Fauntleroy Way repaving: Lane re-alignment proposed too

We reported here last month that the mayor’s budget for next year included money to repave Fauntleroy Way between Alaska and California. Now there’s word – announced at last night’s Pedestrian Advisory Board meeting and confirmed with a city Transportation Department announcement that’s just been released – that re-alignment might be part of the deal:

SEATTLE—SDOT is considering re-striping Fauntleroy Way Southwest from Southwest Alaska Street to California Avenue Southwest to improve safety, pedestrian access and bicycle usage. When the street is paved, SDOT would reconfigure the motor vehicle travel lanes to provide one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. Also, the pedestrian crossings on Fauntleroy would be improved and bicycle lanes with shared lane pavement markings would be provided. SDOT does not anticipate
removing parking.

To provide more information on the proposed changes, SDOT will hold an open house on Monday, December 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The meeting will be at the High Point Community Center, 6920 34th Avenue SW.

Right now, as you know if you drive it regularly, most of that stretch has 2 lanes in each direction, no turn lane. In recent months, SDOT has been busy with other jobs in the same area – several curb cuts are under construction right now (the photo above shows signage for one project); a radar speed sign is in place; and a new signal’s been installed.

43 Replies to "Fauntleroy Way repaving: Lane re-alignment proposed too"

  • chas redmond November 13, 2008 (12:15 pm)

    How come no reporting on the mess they’re (Pilcheck and PSE) making of Barton? It looks like Barton and adjacent streets will be in a state of complete disruption for months with huge steel plates everywhere – many which have 3 or more inch protrusions which could easily slash or puncture tires. Also, a reminder – the West Seattle reservoir work is progressing rapidly – concrete walls for the underground container are up and more are being put in place.

  • Under_Achiever November 13, 2008 (12:16 pm)

    One lane both ways? Is there a proposal to reduce the amount of Vashon Ferry traffic to accommodate the loss of capacity?

  • WSB November 13, 2008 (12:28 pm)

    Didn’t know Barton was a longrunning project. I’ve passed the crews but heaven knows, there are crews tearing up streets around town in various spots every day of the week, and if it’s not an official city project, tracing down information takes something akin to forever, but I will start down the road.

  • ivan November 13, 2008 (12:31 pm)

    Is this idiotic idea back again? They want to inconvenience 95 percent of the people who drive on Fauntleroy Way for the 5 percent who use bicycles?

    This can’t be allowed.

  • OP November 13, 2008 (12:32 pm)

    Now here’s a meeting I’ll try and attend. There’s no need from a traffic perspective that I see that justifies justifies in having a turning lane anywhere on Fauntle(rut)roy from Alaska to California Ave. Fine, fine have a bicycle lane in each direction (though I imagine implementing such a bike lane will hinder on-street parking along the section from Alaska to about Juneau), but narrowing down to one lane in each direction seems to cause more problems than it would solve—especially in the mornings and evenings with all the Vashon ferry and bus traffic. What I would like to see them do is put in a pedestrian light at the “s” curve between Juneau and Raymond (near the triangle). Many people routinely get off the bus at the triangle and have to make a mad dash across the street in order to avoid being hit. It’s a “blind” turn that far too many people drive too fast around it to stop in time (or see people at night). Some day, somebody is going to get killed there. This should happen before any turn lane is put in.

  • chas redmond November 13, 2008 (12:33 pm)

    The Barton work looks like a complete replacement of a gas line – I spoke with a few workers a few weeks ago. The yellow tubing is marked for high-pressure gas and comes in what looks like 500 and 1000 feet spools. I can’t imagine bus riders on the 54 or 560 are having much of a fun time with this rough roadway. There were also SPD and PSE crews directing traffic at the Barton-35th Intersection last week so I suspect some of the work may eventually have to go under 35th. Maybe PSE has a flyer on it – I overheard one homeowner in a seriously unhappy state discussing the mess PSE had made of her yard and their seeming unwillingness to compromise to clean up her yard while the rest of the work continued. Far as I know there was no local notice of this in advance of the work – another reason to investigate – what’s the Public Utility watchdog doing and why was there no public notice?

