AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: SDOT unveils SW Roxbury plan at Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting

That’s the plan for SW Roxbury, which SDOT is about to unveil at the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s April meeting, under way until about 7:30 pm at the Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). An open house is also planned April 16th. First, WWRHAH is hearing briefly from City Council District 1 candidate Lisa Herbold (we’ll add details later on what she says, and other parts of the meeting that aren’t related to the Roxbury presentation).

6:27 PM: SDOT’s Jim Curtin begins his presentation, saying the details (which you can see in the slide deck above) aren’t much different from the previous discussion, and that implementation will start in mid-August. The package, he recaps, has short- and long-term “engineering solutions” for SW Roxbury from Olson on the east to 35th SW on the west. He also recaps the road’s conditions, which are at the start of the slide deck – 52 percent of what’s along Roxbury in that stretch is single-family residential housing. The traffic flow goes from an average of 13,000 vehicles a weekday at 35th to 25,000 vehicles each weekday at Olson. The roots of the project lie in the fact so many people speed – more than 5 mph over the speed limit, on much of the stretch – the average at 30th SW is 41 mph, “a big problem” in SDOT’s view. The stretch has seen 223 crashes with 112 injuries over just the past three years.

The changes are at 60 percent design, close to “ready to go,” Curtin said, and they are coordinating with partner agencies including Metro and King County Roads (though SDOT is accountable for the road from curb to curb). 100 percent design is expected in June, and that’s when they’ll mobilize their crews, in hopes of getting the work done by the first day of the 2015-2016 school year.

Just a few tweaks from the draft plan. From 17th to 35th SW, rechannelization is proposed, “which means we will eliminate a lane of traffic and bring Roxbury down to its surroundings, including parks and schools … while still maintaining travel times that are essentially unchanged for people who are driving. There will be short sections of bus lanes for the 120 and RapidRide; we are going to repave Roxbury from 17th to ’18th and a half’ … a really, really rough section of road.” The curb will be fixed and ADA-complaint curb ramps will be put in, 8 each at 17th and 18th SW.

300 new linear feet of sidewalk will go in, on the south (county) side of the street across from Roxhill Elementary (photo added above), past the auto-parts store and casino – “the last section of Roxbury without sidewalks,” Curtin said, adding that the city and county have secured a grant to pay for this.

No rechannelization is planned east of 17th. At the White Center intersection – 15th/16th “funky five-way split,” as he described it – curb painting and audio pedestrian signals are part of the plan. Then from Olson to 15th SW, the speed limit will be reduced to 30 mph; two new radar speed signs will go in to support that; and other “spot signage” improvements are planned. That will include changes targeting the “persistent collision patterns” at 4th SW and 8th SW. For the latter, Curtin said, the patterns are rear-end crashes. The county has put in a “warning” beacon that isn’t making a difference. Engineers concluded, Curtin said, “we need people to slow down” – as is the case with the “spinout” crashes at 4th SW – and they believe that will make a difference. (Later, he said, they hope to take that “all the way down the hill” toward 509.)

Back to the west – A “shared bus lane” will go in near Roxhill because of operational requirements for Metro and school buses; a potential bus-layover zone is being considered by Roxhill. The Metro transit stop that’s currently right in front of Roxhill Elementary will be moved to the west of 30th (where it had once been). WWRHAH’s transportation chair Chris Stripinis asked if that would create a situation like the notorious C-Line stop at Fauntleroy/California – Curtin cited reasons why it won’t, including a “partial lane” that vehicles will be able to use to get around.

No bicycle lanes right now; bicycle facilities will be considered “later” – likely 2016 – said Curtin; right now, the curb and pavement are not in good-enough shape, and so the area that later will become bicycle lanes will for now be “buffers” between vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

For rechannelization doubters, Curtin hauled out a slide he acknowledged has been shown at many meetings lately – other rechannelized streets including Fauntleroy and (outside West Seattle) NE 75th have seen decreases in crashes even as traffic volume edged up a bit.

Beyond all this, he said, in the long term: If the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle passes, SDOT hopes to “completely rebuild” SW Roxbury, with repaving and even in some places “taking it down to the dirt” and redoing it. Also, a pedestrian signal at or near 12th SW would be a long-term priority, according to Curtin (it came up often at previous meetings). Anything else missing? he asked. WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick suggested a crosswalk at 24th and Roxbury. Between 35th and 30th, Stripinis suggested, some visual cue for crossers would be helpful, since because streets don’t connect from both sides, and drivers don’t tend to stop even for the implied crosswalks at corners.

WWRHAH secretary Joe Szilagyi asked about the parking spots along Roxbury by Taqueria Guaymas at 17th. They’re staying, said Curtin, adding, “Despite what you read … we actually like parking at SDOT,” for reasons including, “it slows people down.” Speaking of slowing down, though they’re not proposing rechannelization of the entire length of Roxbury now – even though it was frequently suggested, Curtin said, during the comment period – it might be looked at again in the future. Also for the wish list, Helmick added, a roundabout for the Olson end, and more mowing and vegetation clearing so people who are walking and biking can get through.

Though it’s technically beyond Roxbury, several people brought up the walking/biking dangers of going down the hill from Olson toward SW Cloverdale and South Park, as something that should eventually be examined.

Curtin then put up the engineering plans for Roxbury, starting with the 35th/Roxbury intersection, which he said “works remarkably well.” (A side discussion erupted regarding sidewalks on 35th, and Curtin reiterated that the city has some in the works all the way to 106th. Not part of the project in the spotlight tonight, but still of interest.) One stretch is still undecided – the eastbound side near Roxbury Safeway, where they had been looking at a bus lane but decided they don’t need it. Maybe a right turn lane? Right now, by the way, Curtin said, the 28th/Roxbury intersection “functions really well,” too. At 26th, there’ll be a right-turn-only lane heading southbound, and then it’ll be a bus-only lane on the outside, east of 28th, with a bus-and-turn lane on the westbound side, turning onto 26th and heading toward Westwood Village. This intersection’s design isn’t completely finalized, though, acknowledged Curtin – “we’re still kind of wrestling with (it).”

7:20 PM: Overall, he summarized, “this project is universally loved by everyone at SDOT,” where he says some wondered how the road ever had “so many lanes.” If you have comments, go to the Open House, and/or e-mail Curtin – jim.curtin@seattle.gov – ASAP.

