“Walk All Ways” — love it or hate it?

As you probably know, the “Walk All Ways” intersection at California/Alaska was purposely preserved during the recent California repaving. But some still wonder if its time has come and gone, such as Robert Hull, who sent this letter-to-the-editor-style writeup to WSB for discussion:

Time To Rethink the Junction “All Way Walk”

I think it is time to reconsider the “All Way Walk” at the West Seattle Alaska Junction. It was fine for a while, but with the increasing traffic in the area, I believe that it should be returned to a “normal” traffic light, which would include free right turns, and a walk button for pedestrians wishing to cross the street. This would potentially reduce the amount of high volume traffic on our residential streets, since more people would use the Junction intersection rather than residential areas.

For several years I have avoided the Alaska Junction intersection due to the amount of time needed to get through the area. Instead, I have been using the residential side streets to get around this congestion. Now, we are finding that many other people are using our residential street as a major arterial. The amount of traffic on our once-quite street has increased about 200% in the last six months and most cars are traveling between 25 and 35 MPH, with some cars coming through at about 40MPH (speed limit is 20MPH on residential streets).

With all of the new condos being built in the area, and additional units coming on-line in the next few years (QFC and Whole Foods developments), the traffic problem will only get much worse. As a pedestrian, I liked the idea of the “All Way Walk,” since it was rather unique and made for some interest in our neighborhood. But the “All Way Walk” is no longer practical due to the large amount of traffic. It is also a safety issue, since it is only a matter of time before a pedestrian gets injured or killed with cars traveling 40MPH on residential streets.


119 Replies to ""Walk All Ways" -- love it or hate it?"

  • Vincent December 20, 2007 (8:08 pm)

    So this would save 30 seconds a light interval so more cars can get through? I am sick of accommodating more cars everywhere, maybe people could learn to walk off an extra cone from husky deli and balance it all out

    boo hiss on dumping tradition for traffic ease.

  • CandrewB December 20, 2007 (8:17 pm)

    Keep it. People drive like A-holes on my and everyone elses street too.

  • Lou December 20, 2007 (8:28 pm)

    Keep it. I don’t think the problem is traffic at the junction but rather new developments stealing our parking…that puts more traffic on side streets looking for parking.

  • bbilly December 20, 2007 (8:29 pm)

    i LOVE the all-way walk, but in the interest of full disclosure, I do not own a car, so that probably has something to do with it.

  • Max December 20, 2007 (8:34 pm)

    Dear Robert Hull – Slow down, take a breath, reflect. West Seattle is not Bellevue, and if we all exercise some common sense, it never will be.

  • fiz December 20, 2007 (8:36 pm)

    Keep it. It’s the only pedestrian-friendly intersection on this side of the Duwamish. I can take my grandkids across without having to worry about Robet Hull making a right turn on us. It’s been in this configuration for decades and it works.

  • The Velvet Bulldog December 20, 2007 (8:40 pm)

    What WOULD be cool though, is to have right-turn arrows on the lights. No concern about pedestrians, because they’re waiting for the Walk All Ways, but might funnel some cars through the intersection.

  • Jim December 20, 2007 (8:50 pm)

    Keep it. Any changes would not be worth it. our 80 year old road system was just never designed for this volume. If anything this old timed light is the most reliable signal in West Seattle. You could add a free right turn and “turn on green arrow only” signs to Southbound California, without much modifications. The light would just run off the eastbound signals, just like northbound is triggered by the westbound signal.

  • EricaK December 20, 2007 (8:54 pm)

    I love the Walk All Ways.

  • Scott J. December 20, 2007 (8:56 pm)

    It can be a painful wait, but I’ve just learned to avoid that intersection when driving up to the junction. There is enough traffic that you often have to wait through two long light cycles.

    Accept the fact that you’re not going to get that parking place right in front of Husky, or Jak’s, or wherever, park a block away (at most) and hoof it.

  • roddy December 20, 2007 (9:03 pm)

    hmm…i am on the fence here. While I love the walk all ways, I have to say that the other night it took three lights to drive from Oregon St through the Alaska light while traveling southbound on California. And no, I don’t drive everywhere, but sometimes you have to! The north/south light has to be timed longer from 4 pm until 8 pm, and they have to start allowing turns one way or another.

    And Max, WS is not Bellevue….yet. But just wait. Just try to find parking on a Friday night!

  • Rick December 20, 2007 (9:05 pm)

    I believe it was removed in 1974 and reinstated years later. The idea of a pedestrian mall was also floated for the 2 block area.Maybe a park and ride in Moses Lake for the Junction? More people=more cars=less go+more time. Easy math.

  • CO Transplant December 20, 2007 (9:09 pm)

    Keep it. This intersection is probably the safest configuration possible because it keeps so much pedestrian and motor traffic out of conflict in a very tight space.

  • Native December 20, 2007 (9:34 pm)

    I enjoy the intersection.

    I drive through it twice a day, on my way to work, and on my way home. There are several alternate routes I could take, and they would probably save me 4 or 5 minutes each time. But I PURPOSELY make sure I go through this intersection daily.


    This intersection is the HEART of West Seattle. There is nothing I enjoy more than pulling up to the red light, and watching the people in our Junction. It is something I look forward to every day. You just never know what you will see!

  • old timer December 20, 2007 (9:38 pm)

    Hey, it takes long enough for someone walking to get the light.
    I don’t want to have to wait in the wind and rain and cold for yet another cycle just to accomodate some guaranteed overstuffed in it’s overpriced set of wheels.

