Before tonight’s open house, Avalon paving project revealed as rechannelization plan, too

11:26 AM: When SDOT announced the start of “outreach” for two paving projects, including SW Avalon Way and a short stretch of 35th SW, the Avalon project wasn’t described as anything more than repaving.

But with SDOT‘s “open house” meeting about it coming up tonight, Luna Park entrepreneur John Bennett called our attention this morning to a new addition: Rechannelization is proposed, including removal of parking along a stretch of the east side of Avalon – parking that Bennett and other businesses had to fight to (partly) keep before the RapidRide C Line brought a part-time transit lane to the area.

Bennett says the new proposal was a surprise to Luna Park merchants; when SDOT asked for an advance discussion with them, he thought it might just tackle the topic of what would happen for construction. Since the addition of rechannelization hasn’t been widely announced, it might be a surprise to you too.

For the full details, see the PDF of “boards” for tonight’s meeting – added to the SDOT project page – and embedded at the top of this story; we’ve highlighted cross-sections below. Part of the stretch would lose the center turn lane as well as parking. The SDOT document shows the proposed changes in five sections. Below, the three sections through and by Luna Park, “current” followed by “proposed”:

CURRENT SECTIONS 1 & 2:

PROPOSED SECTIONS 1 & 2:

What you see above – with the view looking north – between Manning and Spokane (section 1), shows the addition of bicycle lanes, with the removal of a median and the narrowing of travel and turn lanes. Between Bradford and Manning (section 2), the center turn lane would be removed, and a bicycle lane added on the east side of the street. The west-side bicycle lane would be moved to between the sidewalk and the parking area.

**********************

CURRENT SECTION 3:

PROPOSED SECTION 3:

What you see above – again, with the view looking north – between Yancy and Bradford, would also move the west-side bicycle lane next to the sidewalk, and would add a protected bicycle lane to the east side, while removing the parking on the east side.

Bennett says SDOT first told merchants about this in a meeting last Friday and said that the east-side parking removal would stretch for 600 feet; estimating 20 feet per space, he says, means removal of 30 spaces. From his note to SDOT afterward:

I must say we were all shocked with the plans you presented us. I was thinking the main topic was going to be dealing with the inconvenience and mess of construction, not wholesale loss of customer parking. This is very scary for our small businesses. We are still reeling from the loss of parking due to the bus lane. This additional loss of parking will most likely put some of us out of business. I am not being dramatic. Our businesses depend on street parking. Permanently removing 30 street parking spaces is a devastating blow to us.

We have a call out to SDOT with several questions. The cross-sections also are shown in a revised version of the survey on the project page – which is a new survey, not the same survey that was linked from the page when the project was announced last month. If you haven’t already scrolled through that and/or all the “boards” at the top of this story, note that we have just highlighted three of the five cross-sections – there are two more, for the rest of Avalon to 35th, plus a few blocks of 35th south of Avalon.

Again, your comments are being sought at tonight’s “open house,” 5:30-7 pm at Delridge Community Center (4501 Delridge Way SW). You also can take the new survey here, and/or e-mail SDOT at avalonpaving@seattle.gov. The city says this project is currently targeted for construction in 2019, after the Fauntleroy Boulevard project is complete. (Speaking of Fauntleroy – you might recall that the 2009 repaving project between The Junction and Morgan Junction included rechannelization, too.)

5:02 PM: At day’s end, SDOT e-mailed us their responses to the questions we had left for project spokesperson Dan Anderson by voice mail. First, they say the parking removal would be along 465 feet of Avalon, which they calculate as 23 spaces. Second, regarding businesses’ concerns:

We previewed our proposal with business and commercial property owners in a face-to-face meeting in Luna Park last week. We wanted to make sure they were the first people to learn about our proposal and could weigh-in before the open house. We spoke for an hour and a half and discussed how paving will improve the street surface and be an investment in the neighborhood. We also talked about the long-term city goals of moving as many people in the corridor as efficiently and safely as possible, which is why we’re including protected bike lanes on both sides of the street in our proposal. We said on-street parking would be maintained along the corridor except for two blocks on the opposite side of the street as the businesses.

We’re committed to continuing the dialogue with the Luna Park merchants to explain our project, answer their questions and incorporate their feedback into final design as possible. We’ll have a follow-up meeting with them, including a representative from the city’s Office of Economic Development to learn more about their needs on the streets and how we can work together to address them.

57 Replies to "Before tonight's open house, Avalon paving project revealed as rechannelization plan, too"

  • West Seattle Hipster May 23, 2017 (11:47 am)

    SDOT could care less about small business in Seattle.  Downtown this weekend I noticed they eliminated numerous street parking locations to stripe an uphill bike lane on one of Seattle’s steepest hills.  Keep removing parking and more people will shop at the malls.

