Roxbury report card: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, report #1

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(WSB photo added Tuesday afternoon, looking east from west of 30th SW; future-sidewalk zone is at right)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two major transportation-related topics at tonight’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting, too big for one story, so we’re tackling them separately.

In this first report: A SW Roxbury Safety Project report card, six months after changes including the rechannelization of its western mile-plus, to one travel lane each way plus a center turn lane, presented with information about what’s yet to come.

Jim Curtin, SDOT’s project manager for Roxbury (and the concurrent 35th SW changes), brought new stats, half a year after preps for the restriping began, along with an update on what’s next.

First, a bit of backstory. The rechannelization plan was unveiled in July 2014, but traced back to WWRHAH discussions more than a year earlier.

As Curtin explained tonight, “It was an effort to improve safety, and it all came up because this neighborhood council sent a thoughtful letter asking us to take a look at the corridor … as anyone in the neighborhood knows, walking along Roxbury was not a fun thing. We had two lanes in each direction; if you had a vehicle of any substantial size in that curb lane, they were going 30 to 40 mph literally inches away from you as a pedestrian. We took a look at the data and found out there was a high injury rate – that’s something we don’t like to see; the speed data showed an egregious speeding problem; we have two schools, Holy Family at 20th SW and Roxhill Elementary at 30th SW … As somebody who lives in Arbor Heights, I drop the kids off at day care every morning and (see these roads). … Wider streets encourage faster speeds.”

They reviewed, as he reminded everyone, the entire corridor from 35th to Olson. “Most of the changes have been on the western end of the corridor, but we’re gearing up to do some things further east” – not further rechannelization, he said, because the eastern part has too much volume for that, “one of the busiest streets in West Seattle.”

Here’s the latest data (with a formal report to come in September, along with recommendations):

SPEEDING: Down “significantly,” Curtin said.

At 20th SW (Holy Family), the 85th-percentile speed pre-rechannelization, was 37.5 mph – 7.5 mph over posted speed limit. Since the rechannelization, the 85th-percentile speeds have dropped by 3.7 mph, just a bit under 10 percent reduction.

At 30th SW (Roxhill Elementary), a “big drop in speeds” – pre-project, 85th percentile was 41.3 mph, 11.3 mph over posted speed limit; post-project, 34 mph – a 7.3 mph (17 percent) reduction in speed.

CRASHES: At 26th/Roxbury, which is still being evaluated for possible changes such as turn signals, there were 17 collisions in the 3-year period pre-rechannelization; post-project, zero, Curtin said: “We’re thinking that’s a good change at this point.”

As a whole, 17th to 35th SW on Roxbury, grand total of two collisions in the six months post-rechannelization, both “property damage only” crashes – zero injuries, zero serious injuries, zero fatalities. Curtin’s assessment: “We are certainly liking where those numbers are taking us.”

TRAFFIC VOLUMES: Steady, almost exactly what they were before, 475 per hour is the busiest it gets.

TRAVEL TIMES: Interns are doing what they call “floating car surveys” on all the SDOT rechannelization projects, “driving the corridor during peak hours with a passenger with a stopwatch, recording times.” So far, Curtin said, travel times are basically unchanged, with a maximum delay of 23 seconds over pre-project travel times: “Very little change or impact to vehicular traffic out there.”

FEEDBACK: After Curtin finished, two participants brought up issues such as having to wait a long time to back out of driveways or to merge into traffic. “The floating tally doesn’t include that,” one man suggested. What’s the likelihood of changes at 26th/Roxbury? Curtin was asked. It’s functioning well now, he said, but “I think we can take a look at it” – looking at, for example, lengthening the north-south “green time” on 26th. Some other questions led to Curtin wondering if possibly a “signal loop” in the pavement had failed, so he said they’ll take a look.

City Councilmember Lisa Herbold arrived during the briefing and asked about the analysis Curtin mentioned for fall, as well as the feedback on 35th SW. Can citizens help define how it’s analyzed? she said, urging a “partnership” between SDOT and the community. “That’s how this project got started in the first place,” Curtin pointed out.

One attendee noted, in support of the changes, that people who “can no longer speed” certainly are experiencing a slower commute, so “their opinion might not be as valid. … I’m just amazed at 6:20 in the morning at how many people are ready to, like, shoot me for going the speed limit.”

WHAT’S NEXT FOR ROXBURY CORRIDOR: SDOT is up to 90 percent design for the new stretch of sidewalk coming to the south side of the street, east of 30th SW; a bit of it is in the city, but mostly in King County. They’ll take it out to bid in April and then build “400 linear feet of sidewalk,” which will “complete the sidewalk network” in the area (which has already seen new sidewalks as part of the Safe Routes to School program).