  • WSB November 13, 2008 (12:39 pm)

    Come to think of it, I saw a TROOPER doing traffic control at 35th/Barton a few days ago and fleetingly wondered what was up with that. Inquiries will be out momentarily to every possibly related agency I can find, starting with PSE, thanks for sharing the sleuthing. We’ll have to get out to Westcrest for a photo soon too – some projects are easier to cover than others because they are on thoroughfares we pass every day, but that’s no excuse for us not making it to the somewhat off-the-well-beaten-path ones too.

  • Mike Flynn November 13, 2008 (12:53 pm)

    Three comments.

    1. Barton. We live right where they’re doing the work, and it’s gas main replacement. Of course, three days ago we came home and they had cut into the WATER LINE, and we were without water for several hours. I believe the work is supposed to last several weeks, not months.

    2. I echo the comment about bicycle lanes. I have grown weary of the vast majority of bicyclists, who don’t obey the rules and believe they ought to ride in the middle of a lane. You can’t expect them to follow the rules if you’re driving defensively, and I do everything I can to avoid hitting a bicyclist with my vehicle. But really, any of the hills in West Seattle ought to direct bicyclists to the sidewalks. It’s safer for everyone.

    Not to mention that I don’t understand what those bicycle symbols mean where they’ve started painting them in traffic lanes. Are they indicating that bicyclists SHOULD stay to the right?

    3. The biggest Alaska and Fauntleroy problem is related to driving west on Alaska from 35th. It’s too easy for cars in the right lane to drive straight and nearly collide with vehicles in the left. I swerve to the right to join the curving righthand lane going up to the Junction, but most drivers won’t.

  • austin November 13, 2008 (1:09 pm)

    Mike the new “bicycle symbols” are sharrows. They mean you have to Share the road with bikes, whether the bike is far to the right or legally in the middle of a lane. Don’t try and scare them onto sidewalks. If you’re really in such a hurry you should leave your house sooner.

  • JustinB November 13, 2008 (1:09 pm)

    I totally in favor of this idea. Not because of the bicycle lanes, but because I feel it will slow traffic down.

  • Sue November 13, 2008 (1:16 pm)

    I live right on Fauntleroy in this stretch and I would *love* to see it go down to 1 lane with turn lanes. I disagree that the turn lanes aren’t needed. Many people (myself included) are turning off Fauntleroy constantly, and when you’re trying to turn onto Fauntleroy without benefit of a traffic light, it’s hard to find an opening when you have to make sure several lanes are empty simultaneously – I often have to go several blocks out of my way to get to a traffic light to make the turn. If you only had to cross one lane and then get into the center lane to await an opening, it would be safer for everyone. Definitely saver for the pedestrians trying to cross as well. Even with the Fauntleroy traffic, I don’t see the volume as being so vast that it couldn’t be handled by one lane in each direction.

  • JEM November 13, 2008 (1:20 pm)

    The rest of Fauntleroy (from California to the ferry) is just one lane each direction and I enjoy driving that stretch WAY more than the 2 lane stretch. That portion has the same bus and ferry traffic and does fine. I ride my bike on that stretch, keeping as far right as safely possible, but will not even ride on the 2 lane stretch – I’ll ride on California over that stretch of Fauntleroy any day. Drivers go way too fast and don’t stay in their lanes. Maybe having one lane only will force people to drive gently (as they say in Maryland). Hang up the phone, be on the lookout for peds, bikes, other cars, stick to the speed limit or get off the road!

