph they are 50% likely to be killed.
    If someone is hit by a car at 20 mph they are 10% likely to be killed.
    Every 10 mph doubles the momentum and force of impact.
    When I am driving in an area of high pedestrian use I take the physics into consideration and pay attention and slow down. Our thoughts go out to the families. Be safe out there.

    Comment by Art Critic — 3:01 am November 21, 2014
    For those who remember the pedestrians on 35th who have died over the years I think a lower speed makes good sense. I leave 5 minutes early and enjoy a nice leisurely by the speed limit drive and usually get where I am going just in time. If it saves a few lives I think its great. For those wishing to drive fast I recommend iRacing online racing game, its great. Or there is the go cart track down at the Pacific Raceways.

  • Bradley February 13, 2015 (8:40 pm)

    So people will drive 45-50mph on 35th and Roxbury in 30mph zones instead of the current 35mph zones? Genius.

  • Vanessa February 13, 2015 (8:44 pm)

    I like the changes. If I’m not in front of a bunch of cars my typical speed is 30 on these roads anyways. 35 feels to fast for me with all the pedestrians, driveways and street parking.
    I’m curious to see what they do at 16th & Roxbury because I think it’s just as much an inattentive pedestrian problem as it is distracted driving.
    What I don’t see mentioned in the plan and what I would love to see is making a safe pedestrian route on Meyers way/ Olsen between highland park and South Park. I drive that every day and see students, elderly people and often moms with kids in strollers walking along the shoulder there. It seems to me that there are a lot of people in South Park that need to access the amenities up the hill, possibly don’t have access to a car, and there is no safe route for them. It is obvious there is no easy solution in that spot but it seems one of the most necessary fixes I see.

  • Amie February 13, 2015 (8:46 pm)

    Beginning to wonder why I voted for Ed Murray. Residential streets I get, but major arterials? Asinine.

  • Carter February 13, 2015 (8:57 pm)

    Reducing speed limits is wonderful but what we really need is more enforcement in order for it to be effective. Compared with other cities I have lived in, we do not have enough enforcement of the speed limits laws.

    • WSB February 13, 2015 (9:03 pm)

      Hi – Enforcement and many of the other points brought up here are all included in the city overview that we link to a couple times in the story.

  • Lauren February 13, 2015 (9:22 pm)

    This is a welcome change and will save lives.

    If you commute in a car on 35th just think, you can leave your house one minute earlier and get to the bridge at the same time you would have before this change. Surely that’s not too much of an inconvenience.

  • robert February 13, 2015 (9:54 pm)

    This is great news. 30mph is plenty fast for an arterial. I just hope they actually enforce these limits.

  • Lisa February 13, 2015 (10:01 pm)

    agree with WsGal – as a longtime Delridge resident, there needs to be turn off lanes. Cameras @Boren are great – I always slow down and yet I have 4-5 cars on my bumper if I slow to 20. Or worse, someone gets fed up with me going the correct limit during school hours, and tears off through the middle lane to pass me at God knows what speed. But slowing ALL of Delridge to 30? It’ll be a nightmare. It’s just too slow. And yes I do leave early to allow time to get yo the bridge, but slowing down the limit….it just doesn’t make any sense at all for a one lane road.

  • David February 13, 2015 (11:14 pm)

    35th Ave. is a huge, primary arterial down the spine of West Seattle and should be configured to move traffic as quickly as possible. What they should do is eliminate street parking on one side of 35th so they can open a turn lane in the middle between the four lanes. Then increase the speed to 45 or 50 mph. No backups due to cars turning left, a nice big buffer between oncoming cars, and a bit of extra space for everyone. During the day and night, hardly anyone parks on 35th, every house has a driveway, and there’s parking on the east-west streets. The city is totally going in the wrong direction on this, probably making 35th less safe because no one will drive this slow on a huge, wide, major arterial.

  • Jen February 13, 2015 (11:30 pm)

    The reason people call 35th I-35 is because people speed on it, they do not drive 35 mph. Putting in reflective markings, more turn lanes, and road repair will make the street safer.

  • Alex February 13, 2015 (11:56 pm)

    Another step towards longer commutes and more traffic.