Also: Look for two new radar speed signs between 4th and 12th SW; they’ve made some modifications at the crash-prone 8th SW intersection, Curtin said, and they’re working to reduce the speed limit to 30 mph there.

At Olson and Roxbury, where Roxbury curves into Olson Place, SDOT will “fully signalize the crosswalk at that intersection” this year.

They’ll be rebuilding the sidewalk and improving barriers at Myers Way and Olson Place – ramps and other pedestrian improvements in the works.

And, looking back to the west a ways, “we’re still working on pavement and ramps in the section where the pavement is the worst” at 17th and 18th, in tandem with King County, because it’s “mostly theirs,” plus a City Light vault.

“Otherwise, I’m totally open to everyone’s comments and suggestions,” said Curtin. (You can reach him at jim.curtin@seattle.gov – and in addition to a Roxbury report this fall, you can also watch for news about the northern section of 35th SW in the months ahead.)

What about the slickness on the Roxbury/Olson hill area? asked a motorcycle rider. Another SDOT rep present said they thought they had it solved by tracing it to a particular model of Metro bus that seemed to be causing an “oil issue” at various spots around the city, but it’s not completely corrected, he acknowledged, so there may be something else in play.

SPEAKING OF BUSES: Report #2 will focus on the discussion of a problem that residents of 26th SW south of Westwood Village have been experiencing since RapidRide and other changes transformed the area into a major transit center without a significant amount of planning – damaged pavement and curbs, and settling/sinking houses.

Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, co-chaired by Amanda Kay Helmick and Eric Iwamoto, now meets on first Mondays, 6:15 pm, at Southwest Library.

69 Replies to "Roxbury report card: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, report #1"

  • d March 8, 2016 (6:52 am)

    What a huge waste of money and fairy tale bullcrap put the lanes  back dummies….!!!!!!

  • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (7:15 am)

    Thank you SDOT and the City of Seattle for putting safety in front of people being able to dangerously speed and risk lives. 

  • WS gal March 8, 2016 (7:24 am)

    Agree with you Mr D! Put the lanes back please! 

  • N March 8, 2016 (7:37 am)

    What about repaving? I thought it was part of this project.

    I’m with you Mr D, put the lanes back.

  • Chris Stripinis March 8, 2016 (8:30 am)

    As a resident of Roxbury Street, I have to say that my neighbors and I have enjoyed a number of things about this project:

    – Walking along the sidewalk without having traffic whizzing by inches from you.

    – Watching a souped-up, loud muffler, green-lit chassis Honda (you know what I mean) peel out of the Shell station and enter a line of cars moving (not gridlocked) at the speed limit, revving his engine futilely all the way up the hill.

    – Crossing two lanes of traffic as a pedestrian, not four.

  • jrr March 8, 2016 (8:36 am)

    As a resident along the corridor, the reduced traffic noise from lower speeds has greatly increased my quality of life. Also, more people walk along Roxbury now. Yayyyy pedestrians!

  • Bonnie March 8, 2016 (8:37 am)

    While I personally find it a pain to be slowed down so much I think safety is more important than my frustration.

  • Rick March 8, 2016 (10:26 am)

    Yes,streets are meant for pedestrians. Buy your cheaper house on an arterial and complain you don’t have the same “peace and quality of life” as you would had you spent the money to buy a house blocks away in a quieter neighborhood.  Kinda like the folks that bought cheap houses by the airport and complain about airplane noise.  A little “peace” for you, a pain in the ass to thousands and thousands of commuters. So Seattle.

  • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (10:57 am)

    It’s not a pain in the ass or any other sort of pain to be restricted to driving at the lawful speed limit set by the lawful authority of the city under the lawful authority of the State of Washington and the United States of America. Can we stop calling being forced to drive at the limit some sort of obtuse injustice?

    All of these are code for “why shouldn’t I be allowed to speed whenever I want to?”

    • Rick March 8, 2016 (12:17 pm)

      Nothing near what I stated so kindly stop your attempt at putting words in my mouth.

      • datamuse March 8, 2016 (1:08 pm)

        Your paraphrase of the residents’ complaints is similarly inaccurate. 

  • Chris Stripinis March 8, 2016 (11:08 am)

    Streets are made for pedestrians, cars, buses, bicycles and all modes of transport.  We’ve spent too long thinking that cars are the only rightful users for publicly funded streets.

    • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (11:16 am)

      Hear, hear. Cars don’t even pay their full share of the load as it is for maintenance. It’s not just their space. 