  • elevated concern November 13, 2008 (1:34 pm)

    Actually, the biggest mistake is not using Fauntleroy, the major denoted arterial as the dedicated RAPID RIDE alignment running from West Seattle to downtown. This is the only alignment that will service the ferry, the 1,000 plus new apartments under construction and all of the proposed new retail to be built. Metro continues to insist that it was overwhelmingly suggested that RAPID RIDE should run on California, meander it’s way to Alaska and Fauntleroy and then proceed east on Alaska to 35th Avenue S.W., make yet another turn when you get to Avalon and follow that one lane road down hill to the road block that takes you one car or one RAPID RIDE bus at a time over the bridge to downtown. Why not proceed directly over the 3 lane bridge to downtown by using Fauntleroy? Better yet, why not add more #54, #54 expresses and #55’s now, fix the overcrowded downtown bus commute and save the money. This isn’t just about bicycle lanes, this would eliminate rapid transit in West Seattle all together. A RAPID RIDE to the junction is all you will get.

  • miws November 13, 2008 (1:40 pm)

    I too, have noticed the State Troopers at the Barton project at times while riding the 560 in recent weeks.


    At first I was surprised, but then remembered that Fauntleroy has a State Highway designation to it, because of the Ferry. So, I thought, perhaps, that extended up Barton as well, since it leads to the dock. Then, the other day, I saw a Trooper at 35th & Roxbury where the project has recently extended to.


    I wonder if it has anything to do with SPD being so short handed? And, if the Troopers involved, are being “punished” for some type of action they did, as I’ve heard about SPD Officers that do the traffic directing at construction sites?



  • kc November 13, 2008 (1:43 pm)

    JEM – The comparison of Fauntleroy before and after CA makes a good point – the speed limit is also lower after you pass CA Ave heading toward the ferry – why?

    I strongly favor this change. Pulling onto Fauntleroy from our side street has become way too dangerous. And I have to cross that stretch of Fauntleroy to go to the grocery store and library as a pedestrian. Yikes!

  • old timer November 13, 2008 (1:44 pm)

    At least now, the bumps and potholes on Fauntleroy as it now exists require a modicum of driver caution.
    Paving would turn what is already a too fast driven right of way into a genuine speedway.

    Restriping to 1 way traffic may help control speed, but will also engender frustration for not only drivers used to racing down to the light @ California, but for those who either want to enter traffic on Fauntleroy, or to cross it, as they wait for the endless stream of single threaded vehicles to provide a break.

    Maybe some additional traffic lights could be added for Fauntleroy access at cross streets, which could also be timed to maintain 30 – 35 mph speeds.

    Look for more traffic on side streets; 40th, 41st, & 42nd, as ‘too-important-for-this-crap’ drivers search for their own private roadway.
    Ahh, the joy of change.

  • Dodging Cars in Gatewood November 13, 2008 (1:44 pm)

    Where is the proposal to redirect Vashon/Fauntelroy ferry’s that carry autos straight to downtown instead of the Fauntelroy dock ? Think of how sustainable it would be to remove all those cars from the road since most (not all, but most) of the people going 60MPH down Fauntelroy dont live in West Seattle and use the “Fauntelroy Freeway” as a connector from the ferry dock to downtown.

    Dink about it

  • west seattle golfer November 13, 2008 (2:13 pm)

    As a cyclist that has gotten nearly hit by a car on this stretch of Fauntleroy more than once, I would love to see this.

    GEM, great point about Fauntleroy on the other side of California!

  • slow down November 13, 2008 (2:37 pm)

    Ivan and the rest of the Vashon/Southworth folks will have to slow down and obey our laws in Seattle. The reconfiguration will improve sharing of the public right of way for all– cars, bikes, pedestrians as it is west of California on Fauntleroy.
    I am very excited about this change and will be contacting the City Council offices to make sure that our opinion is heard loud and clear, you know, us, the Seattle residents!

  • TFP November 13, 2008 (2:52 pm)

    These changes suggested by SDOT would be an improvement to this stretch of Fauntleroy.

    This road would be a lot saner with a center turn lane and one lane each direction. Through traffic would move smoother without having to stop or swerve for left turning vehicles. Room for a bike lane makes it easier for all.

  • JW November 13, 2008 (3:08 pm)

    I would love to see the re-striping happen on this stretch of Fauntleroy. Any pedestrians who have tried crossing that street in that stretch know it to be a frightful experience for even the young, attentive and nimble. Drivers mistake that part of Fauntleroy for I-5.

