‘The roadway redesign is improving safety,’ says SDOT as 35th Avenue SW Phase 2 is unveiled

FIRST REPORT, 6:27 PM: Here are the boards/slides for SDOT‘s meeting tonight about Phase 2 of the 35th SW Road Safety Corridor Project. They start with stats that SDOT says prove “the roadway redesign is improving safety,” referring to the Roxbury to Holly rechannelization put into place last fall:

The slides continue on to what SDOT says is under consideration for Phase 2, including:

*Rechannelization between Edmunds and Juneau (one lane each way, center turn lane)
*Possible extension of rechannelization from Juneau to Graham
*Signal or turn restrictions/crossing at Juneau or Graham
*Crosswalk or signal at Dawson (a signal might require 4 traffic lanes, SDOT notes)
*Holly (north end of current rechannelization) to Graham, likely keeping “4 to 5 general-purpose lanes”

Whatever is decided for Phase 2 would not be put into place until next year, but some tweaks are planned in the meantime, including the crosswalk, with flashing beacons, at Kenyon, to be installed next month. More to come at the 7 pm meeting at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW).

7:02 PM: The meeting has just begun. Outside the front door to NHHPC, rechannelization opponents were handing out bumper stickers.

handingout

Inside the hallway, dozens of people were already gathered.

hallway

Before opening the doors, SDOT’s project manager Jim Curtin stuck his head out to explain the format – strictly open house, no presentation. When he mentioned that the information would include an update on Phase 1, somebody said loudly, “Sucks!” and laughter rippled around the crowd. When he said, “We want your feedback,” someone else was heard to say, “Do you really?” (Added – our video of Curtin’s announcement)

Yet another voice wondered aloud whether SDOT director Scott Kubly was present. (Doesn’t appear to be.) Boards from the document atop this story are on easels around the room, and there are a few tables set up for different forms of feedback.

earlycommetns6

We’re sitting near a staffer who is explaining the greenway concept (set for 2019 construction).

bikeplanguy

More to come.

7:20 PM: The room is getting crowded. People are writing down comments to put in a box by the front of the room, and there are other feedback opportunities, including a table at the center of the room. It’s a little loud in here for effective Q/A, and somebody approaching the comment box just verbally commented to that effect. One man was heard standing at the greenway table nearby, demanding to know who he could vote against in the next election. We haven’t looked at the sign-in sheets for an estimate but we would guess at least 100 people have circulated through so far.

roomfilling

7:30 PM: We’re going to circulate and listen in, since it’s mostly just a dull roar where we currently are sitting. Also looking for a copy of the survey/comment form that people are filling out; one voice nearby suggests a reason for supporting safety improvements is “Because I’d like not to die.”

7:41 PM: Pending discovery of a PDF somewhere, here’s a photo of the “Phase 1 Comment Sheet”:

The crowd has thinned. Maybe 50 in here right now. The lights have gone on, finally. Nobody at the greenway table at the moment. Might be our chance to ask a few questions. West Seattle has two greenways already – one through North Delridge, one in Puget Ridge/Highland Park – and this one is supposed to be mostly parallel to 35th, but not scheduled for construction for at least three years.

8:10 PM: We’ve just roamed the room a bit to listen in. The board with the major Phase 2 proposals – another possible stretch of rechannelization, possible signals/crossings – is on the northeast end of the room. There, an SDOT employee cheerily corrected one man who asked about “the road diet” by saying, “It’s NOT a road diet.”

sdotdude

“Hey, I’m FOR the road diet,” replied the attendee (not in photo above). A woman standing at the other end of the board says she supported what’s been done so far. Down now to about 35 people; we’re taking a quick look at the sign-in sheets to see if that gives any sort of an attendance count (keeping in mind that not everyone will take the time to, or want to, sign in).

8:25 PM: The biggest crowd remains around project manager Jim Curtin, who is next to the board with the collision data from Phase I – the official full evaluation of the first year is due out in October, according to the project timeline. He’s listening to concerns including intersections where it’s become tougher to turn.

Meantime, even with far fewer people in the room, it’s still loud. If you prefer a quieter venue for questions/concerns, the “walking tour” planned for next Tuesday – 6 pm-7:30 pm August 9th, starting at 35th/Avalon and heading south – might be of interest. SDOT did this before Phase I and there was little turnout, meaning those who did drop in at various spots had no trouble engaging the SDOT reps in conversation.

8:32 PM: One woman leaving the room told the SDOT staffer at the check-in table, “Thanks for listening to all our gripes!” Staffer’s reply: “That’s what we’re here for.” We’re not quite down to 1-to-1 ratio SDOT to general public, but getting there. Quiet enough now that we can hear Curtin’s voice from around the room, reiterating what’s in the new documents, that travel times have not increased by much and that transit times have improved. Yes, but, one man says, he lives in The Arroyos and the 21X experiences delays. Curtin, who has said often publicly that he lives in Arbor Heights and uses 35th in multiple modes, says he rides the 21X too and can vouch for that. The attendee suggested Metro should have been here along with SDOT.

8:45 PM: Still a handful of people here. The greenway-table SDOT staffer is talking with a woman about Arbor Heights’ sidewalk shortage. We have a few questions to ask once this is about to wrap, and we’ll add the answers after we get them.

9:40 PM: After the last few attendees trickled out just past 9, we spent a while talking with project manager Curtin. First, we brought up the point made in comments, about comparing the crash and injury/death stats from the not-quite-a-year post-Phase 1 to the ten years ahead of time. He agreed that the real tale will be in the official report this fall, when they will use a 3-year period for comparison, and will “lay out everything we have.”

Second, we clarified that the stretch which might be rechannelized next is very much in flux – if SDOT decides new signals/crossings at Dawson and/or Graham are warranted (and this is tied into the greenway planning, so there would be a cutover to The Junction), that could reduce how much of the roadway would be eligible for lane reductions. But Curtin stressed that road redesign is vital to reduce speeding on the stretch north of Morgan.

