No need for speed: A Fauntleroy plea


It takes more than a sign like that one to “calm” traffic along Fauntleroy — this “open letter” sent to us asks drivers to just keep the pedal off the metal:

Residents of West Seattle, Vashon, and Fauntleroy Ferry users,

I write this letter as a respectful request. Please treat the neighborhoods that you pass through on your commute with the same respect that you would ask of someone traveling through your own neighborhood.

For example, Fauntleroy Way SW between SW Morgan St. and SW Alaska St. has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Thirty-five, not 45, not 65, and certainly not 75. Please share the road with your fellow drivers, bikers, and pedestrians. There are many of us who live along Fauntleroy and have to try and cross the street without the aid of marked crosswalks, dodge traffic to get to our buses, and walk and ride our bicycles along our neighborhood street. We choose to live here and acknowledge that this street is a major corridor, however dangerous, rude, and disrespectful driving is not an inherent right of anyone – even if it is a heavily traveled thoroughfare. This also applies if you are late for your ferry, dinner date or whatever reason you might have.

We have witnessed many examples of poor driving behavior ranging from reading in the car while driving, blatant disregard of other vehicles around them, excessive tailgating and late night racing, to honking horns at children and physically challenged people trying to cross the street at an intersection (this IS legal – look it up).

All we ask is that you treat our neighborhood as if it were your own. Someday the Seattle Police Department will start to live up to their responsibilities and do something about excessive speed and reckless driving. Until then I only hope that people remember, do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.

A concerned West Seattle resident

17 Replies to "No need for speed: A Fauntleroy plea"

  • Mike May 10, 2008 (8:15 pm)

    Right on. This stretch of road is treated as if it is a highway. Big F-up on Seattle’s part for a lack of planning. Maybe a dedicated bus stop/shuttle from ferry to downtown would help :/ .

  • changing times May 10, 2008 (8:31 pm)

    good! now we need one for 1-35th!

  • changing times May 10, 2008 (8:31 pm)

    oops that was supposed to be an I :)

  • old timer May 10, 2008 (9:28 pm)

    It’s beyond policing.
    As with any addictive behavior, the change has to come from within.
    The only external causative I can think of that will stand a chance of modifying typical driver attitude and actions is $12.99/gal gasoline.
    But, once they switch to electric or hybrid, all bets are off.
    Maybe speed bumps every 150 feet?

  • Irukandji May 10, 2008 (9:32 pm)

    The best speed-calming I ever saw along that stretch was a pair of college kids, one on each side of the street, throwing a frisbee back and forth.

  • KC May 10, 2008 (9:49 pm)

    I second your respectful request. I cross this area of Fauntleroy several times per week, often with children, to: go to the grocery store, go to the library, take my son to school. To go to school we use marked crosswalks but for the others there isn’t a crosswalk.

    Please Seattle Police Dept. – sit a car on the corner of 42nd and Fauntleroy (just East of blockbuster) or Fauntleroy and Graham or Fauntleroy and Raymond and aim a speed gun north on Fauntleroy. You will make some money.

    Upon moving here from the Northeast in 2000, I quickly noticed the complete absence of police patrolling speed in neighborhood communities (actually I’ve hardly ever seen police patrolling speed on the highways around here either.) I’ve lived in several communities in the Northeast U.S. where police with speed guns are a common presence in vulnerable areas. If drivers become aware that police patrol the speed in a certain area, guess what? The drivers learn to always drive the speed limit!!!! Why does that not happen here?

  • angelescrest May 10, 2008 (10:07 pm)

    As a driver driving the speed limit–with kids, after school, on that same stretch–I am constantly feeling like I’m about to be run off the road. God forbid I’m in the left lane; inevitably someone’s going to be on my tail, (as I’m negotiating the oncoming traffic that seems to be veering a little too close to the center line) huffing and puffing and trying to blow me out of that lane so he/she can…what? race to the next red light–where–hello!–nice to see you again. (Yes, I want to hurl obscenities at them! They’re driving like maniacs! This…and getting onto the bridge in the morning–why are these people driving so dangerously? )
    I feel for anyone who has to deal with this on foot. I’m looking out for you!

  • flipjack May 10, 2008 (11:26 pm)

    The city at the very least could put more crosswalks with lights up. People may speed, but most of them still stop at red lights.
    I agree with old timer

  • wsfr May 11, 2008 (12:10 am)

    RE: People speeding to catch a ferry.
    I work at the ferry dock and have complained to my supervisors for years about the excessive speed on the dock. Unfortunately, the state only seems to respond to lawsuits after an incident has taken place.
    I agree with KC and the speed gun and it needs to be done on the ferry dock too.

  • Mike May 11, 2008 (1:21 am)


    My neighborhood has what you’re ask for. We always have a cop posted near this one road every day. The only question is where and if its going to be in the morning or afternoon. I would have thought the reason he’s there is because of the school zone. Fauntleroy has a school nearby, however I don’t remember a school zone hmmm… ?