Rest of the meeting:

WALKABOUT RECAP: We covered the March 30th Westwood Village Transit Hub “walking tour encore” with WWRHAH and agencies including Metro, SDOT, SPD, Parks. Helmick recapped the results, including what they’d like to see to enhance pedestrian safety from here – crosswalks, visibility, and more. She says WWRHAH is expecting a response within a month. Stripinis recapped his report on the road/pavement condition around the transit-hub area. “The (condition) for the bus-travel lanes is significantly lower than the non-bus-travel lanes,” he said, adding the concerns about homes shaking when buses pass, largely because of the poor condition of the pavement. Either the road needs to be rebuilt or maybe Metro can use lighter buses, Stripinis suggested.

GRANT: Helmick said a Neighborhood Park and Street Fund grant will pay for another gravel path into the Roxhill Bog area, which will help get access for local students’ environmental education, among other things, and will also fund some “thinning out” of vegetation in the area. That will complement the previous grant won for interpretive signs in the area; an attendee expressed concern about graffiti vandalism of those signs, and Roxhill Bog steward Scott Blackstock said he’s found himself fighting that weekly these days. Might a “graffiti wall,” open to artists, be a solution, rebooting it every six months? Szilagyi wondered.

MICROSURFACING IN ARBOR HEIGHTS: WWRHAH’s Eric Iwamoto, who is the council’s representative to the Southwest District Council, recapped SDOT’s briefing at its meeting last week regarding upcoming microsurfacing work.


Read our coverage here. (As covered in our story, SWDC also heard about the transportation levy from SDOT director Scott Kubly; Helmick pointed out that he’s due at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting next week, 7 pm December 8th at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.)

WANT TO BE ON THE WWRHAH BOARD? No volunteers came forward at tonight’s meeting; secretary Szilagyi said he’s going to continue volunteer help but will not run for re-election to that office. Helmick pointed out that if she wins election to the City Council, she’ll have to step down from the co-chairship. If you’re interested, e-mail contact@wwrhah.org ASAP.

SPEAKING OF CITY COUNCIL: As mentioned earlier, District 1 candidate Lisa Herbold spoke briefly at the start of the meeting (like many community councils, this one is hearing from candidates as the election approaches). She mentioned issues of interest including equity in areas including income and policing.

She was available for Q/A; she had mentioned spending 17 years as a City Council staffer (working for outgoing Councilmember Nick Licata), and when someone remarked “That’s amazing,” she replied: “As somebody with a background in community organizing, you learn to appreciate the small victories, the small, incremental changes, if you don’t, you get burned out.” She elaborated, saying it’s been really fun because every few years, councilmembers change which committees they chair, so staffers get to work on different issues. She was also asked what she thinks about proposed campaign-finance-reform measures; she said in particular, she’d like to hear what people think about the “voucher” proposal.

P.S. There’s a candidate forum tomorrow (Wednesday), 7 pm, at the 34th District Democrats’ meeting at The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California SW.

56 Replies to "AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: SDOT unveils SW Roxbury plan at Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting"

  • smokeycretin9 April 7, 2015 (6:46 pm)

    Roxbury needs left turn lanes, not a lower speed limit that not one car even heeds currently.

    • WSB April 7, 2015 (7:08 pm)

      There’ll be a center turn lane for the stretch between 35th and 17th – they’re showing the engineering drawings right now (I don’t believe those are online).

  • Paul April 7, 2015 (9:42 pm)

    I think most of these changes are good. Can we please get a green turn arrow at the corner of Roxbury and 26th Ave SW? That is the most dangerous intersection in Seattle. I have seen more car crashes and near pedestrian injuries there than anywhere else. Hopefully these changes will cause drivers to slow down!

  • smokeycretin9 April 7, 2015 (10:00 pm)

    Thanks WSB!

  • moveseattleisfunny April 8, 2015 (8:00 am)

    SO.. doing the math here.

    18.6 MILLION vehicles travel roxbury on weekdays for 3 years(I removed weekends from the calculation). out of those 18.6 million there were 223 crashes.

    To me that sounds pretty good. Im a bit confused about this “move seattle” gimic when that includes reducing lanes, and speed limits. want to MOVE seattle? make the roads more efficient.

  • Frustrated April 8, 2015 (8:46 am)

    SDOT needs rechannelization of their brains. You already experimented with this. You did some minor road work on Roxbury, reducing throughput to 1 lane both directions in even a smaller section than this work will cover. My wife watched the ridiculousness this caused. Traffic was backed up from 26th all the way past Holy Family. And guess what, car after car after car were turning on to the residential streets, including mine, to get out of the traffic nightmare.

    You are not making it safer. You are bringing the traffic to my residential street, making it less safe.

    How can we possibly live in a City that wants to make our lives worse. They actively want to make our commute as poor as possible.

    This project would be great….IF I DIDN”T NEED TO DRIVE ANYWHERE!!!!

  • Maria April 8, 2015 (9:16 am)

    Paul and Smokey,
    Contact SDOT and ask for these turn lanes. I know one person has been advocating for them internally, but if they get more requests from us the more likely they will consider it.

  • Angry April 8, 2015 (10:27 am)

    NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT THIS.

    I casually asked 10+ people this morning in West Seattle (Roxbury area) if they were aware of this project. Not a single individual had even heard of it. The effort put into getting the word out is minimal, and ineffective because YOU DON’T WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW. You don’t want the masses fighting this stupid plan.

    This project REEKS of personal agenda. Multiple mailers should have been sent out to everyone in the neighborhood – FOR EACH PLANNING SESSION. Local businesses should have been provided with flyers to hand out. How about a plug on KUOW?

    If you are a lawyer, or know some lawyers that are interested in fighting this, it’s way past time to try stopping this stupid project. I would love a thousand+ people suing the City over this. Anyone familiar with how to start something of this sort?