Third, we asked what could and would be done to address some of the concerns brought up over and over again, especially people having difficulty making turns, either onto or off 35th, because there’s no break in the one-lane-each-way traffic. He said there WILL be changes in signal timing and he expects that will make a major difference – they will use a timing scheme they had in place before Phase 1 – and he promised it will happen before year’s end.

The last major point – he stressed that they are proceeding more slowly with this phase, that what was on the boards you see above (and/or saw at the meeting) are “concepts,” with more discussions coming up at the August 9th walking tour, at a community meeting before year’s end, and another one early in 2017.

We have some photos to add, before the night’s out.

100 Replies to "'The roadway redesign is improving safety,' says SDOT as 35th Avenue SW Phase 2 is unveiled"

  • TheKing August 4, 2016 (6:49 pm)

    Congratulations. Forward thinking has increased congestion, raised blood pressure and lowered IQ’s. 

    • Jort August 4, 2016 (10:42 pm)

      It has also calmed traffic, reduced collisions and increased safety. I’m sorry that your feelings are hurt, though.

      • candrewb August 5, 2016 (5:23 am)

        I just cut through the neighborhoods now. It’s even worse in Capitol Hill, you should see all the Please Don’t Speed and Twenty is Plenty signs…

        • LarryB August 6, 2016 (4:53 pm)

          Which is why I want speed bumps – lots of them – on 34th SW. Too many drivers going too fast on a block that’s a school zone.

        • Alex August 8, 2016 (5:56 pm)

          I wonder if SDOT considers this at all. I live on 30th Ave just below Avalon, and it is very obvious that the Avalon Way road diet (going down to 1 lane each way and adding in a new light on Genesee) has led many more drivers to now divert through my street as an alternative path from Genesee to Avalon. 30th used to essentially be local traffic only, so this is a big change, and I’m guessing SDOT doesn’t factor these sorts of impacts in when analyzing their glorious plans to slow traffic on the arterials.

      • Sunuva August 5, 2016 (7:41 am)

        Calmed traffic = Caused so much congestion that people are forced to drive slower than the lowered speed limit in a tightly-packed train of cars causing a trail of brake lights as far as the eye can see during rush hour.

        Reduced collisions = Traded one type of collision for another. Many have pointed out that the changes have increased the danger of rear-end collisions and collisions during turning and running red lights to make turns. Also, as many have pointed out, the data provided so far is not sufficient to prove in any way that collisions have been meaningfully reduced.

        Increased safety = Forced more cars onto side streets therefore making those streets more dangerous, did nothing to improve any pedestrian crossings, and greatly increased congestion making it less safe for cars and pedestrians alike.

        Lastly, feelings aren’t “hurt”, but we are angry that these changes are making our roads less safe, believe it or not, in the name of safety! Go ahead and gloat and continue to show your complete lack of empathy or consideration for your neighbors concerns as you have elsewhere in this thread. I don’t think it’s helping your argument at all.

        • David August 5, 2016 (9:54 am)

          You don’t have any data to back up your claims that it’s somehow more dangerous now than it was. Nor do you have data that people are supposedly flooding the side streets, I actually doubt that. If after more time and more data is collected if it shows that 35th is less safe now than it was, I’ll gladly eat crow, but I’m counting on it showing the opposite.

          • TheKing August 5, 2016 (10:53 am)

            Some folks can look at a simple situation and make a determination through the power of free thinking and just go…..you know what, that looks like it isn’t going to work very well. And we didn’t even need data from a government study.

          • Sunuva August 5, 2016 (12:18 pm)

            Neither side has the data to back up their claims yet. I personally see the road as more dangerous now because of the experiences I have every day driving on it. That is entirely what my post was about and I stand by it. If the data comes out showing a meaningful improvement in safety in terms of lowering collisions and reducing serious pedestrian-involved collisions, then that’s great for all of us! I still would’ve rather they solved the problem in a way that doesn’t make me personally feel less safe and cause so much congestion, frustration, and division in our community.

          • TheKing August 5, 2016 (4:20 pm)

            I’m with you sunuva. They have taken our tax money to create congestion in order to get ST3 passed. They all have an interest in working together as hiding behind the safety claims comes with a 50 billion dollar blank check they can all have a piece of. Pathetic collusion.

    • Joe Szilagyi August 5, 2016 (10:06 am)

      If people can’t handle being held to the speed limit without losing their minds, get their licenses revoked and cars taken on public safety grounds.

      • LarryB August 6, 2016 (4:54 pm)

        I’m all for safer roads, but I think that the lights are poorly timed, and all it takes is one person doing 20 to double the drive time between Barton and Morgan. And that happens all the time.

    • WSeacommuter August 5, 2016 (5:08 pm)

      … but nothing has happened yet… am I missing something?

      I can currently drive from roxbury, north on 35th to avalon, in about 9 minutes at almost all times of the day and night.This is time that includes half of the street already being on a “road diet” (And the road diet part is actualyl faster if you can believe it).

      More lanes do not mean more cars can fit. That is a logical fallacy. It just means you have more options for your drive which gives you the PERCEPTION that more cars can fit (and that you are “in control”). In fact, most of the time reducing lanes allows MOST cars to go faster as it takes away extra “options” for the other drivers (like the ability to switch between lanes which can cause slow downs).

      If you want to help yourself with the blood pressure stuff, just take your commute it nice and slow – maybe even leave a little bit early (I keep seeing “it added X to my commute!” … well now you need to leave that much earlier!). I am trying to find a nice way to approach the IQ part of your comment but I cant… so… I just will not say anything at all there.

      If ONE PERSON gets to live because of these changes, it is WORTH IT! That one person might be you or someone you love. Consider that before you road rage yourself into an early grave.

    • Kevin August 6, 2016 (8:11 am)

      I thought the meeting was handled brilliantly.  The format totally diffused the anger and emotion people came with still allowed for constructive input and feedback.  The changes are going to happen, it’s time to accept it and move on.  

