California/Fauntleroy intersection on Morgan Community Association’s agenda Wednesday

The California/Fauntleroy intersection has been the subject of much discussion since RapidRide led to curb/lane reconfiguration for the stops on its west and north sides and changed traffic patterns – our cameraphone photo was taken while we were stopped behind a bus and a car on northbound California, as another car attempted to get around ours on the right, impossible because of the bus bulb:

How’s the intersection working overall? Are any changes planned beyond the “safety curb” on the west side of the intersection? For this Wednesday’s quarterly meeting of the Morgan Community Association, the intersection’s at the top of the agenda, with a guest from SDOT; if you have questions or concerns, be there. The agenda also includes guests from West Seattle Bike Connections (which just launched a new website), King County Wastewater Treatment Division (updating the Lowman Beach combined-sewer overflow project as it approaches construction), and a variety of other topics. All are welcome – 7 pm Wednesday (April 17), lower-level meeting rooms at The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW; WSB sponsor).

30 Replies to "California/Fauntleroy intersection on Morgan Community Association's agenda Wednesday"

  • HelperMonkey April 15, 2013 (11:46 am)

    oddly enough I was just at this intersection and noticed a very large double dump truck making a turn from the right turn lane on Fauntleroy to head NB on California. He had to make a WIDE swing all the way into the left turn lane on California to even make the turn. If there was a curb there it would be impossible. Guess it’s one more thing that KC Metro failed to think about.

  • Brian April 15, 2013 (12:03 pm)

    @HelperMonkey: The actual answer is that a double dump truck should be taking an alternate route if it has to make such a wide turn that it has to meander into oncoming traffic. What if there was a car sitting in the turn lane? It wouldn’t matter if there was a safety curb or not, the truck wouldn’t have been able to make the turn at all.

  • Pat April 15, 2013 (12:17 pm)

    Oh, there’s going to be a long comment stream on this one! … The other day I was driving EB on Fauntleroy from the Lincoln Park area, planning to make a left turn onto California at that intersection. Since there was a bus a couple of vehicles ahead of me, I thought I’d do everything exactly right (of course, that’s what I always do :-)) and see about this supposed visibility issue.
    I got into the left-turn lane behind the bus. Of course, we all know (don’t we? we all passed the driver-license test?) that before you enter an intersection, you are supposed to wait until you know the intersection is clear and there’s enough space on the other side for you to move into. When the light turned green and cars moved ahead, I looked very carefully to see whether there was enough space on California on the north side of that intersection, to decide whether to move ahead.
    There was *absolutely* no way to see. The line of cars heading SB on California completely blocks the EB-Fauntleroy driver’s view of the NB-Calif lane and the bus. The location and design of the bus stop means that it is not physically possible to drive according to the rulebook.
    Surely this is a problem that must be addressed?

  • Wally April 15, 2013 (12:42 pm)

    They just built this and other new Rapid Ride waiting areas- don’t ya think they could have 1- thought of this as it was an issue before or 2- indent the bus waiting area as traffic is always backed up at that intersection.

  • dwar April 15, 2013 (1:21 pm)

    Johnathon Dong of SDOT was told at the SW District Council that this intersection configuratiion would never work. This was before Rapid Ride was implemented and he disagreed and said it would be fine. H e should be held accountable!!

  • chas redmond April 15, 2013 (1:48 pm)

    Actually one of the issues is that Metro and SDOT WERE TOLD about all these issues over a year before this began. They chose to ignore the advice of those who live in the area and know that intersection extremely well.

    Which means either;
    1. – Metro and SDOT are not very smart;
    2. – They deliberately ignored and continue to ignore
    community input;
    3. – They are incompetent.

    Or perhaps all of the above as we’ve had continuing conversations with SDOT and they continue to ignore us.

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man April 15, 2013 (1:51 pm)

    Yes Pat, it is an egregious problem that could easily have been avoided with just a bit of common sense and foresight. Sadly, both in very short supply at WSDOT/Metro. And don’t call me Shirley.

  • coffee April 15, 2013 (2:26 pm)

    I called metro to complain about this and the east side of Westwood village, after a near major accident 2 weeks ago. The Metro rep asked if I wanted a call back and I said, yes, to which he replied, “OK, you can expect a return call in 3 to 4 months”. I started to laugh and said thats funny, and he replied, “I am not kidding”. Apparently Metro is MAJOR BROKEN. Wonder what Dow has to say, since he is a West Seattle Resident….

  • Morgan April 15, 2013 (2:30 pm)

    I commented on this issue the first weekend these “bus bulbs” were put in on California and Fauntleroy. I was told “give it a chance and see how it goes, buses are only going to be stopped for 30 seconds or less”. I’m not an engineer, but have common sense. Why would you ever create something that would block the flow of traffic? Especially so close to a major intersection. A high school student could have figured that out. The system worked just fine before, the buses could wait 30 seconds (in the parking lane) for the cars to pass, and not create a traffic jam

  • boy April 15, 2013 (3:12 pm)

    I’m sure it was designed by the same people who designed the 520 ponttoons. The city and state seem to always get the enginering rejects.

  • Elevated Concern April 15, 2013 (3:34 pm)

    Metro relied upon old data and used the abandoned Monorail corridor to appease Alaska Junction businesses. Now they have this gerrymandered route through West Seattle. They should have used the full length of the Fauntleroy arterial and none of these woes would be a longterm reality. Those bat lanes east of Fauntleroy on Alaska are seriously dangerous for cars and pedestrains.

  • sw April 15, 2013 (3:44 pm)

    Elevated has it 100% right. The C Line should have run down Fauntleroy as it has the fewest obstructions and could have accommodated bulbs or platforms with little intrusion into traffic. California from Fauntleroy to Alaska is doubled with the 22 and other routes anyhow. I won’t even get started on what a mess Alaska street is – I’m a local and still get messed up with the lane changes.

