1 week until 35th SW meeting: What Councilmember Herbold wants SDOT to do

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As we’ve been reporting for more than three weeks, the next community open-house meeting about the 35th Avenue SW Corridor Safety Project – what’s been done so far, and what’s planned for Phase 2, north of SW Morgan – is coming up on August 4th. First we reported the date; then additional information from SDOT Blog; and then yet more information from the mailer that was sent to a wide area of West Seattle (including news of an August 9th walking tour planned in addition to next Thursday’s meeting) and our subsequent exchange with the project manager.

Tonight, our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold mentions the upcoming 35th SW discussions in her periodic e-mail update (read it in full here), including what she’s heard from residents and what she’s asking SDOT to do:

… SDOT has indicated they will be doing a 1-year review of the project later this year (scheduled for October), similar to this one done for a rechannelization street project in North Seattle on NE 75th.

I have heard a variety of concerns about the impacts of the project, including from people who live on side streets near signals who have struggled to merge onto 35thduring rush hour, or even get out of their driveway onto the street, and rush hour travel times.

I’ve asked SDOT to expand the parameters of what they study in the 1-year review. The NE 75th study mostly looked at speed, collisions, and traffic volumes. SDOT indicated they could ask for feedback to inform the study as they do outreach for Phase 2; I’d like any decision about whether to revisit the project, or alter plans moving forward, be informed by community suggestions about what to include in this study, to ensure it assesses the full range of impacts. So, what additional impacts do you think SDOT should study? …

One way you can answer her question: Stop by during Councilmember Herbold’s next in-district office hours, tomorrow (Friday) at Southwest Neighborhood Service Center (2801 SW Thistle), noon-7 pm.

38 Replies to "1 week until 35th SW meeting: What Councilmember Herbold wants SDOT to do"

  • TheKing July 29, 2016 (1:58 am)

    If this is a short term plan to run Californians out the thanks. If this is seriously a permanent plan, then it feels like a time warp back to 1962. Regressive thinking in trying to be like other continents while at the same time attempting to dictate modes of transportation. 

  • West Seattle Hipster July 29, 2016 (7:11 am)

    Very impressed with Lisa Herbold, she is really making a difference.  Keep up the great work!!

  • d July 29, 2016 (7:19 am)

    Unreal that they’d even consider reducing Lanes the traffic mess this crap has caused is ridiculous the study is severely flawed or a complete hoax put all the lanes back as they were

  • Bob Neel July 29, 2016 (9:05 am)

    On Tuesday I met with Lisa Herbold.  I gave her a recap of the history and reviewed the new petitions: 
    84% of HER constituents (meaning you!) are opposed the road diet!  She told me that her position all along was for SDOT to take more time and consider other alternatives for enhancing
    pedestrian and bike safety, before implementing the re-channelization.  She also confided that she has little power over the decisions of SDOT other than the influence of her “bully pulpit.”  She also acknowledged that there is an apparent disconnect between SDOT’s contention that the traffic impact is minimal, the personal experiences of the majority of users that refute that.

     Further, she surmised that, despite our overwhelming opposition, this project will move forward as proposed.  This, because of the bureaucratic mindset – and INERTIA – of the agency.  They received funding for this project and therefore they feel compelled to spend it!  Even if it is wrong-headed…  Our alternative proposals would involve a re-design and would hamper their report card of “being able to get things done.”  She was very surprised when I told her that the daily traffic on 35th exceeds the maximum allowable that SDOT itself has set for arterials which can be put on a diet. 
    Why?  Because (I surmise) it had sufficient political backing from Tom Rasmussen and the Mayor to push it through despite the ‘facts’ of the situation.

     So what can we do?

     OUR ONLY HOPE is to pack – pack – PACK the upcoming meeting on August 4th with our supporters. 
    I mean, standing room only, out in the hall, down the block, all in support of the REMOVE concept.  I will be there, as will Lisa, and will be presenting our results as best as I can.  

    So please, please, please – if you care about your future commutes – make every attempt to come to the High Point Neighborhood House on Thursday, August 4th at 7 PM.  Our council member and possibly the Mayor will be there, as well as SDOT leadership.  We might be able to slow this freight train; if not, we’ll be looking at 35th becoming another Delridge at rush hour…

    • Bob Neel July 29, 2016 (9:07 am)

      Again, the formatting is screwed up.  Apologies!

    • Mat July 29, 2016 (12:28 pm)

      Please don’t reference a number like 84% without citing your sources. Does this reference the more recent round of online petitions? 