    • ThrillHo May 23, 2017 (1:32 pm)

      Malls are dying

      • JC May 23, 2017 (1:57 pm)

        Not really – at least Southcenter is packed all the time.  However, I prefer to shop online and not deal with traffic and idiots out there on the road.

  • Adr May 23, 2017 (11:49 am)

    It’s really great to see improved bike facilities being planned for Avalon. I especially like the idea of moving the uphill lane to the curb side of the parking to improve separation between fast moving traffic and slow moving bikes. Thanks to SDOT for thinking this through. This will make it much easier for my family and I to visit Avalon businesses. Adding my support on the survey page now. 

    • TreeHouse May 23, 2017 (2:57 pm)

      +1 It’s exciting to see SDOT plan for a dense city and not a sprawling automobile oriented city.

    • KM May 23, 2017 (10:28 pm)

      Agreed! Nice to see that design.

  • Mark Schletty May 23, 2017 (12:07 pm)

    SDOT apparently really does hate small businesses.  Removal of the parking will kill the luna area businesses.  I will certainly never be able to patronize them again.

    • John L May 23, 2017 (12:40 pm)

      SDOT understands that mobility is not just about the car.  I fully support this change and believe that business will not see an issue in the long run, as evidenced numerous times around the city and country. We need to adapt our 1950’s way of thinking.

      • West Seattle since 1979 May 23, 2017 (2:16 pm)

        Where will people park?

        • John L May 23, 2017 (2:26 pm)

          In the stalls that are provided by the business. Why do businesses get free subsidized public parking at huge cost to the tax payer? 

          • JanS May 23, 2017 (10:56 pm)

            well, John L…as discussed a lot around here, not all businesses provide parking. I have basically stopped doing any business with junction businesses because  of disability. I’m 70, I don’t/can’t ride a bike. Buses don’t work for me with a walker, etc. That leaves using my car. There are handicapped spots in the free lots, but I can’t walk far to get where I want to go. I remember someone younger, more surefooted once saying he had no problem finding a parking spot when he goes to the junction, sometimes parking just a couple of blocks away. For people like me, that might as well be 10 miles away. I simply cannot walk that kind of a distance. So, I don’t go. I don’t go to the Luna Park Cafe anymore because of the same reason…the small lot provided is generally full.

            While I can appreciate providing safer bikeways for those who are able to bike, I think there needs to be a balance between bikers, public transport, and cars. Cars aren’t going away tomorrow, and if we can get more alternative ways of transport, all the better. But please don’t talk about people using their cars as if we are doing something criminal. We’re not. We’re just trying to life life the best we can, and if it’s a car that does it, lets at least make it safe for cars, too. I see bike parking on Calif Ave provided, but don’t see many bikes using it much when I pass by. But…from south of the junction up California Ave, past the junction as far as you can go, I see nothing to help disabled people. Yes, there are a few spots in the lots (for instance, in the Admiral Safeway lot, a whole 6 disabled spots are provided, 3 down, 3 up, and they are extremely in demand), but there is nothing on the street anywhere to provide for that faction of our citizenship. So…I simply don’t go anymore. Balance…there needs to be balance.

  • Bill May 23, 2017 (12:08 pm)

    With a loss of parking but increased bus/bike traffic, I think businesses will see a large increase in customers and decrease in traffic collisions. If it were me I’d take out parking on both sides and have dedicated transit lanes and bike lanes on both sides. Maybe take out the turn lane and split that space between the sidewalks for wider sidewalks/planters. Streets public spaces that are for people. Cars take up a large amount of room with very little economic gain.

  • John L May 23, 2017 (12:32 pm)

    I hope the businesses in the area do not put up a fight against this proposal.  Avalon is the main connection for many bikes to downtown and this is exactly what is needed to help encourage people to get out and bike rather than drive. 

  • Eddie May 23, 2017 (12:35 pm)

    I bike that area quite frequently and appreciate efforts to help bikes safely coexist with other users, but when I see data like that shown above, detailing actual usage at just 5 riders per day (on page 2 of the presentation), I have to draw the line and say don’t spend any money adding bike provisions in that area.  Bikes are already finding a safer, lower stress way around that area.

    • John L May 23, 2017 (12:44 pm)

      I would challenge you to review what happened on 2nd Ave in downtown Seattle.  When the cycle track was installed, ridership greatly increased along the route.  Many people just avoid biking if they do not feel safe.  Once the infrastructure becomes safer, more people are willing to use the road. 