  • CMP April 15, 2013 (4:35 pm)

    @ Chas: Bingo, all of the above! SDOT brushes off every email I send them about traffic issues and this bus bulb issue is apparently no different. The one going northbound on California was bad enough but when the westbound bulb on Fauntleroy was added not that long ago, I was in disbelief. Who ever thought those were a good idea should be fired.

  • Under_Achiever April 15, 2013 (5:06 pm)

    Wasn’t the westbound part of this intersection one of the sections that when Fauntleroy went on a ‘diet’ from two to one lanes was used as an example of how traffic easily merged into the one remaining lane? Now right lane must turn right onto California.

    I’m waiting for the perfect storm of busses disembarking persons needing wheelchair assistance at westbound Fauntleroy and both north and southbound California. All at the same time.

    Yay Metro! All they need is just a little bit more $$.

  • Rod April 15, 2013 (6:31 pm)

    Very poor design. Bordering on wacko. Good luck on getting the Metro designers to admit their errors and FIX it.

    Sadly, the more one complains, the more Metro will dig in its/their heels.

    Honest to goodness, the only way this design error will be fixed is if it is CONSTANTLY brought up to Mayor McGinn and Dow Constantine and Councilman Rassmussen.

    Bombard ’em. I will.

  • G April 15, 2013 (8:13 pm)

    This city can’t do anything right anymore, but the more egregious the incompetence, the more smug the city becomes.

  • ttt April 15, 2013 (8:29 pm)

    I don’t understand why this bus stop was not built farther down fauntleroy where there is an exceptionally large shoulder area just 100 yards away from this intersection…. the city employee that thought this was a good location should be fired for their ineptitude!

  • Jeff platt April 15, 2013 (8:56 pm)

    They are putting in new bus bumps on delridge
    Im so tired of watching them force thier bus agenda on us
    I hope metro gets super slashed buget wise
    They really are ruining life in westseattle
    You cant go anywhere faster than a bus anymore during the day

  • Jeff platt April 15, 2013 (8:57 pm)

    Down with mayor mcbikelane too

  • Jordan April 16, 2013 (6:56 am)

    I’ve mentioned before, but will do so again. Several weeks ago, on a Sunday, I was turning left from Fauntleroy eastbound to California northbound. Traffic was having to go around a Metro Access van that was just parked at the bulb and had been there for a while. This was forcing all traffic into the oncoming lane to get around the van. The van had no one coming, so was going to be sitting there for a long time and had already been there for a while when I got there. While Metro claims that the buses only stop for a few seconds (not really, but that is their claim) they are less of an impact. Having a van park for 5-10 minutes in the only thru lane is unacceptable.

  • Seattlite April 16, 2013 (7:45 am)

    I thought the goal of Seattle’s Mayor was to make your driving experience as exasperating and inconvenient as possible to encourage fewer vehicles on WS’s roadways. Metro’s bump-out bus stop design confirms that goal — don’t ya think? I agree that SDOT’s street markings on Alaska are just plain stupid and confusing to the point that I observe a high percentage of drivers just ignoring the signage and doing their thing.

  • S April 16, 2013 (8:37 am)

    Let’s not forget the SlowRide bus that broke down a couple of months ago. Luckily it was up California coming South Bound. Hate to think about if it had broken down at one of those Bumb bulbs near California/Fauntleroy intersection. Also what happens when a fire truck or Aid Car needs to get by and everything is blocked.
    @Brian – Buses and fire truck also need to make wide turns so are you telling me then need to find another way around. Come on lets use common scene. This is a major route and you can’t have trucks trying to drive residential areas. Especially if they need to be heading North on California Ave.

  • Silly Goose April 16, 2013 (12:12 pm)

    Ah yes the wonderful “RAPID STOP”

  • Brian April 16, 2013 (1:56 pm)

    Pro Tip: No one thinks your clever, funny new name for RapidRide is clever or funny.

  • Concerned Athlete April 16, 2013 (2:29 pm)

    You all have to keep in mind, the city of Seattle is trying to get all of you to stop driving your cars by making it as miserable as possible. They knew the inconvenience the extended curb was going to cause. Also, have you noticed buses now just cut off traffic, bully their way into merge. Its a tactic used by the city to bully drivers into giving the buses more room.

  • Brian April 16, 2013 (4:39 pm)

    Buses always have the right of way when merging into traffic. It’s not bullying. It’s using the rules of the road.

  • S April 16, 2013 (5:27 pm)

    It would also help if they learned to use there blinkers correctly to merge.

  • S April 16, 2013 (5:29 pm)

    @Brian, Pro Tip – I have been calling it that since the first week when they would sit at the bulbs longer then needed and block traffic. Get with the times.

  • Alki April 17, 2013 (10:56 am)

    We should start suing the city when they do STUPID things like these ‘bulbs’. We’ve also got to start holding people politically responsible, and ousting Seattle Council members and the Mayor.

    These kinds of ‘errors’ have profound fiscal consequences for us, the taxpayers.

    Johnathan Dong with SDOT should be fired, post haste.

  • concerned athlete April 17, 2013 (4:05 pm)

    Yes Brian they have the right of way, but they don’t use blinkers or even sometimes just merge into traffic with no warning. After loading or unloading, with no regards for traffic behind them, they gas it into the lane to get in, which causes driver to slam on their brakes for fear of being hit. Someday they are going to hurt someone with their bully driving tactics. Can someone also explain why bus stops are always 30-40 ft from the corner of an intersection? Check Admiral and California Ave. It also causes major traffic congestion when turning left (southbound) onto California ave from Admiral way because the bus stop sits in front of Circa which is a building away from the corner.

Sorry, comment time is over.