    • Chris Stripinis July 29, 2016 (6:28 pm)

      Was this a properly constructed survey with randomized surveys of everyone in this district?  If not, if this is the result of Mr. Neel’s survey, the 84% figure does not accurately reflect the opinions of the district population.  Rather, such a survey would be weakened by something called confirmation bias, in which those with the strongest opinions about something are more likely to voice those opinions and seek out surveys and such. 

      I don’t dispute that 84% of the people who responded to Mr. Neel’s survey dislike the 35th changes (even if they all live in this district), but I do dispute that it reflects the opinions of 84% of the entire district.

  • chemist July 29, 2016 (9:08 am)

    Besides her office hours, you can also contact via phone, email, and snail mail using addresses/numbers here .  http://www.seattle.gov/council/herbold

    I hope that, unlike how NE 75th initially presented data about both ends of the street, including the zone with 20,100 AWV closer to 12th ave, the afteraction report focused their detailed speed analysis on the 28th ave zone.  Phase 2 of 35th is more like the 20,100 zone.

  • ClayJustSayin July 29, 2016 (9:32 am)

    The main flow of cars moves OK on 35th.  It moved OK before the changes as well.  The difference is that now the E/W traffic just sits at a light for two minutes, while watching that the gaps in N/S traffic are longer than the visible flow times are.  How come the lights can’t let E/W traffic move during those gap times?

  • AmandaKH July 29, 2016 (10:05 am)

    Bob, can you clarify the 84% please?  That’s 84% of people who took an on-line survey? Signed a paper petition?  

    Everyone is under the impression that the problem is 35th Ave SW.   The actual problem we face is getting off/on the Peninsula.  Making 35th Ave SW safer should be high priority, for everyone.  And since the City let us manage that for ourselves for many many years, and we were incapable of self policing, they are taking measures that work.  And are proven to work.

  • Neighbor July 29, 2016 (10:58 am)

    37th between Morgan and Alaska is a tragedy waiting to happen due to the road diet on 35th and the subsequent diversion of aggressive drivers onto 37th. It is extremely disconcerting to see how fast people drive through narrow streets with residents and children present. I truly fear a child is going to be hit by one of these speeders, and the Mayor will direct his department to do nothing about it. I and my neighbors have repeatedly contacted the city about this, and they say stop signs and roundabouts are not intended to slow traffic. And yet in the last year they have NEVER sent police to measure speeds and ticket offenders, despite repeated calls. Their criteria for speed bumps also requires an act of God, so I suppose it will be an aged person crossing a street who is struck and killed, or a child pedestrian, before they think twice about that rigorously ineffective criteria. Lisa is doing the good work, but is up against a Mayor who throws hissy fits when confronted, and I suspect he will continue his neglect until we vote him out of office.

  • AMD July 29, 2016 (11:09 am)

    Bob, when you say the traffic on 35th exceeds SDoT’s limit for road re-channelization, where are you getting your numbers?  

    I agree with AmandaKH that the real problem is the traffic between West Seattle and the rest of the city.  No number of extra lanes on 35th is going to help traffic on the bridge.  And reality is that cars don’t pay enough attention to pedestrians and others in general to allow them to drive as quickly and unrestricted as they’d like.  

    Would you rather have two lanes all the way up 35th with lights at every intersection to stop you completely when a pedestrian uses a crosswalk?  Is that going to make your commute better?  Regardless of what has changed in your personal commute due to the change, we can’t ignore that there was a real problem that the re-channelization is addressing.  What is your alternative solution to the problem?

  • A July 29, 2016 (12:11 pm)

    AMD- The problem is that the rechannelization does not address a problem but rather creates more problems. The road diet has not made 35th safer. There are more rear end collisions now on that part of 35th due to the sudden stop and go traffic and now there are way more cars using side streets to avoid 35th creating safety issues on those side streets. Traffic throughout the city is bad but why are we making it worse in west seattle? You used to battle traffic to get home but you knew once you hit 35th the rest of your commute was relatively smooth sailing. Now you battle traffic to get to west seattle only to have to battle traffic on 35th and it’s extremely frustrating. This road diet is a joke but unfortunately the mayor and SDOT have an agenda and I don’t think we can stop them. 

  • Sunuva July 29, 2016 (12:28 pm)

    I agree that the road diet on 35th did not make the road safer. It has instead made it more dangerous because of the stop-and-go traffic and the frustrated drivers making dangerous maneuvers out of frustration and diverting traffic to side streets. Road diets may have been proven to work on roads with less traffic, but 35th simply has too much volume for this configuration. Road diets may have been proven to work in other countries, but those countries have vastly superior mass transit and alternative transportation infrastructure.