      The city will repave this section of road regardless of final striping.  Adding additional paints and plastic bollards is a small percent of total project cost.  Would you add a new kitchen back splash at your home if it cost you just 2% of the total cost?

      • South Park Sassy May 23, 2017 (1:23 pm)

        Did ridership dramatically increase or did folks already Biking on other streets move their route to 2nd ave for safety?

      • PeanutGallery May 23, 2017 (5:41 pm)

        Excellent point.

    • West Sea Neighbor May 23, 2017 (2:23 pm)

      The figure of 5 riders per day is for that stretch of 35th only. The figure given is 100 for Avalon, and I suspect it could be much higher than that. I commute the Avalon stretch every day of the year, and even in the winter there are more than 5 riders around me at any given time. Yesterday on my ride back up the hill there were about 6 or 7 bikes at the 35th/Avalon light with me. This morning on my commute, there were at least 3 other bikes with me heading down Avalon at around 6:10 am. It is also possible that the number on that stretch of 35th is low because it is generally not considered safe for biking. Safety improvements may encourage more use of bikes for commuting. 

      • John May 24, 2017 (7:47 am)

        @WSN….I agree with what you’re saying.  I ride year round and there are a lot of bikers up and down Avalon.  I’m on it everyday.  This morning at 5:40 I saw 1 other biker with me at the light at 35th/Avalon.  Heading down Avalon I saw bike lights further down Avalon.

        Heading home last night there were around 4 bikers heading up Avalon towards 35th.  Avalon is a main route to downtown. 

      • KT May 26, 2017 (8:11 pm)

        And how many cars were there?    

  • jack May 23, 2017 (12:42 pm)

    John not every one does or can ride a bike…wont be spending my money in the Luna area if I can’t park

    • John L May 23, 2017 (1:42 pm)

      If you are upset about the loss of government subsidized free parking, I am sure families of 5 with young children, will offset your business.  When streets become more humanized and built for other mobility users, property values increase and business will follow.

      • tonenotvolume May 24, 2017 (11:38 am)

        It’s kind of like calling Social Security benefits “entitlements” when you describe street parking as “government subsidized”. Our taxes paid for these. In addition, there has been very little “government subsidized” street repair or cleaning done on most streets in West Seattle from my perspective. 

      • KT May 26, 2017 (8:11 pm)

        Ya, right.

  • CW May 23, 2017 (12:56 pm)

    I think this is great.  This is a very uncomfortable and unsafe connection for cyclists and improving it will encourage those less comfortable in traffic to bike commute. 

     As for the 5 bikes per day on 35th, it is true, not many people ride that because it’s unsafe.  Instead many go to  36th.  If 35th were safer more cyclists would go that route.  36th isn’t great either because of all the angle parking at the Y.  People pull out and cannot see cyclists.  I don’t have  a strong preference with either route though.  The most important part is Avalon.

  • momosmom May 23, 2017 (1:05 pm)

    I, as Jack believe not everyone rides their bike everywhere they go.

    @WSB… I think it would be interesting to see how many people really do ride their bikes everywhere they go, a poll maybe??? has there been one done already???

    • WSB May 23, 2017 (1:19 pm)

      We don’t do polls – they are unscientific, easy to game, etc.

    • CW May 23, 2017 (1:39 pm)

      I don’t think a poll is needed to answer that question.

  • skeeter May 23, 2017 (1:10 pm)

    I support bike lanes on this stretch.  It will be much safer.  It is intimidating to bike on Avalon in the current configuration.  Car parking on public streets is a very poor and inefficient use of public property. 

  • T May 23, 2017 (1:44 pm)

    Great to see, increased accessibility will be a major benefit to the area.

  • West Sea Neighbor May 23, 2017 (2:35 pm)

    This configuration will also reduce the likelihood of cyclists getting doored by people opening their car doors without looking first. I’ve had friends who have been seriously injured in this manner while riding down Avalon.

  • skeeter May 23, 2017 (2:47 pm)

     “Keep removing parking and more people will shop at the malls.”

    I think that is partially true.  Yes, as West Seattle gets denser and parking is removed then customers who rely on (or prefer) a car to go shopping will shop elsewhere –  such as the mall with plenty of car parking.  However, the increased density will bring a lot more people who use alternative transportation such as walking, biking, or transit to visit the stores and restaurants that no longer cater to customers who use cars.

     I’m not anti-car.  I have a car and use it all the time.  But I have to accept that places with increased density like West Seattle will no longer be able to support my current car transportation habit.  I *really* love West Seattle, so I’ve begun to adapt.  My family is now making a significant percentage of our trips on bike.  It’s going to be a gradual change as density grows and cars are no longer accommodated due to density. 

