Admiral Way restriping will keep existing lanes, city announces

(Click graphic to enlarge – sketch of new Admiral plan)
Less than four months after we first reported the city was looking at “rechannelization” – also known as a “road diet” – on Admiral Way north of The Bridge, the decision is in. Just arrived via news release, this announcement – no lane reductions:

After hearing from the community and conducting additional analysis, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) today announced changes to SW Admiral Way to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety without impacting existing vehicle travel lanes.

SW Admiral Way will be restriped between SW City View St and SW Manning St in September 2010. After the work is complete, the 0.7 mile stretch will feature the existing two travel lanes for each direction along with a bike lane with a striped buffer on the northbound (uphill) side of the roadway and shared lane markings in the outside southbound (downhill) lane. A pedestrian crossing island will be constructed at SW City View St to accommodate pedestrians crossing SW Admiral Way to the Metro transit stop on the west side of the roadway. On-street parking will remain on the east side of the roadway north of City View, while underutilized parking will be removed south of City View to accommodate the two travel lanes and the buffered bike lane.

This decision is based on current and future traffic conditions on the corridor, recommendations in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master plans, and community input received via letters, phone calls and the July 13 open house [WSB coverage here]. The final roadway layout carefully reflects the needs of motorists, freight, transit, bicycles, pedestrians and emergency response. Additional information about the changes, to include frequently asked questions and plans for the project, can be found on the project’s Web site at:

That page says the work will start “mid-to-late September.” If that still leaves you wondering, so what’s really going to change? here’s the bottom line from the project website:

* Maintain the existing 4 vehicle travel lanes
* Install a pedestrian median crossing island at SW City View
* Install a 5 foot wide uphill bike lane with a 2 foot wide painted buffer
* Add shared lane markings (sharrows) to the outside, downhill lane.
* Remove parking south of SW City View St to maintain existing travel lanes and add the uphill bicycle lane

28 Replies to "Admiral Way restriping will keep existing lanes, city announces"

  • WorldCitizen September 9, 2010 (1:26 pm)

    It will be interesting to see how they incorporate the bike sharrows into the interchange of Admiral, Spokane, and Harbor/Avalon when headed East.

  • Diane September 9, 2010 (1:28 pm)

    well this will be interesting; wondering how long it will take to complete

  • Jiggers September 9, 2010 (2:09 pm)

    The wealthier area’s keep getting better upgrades, while over on Delridge, you have potholes in the road that could be classified as sinkholes.

  • D September 9, 2010 (2:35 pm)

    I’m shocked. Very happily shocked.

  • nmb September 9, 2010 (2:50 pm)

    I am disappointed to learn that the City has balked on their proposal to reduce from 4 to 2 the number of motor vehicle traffic lanes on Admiral Way SW. I had understood that one of the primary goals of placing Admiral Way SW on such a “road diet” was to improve safety by bringing motor vehicle speeds more in line with the posted 30mph speed limit. Maintaining the present 4-lane configuration will do nothing to reduce motor vehicle speeds on this portion of road — which will continue to be treated as a long off-ramp extension from the West Seattle Bridge.
    As a bicycle commuter who rides up the Admiral hill every day, I rarely see motor vehicle speeds dip below 35mph, as indicated by the radar sign installed towards the top of the hill. I believe that this behavior is promoted by the almost highway-like design of the present 4-lane configuration. The previously proposed road diet would have achieved a reduction in vehicle speeds, similar to what was documented in a post-project study of the Stone Way rechannelization project.
    On a positive note, I am pleased that the current design places the uphill bicycle lane between the curbside parking lane and the motor vehicle lanes. I feel that this configuration is much safer in terms of maintaining visibility of bicyclists along the entire length of the hill, rather than being invisible to motorists behind parked cars as would happen in the previous proposed design.

  • Huindekmi September 9, 2010 (2:55 pm)

    Guess that explains why Beach Drive is such a perfectly paved and smooth road. Eh, Jiggers?