    Also, yes, the bottlenecks between the peninsula and the city are a major problem that needs to be fixed but that has absolutely nothing to do with 35th! To suggest that we don’t need to make 35th work better because there are other issues is deflecting from a serious issue that many of us in the community want fixed. Not everybody has a normal commute downtown either. Some of us spend the majority of our time on the peninsula and use roads like 35th and Delridge many many more times than the WS Bridge. It is so very frustrating to be forced into congestion on our local roads, on top of the terrible state of the road surface, and then to hear suggestions that 35th travel times don’t matter because the bridge is a bigger issue. Please, let’s deal with both issues and recognize that they are both important.

  • McBride July 29, 2016 (1:16 pm)

    I’m pleased that Lisa Herbold is looking at the larger picture.  The first stage of the rechannel of 35th has illustrated there are considerations to 35th and adjacent streets which should be taken into account. There is no such thing as a project that cannot be made better by additional ideas and viewpoints. I doubt she appreciates having her voice appropriated, however.

    .

    There is no question that the way 35th is currently engineered, it kills people. Most of us agree that this is a bad thing. There is also no question that a rechannel is safer (a wealth of data, using that tool Science is available to anyone able to read this). The resulting disagreement over this also being a good thing is founded entirely in that greatest of American sins, inconvenience

    .

    My observation is that some drivers are still attempting to use parts of 35th as if it still had four lanes. And that aggressive driving, including refusal to allow a merge are causing problems (like entirely preventable rear-end accidents). There’s improvements the City has control over, such as signal priority and problem intersections, and we should explore and implement them. There’s improvements that we have control over too, such as courtesy and etiquette. Combined, I think there’s plenty of roadway for everybody.

    .

    As a resident of 35th and ultra-frequent user of it, I am totally on board with preserving all the convenience we can manage on this street. By the same criteria, I am also an ardent supporter of the rechannel. I’m looking forward to enjoying a better engineered street and sharing a wave with folks I let in front of me.

  • George T July 29, 2016 (1:22 pm)

    It’s important to remember that 35th primarily is a residential street and aggressive driving behavior has nothing to do with road configuration; as a frequent cyclist I witness it regardless of the number of lanes, or whether a street is one-way, two-way, has dedicated turning lanes, protected bike lanes, etc.  There are ways to mitigate congestion by installing speed bumps on side streets, adding left-turn signals at intersections, situating police to catch aggressive drivers during rush hour, and other solutions the city no doubt will implement over time. 

  • Peter July 29, 2016 (1:52 pm)

    I find it surprising that rechannelizations are even the
    least bit controversial. Everywhere they’ve been implemented in Seattle they’ve
    reduced collisions, reduced injuries, and had close to zero effect on traffic
    volumes or speed. They work, period. And all the claims about terrible results are just
    not true. I lived on Fauntleroy when they implemented the changes, and it made
    a huge improvement in safety and quality of life for people who live along the corridor.
    I now live just off of 35th where the rechanelization has been
    completed, and it makes a world of difference for the safety and quality of
    life for people who live along the corridor. It seems the opposition only comes
    from those who put their own perceived convenience above the lives and safety
    of others.

    SDOT: Please finish the project! It is very much needed and
    should not be delayed.

  • Paul July 29, 2016 (2:03 pm)

    Reducing lanes on 35th will simply push traffic to 36th, 37th, and 38th.   Speed enforcement is the real answer.   I counted 64 cars at Morgan and 35th at 1:30pm last Tuesday.   They would have been lined up at least 3 blocks going northbound.  Not only people’s time but energy is wasted!   Get rid of parking on the West side.  These homes have alleys.   Put in a meridian.

  • Evil Twin July 29, 2016 (2:03 pm)

    It’s not the inconvenience part! It’s the unnecessary part. How many other options are available to make 35th safer? Pedestrian overpasses, Illuminated crosswalks, enforcement, etc.? Bottom line it’s cheaper to move stripes. There are cities all over the country that have 4 lane arterials!!!!!! Why are we acting like that’s a crazy idea? 

  • Josh July 29, 2016 (2:45 pm)

    I am one who uses the side streets now! Yep, you’ll hate me, but it’s what I do. Plus, I can avoid the Red Light Camera on Thistle AND the school zone cams. Too much trouble to go 19mph there. 36th is my new 35th! Thank SDOT if you don’t like it. 