  • KBear May 23, 2017 (2:53 pm)

    Looks like the proposed plan does nothing to fix the disastrous bus lane on Avalon.

  • sam-c May 23, 2017 (3:12 pm)

    Wasn’t it just like, a year ago, they did a project for pedestrian and bike improvements at Avalon and Yancy?  Based on what I observe at various times a day, but especially in morning and afternoon rush hour times, all the cyclists use Avalon/ Yancy/ Andover to go from West Seattle to downtown.   They have the nice big bike box at Andover/  Delridge.  

    Perhaps these improvements are mainly for cyclists headed to Alki? which is nice, and will help keep everyone safe, but agree that this will probably hurt the Luna Park businesses.    

    • sam-c May 23, 2017 (3:31 pm)

      sorry for the multiple posts.  in double checking the PDFs, I had to chuckle, because based on the key, it looks like ALL of Avalon from 35th to Yancy is “Parking” (all black on the plan i see. ) What is everyone worried about? there will be all parking !  :)   )

      Also, though, the section at the north (segment 2 on their plans) is and will be ‘bus and parking’ on the east so it is not a change from what is there now? Their proposed segment 2 shows parking on the west side as well?  Has the proposal been updated since those drafts to delete the parking?  

    • West Sea Neighbor May 23, 2017 (4:15 pm)

      FWIW, many bike commuters (including me) take Yancy down to Delridge (via Andover) on the way out of West Seattle, but on the return trip take the Alki trail all the way to Avalon/Spokane, so the lanes extended to that point would be a welcome addition.

  • sam-c May 23, 2017 (3:20 pm)

    (I included observations about cyclists going avalon/ yancy/ andover because a lot of the comments here are referring to ‘bikes for commuting,’ ‘bikes to downtown,’ ‘bike commute’ ) The Luna Park business are north of Yancy.

  • WD fundie May 23, 2017 (4:00 pm)

    Please do this.   They say “customer parking” but most of the parking down there has no time limits and is probably just used by employees all day. Did you ask them this question or where they provide parking for their employees?

  • A May 23, 2017 (4:09 pm)

    10,000 cars a day on Avalon compared to 100 bikes a day this is laughable that once again the city is catering to the extreme minority. Seattle is not and will never be a biking utopia. The weather sucks for 8 months out of the year and there are way too many hills. There’s a reason that bike share program failed. Less than 2 percent of the population ride their bikes to work yet we spend millions and millions on bike lanes and in the process we destroy traffic on those roads. This city is so backwards in it’s thinking it’s a joke. Lets focus on mass transit and fixing the potholes on our roads before we worry about bike lanes. Cars aren’t going away any time soon so let’s cater to the majority please and not the 2 percent

    • PeanutGallery May 23, 2017 (5:49 pm)

      I do think this is true of Seattle.  I know people idealize biking culture and want it to happen, but I think it’s also important to look at the numbers and reality.  (FYI: We depend on both biking and busing for daily commutes, so I’m not anti-biking.)  I’m not sure if Seattle caters to the minority or if it’s just bizarro planning–scattershot projects here and there.  

    • West Seattle Hipster May 23, 2017 (6:09 pm)

      Thanks for a common sense approach, that’s rare in Seattle.  If you ever run for city government, you have my vote.                

    • Jort May 23, 2017 (11:24 pm)

      The car count on Avalon, before they built a road that made it easier and safer to drive on, was also very low. 

    • Kathy May 25, 2017 (5:28 pm)

      Investors clamoring to get into the Seattle private bike share market seem to be disagreeing with you. https://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2017/05/25/investors-are-putting-big-money-into-private-bike-share-companies-spins-community-project-donates-to-bike-works/#comments

      We might as well get busy to provide the infrastructure for this. Would you rather have the cyclists taking the lane in front of you and slowing you down, or in a separate lane of their own?

      By the way, the more people getting around by bike and on foot in our city, the safer the city will become, because drivers will start expecting to see more people biking and walking and adjust their  driving habits accordingly. This not only saves lives of people walking and biking, but also results in less car-on-car collisions.

  • helihu May 23, 2017 (4:27 pm)

    I promise to ride my bike more if Avalon gets less intimidating. If only they could flatten it slightly, too. 

    • David May 23, 2017 (5:15 pm)

      Thumbs up.  

      Also, if they could make the hill more gradual all the way up to 35th & Myrtle that would be awesome.