  • Dave September 9, 2010 (3:12 pm)

    Yeah and why all of 16th just got repaved you, Jiggers, get a John McLauglin “WRONG!”

  • M September 9, 2010 (3:22 pm)

    I have to respectfully disagree with nmb as I live on the Alki side of Admiral where it is 2 lanes and I can tell you it slows traffic not one bit.

    Reducing it to two lanes would just back up traffic up to the admiral junction and beyond during peak times.

  • blander September 9, 2010 (3:31 pm)

    I commute by bike most days & I don’t like the “road diets” very much. You can ride a bike on a side road just as fast as a main road. Consequently, I stay off of an arterial if I don’t feel comfortable riding on it. Admiral is probably hard to avoid for a lack of alternatives, but it’s a perfect example of a road I’d try to avoid.
    Also, the speed limit is freaking ridiculous. Drivers consistently speed on roads (Admiral) that have artificially low speed limits. Usually because of one or two loud residents that consider their own agenda more important than the thousands of drivers that might use the road every day.
    I know that people are going to respond in a horrified tone “OMG! You don’t care about safety!” My response to that is that you can drive on Admiral utterly safely at 40MPH, slowing when you get toward the top. If your philosophy is that slower is always better, I’d ask you to imagine driving to Portland with a 20MPH speed limit on I-5. There needs to be fewer traffic restrictions so that drivers are constantly challenged to make decisions and stay aware. Let drivers decide what is safe with fewer regulations, give more reckless driving tickets and road fatalities will start to drop off (especially drivers hitting pedestrians while not paying attention) and efficiency will improve also.
    Remember that the point of traffic control is to get vehicles and pedestrians from point A to B efficiently and safely.

  • J September 9, 2010 (3:31 pm)

    I can’t help but wonder how much of this decision was traffic engineering and how much bowing to public pressure.

    • WSB September 9, 2010 (4:15 pm)

      Re: the question about public pressure … The only thing I can say, having covered both this and the Fauntleroy process, is that the Fauntleroy review drew much more of an outcry … but the city decided to go ahead with it. May not be relevant, but worth noting. The Fauntleroy open house had 125 people sign in. I was at the Admiral open house for much of its duration and I don’t believe it cumulatively pulled half that.

  • marty September 9, 2010 (3:37 pm)

    I don’t see why the speed limit on Admiral Way isn’t 35 mph between the bottom of the hill and the viewpoint. Practically no cross streets and few homes on the few that are there. Plenty of other streets (35th, Fauntleroy etc.)have a 35 mph limit with cross streets every block. I have to ride my brakes to keep around 30 mph…

  • bsmomma September 9, 2010 (3:40 pm)

    Oh and what about the South end of the Alaska Junction? That strip of road is full of potholes on the East side of California.
    If they were to reduce Admiral to 2 lanes, could you imagine the morning back up going down it?! And honestly, during my morning commute down the hill, I cannot say I have been able to go over 15mph down it!

  • JAT September 9, 2010 (4:42 pm)

    As a frequent bike commuter on this road, I think this configuration sounds reasonable.

    The only improvement I’d want to see is a pedestrian-activated surface-mounted flashing cross-walk signal at City View – even with an island I don’t know how people get across Admiral to get to or from the bus stop.

    I think Jiggers has copped a bit of unfair abuse here. Delridge is a pavement disaster; its neglect does send a message as to the City’s priorities. Beach Drive may be gnarly too, but it’s hardly an arterial.

  • Shelb September 9, 2010 (4:58 pm)

    Ditto ‘D’s comments: VERY happily shocked! Attended the Open House and contacted DOT-SEA -definitely thought it was a done deal on the re-channelization. The current configuration handles all forms of transportation (hobby or otherwise). The City just needs to do a better job in maintaining the exist crosswalks, signage and road paint striping.

  • lenguamor September 9, 2010 (5:15 pm)

    …as a moment of uncharacteristic common sense seizes planners.

    And BRAVO, blanders.

