AVALON REPAVING/RECHANNELIZATION: See where the SDOT plan’s going, one year later

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

SDOT has unveiled its new in-progress plan for the SW Avalon Way repaving/rechannelization project, one year after it first came to light.

This time last year, SDOT had a community meeting after announcing it would repave/rechannelize Avalon plus a few blocks of 35th “after the Fauntleroy Boulevard project.”

Though Fauntleroy Boulevard is on hold pending Sound Transit light-rail decisions, SDOT confirmed this week that the Avalon/35th plan is moving ahead, and the project zone has expanded a bit. We met with two key members of the project team, project manager Bill Clark and communicator Dan Anderson, to get the rundown on what’s now in the plan.

Before we go any further – take note that SDOT does plan an “open house” community meeting, and a mailer; the former is set for June 5th in The Triangle, the latter will be on its way to project-area mailboxes soon (see it here now).

The project now calls for repaving the entirety of Avalon, from where it begins at Fauntleroy, to where it ends at Spokane. Plus, along with the stretch of 35th between Avalon and Alaska that’s to be repaved (and in some spots rebuilt), the repaving also will extend a block onto Alaska west of 35th.

As for the rechannelization, you can see the cross-sections above, and aerial views below – major points on Avalon remain the elimination of the center turn lane and the addition of protected bicycle lanes. And some street parking spaces will be eliminated. Anderson says, “We couldn’t find (a configuration) that did not remove any parking.” He says that in addition to their discussions with Luna Park businesses, Councilmember Lisa Herbold met with SDOT and asked what they could do to come up with a compromise. So here’s a change: You might recall that originally, street parking was going to be removed stretching uphill toward Yancy; now, that area will be an extension of the transit lane, 6-10 am weekdays, but will be open to parking the rest of the time. A dozen spaces will be removed on the west side of Avalon, starting along the retaining wall just south of SW Spokane, and in front of some of the Luna Park businesses.

This, Anderson explained, is to make room for the protected bicycle lane and also to improve visibility from the side streets. They’ve done studies, he says, and the peak parking utilization – the only time things might get crunchy – is 11 am Saturdays. Meantime, the public parking between The Shack and Luna Park Café – which, he points out, is public right-of-way, the SW Orleans “street end,” not private property – will not be changed. Here are aerial views of the rechannelization:

The sometimes-confusing connection to SW Manning isn’t changing, either. (If you’re still confused, no, motorized vehicles cannot turn left from there.) They will be working with businesses on how this all affects loading zones.

Across the street from there, if you are riding a bicycle downhill, “we’re going to build a ramp and jump onto a wider sidewalk that will become a multi-use path,” Anderson adds.

That side of the street also will see some tree removal, and the non-Rapid Ride bus stop will be moved closer to the bridge. As for crossing at Spokane/Harbor/Avalon, they’re synergizing/coordinating with the Neighborhood Street Fund project that’s planned to make safety improvements.

Speaking of crossing – the crosswalk by Luna Park Café, removed a decade ago, is not going to be brought back. The project team says the street is just too wide at that spot, plus it’s close to the existing signalized Spokane crosswalk.

Back to the paving aspect of the project, a few other notes from our briefing: The SW Genesee hill stretching east from Avalon will get special treatment so vehicles have a little more traction. The section of 35th that’s involved south of Avalon will be reconstructed, not just rebuilt. This has a lot to do with last year’s water break:

(WSB photo, December 2017)

Clark explained, “It’s a mess” because the water flowed under the street, toward the stadium, “blew out a lot of sediment …it’s still wet under there.”

With that work, the cumulative timeline for the project could stretch beyond a year, SDOT says, because their optimal work season is the April to October window. But they don’t have a timeline yet, aside from knowing that the work won’t start sooner than April 2019, and that it has to be complete by fall 2020, which is when what Clark calls “another big one” – work related to the Delridge RapidRide conversion – will be in progress.