    “For several years I have avoided the Alaska Junction intersection due to the amount of time needed to get through the area. Instead, I have been using the residential side streets to get around this congestion.”
    Then- he’s got the nerve to complain
    “Now, we are finding that many other people are using our residential street as a major arterial”

    Don’t want drivers in your neighborhoods -don’t drive in them,

  • Manuel December 20, 2007 (10:05 pm)

    Leave it. When I want to zip through I treat that intersection as blockage and use Edmunds or Oregon (arterials) to route around it.

  • dkr December 20, 2007 (10:09 pm)

    the all-ways signal is great. also, perhaps i’m in the minority, but i wouldn’t mind if the signals were a wee bit longer. i cringe every time i see residents from the nearby retirement facility trying to cross in the allotted time.

  • DB Gatewood December 20, 2007 (10:17 pm)

    A few months ago I brought my father from California to the Junction. He was stopped at the crosswlk and noticed the sign that said “Walk All Ways”. He immeidatley shouted, “LOOK ITS A DENVER SCRAMBLE”. Not knowing what he meant, I asked him and he proceeded to tell me that Denver was one of the first cities in the US to adopt this crosswalk, called the scramble and the intersection in Denver is commonly referred to as the “Denver Scramble”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedestrian_scramble)

    Ive always liked that story and would hate to see us get rid of the “Junction Scramble” because it is a true landmark of West Seattle.

  • sw December 20, 2007 (10:25 pm)

    Love it. It’s not a four-lane suburban boulevard, folks – it’s a city neighborhood intersection. We do have Fauntleroy or “I-35” a few blocks to the East if you need to get North-South in a hurry. :-)

  • SLK December 20, 2007 (10:29 pm)

    I don’t avoid the intersection when I’m driving, but I DO try to avoid it when I’m walking. I prefer crossing California at one of the mid-block crosswalks (theoretically no waiting) and jaywalking on Alaska. I know that’s not legal, but I find it very hard to have the patience to wait for all the lights to cycle through. “Walk all ways” just slows everyone (cars and pedestrians) down.

  • Jan December 20, 2007 (10:32 pm)

    You know, I’m with the person who asked exactly how much time it’s going to save you….30 seconds maybe? Sort of like the person who tailgates you, then swerves around you because you’re not fast enough, then has to stop at the same light as you. Faster is not always better…IMO

  • LyndaB December 20, 2007 (10:33 pm)

    keep it. i think we’re unique to have one in our area. how many others are there in seattle? i, too, avoid it when it’s rush hour. i have to say i still am trying to get the courage do a little dance in the middle when it’s all walk. haven’t you had the urge?

  • Owen December 20, 2007 (10:45 pm)

    In New York in the early ’60s we called it the
    Barnes dance, after the traffic commissioner
    Harold Barnes.

  • LA in the Junction December 20, 2007 (10:46 pm)

    Given the fact that it’s MY street that the people trying to save 30 seconds are speeding down, you’d think I’d be in favor of changing the light. But I’m not. I love the Walk All Ways (tho the idea of a green right arrow has some merit) and agree with the posters who say to just take a deep breath and relax…and stop taking the residential street “short cuts”. 45th isn’t a speedway, you know!

  • Jim December 20, 2007 (10:48 pm)

    “keep it. i think we’re unique to have one in our area. how many others are there in seattle? ”

    Just this one and Greenwood at 85th I believe.

  • The House December 20, 2007 (10:52 pm)


    I enjoy being able to walk in any direction &
    how are the libs that hold their annoying signs on Sundays going to be able to cross the street if they can’t go in any direction? They would have a hard time fighting their way out of a paperbag, let alone figuring out a normal crosswalk.

  • JenV December 20, 2007 (10:52 pm)

    wow…while walking across that very crosswalk earlier tonight I thought- I love this!
    Hope it stays..!

  • Michael December 20, 2007 (10:54 pm)

    Original poster is **assuming** that a large volume of traffic avoids the Junction because of the all-ways-walk (rather than the non-staggered stop lights, no-turn signs, etc).
    It’s a faulty assumption.
    And Jim: 1st and Pike.

  • Jan December 20, 2007 (11:19 pm)

    hey, House…don’t just finger the “libs”…not a one of them..even the “non-libs”…has enough sense to get out of the street at times ;-) (but then, maybe we should just let them play in the street?)

  • OP December 20, 2007 (11:31 pm)

    Keep it.

    In fact, Seattle, especially downtown, needs more of them. Check that, A LOT more of them.

  • matthew December 20, 2007 (11:35 pm)

    i love the intersection…and i will wait for the signalto cross even late at night. i was raised to appreciate the rules. also i park in one of the many free parking lots in the area…not gonna hold up traffic trying to park 6 feet closer to talaricos just to say i did it!

  • chas redmond December 21, 2007 (12:02 am)

    Looks to me like it’s running thirty-to-one (30:1) for keeping the All Walk signal and maybe even some fraction of that for expanding them. If you return to normal crossing, right-turns would be forced to wait for pedestrian crossings and the overall flow of traffic would probably actually be lower. That’s point A. Point B is that we here in West Seattle like the All Walk, fought hard to keep it during the recent work on California Avenue and don’t really see California Avenue as a vehicle fast-through street. Use 35th or Fautleroy as others have said if it’s a point-to-point problem your trying to solve. Use California because it’s the main street and you’re going slow anyway to allow the pedestrians to cross at any crosswalk along California. It was road-dieted more than thirty years ago for a reason – it’s not a speeding street and shouldn’t be.

  • Doug December 21, 2007 (12:31 am)

    KEEP IT! This is one of the best things about West Seattle. Pedestrian friendly is what the Junction should be all about. Sorry about the added traffic on your side street.. but that’s an issue you need to take up with the police. Believe me, they will be more than happy to write some extra tickets if you complain.