  • Born on Alki 59 March 8, 2016 (11:26 am)

    Why re-pave any street in Seattle?  After all, it’s natural “traffic calming”.

    Pay no attention to those flat tires, worn suspension components and bone jarring potholes,   

  • Aaron March 8, 2016 (11:27 am)

    I thought it was so telling when, in regards to the rechannelization on 35th, Joe Szilagyi posed the question on Nextdoor “what do you think a reasonable travel time is from the WS Bridge to Roxbury is?” and a lot of people answered in the 3-4 minute range. That’s 3 miles. To travel that distance in 3 minutes requires going 60.

    The report says there’s been an increase on Roxbury of 23 seconds during peak times? I’m sure that’s a nightmare for some. I haven’t really noticed, and part of my commute is on Roxbury.

    Leave out the lanes.

  • Chris Stripinis March 8, 2016 (11:45 am)

    Born on Alki 59 – Roxbury Street is actually slated for repavement in 2021 as part of last fall’s Move Seattle Levy passage.

    • LC March 8, 2016 (12:00 pm)

      LOL the potholes will be 4 feet deep by then!

      Good thing Seattle spends millions on people that don’t contribute to the economy or pay income tax.

  • Sunuva March 8, 2016 (11:48 am)

    As an AH resident who uses these roads daily, I’m not a fan of the rechannelization of 35th or Roxbury. I would have appreciated if alternatives to rechannelization had been further explored to address the safety concerns of non-car road users, while also considering the efficiency of traveling via car or motorcycle. That said, I reluctantly realize that the rechannelization is done and there won’t be any going back and considering alternatives.

    Regarding my perception of the experience driving the new configuration; I drive these roads and various times of the day, so it can seem okay at certain times and then is terribly slow at others. Too often I get in a very slow moving train of cars that gets stopped by several traffic lights and never gets above 25 mph. This has caused me to avoid travelling to the Alaska Junction or Alki when it can be avoided.

    • sam-c March 8, 2016 (1:17 pm)

      Yes, in the evenings, I see that it is stop and go, from Morgan southward…they were successful in slowing the speeds, cause people typically look to be going 15 mph. brake lights as far as the eyes can see.

  • Scott March 8, 2016 (11:55 am)

    You state that travel times have unchanged, I call BS. You need to check the travel times and the abilities to make turns onto 35th or off of 35th.  It is worse.  SDOT you need to look at all aspects of what can change not just one part.  

    • datamuse March 8, 2016 (1:09 pm)

      I find turning off of 35th to be much easier now. Dedicated turn lane means less worry about getting rear-ended.

      • sam-c March 8, 2016 (1:29 pm)

        Yes, I do appreciate the turn lanes too. I don’t really use them, but it is much better now than it was- driving in the inside lanes with traffic flying at you from the opposite direction at who knows what speed.

      • KM March 8, 2016 (1:57 pm)

        I too find it less nervy not having to worry about what is going on behind me, but it have found it harder to make the turn because there are far less breaks in traffic, or traffic stopped and blocking the intersection. Less stressful, but harder to turn. Works for me either way, both prior and current. 

        • brian March 9, 2016 (7:12 pm)

          It really freaks me out that there are drivers out there that don’t want to have “worry about what’s behind them”. That’s like 50% of driving.    

  • Born on Alki 59 March 8, 2016 (12:16 pm)

    Re-pave Roxbury in 2021, seriously?  Of course come 2021 we’ll need another levy to pay for the backlog of maintenance likely not done as intended by the last two transportation levies!

    I have never seen our Seattle roads in such poor condition. It’s just an accident waiting to happen.

    (think bicycle and motorcycle accidents)

    I better trade my little Cooper in for a Humvee soon.  

  • d March 8, 2016 (12:46 pm)

    If it’s all about safety why aren’t the cops doing their jobs and siting  people for speeding instead of just seatbelt tickets on 35th  all crap just to waste more tax dollars give you a false sense of security

  • Neighbor March 8, 2016 (1:11 pm)

    @rick- I spent over $600,000 for my house over 16 hrs ago and in that time the traffic noise has increased significantly due to louder cars (got a love those  BMWs/Porsches with the jacked mufflers), increased traffic (all the new WS residents),  and the ever increasing speed of Admiral. Your assumption that it’s a class thing is disingenuous and quite frankly pretty prejudice.

    It does speak volumes that your ability to speed down a street is more important to you than helping to make a neighborhood not only safer but more livable.

    • KM March 8, 2016 (2:03 pm)

      From neighbor to Neighbor, there are all types of makes and models that cause awful noises in our corridor. It is also not a class thing.

