We took that photo this morning before 8 am at 59th/Admiral, where, after weeks of concern over the effects of SDOT changing it to an all-way stop, a crew showed up pre-dawn and changed it back without warning or even a “traffic revision” sign (as subsequently reported in our morning traffic coverage). Then at noontime, we got a tip that a crew was back to add signs and do some other work, so we went over and found this:
Before that, we had asked SDOT’s Dawn Schellenberg this morning what’s next for the intersection now that it’s suddenly been “changed back” – which doesn’t answer all the safety concerns that parents at nearby Alki Elementary had voiced. Her reply just arrived in the form of a copy of the following e-mail to them and other concerned parties:
Many of you have followed the SDOT ‘Signal to All-way Stop’ pilot project at SW Admiral Way and 59th Ave SW, installed August 31. As part of our Vision Zero efforts, the Department is considering alternative crossing designs at various intersections throughout the city. The SW Admiral Way and 59th Ave SW location was selected for an All-Way Stop, curb bulbs and additional marked crosswalks based on community input received through the SW Admiral Way Safety Project during the SDOT Walk and Talk last August; and a review of traffic volumes, operations and crossing use.
Once installed, we committed to monitoring the crosswalk for up to six-months to determine whether the new All-Way Stop design was a good fit for the intersection. Over the past month and a half, we collected feedback from community members as well as the Traffic Safety Task Force at Alki Elementary regarding their concerns on how drivers and pedestrians are adjusting. Through our evaluation of the new design we concluded that the benefits of the All-Way Stop are similar to the original Pedestrian Signal. With that in mind, coupled with some community members’ concern, we decided to revert to the original design.
Unfortunately, an internal snafu within in the Department resulted in the premature start of the work. The community should have been alerted prior to the installation and ‘traffic revision ahead’ signs placed. We deeply regret any inconvenience this caused drivers and pedestrians this morning. Signs are now in place.
Going forward, here’s what you should except as we install phase 2 (see graphic below):
· Two decorative paint and post curb bulbs
· One decorative paint and post median at 59th Ave SW
· Two new crosswalks
· Two Flashing ‘School, 20MPH’ signs
As promised, we’ll accelerate installation of the curb bulbs, median and crosswalks to get them installed within the next two months, weather permitting. The flashing signs are expected to be installed during first quarter 2018, once equipment has arrived.
Councilmember González (Citywide, Pos. 9) and Councilmember Herbold (District 1) have engaged with us on this matter, and both continue to advocate for pedestrian safety along SW Admiral Way. We have committed to maintaining good communication with both Councilmembers, their staff, and the community; and they have conveyed the expectation that we work towards implementing solutions in lockstep with community.
We can note firsthand that the change without warning was a little more than “inconvenience” – going through the intersection both ways on Admiral at noontime, we experienced near-collisions both ways involving people turning and expecting us to stop. Meantime, here’s the graphic Schellenberg mentioned:
The initial change to an all-way stop was also installed pre-dawn, but that was with four weeks of warning that the change was going to happen. It’s all a followup to the rechannelization of much of Admiral west of California, with initial work done a year-plus ago.