  • MargeC December 21, 2007 (12:56 am)

    I LOVE the All-Way-Walk – it’s like doing a square dance :) Vote YES to keep it.


  • Mac December 21, 2007 (1:58 am)

    As a driver for a Junction business, I drive through that intersection multiple times a day. It doesn’t slow me down that much at all. I drive through many different Seattle-area communities a day, and I’ve waited a heck of a lot longer at some of those Eastside-style six-lane boulevard stoplights than I have at California/Alaska.

  • grr December 21, 2007 (2:59 am)

    Yup. KEEP IT. It’s one of the few intersection where drivers KNOW that the goofy peds are all going to go at the same time!! I agree….major downtown intersections need it as well…especially 6th and Pike/Pine, etc…

  • grr December 21, 2007 (3:00 am)

    ..and…it might be fun if we painted British zig-zag markings in the crosswalk as well..just for giggles :)

  • BB December 21, 2007 (4:37 am)

    I find myself getting antsy at times waiting through 2-cycles of lights going through the junction… but it is a part of our quirky neighborhood. I would be sad to see it go.

    I doubt this will be a popular opinion on this post but what does frustrate me is how often there is an empty, giant articulated bus taking up both lanes going East on Alaska (at the junction) that can’t manage to get going in time to make it through a light. Not sure if it is bus driver specific or what.

  • Mags December 21, 2007 (6:09 am)

    I like the intersection. However, there are lots of yahoos who take a free right from Alaska to California anyway and from California to Alaska..I know because I almost got hit by more than one (my false sense of security on the all way walk, no turn on red)..I occasionally get annoyed when the bus sits through a couple of lights at night, but I still think it’s a great intersection and there are so many pedestrians in West Seattle these days and for the most part, this is very friendly to them.

  • Jack Loblaw December 21, 2007 (6:13 am)

    If you don’t like it MOVE OUT OF WEST SEATTLE ! Why should we even consider an idea from a committee of one individual ? It seems all too often that there is a vocal minority that likes to force their ideas on others.

  • Gina December 21, 2007 (6:15 am)

    Keep. I like it when I am walking, and when I am driving the slower traffic gives me a chance to see changes in the Junction.

    45th at the Junction sounds like 45th south of Admiral, people trying to avoid lights at Admiral and California. And that those are regular intersections. I don’t think taking away the 4-way will get rid of traffic. I think that any signal frustrates some drivers.

  • eileen December 21, 2007 (6:31 am)

    Th comment is obviously from a person who only drives through the area. this is one of the main centers of our community and walk all ways is somehing to be preserved. Thye’ve kept it down town in front of Pike place market for the same reason.

  • Sue December 21, 2007 (7:15 am)

    I love that intersection with the all ways walk. I love being able to cross a street without worrying about whether a distracted right-on-red person is going to run me down. (Although i’ll admit I’ve seen a LOT of right-on-red people lately going southbound on California and turning west onto Alaska, despite the signs that say not to – last week somebody was beeping at another driver until they moved, and then 4 cars followed!)
    As a driver, the only problem I have with the intersection is that when I’m travelling west on Alaska, nobody seems to go when the light turns red. THAT is why it’s backed up, not because of the walk all ways signal – it more than 2 cars paid attention and actually drove when the light turned green, we’d all get through a little easier. This is a chronic problem I’ve observed in the Seattle area of people simply taking their time to start driving on green and then wondering why the light changes so fast.
    As a pedestrian, I think a worse intersection in terms of the wait is Edmunds and California (when you’re in front of Ama-Ama and trying to continue south on California. That one can be a LONG wait if you miss it (which I usually do). Understandably so due to the multi-intersection, but still. Waiting at the Junction for the light is nothing compared to that.

  • Sue December 21, 2007 (7:17 am)

    Editing my post above to say that “nobody seems to go when the light turns GREEN.” Too early in the morning. :)

  • Kayleigh December 21, 2007 (7:20 am)

    Keep it.

  • Mr. JT December 21, 2007 (7:27 am)

    Keep it ! Uncle Sam with the oil barrel on his back, and his fellow war protesters would have a rough time figuring out a new routine.

  • John December 21, 2007 (7:29 am)

    Keep it. The Walk All Ways makes this one of the few pedestrian-friendly intersections in the city and the layout of the Junction should continue to encourage walking as a safe and sane way to get around.

  • Ken S. December 21, 2007 (7:58 am)

    KEEP IT. The intersection I avoid is one block south – the 5 way stop at Alaska, Erskine & ??? That one is LONG, but it’s a 5 way stop, so understandable.

  • Morisseau December 21, 2007 (8:02 am)

    Lose it. It’s a gross inefficiency not to have some traffic moving at all times.

  • Christopher Boffoli December 21, 2007 (8:03 am)

    I vote to keep as well. And I’m so proud of the consensus here. Especially in a place like the Junction, pedestrians should have priority over cars.

    I was interested to learn the other day that less than 1% of the fuel energy that gets burned as gas in cars goes to actually moving the passenger. The rest goes to moving the weight of the car or is wasted through friction and heat. Pretty sad when you consider that the cars we have today are the result of about 100 years of engineering advances.

    Anyone who chooses the leave the car behind and run their errands in the Junction on foot is doing themselves and everyone else a favor. We should devote our time and energy into making things more convenient for pedestrians, not cars.

  • Mike Dady December 21, 2007 (8:06 am)

    Keep it.

