Update on Fauntleroy Way repaving/reconfiguration project

Work on the multimillion-dollar project to repave and reconfigure a long stretch of Fauntleroy Way is scheduled to start next week, and area residents have just gotten a new flyer with the latest specifics on what it’ll be like for area driving – thanks to Sue for sending the flyer so we could share it with anyone and everyone who drives the stretch slated for repaving over the next few months (south from SW Alaska, to SW Holly in Morgan Junction). See the flyer here. ADDED 1:29 PM: Sue wondered how bus service would be affected and followed up with Metro SDOT – here’s the reply she received:

There will not be any changes to transit operations that we are aware of. At certain times and locations, temporary bus zone relocations may occur. If temporary bus zones relocations are necessary, Metro Transit will put out advance notice.

ADDED 4:30 PM: The city has now issued its official news release announcing that work will start Tuesday – read on:

A contractor working for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) plans to begin the paving project on Fauntleroy Way Southwest in West Seattle on Tuesday, May 26. Crews will rebuild large portions of the roadway from SW Alaska Street to SW Holly Street, including: new curb ramps to improve accessibility, drainage improvements, new bike lanes, sharrows, and additional marked crosswalks.

This project was originally set to end at California Avenue SW, but due to a very competitive bidding climate, SDOT was able to extend the improvements through to SW Holly. SDOT’s contractor expects to complete the project by fall.

For the first phase, the crews plan to start at SW Alaska Street and Fauntleroy Way SW and work their way south to California Avenue SW on the western side (southbound lanes). At least one lane of traffic in each direction will remain open. On-street parking will be restricted.

The newly repaved street will be reconfigured (“rechannelized”) on the segment of Fauntleroy Way SW from California Avenue SW to SW Edmunds Street. Once complete, Fauntleroy Way SW will have one travel lane in each direction with a two-way left turn lane, a bicycle lane northbound and shared lane markings (sharrows) southbound. The street will retain on-street parking, though a minimal number of spaces may be impacted to accommodate Metro Transit bus zones. This configuration will improve safety, pedestrian access, and bicycle usage.

For construction updates or for more information about the paving project, please visit SDOT’s website:

45 Replies to "Update on Fauntleroy Way repaving/reconfiguration project"

  • SpeakLoud May 21, 2009 (10:39 am)

    I don’t get it-we are going from 4 lanes to 2 lanes? Does this make sense to anyone? This is a busy road-surely we need 2 lanes each way??? How did this happen?

  • B May 21, 2009 (10:39 am)

    Interesting that they are only doing a bike lane in one direction. From the drawing it looks like they have room on the eastbound lane but are just choosing to put markers instead which are kind of useless.

  • Arbor Heights Mom May 21, 2009 (10:41 am)

    It doesn’t make any sense to me at all to reduce the number of lanes, but I assume this is temporary>? I already feel like I’m going to die everytime I ride that street on my bike. Yikes.

  • B May 21, 2009 (10:41 am)

    SpeakLoud – I think they are counting on the center turn lane cutting down on congestion from people turning left?? That is just my theory but it does seem strange.

  • CMP May 21, 2009 (10:49 am)

    I think it’s a great idea and am surprised that so many people are against it. Sure, it might get crowded when ferry traffic is unloading, but I hope this makes it a safer road for cyclists, pedestrians and people that have to park their cars on Fauntleroy. I just hope it doesn’t turn into Delridge with people driving 10 mph under the speed limit!

  • M. May 21, 2009 (11:08 am)


  • christopherboffoli May 21, 2009 (11:10 am)

    It makes sense to me. I think it is wrong to assume that one lane in each direction can’t handle the same amount of traffic. Slower speeds and reduced distances between cars can probably match current capacity. I hope this change calms traffic from the over-speed roadway it currently it is. And maybe fewer lanes will incentivize people to use bikes and public transportation more. What is insane to me is the extent to which we over-use cars and all of the space, energy and tax money that is wasted for streets just so every household can own 2.5 cars.

  • Sue May 21, 2009 (11:12 am)

    Arbor Heights Mom – no, it’s not temporary. This is a permanent change. And as a person living on Fauntleroy in this stretch, I’m thrilled. I’m willing to live through the inconvenience of construction at my front door if it means improving the quality of life of people in our neighborhood.

    And I notice the biggest dissenters of this are typically people who don’t live in that area but simply use it as a speedway. I can see one of those speed signs from the bus stop every morning (the ones that track your speed) and it’s very rare that it’s not blinking to indicate being above the speed limit.

  • WestSeattleDrew May 21, 2009 (11:14 am)

    Multimillion-dollar project to remove one lane of traffic…. Am I missing something? Who is responsible for think this stuff up?

