Follow-up on the crossed-out crosswalk

Days after the city carried out its plan to take out the Avalon crosswalk by Java Bean and Luna Park Cafe, it’s also finally answered a couple of tough questions posed by a concerned citizen.


First time this citizen wrote to the address the city offers for comments/questions,, he got what sounded like a standardized reply. So he tried again. That exchange, after the jump:

The citizen wrote:

Unfortunately, I don’t feel like you’re showing much appreciation for
my concern when you respond to my public comment with a canned response that simply informs me of what I stated below that I already have read and understand and doesn’t manage to respond to any of the questions that I raised…

So, let me try something different.

1) What would it cost to add a signal to this crosswalk?

2) Would a traffic signal just a few feet to the north help with TRAFFIC safety as cars merge onto Avalon Way from Admiral Way up above, which has limited sight towards the cars speeding from the bridge up Avalon Way?

The city replied:

The cost of a traffic signal varies greatly depending on the location.
In this particular situation, it is not cost that is an issue, but the
fact that a traffic signal is not warranted at this location.

You might be interested to know how a signal request is evaluated.
Consistent with U.S. Code Title 23 of the Federal Government, traffic
engineers determine whether or not the location meets the established
criteria for the installation of a signal based upon a number of
characteristics. Essentially, the characteristics of the study include
the physical features of the particular location, collision records,
gaps in traffic, volumes of vehicles and pedestrians, as well as the
proximity of other traffic signals. Installing a signal where one is not
warranted can, in fact, be a detriment to efficient movement in an
intersection, causing congestion and unnecessary delays as well as the
potential for an increase in rear-end accidents. An unwarranted signal
can also have the adverse effect of increasing cut-through traffic into
a local neighborhood.

I regret that neither the intersection of SW Avalon Wy & SW Orleans St
nor the intersection to the North does not meet the federal criteria for
a traffic signal to be considered.

I recognize that these removals, while important from a safety
perspective, do not promote walking or increase pedestrian mobility.
However, this is not the only work that SDOT is making to improve the
pedestrian environment. In the last four years, over fifty new marked
crosswalks have been installed at locations where we do want to
encourage pedestrian traffic. In addition, at least five new pedestrian
signals are installed each year to improve crossings at locations where
we cannot recommend a marked crosswalk alone.

If you still have something to say about this, click here for the city e-mailbox.

24 Replies to "Follow-up on the crossed-out crosswalk"

  • David July 23, 2007 (1:28 pm)

    So now, when I cross the street to get my coffee or go to lunch, I’m jaywalking and can get a ticket if a cop sees it?

    Wow…can’t believe that went from a badly marked cross walk which could endanger my life, to a non-existent cross walk which will increase my risk AND get me a ticket to boot. NICE GOING SEATTLE! We can spend a billion on trains (which I support generally) but can’t put in a damn cross walk in front of the two busiest businesses on all of Avalon Way.

    Where AM I supposed to officially cross the road? Down under the bridge?

  • Michael July 23, 2007 (1:29 pm)

    I find the people who are “up in arms” over this to be so amusing, especially after I drove through there and saw that there is a marked intersection WITH a traffic light and a “protected” crosswalk, about 100 feet from the “erased” crosswalk. Is convenience that important? Is that 100 feet so difficult to walk?

  • Jan July 23, 2007 (1:56 pm)

    Michael…that 100 feet can be excruciatingly painful for some people to walk. I’m sure you’re of sound body, but consider someone walking with a cane, who perhaps has arthritis or some other type of disability. Consider that they may want to stop and get some lunch/dinner/coffee in their chosen neighborhood….and need to cross the street to get there…too bad?

    I recognize that they may be in the minority..but…just asking…:)

  • SomeGuy July 23, 2007 (2:32 pm)

    Time for a little citizen common sense. Gallon of white paint and we’ll soon have a nice crosswalk.

  • Cruiser July 23, 2007 (3:15 pm)

    I think it’s great that it’s gone..I mean why the hell should I have to slow down or god forbid stop in my gas guzzler,have my phone conversation interupted, and at the same time have to put down my big mac to let some nuisance of a pedestrian cross the street.I mean bloody hell next thing i’ll have to pay attention to those cyclist idiots.

    ps. One must remember to takes ones tongue out of ones cheek:)

  • Sue July 23, 2007 (3:25 pm)

    That same canned paragraph #2 was in my response about Fauntleroy/Dawson’s signal request. We’re allegedly going to have an answer to that one within the week – they didn’t say no outright, although I’ll bet they ultimately do reject it. I emailed Seattle Police last week, asking what they plan on doing regarding enforcement of traffic speeds and yielding to pedestrians, but I’m still waiting for a reply.
    As for that Avalon intersection, on Saturday we drove by there and a pedestrian just darted out into the erased crosswalk, without regard to whether anyone would stop or not. Fortunately my husband (who was driving) saw her and stopped, but we nearly got rear-ended by someone not pleased that we’d stop for a pedestrian. While cars do need to yield to pedestrians, pedestrians need to not be stupid and just run out with this sense of entitlement. As a pedestrian, I never just run out into traffic, expecting someone will stop for me.