      • Sunuva August 6, 2016 (8:32 am)

        So, just accept it. Okay, so the input from the community really doesn’t matter then? And move on? LOL, pun intended? Okay, I’ll move on as best I can on my new congested roadway and do my best not to get rear-ended! 

  • Listening to public seems to be a joke August 4, 2016 (7:13 pm)

    Hmmm. Here’s the design. We don’t care about your feedback regarding phase 1 impact nor what happens to the north: namely, difficulty merging onto 35th from side streets due to backups and increased commute times. Let’s simply screw up the rest of 35th going north. Again why not remove parking, keep two lanes each direction, add signala as needed with turn lanes and call it what we need in West Seattle, an arterial that works! 

    • Sam Schuetz August 4, 2016 (10:34 pm)

      You are spot on 

  • flimflam August 4, 2016 (7:25 pm)

    sdot says so – that means its true!

  • Katch August 4, 2016 (7:31 pm)

    Never use 35th anymore, maybe that’s the desired effect.

    • Dogmom1 August 4, 2016 (9:54 pm)

      @Katch, YES!  That’s exactly what’s happening!!  My husband told Curtin that drivers are now racing down side streets.  This was news to him!  Shawn asked if he planned on putting in speed bumps on every street, and he got the thousand yard stare.

    • RC August 5, 2016 (7:39 am)

      Social engineering doesn’t always have the desired effects.

  • Chemist August 4, 2016 (7:40 pm)

    I’m not sure showing a “speeders over 35 mph” stat is accurate when you’ve dropped the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph during phase 2.  I think you’d want speeders to be people exceeding the speed limit, in both accounts.  If rechannelizatin results in more people exceeding the speed limit as posted, that’s important too.  The 85th percentile speeds accomplish what I think the “speeders over 35 mph” is designed to be showing.

  • Andros August 4, 2016 (8:00 pm)

    This meeting was a sham.  Crowded, hot and no way to have an active forum on commenting.  Just a bunch of data points on boards and some SDOT employees getting badgered by the crowd.

    • Sam Schuetz August 4, 2016 (10:35 pm)

      You are so right. This meeting was a big joke 

      • dsa August 4, 2016 (11:45 pm)

        It satisfies the argument that they fulfilled community outreach, other than that SDOT would not bother.

  • S August 4, 2016 (8:22 pm)

    I was heading north on 35th around 9am this morning and traffic was backed up so much that cars couldn’t go through the green light. I fear that SDOT is so focused on their original expectations that they can’t see the reality they’ve created. Taxpayer dollars used to make things worse!

  • Qc August 4, 2016 (8:30 pm)

    Looking forward to the improvements!

  • S August 4, 2016 (8:39 pm)

    I hope someone in the audience there knows how to look at data and can call SDOT out. For example, the first figure claiming that things are safer is totally bogus. They’re comparing the number of crashes over ten years to the number of crashes over eleven months. If you adjust for the more than ten-fold difference in time, we are on the same track for collisions (on track for 491 collisions over the next ten years). The data show that the redesign is NOT improving safety. The number of fatalities and pedestrian accidents over the ten year period is so low that there is no statistical power to draw any inferences from an eleven month period. It’s complete BS and they either don’t know what they’re doing or they’re hoping the audience doesn’t have any basic critical thinking skills.

    • WSB August 4, 2016 (8:44 pm)

      If we weren’t clear enough – there’s no “audience” – we’ve been here for the duration, since about 10 minutes before it began, and it’s been a full open-house format, no presentation, lots of conversation, people rotating around the room, filling out comment forms if they choose to, or not. We’ve been hanging around to the end mostly so we can ask a few questions so we’ll ask that one. – TR

      • S August 5, 2016 (11:20 am)

        Thanks, you guys are great!

  • Cainipoo August 4, 2016 (8:43 pm)
    If by improvements you mean longer travel times, difficulty turning on and off 35th, increased side street traffic and even more distracted/multitasking drivers ok.
  • Joe Dirt August 4, 2016 (9:12 pm)

    Does the ticket camera work? I see 2 or 3 cars turn left on a red arrow so those that have a green heading south on 35th can’t go. Doesn’t help congestion when north south can’t go for the full green duration. 

  • Longtime W Sea resident August 4, 2016 (9:16 pm)

    Terrible, terrible format for a meeting. It wasn’t a public forum at all.  WS Blog did fair job of reporting it, except WS Blog failed to gauge or show the scale of the opposition. It seemed like it was about 9-to-1 against Phase II, but we’ll never know., and all those comment cards will never be independently tallied.  Funniest part was the logjam of people trying to get in at the start. Folks waited up to 30 minutes to channel into the hot room, where they had to sign in first before being dispersed to small groups. It was a lot like the gridlock we all experience on 35th, and Fauntleroy, and California….. Thanks for the laugh sdot.

  • Linda August 4, 2016 (9:18 pm)

    I guess we’ll just use the back streets

  • Bob Neel August 4, 2016 (9:32 pm)

    I’d be curious to know WSB’s impression of the overall stance represented by the crowd.  My feeling  [admittedly biased] is that the opponents – based on the display of yellow cards – outnumbered the supporters about 3 or 4 to 1, maybe more.

    I was surprised to discover how few opponents knew about their opportunity to voice an opinion via the “SDOT: REMOVE” petition on Change.org.

  • Dogmom1 August 4, 2016 (9:46 pm)

    My husband was there, and said it was a complete waste of time and energy.  (Not on WSB’s part, but SDOT vs. PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY LIVE HERE.) So incredibly frustrating!  My husband talked to Curtin, who said he never has a problem with traffic on 35th, never has a problem turning left from the so-called turn lane.  Shawn asked him if he actually drives on 35th, or does he take the bus?  Yep.  He takes the bus.  Sooooo…  He’s not really a good spokesman for our neighborhood concerns.  