  • Ken February 14, 2015 (1:27 am)

    The house you bought or rent on the arterial, Is cheaper because it is on the arterial. For most of you I suspect the arterial was there before you bought the house.

    Sdot cannot even be bothered to use reflective paint, patch any cracked pavement until it washes out, or re-stripe missing line and markings. Do we know this is not a proposal written by the speed cam companies?

    Most cars are at peak energy efficiency at 35 mph. Gearing in automatic transmissions are fine at 35 but lug and shift at 30 on an incline.

    The problem might be speeders so lets penalize and criminalize everyone that drives a reasonable speed.

    • WSB February 14, 2015 (1:59 am)

      Page 20: “High Reflectivity Pavement Markings
      Integrate more durable and visible pavement markings as the new standard for all roadway projects in Seattle”
      .

  • Ssf February 14, 2015 (4:40 am)

    Being someone that lives on 35th. The speed that cars drive is ridiculous. The speed limit is 35mph very rarely do I see people going 35. I have a driveway and it amazes me the people that are annoyed and honk because I’m slowing down to turn in. With the amount of cars that are in attentive and swerving lanes to go faster its a recipe for disaster. Increasing the speed will only make it worse and allow people to think they can drive 45 mph and not get a ticket. As a pedestrian crossing 35th you are taking your life on your hands.

  • anonyme February 14, 2015 (6:54 am)

    Arterial does not = freeway. It has nothing to do with speed, but accessibility. These neighborhoods are almost entirely residential, and the slightly reduced speed should have little if any impact on commute times.

    Apparently some believe that those who live on arterials pay less in property tax, and have fewer rights in regard to speed enforcement than other homeowners. That’s a rather elitist view, isn’t it? It is also completely incorrect.

  • AnnoyedbySEAdrivers February 14, 2015 (7:55 am)

    I’ve lived in western Washington the majority of my life and the rest in the Chicago area. I always thought this area has some of the slowest, passive, dangerous drivers around and this was confirmed when I moved to Chicago and returned. The real cause of danger in this city isn’t the speed at which people drive, but their indecisiveness and lack of understanding the rules of the road. I’m no speedster (usually go 5 over max), but if people would be more decisive like other cities, we’d have less accidents. 35th Ave should be 35 mph minimum, as we need this arterial route… and I like some of the ideas people have posted above regarding other options we have to make it a safer drive without lowering the speed limit. Also, the speed limit downtown is already 30 and they want to lower that??? come on! Again, 75% of you downtown drivers drive 20mph through the city, so that will just make us normal city drivers look like maniacs driving 30-35…thanks.

  • miws February 14, 2015 (7:57 am)

    I have much more I want to say on this, just based on the “bullet points” that have been mentioned in this Article, and other Media, as I haven’t had time to give the SDOT info on the Plan more than a cursory look, nor do I have time to type out those thoughts right now.

    .

    But, one question; David, in your scenario, of raising the speed limit to 45-50, how do you propose safe crossing for pedestrians?

    .
    Mike

  • Matt S. February 14, 2015 (8:27 am)

    As a young new-homeowner douchebag type moving in, I hold the edgy and off-putting view that people should pay attention while driving, move for faster traffic, and understand how traffic laws work or lay off the irate horn-honking and stink eye. You’ll recognize me on the road as the one without the phone trying to navigate around the distracted and clueless, using my turn signal (!), and driving cautiously on quiet streets, steep hills, or those lined with cars or pockets of kids. The speed limit change doesn’t matter, just slightly slows my already wildly-douchebaggy driving. No impact on my crazy young person beliefs.

    If mine is the car flipped into a planting strip or causing mayhem in one of these future posts, I’ll step up and own it. Just don’t hold your breath.

  • John February 14, 2015 (8:49 am)

    anonyme:
    “Apparently some believe that those who live on arterials pay less in property tax.”

    That is correct in that houses with what the assessor defines as “nuisances” such as a busy street and noise from it sells for less than one without those issues and therefore is taxed less.

    Of course, everyone has the same rights in terms of speed enforcement.

  • Jw February 14, 2015 (9:05 am)

    It must be cheaper to buy new signs than it is to buy more enforcement. People already don’t pay attention to the signs that are up. How would lowering the limit change the speeding problem????
    -cant we just hire some more police already?