  • chris July 29, 2016 (2:58 pm)

    Having lived within a block of 35th since 1994, I am a strong supporter of the rechannelization. I have been personally rear-ended four times on 35th, thankfully all minor.  I think that people are fondly remembering a 35th that never was. During rush hour it wasn’t much faster due to left turns and people jockeying between lanes.   It is now undeniably safer for cars and pedestrians.  And traffic is slower than the 50 mph on old I-35.

     If you oppose the rechannelization, what you are really saying is that you don’t care about the neighborhoods along the corridor and that a few minutes of your time is more important than kids, families, elderly, and those who live nearby as you race through. 

  • A July 29, 2016 (3:43 pm)

    Chris- I’m not fondly remembering a 35th that never was. I’m actually witnessing a 35th that still is and that’s the part that is still 4 lanes. That part of 35th flows much better than the road diet part of 35th. As someone who travels 35th 4+ times a day to and from work and while working I know first hand how much better the 4 lane part of 35th flows than the road diet part. I can also tell you that I have driven by 5 times the amount of accidents on the road diet part than on the non road diet part. I oppose the road diet because it is absolutely moronic to reduce lanes of traffic in a city that is adding 100 cars per day to the road. I think people like Chris buy this road diet nonsense because you actually believe what this mayor and SDOT tell you when they say it is making the road safer. You probably also believe all these red light cameras make the road safer and are not just a way for the city to make a buck. Open your eyes bud, don’t believe everything they tell you

  • JackieB July 29, 2016 (3:50 pm)

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, people drive way too fast on 35th! Yes, it’s a main arterial but it’s also a residential street with parks and schools in very close proximity. Just because the people who live on 35th chose to live on a busy street doesn’t mean they shouldn’t feel safe crossing, walking, biking, etc. If the road diet slows cars down, which from everyone’s comments it sounds like it does, then leave a few minutes earlier so people can all live safely!

  • A July 29, 2016 (3:53 pm)

    One more thing for Chris and others who are for the road diet to ponder. I hope you don’t blame the police or fire department for their delayed response to your call for help. The reason they were delayed is because they were having a difficult time getting by all this manufactured traffic on 35th. When it was 4 lanes it was much easier for emergency personnel to travel 35th. Now they are dealing with the same issues we are and it is affecting their response times. The mayor and SDOT won’t tell you that though because they know what’s best for you so just keep on being good citizens and going along with everything they feed you

    • Jon Wright July 29, 2016 (11:22 pm)

      Resorting to alarmist hyperbole does not make for a compelling argument. 

  • WS Homegrown July 29, 2016 (4:31 pm)

    35th is not residential by any definition, not even SDOT’s. I lived on 35th for over 10 years and it was never referred to as I-35….it was a busy street. Cities have them…that is where we live! There has to be a happy medium but reducing all main roads in and out of WS down to two lanes is not the answer. We have an unreliable transit system in Metro, not everyone has the ability to bike it, and we are expected to move a growing population on less roadway? Sorry I am not sold. I am all for safety but I too have seen many more people being rear ended (me included) and much more congestion and speed on the side streets. I think there could have been other things implemented prior. I have yet to see anything remotely done to make crossing safer for pedestrians..in fact quite the opposite. When 35th is at its busiest and people are trying to cross at some places it is quiet frightening at times. If that was the goal shouldn’t these things have been included in Stage 1 and perhaps slowing things down before reducing lanes? SDOT has failed in my opinion. 

  • The Hepcat July 29, 2016 (5:20 pm)

     Well folks, a lot of good information shared thus far. Let me address a couple things. First, to the poster who says 35th is a residential street, I say to thee “nonsense.” 35th has homes on either side, that’s true. 35th is, and has been the only major arterial with which to move massive amounts of traffic off this rock. Not one of many routes, not even one of two. To purposely reduce traffic flow on this major thoroughfare is just plain idiotic. But then, apparently our elected officials, whom I seriously doubt have ever driven from the WSBridge to Trenton, as I do twice a day, have taken that into consideration when planning this colossal goatf**k. Side streets? Yes, thank you, I’m on ’em. Every day. 35th residents waiting to back out into this soon to be single street? Hope you pack a lunch. You’ll need it. And by the way, don’t start on the pedestrian thing. I drove 35th Monday through Friday this week, as usual. Know how many people I saw waiting to cross 35th? Two. Yes. Two. And those folks were waiting at existing crosswalks. Sorry West Ballard,  uh, I mean West Seattle, I’ve lived here for 28 years, and you are making in increasingly difficult to stay here. With bone headed decisions like this, it’s no wonder my beloved town is becoming a literal ghost of what it was. And heads up West Seattle Junction: Used to love ya, but there are restaurants in White Center and Burien too. With plenty of parking. Congratulations on your micro-housing condo-centric vision. Hope it works out for you. I shall cease ranting. Thank you for listening. I feel much better. I think I’ll go to Jak’s. Oh yeah, it’s 530 on a Friday, in the Junction. Guess not.