    • Joe Dirt August 4, 2016 (10:53 pm)

      Buses run redlights so it’s no problem turning left for them, lol. Frustrating experience.

    • MGG August 5, 2016 (1:31 pm)

      Interesting concept that people who ride the bus don’t matter

  • Mat August 4, 2016 (9:47 pm)

    I had a couple awesome conversations with people against the changes tonight and even though we still disagree (I’m in favor of them), we all love West Seattle and that’s pretty rad. It was good talking to you all, thanks for coming out neighbors. 

  • CR August 4, 2016 (10:07 pm)

    Traffic light at 35th/Dawson would be a significant improvement.  Bus stops both directions at intersection and is the also the entrance/exit for Camp Long.  If a stop light goes in, it may not be necessary to rechannel this section.

  • Jack August 4, 2016 (10:10 pm)

    SDOT is going to do whatever the hell they want and we are stuck with it.

    They *might* have some credibility with me *IF* they fixed their mistakes.

    They have admitted that the bus bulbs at california and morgan were a mistake, but

    said that there is no budget to fix it.

    How about this: They want to channelize 35th. Put up a bond equal to the amount it would cost to undo the channelization. If an independent body finds that it has not found a significant improvement in safety, SDOT has to undo it.

    No? I didn’t think so.

    • Jack August 4, 2016 (10:14 pm)

      One more thought:

      I work in the private sector. If I screw something up I can’t just say “oopsie, yeah that didn’t work out quite the way I thought, but hey, here is another thing I think we should do…”

      I have to fix what I screwed up. 

      This is why SDOT has zero credibility with some Seattle-ites.

      • Joe Dirt August 4, 2016 (10:54 pm)

        Well said.

  • Millie August 4, 2016 (10:14 pm)

    Yet again, SDOT and the City have proven their total disregard of constituent input.  They only see us when they need more dollars!

    • Joe Dirt August 4, 2016 (10:54 pm)

      Amen X 1,000 !

  • New Thinking Needed August 4, 2016 (10:23 pm)

    Thanks  WSB for the reporting on what sounds like a frustrating experience….just like what driving on 35th Ave SW has become as others have pointed out. DOGMOM1’s comment “he got the thousand yard stare”  is spot on! with how much feedback SDOT is really looking for.

  • joesmart August 4, 2016 (10:30 pm)

    KEEP 35th 2 LANES IN EACH DIRECTION. ARE U KIDDING ME ??? Get some flashing flights for people crossing like in Burien.  They don’t seem to have a problem with 2 lanes on Ambaum!  Making this one lane in each direction is a complete joke.  People hate it.

    • Jort August 4, 2016 (10:52 pm)

      I love the mindset many people in here have that somehow the science on how these rechannlizations reduces collisions, injuries and deaths is somehow just not true.

      Sounds like global warming denialists to me!

      Science says, through study after repeated study over and over and over again in cities big and small around the world in every single instance that these road redesigns take place, that they increase safety.

      But I’m sure lots of people’s “gut” tells them differently. So — screw science! Trust your GUT!

      • Stan August 5, 2016 (7:25 am)

        “I would encourage anybody whose feelings are really hurt about being asked to slow down their commute by five or, at worst, ten minutes, to think about how many lives will be saved from the changes. And if they really don’t like it, they might join the rest of us on a bus or on a bike.”

        AGAIN, reality is not everyone can take the bus or ride a bike…..so please stop assuming it would be that simple. Some people have jobs that require them to have their vehicles and some people have a commute where taking the bus or biking might not be a viable option for a variety of reasons. If you can do it great but it might not be feasible for all so this answer is getting really tiresome. Not to mention, our transit system is not always the most reliable, perhaps that should have been addressed before deciding to ask people to use it more.  I am sure my bus was late or didn’t show starts to sound like my dog ate my homework after awhile to most bosses, nothing but excuses. 

        I am all for making things safer but according to SDOT the top reason for collisions on 35th  was due to inattentive driving, reducing the lanes is not going to change that. We could have easily reduced the speed down to 30 mph and put more effort into safer crossings for pedestrians. 

  • Jort August 4, 2016 (10:46 pm)

    I am looking forward to the lane reduction on 35th, because it will inconvenience many automobile drivers and thereby reduce automobile usage in the corridor. I know that this hurts people’s feelings, but I don’t care. Seattle’s future is not in the growth of automobile driving.

    I would encourage anybody whose feelings are really hurt about being asked to slow down their commute by five or, at worst, ten minutes, to think about how many lives will be saved from the changes. And if they really don’t like it, they might join the rest of us on a bus or on a bike.

    I look forward to the changes and can not wait to see how angry the comments sections on WSB get about it, because it’s going to happen, and you’re all going to have to deal with it, and I’m sorry for you sad, sad luck.

  • A August 4, 2016 (10:53 pm)

    This meeting was exactly what I thought it would be and that’s why I didn’t attend. SDOT feeding us a bunch of b.s. stats saying how much safer the road is since the road diet. 35th is not more safe, the side streets are now more dangerous and travel times during rush hour have doubled. That is the biggest joke that they would say travel time would only increase 2 minutes at most. Trenton to avalon was 5 minutes pre road diet it is now 10+ minutes during rush hour. They either are terrible at math or they think we are complete idiots and we will believe their b.s.. I would love for them to answer this one simple question. We are adding 100 new cars to our roads everyday due to our booming economy so can you please explain to me what logical sense it makes to eliminate lanes of travel on our main roads? Unfortunately 35th is only going to get worse and I mean way worse. It’s very clear now that an overwhelmingly majority of us are against this road diet but they won’t listen. We’re screwed

    • Jon Wright August 5, 2016 (11:59 am)

      SDOT feeding us a bunch of b.s. stats saying how much safer the road is since the road diet. 35th is not more safe, the side streets are now more dangerous and travel times during rush hour have doubled.