  • Sunuva March 8, 2016 (1:37 pm)

    Every thread I’ve seen on this topic, people suggest that those of us opposed to the rechannelization just want to “speed” and break the law. Just because someone is opposed to the rechannelization does not mean they want to speed down a street. I was and still am opposed to these changes, but not because I have a desire to speed or drive dangerously. In fact, I just returned from a trip up 35th where the person behind me angrily accelerated by me in the middle lane while I was making a right turn safely and legally. I had been traveling in the train of cars at 30mph and had to slow down a bit to safely make the turn. I want to be able to travel by vehicle in my neighborhood without encountering terrible traffic on a daily basis and not be forced into situations that cause people to dangerously take their frustrations out on the road.

    I have been driving a long time and I do my best to understand the laws, understand my vehicle, and strive to operate my vehicles in a manner that doesn’t endanger myself or others on the road.  I know I’m not the only one that is opposed to this for valid personal reasons and that doesn’t make us wannabe criminals.

  • OP March 8, 2016 (1:39 pm)

    I love this logic by Curtin:

    According to the report, “there were 17 collisions in the 3-year period pre-rechannelization (at 26th/Roxbury);
    post-project, zero. Curtin said: “We’re thinking that’s a good change at
    this point.” The comparison of 36 months to 6 is absurd and laughable. Hooray, traffic is slowed down (and no, I don’t trust Curtin’s measurements—at all) to a crawl, no wonder there aren’t any accidents—yet. Jezzus Christmas,  how ANY of what he said approaches reasonable analysis or logic just baffles. And why ANY of you who thinks what he, Kubly and Mayor Quimby have done in the safety and that that is actually true, is even more baffling.

    But am I surprised? No. And that’s sad.

    • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (2:44 pm)

      OP:

      post-project, zero. Curtin said: “We’re thinking that’s a good change at
      this point.” The comparison of 36 months to 6 is absurd and laughable.

      Going from 0.47 accidents per month to 0.00 per month is good in any sort of math book. 

      Small prices to pay for a parent to not possibly lose their child or a child their parents.

      • OP March 10, 2016 (11:50 am)

        Pay attention. The “study” was only SIX months, Joe. It’s statistically irrelevant compared to three years. One simply can’t draw reasonable conclusions from such a limited window of data. And dispense with the baseless hyperbole of children being mowed down; that’s just fear-based, agenda-driven garbage.

  • Sunuva March 8, 2016 (1:53 pm)

    Any other motorcyle riders out there who can comment on their experience in the new configuration? Since it’s been such a rainy winter, I’ve only traveled these new configurations a handful of times on my bike and I felt very uneasy in all the stop-and-go traffic. I’ve heard numerous times how the danger of being rear-ended on a motorcycle go up significantly when in stop-and-go traffic. Is this concern ever addressed by SDOT?

  • AmandaKH March 8, 2016 (2:00 pm)

    As a pedestrian, bike and bus rider,  I love the changes on Roxbury.  Lots of unexpected benefits such as a buffer from getting splashed by puddles, and not getting blown around when the buses and large trucks go by.  As someone who drives as well, does it take a little more time to turn left on to Roxbury from my street? You bet.  Do I curse SDOT and call my Neighbors names about it?  Nope.  What is your reason for opposition to re-channelization if not removal of your ability to speed?  

    • Sunuva March 8, 2016 (2:12 pm)

      It is a complicated issue and I’m sure we who are opposed have a variety of reasons for the opposition. For me, it is the stop-and-go traffic at peak times which I consider dangerous when driving or riding a motorcycle that is my biggest reason. I also would have preferred a focus more on improved crosswalks and dedicated turn lanes at intersections, etc, that could have also improved safety without creating traffic problems. Lastly, I think the changes cause serious frustrations with drivers that cause them to do dangerous maneuvers on the road out of their frustration. I don’t feel the reduction of my average commute time is anywhere near as much of a reason as the above. But let’s get one thing straight; I don’t want to “speed” I just want to efficiently get where I’m going in a safe manner.

      BTW, I’m glad that the changes make you and others happy. I’m in no way saying you shouldn’t be happy or that you should revel in my frustation. We’re all neighbors here and I really hate how this topic has turned it into an us-against-them argument when we’re all part of the same community.

      • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (2:40 pm)

        Sunuva said: 

        Lastly, I think the changes cause serious frustrations with drivers that cause them to do dangerous maneuvers on the road out of their frustration. 

        If this a major problem with a minority of people unfit to be behind the wheel, we need to lobby — HARD — for SPD and Councilmember Lisa Herbold and Mayor Murray to get a change in the law and a strong police presence on the road, to catch these people and tear up their licenses. If such a small thing is making people road rage they should be riding the bus. 