  • coffee May 21, 2009 (11:23 am)

    YEAAAAAAAAA I am with Sue, as a business owner on this portion of the street, we are so in favor of the change. Watch that speed sign during rush hour, the one that clocks the speed you are driving. I cant tell you how many times I see it register high 40’s and low 50’s as the speed people are driving.

  • OP May 21, 2009 (11:24 am)

    CMP, I’m with you on all your points. And I’ll add this: When the porject is done, I’ll feel slightly better that when my wife gets off the bus at the S curve at Juneau and has to dash across the street for her life that she won’t be run over—that at least she’ll have a middle turn lane to run into (along with her other fellow bus riders). Why f-ing Metro put f-ing stops on these blind corners, and why the f-ing city can’t at least put a pedestrian flashing cross walk, f-ing baffles the hell outta me…

  • Jeff May 21, 2009 (11:26 am)

    First, this is not a multi-million dollar project to repaint some lines – this will repave FW which is sorely needed.

    Second, there are no good bike lanes out of West Seattle especially from the south end. FW is dangerous right now with all the high speed traffic and is only worse when there are cyclists on the road who unfortunately create a lot of road rage by being forced to take an entire driving lane of traffic.

    This is the only workable solution to get some proper bike lanes in West Seattle and I support it fully.

  • JEM May 21, 2009 (11:28 am)

    I’m all for it too! I can’t wait to ride my bike along that stretch of Fauntleroy that I currently will not ride on. Slow down and enjoy the ride folks!

  • WestSeattleDrew May 21, 2009 (11:35 am)

    Wait until the three big condos are done, 1000 new units. In the next 5 years all the old huling brothers lots will condos too. You think traffic is bad now, just wait. Fauntleroy, California, and 35th will be like alki beach on a sunny summer weekend, a parking lot. But we’ll have a bike lane… I ride my bike everyday, I’d rather ride 1 block up on the side street then waste millions on dollars on a bike lane that will be filled dust, rock, and garbage.

  • Jiggers May 21, 2009 (11:57 am)

    In five years, getting to the Junction is gonna be a b*itch to get in and out of.

  • Justin B May 21, 2009 (12:10 pm)

    Anyone know if there will be any landscaping done in the center turn lane between blocks where its not needed?

  • Brian May 21, 2009 (12:13 pm)

    PLEASE do this to 35th instead!

  • eigenwijs May 21, 2009 (12:26 pm)

    I am so glad to finally hear from others that are in support of this!! I live near Edmunds/Fauntleroy and commute to Vashon every day. I fear for my life on the way home as I wait to turn left off of Fauntleroy because I do not trust that every one behind me will see me stopped and/or my turn signal.

    I think you are right, Sue – the dissenters don’t live in the area. If you are at all familiar with the traffic patterns on this stretch (I need to constantly point out to people that it is ONLY California to Alaska – Alaska to the bridge will continue to be 2 lanes… and should be 2 lanes) you know that reducing the number of lanes and adding a turn lane will not have a negative impact on the flow of traffic.

    And I don’t think that there will be a significant increase in congestion when a ferry unloads – by the time we get to the California/Alaska stretch, the line has thinned out so much due to traffic lights, people actually observing the speed limit and cars turning off of Fauntleroy. It’s a non-issue.

    I can’t wait for this to be complete! I just am worried about getting up early enough in the morning during the project so I can make my ferry taking alternate routes!

  • eigenwijs May 21, 2009 (12:29 pm)

    Justin B – I haven’t seen anything about landscaping, but I’m not sure there would actually be any place for that? The turn lane would be needed for every block, and you want there to be enough room to hold 4 or 5 cars waiting to turn, I would think. Doesn’t leave a lot of room before the next street.

  • WSB May 21, 2009 (12:32 pm)

    With the SWAT situation I don’t have time to look up the links but for anybody interested in “how did we get to this” we covered this extensively dating back more than half a year … just put fauntleroy repaving in the search box .. as for landscaping, that has not been mentioned at any point along the way … what you see in the diagram is what you get, as far as all the stories we have done … TR

  • Sarah May 21, 2009 (12:36 pm)

    This is what they did on Rainier Ave South in between Rainier Beach and Renton. It does make sense. The center turn lane greatly reduces back-ups from left turns. Cyclists get a lane (I know many of you HATE that idea and don’t think they deserve it), which will also reduce back ups from the slower moving traffic. What doesn’t make any sense whatsoever is that there is only a bike lane in one direction. Sharrows are meaningless.

  • Evan May 21, 2009 (12:43 pm)

    I think that center turn lane is the key auto traffic benefit, for a couple of reasons. 1) Left lane traffic currently stops without warning for left turns, which is both dangerous and causes congestion; 2) I see people drift over the centerline on a daily basis, particularly through the S-curves, which is incredibly dangerous when there’s no buffer lane.