  • rich May 11, 2008 (3:21 am)

    I travel on Fauntleroy every day to and from work. On Saturday a guy decided to pass on the right at Fauntleroy and Alaska by using the right hand turn lane as a way to zip by the rest of the traffic in the two left hand lanes.
    I happened to pull up next to him at the 35th street light just before the bridge. I was in the LH lane and he was in the RH lane, SO…. just for fun I whip out my camera that I always have with me in the car and I snap his picture as he was waiting for the light. He looked right at me, and he did not seem overly pleased to be photographed.
    While SPD probably does not recommend doing this, it sure was funny watching what a “careful” driver he was after the light changed. I thought for sure he would go speeding right past me down the hill – but NOooooo, he stayed well behind me until I took the off ramp to the viaduct.
    His angelic behavior was short lived though. As I went around the loop onto the viaduct, I could see him tailgating some driver also headed eastbound.
    Based on the results of this little “experiment” perhaps some of the Fauntleroy residents should try their own “experiments” and see what happens when you stand at the edge of the street and point a camera at a speeding vehicle.
    Kind of a different angle to “community policing.” If enough folks did it at various times, it might even get noticed by SPD (take their pictures as well) and then they might get the point that they are NOT doing their job.
    With enough participation, it could even have an effect on traffic without any help from SPD. Might even get a notice from the media.
    I like the other reader’s idea of playing frisbee across the street. An even funnier version of that involves kicking a children’s ball out into the street from in between a couple of parked cars :)
    Guaranteed to slow them down…

  • JE May 11, 2008 (9:33 am)

    The letter doesn’t mention it, but the photo points it out: the limit between Morgan and Barton/ferry dock isn’t even 35–it’s 30. I’ve actually seen an improvement on that section of the road since the police started stopping speeders in the 20 mph school zone. But I still frequently have people breathing down my neck when I’m at the limit, even though the signs are clear and reasonably frequent.

  • DB Gatewood May 11, 2008 (3:35 pm)

    Heres a thought…..CLOSE THE VASHON/FAUNTLEROY FERRY TERMINAL. Since most people speeding through Fauntleroy go into downtown, just have the Vashon ferry go straight to downtont Seattle and bypass this West Seattle altogether……why hasnt anyone brought this up before ? Am I missing the obdvious ???

  • Sue May 11, 2008 (4:48 pm)

    I wholeheartly agree with the letter. I live on Fauntleroy in this stretch and it’s scary how fast people drive, and how dangerout is is trying to cross the street to get to the bus. If I try to drive the speed limit, I feel as if I’m unsafe in terms of the tailgating and people swinging me to get ahead. And forget even wanting to park in front of my house on Fauntleroy – I’m afraid to open my door without getting smacked. Thank goodness for an alley parking spot.
    A few of us complained to SDOT repeatedly about the situation, and we were told that a street light was approved at Fauntleroy & Dawson – I understand it’s currently scheduled in or around October of this year. I’m sure the Fauntleroy drivers won’t like it much, but as a pedestrian (and a driver who tries to turn out of Dawson), it will be most welcomed. When it looked as if SDOT wasn’t going to approve us for a light, I had contacted the police (non-emergency) about it (over 6 months ago) and was told that they were also concened about public safety and would start policing it, but I have yet to see it done.

  • Rebekah J May 11, 2008 (7:09 pm)

    I agree with the Concerned West Seattle Resident. I am one of the many who live on Fauntleroy. My biggest fear (among those previously mentioned) is getting out of my car as I park in front of my house. I find it absurd that people would honk at me as they barrel down the road. I am 7.5 months pregnant and getting out of the car quickly is not exactly the easiest thing to do. I usually patiently wait inside my car, watching in my side mirror, for a break in traffic. However, at 5:30 at night breaks are few and far between. I would never think of honking at you as you get out of your car on your quiet residential street… then why do you insist on doing this on this 4 lane road? While it is a main street, it is still a residential one— hence all the HOMES lining the curb. Please use the other lane to allow me the comfort of being able to get out of my car at a reasonable pace, or you could even stop and smile at me and wait for me to finish getting out.

    Please people, take care when driving! Be courteous to those who live on this busy street, and save your honking for some other purpose.


  • J May 12, 2008 (9:07 am)

    Having lived in West Seattle for over a decade now, I’ve noticed traffic along Fauntleroy, 35th and Admiral seems to get steadily ‘faster’ each year. I couldn’t agree more with CWSR!! I would love to see more traffic cops ticketing along these residential ‘freeways’. Sadly, I think the insurance companies will eventually solve the problem, by offering rate incentives for those who agree to GPS / speed tracking. Hopefully they can price reckless drivers off the road, or at least get their attention and force them to slow down.

    It’s really too bad and it saddens me that so many drivers seem to disregard posted speeds.

  • aa May 15, 2008 (11:43 am)

    I too live in this area and cross fauntleroy routinely. At the stoplights. I won’t risk crossing outside the stoplight crosswalks. Most motorists don’t obey the lights though. And if they do stop, they take the opportunity to yell insults a little longer at us pedestrians. The ones that don’t stop also yell at the pedestrians too but not as long. I feel especially concerned for the parents with kids crossing and having to be exposed to those emotions and remarks.

    These drivers are definitely ferry riders and parents rushing to events at Lincoln park. I know this because they yell insults about pedestrians making them late for their ferry or late for their events at the park. Amazing but also frightening.

    Why can’t SPD bring back the Police Charger to catch (and hopefully teach) these speeders and aggressive drivers in the area?

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