  • K December 21, 2007 (8:15 am)

    I love the Walk All Ways intersection. I think they should cover the whole intersection square with a design, like the “engraved” crosswalk designs they placed crossing California in the Admiral district, near Hiawatha park and the elementary school. Those crosswalks are functional and attractive. I think they were testing a new process, and the test is a success in my opinion.

  • kathy December 21, 2007 (9:09 am)

    Keep it — though for non W. Seattle-ites it’s a little confusing. I remember my first time in a car at the light and watching in horror as a fairly slow and wobbly elderly woman walked across diagonally. I almost got out of the car to get to her “safety” — then realized that other people were walking diagonally too. I’ve been impressed with the unique intersection ever since…

  • Hills December 21, 2007 (9:12 am)

    keep it! If only for the reason that with a regular signal, the peds just keep going no matter if the hand is already flashing or what. You’re only supposed to start to cross if it’s the walker signal – once the hand starts you’re supposed to wait, which in theory creates a window of time for cars to turn.
    But….VERY few peds seem to know it, and fewer recognize it!
    At least with the all-walk once the hand starts flashing you best hustle across or get caught smack dab in the middle!

  • sara December 21, 2007 (9:21 am)

    I love it, it is unique and makes it feel like we are living in a smaller town. keep it, keep it!!! west seattle is unique and i like it.

  • JE December 21, 2007 (9:31 am)

    I’d like to thank Robert Hull for raising this question–it’s always good to question the status quo. But my answer is: Keep it! For basically the same reasons other posters have stated. The walk-all-ways Junction scramble is a step closer to the “complete streets” model we need to move toward. It puts pedestrians on an equal footing (pardon me, please) with wheeled traffic. When I’m driving, I don’t detour to avoid the Junction; it really doesn’t take that long, and it’s a pleasant wait. To me it says, “this is the heart of West Seattle”.

  • jrd December 21, 2007 (9:32 am)

    Keep it, keep it, keep it. When I have friends or family visiting for the first time, I love showing off the Walk All Ways. It’s totally unique – there’s only one other one in the whole city.

    I walk a lot around the junction, but I also drive, and the congestion at that light isn’t that bad at all. It really isn’t. Compared to a lot of other intersections in this city, c’mon. The intersection that I think is a real annoyance is the one one block down – the 5 way intersection. You wait there much longer for your light than at the junction.

    If they get rid of this, I would be massively dissapointed. With all the condos and development, let’s try and keep a couple of unique things around here – and not become just another neighborhood.

    Also, with all the condos and stores going in, there’s going to be a lot more pedestrian traffic. The Walk All Ways is a much safer way for pedestrians to travel in pedestrian heavy areas. Works for Pike Place Market…

    And one more thing: Robert Hull, maybe you should lead by example and stop using residential streets to cut 30 seconds off your drive time.

  • Barb Vadakin December 21, 2007 (9:41 am)

    Keep it! It is the only intersection that I really feel safe walking in.

  • Teresa P December 21, 2007 (9:43 am)

    KEEP IT.

  • KC December 21, 2007 (9:53 am)

    Keep it. In fact, I would love to see Morgan Junction get one, too, at Cali-Fauntleroy. Like others have said, it’s nice to just walk on the walk sign, instead of having to watch out for right turn-ers who don’t stop or think about peds. It’s a big deal for me, since I have my children with me at that intersection often – when we walk to school and the grocery store.

  • CMP December 21, 2007 (9:58 am)

    I complained about the All Walk signal years ago to SDOT and they’re not going to change it. I love the concept and am in complete favor of it, but if you happen to be up at 3:00 am driving thru the Junction, there is nothing worse than sitting through that cycle when no one (cars or peds) are around. That’s when the side street short cuts come in handy. BTW, my complaint was to take the lights off the automated timer during the late night/early morning hours, but SDOT says it’s a business district and they won’t modify it. It would take a lot of complaints to get rid of the All Walk signal so I wouldn’t worry about it going away any time soon, if ever.

  • MsBette December 21, 2007 (10:03 am)

    Keep it! It’s a lot safer. A lot of pedestrians get hit by cars doing the free right hand turns. And I love watching my community go by when I am the first car stopped at the light!

  • dq December 21, 2007 (10:05 am)

    keep it. it’s good that topics like this get questioned instead of everyone assuming one way or “all ways”. :)

  • Jill December 21, 2007 (10:05 am)

    Another vote to keep it. I agree with Michael about the faulty assumption. And thank you Christopher Boffoli for saying what I would’ve loved to so much more eloquently than I could’ve!

  • Michael December 21, 2007 (10:10 am)

    “It’s a gross inefficiency not to have some traffic moving at all times.”
    If it were a freeway, yes. The nexus of the area’s central business district? Not so much.
    If you need to get to the ferry or the viaduct quickly, use Fauntleroy.

  • kmac December 21, 2007 (10:17 am)

    I think traffic would be worse if it was removed. Walk all ways allows people to cross when there are no cars moving. Removing it would mean people cross while cars are trying to turn right. I find it much more frustrating to not get through a light because traffic is backed up due to drivers not being able to turn right waiting for pedestrians to cross. Walk All Ways removes this problem.

  • Ron December 21, 2007 (10:33 am)

    1: “In Seattle, the speed limit on residential streets is 25 mph and 30 mph on arterial streets unless otherwise posted.” (sdotfaqs.htm)
    Is it posted on your street as 20? That’s unique.

    2: That is a “normal” intersection in Vancouver (BC) — it’s not that unique.

    I walk it and drive it in equal measure and I’d rather keep it.

  • mike December 21, 2007 (10:36 am)

    it’s frustrating as a driver and a pedestrian. It unnecessarily slows everyone down. Do we really think we’re too stupid to use a normal crosswalk?

