First Fauntleroy, now Admiral? SDOT studying ‘rechannelization’

In the comment section following our original coverage of Thursday’s bicycle-car collision on Admiral Way by The Bridge, Stu Hennessey from Alki Bike and Board wrote that this week’s Sustainable West Seattle Community Forum on bicycling had been told a “road diet” is in the works for that stretch of Admiral – a “rechannelization” as happened last year along Fauntleroy Way between Morgan Junction and The Triangle. We followed up with SDOT, whose communications director Rick Sheridan confirms that a study is under way:

SDOT is currently reviewing SW Admiral Way between SW Olga St and SW Spokane St for a possible reconfiguration of its lanes. Our primary goal is to find a way to make the roadway safer for all users, especially with the high rates of speed currently seen on Admiral. We are seeking to determine whether a rechannelization would enhance safety and also maintain current traffic volumes. Changes to the lane configuration might also provide SDOT the opportunity to better support pedestrians, bicycles and transit along this street.

Our comprehensive study of the roadway should be completed this summer. We will share additional information about this effort with roadway users, area residents and community groups once the study is complete.

If the cross-street names aren’t familiar, that’s the entire stretch that was closed during yesterday’s investigation – the Admiral Way “hill” from The Bridge to just before the hilltop curve.

35 Replies to "First Fauntleroy, now Admiral? SDOT studying 'rechannelization'"

  • johnnyblegs May 21, 2010 (3:59 pm)

    This is great news and way overdue. I’d love to see that stretch better support all types of traffic, especially the foot kind!

  • Diana May 21, 2010 (4:08 pm)

    This is fabulous news! If SDOT is interested in citizen comments could a link be provided for that so our views could be expressed? Thanks WSB for keeping us informed.

  • Robert2715 May 21, 2010 (4:28 pm)

    I’ve always thought 2 lanes up and 1 “car” lane down with a bike/bus lane on the right would be great for that stretch of Admiral.

  • rw May 21, 2010 (4:36 pm)

    I’m skeptical. As someone who drives and bikes that stretch on a regular basis it seems to support both activities — as well as pedestrians — quite well as it is. You need two downhill lanes, particularly when the onramp to the bridge is jammed and all you want to do is get down to Avalon. Without the second downhill lane the next best alternative would be to travel down California, Fairmount, or Ferry to connect with Harbor in order to get to Avalon.

  • Mike in W Sea May 21, 2010 (4:39 pm)

    I do not favor such a change! Traffic in the AM rush hour is often bumper-to-bumper as it is, which means that those going to Avalon Ave would have to wait in the line to turn right. During the afternoon there is continual traffic entering each of the lanes. Try it for a day and see what happens!

  • johnnyblegs May 21, 2010 (4:47 pm)

    Maybe they should hire local guy Hooper1961 who brought this issue up a long time ago
    Way to go Hooper!

    • WSB May 21, 2010 (4:48 pm)

      I believe that may have been the longest WSB Forums thread of all time.

  • picot May 21, 2010 (5:56 pm)

    Contribute this to the traffic flow that is going to happen when the viaduct is gone and whoopie, living in the neighborhoods off Admiral are going to be so much fun! I’m getting asthma just thinking of all the cars spewing gas while waiting a half hour to just get on the bridge! Add this to the diesel from the port and hey, I can almost begin to feel the lung cancer forming…

  • Tracy White May 21, 2010 (6:36 pm)

    Hope y’all enjoy it.. the rechannelization of Fauntleroy has resulted in people driving about 5 miles an hour UNDER the speed limit heading westbound during my commute home.

  • chas redmond May 21, 2010 (6:49 pm)

    And, Tracy White, please tell me what is wrong with that. Once again I’ll restate the statistics – 80 percent probability of being maimed or killed when hit by a vehicle going 30 or faster. Fact. Going 25 means there is only about 45-50 percent probability, and it keeps dropping with each decrement in speed. Speed kills and maims. Your commute is hardly worth the maiming of a human under any circumstances. Breathe, smell the air, slow down and don’t stress so much.

  • Yardvark May 21, 2010 (8:22 pm)

    The results of the Fauntleroy rechannelization really surprised me, because the commute didn’t change didn’t change at all. In fact, I think it actually might’ve made commuting on Fauntleroy a little easier. No more jockeying or driving around cars “parked” in the middle of the road, waiting to turn left.

