Major new Delridge rechannelization plan emerges at district-council meeting – this time, the south half

By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

When we saw the agenda for last night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, featuring an SDOT presentation about “Delridge rechannelization,” we expected more information about this – rechannelization planned in connection with Metro Route 120 changes on the north end of Delridge.


This presentation was about a new plan for mid-to-south Delridge rechannelization – and as you can see if you watch our video from last night’s meeting, its details surprised the District Council members too:

The South Delridge rechannelization plan, the SDOT reps said, is bundled with the forthcoming resurfacing/repaving of the same stretch, which was most recently detailed during Mayor McGinn‘s Town Hall in The Junction on May 3rd (as mentioned in our report on that meeting).

Read on for details of what the city unveiled last night, including the graphics of what the configurations are supposed to look like for each affected stretch, and news of one block where parking will undergo a dramatic change:

The city says this work is to be done after the paving/resurfacing project, which could start as soon as January, and is funded by money from the Bridging the Gap levy (reps didn’t know exactly how much – we have requested more information from SDOT along with digital versions of the graphics you’ll see in this story).

SDOT says the plan would affect parking in two ways: On the southernmost block of Delridge, in the Triangle business district, the angled parking would be changed from head-in to back-in. And for one block between Holden and Kenyon, there will be street parking added on the east side. Holden is also the one place where SDOT says it can add a left-turn pocket – the photo below shows the current configuration at top left, the Holden intersection plan at top right:

They said that they will not be able to add a left-turn pocket on Delridge at Thistle or Trenton, two other places where it had been requested.

Meantime, the plan includes bike lanes both ways from SW Myrtle to SW Kenyon:

And from SW Kenyon south to the city limits (Roxbury), the change is subtle – sharrows will be added in the travel lanes:

After the presentation – as, again, you can see if you watch/listen to our video – much discussion ensued. One concern had to do with a big-picture issue: How does this play into the District Council’s long-voiced aspirations toward a “boulevard” concept for Delridge? The prospect of major repaving/resurfacing on Delridge had inspired council members to invite City Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Sally Bagshaw to a meeting last November (WSB coverage here) to pitch the concept. At that meeting, as noted during this one, one SDOT official had even suggested bike lanes on Delridge wouldn’t be needed if the “neighborhood greenway” concept that’s also been proposed for parallel streets came to pass.

Then, some discussion had to do with logistics for the project. During repaving/resurfacing, the SDOT reps said, southbound traffic would be detoured; they are still working on the exact plan, but concerns were voiced about heavier traffic volumes on streets that aren’t used to it, including some in the South Delridge area that don’t have sidewalks. There will always be one northbound lane open during the work, it was promised. But there might be full-weekend closures to get major intersections done in one take.

Further discussions/presentations are expected, possibly including next month’s joint meeting of the Delridge and Southwest District Councils. And, as mentioned earlier, we’re pursuing more details from SDOT, as well as clearer graphics, and information on the feedback process.

36 Replies to "Major new Delridge rechannelization plan emerges at district-council meeting - this time, the south half"

  • Velo_nut June 21, 2012 (2:09 pm)

    Please tell me 35th is next! Great progress though THANK YOU!

  • Nick June 21, 2012 (2:49 pm)

    It really looks like traffic on S Delridge is going to to be MUCH slower after this work.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t add 5 min to a N bound drive

  • Harold Reems June 21, 2012 (2:52 pm)

    I am thrilled that Delridge is getting a much needed repaving/resurfacing but I am confused about the addition of bike lanes. I don’t see many folks riding bikes in that area.

  • alex June 21, 2012 (2:53 pm)

    What a shock. The solution, as ever, is to eliminate car driving lanes in favor of bike lanes. This will surely improve travel times. *eye roll*

  • Jake June 21, 2012 (2:58 pm)

    Just a quick comment: the proposed neighborhood greenways should not be thought of as a replacement for necessary safety improvements on Delridge. Just as drivers need to use different roads to get to different destinations, cyclists need safe routes on different roads to reach different destinations. Delridge goes places that parallel streets do not.

  • Jane Conrad June 21, 2012 (3:01 pm)

    I hate back-in parking and so does everyone I know.