  • K to the F February 14, 2015 (9:17 am)

    It’s 3.6 miles from Roxbury to Andover on Delridge. With all green lights and no traffic, here are travel times at…

    35 MPH: 6 min, 10 sec
    30 MPH: 7 min, 12 sec

    I’m guessing the variability of traffic and lights make this approx. minute difference within the daily travel time margin of error. It’s obviously less for shorter distances.

    35th is terrible at the 35+ MPH people drive it especially down those huge hills in the inside lanes with on-coming traffic a foot or two away. I definitely look forward to 30 MPH on all these roads and am willing to donate those seconds to make our community better/safer.

  • pupsarebest February 14, 2015 (9:26 am)

    The idea that pedestrians cluelessly using their “Smart”phones are to blame is hilarious!
    If the issue of texting/talking with these devices is raised, the finger of blame should point squarely at the selfish, clueless, irresponsible fools who text/talk whilst driving.
    Once behind the wheel of a moving car, there is one goal: safely piloting the vehicle with undivided attention to the matter at hand.
    Aggressive push to ticket these twits would be a huge step in accomplishing “Vision Zero”.

  • sam-c February 14, 2015 (9:43 am)

    dcn- Regarding the elimination of dual turn lanes. DId you see a reference somewhere that change would apply to a WS street ? I looked at the report, page 16, and it appears to refer to some downtown locations only, which make sense to me.

    WHen I saw the bullet point list of changes, I thought the “no right turn on red” was crazy, since pedestrians usually keep walking long after the red hand started blinking. If you can’t turn right on green or red, you never would get to turn right anywhere. Then I actually looked at the report, and it seems to apply mostly to downtown intersections. (and included protected turn phases which isn’t listed in the shortened bullet points)

    If you just listen to the sound bites/ bullet points without reading the PDF, some of the ideas don’t make sense.

  • Mia February 14, 2015 (9:47 am)

    This is fantastic news. Although I am also a commuter, I too should leave 5 minutes earlier to be protective of the lives who live and walk along 35th. No matter what the speed limit, there are always those who pressure-tailgate others to speed above the limit because they are running late. Lowering the speed limit and traffic cameras are a good idea for the safety of our community.

  • ws17yrs February 14, 2015 (9:58 am)

    More street theater by the local municipality. If they simply enforced the current speed limits, they would improve matters. They could start by ticketing the city bus drivers as I’ve had several pass me by on the ws bridge going 60.

  • Rick February 14, 2015 (10:00 am)

    Speed limits should be no faster than a cyclist can ascend Admiral hill from Sokane street to the viewpoint. Problem solved.

  • anonyme February 14, 2015 (10:16 am)

    Matt, welcome to the neighborhood! We need more “douchebags” like you…

  • theking87 February 14, 2015 (10:48 am)

    Reducing lanes on roads, lowering speed limits, speeding cameras, bicycle lanes, how about speed bumps and a jogging lane on the West Seattle bridge?

  • Oakley34 February 14, 2015 (10:54 am)

    Sure countless numbers of lives can be saved…but THOUSANDS will be late!!!

    45-50 mph on 35th!?! Some of these posters are insane! 30mph is perfectly reasonable. Hope they enforce this …um…in force.

    And Matt.S you put it so very well. (how DARE you actually use your turn signal in WS!!!)

  • datamuse February 14, 2015 (11:02 am)

    The real problem is people only looking at their smart phone as they cross the street. They are basically zombies that are not paying any attention to anything else.
    .
    A far, far bigger problem is the people doing this while driving. You might as well drive drunk.

  • drahcir61 February 14, 2015 (11:06 am)

    Seems to me the only drivers who will be “inconvenienced” by slower speeds are those who already drive too fast.

    There are too many people doing 15+ over the posted speed. I live in a school zone & I see people doing 35-40 mph while the school zone lights are flashing (that means 20 mph).

    A lot of people just don’t care because you know, “I’m a GOOD driver & accidents happen to other people” … uh huh.

  • MSW February 14, 2015 (11:49 am)

    So people are so afraid to drive 35th at a whopping 35 mph, but they are willing to get into a 737 that flies at around 500 mph and don’t think much about it.