  • WSB November 13, 2008 (4:39 pm)

    Hey all:
    Haven’t read all the comments yet – just came back from a viaduct briefing and have to write that up before heading out to more stuff tonight.
    Wanted to let you all know that I am interviewing an SDOT engineer about this for a followup in the morning – any particular questions you would want asked if you were doing that interview yourself? I obviously have some in mind but there are always great questions that come up in comments that I don’t think of first :) Thanks – TR

  • swthistle November 13, 2008 (5:56 pm)

    Troopers SPD County all work traffic control as extra work. Usually paid by the contractor ie. PSE, Pilchuck etc. Only being punished by having to work extra hours to make extra bucks to pay extra bills

  • carrot November 13, 2008 (6:32 pm)

    My question: have they thought about pedestrian solutions for the bus stop at Fauntleroy & Juneau? I see pedestrians crossing in the morning (from west of Fauntleroy) and in the Evening (to go to the east side of it). I agree with OP, above – it’s a dangerous area, but it’s too far to walk to a cross walk in either direction. So people like me keep dashing across, despite the blind curves.

  • miws November 13, 2008 (7:56 pm)

    Thanks for the info, swthistle.


    I remember hearing some time back, (don’t recall if it was a credible news source, or simply word of mouth) that SPD Officers are given that type of duty as a form of discipline for doing something that wasn’t bad enough to pull them off the job, but required some action be taken



  • t November 13, 2008 (9:06 pm)


    Not so. A SPD officer directing traffic is a happy camper!

  • Denny November 13, 2008 (9:33 pm)

    Am I the only person who thinks that northbound Fauntleroy widens to two lanes at California because of the additional local traffic added from the neighborhood as it heads downtown?
    While I am concerned about the speed on Fauntleroy from California to Alaska (or reverse), I am equally concerned about auto carrying capacity of the road. Dropping the capacity in half will create traffic jams, especially southbound from Alaska, where Fauntleroy would go from two to one lanes right at the Whole Foods. This is already a crummy intersection, and the single lane conversion will backup from the freeway.
    If we want bike lanes through here, give up the parking on one side of the street.

  • bolo November 13, 2008 (10:35 pm)

    Tried biking on Fauntleroy between Fauntleroy/California and Alaska only once, then resolved to not repeat that idiotic experiment and found 42 Ave SW to be MUCH more safer, quieter, and healthy on the bike. 42 Ave is one block east of California, direct to Jefferson Square which is close enough to Fauntleroy/Alaska.

    From time to time I see bicyclists riding on Fauntleroy and think– “Why?”

  • yo November 14, 2008 (1:16 am)


    I turn left on Fauntleroy, on average 1-2 times a day, for the past 2 years….at all hours (nights, rush hour, mornings, weekends, etc.).

    Never been a problem for me; I could probably count, both hands, the number of times I had to wait more than 10 seconds while stopped before executed my turn.

    I don’t like sitting in the left (northbound) lane with cars streaming by on the right and waiting behind me, but that sure as hell beats reducing the capacity of the road by 50%.

  • yo November 14, 2008 (1:17 am)

    Wow, lots of typos above; sorry for that.

  • Al November 14, 2008 (8:45 am)

    I am a bicyclist who uses Fauntleroy both with my bike and my vehicle. I wrote AGAINST this change to SDOT a week ago and cited all the reasons listed above and warned them that residents WILL fight this change, including me. Bike lanes are not the answer for this street, or any N/S arterial in West Seattle.

  • ivan November 14, 2008 (9:22 am)

    To “slow down”:

    I obey the posted speed limit at all times on Fauntleroy Way SW. Not only is it illegal to do so, it is just plain unsafe.

    West Seattle residents have gotten several pedestrian-operated stoplights installed along this arterial — 3 or four by my informal count — in the 32 years I have been driving this stretch. I support adding more of these. Pedestrians are at the bottom of the food chain, and they deserve a break.