  • m December 21, 2007 (10:47 am)

    This intersection is a mess; it takes forever to get through it in a car, and as a pedestrian, I don’t like waiting through such a long cycle to walk if it’s cold and raining. I also don’t trust that cars will not turn right on the red, even though there are signs stating not to. If cars that were heading north or south would stay out of the right lane then those turning right could actually turn right on the green arrow and keep traffic moving. All it takes is some common sense, which sadly seems to be lacking around here.

    Practicality rules over quirkiness for me. SDOT needs a complete reevaluation here; the length of the cycles, putting in sensors for off-peak times, the no-left-turn policy while going north or south (this would be easy to fix if they had a cycle for northbound and then a cycle for southbound as they do for east and west bound traffic). I’m no traffic engineer, but there has to be a better way to move cars and people through here faster.

  • Al December 21, 2007 (10:51 am)

    No! The reason it’s an all-way is for PEDESTRIAN safety, not for traffic flow. It’s a high-ped area and I’m cut off enough from those “free right turners” that I don’t want it here too! This is one of the great things about the Cali Junction, it’s so pedestrian friendly. If you’re concerned about time, rally Metro to get more bus service over here. We need LESS cars – that’s the real problem. Jeez. This is a crazy suggestion.

  • Alki Res. December 21, 2007 (11:04 am)

    I think it is great! Should have it downtown!!! When the light turns green you can’t take a right because of the pedestrians still cross after the Don’t Walk sign comes on!!! And for the pedestrians… wouldn’t you rather cross diagonally, than standing on two corners in the rain!!!

  • RPH December 21, 2007 (11:23 am)

    After moving to West Seattle this past August, one of my first priorities was to figure out the lay of the street system and where desired services were located. It didn’t take long to determine that California Ave. is a slow, congested route and to avoid it as a North-South corridor from Morgan to Admiral. When going to the Junction, I’ve found that parking a couple blocks east, near Jefferson Square, and walking, is the best solution to not getting stuck in traffic at that intersection.

    As for ”Walk All Ways” intersections, there is no better alternative. Try circling a block in downtown Seattle at rush (gridlock) hour. With conventional signals, cars cannot turn left or right when numerous pedestrians are crossing both sides throughout the duration of the shared signal.

    Robert, thanks for your post. I feel your pain. The best any of us can do is to get out of our cars.

    P.S. Alki res – seems you made my point before I did!

  • TeaLady December 21, 2007 (11:58 am)

    Keep it!

  • jrd December 21, 2007 (12:22 pm)

    “I don’t like waiting through such a long cycle to walk if it’s cold and raining.”

    #1: On all 4 corners there are overhanging eaves from the businesses that you can stand under and keep dry.

    #2: So, you’d rather have to stand at two lights waiting for them to cycle through instead of just walking diagnolly, and only having to wait once?

    Sounds like you don’t use this much. I use it daily, and drive through almost daily. 90% of the time you get through the light on the green, which is more than I can say for most Seattle business districts.

    Is everyone so important that they can’t spare 45 seconds out of their lives anymore?

  • Mark December 21, 2007 (12:35 pm)

    Well, Mr. Hull’s main concern seems to be that he suspects people speeding down his street to avoid the intersection. I believe that Mr. Hull would be in the exact same situation just a few months after any conversion to the crosswalk would occur. More people would drive through the intersection and it would reach the same level of congestion as it is at now and people would still cut through his neighborhood.

    Maybe you could petition for a speed bump on your street Mr. Hull.

  • CMP December 21, 2007 (12:44 pm)

    I’m one of the most impatient drivers out there and even I have come to appreciate this intersection. I avoid it at off-peak times because I don’t like sitting at a light when no other cars or peds are around. And during peak times in the evening, I just people watch to pass the time. As a pedestrian, you can’t beat the All Way crosswalk. And I agree about jazzing up the crosswalk a little bit. Visitors are easily confused when pedestrians cross diagonally so more obvious crosswalks would be beneficial.

  • Joe December 21, 2007 (12:51 pm)

    Keep it.

    Trying to take a right turn on green only have pedestrians loligag across the street perfectly spaced so that you can’t slip through is even more frustrating.

    I think we need these downtown.

  • Indaknow December 21, 2007 (1:16 pm)

    I love the 4-way walk. I wish there were more of them in the city (especially downtown near Pacific Place!). When I am a pedestrian I feel safe, and when I am a driver it is less frustrating than trying to get through an intersection when last-minute street crossers push through on the blinking “don’t walk” signal.

  • Iridius December 21, 2007 (1:18 pm)

    I like the Walk All Ways, but I can’t stand the drivers who ignore the signs and take right turns on red. I observed one car running a red light last night because the driver became frustrated with the car in front of them, because they weren’t taking a right turn on red. The SPD should come out and ticket people every once in a while!

  • Eric December 21, 2007 (2:18 pm)

    I say can it! I often can get through a whole latte, a WHOLE LATTE while waiting at that intersection. Maybe they could put some little guy out there who runs fresh lattes to drivers stuck at the light?

    And hell, even if it saves me one minute it’s worth it for someone like me! I don’t know about you people but I’m a god-damn highly paid corporate entity and one minute is worth…well, I’ve got more important things to do than calculate my per-minute wage on a blog. But trust me, it’s a lot.

    On the other hand, I’m usually watching a movie on my Excursion’s in-dash DVD player while I’m driving, I guess I could deal with it.