    • WSB April 8, 2015 (11:24 am)

      Postcard:
      .
      https://wwrhah.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/notes-from-sdots-first-roxbury-safety-study-hearing
      .
      Also, a reminder: While we don’t require people to register to comment, nor do we require “real names” – we do require that once you choose a handle for a specific conversation following a particular story, you keep it for that conversation, rather than changing it so that it might appear to someone reading that your comments are coming from multiple participants. Thank you – TR

  • Chris April 8, 2015 (10:27 am)

    @Frustrated – SDOT might be interested to know which street you live on that experienced drivers bypassing Roxbury Street during construction. I asked SDOT about the possibility of drivers using side streets to avoid a rechannelized Roxbury and they pointed out that the only viable east/west venues nearby are Barton and 106th. (They are monitoring traffic volumes on both to see if there are any changes later.) Was your street one of these or another one?

  • Frustrated April 8, 2015 (11:22 am)

    @Chris

    Barton and 106th (106th, becomes 107th, and then 108th) run East/West. It’s all the North/South streets that are affected by this traffic. The cars trying to drive East/West turn onto a North/South residential street to avoid the pile-up of cars. My wife noted many cars turning North onto each of 21st-25th Ave SW to avoid traffic. These are cars that would normally use either 26th Ave or 35th Ave to head North, but are moving onto quiet residential streets due to traffic flow problems.

    I honestly don’t believe SDOT wants to listen. They have an obvious agenda regarding reduction of throughput. They have an obvious agenda of reducing the means of driving a vehicle, in an attempt of forcing us to bike or bus. Their answer to the problem above is to just install speed bumps.

    The sad fact is, I can ride a bicycle 10 miles distance nearly 3 times faster than the same commute by bus, and as fast as a commute by car – faster when the traffic is backed up.

    There is no interest in improving the flow of traffic in Seattle – only reducing traffic, as we continue to add more homes, more people to our neighborhoods.

    I am stupefied by the ineptitude of our city planners.

  • Frustrated April 8, 2015 (12:09 pm)

    @TR

    There has been a SINGLE postcard. I’ll underscore that, a SINGLE postcard, since the project started. The attendance of the planning sessions has been incredibly poor. The first meeting had 15 people! That is hardly representative of West Seattle, and its community.

    I’d like to know how many people received that postcard? How many were sent? To what streets?

    Most people in West Seattle don’t read the blog daily, or at all. I sure don’t. I read from time to time, but not daily, or even weekly at times. Life is preciously short on time, for most of us. And thus, getting people involved unless they want to complain about something, is rare.

    I don’t believe for a minute this project reflects the views of people living in the neighborhood, or use the street daily. This entire project is the personal agenda of the WWRHAH co-chairs.

    Also, there was zero intent to come across as a second individual, however, I’ll stick to using the “Frustrated” handle.

  • Mickymse April 8, 2015 (12:19 pm)

    @Angry, do you not see the irony in making this complaint on a news article about the project (and not the first coverage) on one of the Top Two media sources for the area?
    .
    If people aren’t paying attention, exactly whose fault is that? Have you let your neighbors know about it?

  • Chris April 8, 2015 (12:38 pm)

    @Frustrated – I think you bring up some valuable points about the difficulties of reaching people in our busy, isolated society. Short of knocking door-to-door, I think it can be hard provide widespread information about community events.

    We are very fortunate in West Seattle to have the blog as a community news source and forum. Imagine how much harder these conversations would be without it. (Thanks Tracy and Patrick!)

    Regarding the postcards, according to SDOT, they were mailed to households and businesses that are north of SW 104th St, south of Barton, west of Myers Way S, and east of 40th Ave SW. I believe that these were sent out by SDOT to announce at least 3 separate rounds of public meetings/hearings in the last year and a half.

  • Frustrated April 8, 2015 (12:44 pm)

    @Mickymse

    I really am struggling to understand either the irony or your point. Please elaborate.

    My message is intended to influence the people that are aware of this project, might be in favor of it, or may be just a “silent listener”, that do pay attention to this news source. I am fully aware that my comments don’t reach the vast majority of the people in West Seattle, and that the vast majority of people, in general, live in a bubble or simply don’t care either way.

    Again, I really don’t understand your point at all…you add NOTHING to the conversation other than being a Troll.

    As for my neighbors – I personally can’t speak for who knows and who doesn’t. Nor is that my responsibility. I can only say, that one of my neighbors is a Co-Chair to the WWRHAH, and we have a strong disagreement in relation to this project, and we both know it, and acknowledge it. We’ve had that conversation in the past.

    If you want to add something of value, voice an opinion and state why you feel that way…rather than trolling.

  • Chris April 8, 2015 (1:04 pm)

    Also, the West Seattle Herald has covered these meetings as well.

  • AmandaKH April 8, 2015 (1:13 pm)

    @ Neighbor/Frustrated (I won’t call you out) This SDOT project came about from multiple meetings of the WWRHAH in 2013. We teamed up with Highland Park Action Committee, and the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council. Hardly just our “personal agenda”. We had been discussing this project for months at any of the public WWRHAH meetings, held the 1st Tuesday of every month at the SW Library. WSB and the Herald had followed, and reported on any number of times this was discussed, and the actual SDOT meetings held last fall.
    *
    This project and it’s outcome DOES in fact reflect the views of the people in the neighborhood. That’s where these ideas come from – not some vacuum that SDOT lives in.
    *
    I’m sorry that you missed the open comment period. You KNEW about this project, since we talked a lot about it. But you are free to send your suggestions on making Roxbury safer for everyone to Jim Curtin via email jim.curtin@seattle.gov
    *
    Amanda

  • Eric the Co-chair April 8, 2015 (1:19 pm)

    Okay, I am guilty as charged. When brought to my attention, I did champion safety along Roxbury. I live south of Roxbury and use it, 35th and Fauntleroy a majority of the time. Of these, which is the safest street? If you went to the meetings, it is pretty evident that changes on Fauntleroy have made it safer with minimal travel time impacts. Likewise, I think that the increased safety to time lost ratio will prove to be favorable on Roxbury as well.
    .
    I went to the public meetings and we had several WWRHAH meetings on the subject. Frankly there was little opposition to the plan; especially when people found out that it would be limited to the east side. I believe that if this was truly against the wishes of the community, it would not have gone this far. This thread is pretty calm compared to the 35th Ave thread so I don’t get the feeling that this is a bad idea. Public action started this process and public action can always stop it (California Ave in the Junction was reverted back to 4 lanes).
    .
    Time will tell if this was a good idea. I am willing to see if this is successful or not.