      To this 35th Ave SW user, SDOT’s statistics are much more compelling than your unsubstantiated anecdotes. If you are convinced what you say is correct, my recommendation would be to come up with some empirical evidence that supports your claims.

      And some additional thoughts in regards to what you say about rush hour travel times:

      • What percentage of trips on 35th are rush hour trips?
      • Is it best practice to design a road for the relatively short periods in the day where there is peak usage? (the “you don’t build a church to hold everyone at Easter” philosophy)
      • Is it reasonable to expect that rush hour traffic is not going to get worse? (I can’t think of any road–modified or not–where peak travel times/volumes are not getting worse)
      • MGG August 5, 2016 (1:44 pm)

        Thank you. This is the sanest comment on this thread. My impression is that everyone in this area needs to slow down. When I drive 35th at anywhere near the posted speedlimit (usually about 3-5 mph faster than posted), the number of agitated drivers tailgating and/or passing unsafely is mindboggling, and the number of times I have seen speeding drivers nearly mow down pedestrians in crosswalks and even in signalled intersections where the car was literally running the red light is too numerous to count. Anything that reduces speed on this arterial is a positive. I can look out my window and look at cars backed up in all four lanes of Roxbury at all times of the day, and long before they made any changes to 35th, it was not at all unusual for me to find myself stuck behind both lanes of northbound traffic on 35th between Roxbury and Morgan as I looked over to see similarly stopped traffic in both southbound lanes. Get real: 35th was never a driver’s utopia before any of these changes, and from the traffic studies presented, the existing changes increased average travel time by only 1 minute 16 seconds.  That seems like a small price to pay if we can make the neighborhood safer for pedestrians and other vulnerable users, including people who drive carefully and within sane speed limits (there are a few of them out there, but they are an endangered species in W. Seattle).

  • Shawn M August 4, 2016 (10:55 pm)

    I felt sorry for the SDOT employees who were there.  They all must’ve Dewan the short straw, to put up with all the badgering.  It wasn’t evident, but they apparently were only put there as a formality,  to take the brunt from the public.  It was clear that none of them have any authority to listen to the public, nor make any suggested changes. For those people at SDOT, and the city, that weren’t there tonight that could make changes:  Bravo. You keep building, building and building again, and wasting taxpayers money.  So far, you can’t keep up with the infrastructure.  At the rate you’re going, there will be longer and longer commutes.  Thanks. 

  • A August 4, 2016 (11:01 pm)

    @ jort- I would much rather sit in my car in traffic than be on an overcrowded, unsanitary bus or ride a bike on our enormous hills and in our endless winter rain. 90% of the population agrees with me so deal with it. You’re going to be sitting on your crummy, stinky bus in the same traffic that I am in but at least I’ll be comfortable. Enjoy!

    • AMD August 5, 2016 (4:28 pm)

      This attitude is why traffic is as bad as it is.  The 21 and the people who ride it are not “crummy, unsanitary, and stinky”, nor would I guess they appreciate being called such.

      If you feel like you’re too good to take public transportation, that’s your prerogative.  But the consequence of that entitlement is a longer commute. 

  • Jeanie August 4, 2016 (11:55 pm)

    Heck, before the road “diet,” I’d see dozens of people and dogs mowed down every day by crazed speeding drivers. Let’s face it, SDOT doesn’t realize that diets don’t work.

  • Kap August 5, 2016 (12:13 am)

    Jort.  I agree with you mostly. One living the WS life almost 15 yrs what a great community. Also feel for the folks who cannot turn safely.  Sounds like it’s being addressed.  You’ve gotta put yourself in others shoes. My kids are 13 and 8, but if they were still going to The Mount(greatest childcare this side of the Mississippi River) my opinion maybe would be diff. I also go south 509 for work and don’t use WS bridge to commute. Can understand the frustration. Still like the the rechannelization I. 

    Keep it real folks and go in peace  

  • P August 5, 2016 (12:35 am)

    30 to 1 against.  I only heard one person there for.  Hope SDOT takes a long, long look before screwing up the rest of 35th!

    • candrewb August 5, 2016 (5:32 am)

      An optimist. That won’t last.

  • East Coast Cynic August 5, 2016 (5:32 am)

    My hope out of all this is that they don’t eliminate parking along 35th Ave SW for those who live on the street.  There are new businesses and apartments that have gone up in in the past year, with more to follow that have increased the parked car volumes along the street, particularly near Morgan and Holly.  Removing parking for quicker bus/car movement would not eliminate cars but simply move them to nearby streets—37th, 38th—streets that have already started to feel the effects of the increased car volumes.

    @Jort, I’d agree with you more if we had the layout of a Capital Hill, and I say this as one who lived w/o a car in a bigger city.  If we want to go to the super market in WS, most of us have to drive a couple of miles or so in each direction.  You can’t simply walk a few blocks to the super market like you can in Capitol Hill.  Cars for many of us, in the absence of a more friendly geographical and public transit situation (no rail till 2035?), are a need.

  • Samantha August 5, 2016 (7:28 am)

    There is irony in these lane reductions on 35th being paid for by the Move Seattle Levy. The voters approved nearly $1 billion for “investing in the future with improvements to move more people in and around a growing Seattle.”

    Its evident that any improvements in moving people should be done safely, and I saw that the mayor said speed is the number one traffic killer, but at the risk of being obvious there are many other ways to improve safety that don’t slow down traffic,  lead to increases in air pollution, stress, and gas expenditures  and that can even improve traffic flow. According to Seattle.gov the number one causes of serious traffic injuries are inattention, failures to yield, and under the influence.  Was speed the cause of deaths on 35th? That data was not available.

    The worst part of what appears to be a bait and switch is that the population in West Seattle is growing and we need the Move Seattle levy to move West Seattle. Since we have according to Seattle.gov the intersections in West Seattle have an incredibly low number of cyclists,  I’m guessing by sight there are not many walkers on 35th or 34th, and there have been reductions in bus transport where I live in the Arroyos, the people we should be moving are driving cars. Of course it should be down safely. 