  • carole February 14, 2015 (1:17 pm)

    Drove past OLG last week, though lights not flashing kids were on sidewalks and at bus stops, so slowed to 20. Guy behind me all over my bumper, cars to my left passing full speed, when car behind finally passed, gave me stink eye. People need to slow down to posted limits.

  • LD February 14, 2015 (1:57 pm)

    It’s not like you can do much faster than 30 on Delridge anyway with all the f—ing potholes you’re dodging along the way!

  • CMP February 14, 2015 (2:38 pm)

    Can someone please tell me where it’s 35 mph along California Ave?? It’s 30 the entire road and has been for as long as I’ve lived here since 2002. This is what worries me about Seattle drivers: most seem to pay attention to street signs so lowering the speed limit probably won’t change the behavior of 80% of you. I “love” the new signs to watch for pedestrians when making a right turn at intersections now. If you don’t notice a human being walking in front of your car, why on earth would you notice a sign posted way up high by the signal? Thanks for making me feel safer SDOT. The Chicago transplant and Matt got it right up above!

    • WSB February 14, 2015 (2:56 pm)

      CMP, people not stopping for pedestrians on right turns is a particular gripe of mine (having been nearly run over many a time) so who knows, maybe the signs will save somebody somewhere. (Crosswalk law here: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/pedrcw.htm ) And if you think it’s overly signed here, we just returned from a few days on a family matter in the greater Los Angeles area, where we saw varieties of signage I’ve never seen before – including stop signs with the red octagon ringed in flashing red lights – plus many more of the flashing-lights crosswalks than we have here. Anyway – California is NOT on the “reducing to 30 mph” list in the SDOT “Vision Zero” plan http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/beSuperSafe/VisionZeroPlan.pdf and therefore is not in the story above, nor is it on the SDOT map, so we did *not* say anything about it being 35 mph. – Tracy

  • datamuse February 14, 2015 (3:41 pm)

    I am now concerned about sharing the road with some of y’all. A five mph reduction in the speed limit constitutes a war on cars? Will you listen to yourselves?

  • ConspiracyTheorist February 14, 2015 (8:29 pm)

    I see this as the only way the city will get an ROI. Lowering the speed limit will lead to more speeding tickets. Signs dont cost a ton. More “effective” ways of keeping pedestrians safe would and there would be no return at all. This proposal is a band aid at best. Believe me I dont want to see people hurt or killed. I got dinged for close to $200 for going 26 in a 20 down 35th one morning. There was not a child, parent, dog or cat in sight. I drive 35th to work every day around 8 and a NEVER see anyone in that speed trap zone.

    Personally, I would like to see more lighting. Flashing crosswalks should be mandatory. We desperately need one from the bus cluster across from WV. I even see the bus drivers dart out from in between the buses!

    I absolutely agree that some people drive too fast on 35th, but 5mph slower will not fix anything other than the cities debt.

  • au February 14, 2015 (11:00 pm)

    so, lowering the speed limit will some how enlighten those who currently race up and down and all over our city streets?

    How does lowering the speed limit get people to slow down? Rather the speed limits we have now need be enforced.
    I watch people drive on a daily basis and it seems at times there are no longer any speed limits. As if y’all forgot what it meant when you signed for your license.

    Plus, I seem to recall a bit ago the police saying they need a grant to enforce the speed limit. Speed limits are bogus unless they are enforced. So explain to me somebody, How is lowering an unenforced speed limit an effective solution to a real problem? Can anybody answer this for me so it makes sense?
    Because I do not see this as an effective solution. At all.
    What would be effective would be to 1)enforce the speed limits we have now and 2) use that money and invest it in pedestrian activated flashing yellow lights. They’ve installed them along lake city way and they work. As a driver I can actually see there is someone wanting to cross the road and I must stop. I suggest we try those two things first for a while and then reassess the situation.

  • John February 15, 2015 (7:00 am)

    “So explain to me somebody, How is lowering an unenforced speed limit an effective solution to a real problem?” au

    au forgets that some drivers do in fact obey the speed limit. Those that do obey limit those behind them from speeding. That’s how.

    au also ignores the fact that drivers here are complaining about tickets for speeding…an impossibility with “unenforced speed limits.”
    Speed limits are enforced and hundreds of speeding tickets issued. Drivers witnessing enforcement also reduce their speeds when they see enforcement.