  • Rick April 8, 2015 (1:22 pm)

    What is the birdish thing in the top pic and does it serve a purpose?

  • Frustrated April 8, 2015 (1:29 pm)

    @Amanda

    We will have to agree to disagree. It’s been a long time since I attended one of the meetings. Yesterday evening, I worked till 1AM, hence my absence. The few meetings I have attended, they had pretty low attendance, hence my belief the goals of the project aren’t in-line with the community. Not a single person from West Seattle that I asked this morning had even heard of the project, much less knew about planning sessions etc…

    This shows that the majority of people simply do not know, are not aware, and thus haven’t had the opportunity to voice their opinion either in dissent or agreement of the project. One can argue it’s their fault, that they are unaware, and I won’t argue against that point, as I believe in accountability and responsibility.

    However, one can also argue, little has been done to get the interest of people. How about everyone from the Southpark area the drives up Roxbury for shopping? Were they mailed, notified? Many of these people don’t have internet/computers at home, or don’t read the WSB. How about all the commuters from Vashon, that come up from the ferry terminal and commute down to the freeways? Were they given any chance to voice an opinion? Should their opinion matter as much as someone who lives nearby? That’s a tough question to answer. Regardless, the majority of people in West Seattle don’t even know their roads are being reduced.

    If this were up for public vote, and passed, I would have nothing to complain about. I sincerely do not believe this would pass public vote.

    -Edit: Correction regarding my earlier point that me asking 10+ people this morning is representative of all of West Seattle – that obviously is not statistically a large enough sample. However, I have a strong impression, that it likely is. I am a fairly connected person, and this project is, 99.9% of the time, an afterthought, amongst the many other responsibilities that I have.

  • Nora April 8, 2015 (2:06 pm)

    Frustrated, I drove in that backup you’re referring to. I don’t think you get a very accurate picture when you compare a backup caused by a repaving project with traffic being directed at a light where the people directing traffic aren’t synched up with the light to new road configuration that has a consistent, logical flow. Before you rush to judgement, look at the engineering sketches. This section of Roxbury is heavily residential with 2 schools. I happen to think that the rechannelization is appropriate.

  • Frustrated April 8, 2015 (2:32 pm)

    @Nora,

    I don’t need to look at engineer sketches to know that there are residences and schools on this section of Roxbury. I live on this section of Roxbury, and drive it every day.

    I’ve looked at the sketches, they show a reduction of traffic throughput. The design is to restrict the flow to traffic to limit speed. There is nothing in this design to improve traffic flow over what exists today. It will worsen traffic flow, and that is its intent and purpose.

    I would cease arguing against rechannelization of Roxbury if there was a road widening project on a different street. Our city planning is horrendous. We’ve forced our city into a box where schools are are on the busiest streets, the streets that help reduce traffic on our side streets.

    I can’t wait till they change the zoning to allow multi-family dwellings everywhere – and its bound to happen as we don’t have enough homes. There will likely be no parking requirement, just like in Ballard, and other surrounding areas. Pretty soon you won’t be able to park or drive your vehicle.

    Hey – at least that will raise the value of my property enough to hopefully sell and move as far away from this stupidity as possible…

  • Dave April 8, 2015 (2:48 pm)

    @Frustrated,
    You are not alone. I feel the exact same way that you do about this.

    @Nora, I do NOT think the rechannelization is appropriate.

    If 85% of the drivers are speeding, perhaps that is an indication that the majority wants higher speed limits.

  • Joe Szilagyi April 8, 2015 (3:55 pm)

    To be crystal clear, ANY accusation that a “road diet” was an agenda of WWRHAH is a pure fiction. WWRHAH never even voted on a desired outcome. SDOT did all the planning on their own after initial meetings.
    .
    Our letter that we sent along with HPAC and NHUAC has been repeatedly shared. We asked for SDOT to fix the completely out of control speeding issues (42mph in front of Roxhill Elementary on average), the lack of sidewalks, the broken sidewalks, the collisions (4th & 8th & Roxbury statistically are amongst the worst in the city – whether any one of you disagrees is irrelevant; you are never entitled to your own facts), and to make up for decades of neglect and looking the other way.
    .
    SDOT did the outreach they do, per their policies. We had nothing to do with it and it was done after we asked them to look at it. Direct any complaints to the past THREE mayoral administrations, from Nickels to McGinn to Murray, who ALL supported these actions on the record, if you dislike them.

  • Nora April 8, 2015 (4:03 pm)

    @Frustrated and Dave,

    I picked this area to live in because it looked and felt like the ‘burbs, while still only being a 20-30 minute commute to my job at the north end of the waterfront. My 6 am commute skews that a bit, but c’est la vie. I grew up in the ‘burbs and went to school in Pullman. I’m a ‘burbs person, so I’m all for anything that makes my little slice of heaven more burb-tastic. Personal bias aside, when I have kids, they’ll be allowed to walk anywhere they want within a mile radius (some restrictions apply), including to and from school. Odds are they’ll either be at Roxhill or Arbor Heights, and having slower, calmer traffic will make it so I don’t have to worry about their safety as much. And, as much as I like going for walks, I prefer to come home from them, and to do so without a stop at Harborview on the way.

  • Chris April 8, 2015 (4:20 pm)

    @Dave
    “If 85% of the drivers are speeding, perhaps that is an indication that the majority wants higher speed limits.”

    Speed limits should be determined by what is appropriate for the road and its surroundings, including other users besides motor vehicles. Pushing speed limits up to match whatever drivers “want” seems like a recipe for disaster.

  • miws April 8, 2015 (4:53 pm)

    If 85% of the drivers are speeding, perhaps that is an indication that the majority wants higher speed limits.

    .

    So, what are people using other modes of getting around (walking, bicycle), supposed to do, with motor vehicles travelling at high speed along Roxbury?

    .

    The sidewalks along both sides of Roxbury, between around 21st, and on down to around 25th are pretty narrow.

    .

    Several years ago, I walked Roxbury from 16th or 17th, on down to 30th. It was the first time in years, if not a couple decades or so, that I had done so. I had forgotten how intimidating it was to have cars whizzing by, some, or many perhaps, well over the speed limit, that close by. Not to mention the occasional delivery truck with wide mirrors zipping by.

    .