While they’re working on that segment of 35th, they’re also planning on pedestrian-crossing islands at the stadium entrance – no marked crosswalk, but “refuge” to make it safer for the people who invariably cross there. And the sidewalk between SW Oregon and SW Snoqualmie will be replaced.

They’re “studying” the 35th/Avalon intersection for possible safety improvements. And since the Avalon repaving will now stretch all the way to Fauntleroy, “we’re looking at that too.”

You’ve no doubt got questions. SDOT hopes to see you at the June 5th open house so you can get answers – 5:30-7:30 pm at American Legion Post 160, 3618 SW Alaska.

39 Replies to "AVALON REPAVING/RECHANNELIZATION: See where the SDOT plan's going, one year later"

  • EK May 18, 2018 (12:11 pm)

    1) Happy for the improved bike safety installments, yay!

    2) Hopefully they will include improved signs for the SW Manning no left turn…

  • Chemist May 18, 2018 (12:41 pm)

    So they’re also doing a relocation of that NB Avalon bus stop from opposite Charlestown to opposite Manning, essentially pushing it to where the bus lane becomes a merged GP lane.

    • WSB May 18, 2018 (1:05 pm)

      Mentioned in the story.

  • AS May 18, 2018 (12:52 pm)

    MUST retime the signal at 35th/Avalon as well. Terrible for pedestrians. 

  • NoVision May 18, 2018 (12:58 pm)

    What is to point of wasting money and inconveniencing this neighborhood – only to trash it further with light rail tearing through, bisecting Avalon with pillars, transit station behemoths  and deconstructing housing?

    Seattle City total lack of vision or goal other than to harass this neighborhood with construction nightmare and disruption for the next 10 years.

    • Nolan May 18, 2018 (1:14 pm)

      Fortunately for us, your view is already a minority one, and it continues to dwindle as more people learn why we need to seriously invest in high-density transit infrastructure (i.e., everything that isn’t a single-occupancy motor vehicle).

      No neighborhood is more “trashed” than one where NIMBYs actually manage to impede progress simply because they’re scared of change.

    • My two cents ... May 18, 2018 (6:40 pm)

      @NOVISION The issues/state of the conditions along that section need to be addressed now, not in 10 years.

      In 10 years there could very well be another new project on the horizon. Do we continue to delay until when?

      Myopic at the very least.

  • + May 18, 2018 (1:02 pm)

    Looks good, looking forward to having a safer connection to the Alki trail and giving the buses a little more priority space for the morning commute!

  • Ice May 18, 2018 (1:34 pm)

     I bike-commute down Avalon every day. This is going to be really great! Not necessarily for me, but for the people who aren’t  confident riding in traffic. Avalon is a pretty scary road to ride down if you aren’t super confident and borderline suicidal.

  • Sarchka May 18, 2018 (1:59 pm)

    Overall this looks great.  But in particular I will have a smile on my face when that section of 35th is smooth again for the buses.  Right now it’s about to send me to the chiropractor.

  • sam-c May 18, 2018 (2:08 pm)

    Makes a lot of sense. I like that the bike lane is separated by more than just the paint stripe.  But the bike lane/ car turn lane crossings near Yancy and Genesee make me a little nervous.    Hopefully people learn to look. I bet in morning traffic, the cyclists are moving a lot faster down that hill than the cars, and with that curve just before Genesee, (heading north) might mean that cars turning right won’t see the cyclists coming down the hill.

    Since they are eliminating the center turn lane, I wonder where all the delivery/ moving trucks who bring things to all those dense living apartment dwellers will park?        

  • TreeHouse May 18, 2018 (2:13 pm)

    This is a really exciting plan! I love the protected bike lanes. But as with anything SDOT, ill believe it when it actually happens. The only thing that would make this better would to continue the rechannelization up 35th.