  • Sunuva August 5, 2016 (8:01 am)

    I’d be curious at the geographic distribution of the support and opposition to the road diet. I live in the very far south portion of West Seattle so my experiences are from having to drive the entirety of 35th on a regular basis. Most of my frustration happens for several  blocks before I even get to Thistle. Based on that, I would like to see if the opposition to this grows the further south you go. I would also be interested to see how that changes after the northern section is completed. I would guess that the opposition will grow and spread north as more people have to deal with this on a daily basis.

  • TFP August 5, 2016 (9:49 am)

    I was at the meeting last night, and am a supporter of safety improvements on 35th. I have witnessed the improvement on Fauntleroy as an example of the success of SDOT planning. I don’t support a four lane expressway through the heart of residential West Seattle.  There are many users in this corridor. Pedestrians need to cross,  transit needs improved throughput. It’s a neighborhood street, single occupant vehicles certainly are shareholders(the loudest voices in this meeting) and have concerns about capacity, but they aren’t the only users. I applaud SDOT in their effort to make streets safer for our community.


  • David August 5, 2016 (10:14 am)

    None of us have data on the side streets. I honestly highly doubt that people are turning off 35th into neighborhoods where somehow it’s supposed to be much faster.  I’m calling BS on that until someone proves it to me with data.

    I live on 35th near Thistle at the bottom of the hill; what I’ve seen from the road diet is that instead of going 45-50 through this section, people are going 30-35. It’s quieter, appears safer and feels more like a neighborhood than a house on north Aurora. It isn’t hard to pull out into traffic, maybe slightly more difficult than it was, but a non-issue. 

    When SDOT gets more data and more time, I think the analysis is going to show less collisions and less injuries. I’m hoping that when that happens we can all get behind this instead of complaining about how you’re inconvenienced by a little bit of extra traffic. 

  • Evil twin August 5, 2016 (10:20 am)

    Jort- again……not everyone has a schedule or life where they can bike or bus to work!!! That doesn’t mean they hate the environment or whatever. Sometimes people buy a house in, say, West Seattle and lose their job and the best new job they can find is in Kirkland. So bike to Kirkland? Ride unreliable bus service for 2 or 3 hours one way with multiple transfers and miss the kids t-ball game? There are tons of different scenarios out there. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a simple bike commute. On that note I used to commute by bike but after one coworker that did as well was hurt pretty bad and then another who is an avid cyclist who does everything right while biking to and from work was hit and ended up in a wheel chair for years and needing a special accommodation from his job I stopped at the direct order of my wife (and young child). People are pretty squishy compared to SUV’s not everyone wants to take that risk.

  • AmandaKH August 5, 2016 (10:32 am)

    There were a lot of really angry people in that room last night.  And I didn’t want to engage with them because of it, but from the relative safety of my computer, I am curious.  What are you so angry about?  That you are being delayed 1 minute 16 seconds in your day?  That someone is riding your tail? 

    Please help me, your neighbor who is for this re-channelization, understand your anger.  

    • KM August 5, 2016 (11:12 am)

      This is why I sent my feedback to Jim Curtin via email, and respectfully (I hope). That type of environment isn’t for everyone, hopefully others who would like to comment but want to avoid these situations submit their feedback via other channels to SDOT.

    • Jon Wright August 5, 2016 (11:43 am)

      I find all the expressions of anger and outrage curious myself. It says something about our collective values that potential reconfiguration of a road catalyzes more negative energy than all the other bad stuff that is going on around us right now.

    • Diogenes August 5, 2016 (12:02 pm)

      Hi, Amanda – it’s not a “1 minute and 16 second delay.”  I’m near 35th SW and Barton, and it now takes me more than 3x longer to get to the WS bridge… an additional 20 minutes+ each day, or more than 90 minutes *each week* wasted sitting in traffic.  Now multiply that x5 days, x4 weeks/mo, x12months/yr, and perhaps you get a sense of the frustration.  Middle “turn lanes” to nowhere… stupidly placed bus stops immediately after a traffic light/corner that hold up traffic behind them with nowhere to go… waiting for pedestrians to cross before turning, thus holding up the now only single line of traffic behind them… it’s clear SDOT stands for Stupidly Destroying Optimum Transportation.  Seattle is absorbing record numbers of people, and SDOT’s mission should be to move the greatest number of people as quickly as possible (factoring in safety, of course), not to create inefficiency and implement civil engineering that’s nothing short of moronic. 

      • Joe Szilagyi August 5, 2016 (8:50 pm)
        ” I’m near 35th SW and Barton, and it now takes me more than 3x longer to get to the WS bridge…”
        Uh, when? Like, what time of day do you pull out onto 35th where it’s taking you 30+ minutes to go from Barton to the Bridge? I’m just south of you and I think my worst day ever was like 20 minutes. It used to take me like 15, and I’m still averaging around 15. 
    • Sunuva August 5, 2016 (12:07 pm)

      The inconvenience is frustrating and annoying, sure, but it is not the inconvenience that is causing the anger. What is making opponents angry is that we don’t see the road as safer now. If anything, it is less safe in a number of new ways. It makes me angry that a heavy-handed and completely misguided approach was taken to solve a problem and it has not made the road safer overall.

    • Sunuva August 5, 2016 (12:21 pm)

      And a second note after re-reading this thread; a lot of the anger seems to be regarding the poor format of the meeting. SDOT seems to have brought that on themselves in this case.

      • Jon Wright August 5, 2016 (1:28 pm)

        What were people looking for? A chance to have all the anti-rechannelization folks chanting “no road diet” in unison? An opportunity to interrupt and shout down SDOT speakers? Would that somehow have been more cathartic? SDOT showed their data, SDOT was there to answer questions, and SDOT collected comments. How should it have been done differently?