    How are pedestrians supposed to get across the street, at a non-signalized intersection, if cars are flying along so fast that it’s hard to judge a long enough break in traffic to safely get across four lanes?

    .

    How are bicyclists supposed to safely navigate Roxbury, with its narrow lanes? Before anyone says “sidewalk”, well, then there is going to be conflict there, with the narrow sidewalks, and cyclists and pedestrians trying to pass each other safely. Not as huge of an issue, on the more standard wider sidewalks, that also may have a wide enough parking strip for on or the other to move off to.

    .

    This attitude of how terrible things are for automobile drivers, when really, those that use other forms of transportation like walking, cycling, bus, are so often at the greatest disadvantage has gotten old.

    .

    Yes, I know not everyone can do without a car, and not everyone can carpool. Just like not everyone can afford a car, and must rely on other means, and hope to hell they make it to and from their destinations without getting hit by a car.

    .

    Mike

  • wetone April 8, 2015 (5:08 pm)

    Frustrated, I agree much of what your saying and have experienced much of the same response being a property owner on 35th. City plans for rechannelization of 35th will push traffic to parallel side streets. It will also make it next to impossible for home owners that have driveways on 35th to enter roadway and slowing traffic when entering. Going to one lane north/south will be crazy. I and many of my neighbors also never got a heads up from city on their plans for the 35th. rechannelization. Time will show the real outcome of rechannelization all to soon.

  • Julie April 8, 2015 (6:37 pm)

    Count me in as in favor of the rechannelization. I find driving on Fauntleroy far less fraught since the changes there, and it has not proved to be the pinch point some anticipated. I believe Roxbury will also benefit. Far from “stupidity”, I see thoughtful and intelligent planning from SDOT.

  • Lagartija Nick April 8, 2015 (6:39 pm)

    For those of you who are so against the rechanneling of Roxbury and and 35th, will you eat your words and apologize for your inflammatory rhetoric when the world doesn’t end after these projects are completed and all of the horrible things you predict don’t come to pass?

    I say this because these were the exact same arguments that were made against the rechannelization of Fauntleroy. And as someone who drove Fauntleroy daily for years, rechannelization made that drive safer, way less frustrating, and dare I say it, a much faster commute.

    I personally detest driving on both Roxbury and 35th right now. No left turn lanes, people weaving in and out of lanes (most of the time with no turn signals), and doing 45 mph like it’s their own little speedway. Truly a nightmare every single time.

    I love driving on Fauntleroy and Delridge now. So much less stress.

    So, I will ask again. Will you admit that you were wrong and that the sky didn’t fall when these projects are completed and driving these two routes are less stressful, safer for everyone, and just as fast or faster once they are finished.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • Frustrated April 8, 2015 (9:26 pm)

    @Lagartija Nick

    Yeah, I would have no issue admitting I am wrong, if the rechannelization doesn’t make commute times worse, and push cars onto my residential side street.

    As far as Roxbury is concerned, 9 times of 10 its the people making a RIGHT hand turns that cause traffic to slow down. I drive Roxbury daily and don’t ever feel stressed out, rarely see people driving 45 (35-40 sure), and the weaving is again, due to people turning RIGHT. With one exception….8th Ave. With a dedicated turn lane on 4th a few block earlier, there should be no left turn allowed onto 8th (From my perspective – and no this is not a new concept as no left turn exists everywhere in Seattle where its dangerous or causes congestion).

    So I completely disagree with just about any argument made in favor of this project. I run along Roxbury all the time, and cross frequently. It’s not an issue. I could see it being an issue to take a leisurely stroll across 4 lanes with no crosswalk…but would you take a leisurely stroll across a highway?

    Yes, I understand Roxbury is not a highway, but neither is it a residential street. Its a mixed commericial/residential street, that was designed to MOVE traffic – hence 4 lanes! Have you all forgotten the concept that some roads were built to get traffic off side streets and make it flow quicker? Now that’s a novel concept! You don’t have to walk Roxbury if you don’t want to! There are plenty of East/West streets to take you to your favorite places. Use one of those, and walk an extra block – you might even build some additional capillaries and improve your health!

    And again, let me reiterate that I would absolutely be fine with this project if another nearby road were being widened to improve traffic flow. I am sick and tired of this city’s war against cars. Cars are necessary in this city, because the public transportation system is grossly pathetic.

    It takes me as long to catch a bus from West Seattle to my office in Lower Queen Anne as my coworkers that commute from MAPLE VALLEY!!!

  • Jane Boe April 8, 2015 (10:47 pm)

    @Frustrated – I am Frustrated2. I couldn’t agree more with your position. With Increased population and increased density it makes no mathematical sense to decrease capacity of any kind. We don’t need to be taking every road down from 4 lanes to 2. They are doing the same thing on 35th. They have done it on Avalon, Fauntleroy where there used to be no traffic problem and now you can’t get through the light on 35th due to the reduction of lanes. Since they have redone Avalon with 2 lanes and a bike lane, I have seen one bike on that lane in the past 18 months – crazy. The amount more of CO2 into the atmosphere with these changes seems counter productive. They do seem to be trying to keep it quite.

  • JanS April 9, 2015 (1:19 am)

    Dear Rick…that “thing” with the birds is public art. It’s purpose is to be whimsical and aesthetic. Hell, maybe it generates power, too, for all I know :->

    To the others who think that this is a bad idea. What are your ideas, and where are you getting your engineering education? Why aren’t you in these meetings, helping to spread the word, presenting your ideas? Oh, that’s someone else’s job? Then be quiet, because there’s your answer…someone else DID do it.

    To the gentleman who said that the speed limits should rise because 85% speed anyway…you’re actually serious, aren’t you? Do you control your car, or does your car control you? In the same vein, if everyone started to go 55 MPH on California Ave…should the speed limit then reflect that? What a bunch of crap !!!

  • Chris April 9, 2015 (7:05 am)

    @Frustrated
    I just want to clarify a few of your points:
    – “I drive Roxbury daily and … rarely see people driving 45”
    According to SDOT, the 85th percentile speed on Roxbury at 30th (in front of Roxhill Elementary) is 41 MPH. That means that approximately 1 in 6 drivers are going FASTER than 41 MPH. This is insanely fast for a 30 MPH zone. Also, I have lived right on Roxbury for 13 years and I can personally attest to the high percentage of speeders. (Trust me, you can tell when people are going fast.)