        • Sunuva March 8, 2016 (2:45 pm)

          We do not disagree on this point.

      • sam-c March 8, 2016 (2:49 pm)

        I agree with that assessment, I do make more dangerous maneuvers due to the channelization.  ie, it is so hard to turn out onto 35th (turning right, you won’t catch me trying to turn left onto 35th- my husband does and often ends up idling in teh center turn lane for a few minutes)… so hard to turn right onto 35th, that in the mornings, I often turn into opportunities that are much smaller than i would usually try.  I  think “look at this steady stream of nicely speed limited 25 mph traffic, with hardly a gap anywhere, Oh look! this may be my only chance for the next 8 minutes! and pull out into a 4ish car length spot, gun the engine and hope I don’t get rear-ended”

        • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (2:51 pm)

          Sam, why not use the center turn lane to merge in? I thought that was legal.

      • Jon Wright March 8, 2016 (3:01 pm)

        Sunuva, I really appreciate your willingness to engage in a discussion vs. spouting alarmist hyperbole as some others have expressed. The suggestions you made are all good ones…and SDOT considered them and went for the current configuration instead. As an aside (and this is not directed at Sunuva), a pet peeve of mine is people who think civil servants are all idiots. These are folks with advanced degrees who know all the ins and outs of the latest traffic studies, philosophies, and driver psychology. Yet there are those who insist that because they managed to earn a drivers license, they are more qualified to dispense advice about roads. Anyway Sunuva, the best person to explain why your suggestions were not implemented is SDOT’s Jim Curtin. He is very accessible and I’m sure he would be happy to answer your questions and explain the philosophy behind the rechannelization. Jim’s contact information is on the project web page, http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/roxbury.htm.

    • Sunuva March 8, 2016 (2:16 pm)

      Correction: the “increase” of my average commute time. I can’t seem to find a way to edit my post in Chrome.

    • KM March 8, 2016 (2:21 pm)

      For me, though I really didn’t care either way, it was the lack of traffic enforcement attempts prior to the rechannelization, and the way the rechannelization was planned piece by piece over the course of several years. There is still dangerous driving on 35th and everywhere in the region with very little enforcement, even when officers are present. As it turns out, this rechannelization made some really wide lanes, which they are trying to combat on Admiral, as I understand because they invite dangerous driving. My inquiries with the city say they go back and fix this later, so it appears a to be poorly thought through and rushed, especially if they plan to do a better job later.

      I’m fine with the rechannelization and also fine if they would have left it. I’m not okay with the poor planning, inconsistent messaging, and lack of enforcement.

  • melissa March 8, 2016 (2:12 pm)

    Yup, it’s a little slower. Nope, it doesn’t bother me. Even if it’s slow, it only takes me another 2 or 3 minutes to get from 16th to 35th. Now, for the sake of all of us, but particularly motorcycles, it would be great to fill the potholes.

  • Jon Wright March 8, 2016 (2:24 pm)

    I appreciate that, after years of optimizing public roads primarily for cars, Seattle is working to make roads work for other users, too: walkers, bicyclists, and transit users. It is discouraging to see how many are aggrieved when anything short of maximum priority for cars is implemented, regardless of the consequences. My family drives, walks, and takes transit. We are very grateful to live in city that takes our welfare seriously–regardless what mode of travel we choose.

  • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (2:38 pm)

    Aaron wrote:

    I thought it was so telling when, in regards to the rechannelization on 35th, Joe Szilagyi posed the question on Nextdoor “what do you think a reasonable travel time is from the WS Bridge to Roxbury is?” and a lot of people answered in the 3-4 minute range. That’s 3 miles. To travel that distance in 3 minutes requires going 60.

    When people argued in favor of “standard” speeds working out to a net 60mph average velocity, and I tried to explain the math, all I got was shouted down. People become nonsensical in their expectations. 

    From 35th to the West Seattle Bridge is 3.4 miles exactly — from the intersection to the onramp. Even when the speed limit was 35mph end to end, if you hit EVERY green light, the fastest you could legally drive the length of that street was in no more than about 6 minutes… and that’s if you had every green light and a magic car that can go 0-35.0mph in 0.0 seconds, and stop from 35.0mph to 0.0mph in 0.0 seconds. With the new imminent 30mph limit end to end the maximum legal pace is approximately 7 minutes… with the same magical car that defies the laws of physics.

    Anyone who said they “used to” drive 35th (and comparably Roxbury) in under 5 minutes — I’ve heard a lot of people say this, to my face even — are exaggerating or lying or glorious speeders with Star Trek level cars.