  • ownit February 15, 2015 (7:17 am)

    au thanks for offering your opinion and even more so for offering up solutions. Reading comments after angry comment that don’t offer up alternate ways of solving targeted problems is kind of like re-experiencing road rage in my living room.

    Both ideas of increased enforcement and rapid yellow flashers at major arterial crossings sound like a reasonable first steps for some areas where 35 mph might be appropriate.

    I’ve been told that SDOT has been hesitant to overload West Seattle with speed zone cameras so that communities don’t feel targeted but I’m with you in that it seems to be an effective way of slowing everyone down and think we need more in the right places.

    I think the rapid flasher’s are about $30,000 or more and I feel that having speeders foot the bill makes perfect sense. This or in similar ways is currently how school zone speed camera funds are allocated.

    Working with SDOT is pretty exasperating at times but if you don’t engage them then you get what they offer and nothing more. Sometimes that’s what happens either way until someone is killed which is a pretty sad state of affairs. Please do give SDOT feedback. Maybe if we as a community can find common ground then we would stand a better chance of creating the infrastructure that we want.

  • G Unit February 15, 2015 (7:20 am)

    The Program should be called “Speed Limit Zero”. If no one ever moves around everyone is safer.

  • Rick February 15, 2015 (7:48 am)

    Okay to take minutes from evil car drivers and give those minutes to rapid ride buses that stop traffic on the pretense that THEY won’t lose those minutes re-entering traffic. They’re only minutes but what I’m hearing is that yours are more important than mine. By the way, RCW 46.04.355;69.50.435(5),(6).

    • WSB February 15, 2015 (7:56 am)

      Regarding the “grants for speed enforcement” – what police have said, as discussed here before, is not that grant money is required for ANY enforcement, but for intensive/extensive special patrols. They certainly have spot efforts here and there, and not just speeding (example, we are near a four-way intersection where drivers routinely run the downhill sign; one recent day a motorcycle officer showed up and spent about an hour and a half picking off offenders – we counted nine before he left the area).

  • Matt S. February 15, 2015 (9:43 am)

    ownit: You’re right. I’ve not contributed anything other than frustration.

    .

    I wish the speed limit could be dramatically *increased,* as it’d make drivers way more uncomfortable and require them to pay more attention. But that’d put pedestrians at even greater risk when things go awry, which isn’t fair.

    .

    I think the core problem is people climbing into powerful machines that could kill others vaguely in their path, and reckless behavior (not necessarily speeding) pretty much goes unchecked. I would love to see astronomically high tickets for using a cell phone while driving, which could be easy to verify with carrier data and beneficial for police if the income was substantial. I wish that we’d put down our coffee, mascara, breakfast, books, phones, and all these other things that aren’t nearly as important as being responsible with our cars.

    .

    I’m not anti-car—I’m a daily car commuter and think they’re useful and potentially vital to living around here. I just think we should all be held more strictly accountable for our actions behind the wheel, and that we should lose the privilege of driving if we’re neglectful about it. Accidents happen, but I’d love to know how many incidents are accidents vs. negligence. I suspect there’s a vast and growing increase of negligent driving, but have no citation to qualify it. But no amount of speed limit modifications or blinking lights will keep irresponsible, negligent people from harming others. So I think it should hurt financially or we should just lose the right to drive if we can’t handle it.

    .

    The other idea I flirt with every now and then is democratized ticketing. It’d combat indecency on the road and in airplane seats: we (drivers, bus-riders, pedestrians) all get three votes per month, and we assign them to the worst drivers we come across by license plate number. Any awful drivers, as determined by the community’s 10+ (pick a threshold) votes in a month, get an outrageous ticket or simply lose the use of their vehicle for the following month. This falls apart because it encourages people to presumably log offenses on their phones while driving, and because super-rich awful drivers could just rotate cars. There’s so much indecency on the road, and for some reason on airplanes, that gamification could be plausible means of control even if my specific idea sucks.

  • Joeb February 15, 2015 (2:35 pm)

    Matt S. .. Glad you are here.