  • Bubba July 23, 2007 (3:33 pm)

    David, far be it from me to interfere with your need for hysteria but according to Washington state law, a legal pedestrian crossing exists at every intersection regardless of whether or not a crosswalk is marked.(unless there is specific signs prohibiting it)

    Thus, pedestrians will continue to have a legal right to cross at this location.

    Michael according to the city it’s 300 ft to the marked cross walk…just FYI

    I will continue to stop for folks who are wanting to cross there.

    Personally I think the worst traffic issue right there is the incredibly rude Admiral drivers who jump around the morning back up by slipping down that side street to Avalon and then force their way into the bridge traffic there…they must be very special folks indeed.

  • Max July 23, 2007 (4:37 pm)

    A crosswalk was also recently lost on Admiral Way, on the hill up from the bridge exit. On the west side of the former crosswalk is a bus stop, with no way to get to it now except to bushwhack down the bluff or bravely cross four lanes of Admiral Way. The removal of this crosswalk, together with the comment in the city letter “In the last four years, over fifty new marked crosswalks have been installed at locations where we do want to encourage pedestrian traffic.” suggests that encouraging pedestrian traffic to bus stops is not a city priority. Say what?

  • Tiffany July 23, 2007 (5:16 pm)

    I wish it were a rule where crosswalks were placed within 100 feet of every bus stop. We are a city that thrives on having a great bus system, being “green” forward and pedestrian friendly. It seems that only the folks who choose to or must ride the bus every day actually live up to that. I have my own gallon of white paint and aint afraid to apply it.

  • Wes July 23, 2007 (7:25 pm)

    I agree with SomeGuy. Gallon of white paint and maybe some social commentary like,
    “Africans didn’t choose to be slaves, Jews didn’t choose to be genocided, babies don’t choose to be aborted and pedestrians don’t choose to be run over.”

  • Mike July 23, 2007 (7:54 pm)

    Save the white paint, you would be better off using your energy making some of these: Use those flags and wave them around frantically and people start to notice. Maybe they think your nuts, but that is all the better. Keep em’ guessing.

    BTW – A FAR worse intersection on Avalon with much more foot based traffic and dangerous site lines than the area near Luna, and one that truly does warrant a traffic signal light, is located up Avalon at Genesee.

  • Native July 23, 2007 (7:55 pm)

    I have to agree with Bubba. Those drivers who slip down on that side street are NEVER allowed in by this driver.

    The other strange phenomenon I find in that area is the fact that drivers coming up from Alki making the left turn to go down under the bridge there seem to think they have the right-of-way on the green light and force there way in. I think the law hold true that those of us coming down Avalon have the right-of-way to turn right when the light is green.

    And one last rant… What is the purpose of that red right turn arrow down in front of The Chelan Cafe right before you turn to go under the bridge? It seems useless.

  • Tony at Java Bean July 23, 2007 (9:17 pm)

    Hey everyone, I really dig the community sounding off and sharing opinions and ideas. What a great service to the community the WS blog provides.

    Mike.. that hand held flag idea is great. I’m going to get on that.

  • The House July 23, 2007 (9:32 pm)

    Once again, let’s put this issue into perspective. There is a crosswalk approx 100 feet from the “erased” crosswalk. If you can’t walk 100 feet, then you probably can’t cross the darn street. Whoever replied to the “concerned citizen” presented a valid reposnse. Seattle is the most pedestrian friendly city I’ve ever lived in and Bubba is 100% correct about pedestrians having the legal right of way ANYWHERE. Sometimes you need to pick your fights and this definitely isn’t one of them.

  • Trauma Mama July 23, 2007 (9:43 pm)

    I happened to visit Luna Park today for lunch after dropping my son off at All Star Fitness. He has a brain injury from a pedestrian crash in Greenwood.
    He was at the gym, working out WITH KAtie, the young woman hit in this Avalon crosswalk. I have been looking at that unimproved crossing for the last year plus that I have known her with grief and disbelief. The City settled with her for her injuries at least 2 years ago. For Hirakawa to use her claim against the city as reason to scrape off this crosswalk 4 years after the fact is nauseating.

    SDOT also disingenuously infers that US Code controls the placement of stop lights in Seattle.