    – The purpose of the rechannelization is to make it NOT feel like a highway, which it currently does. According to SDOT, Roxbury was never designed to handle large volumes of traffic. The four lanes are simply an artifact of an earlier time, when the road was built wide. Unfortunately, its wideness encourages people to treat it like a road with higher capacity and higher speeds. The lane reduction is simply a long overdue correction to a size and feel more appropriate for the neighborhood.

    – “You don’t have to walk Roxbury if you don’t want to!”
    My neighbors and I that live on Roxbury would disagree. To walk to Safeway, for instance, I would have to climb the fence into my neighbor’s yard and take a completely circuitous route to get there. Likewise, people walking to the bus stops (which are ON Roxbury) or walking their kids to the schools (which are ON Roxbury) might also dispute this.

  • Born on Alki 59 April 9, 2015 (7:19 am)

    Jan, Most days I’d be happy to get to 15 mph on California Ave! I usually take a side street option to avoid that mess, which I predict will only get worse with increased density. I dont think I’m alone utilizing the side street option. Why would 35th and Roxbury be any different once re-channeled? I believe arterials should serve the purpose they were originally designed for, move traffic efficiently. We can improve safety without decreasing capacity with a few common sense improvements. Turn lanes, or specific areas of no left turns, speed humps, lower speed limit etc. I couldnt imagine living on 35th and attempting to enter or exit my driveway into one lane of steady traffic. Just my .02 cents.

  • AmandaKH April 9, 2015 (8:58 am)

    I think what is missing in this conversation is what is actually happening to West Seattle. We don’t have mass transit options, and unless Olympia “allows” us to have a full $15B for ST3, we might be out of luck for light rail – in 20 years. And I get that, I see it and have been working towards solutions. However, SDOT cited a statistic that people are actually driving less often than ever before. Bus ridership is up, biking is up, working from home is up as well. I think making streets safer for everyone should be a priority for all West Seattle residents. This is not the first project SDOT has done, and there is plenty of data to back up the positive affects it has on a neighborhood. The fear that people will cut through, unfounded. The fear that traffic jams will increase, unfounded. But what is true is a reduction in speeding, collisions and ultimately serious injuries. Roxbury is a heavily used street for all modes, it’s time we start prioritizing safety improvements for those that don’t have 2,000 lbs of steel around them as protection. And you that hate this, are in the minority. You may be vocal, but the majority of people who participated wanted to see Roxbury re-channelized all the way to 4th Ave SW. SDOT didn’t think that was a good idea, so they decided not to do it. I’m sorry you are frustrated and angry, but your anger is disproportionate to the impact this will have on your life.

  • Joe Szilagyi April 9, 2015 (8:59 am)

    “You don’t have to walk Roxbury if you don’t want to!”
    .
    What nonsense. At least ten people that I know of on my block don’t drive, let alone all the surrounding blocks, and let alone the entire communities of senior citizens across the street from or on Roxbury. Should we tell those 90 year olds to piss off? The selfishness here is staggering and soul crushing. Do you know how the people on my block would get to Safeway if they didn’t walk on Roxbury? Seeing as, you know, it’s ON Roxbury?
    .
    As for anyone that lives north of Roxbury, oh well. You shoulda bought a car.
    .
    It’s time for the children to sit down and let the adults have a conversation.

  • Joe Szilagyi April 9, 2015 (9:13 am)

    @Born on Alki, “We can improve safety without decreasing capacity with a few common sense improvements.”
    .
    Road diets on Fauntleroy and Delridge and Stone Way and 125th et al did *NOT* reduce capacity, as SDOT has shown from study after study after study. Capacity is UP on all of them a few percentage points. More cars per day drive Fauntleroy than pre-road diet. THAT is capacity.
    .
    Capacity is *NOT* speed. No one is entitled to drive one mile per hour faster than what our valid, lawful, derived from the people legal framework is allowed to drive. You are *NOT* entitled to speed, and that’s what is limited by these road diets to improve safety in part.
    .
    If that limit says 20, 25, 30, or 35, that’s your MAXIMUM speed under BEST conditions. It’s not a right to see if we can stay at or near the maximum for the duration. And yes, the government (under our collective authority) has every right to change the rules of the road, at will. That’s what society does.

  • Frustrated April 9, 2015 (9:53 am)

    @Jans “To the others who think that this is a bad idea. What are your ideas, and where are you getting your engineering education? Why aren’t you in these meetings, helping to spread the word, presenting your ideas?”

    -How about working till 1am, putting food on the table, and fulfilling my primary responsibilities of being a father and husband. I’m pretty certain those are vastly more important. As for being an engineer – guess what, I am one! I may not be a civil/transportation engineer, but I am an intelligent member of this community, that is capable of understanding design.

    @Joe -Your idea of selfishness is insane and inane. You believe the road should be rechanneled so a few people benefit, while the vast MAJORITY of people that use the road get screwed over. Tell me – who is the one being selfish?

    And like I said, if the majority of people want this change, then yes, it should absolutely move forward. If the majority of people don’t want the change, it should stop immediately. Very few people affected by this change even know about it – from what I can gather by asking random people in the community.

    When I walk to White Center, I’ll either walk Roxbury, or if I want a quieter walk, I’ll walk a block further south and take 98th, or take Cambridge.

    Converting this road a to single lane in both directions is NOT required for safety. Overhead crosswalks could be installed. Flashing crosswalks can be installed. Turn lanes can be installed where appropriate. No turn signs can be installed where appropriate. Street paving improvements should have happened years ago.

    And, again, I would be fine with this change if there was a road widening project on a nearby street. Tell me – where/when is that going to happen? I have no desire to see my already stupidly long commute take even longer. Nor do I want more people taking my residential side street as a cut-through to Westwood Village – and we already get people doing that, racing down our road at 40 miles per hour where our children play.