    Now I really, really wish SDOT would actually publish “minimum legal driving times” for these corridors, so it would be official: if you’re going faster than x, you’re breaking the law. 



  • evil twin March 8, 2016 (2:50 pm)

    I agree that it is totally inaccurate to link opposition to the rechannelization to wanting to speed. I moved to the 35th and Thistle area in Oct. 2015 anf live on 35th.I have seen about 7 crashes right in front of my house from then until present! Mind you that’s while I’m home and awake, paying attention etc. ONLY property damage? What about the $1000 deductibles and the raised insurance rates for people in these way too often supposedly benign rear end crashes? I’ve seen tons of close calls and reckless driving such as passing in the turn lane, tailgating, running reds and so on and have been in a few close calls as well. I’m curious to see the data on 35th later. Also, what about all of the fender benders where no one calls the police because they don’t want their insurance to go up or don’t have it so they eat the damage? That I’ll skew their numbers. Yes accidents happen due to human error I just think they’ve went up on 35th due to the design. I can’t speak much to Roxbury as I don’t drive it much.

    • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (2:52 pm)

      Evil Twin:

       Yes accidents happen due to human error I just think they’ve went up on 35th due to the design. 

      What evidence do we have that accidents on 35th have increased since the lane changes?

  • evil twin March 8, 2016 (3:02 pm)

    I agree Sam C. It is way harder to get on the road from my house and I too have to gun it to get into a smaller spot. Or sometimes I just pull out into what was the curb lane and drive a 1/4 mile till I can merge. Also turning left… find a gap and pinch it! I am also for all modes of transportation but bikes for example: a lot of protected bike lanes see like 3 bikes an hour and at some places in the city at the expense of a vehicle lane. Meanwhile hundreds of cars go by in the same time period. Sweet mass transit and green transportation is awesome! Too bad we don’t have it in Seattle so we have to use cars and vehicle lanes. 

  • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (3:10 pm)

    Am I the only one who feels like this after one of these debates?

    https://media.giphy.com/media/k7nUblXRPCsc8/giphy.gif

  • Evil twin March 8, 2016 (3:14 pm)

    Of course I don’t have that data. I don’t know if sdot does. All I’m saying is that I’ve lived in West Seattle for 13 years; 5 of which on 35th and have traveled it a lot. They only lowered the speed limit 5mph. I think the one lane causes congestion which seems to be what causes the rear end accidents. Especially with hills and stuff. I just feel less safe driving on it now and have had lots more close calls and find it much harder to pull in and out of my driveway at peak times. I chose to live there yes, just pointing out some things Ive experienced to show this is complex and not just a silver bullet for safety. Off peak it’s a breeze of course. No problems because of low volume. Maybe it’s just me but I feel like I’ve seen crashes more often too.

  • Peter March 8, 2016 (3:30 pm)

    Nice work, SDOT. I want you to know most of us are greatly in favor of these safety improvement. Thank you!

  • bancams March 8, 2016 (3:39 pm)

    SDOT uses lots of interesting stats, cited in the WSB report, to advocate further rechannelization, but why don’t they want to talk about the fixed school zone speed trap cameras and and the red light/right turn camera traps along 35th and on Roxbury? How many $234 school zone tickets are issued each day along 35th? How many each day at Roxhill? What is the annual “take” from each of the red light cams along 35th? Of that take, how much goes to Goldman Sachs-funded American Traffic Solutions of Arizona — the privatized law enforcement company that manages the cams for the SDOT and the City of Seattle? In 2014, SDOT paid ATS $40,000 a month for school zone speed traps. That $40k came, of course, from the fines. And, finally, How much is Enough??? SDOT plans to increase and extend the camera-based traffic law enforcement — because it is so very, very profitable — but — honestly — how much is enough? A camera at every intersection and along every stretch of road? These greedy politicians and petty little road department pencil pushers have no shame.

    • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (5:34 pm)

      How many tickets are issued is irrelevant as long as the number of tickets over time keeps trending down. If they are trending down it means they’re working and forcing people to keep the limit in school zones by adjusting bad behavior over time.

    • Joe Szilagyi March 8, 2016 (8:56 pm)

      And I should have mentioned — if they’re NOT trending down then the penalties and fines are far, far too low, and need to be increased to bring the frequency of fine down.

  • LS March 8, 2016 (5:34 pm)

    I don’t believe all of these stats about drive times, etc.  I do think 35th is worse and I use side streets now to avoid it! As for Roxbury:

    1. I don’t believe that travel times are the same.  I don’t travel during rush hour generally, but I find myself sitting a ways away from lights for long periods of time, where I used to be able to get through in one light previously.