  • Mark September 9, 2010 (7:35 pm)

    “A pedestrian has a 95 per cent survival rate when hit by a car driving at less than 20mph. At less than 30mph their survival rate is 55 per cent. At 40mph, survival rates are only 5 per cent. (Ashton and Mackay 1979)”
    Is there a winner here?

  • Aldof Lewis September 9, 2010 (8:29 pm)

    great more bicylists congesting more traffic… Awwwweessoooome. BIKE ON THE SIDEWALKS. ! UGH

  • Tracy White September 9, 2010 (10:15 pm)

    @Mark: If the pedestrian wasn’t in the road to begin with we wouldn’t have to ponder such statistics.

  • phil September 10, 2010 (4:24 am)

    Bikes on the sidewalk until its you on the sidewalk walking. Next you’ll be saying.. can’t bikers ride in the street.

  • rw September 10, 2010 (8:23 am)

    Coming up Admiral from Avalon is one of the only places where I do ride my bike on the sidewalk, because I’m almost as slow as a pedestrian … and I almost never encounter a pedestrian anyway.

    As for the uphill speed limit along the same stretch, 30 mph is absurd, 35-40 is perfectly safe.

    I support retaining the current lane alignment, so I am surprised that the current city administration opted for the common sense approach.

  • blander September 10, 2010 (9:03 am)

    I find it’s best not to hit pedestrians at any speed…

  • Tony S September 10, 2010 (10:25 am)

    Thanks Blander — I appreciate your input and really appreciate the opinion of a sensible bicyclist.

    A point everyone seems to over look in the speed argument is the city’s own statement that there are no traffic safety issues on this stretch of Admiral Way: “No collision patterns exist for this stretch of roadway” is the direct quote.

  • JAT September 10, 2010 (12:42 pm)

    Aldof has a bizarre notion of the mechanics of road congestion. In driving my car (or riding the bus) up or down Admiral I’ve absolutley never – not even once – found myself stuck behind a cyclist.

    Maybe there’s been an accident on the high bridge, or a red light at the top of the hill. But on zero occasions have I found myself held up, delayed, late to my destination or in any other way inconvenienced by cyclists on the roads. It always seems to be cars…

  • anonyme September 10, 2010 (5:43 pm)

    The 35th Ave SW corridor through Arbor Heights was promised some simple maintenance last year. After months of stalling, the people who had advocated long and hard for the improvements were told that NONE of them would be implemented after all, that SDOT was too broke even to stripe a single intersection in this neighborhood. Yet suddenly they come up with this big plan in the Admiral District (surprise, surprise) that was unplanned, apparently unbudgeted, and even unwanted.

    We’re sick and tired of paying the same damn taxes as everyone else only to get NOTHING 50 years after annexation. Take note, White Center. You’ve nothing to gain by annexation except for bloated Seattle bureaucrats.

  • EyeLiveInWS September 11, 2010 (10:10 am)

    Well, the “morning cheaters” won. This means they can ride that right lane all the way down and cut in near the curve at the last few feet.
    I suppose it’s ok. They are much more important. As for the bicyclists using this artery – good luck and be sure your Last Will is in good order just in case.
    A big “thank you” to whoever decided that this needed to be studied. Glad to see my tax money went to something for no reason while Delridge continues to be a broken road. That’s a shame.

  • William September 12, 2010 (8:16 am)

    I’m glad the city backed away from their original proposal, which made no sense. I’d rather the city spend money on fixing roads (installing traffic lights, filling potholes, smoothing bumps and cracks in pavement, etc.) than this nonsense. But I think the politicians find it sexier to buy the road crews a bucket of paint for new paint stripes – and then take credit for “adding” new bike lanes.

  • Chuck R. October 1, 2010 (3:44 pm)

    If we could only get the Police to aggressively enforce the existing speed limits on Admiral and West Marginal Way things would be much safer. The speed indicator near the top of the rise on Admiral is a waste of money. Lack of enforcement increases bad behavior. My hat’s off to the men and women who ride bikes up that hill. That is some awesome conditioning!

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