    I’d also advocate adding left-turn arrows to the existing stoplights — and one other change.

    The right-hand lane on Fauntleroy Way SW going westbound as it approaches California Av SW, on the way to the ferry dock, should be right turn only. This would slow traffic considerably at an intersection that has high pedestrian traffic, and would eliminate the drag race west of that intersection, where two lanes merge into one.

    There are plenty of ways to make Fauntleroy safer without curtailing traffic mobility.

  • WSB November 14, 2008 (9:29 am)

    We just interviewed the SDOT manager who ultimately gets to make the recommendation about whether this should be a go or no-go – look for that story later today – TR

  • All it takes is common sense behind the wheel November 14, 2008 (5:48 pm)

    DOT should consider adding left-turn arrows to the existing stoplights at many of the intersections in West Seattle -such as 35th by the Taco Time/7-Eleven – otherwise people run the red lights and put themselves and others at risk so they can turn.

  • Richard Hesik November 15, 2008 (10:45 am)

    I drive daily from Fauntleroy to Seattle on Fauntleroy Way. I support changing to one lane each way with a left turn lane. The street as currently configured is dangerous for drivers (no barrier between east/west traffic) pedestrians (few safe places to cross), parked vehicles (occasional collisions with moving vehicles) and cyclists (uneven, potholed surface, narrow lanes, speeding cars).

  • Marge November 15, 2008 (12:09 pm)

    I am one of the cyclist that everyone likes to hate. Hey I’m not responsible for the parked cars on Fauntleroy! Hizzoner let the developers get away with all those new townhomes, now everyone parks in the street. Yes, I ride in the middle of the lane. Why? because it’s safer. There isn’t enough room, in the right lane for a parked car, my bicycle and your car.(and I’ve had some of you try it.) So go around me, in the left lane. (oh and while you are are at it, quit speeding. :)

  • Marge November 15, 2008 (12:11 pm)

    “From time to time I see bicyclists riding on Fauntleroy and think– “Why?”

    Comment by bolo — November 13, 08 10:35 pm

    because I’m not going to the Junction, I’m going downtown.

  • JD November 24, 2008 (5:19 pm)

    A similar change was made on Stone Way in Fremont/Wallingford last year. Business fought it, and successfully killed it for a while. However, when the “road diet” to 3 lanes was finally implemented, the world did not actually end. Traffic still moves quickly, and bicyclists are much safer. Fauntleroy will survive as well.

  • Free Lunch November 24, 2008 (8:13 pm)

    I’m a cyclist, and I don’t care about this issue either way. There are plenty of less trafficked and far, far lovelier alternate routes to take.

    That said, some useful information to motorists:

    * Sidewalks are a horrible option for bicycles. Why? When a car pulls out to enter traffic, it almost never hesitates at the sidewalk; it stops at the street. Dangerous enough for pedestrians at walking speed – but imagine it at even a moderate biking speed. Take it from someone who caused $1000 damage to a such a car – with my body.

    * I know there are a lot of jerk bike riders out there, but riding in the middle of the lane isn’t a jerk move. Cyclists who do this are not trying to antagonize you. They’re just trying to avoid the very real danger of a parked car’s door suddenly flying open in front of them.

    Sounds like a bike lane would solve the latter issue, but as I said, I still wouldn’t use it.

  • Nickster November 25, 2008 (10:54 am)

    Bicycles only belong on sidewalks if they are going 5 mph, and if someone is going somewhere by bicycle they generally want to go at least a comfortable cruising speed, which is between 10 and 15 mph, which is unsafe for everyone on sidewalks.

    The reason cyclists will take up a lane is because traveling close to parked cars is dangerous. Not only do doors open up in front of you, but pedestrians pop out from between parked cars and other cars can’t see you as well when you approach intersections.

    Road diets are good. We need to create incentives to get people into smaller vehicles, on mass transit, and bicycles. The way our roads are built creates an incentive to be in the biggest gas guzzling car possible and drive everywhere at high speed. It’s fun and convenient when there is no one else on the road, but in the city, there are too many people and the environmental damage is too severe from that setup.