    In the end, I don’t think throughput will change much at all, and we’ll get a significantly safer road and bike lanes as a bonus.

  • Mario May 21, 2009 (12:45 pm)

    Secession. We need to form the City of West Seattle. Then we can keep our tax dollars in West Seattle, and we can make our own decisions.

  • Koni May 21, 2009 (12:47 pm)

    Can’t wait to see how the early morning motorcycle swarm from Vashon deal with the changes, as it is they speed and dart all along Fauntleroy. What will they do when it is only one lane and they can’t go around?

  • Sue May 21, 2009 (1:20 pm)

    If you go to the website mentioned in the pdf about the alert – http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/fauntleroy_pave.htm – there is a FAQ section (worth reading in its entirety if you have concerns/questions), and about landscaping it says this:
    Is SDOT going to add planted medians to Fauntleroy?

    In general no, although we will likely add pedestrian crossing islands, which may allow for some spot planting.

  • Jen May 21, 2009 (1:23 pm)

    I think this is great – I don’t live along FW but drive it pretty regularly. A couple of points: I sometimes find myself a bit over the speed limit when folks are coming up soooo fast behind me. And when there is a left-turning car, folks often dart out, changing lanes to get around the turner and with folks coming up behind going 40+, totally scary. I’m hopeful this will help :-)

  • living right off FW May 21, 2009 (2:08 pm)

    I do live right off Fauntleroy – and while I like the idea of a turn lane, as I’ve been in a few close calls trying to turn left…I am with Koni, wondering what those ferry riders are going to do when they can’t scream past those of us who drive the speed limit, so they can make it to the ferry…you know who they/you are.

    To assume that because we don’t support going from 4 lanes to 2 automatically means we’re against bicyclists is just plain rude.

    Sure has been a lot more of that “rude” around here (WSB) lately.

  • Tyler Welch May 21, 2009 (3:41 pm)

    IMHO The removal of two traffic lanes with the addition of a turn lane & dedicated bike lane will make the road safer for everyone. If this means it takes me an extra 2-5 minutes per day to travel this stretch of road then it’s worth the investment.

    I’m glad we’re doing this.

  • Aaron May 21, 2009 (4:57 pm)

    @christopherboffoli: Amen to that. We cannot tolerate greater population density by building more roads/room for traffic.

  • Alex May 21, 2009 (6:54 pm)

    I don’t know if it will get people to use bikes and public transportation but it’s not that big of a deal, really. People will get used to it and it will become a non-issue.

    Besides, we already have a major arterial running the length of West Seattle, configured similarly for a good portion of it, and no one complains about that and it works just fine.

  • PSPS May 21, 2009 (8:33 pm)

    This will be short-lived, as it should be. They did this same thing on California Avenue through The Junction about 15 years ago and it lasted maybe a month before they restriped it back to two lanes.

  • Lucile 2 May 21, 2009 (11:16 pm)

    YES!!!!!! I live on Fauntleroy, and I think it will help with speeders. Plus, most people have a hard time staying in their lanes on this road as is, so having one seemingly bigger lane will be nice, then it will probably eliminate some of the side-swipes that have occurred in front of my building recently.
    Yes, then do this on 35th!
    People need to seriously slow down on Fauntleroy. It’s a raceway. Hopefully this will help!
    If it pisses a bunch of people off, maybe people will rethink driving. People should get out of their cars and walk more. I know I should.

  • gordon May 21, 2009 (11:31 pm)

    All this will do is move more traffic into the real residential side streets as people seek out shortcuts. Yep, great idea. Save the bikers, but put the kids and families at risk as more cars fill the tight residential side streets.

  • Chris May 22, 2009 (3:24 am)

    I live on Fauntleroy, accross from Fairmount elm. And I recently talked to a wsdot worker who also lives on fauntleroy. He said he thinks going from from four to two lanes is a good idea because many times there are speeders up and down the stretch and cutting it down to one lane either way will slow down the average speed, making it safer, and harder for people to speed.

  • Sue May 22, 2009 (7:10 am)

    gordon, are you familiar with the “residential side streets” right off Fauntleroy? They are narrow streets that are essentially one way streets due to parked cars, and they’ve got circles at every corner. Those are hardly a “shortcut.” I would never choose to drive down those streets unless I needed to. And, frankly, the only reason I never need to is that I can’t make a left turn from eastbound Dawson to northbound Fauntleroy due to needing to make sure 3 lanes are clear simultaneously for me to get in without getting killed. With only one lane to cross and a center turn lane, it’ll make that much easier too.