                                                                                                                                                                                  

     

     

     

  • TreeHouse July 29, 2016 (6:19 pm)

    Road diets are way safer. If you hate sitting in traffic, take the bus like the majority of people. Thanks Lisa.

  • Evil Twin July 29, 2016 (6:28 pm)

    Not trying to be combative here but Chris isn’t that a bit of a straw man? Being against the channelization has nothing to do with caring about kids or the elderly; they are two separate issues.

    Also, Jackie people drive too fast on EVERY street. From back woods roads to streets in a residential development to freeways. That’s why we have law enforcement to cite those that break the law. I don’t see anyone saying get rid of I-5 because a couple of people drove 90mph on it today. Just sayin’ 

  • Bob Neel July 29, 2016 (6:28 pm)

    Sorry I did not make it clear. The 84% number is the number of respondents to the petitions, as I indicated in my post. At the time I met with Lisa there were 116 signatures for the “Extend” petition, and 611 signatures for the “Remove” petition. That works out to 84%. Since that time a few more people have signed the remove petition. Of course it is not a complete poll of all her constituents, but it nonetheless is – I believe – a reasonable representation of the sentiments regarding the road diet.

  • Bob Neel July 29, 2016 (6:34 pm)

    @Evil Twin: hear! hear!  Can we appoint you the new head of SDOT? :–)

  • Evil Twin July 29, 2016 (7:15 pm)

    @Bob Neel: rants aside that’s not my area of expertise! It seems like simple math to me. We are playing serious catchup with our transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately people in this city have been resistant to growth and change for decades. Part of that is why Seattle is a great place to live but it is also why we don’t have mass transit like many other cities, etc. I am a major proponent of real mass transit. I don’t see how putting a bus in a traffic jam is going to help move people. the bus? Not 

    • Evil Twin July 29, 2016 (8:12 pm)

      Evil Twin again. Sorry mistaken publishing. What I meant to say at the end is that not everyone can take the bus. It is not practical for people that don’t start and/or finish work at the same place every day, have children in preschool or daycare, who often have work schedule changes, etc. Not to mention life is short and depending on the route it can take like 4 times longer than in your car! Sorry but I want to be home for dinner when possible.  IMHO until we have real mass transit that works for the tons of people that can and would use it we probably need lanes for cars. I hope we can get to where we don’t need as many cars and lanes I just really really really don’t think we’re there yet.

  • Jon Wright July 29, 2016 (11:37 pm)

    Love the southern portion of 35TH it feels so much safer driving. I absolutely suport extending the rechannelizing north. I’ve read every single comment posted here and didn’t see anything that would make me reconsider. I saw a lot of anecdotes about how the road is less safe (unsubstantiated by any data), complaints about how difficult it is to merge or turn left (again anecdotal), and folks railing about city government’s agenda. Bottom line, the road was unsafe before and my understanding is that honest-to-goodness empirical data shows it is safer now.

    • chemist July 30, 2016 (3:37 am)

      Your anecdotal feelings aside, I think you’re putting the cart before the horse on what empirical data is going to show about 35th phase 1.  Unless you’re a time traveler.

      SDOT has indicated they will be doing a 1-year review of the project later this year (scheduled for October)

  • Sunuva July 30, 2016 (10:18 am)

    As Evil Twin mentioned, not everyone can take the bus. Not everyone has a standard 9-5 commute schedule. Not everyone commutes downtown. Some of us have to drive these streets several times a day, and not on a reliable schedule. Some of us have to use a vehicle to haul kids, groceries, tools, plants, building materials, whatever and etc. Sorry, I can’t ride the bike to daycare and Mclendons and haul 50 lbs of compost back home!
    Maybe telling someone to leave a few minutes earlier or take the bus makes sense if they have a reliable standard everyday commute, but it is not the answer for many other uses of this road, especially when traveling at random times or needing a vehicle for obvious other reasons.

  • Longtime W Sea resident August 2, 2016 (4:57 pm)

    Maybe the thing to do is shut the whole meeting down, shout it down.  Why participate, civilly, like sheep, in a rigged process? Local government is not a spectator sport people! Give em hell — or sit back and brace yourself for more bottlenecks, gridlock and frustration along 35th.

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