    • Chemist May 18, 2018 (2:49 pm)

      I would like to see the promised “before and after” report on Phase 1 that was supposed to be released in October 2016 and that West Seattle Blog was provided “toplines” to back in early April with a promise to be posted when the website was updated.

      I e-mailed Mr Curtin at the start of May asking for a copy and received no response.  A week later I e-mailed Lisa Herbold’s office and her aide, Newell, forwarded the request to several folks at SDOT including director Sparrman and received no responses to that.

      I’m thinking I might have to put in a public records request just to get the report we’ve been promised about Phase 1, which was supposed to help us understand Phase 2 changes for 35th SW.

      • Jort May 19, 2018 (10:32 am)

        Indeed, so would I, because SDOT seems to be saying, “The southern re-channelization was an incredible success …. so we’re not doing it anywhere else.”

        Either it worked well and SDOT is failing to implement a proven safety solution on the rest of the street, or it didn’t work well and they’re lying. Either way … they’re not doing the right thing.

  • D Del Rio May 18, 2018 (2:15 pm)

    Wow! SDOT is actually going to repave a road in West Seattle? I guess miracles can come true! If they ever repave the rest of 35th and most of Roxbury, that will really be a miracle!!

    • WSB May 18, 2018 (2:28 pm)

      I asked about the Roxbury project, announced at the same time as this one last year as “as soon as 2019,” and Dan Anderson – also the communications lead on that one – didn’t have an update. So we’ll be checking.

  • Don Brubeck May 18, 2018 (2:19 pm)

    Really good to see this happening. It’s a major bike  route that will become safer, making it a better option for more people. Also better for people walking and crossing the street to the C-line bus stops and Luna Park businesses. 

  • West Seattle since 1979 May 18, 2018 (2:36 pm)

    I definitely need to go to that meeting.  Something needs to be done at the 35th and Avalon corner to make it less easy for cars going north on 35th and then turning left onto Avalon Way to terrorize pedestrians who are trying to cross Avalon.  I’ve got so I’m afraid to walk to my bus stop at 35th and Avalon in the mornings.  

    • sam-c May 18, 2018 (3:17 pm)

      There are a lot of intersections in Seattle that could use some left turn arrows.  The turn you mention is one of them. Or they should prohibit that left turn.  In the opposite direction, it’s prohibited during certain hours.

      • KM May 19, 2018 (10:02 am)

        This intersection is definitely one of them. I’d love to see either protected left turns only off of 35th in both directions onto Avalon, or left turns banned all together. The former seems more reasonable due to the traffic volumes at that intersection, but not sure what other qualifications might be in consideration.

        So happy they are implementing this at 35th and Barton, BTW.

  • Jort May 18, 2018 (2:39 pm)

    It’s great to see the city living up,  in at least one small way, to its Bicycle Master Plan, in which riders of any age and ability can be safe.

    This route is a critical (and only) link between downtown and the rest of West Seattle. I’m happy that a healthy compromise solution was developed.

  • PD May 18, 2018 (2:42 pm)

    connecting the commercial heart of West Sea to the Alki trail with all ages all abilities bike infrastructure will be a huge benefit to future generations, I’m glad we are moving forward with the plans. I hope that businesses in the area will see the opportunity to increase their walk up traffic and embrace the bike and pedestrian improvements and maybe add some of their own (racks, parking areas) to capitalize on the increased traffic.

  • pip May 18, 2018 (3:14 pm)

    Excited to see thats something is being done with the pedestrian crossing at Harbor and Spokane. Crossing from the Alki trail side to head either up 30th Ave SW or to get onto Avalon as a cyclist or pedestrian is extremely scary with the current configuration.

    Cars just whip around the corner and don’t see people in the cross walk until its very late. They just don’t have the visibility or are still in ‘bridge’ mode. They shouldn’t get a green light at the same time pedestrians do.

  • BRider May 18, 2018 (3:15 pm)

    HOORAY!! With the protected lanes we’ll see HUNDREDS of bike riders use it daily! When fully implemented protected bike lanes come to WS you’ll see THOUSANDS of riders every day!!