    The warrant requirements are NOT federal law to which the DOT must adhere. They are engineering guidelines and control financing of federally funded projects.

    SDOT is “improving” pedestrian safety all over the city in this very same way. All they are improving is their liability exposure.

    BTW, my sons crosswalk is unchanged since he was nearly killed crossing four lanes of traffic to ride the Metro to Ballard, at an unmarked, unsignalized intersection with over 28,000 vehicles.
    Please ba aware of the Pedestrian Special Committee meetings, tomorrow at 10:30am at City Hall. Co-chaired by Nick Licata and Jan Drago. And the Ped MAster Plan ADvisory Group meetings. 4th Friday of each month 8-10am.

  • Jan July 24, 2007 (12:58 am)

    House…pedestrians do NOT have the right of way anywhere…they only have the right of way at intersections, marked or unmarked…

    I believe that where the crosswalk that removed was located was NOT at an intersection. So, yes, people crossing over to Java Bean and Luna Park need to walk a little farther. The same problem exists at the post office on Calif. Ave. People park on the west side of the street and bolt across the traffic to get to the post office. That’s illegal, and there have been a few people injured while doing that…and it still happens, because people don’t know that the law says they don’t have the right of way there.

    I agree with the poster that said that while we expect drivers to know the laws and do the right thing, pedestrians have to know their lawful limitations, too.

  • Sue July 24, 2007 (9:01 am)

    I’ve always been curious what constitutes a legal “intersection” for people to be able to cross. At the former crosswalk near Luna Cafe, there is a street sign that says SW Orleans is the “cross street” even though it’s barely a street. Does that count as an “intersection?” Or at a place like California & Hudson where the cross “street” is a flight of stairs? I would think anywhere that there is a street sign designating a cross street – no matter what the nature of it – would count as an intersection that you could legally cross at, crosswalk or not.

  • Michael July 24, 2007 (9:46 am)

    Really, the bottom line her is that it was a crosswalk in an unsafe spot, with nothing but a bus stop on one side of it, and another, better crosswalk not far away. While I feel for the businesses whose customers aren’t going to be able to easily park their cars on the east side of the street and cross immediately, as well as the few handicapped folks living immediately next to it, removing that crosswalk was a slam dunk for the city, public safety-wise.

  • Radley July 24, 2007 (5:10 pm)

    Andrea- Thanks for your continued vigilance on this issue.

  • Radley July 24, 2007 (5:10 pm)

    Andrea- Thanks for your continued vigilance on this issue.

  • Wendy July 24, 2007 (5:19 pm)

    In Kirkland at some of the main intersections at Lk WA Blvd and whatever that east/west main drag is, they have those pedestrian flags. They are at corners with marked crosswalks (I think) but there is always co much going on along there drivers are easily distracted and need the extra attention-grabbing of the flags.

  • Max July 24, 2007 (5:28 pm)

    House, Seattle is becoming steadily less pedestrian=friendly, that’s the point of this discussion. You should check out the ex-crosswalk on Admiral. It is not at an intersection, so the only alternative to jaywalking to get to the bus stop on the west side is to hike about 300 ft uphill to the beautiful new signaled crosswalk at Belvedere viewpoint. Oh wait, that’s not an alternative, because there is no sidewalk on the west side of Admiral. Hmmmm, not exactly pedestrian-friendly, is it?

  • The House July 25, 2007 (8:20 am)

    Max, you’re citing one particular street in a city that runs from the Northgate area down to Boeing field. For those of us that actually do leave WS everyday, this city is ultra friendly to pedestrians and bikers (ie Downtown)compared to other U.S. cities. Try making a turn in Downtown Seattle between 4:30pm and 6pm and see how long it takes you due to pedestrians. Consider how many cars travel down Admiral or the road in front of Jave Bean/Luna Park compared to how many pedestrians walk it. I’m sure when they’re deciding where crosswalks go, the ratio is a factor. I personally cross these streets myself with my family and understand your point of view, but don’t think the crosswalks are warranted.. When crossing a street personal responsibility and awareness are what are going to stop you from getting hit, not a crosswalk. I could cite multiple cases of people getting plowed over in crosswalks.

  • Max July 29, 2007 (2:04 pm)

    I guess my idea of “pedestrian friendly” is not universally shared, since it does not include people getting plowed over in crosswalks. Maybe I need to get out of West Seattle more often. Say to Greensboro NC, where I am now, and where I am pleasantly surprised to find the pedestrian/car relationship is pretty much the same as in Seattle. I suppose I could go back to Boston or LA, where pedestrians do not so rudely interfere with cars fulfilling their manifest destiny. Nah, I like it here, and I hope we stay pedestrian-friendly. Whatever that means.

Sorry, comment time is over.