  • Jerald December 21, 2007 (2:50 pm)

    I LOVE it. If traffic looks backed up at the Junction I just take one of the arterials around it. While driving, I avoid the regular intersection at Admiral/California, even cutting through parking lots if necessary. We even ruled out moving to North Admiral a few years ago, just to avoid that time-sucking trap.

  • jrd December 21, 2007 (2:57 pm)

    I think there needs to be more signage making it apparent that this is a walk all ways. I see pedestrians who are new to the intersection looking very confused, and then cross on a don’t walk, just to stand at the next corner to wait.

    That and I’ve been honked at more than once by someone not noticing the no turn on red signs.

  • WSAA December 21, 2007 (3:43 pm)

    Will anyone ever read my post so far down the comments list? I have to agree with most folks here about loving the walk all ways signal. I have to disagree with jrd about needing more signs. There are enough signs around. Apparently most folks know about the walk all ways (or there wouldn’t be such a response to this suggestion). I think what we need are a couple of strategically placed WSAA Christmas (yes, Christmas, not holiday or winter) ornaments in the trees around the junction. That way, while you’re waiting for the light to change you can look for an ornament and think of the WSB. Not sure how long they will last but that’s ok. . . . . .

  • TH December 21, 2007 (3:49 pm)

    Keep it! This is not the intersection in WS that needs help. Something should be done with Calif and Admiral. Ever try to turn left onto Calif from Admiral and end up in the intersection because of the bus stop???

  • Bob H December 21, 2007 (4:27 pm)

    I vote to get rid of the All Way Walk. It is messing up the residential areas which are near the junction. If you live near the Juction, you are impacted quite a bit. How would you like cars coming through your quite street at up to 40MPH. (On a regular basis)?

    Most of the people wanting to keep the All Way Walk probably live more than a mile from the intersection. I live just a few blocks away and our neighborhood IS impacted. It is really getting bad.

  • dapuffin December 21, 2007 (4:58 pm)

    Keep it. It’s part of what makes our area so special.

  • boatingbob December 21, 2007 (6:51 pm)

    So we should give up one of the things that makes West Seattle unique becuase it’s becoming increasingly inconvenient to motorists? Bull____! Give up ‘walk all ways’ so people won’t drive 40mph through our neighborhoods? Sounds like a form of terrorism to me (do as I say, and I won’t beat you up). I say let’s get the SPD to hammer the speeders! Pressure the City Council to radically increase fines for speeding in residential areas! The prospect of a $1000 fine for speeding in a 20mph residential street will get anyone’s attention! Think that’s harsh? Maybe you’re part of the problem, eh?

  • Susan December 21, 2007 (7:22 pm)

    Well, let’s see … those few who d/n want the all-ways walk are concerned about speed. AND it looks as though that arguement has been well answered by many rendering it a non-issue.

    Thank goodness many have already pointed out that this crosswalk actually saves time for all of us.

    Unfortunately living near the Junction is not the only place that people zip up and down at 40 mph plus …happens on my quiet street as well.

    Maybe the suggestion to have SPD ticket those who make right turns on red would be a good way to start the new year.

    OK …well that pretty much sums it up …oh, one more thing …ERIC …thanks, man, for a great laugh ..that was really funny

  • GenHillOne December 21, 2007 (7:59 pm)

    Can I ask what is wrong with keeping the walk all ways and still allowing free right turns? There seems to be anger (yes, now they are illegal) against right turns. Wouldn’t it keep some traffic moving while keeping peds out of crosswalks?

  • GenHillOne December 21, 2007 (8:01 pm)

    Okay, before you jump on me…not “free” right turns, but allowing them when the walk all ways isn’t in effect. Could they be flashing yellow?

  • Jo B December 21, 2007 (8:06 pm)

    Tonight is the shortest night of the year and i for one don’t have the time to waste educating people who are in too much of a hurry to plan a more efficient traffic route about the critical need to make our cities people friendly… Park your car. Get out and walk. It won’t take you long to figure out why that all walk intersection works.

  • Peggy December 22, 2007 (12:11 am)

    As a new resident of West Seattle from the Ballard area… I have to agree with those wanting to keep the “all ways cross” at the Junction. Sure the wait can seem long to both pedestrians and drivers (especially when: one is running behind schedule, or its raining and windy) – but I think its safer than the alternative.
    Here’s an example of what will happen if the Junction gets rid of the “all way cross”: Ballard. That neighborhood used to have an “all ways cross” at the corner at 22nd NW, NW Market St and Leary – and it was great. This was changed within the past 2 years to “normal” stoplights. (Ballard is also one of Mayer Nichols “urban high density” areas – and it is rapidly losing it’s charm, character, and sense of community.
    In my opinion, pedestrians are at extreme risk crossing Ballard’s five-way intersection – due to cars being able to proceed while pedestrians are attempting to cross the streets (especially from drivers on 22nd Ave NW turning on to NW Leary; from NW Market turning unto NW Leary, and NW Leary turning onto 22nd and NW Market). I never attempt to start crossing the street without either counting “1001, 1002, 1003” and/or looking over my shoulder for on-coming (and usually speeding) cars. I couldn’t tell you how many times there have been “almost pedestrian/auto collisions” because the pedestrian was not being attentive and/or the driver was inattentive or speeding.
    People need to get out of their cars and really walk around their neighborhoods.

  • Ron December 22, 2007 (12:42 am)

    Where is this 20 mph for residential streets myth coming from?
    I agree that 30 or 40 on residential streets is reckless, but the Seattle law is 25 (not 20).
    If the problem on your block is that consistent and flagrant, contact SPD for enforcement. I don’t think the answer is to try to re-engineer a pedestrian friendly business district.