  • Sue May 22, 2009 (7:17 am)

    I hear a lot of talk about how with all the new apartments/condos near the Junction that there will be so many more cars on the road. I know part of Mural’s marketing was that if you live there, you can get around to things you need without a car. There is a huge amount of bus service in the junction. There are food stores, restaurants, many different services in the area. They’re designed so you can use your cars less. I know one of the reasons I love where I live is that I’m 1/2 a mile from the Junction. We walk there all the time and use those same services. Since moving there, my husband and I went down to one car. We’re averaging 6,000 miles a year, which is very low. Growing up in NYC, I did’t even learn to drive until I was 23, and didn’t own a car until I was in my 30s. People learned to get around without cars because they lived in neighborhoods that provided services, and they used public transit.

  • gordon May 22, 2009 (7:57 am)

    Sue, yes I am and that’s exactly what I am talking about. On 37th, people speed up and down between Juneau and Alaskan all the time. Maybe you should try to hang there some time, because the narrow streets and parked cars don’t matter. People already want a short cut between FW and the bridge so they seem to think Juneau to 37th to Alaskan makes a great shortcut through kids, pets and the elderly. We see people going 40+ regularly. And there are NOT circles at every intersection. “Frankly” Sue, at Dawson, you are past the major aterial, so I don’t think you are very familiar with the rest of the neighborhood issues in Fairmount. As for making that left turn, I hope you have a lot of patience for that car lineup. When the crosswalks at the school go off, two lanes get stacked up very quickly. I can’t wait to see when it goes to one. Its not just about speed, its about volume and I think thats where they miss it.

  • sam May 22, 2009 (8:11 am)

    I think this is great- a turn lane will keep people from suddenly slamming on their brakes when they realize the person in front of them is turning. or instead, swerve into the right lane, cutting someone off.

    bike lane is good (don’t get the point of the sharrow).

    re=paving is great- that road is so bad sometimes if our wheels hit the holes and bumps funny, it kind of shoots our car in un-expected directions- always have a tight grip on the steering wheel in thos parts.
    I think this does a lot to improve the safety of this road.

  • Sue May 22, 2009 (9:12 am)

    gordon, which “major arterial” do you claim that I am “past,” that I don’t know the driving issues of my own neighborhood? My house is ON Fauntleroy. I’m turning off Dawson because my alley entrance is on Dawson. It doesn’t get much more arterial than that over there than Fauntleroy. And yes, I do drive (reluctantly) down those side streets. I’m the one who’s driving 20 mph or less down those streets.

  • marty May 22, 2009 (9:38 am)

    I only see one problem, but it is a BIG problem! After a ferry unloads there is currently a backup at the traffic signal at California and Morgan streets. Can you imagine how long it will take to clear up when the number of lanes is reduced from two to one?? Commuters are not dumb or patient. They will avoid the bottleneck by turning off Fauntleroy ave. early and then moving over to California ave. The side streets, including the street that goes right in front of Gatewood Elementary School will be filled with traffic. This clever “bypass” is already being used, but nothing like it will be following the change. The safety of Gatewood students will take a giant step backwards.

  • Ron Burgundy May 22, 2009 (3:37 pm)

    Why don’t they remove the parking? I understand that some people do not have driveways or alleys, but there has to be a solution to this. There are many major arterials around the city and others that just don’t have parking along the side. Many people park with two wheels up on the curb to avoid having their rear view mirrors ripped off. Going to one lane just doesn’t seem like a good way to spend tax payer dollars.

  • Donn May 22, 2009 (4:51 pm)

    Do this on SW Roxbury as well to slow down the traffic. There is no reason we need these “highways” through residential districts.

  • sun*e May 23, 2009 (9:25 am)

    You watch – it won’t take long before they realize this was a mistake. The next logical step will be to remove the parking and re-stripe it for two car lanes, a turn lane, and the outside lanes dedicated to bicyclists. Our tax dollars at work once again.

  • gordon May 23, 2009 (9:27 am)

    There is a huge stretch of aterial between Dawson and Morgan, since you turn off at Dawson, that you don’t seem to realize has side streets that people use as shortcuts. They don’t have traffic circles, and people DO use them as shortcuts. Yes, live on an aterial and see the speed and volume on it. You don’t seem to understand the side streets and shortcuts as well as you think you do from the southern end. We live on those side streets and do see the short cutters speeding through.

  • snowlion May 28, 2009 (8:11 pm)

    Uh…flier my a$$. We never got anything, and we’re right in the middle of it. It now takes me forever to get out of my own driveway to get to work because the ferry traffic is so backed up in the mornings, and I have to maneuver between orange pillars to get out without getting hit…on the other hand, it is a lot more quiet because people have to drive slower….not really clear on how putting more lanes here is going to make things better, but whatever – they do whatever they want with our tax money, I guess…

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