    Even though I was in favor of the change for a number of reasons, I really thought that there would be downsides. What resulted was pleasantly surprised and has helped turn Fauntleroy from a lousy highway into a much more approachable artery.

    With that in mind, I’m really interested in seeing the plans for Admiral. I think it’s a great idea that really needs to be explored. I also think the City needs to make every effort to recruit citizen opinion.

  • ricky bobby May 21, 2010 (9:45 pm)

    SDOT and Other-DOT studies have shown over and over and over and over and over and over AGAIN!

    That the “road diet” actually gets more cars thru per hour than 4 lanes. Changing lanes and jockying slow down traffic.

    Safety for all is key.


  • old timer May 21, 2010 (9:54 pm)

    Yes, the Fauntleroy make-over surprised me too.
    There is a bit of push & shove @ S.W. Edmonds, but past that, things
    proceed in a very civil manner – unlike the bumpercar playground we had.
    Now if only there was some kind of civilizing fix for I-35.

  • Nancy R May 21, 2010 (9:56 pm)

    I mainly drive on Admiral rather than bike, but the Fauntleroy road diet went so well that it would be worth seeing if it would work at Admiral. It’s not great as it is now. I’d be willing to consider a road diet on Admiral.

  • Tracy White May 21, 2010 (10:48 pm)

    Hi Chas. Fact: stay out of the road and you won’t get hit. Addendum: it’s also against the law to impede the normal flow of traffic.

    How many of the people who get hit are running across the street 20-30 feet from a crosswalk? I see this ALL THE TIME near the intersection of California and Fauntleroy. I see it all the time near Lincoln Park. I’ve seen it a lot more since they re-channeled.

    How about the parking lanes that are so narrow that cars stick out into the bike lanes, forcing cyclists to either ride the roadside line or out onto the road itself, negating benefits of a separate lane for cyclists?

    The FACT is, that bad, sloppy behavior by ALL commuters is the cause of injuries and deaths. Automobiles and buses should not be penalized because a pedestrian or cyclist decides to act against laws or in blatantly dangerous behaviors.

    I would request that you drop the sneering, high-horse comments as well.

  • bebecat May 21, 2010 (11:39 pm)

    Ditto Tract White

  • 22blades May 22, 2010 (7:15 am)

    It all ends in one lane as it is. It’ll just end the “end run” people do from the right lane going downhill (at high speeds). As for pedestrian friendly: you gotta be kiddin’. They took out crosswalks to bus stops and since people wouldn’t stop for pedestrians at the Admiral overlook crosswalk, we were rewarded a stoplight for bad behaviour. If we all didn’t treat Admiral like a speedway, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Tracy White: I beg to differ.

  • Yardvark May 22, 2010 (8:36 am)

    You’ve got good points, Tracy White, especially in regards to some pedestrians not putting in the effort to keep things safe when in near proximity to crosswalks.

    A lot of time, though, pedestrians aren’t in proximity to crosswalks at all, which is a horrible oversight in our transportation design. It’s as if there are just a bunch of pedestrian dead-ends everywhere. There’ll obviously be an increase in the number of crosswalks in the city in light of that poor planning, I know. It’s being taken care of. Which is a good thing, cause folks shouldn’t be crossing outside of them. It’s dangerous for everyone.

    That said, for obvious reasons, pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way, whether they’re jaywalking or not.

    I don’t see it as penalizing cars, as much as just trying to keep folks – any folks, good or bad – from getting run over.

    We need to find these solutions together. And not as the car people verse the bike people verse the pedestrians. I think we should make it a battle between “people who don’t want other people getting run over” VS. general apathy.

    I’m betting apathy will loose. It better.

  • JR May 22, 2010 (9:18 am)

    I am not in favor of the “road diet” on that stretch of Admiral. I don’t think it would improve anything for anyone, cyclist or motorist. Just because it worked on Fauntleroy (in spite of getting stuck behind people who go 5-10 below the limit, which, frankly, happens to me on any arterial about half the time) doesn’t mean it would work on Admiral. For one, that section of Fauntleroy doesn’t lead directly to or from what is, essentially, a freeway. Sure, people should slow down to the limit but forcing a road plan that would create a bigger bottleneck is not the answer. Remember, this would affect transit and school buses as well. Everybody needs to take accountability for their own safety: being alert, aware of their surroundings, & not lost in one’s own sense of entitlement or moral superiority. Yardvark, I disagree that pedestrians always have the right of way regardless of where or how they cross… they certainly don’t have the right of way at controlled intersections when the solid red hand is displayed. I’m a pedestrian as often as I am a motorist, but I’m not foolish enough to just saunter out into traffic whenever & wherever I feel like.