    SDOT is also willing to work with you to put traffic calming measures in your neighborhood; all you have to do is ask.
    I lived on a very quiet block near the junction with lots of small children and I completely understand the issue of speeders (one of my neighbors turned the garden hose on a UPS truck — very effective!), but I don’t think it has anything to do with the AK/CA junction traffic lights.

    There IS a right turn light onto eastbound Alaska and I agree that they could add more, and/or re-sign to explain “no right on red *during* pedestrian crossing”. I think the green arrows would probably be simpler for distracted motorists to understand.

    People just seem to have a single/absent-minded capacity for being idiots, and I’m not just talking about those in cars. I’ve been endangered or injured by bicyclists and skateboarders and dogs and ankle-biting baby strollers (BUV’s) as well.

    On the other hand, it IS a long light, and drivers have a tendency to not notice when it’s their turn, causing even longer backups and making me very cranky when I’m driving.

    So, welcome to the jungle — *stay alert*; go when it’s green, locate the arterials if you drive (hint: follow the bus routes), hang up your cell when you drive OR walk, and stow your iPod until you’re at cruising altitude.

    Have a safe and mellow holiday season, everyone!

    btw, thanks to the OP for stepping in this mess, it’s been a good topic.

  • jrd December 22, 2007 (1:13 am)

    “I have to disagree with jrd about needing more signs. There are enough signs around. Apparently most folks know about the walk all ways (or there wouldn’t be such a response to this suggestion).”

    Most WS folks know about the Walk All Ways. There are people who don’t live in WS who don’t. And the signs are not visible to car traffic. And the signs are high up, not in the line of sight of people who are not regulars using the intersection.

    They are also dark – a navy blue, old, and are not very reflective to pedestrians, and as I said, are not visible to car traffic.

    I’m 100% for Walk All Ways. But the signage for both peds and cars… well, it needs to be updated.

  • Mary T December 22, 2007 (1:15 am)

    Keep it! And to the OP, if you’re really bothered by traffic, then petition to get speed humps installed on your street.

  • westie December 22, 2007 (6:05 am)

    Keep it! It’s makes the Junction quirky, and it’s thrilling to walk through.

  • LA in the Junction December 22, 2007 (10:33 am)

    Hey Bob H — I DO live right in the Junction, and deal with speeding drivers and “park and riders” on the residential street in front of my house all day (and all night) long. But I’m all for keeping the Junction pedestrian friendly and keeping the All Ways Walk. Changing that won’t change people speeding down residential streets. Simple courtesy would do that, but unfortunately that’s lacking in some people.

    For those who want to get through West Seattle quickly — two words: 35th or Fauntleroy (but don’t speed there either). California is a business district, not a thoroughfare. It’s part of what makes West Seattle great — and I’ll keep taking one for the team as I dodge Mario Andretti wanna-bes down my block.

  • M December 22, 2007 (12:25 pm)

    If you want people to figure out the walk all-ways, this city needs to do what was done on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills: Paint a walk way through the intersection in an ‘X’. It’s kind of an eyesore, but more effective than the little signs they have up now. This intersection needs more improvement; keep the all-walk, SDOT needs to make more tweaks to make it better for all users.

  • Ann December 22, 2007 (6:39 pm)

    Keep it!

    I’m pretty crafty at manuvering around sticky traffic areas, but have never noticed a need for avoiding this intersection. Walk all ways does not affect the traffic flow THAT much.

  • Jan December 22, 2007 (8:10 pm)

    perhaps there could be “X” type crosswalks ala creative crossings like the ones that exist at the Lafayette School intersection (Calif. and SW Lander)…would really beautify the area, and let the non-locals know that they can cross all ways.

    I suppose I don’t really have too much sympathy for those in residential areas. My apartment is on a side street behind Admiral Safeway…when West Seattle Highschool let’s out for lunch, and after school, you would not believe the speeding teenagers up and down this street. I forgive the shoppers…I knew where I was moving to, and they are really pretty slow coming out of the parking lot. So…remember that it happens everywhere, and not just at/near the Alaska Junction…and..slow down, chill, take a deep breath or two…and notice the beauty all around you..even on these gray days..you’ll be much happier at the end of the day :) really !

  • attack of the 40 ft bldg December 22, 2007 (10:00 pm)

    So if Cayce and Gain put a walk all ways in front of the upzone would people start endorsing their 40 foot height request? Just a thought. . . . . . there is really no need to respond to this post.

  • grr December 22, 2007 (11:42 pm)

    lolol :)

    I love the idea of paint/brickwork in the All Ways crossing zone. Turn it into some cool street art of some kind….

    and then one of us can walk barefoot across it.


  • Erik December 22, 2007 (11:51 pm)

    We can all bring a pint of our favorite color paint and have a throw at it.

  • grr December 23, 2007 (9:24 am)

    I wonder if we have to get permission from the City, or if can be one of those ‘ask for forgiveness later’ kinda things..

    of course..there ARE lots of govt regulations when it comes to pavement marking materials..



  • Sam December 23, 2007 (9:44 am)

    Keep it !
    yes it does take a little more time but I like the concept.
    just watch out for (apparently) clueless, impatient pedestrians who choose to walk across Alaska, against the “no walk” sign, even though drivers turning east onto Alaska from California have a right turn green arrow.

  • Vio December 23, 2007 (4:44 pm)

    I get a strange thrill walking diagonally across that intersection… it goes against everything I was taught as a child. Keep our naughty pedestrian thrill alive! On a practical level the all-ways makes it clear that cars in the Junction are secondary to those on foot – a good thing. I think it is one of the reasons the area has such healthy retail.

  • miws December 23, 2007 (8:14 pm)

    Okay, after more than 100 comments, I’ll weigh in.