    • Brian May 23, 2017 (9:47 pm)

      Me too, this is music to my ears. Three hours before reading this I was standing in a packed C-line Rapid Ride bus, one of three in a row jammed together (they are always always late at rush hour), watching the cyclists trudge up Avalon as I do every single day. Had three thoughts in the following order:

      Thought 1: “The heck with this Rapid Ride, I really need start biking to work.”

      Thought 2: “There is no way I’m riding up Avalon like those folks, next to these buses and tired commuter drivers. My child would be one bus driver leg twitch away from growing up without a dad”.

      Thought 3: “Is there any safe way to bike up the hill in West Seattle? Anywhere?”

      I support safer streets for people to have transportation choices (*ahem* some call that “freedom”) and I am happy to see this proposal from SDOT. And when our family DRIVES OUR CAR to get our Luna Park milkshakes and fries fix, we will walk an extra block or three if we must. Just like many places across the city.

      • helihu May 24, 2017 (10:37 am)

        For #3, the lowest traffic routes I know of are Fairmount Ave off Harbor and Brandon/30th off the greenway that’s parallel to Delridge. But those are also the steepest. 

  • I. Ponder May 23, 2017 (6:14 pm)

    Some commenters have made the impression that all parking is being removed. Drawings show there will be parking in all plans. Sorry all of Seattle can’t be subsidized parking. Perhaps people who really care about parking will get together to buy property and build parking lots. I’m tired of subsidizing free parking at the expense of other road uses. I-5 is a veritable parking lot at numerous times during the day. How’s that working out?

    • JanS May 23, 2017 (11:03 pm)

      so, I.Ponder, ask me how I feel about helping to subsidize bike lanes that I will never, ever use…same difference, whether you realize it or not. It’s a community. I’m not trying to take advantage of you to have a free parking spot….and vice versa. Once you’ve paid the taxes, that money is no longer yours/ours. It’s all in the big pool, belongs to the city/county/state, and they get to decide where the money goes. Car parking is not somehow stealing from you, honestly.

  • Mark May 23, 2017 (6:36 pm)

    Bike riding is seasonal, yes you have the hard core riders, but bike commuting simply only works for a small percent of people.  I ride often during nice conditions, like most riders.

    Removing the two way left turn lane could result in reduced safety by removing safety space between oncoming traffic.

    Also my recollection is that the current Speed Limit is 30 mph, not 25 as noted by SDoT.  30 mph is appropriate for this arterial street.

  • Trickycoolj May 23, 2017 (7:37 pm)

    Avalon already has bike lanes, how about we focus on the other east west corridor out of here: Highland Park Way. If I wanted to ride my bike to work Avalon would be a 5 mile detour the wrong direction. 

  • Old Friend May 23, 2017 (8:55 pm)

    I bike this frequently and I’m worried about the bike lane being on the interior closest to the curb and the disconnect or loss of awareness this creates between drivers and bikers. Especially cars turning onto yancy or genesse. Given the downhill grade you can pick good speed on a bike and I can anticipate drivers being surprised by a biker zipping across an intersection as they’re about to turn. Across the city Dexter Ave n does a good job with bike line next to travel lane so everyone can be present of surroundings and no surprises 

  • John May 24, 2017 (8:00 am)

    I read these excuses on why we don’t ride bikes….and it’s no wonder we’re all so fat.

    ‘hills will make me tired’…..’I don’t want the sweat’….’it’s always raining’….

    We are a weak City. 

  • Blake May 24, 2017 (10:22 am)

    Avalon has turned into a park and ride, I live in a home on Avalon and watch the parking spots fill up every morning.  More micro housing and apartment buildings are being built as I type.  Parking on Avalon is a lost cause as population is far over the street parking capability. Seattle needs to turn the area into a restricted parking zone and businesses should had a line of parking with time limits.  Bikes can easily have a lane, and the speed limits need to be enforced (ahem #Metro & SPD).  I don’t see how this is so complicated.

    • Jort Sandwich May 25, 2017 (2:04 am)

      Even better: we can put up speed cameras that automate the enforcement of speeding!

      Speeding isn’t any less illegal if you just happen to get away with it!

  • Mark May 24, 2017 (4:15 pm)

    Old friend that is a valid concern

  • markinthedark May 25, 2017 (12:35 pm)

    I’m fully supportive of the uphill proposal here. The downhill at the Manning transition from bus lane to to turn lane looks like a nightmare with bikes and cars crisscrossing the turn lane. What a mess. It’s already crazy down there at Spokane during AM rush hours.  I don’t think this is going to stop the downhillers from taking the Yancy/Andover detour if going downtown. Way less traffic and they avoid the 5 way at Chelan (bring on the flyway).

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