  • LWC June 21, 2012 (3:30 pm)

    @alex: a good solution to unsafe streets is often to rechannelize and eliminate driving lanes. This has been successful in reducing accident rates at locations across the city, and critics’ predictions of traffic gridlock have been shown time and again to be largely unfounded. This is not a cars vs. bikes matter. This is about good road design, keeping our streets safe for everyone: pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers included.

  • Beth June 21, 2012 (3:32 pm)

    The reason that you do not see many bicycles on Delridge is because there are no bike lanes and the road is in much needed repair. It is a pretty scary ride as is. As someone who lives and works on Delridge I would love to be able to feel safe while riding my bike to work on Delridge. Currently I ride on the back streets but they do not connect well or at all.

  • Pegglish June 21, 2012 (3:36 pm)

    Has anybody heard of any plans to repave Roxbury?

  • Amber June 21, 2012 (3:41 pm)

    As a person who lives on one of those lacking-a-sidewalk streets that parallel Delridge, I would certainly find heavier traffic volumes concerning. Some drivers already use my street as a cutoff, traveling WAY too fast, and I fear for the neighborhood kids. The proposed detour would have to be carefully designed.

  • LWC June 21, 2012 (3:52 pm)

    @Harold – did you consider the possibility of cyclists who would like to ride there, but don’t because the road is so unsafe?

    • WSB June 21, 2012 (4:06 pm)

      We have some ugly bike crashes in the archives for that area, including this one almost three years ago:
      (Sorry about the comment thread there, it was before we attempted to head off the usual bikes bad/no, cars bad/no, bikes bad, nonsense. And please keep this discussion away from that, though there certainly are issues galore to discuss. Yes, the Fauntleroy rechannelization in particular did not lead to Carpocalypse, as was feared ahead of time. The Junction rechannelization hasn’t been implemented yet – we’ll see how that goes.)

  • I. Ponder June 21, 2012 (4:04 pm)

    Sarcasm alert: Traffic flow is terrific on Delridge right now the way it is.

  • Brian June 21, 2012 (4:50 pm)

    I love what the city did with Dexter. It would be fantastic if they did the same thing with Delridge.

  • Halyn June 21, 2012 (6:51 pm)

    Not being rude or sarcastic–genuinely curious–WHAT is the deal with back in angle parking? What benefits does it offer? I have never heard anyone say anything good about it, and tons of people ignore it, and tie up traffic as they back and fill, trying to park head-in in those spaces.

  • westseattledood June 21, 2012 (6:56 pm)

    Way back, the Rapid Ride Line was originally scheduled for Delridge, wasn’t it? Metro decided to ignore the fulfillment of its own mandate to serve the transportation needs of this area by moving it west.

    Do I recall Metro saying that another RR line would one day eventually run through Delridge as originally conceived and designed? Or is that when h-e- double toothpicks freezes over? Or am I making it all that up and this will only be a rechannelization road and that’s it forever and a day Delridge?!

    There is a nice stand of mature trees that create a nice bowered boulevard over on Beacon Hill. LOTS of BIG trees would be nice.

  • westseattledood June 21, 2012 (7:21 pm)


    In the wee, early morning hours between 5:00 – 6:00 A.M., there are lots and lots of bike commuters heading toward downtown or Beacon Hill, I imagine, on 9th Ave SW – the main N/S arterial a few blocks to the east of Delridge.

    Bet a bunch of these folks would traverse Delridge if it wasn’t so darn dangerous.

    9th Ave SW is in very good shape, relatively speaking, so commuters should be aware that it connects to West Marginal at the bottom of Highland Park Way – also in much better condition for bikes than many roads.

  • West Seattle luv June 21, 2012 (8:13 pm)

    As someone who both bikes and drives delridge, I am so happy they are finally repaving it! I can live with or without the bike lanes, but the rough road is bad for cars and bikes.

  • LWC June 21, 2012 (8:38 pm)

    @westseattledood: I believe the Delridge Rapid Ride was proposed to be part of the Viaduct tunnel project surface/transit mitigation, the funding for which was vetoed by Gov. Gregoire.