  • old timer May 22, 2010 (10:24 am)

    No JR, it does NOT lead to ‘what is essentially a freeway’.
    It leads to a bridge with a speed limit of 45 mph.
    It’s this mindset of ‘flat road = speed’ that screws everyone over.
    There’s a lot more than road that needs a diet to solve these problems.
    With all that goes on daily in this world, maybe you might take the extra 30 to 120 seconds that you loose behind the slowpokes to be grateful for where you are, to offer a prayer for those less fortunate than yourself.
    (” not lost in one’s own sense of entitlement or moral superiority”)
    It might even improve your driving Karma.

  • TK May 22, 2010 (10:58 am)

    Can anyone explain to me the reason why on the beginning of the southbound stretch of the new Fauntleroy “road diet”, that the left hand (center) lane has to merge/give way to the right hand lane? The standard merge is the right lane merges/gives way to the left lane. It is particularily dnagerous at this spot because it is right after the curve & stop light, and with the little hill ahead you don’t get an advanced view of the very short distance needed to merge, much less being in the center lane with cars coming head on beside you as you have to look backwards & to your right to try to merge.

    I’m also mentioning this because any type of “road diet” on Admiral going down the hill towards the bridge would force a merge right after the big curve also. Why force an unnecessary merge when there are so many cars using the right lane to access Avalon Way?

    It’s about as stupid of a merge as the artificially required merge further down towards the bridge when Admiral Way cars coming up onto the bridge have to “merge left” for 300 feet only to then have to “merge right” across two lanes to get to the hwy 99 lane. This unnecessary merging adds more potential for accidents, when that bus only lane could share cars trying to merge right, as they have to cross the bus lane eventually anyway 300 feet later!

  • Hotel Admiral May 22, 2010 (12:22 pm)

    Regardless of the opinions of those regarding WHAT should be done to improve safety for all on that stretch of road- I think it’s safe to say that SOMETHING needs to change.

    I happen to live right on Admiral near the Olga/viewpoint and backing out of/entering my own driveway is scary enough. People are flying up the hill, people are flying down the hill/around the curve. RE: the comment about being ‘punished’ with a stoplight – the stoplight does nothing during certain times of the day/at night because there are several drivers that blast right through THAT VERY RED LIGHT.
    I’ve used that crosswalk to catch the 56 and have almost been hit by school buses and people who are flat out not paying attention. AFTER the light has already changed red, myself and neighbors that I’ve spoken to about this- have to wait until all cars have come to a complete stop to ensure we’re not going to be annihilated just crossing the street. I no longer assume (as anyone would) that since the light is already red that people are going to stop. Perhaps I should do cartwheels in the crosswalk, set off flare guns, and hold up a huge red flag that says STOP?? I’m not sure what it’s going to take for people to acknowledge a red light and a pedestrian crossing a busy street.

    It blows my mind that there even IS a bus stop mid-way down the hill. I would never dare cross Admiral just to catch the bus on that side. I’ve stood at the bus stop across from the overlook and seen several cyclists nearly get hit and the sad thing is that they probably weren’t even aware of it. I can’t even imagine what it’s like going down the hill on a bike near the area where the person was hit the other day.

    Throw the blame wherever you’d like- the bottom line is that people are not paying attention and are going too fast. I don’t care what the speed limit ‘should’ be, everyone just needs to use common sense and keep their eyes open.

  • Joseph in West Seattle May 22, 2010 (5:29 pm)

    The Admiral neighborhood needs to address numerous car/pedestrian/bicycle/bus issues that
    continue to get worse each day. I live on California Avenue and have no vehicle. I have depended on “feet,” and the bus for many years.
    It is a real challenge to try and cross California Avenue, due to speeding vehicles and
    driver lack of attention to crosswalks. I can count on one hand, the number of times that a driver has stopped when I’m in the crosswalk at College Street and California Avenue. People are too busy looking for a parking space at the Pub or Yen Wor…or trying to get into/out of the parking lot at Blockbuster. Perhaps a traffic light at that location? And, the pedestrian crosswalk at California & Admiral needs severe attending to. Almost each day, drivers comingfrom the East – try to go into a turn – without even looking to see if there’s a pedestrian trying to cross the street! And, then there’s the 56/57 bus. Especially in the AM, 8 to 8:30 – we wait in long lines on Genessee – trying to get to the
    West Seattle Bridge. Underneath, we sit in lines.
    On the bridge, we have merging maniac’s blocking the bus lane. They should all be ticketed.