  • wsn00b May 18, 2018 (3:23 pm)

    When will the majority of 35th Ave SW be repaved as was promised in the Move Seattle levy? That is being continuously reduced in scope as the Move Seattle levy scam continues to unfold.

    35th is completely broken on the downhill to Alaska where the buses have decimated the right lane. Pothole ranges keep doing the Find-it-fix-it Sisyphean patches (which somehow are worse than the original potholes) 

  • skeeter May 18, 2018 (4:41 pm)

    This is going to be a great improvement!  My family is excited to start using the protected bike lanes.  Will make it much safer to bike between the Junction and Alki. 

  • MJ May 18, 2018 (6:02 pm)

    Removing a safety two way left turn lane is not a safety enhancement!

    Avalon is a major bike route that I have used 100′ s of times myself. 

    Before and after bike counts would be nice to see.  

    • Jort May 18, 2018 (8:43 pm)

      MJ, that’s interesting. I’m curious why you think the road is becoming MORE unsafe?

      Can you tell me how many cyclists are killed or seriously injured in protected, physically separated cycling infrastructure vs. painted bike lanes on shared roadways? I’m really curious to hear your answer. I’m certain that, in your profession, you have access to that data, right? Please let me know. I’d really love to know.

      • Chemist May 18, 2018 (9:57 pm)

        Because bicyclists love parking-protected bike lanes because of the extra buffer, not the issues with visibility at driveways/side streets.

  • KM May 18, 2018 (8:23 pm)

    This is great!

  • MJ May 18, 2018 (11:19 pm)

    Jort

    I stated removing a safety two way left turn lane could reduce safety.  Without TWLTL there is increased potential for head on collisions, left turn motorists will be stopped in a through travel lane waiting for a gap in the opposite direction traffic that is likely going to result in more rear end collisions.

    I did acknowledge in my comment that Avalon is a major bike route!  That I use often!

    Have you ridden a bike up or down Avalon Jort?  

    MJ

  • Kathy May 19, 2018 (10:36 am)

    The Neighborhood Street Fund project for pedestrian and bike safety at Spokane and Harbor Avenue was supposed to begin “mid May”. Is it still on schedule?

    • chemist May 19, 2018 (12:23 pm)

      I think you read that too optimistically.

      “With that, we expect construction could begin for the Harbor and Spokane project as soon as mid-May.”

      • Kathy May 19, 2018 (7:36 pm)

        I just saw an email from SDOT saying that construction on the Harbor/Spokane Neighborhood Street Fund project “might” start on Monday, June 4th and should last about 6 weeks.

  • T May 20, 2018 (9:11 pm)

    There needs to be a curb installed on the yellow line by the bus stop at self storage. People regularly go around the bus and are heading head on into on coming traffic. I had some one honk at me when they were driving towards me in my lane.  It’s more dangerous than the area where one was installed by Starbucks and Zeeks.

    • Chemist May 21, 2018 (9:20 am)

      The curb cuts surrounding the Rapid Ride stop in front of the Public Storage on Avalon and lack of turn-around space would likely counter-indicate center medians.  Although maybe you meant a different storage area…

  • Delridge Believer May 23, 2018 (7:24 am)

    Fantastic! A long time coming.

  • Brayton May 23, 2018 (8:43 pm)

    I’m afraid moving the bus stop further north will likely slow the bus overall. Traffic backs up at exactly that location during morning rush. I’ve been on the bus many times when the driver passes all the stopped right-turn traffic waiting to get on the bridge and then turns right in front of all that traffic. Effectively cutting in line. I don’t have a problem with that maneuver, but I don’t think it’s as easy to cut into traffic to get into a bus stop. Further, doesn’t moving the stop toward the bridge just move it further away from the people who use it? It seems like there are more residences around the current stop than there is around the proposed location.

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