        • Sunuva August 5, 2016 (1:46 pm)

          Yes, all of those things! That would have been so much more helpful!

          • Kathy August 5, 2016 (3:50 pm)

            The only problem with the format was that the venue was too small. I went to the meeting twice, once on an ebike. I biked home at 8 pm because the meeting was too crowded and I couldn’t absorb the information or engage in conversation due to the noise factor. Then at home I discovered I left something at Neighborhood House so I got in my car and drove back just before 9. It was much easier to absorb the information and engage once the crowd had thinned out.

            Both trips I felt threatened by speeding traffic while trying to cross 35th (on a bike) or left turn in my car from 35th.  You can complain about inconvenience all you want, but any private corporation or public agency must put safety as it’s first priority. They will all state this in their mission statements, some talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. I applaud SDOT for sticking to their guns on making safe streets the number one priority for people driving, walking, and biking. No amount of inconvenience will trump this goal. For those who dispute the data from safer street designs already implemented, please produce your own data. It defies logic that slowing down traffic closer to the posted speed limit and reducing opportunities for side by side car racing would produce more collisions. 

          • Sunuva August 6, 2016 (8:24 am)

            Kathy, I haven’t seen people disputing the data from other road diets. I have seen that people are disputing that this road is dangerous mainly because the traffic volume is too high for this type of configuration. There are no comparable roads with over 22k vehicles a day where a road diet has been implemented.

            Further, NOBODY is saying that convenience is more important that safety! NOBODY!! I really am shaking my head reading these types of comments over and over and over again. Stop trying to suggest that opposition is somehow in favor of convenience over safety! We cafe about safety as much, if not more, than anyone else. Listen clearly, please! We are saying that this road diet was not appropriate for this specific road, that it has created congestion and increased speed variance. Increased speed variance is directly correlated with a higher rate of accidents in many studies. We are against this because SDOT has applied the wrong approach to this specific road and it has indeed created new unsafe conditions that did not exist before. If it has a few positive effects but created new negative ones, is it really worth it? Shouldn’t we discuss if other options could be implemented that would not cause more congestion and increased speed variance? Can’t we discuss solutions that really would work for everyone and not cause so much controversy?

  • Andros August 5, 2016 (11:13 am)

    If this had been more of a forum last night, I wanted to ask the question on why SDOT has not just invested in light synchronization.  If they synced these lights up and down the 35th Ave coordinator to 30 MPH, they could still keep the two lanes and achieve their goal of slowing traffic.  People would have reason to slow down if they knew they could make all the lights.  I’ve seen this work in many cities…it’s just a technology solution. 

    What we are dealing with here are two different issues…volume and speed.  There are ways to reduce speed, yet keep the volume consistent on this main street.  I think that is where SDOT has failed, as they are concerned about the speed situation on 35th, but not the volume. 

  • S August 5, 2016 (11:18 am)

    The second slide shows “nearly 500 accidents” in the ten years before the rechannelization and 45 in the eleven months since the rechannelization.

    .

    So before = 4.17 accidents per month

    And after = 4.09 accidents per month

    .

    So there’s no evidence the road is safer. And the 4.17 figure is likely inflated because SDOT says “nearly” 500 accidents, meaning the actual number is lower.

    .

    Yet the slide says the road is safer. On what data is SDOT basing that statement?

    • Jon Wright August 5, 2016 (11:37 am)

      I am big time in favor of the changes, but that one had me scratching my head a bit, too. Perhaps it is the severity of the accidents and number of injuries? But I also assume that 10 years ago, there was less traffic so number of accident as a percentage of trips might be down now? I am a big believer in hard data vs. anecdotes, so I would welcome more explication of the statistical data.

    • chemist August 5, 2016 (11:56 am)

      They dropped the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph and are recording the number of people exceeding 35 mph has dropped (the average speeds have gone down a few mph too).

  • Evil Twin August 5, 2016 (11:41 am)

    Amanda,

    I’m not speaking for anyone else here but I personally wouldn’t call myself “angry” and mean in no way to be combative.  How I feel is that overall in the city there is this idea that we can have Light Rail, Bikes, Delivery Trucks, Buses and Pedestrians on the same road at the same time and somehow have effective, safe transportation (Broadway on Cap. Hill). I personnally love the idea of rail and subways and all of that stuff. But we don’t have it!!! Bottom line there are more and more people here and we don’t have a BART or transportation like they do in many other big cities and many other countries. So what do we do in the interim? Between now and REAL mass transit? Create more congestion and slow bus service and commerce down even more? There are cities all over the country with 4 lane arterials; it’s not a radical idea. Also, people speed and drive in a reckless manner on every single road, from culdesacks to I-5 and that will probably never change. Ok, to stop myself from another guy on the blog rant I guess to summarize my feelings overall it’s to go big or go home. I’m personally tired of moving lines around at whatever expense it is. I want a light rail, monorail, hyperloop, hovercars, whatever. Something that moves more people, not takes the same amount of people and moves them less effectively. Just seems like common sense to me. 

  • wsn00b August 5, 2016 (11:44 am)

    BTW, most of you haven’t noticed the bait-and-switch SDOT has done underneath the noise of these lane painting shennanigans. The original SDOT materials for Move Seattle Levy stated that they would repave all of 35th. The current project page has no evident plans that 35th will be repaved. It isn’t on the list of planned repaving projects.  http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ltms_projects.htm 

    So they’ll just keep repainting the turd (which is the best way to describe the quality of the road).  The re-channelization has created more ruts, potholes and bumps where the old paint existed.

    Have you driven down from Alaska to Avalon? The pavement has been degraded to resemble a cheese grater with the overweight buses and all vehicles braking downslope. 

    Can we petition to rename 35th to Third World Avenue SW?

  • Fred August 5, 2016 (12:06 pm)

    I live on 35th and this change had made a great difference for the BETTER!!!