  • Plain Sight June 21, 2012 (8:40 pm)

    It is consistently disappointing the anti bike trolling that this website allows to go on in it’s comment pages. It betrays an unfortunate prejudice in an otherwise seemingly unbiased information source.

  • datamuse June 21, 2012 (9:02 pm)

    Indeed, I live just off of 9th and there are always lots of bicyclists during commute times. It’s in much better shape than Delridge, which I don’t ride on because it’s in terrible condition and people drive way too fast. If ever an arterial was in need of traffic calming…well, that and 35th!

  • Yardvark June 22, 2012 (6:48 am)

    The SW Kenyon stretch doesn’t look too promising for the bicyclist about to be hit by the truck.

    Otherwise, it’s great to see this happen and it’ll really be a nice compliment to the neighborhood greenways. It’d also be great to see Delridge Boulevard!

  • K M June 22, 2012 (8:08 am)

    @WSB, I fully support minimizing the ongoing bike vs car comments and debates so that we can move forward and come up with solutions that benefit us all! It’s a distraction. This is a comprehensive solution that has been underway for many months if not years. There are many opportunities to be involved with neighborhood and city community groups such as the North Delridge Neighborhood Council meetings, Greenways, etc. Onward progress!

  • Ivan Weiss June 22, 2012 (8:23 am)

    “Yes, the Fauntleroy rechannelization in particular did not lead to Carpocalypse, as was feared ahead of time. ”

    That might be because most everybody I know uses 35th now, Tracy. I know I do.

  • LWC June 22, 2012 (10:33 am)

    @Ivan: the Fauntleroy vehicle counts before and after the project would suggest otherwise: (see page 6-3).

  • coffee June 22, 2012 (10:55 am)

    As a daily delridge driver I am happy to see much needed improvements. My one comment how about all of the speeders who treat the turn lane as a passing lane?
    Last winter when True north was surveying I knew something was in the works!

  • LWC June 22, 2012 (10:56 am)

    Also, Ivan, see here:
    This shows no net increase in traffic volume on 35th from 2009-2010.

  • JN June 22, 2012 (11:27 am)

    @PS, Tracy does a fantastic job of moderating any trolls or vicious commenters, exponentially better then any other blog or news source that I know of.

  • Bruce Nourish June 22, 2012 (12:08 pm)

    Looks good to me!

  • Krystal June 22, 2012 (12:30 pm)

    I’m with a few others on here. Not being snarky, but why did the city/county move toward back in angle parking? I personally cannot stand it, and don’t know anyone who thinks it is great–but I would love to know why we have it at least.

  • Mickymse June 22, 2012 (12:45 pm)

    As i understand it, the time delay for traffic is the same whether the extra time is spent when first parking or when trying to pull out safely. And the data suggests that accidents are more likely to occur when the person first gets into their car and tries to back out into traffic… rather than backing in when they are aware of traffic around them and able to see ahead for safe space to pull out.

  • w.s. maverick June 22, 2012 (1:29 pm)

    back in parking? have you seen some of the people on delridge drive forward. yikes the city might want to rethink the back in parking due to someone will get hit

  • westseattledood June 22, 2012 (3:28 pm)

    re: back-in –

    Ya’, seems safer to me, especially in high pedestrian/bike corriders. Peeps won’t have to crane their neck to look behind them and hope that neither suddenly-appearing pedestrian or swift bike does not appear right at the moment when a driver turns his/her head forward again to make sure the front end of their car doesn’t hit parked cars next to them. If a car and driver are all facing the street the field of view is broader and peripheral vision has an opportunity to notice oncoming surprises.

    That’s *my* theory anyway :].

  • w.s. maverick June 23, 2012 (7:19 am)

    can the mayor did a bike tunnel? that would be the safest

  • MMB June 24, 2012 (10:21 am)

    I used to bike commute quite a long ride to downtown from Arbor Heights. Coming home on Delridge was the only way I could go without going up KILLER hills. It’s the gentlest north-south route in WS. I used to ride on the sidewalk where traffic was hairy, dismounting most times when pedestrians were about, which was not all that often. Circumstances stopped me from bike commuting anymore, but I am glad to see that there will be consideration for cyclists in the Delridge improvements.

Sorry, comment time is over.