    @Chris – It’s incredibly rare that I drive West of 26th Ave, so I can’t say I am an expert of that section. I drive between 17th and 26th multiple times a day. However, I cross frequently at 28th Ave when I am out running. Sure, I am not 90, barely able to walk, but I have no problem crossing the street, given all complaints people are making about how hard it is to walk Roxbury. Would I mind if the sidewalks were widened – no, that would be fine – but you don’t need to reduce the street to 2 lanes to widen the sidewalks!! As for SDOT – would you argue they have done a decent job planning for the future of this city, when its roads are concerned? Seattle is repeatedly ranked in the top 10 of worst traffic congestion in the US. None of our neighborhoods were built with any future vision for traffic capacity, nor were any of our major roadways. Would you seriously trust any of their past judgement, considering our current state? The decisions they are making now, are still about reduction of traffic flow. Nowhere is there design for greater capacity. Look at the stupid tunnel project…they are putting us on surface streets with traffic lights to get downtown!!!! And at the same time, they are reducing the number of lanes to bypass downtown!!!! The idea that you reference any of their decision making as sound is ludicrous.

    If the City and Metro got their crap together and put together a public transportation plan that could get me to work, on a daily basis, in less than 45 minutes door to door, I’d probably never commute by car again. It takes me, on average 75-80 minutes by bus. And about 35 minutes by car with traffic – 15 minutes without traffic. Guess what – without traffic, that bus ride doesn’t improve – it still takes 75+ minutes!!!!! The city can take their road diets, and choke on them. I sincerely hope they do.

  • Frustrated April 9, 2015 (10:00 am)

    @Chris
    BTW ranked 8th on Forbes for worse traffic congestion, and we are all the way down at 21st in terms of population. Does that compute? Is our city transportation team doing their job?

  • Born on Alki 59 April 9, 2015 (10:32 am)

    @JoeS,
    First, I do not believe I mentioned anything about increasing speed, in fact i support the 30mph proposal on 35th.
    Second, I dont put much faith in SDOT’s studies. (call me skeptical)
    Third, how is reducing 35th to one lane each way NOT a decrease of capacity? Considering the current traffic volume and number of homes with driveways/garages bordering 35th, what will happen when someone stops to back into their driveway? Um, hopefully the one lane of traffic will come to a stop to allow that to transpire safely. I’m no traffic engineer, but common sense says the one lane of traffic will probably turn into one long string of slow moving vehicles. I would propose a temporary two lane experimental road diet on 35th first. If all goes well, I’m willing to eat crow. In order for this to work, everyone will need to follow the rules of the road and be courteous….something I just dont observe much these days.

  • Dave April 9, 2015 (3:53 pm)

    @JoeS,
    Stop already with your holier than thou speed lectures!

    @Lagartija Nick,
    It’s a two-way street. If we get backups and increased travel times, will YOU admit you were wrong?

    I drive Roxbury every day and I don’t speed. I’ve followed these plans from their inception. I’ve talked to Jim Curtin and have reviewed the presentations. I understand the goal. I’m willing to give these improvements a chance, but some of the comments on this thread have raised my ire. The WWRHAH council should not assume that theirs is “the majority” view…throughout this whole discussion they have shown only a pro-pedestrian, “residence on Roxbury” bias.

    The street is an ARTERIAL and always has been.

  • Sunuva April 9, 2015 (6:25 pm)

    I’m on the side of the skeptics and those opposed to the rechannelization. This area is growing and these arterials already handle a very heavy amount of traffic. It seems counter-intuitive in terms of efficiency to reduce lanes when we expect more traffic on an already crowded arterial. To argue this point doesn’t mean I don’t want the road fixed to be more safe! As others mentioned, there are plenty of other options besides rechannelization that could be used to improve safety.

    For those who keep bringing up Fauntleroy; there is a big difference here in that when Fauntleroy was done, there were other alternatives to choose. When this current work is done, there will not be any efficient or faster options for getting through West Seattle left. We are leaving not even one arterial that can handle the traffic load.

    I certainly hope this doesn’t cause the chaos I predict it will. I’d love to have safer and calmer streets that work efficiently and a commute that is reasonable. I’ll be just fine saying I was wrong. However, at this point, I’m having trouble believing that will be the case.

    Lastly, I live in Arbor Heights and have received not a single card or communication about this. I haven’t seen any fliers or notifications anywhere around the community or local businesses. The only reason I know is because I read this blog. As others have mentioned, this work will effect ALL of the surrounding communities and anyone who uses these arterials, but it seems the notifications and outreach have only been focused on those who are directly adjacent to the arterials. All of you who are directly involved in this seem offended when others have suggested there wasn’t enough outreach. Why? If multiple people are asking for it, maybe there’s a truth to it!

  • AmandaKH April 9, 2015 (7:08 pm)

    You’ve got that right Dave! I am Definitely pro-pedestrian, and always will be. Again, WWRHAH didn’t take Any position. The majority view comes from the people at the planning meetings that SDOT held.

  • Frustrated April 9, 2015 (10:53 pm)

    @Amanda

    Pro-pedestrian doesn’t require rechannelization, nor does it require being against vehicles. There are places for cars, and there are places for people – cars and people aren’t intended to interact, unless you are behind a wheel. There’s a reason for that. Thats why we have highways, freeways, and arterials. The point of arterials, is to get the cars away from the people. Take away the arterials, and you put the cars and people back in the situation they were in before. There are numerous methods of making safety a priority without having to reduce the traffic throughput. The city has no interest in this. They have been heavily fighting cars for years, and at the same time, shrinking our public transportation options (Metro). They have turned this city into a traffic nightmare.

    I road the bus daily for over 5 years. I had even sold my vehicle. It was my only form of transportation. I watched my commute increase from 25 minutes to 75+ minutes. And a missed bus could make it almost 2 hours. Or, driving would make that same trip 15-35 minutes. On a terrible morning, maybe 45-50 minutes. Nothing has been done to improve capacity. It’s time to say NO to these stupid projects. It’s time for the city to put real effort into making our streets both safe and move vehicles. If that means they need to buy up land and widen the road, so be it. If they need to turn a different street into an arterial – one with no schools – so be it. But plans that are intended to reduce speed by reducing traffic flow, so that our transit times are longer, and we waste more of our lives sitting in a car – unforgivable. In a single day, with an average of 16,500 cars, if transit times increase by 1 minute, you have cause the waste of nearly two weeks of human life, stuck behind a wheel. If traffic times increase by 5 minutes, you have cause the waste of nearly 3 MONTHS of human life, in a SINGLE DAY.