    And it doesn’t take me any longer to get to the west seattle bridge than it did before…

    Have a calmer, quieter, safer street is very important…

    All naysayers can take another route… 

  • Evil twin August 5, 2016 (12:12 pm)

    Bravo Andros! A very simple yet effective solution! Address the operative word “safety” by lowering the speed limit and re-optimizing signal timing thereby increasing safety and minimizing impact on volume. Brilliant! Btw I know a guy who used to work on traffic signals, a new signal timing plan can be downloaded to the entire corridor from afar. So we’re talking changing some signs and a download. Sounds pretty inexpensive.

    • Andros August 5, 2016 (12:36 pm)

      Thank you for saying that .  I think it’s a great way to have our cake and eat it to…and it’s just some minor technology that can put this into place.  

    • Sunuva August 5, 2016 (1:50 pm)

      Yes, makes sense to me too! I would’ve loved to have seen an attempt to solve this problem in a more rational and inexpensive way. Also sounds like a way that could have made everybody happy!

  • Julia August 5, 2016 (2:47 pm)

    I wasn’t able to attend the meeting; was anything mentioned about how these new speed limits will actually be enforced? I encounter more speeding/reckless drivers in Seattle than I have in any city I have ever driven in, and I rarely, if ever see any sort of traffic enforcement.  There are allegedly laws on the books aimed at reducing distracted driving: every time I am at a light there is at least one driver within view with a device out. There are posted speed limits: if I am driving less than 5 miles over the speed limit, there will usually be a driver behind me panicking until he or she can get around me. I have yet to see police doing anything about these things, much less the folks who road-rage out and use parking or turn lanes to swerve around lines cars, run red lights, and generally make the streets menacing for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists…anyone in their way. So, yes, I am all for the road diet, I travel 35th daily(yes, in rush hour, too) and have seen none of these snags and hang-ups people seem to encounter, but I can’t understand what good any sort of “changes in posted speed” are going to do if they aren’t enforced. And, I’m sorry, but if you feel the need to switch to side streets because you can’t go as fast as you think you need to on the arterial, you are not mature enough to handle the massive responsibility of driving a 3,000 to 4,000-pound vehicle.

  • Sunuva August 5, 2016 (3:23 pm)

    So many people I’ve read say they are for the road diet because it has slowed people down and made things safer for pedestrians. I and many others here have been saying over and over again is that those same results could have been achieved through different safety improvements that would have had less detrimental effects on traffic congestion and speed variance and would likely not have caused so much frustration in the community. I’m all for improving the safety of this road, but the approach taken has created more negative than positive results. Please stop painting those opposed as anti-safety, and please try to picture that there may have been more than one way to solve this problem and other approaches may have had better results and been less controversial.

    • PG August 8, 2016 (12:00 pm)

      I totally agree with you, thanks!

  • Lesley August 5, 2016 (4:34 pm)

    I don’t care much if it’s 2 or 4 lanes, but PLEASE put the center turn lane in.  Would dramatically reduce collisions and my sense of safety every time I have to turn left off of 35th to my home street.

  • Evil Twin August 5, 2016 (5:00 pm)

    Exactly Sunuva! That’s it in a nutshell. The question is was this the best/cheapest/most effective for intended impact with least unintended impact right?  I haven’t seen much mention of road diets elsewhere in the city but they’re out there. If we road diet the whole city on every arterial set aside a couple of hours to get anywhere.

    Also, if this is all about some people speeding can we please reduce lanes on I-5 and I-90 too because I’ve seen people drive over the speed limit and do some risky maneuvers there too. Maybe 2 lanes and 45MPH speed limit on the freeways?

    • Julia August 5, 2016 (5:36 pm)

      Maybe because  interstates are limited to vehicular traffic and don’t involve interactions between pedestrians and bicyclists? 

  • H August 5, 2016 (5:11 pm)

    Phew! I live a few blocks off 35th and it’s my major thorough fare. My experience is… well, truthfully it’s the aggressiveness of other drivers. And it’s been my experience that it’s drivers unwilling to let you merge by speeding up and going 5-10 miles over the speed limit. I even had a fellow female driver flip me off, I could see her yelling at me from my rear view mirror – at me because I stopped for a pedesterian. Although I’ve found that it’s just more challenging driving in WS as a whole and that speeding and aggressive driving isn’t limited to 35th. I am a proponent for the changes on 35th as they do make it safer to cross the street, park, enjoy the neighborhood establishments, etc but people have to slow down. That includes myself.

  • Evil Twin August 5, 2016 (8:51 pm)

    H – your comment about stopping for a pedestrian leads to one of the reasons I think it’s less safe. Vehicular traffic doesn’t always expect someone to stop at an unmarked non illuminated crosswalk. Yes an intersection is a crosswalk but it’s way less common to see peds in a scenario like that. I too have almost rear ended someone because they stopped seemingly out of the blue but it was for someone on the sidewalk that was blending in with a bush or whatever. I have almost been rear ended in the same scenario too. I personally think marked and illuminated or signalized crosswalks or pedestrian overpasses would be much safer than just reducing lanes. 

  • ws born August 6, 2016 (7:40 am)

    I grew up living on 35th, just north of Findlay, an we had to pay taxes based on a four lane road.

    Is that going to reduce property taxes or is the city hoping nobody will notice?

  • Mark August 6, 2016 (1:08 pm)

    500 accidents in 10 years versus 45 in 11 months essentially 49 in 12 months.  Lower traffic volumes thus I see no material change in the accident rate per million vehicle miles.  Motorists diverting to residential streets is not desirable.  35th is Principal Arterial that the City is treating as a Collector.  Time to correct the speed limit back to 35 mph.

    SDot has lost its technical direction and been turned into a group of PC planners


    • Chemist August 6, 2016 (10:39 pm)

      Actually, since they’ve reported that traffic volumes are down 10-22% along the phase 1 corridor, the number of accidents staying the same would suggest there’s a higher probability of having an accident on a per-trip basis.

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