    Keep it!

    And Vio, I agree with the thrill part. Kinda like sitting at a table in the middle of Calif. Av, in the beer garden at the Street Festival! :)


  • Deeno December 24, 2007 (1:28 am)

    –About the paint. Since we live in a Nanny State you can probably figure that out. I don’t think it meets DLU ‘accepted practices code.’ Now if you want to go up 8 or 9 stories on your building, no problem.

    –Our Junction has a lot of similarities with Rodeo Drive. Paint the ‘X’.

    –Since we have so many traffic circles in WS, how about building a ‘mini’ Arc d’ Triomphe as a tribute. I mean we already have a Statue of Liberty. . . and it came from France . . . just think of the parade possibilities!

  • Scott December 24, 2007 (2:27 am)

    Definitely keep it! i just moved back to Seattle (grew up in Phinney Ridge) and it’s one of the things that makes West Seattle unique, among many other things…. I was showing a friend the neighborhood the other day and he thought I was nuts when I stated crossing diagonally, I told him it was cool, it’s The Junction….

  • Blair December 24, 2007 (10:48 am)

    Keep the all-way walk! It’s a good reminder for drivers that West Seattle is a pedestrian friendly area.

    Those idiots going 40 mph down residential streets would continue to do so even if the all-way walk was removed. They value their time over anyone else’s safety; waiting through ONE cycle of the light would still be an affront to them.

    And by the way, the 20 mph speed limit is state law “in cities and towns”, unless said city or town applies for a variance, which Seattle did decades ago, raising the default speed limit here to 25 mph. When I took Driver’s Ed in Seattle, they recommended going no more than 20 on non-arterial residential streets because of the narrow width, and limited stopping distance due to cars parked on both sides of the street blocking sight lines. Yes, you can legally go 25 mph on these streets, but I say “TWENTY IS PLENTY.”

  • Errol December 25, 2007 (10:29 am)

    It’s nice to have something out of the ordinary in neighborhoods. It makes them what they are. I like driving and walking. Leave the intersection alone and take a chill pill. Or maybe you should take a long walk sometime and let the endorphins kick in. Let me guess, you’re one of those guys that tailgates if the driver isn’t going your preferred speed. (probably 15 miles over) You probably are a weaver too. My advice is to keep avoiding this intersection and take those supposed 20 mph roads wherever they are and keep everybody safe. Please drive safely.

  • clint December 27, 2007 (10:02 am)

    This is one of the coolest, quirky, convenient, fun things about WS–or anywhere else I’ve lived. It’d be a shame to change the lights/rules at this intersection. “Walk All Ways” should stay.

  • Mark December 27, 2007 (10:19 am)

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, it ain’t broke.

  • Keri December 28, 2007 (8:29 pm)

    OMG – guests from out of town LOVE that sign at the intersection – they take photos – my sister included. We have to KEEP the “walk all ways on walk” – no doubt about it!

  • Ed December 31, 2007 (7:41 am)

    When I first started working in the Alsaka Junction, it reminded me of the small village on Long Island where I grew up. Slow paced. People knew each other and were friendly. People doing the right thing.
    This past summer, my wife and I were lucky enough to move to a condo just south of the junction.
    We love walking the street, shopping, eating, etc.
    This is why we moved here from Everett.
    I truly hope that West Seattle finds a way to keep its charm with all of the new apartments and condos being built and many more people moving into the area, especially the junction.

    A note to all the new arrivals……PLEASE respect the street laws that have been in place for years. If the sign says “dont walk”…..dont.
    If you’re driving down the road….drive slowly, looking for pedestrians. If you have garbage in your hand….hold it until you find a garbage can.
    This is a wonderful town and place to live, lets make sure that the residents say that 10 or 20 years from now.

  • kmw December 31, 2007 (2:01 pm)

    I’m a bit tardy, but I’ve got to say: KEEP IT. Plus, add one at California & Edmonds, and add one at Cali and Fauntleroy, and add one at Admiral and Cali. I love walking from home to the Junction for dinner/errands, etc. It’s part of what make Seattle great.

  • munchkin January 31, 2008 (12:23 pm)

    I am one of Robert’s neighbors and have lived on that street since 1973. There have always been hot rodders on our street, in fact I used to be one in my younger years when I lived up the block.I have stood in the street many times to force people to slow down, as we have children and pets that are at risk. We were told by the officials that we could borrow a speed gun to tally how many people were exceeding the limit but no one wanted to expend the effort. I don’t believe that the Calif/Alaska junction walk all ways has anything to do with our traffic, it has more to do with our street connects with an arterial a few blocks south.Personally I would welcome a speed bump or two on our block, as long as it wouldn’t cause someone to careen into our yards or vehicles.I sympathize with Robert and feel his pain, but until we actively pursue solving our situation we will continue to have the problem. By the way, I’m wayyyy to the right of Robert, something that is rarer than teeth on a chicken here in West Seattle. Being conservative in WS is a lonely job, but we’re still a community with shared problems.

  • Bob H February 1, 2008 (12:00 pm)

    Thanks for your “support” Munchkin. Say hi to Pat!

  • Daniel Barry February 19, 2008 (10:43 am)

    As a driver I’ve observed an enjoyable slice of life waiting for pedestrians at this intersection. As a pedestrian I welcome the invitation to hop, skip, jump and/or experiment with a combination of alternative walking styles. As a musician living in West Seattle I have taken the metaphor that this intersection offers and created a chamber music performance ensemble called “Walk All Ways”. I invite you to celebrate the invitation to walk outside the lines once in awhile.

Sorry, comment time is over.