    Please, understand your arguments. Let me repeat, so it sinks in – at 16,500 average cars per day, if transit increased on average 1 minute, you’ve wasted a total of 12 days of human life. In a single year, you will have wasted 12 YEARS of human life behind a wheel.

    People have no consideration of how a simple change can have such a considerable impact. It may seem trivial, but the numbers don’t lie. There is no reasonable argument, in my opinion, that can justify screwing people over so horrendously, when there are other options to improve safety.

  • Chris April 10, 2015 (8:29 am)

    @Frustrated –

    That’s an interesting calculus you’ve suggested, in terms of human life lost. Since SDOT has stated that each injury accident costs society about $6,000,000, here’s the numbers for the loss of human life a safer Roxbury street could prevent:

    $6 million divided by a wage of $20/hour for everyone involved works out to 12,500 days lost/accident. With 112 injury collisions on Roxbury in the past 3 years, that works out to about 462,500 days of human life lost per year. Compared with only 250,000 days of life lost per year with a 1 minute rechannelization delay, this seems like a great improvement in time SAVED for society. And, this replaces the legal fees, auto body work, physical therapy, and lost sleep with an an extra minute of listening to Steely Dan (or whatever) in a comfy air-conditioned car.

    Throw in the non-injury accident time lost and you have additional time savings.

    Thanks for the useful statistic!

    * $6 million/accident citation http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/heres-what-happened-at-35th-sw-safety-options-meeting-2/

  • Chris April 10, 2015 (8:40 am)

    Whoops, I realized I miscalculated and forgot to divide by 60. It should read 462,500 days of human life lost to accidents/year and only 4,182 days lost/year to rechannelization. Sorry about that.

  • Born on Alki 59 April 10, 2015 (9:37 am)

    6 million per injury according to SDOT? Keep drinking that koolaid kids.

  • NB April 10, 2015 (9:40 am)

    Please, do you really believe that will delay only ONE minute??? Funny that you only did the math for 1 minute delay, lol. I think more like 10 to 15 minutes around rush hour, even more if SDOT do the same at 35th. Why not have a few days of one lane trial before moving on with this project? If, SDOT fix the road, sidewalks, add flashing light crosswalks, use the 2 cameras from the schools zone to catch speeders, etc, probably they can cut those accidents/ injuries by half.
    I say NO to rode diet.

  • Chris April 10, 2015 (9:50 am)

    @NB

    Regarding the suggestion of a 10-15 minute delay:

    10 or 15 minutes to travel a one mile section of Roxbury would equate to going 6 MPH or 4 MPH, respectively. I have to ask, does that even seem possible?

  • wetone April 10, 2015 (10:34 am)

    If the heads of SPD would just put patrol officers on 35th along with other arterials having unsafe issues and start enforcing current laws we have much would be solved. This includes all motorized vehicle drivers, bicycle riders and people on feet. For some reason this city has got away from ticketing people that don’t follow the rules of the road and many other things. Instead the city’s answer is get together with SDOT and rechannelize problem area roadways penalizing all users. For those that keep quoting SDOT studies and how Fauntleroy handles more capacity now I would have to agree. Reasons being West Seattle’s population growth along with more ferry traffic :) I wish all the pro rechannelization people would go spend a couple of hours on 35th during rush hour times see what’s really happening, not just trust SDOT data.

  • NB April 10, 2015 (10:44 am)

    Yes, it’s possible. I watched cars bumper to bumper not moving at all (0 MPH )for several minutes during the repaving last year, they were backed up all the way to 21st Ave and unfortunately some drivers took my street (23rd) to get to Barton. I should had taken pictures so people would have an idea of the impact of this project. Only 2 blocks of one lane did it. It went on from 3:45sh till around 6:00sh pm every day during the repaving project. SDOT should had monitored that, maybe they did but just don’t want to share it.

  • Chris April 10, 2015 (12:36 pm)

    @Born on Alki
    I checked with SDOT and the $6 million figure was for serious injury or fatality collisions. So, I apologize, as I misinterpreted that statistic.

    Still, this study (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-11-02/fatal-vehicle-crashes-cost-millions/51051030/1) cites a figure of $126,000 average per injury collision. Using that number, I get a figure of about $4.7 million per year for Roxbury injury collisions (again, 111 injury collisions in the past 3 years). At $20/hour, that comes out to 9,792 “days lost” per year on accidents vs. 4,182 “days lost”/year to rechannelization with a 1 minute delay. Even if some accidents still occur, that still seems like a better use of everyone’s time and money.

  • Chris April 10, 2015 (12:40 pm)

    @NB

    When you compare to the 2 lanes open during construction, keep in mind that in road construction zones, people are working in the road. For their safety, there are flaggers, signs, lane shifts, police directing traffic, etc. All of this is designed to slow and even stop drivers for workplace safety, so it is not an accurate comparison to traffic flow in a two lane street under non-construction circumstances.

  • Frustrated April 10, 2015 (2:30 pm)

    @Chris

    Your math is still flawed, because the premise that safety only occurs with a reduction of lanes is a fallacy. Your math is also flawed, because this project doesn’t stop with a 1 mile section of Roxbury. SDOT was already considering the full stretch of Roxbury for rechannelization, and if you believe they won’t stop, when we give them full reign to invade our neighborhoods with their crappy transit plans, you are wrong. They will continue to erode our ability to drive our cars. Your math is flawed because they are trying to accomplish the same rechannelization on 35th ave. When you start combining the amount of time lost due to the sheer number of vehicles, it becomes staggering.

    Seattle is ranked 3rd worst city in the US (by Forbes) for evening commutes, with a congestion level of 74%. Yet we only are 21st in population. The estimate is 37 hours wasted in traffic, per individual. That is roughly 4% of your time spent working, in a year, spent behind a wheel.

    Any argument that adds time to that number is plain wrong. You cannot convince me to support a single road project that adds to that number, without providing a road project that decreases that number. But then, you are also likely a person that is willing to give up any one of your freedoms, if you feel like you might be more “safe.”

  • Frustrated April 10, 2015 (2:38 pm)

    @WWRHAH

    Any comment to suggest that WWRHAH doesn’t support this is also untrue, when both co-chairs are STRONG proponents of this project, and are pushing heavily for it….

    Edit – as is JoeS, another member of the WWRHAH board.

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