  • Dan November 26, 2008 (10:35 am)

    My first comment concerns the primary issue (implementing a road diet on Fauntleroy):
    The proposal to implement a ‘road diet’ on Fauntleroy Way should not be dismissed out of hand. The idea is that we can improve conditions for pedestrians and alternative transportation modes (i.e., bicycles) without significant adverse affect on motor vehicle traffic congestion. If implemented successfully, the neighborhood could be improved by making it more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, and without increasing congestion–a win-win.

    Although it may seem that removing a thru lane in each direction would increase congestion, consider that the existing lanes are never 100% full so there is excess capacity available in each lane to accept the traffic from the other. In the four lane configuration, vehicles turning left block a lane delaying other vehicles (or causing abrupt lane changes). In a 2+1 lane configuration, all thru traffic moves at a more uniform and probably slower speed (not a bad thing). There is by definition no lane weaving.

    In a 2+1 road configuration, pedestrians only have to cross two lanes of traffic (plus the left turn lane) instead of four. A bicycle lane makes it easier for cars to pass bicycles safely (leaving the required 3-foot buffer) without having to slow down and wait for traffic to clear in the left lane so they can move over.

    Based upon studies I found from the city, it appears that weekday flow through the affected area is less than 10,000 vehicles per day–well within the limits that have proven successful for road diets (<20,000/day). Therefore, I see no reason to not give it a chance.

  • TheDude November 26, 2008 (11:00 am)

    About time.
    If you are one of the whiners above, then do something. Get out of your tin box running on dino power and put on a pair of bike shorts. A little excersize will improve your attitude.

  • Dan November 26, 2008 (11:59 am)

    My second comment concerns the rants against bicycles by motorists and vice versa:

    I am a serious recreational cyclist who is a ‘fair weather’ commuter from West Seattle to Issaquah. I believe all sides in the bike versus car debate should to reexamine our attitudes, and consider whether we are doing our best to responsibly share the road.

    For cyclists this means remembering that a bicycle is a VEHICLE and you must obey all traffic laws. Red lights still mean STOP; red octagonal signs still mean STOP (we don’t yell ‘clear’ to the cars behind us to indicate that there is no traffic so ignore the stop sign so why do it on a bike?); yield for pedestrians (something motorists should remember as well); signal your turns; have the required lights and reflectors on your bike when riding at night. Be smart–just because it is legal to ride two abreast in Washington doesn’t mean it’s a good idea on busy streets. Be aware of traffic, if you can SAFELY give up some lane or move to the shoulder to allow traffic to pass—do it. I have been surprised by the extra courtesy I get from motorists just by following the law and using common sense.

    For motorists, this means remembering that a bicycle is a VEHICLE allowed to operate on roads and streets in Washington unless expressly prohibited (e.g., WS Bridge, urban freeways). I’m not aware of a street in West Seattle—including Fauntleroy—where bicycles are not permitted. You should watch out for bicycles and respect their right to use as much of the lane as they need to be safe. This may be more of the lane they you perceive as necessary—keep in mind debris that is barely visible from a car can be a significant hazard to a bicyclist, and bicycles need room to maneuver in case an expected hazard appears. You should respect this space and wait until you can safely provide 3 feet of clearance when passing a bicycle.

    The fact that some bicyclists flout traffic laws should not be an indictment of cyclists in general. There are probably more responsible, law-abiding cyclists than you think. We notice and remember cyclists (and drivers) who don’t follow the rules while those who are responsible blend right in (as it should be). Likewise, a rude motorist does not mean that every driver is a bike hating jerk. Cyclists need to remind themselves that for every negative encounter with a driver, we will have had hundreds of uneventful (and therefore not memorable) encounters with good drivers.

    I am both a motorist and a cyclist. Cars and bikes are both great means of transportation and we need to respect each others right to use the public roadways and seriously accept our responsibility as a vehicle operator when we are driving or biking.

Sorry, comment time is over.