    2. Since they moved the lanes, the roads are in worse shape ans the major wear and tear is now in the middle of the only lane going east from 26th along Roxbury.  We have a very small car and have to avoid areas of the regular lane so that our car doesn’t lose a tire

    3. We need a turn signal at 26th and Roxbury going East/West to turn North/South.  With the lane revision, we find that there will be a huge stream of cars waiting at the North/South light and without a turn signal, often you miss the light and have to wait for another one to turn.

    4. Don’t get me started about getting stuck behind a bus!!  If you are unlucky to have this happen through the 1 lane stretch, you don’t have any choice but to go into the middle lane to get around it, which doesn’t seem any safer or something we should be doing to keep traffic flowing!

    • brian March 9, 2016 (7:21 pm)

      No, you don’t “have to” go around the bus. You can, however, just drive your car behind it like a regular adult and when there are two lanes you can then safely pass the bus. Why is it so hard to follow the rules of the road for you?    

  • jrr March 8, 2016 (5:58 pm)

    I stand by my assertion that roads are for all forms of transportation. It’s so nice to not get splashed by big trucks speeding through puddles on Roxbury while one is walking, waiting for the bus, etc. I live a few houses up from Roxbury and the noise is greatly reduced there. Fewer trucks that sound like they’re going airborn. Less late-night racing, etc. etc.

    Why is the argument often “you chose to buy there” instead of “you chose to work that far away”? I mean, for people who are annoyed that they lost 30 seconds commuting, it’s certainly easier to just get a new job that’s closer to home than it is to sell a home. Or, you know, read on the bus.


    But ultimately, the roads are for all modes. Empathy is nice. 

    • Chris Stripinis March 8, 2016 (8:17 pm)

      JRR: “Why is the argument often “you chose to buy there” instead of “you chose to work that far away”?”

      Brilliant!

  • bancams March 8, 2016 (8:59 pm)

    Where’s the beef Joe S? Of course it matters how many school zone speed trap tickets are issued from each camera each day. Of course, it matters how many red light cam tickets are issued. Of course, measurements matter. The City of Seattle is raking in millions of dollars from privatized traffic cams and sending millions every year to the private company that runs them.  After a few million, we’re starting to talk about real money — money that should stay in the driving public’s pocket. Have you ever seen a privatized traffic cam come down? If they work so well to “adjust bad behavior,” as you suggest without any data, then those cams should come down over time. But no, the opposite is happening. More and more cams are going up — not because they increase safety — but because they make money, lots of it, for private companies and endlessly expanding public agencies. Saying the money is irrelevant is choosing to ignore reality.  This is a revenue-generation gambit, nothing to do with safety. The driving public is being fleeced: how much is enough? 

    • Joe Szilagyi March 9, 2016 (7:16 am)

      “If they work so well to “adjust bad behavior,” as you suggest without any data, then those cams should come down over time.”

      No, they stay up and keep the speeding miscreants in line over time.
      If someone doesn’t want a speeding ticket, the solution is simple:
      Don’t speed.
      • bancams March 9, 2016 (11:54 am)

        Once again, Joe S. you completely ignore money trail. Those cams
        exists for one reason: to take millions of dollars in fines from the
        driving public. Do you really believe there are thousands of crazed
        drivers endangering helpless mommies and babies by speeding in school
        zones? If so, there are other ways to bring traffic to a crawl — but
        that wouldn’t line the pockets of greedy politicians and private, out-of-state, Wall Street-backed camera companies now would it?

  • evil twin March 8, 2016 (11:07 pm)

    Both sides of this argument seem to want it to be black and white when it is very much grey. Peel away all the layers of nimbyisms, “I walk so I like it”, “I drive so I don’t like it” blah blah blah and think about cost benefit analysis, real safety data, etc. What are we really getting and what are we really moving (people and goods…..safely) pre/post project. We are playing catch-up with our transportation system because seattle didn’t want to build REAL mass transit decades ago, i.e wikipedia “forward thrust”. Moving lines around on the road is not the same as moving people around the city and region. Also projects dont always tie in seamlessly with other projects creating bottlenecks (Mercer St.)We need to move people efficiently. I LOVE the idea of transit like in Italy or Japan  (where I have been and used it). I understand the budgetary issues but let’s be ambitious and do big stuff and not perpetuate the problem. I work in North Seattle, I have kids, I volunteer at school, I share childcare duties with other members of my family. Get me to North Seattle in twice the time it takes me to drive and I’ll think about it. Unfortunately I can’t hop on a monorail or light rail and speed my way there. How many miles of track could have been built in existing public right of way at grade, elevated, whatever with all of the time and resources used to move 100’s or 1000’s of lane miles of stripes all to reduce capacity? The city isn’t shrinking; let’s get together as neighbors, friends and citizens and do something big and fix these problems!