    What do we do???!!


  • JR May 23, 2010 (12:58 am)

    old timer, I don’t need a lecture on karma (which, frankly, I don’t believe in) or gratitude. It’s not a mindset of flat road = speed screwing everyone over. What screws people over are those who refuse to acknowledge anything outside their own bubble, & that includes people who insist on obstructing traffic by willfully going 10 below the limit with nothing but open, dry pavement in front of them, don’t bother to look before merging, or endangering their lives or the safety of others just to make a statement.

    Having said that, I am grateful for many things. But that’s no reason why I shouldn’t want to get from A to B in a timely manner.

  • Yardvark May 23, 2010 (3:48 pm)

    I hear you, JR, but it’s the speed “limit” not the minimum.

    Be safe, everyone. Nice to see this discussion.

  • on board May 24, 2010 (11:24 am)

    This is great news! As was pointed out by one person here earlier, the Fauntleroy road diet has successfully reduced speeds on this corridor, without actually reducing throughput. Admiral is a disaster since it’s design speed is basically 55 mph.

    As to the entrance to the Bridge in the brief, one hour of congestion in the morning, I wonder if SDOT has considered metered on ramps? The chokepoint will not be on Admiral, but will continue to be getting on the Bridge itself. Most of the traffic in the rightmost southbound Admiral lane at rush hour are opportunistically circumventing the Admiral cue, and making a U turn off of Avalon somewhere.

    how about 35th Ave SW next?

  • Mr. Bradley May 24, 2010 (11:35 am)

    I love this idea… the same thing needs to happen on 35th too at least once you get up the hill past Alaska. The commute down Admiral via car and bridge is really bad for about an hour in the morning. If this change happens, it is reasonable to assume you may need to take another route if your ultimate destination is Avalon during the peak congestion times. As a bike rider, cutting down on the freeway nature of Admiral both up and down the hill, would be a very welcome change.

  • dsa May 24, 2010 (2:58 pm)

    Admiral and that section of Fauntleroy do not have comparable traffic volumes. Admiral’s average daily weekday total volume is around 240,000 and Fauntleroy’s average’s half of that for the stretch in question. So it can get by with half the number of lanes.

  • dsa May 24, 2010 (3:06 pm)

    24,000 is what I meant to type.
    That number is from the city’s 1993 traffic flow map

  • dsa May 24, 2010 (4:06 pm)

    Thanks WSB, but that updated SDOT map shows more traffic on Fauntleroy than on California. That does not seem likely. Maybe it is, I’m not there during rush hour.

  • Jared S May 25, 2010 (1:54 pm)

    The right lane of eastbound (downhill) admiral way has a HUGE shoulder. There’s enough room to park a semi truck and then some. Why would the DOT need to make that direction of travel only one lane for vehicle traffic to accomodate a bike lane?

  • Dave H May 26, 2010 (1:55 pm)

    This may have some merit and at least worth investigation. The speeds on Admiral are much too fast. Try crossing Admiral between Olga St. and 41st Ave sometime where there are no crosswalks. I disagree with JR’s observation that there are those who drive 10mph below the speed limit checking everyone else’s. Very few driver actually drive the 30mph speed limit let alone something well below it. I live one house off Admiral and you’re much more apt to see the speed limit being exceeded by 10-15 mph. I’ve been passed by several cars doing over well over 50 mph both uphill and down the Admiral Hill. I like what was done on Fauntleroy perhaps that will cure the problem on Admiral too but if traffic in the morning is going back up to the Metropolitan Market than that’s not acceptable either.

  • casey May 27, 2010 (11:01 am)

    The entire road needs to be evaluated. We live a couple houses off Admiral down on 60th (down on Alki flats.) There isn’t a crosswalk at the bottom of the hill and the road rounds a bend so visibility is bad. Cars are coming down 55 mph+. There needs to be at least a crosswalk, so cars think of slowing down, or speed bumps installed. I’ve seen many people, cars, and pets hit over the 10 years I have lived here.

  • 22blades May 29, 2010 (5:43 pm)


Sorry, comment time is over.