  • CMP February 15, 2015 (3:19 pm)

    Janet M. up above said California Ave should be lowered to 30 mph which is why I brought up my point that people don’t pay attention to signs if they’ve got the wrong speed limit on that road. As someone who walks, runs, bikes periodically, rides the bus daily to work and owns a car, I think this city is messed up when it comes to SDOT, roads, traffic signals, drivers, bike lanes. Driving is a cooperative effort that is evidenced by maybe 10% of Seattle drivers, if that. There’s a reason I started riding the bus more: I can zone out and let the Metro driver get irritated by the awful drivers out there instead. More of you should try it!

  • jb February 15, 2015 (5:07 pm)

    Seattle doesn’t have a problem with pedestrian safety. Our per capita pedestrian deaths and injuries are a fraction of the state average and just 1/8 of the national average.

    Seattle has a serious traffic problem. Slowing people down on arterials will–notwithstanding the bland assurance of the city–make this existing problem worse.

    Sorry Ed, I’m not switching to a bike or bus anytime soon.

    • WSB February 15, 2015 (6:21 pm)

      You obviously disagree, but this is based on the contention that even one death is too many. The introductory webpage says, “In 2013, there were 10,310 police-reported collisions in Seattle. 155 people were seriously injured and 23 were killed. This is unacceptable.” Also, the stats on page 8 of the city plan http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/beSuperSafe/VisionZeroPlan.pdf show that Seattle’s per-capita death rate is half the statewide rate, not “a fraction” (yes, I know “half” is a fraction, but the term is usually used for something smaller) – 3.2 compared to 6.4. A little more than a fourth of the national rate.

  • Ferry Walker February 16, 2015 (2:39 pm)

    In my opinion, arterial speed should be increased (admiral hill 30???) but residential streets should be decreased. It is 25 in front of my house and that seems WAY too fast. It should be 15mph.

  • CE February 16, 2015 (3:46 pm)

    So do we know exactly how many pedestrian fatalities there have been on 35th over the past ten years?

  • Mike February 16, 2015 (8:18 pm)

    California Ave has been 30 MPH since the late 80s/early 90s at least.

    Fauntleroy already feels like a 30 MPH since it was reduced to 1 lane after you pass Edmonds.

    30 MPH on 35th AVE is probably too slow. Adding a couple crosswalks, improve lighting and signage around the crosswalks would probably solve the issue.

    All the more reason for me to avoid the new Ballard, AKA West Seattle.

  • Pigeon Pointer February 17, 2015 (9:12 am)

    I have to say I am thrilled at the idea of “Vision Zero”. Making our city safer for all modes of transportation is making our city more livable. I am a driver, a pedestrian and a cyclist. I own three cars and three bikes and use them all.
    With few exceptions, roads are shared thoroughfares. Everyone trying to get from one place to another has a right to be there. If slowing my car to 30 mph will increase the survivability of the pedestrian running for his bus or the cyclist veering into my path because she hit a rut, I have to say I’m all for it. We all make mistakes; cyclists, pedestrians and drivers. Where all come together, we as drivers have to make accommodations. We are the ones who will do the most damage.
    I know the frustration of being late or commuting but not maiming or killing someone trumps everything. Cheers for Vision Zero!

  • sam-c February 17, 2015 (9:58 am)

    Pigeon Pointer- thanks for the (IMO) most reasonable and sane comment on this article. I agree.

  • miws February 20, 2015 (12:25 pm)

    Yes, very well put, Pigeon Pointer, and this…..

    We are the ones who will do the most damage.

    …..in particular stands out.

    .

    It’s been several days since I last visited this comment thread, and don’t believe anyone commented, or even implied, that the pedestrians are the ones that will be on the losing end of a car vs. pedestrian collision, but that comment has been made many times in the past, here on WSB, and of course the internet in general, and face to face discussions.

    .

    That attitude seems to imply that the burden for pedestrian safety should be on the pedestrians, and yes, for self-preservation, the pedestrians need to be cautious, alert, and aware, but by the tone of many of those types of comments, I can’t help but feel that many of those people commenting as such, appear to want to absolve vehicle drivers of responsibility.

    .

    Mike

  • standing on the C line February 27, 2015 (5:13 pm)

    “Zero Vision” is probably a better name for yet another misguided Seattle transportation initiative. When will the goal become facilitating the swift movement of people rather than slowing everything down and pushing false green agenda.

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