  • AmandaKH March 9, 2016 (7:31 am)

    Hear Hear!  Evil Twin.  The West Seattle Transportation Coalition meets the 4th Thursday of every month (March 24th this month) at the High Point Neighborhood House.  WSTC is a volunteer group of your neighbors who work on mobility issues for the Peninsula.   Their agenda this month includes a presentation from Metro about their long range plan.  WSTC will also be at the Gathering of Neighbors this Saturday for a breakout session with CM Rob Johnson on ST3. 

  • wsn00b March 9, 2016 (12:33 pm)

    Question: On the undrivable sections of NB 35th Ave SW from SW Holden to SW Othello where the single driving lane has so many potholes that it is undrivable (even after some half-baked repairs that look like they were done by 2 year olds and last about 2 days), is it ok/legal to swerve out into or straddle the slightly better  middle lane and drive there for a few blocks?  Looking for a yes/no from a legal perspective. What was the max distance you can drive in a center lane? Please don’t tell me about Find it Fix it because that app and the response is complete BS and I have better things to do than report stuff every 2 days for the same stretch.

    • Chris Stripinis March 9, 2016 (12:45 pm)

      wsn00b – I agree that the potholes in that stretch are trying.  I also see them forming often in the 35th NB lanes along the stretch south of Thistle. 

      I know you probably don’t want to hear it, but I’ve always had good experiences getting potholes repaired through the city’s pothole repair web page, both on my own street and on streets I drive frequently.  (https://seattle-csrprodcwi.motorolasolutions.com/ServiceRequest.mvc/SRIntakeStep2?id=TRPOTHOL)  If everyone reported just one pothole a week they come across while driving, think of how much better the roads would be!  After all, 35th isn’t slated to be repaved until 2023, so something will have to be done.

      • wsn00b March 9, 2016 (2:12 pm)

        Chris: I don’t intend to report a pothole a week for the next decade. Also please re-read my comment. That stretch is so broken you have to report the same pothole multiple times a week. Seriously just pull over on 35th/Webster and admire the work. I’ve used the find it fix it app and the pothole repair tool too many times. The work done is half-baked/shoddy and unprofessional. SDOT is just being negligent, irresponsible, unskilled and/or unprofessional as far as I can tell and I’d have to be mentally dysfunctional to be doing the Sisyphean task of using their app/reporting page. 

  • LC March 10, 2016 (3:10 pm)

    Apologies in advance for going off topic but does anyone else hate the ticker at the top of every page that makes the page jump while trying to read a post?!?!  I forget every single time to hit the pause button, start reading an article, and then have it  skip while I’m trying to read. 

    WSB – change that to  only display a single line and that might make your blog more readable  and less likely to make someone have motion sickness!!!

  • Craig March 10, 2016 (7:19 pm)

     After all of resources used on the Roxbury and 35th studies and upgrades, I hope SDOT has some energy left over for HP Way and Holden.   I know of several “thoughtful letters” that have come from our neighborhood council but apparently there is no money to deal with the two dysfunctional intersections that spawn nearly weekly accidents and early morning evacuations.   I write this with the utmost respect for what appears to be a nearly thankless job- that of SDOT. 

    However,  I plead anyone from SDOT to explain why there is no plan to address safety in on the third busiest gateway to the peninsula?  

    All neighborhoods, even those adjacent to our busiest arterials should support safe mobility by all users.  This is not the case in Highland Park.  Just last week I was awoken to a wall of flashing lights as houses on the block to the east were evacuated after a high speed crash into gas utilities.

    I would venture an educated guess that a lot of the apparent increases in  accidents and traffic in Highland Park are largely a result of rerouting of traffic due to the re-channelization of Roxbury.   Just a theory.  Maybe something worth studying?

  • jacquelyn vail March 10, 2016 (10:09 pm)

    Ok you can study this stuff to death.  All I can ask is that you at least time the traffic lights the entire length of Roxbury  street and 35th ave sw.  It is really frustrating to be creeping along (note when people THINK they are traveling at 30 or 35mph they are ACTUALLY moving at 15 -20 mph) and have a light turn red and there is NOT ONE pedestrian or car at the intersection.  It backs cars up for a mile when this happens!  And for NO REASON!  The worst area is 16th and Roxbury where there are 3 lights in very short space.

    One other beef is that on the south side of Westwood village on Barton street.  The bus pulls up to the stop where there are two lanes and doesn’t get into the right lane and thereby blocks the entire east corridor through this area.  It is rude of the drivers and unnecessary.

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