Making SW Roxbury safer: Discussion #2, and more to come

If you didn’t make it to the second meeting tonight about the project to make SW Roxbury safer between 35th SW and its east end at 4th/Olson, you’re not out of chances yet, but time is finite.

As with the first meeting earlier this month in White Center, this meeting was led by SDOT’s Jim Curtin and Brian Dougherty, though it was an interactive discussion much more than a “sit down and listen” meeting. Curtin did have a new, brief slide deck – that’s him at left, below, on the Roxhill Elementary stage with Chris Stripinis from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Neighborhood Council, who had explained backstory about WWRHAH and other groups asking the city to “do something about Roxbury Street.”

Thanks to Joe Szilagyi from WWRHAH, among tonight’s attendees, for that photo. Meantime, here’s the SDOT slide deck, shared by Curtin:

If you can’t see the Scribd document above, click here for the PDF version. After the presentation, with key points including the fact that Roxbury – classified as “a principal arterial” – has “a very high rate” of collisions, 223 in the last three years, including 11 pedestrians and two bicyclists being hit. Traffic volumes rise from 13,000 vehicles daily on the west end to 25,000 daily on the east end, “a pretty busy road.” The collision hot spots are all along the stretch.

The most collision-plagued intersection is at that busy east end, Olson/4th/Roxbury, and one suggestion was for a roundabout there – that would take money and time, Curtin said, not ruling it out, but for starters they’re considering reducing the spinout factor there by roughing up the pavement.

Other suggestions written on sticky notes and left along the multi-table rendering of Roxbury included working on the turn lanes at the intersection by Safeway, so people are clearer on which way vehicles are turning. All the suggestions are being collected, along with those to come at upcoming events such as these (from the slide deck):

WHAT’S NEXT: Early projects will include pavement repair near Roxbury Safeway – that will be fixed “very soon,” Curtin promised. Photo-enforcement cameras, as already announced, will be installed in Roxhill and Holy Family school zones. This entire project is being made possible by photo-enforcement revenue, he added. Longer-term – recommendations for the corridor are expected to be out in July.

17 Replies to "Making SW Roxbury safer: Discussion #2, and more to come"

  • Mr, CW February 26, 2014 (10:12 pm)

    Enjoy Roxbury while it is still two lanes each way. Road diet coming up.

  • sophista-tiki February 27, 2014 (1:52 am)

    There needs to be a turn lane down the middle.
    ( IE “road diet”)

  • Joe Szilagyi February 27, 2014 (3:17 am)

    @CW it was interesting–in both sessions, SDOT never brought up re-channeling Roxbury (road diets). Each time multiple people did, suggesting it in multiple specific passages of the road, and watching and listening to the now 30-40+ people at these events, I never saw anyone disagree or say it was a bad idea. I expected that–but nothing. Fauntleroy seemed to turn out ok.
    Beyond a “road diet”, since state law only let’s you do school photo enforcement during school arrival and departure times and it’s too expensive to permanent station police, how do we PERMANTLY stop people from driving an average of like 14+ MPH over the limit past these two schools? The speeds everywhere else are out of control as well. There really isn’t much else in the toolbox to permanently slow people down than to physically slow them down.

  • smokeycretin9 February 27, 2014 (7:25 am)

    I was unable to make it to last night’s meeting. I would like to add my two cents since I live right on Roxbury, near Holy Family, and see the accidents, speeding, (Hey West Seattle neighbors I see you texting all the time!) I am all for a road diet with left turn lane in center. You ever feel the need to raise your heartrate, try taking a left turn onto 22nd going Westbound around rush hour. You spend more time watching your mirror, hoping the person behind you isnt too busy updating a FaceSpace profile to notice you stopped.

  • smokeycretin9 February 27, 2014 (7:26 am)

    Maybe there is a city dept I could send my concerns to?

  • Joe Szilagyi February 27, 2014 (8:03 am)

    Smokey, email concerns to for feedback.

  • Chris February 27, 2014 (8:47 am)

    The western end of Roxbury only sees 13,000 vehicles per day. From SDOT statistics, some West Seattle streets with higher traffic volumes but only 2 lanes include: California between Alaska and Admiral, Avalon Way, Fauntleroy between Morgan and Alaska, and Delridge.
    All these streets function just fine, so keep that in mind when those in opposition to rechannelization of Roxbury claim that it will lead to significant delays and hardships for drivers.

  • pfeller February 27, 2014 (8:54 am)

    this road is so crazy busy during rush hours I could not imagine a road diet working. adjusting the lights around 15th, 16th and 17th would help keep the flow going. Adding turning lights at these same intersections would go a long way too.

    This is a main arterial through white center, I really hope they don’t make it worse.

  • Joe Szilagyi February 27, 2014 (9:27 am)

    @Pfeller, the Seattle Times (the biggest opponent in our region of the “war on cars”) says that ‘road diets’ work and we should do more of them: source. Fauntleroy is in much better shape now, reported by the West Seattle Blog numerous times; speeding down, accidents down, throughtput of cars hasn’t been impacted. When does it take most people driving the limit when there isn’t a big traffic screw up more than 2 minutes to drive from the park to Morgan Junction? Stone way: speeding and accidents way down. Nickerson: speeding and accidents way down. As someone who uses Roxbury several times a day (as a pedestrian, driver/car owner, and bus rider), whose wife and child walk on it daily, and considering there are multiple pre and day schools and two elementary schools in the corridor, I personally want this. There is no reason to not do it and not a single valid piece of evidence that road diets harm anything but people who want to speed. If anyone wants to speed in that corridor, I hope they get ticketed to the point that the state suspends their license. Slow down. It’s not your private road. Today, maybe it takes you 5 minutes to get from 35th to SR509/99. Who cares if two years from now it takes you 6 minutes? It’s hardly the end of the world for the good it could do our neighborhoods.

  • Mike D. February 27, 2014 (3:18 pm)

    Rock On Joe and Smokeycretin9!
    The only arguments against a Roxbury Road Diet are made up by those who don’t want to read the data or look at the results of how the sky-is-falling arguments used against the diet for Fauntleroy Way were dead wrong. Or, they want to speed everywhere but in front of their own home.

  • mpento February 27, 2014 (5:03 pm)

    This has quite a bit of bus traffic so I don’t think a road diet is a good idea. That is the main downside using Delridge at the moment and I don’t think they have as many buses. Also this article mentions Olson/4th/Roxbury and roughing up the pavement. IMO this is a lane issue with people trying to get ahead and then wanting to cut back to the inside lane. Roughing up would only make that worse. I think a bus/bike lane with a toll for the bus riders and cyclists who use it would be a good idea

  • smokeycretin9 February 27, 2014 (5:31 pm)

    if a road diet does happen, we MUST synch the lights thru White Center to make it seamless drive thru there. Not to make it more difficult to get out of West Seattle.
    We want this for safety and to stop people from rear-ending each other and stop racing to see who can get past the school bus before it hits it’s red lights and puts out it’s stop sign. It will also force people to slow down for the school zones instead of seeing people honk at someone who does slow down to 20 mph.

  • Eric1 February 27, 2014 (6:16 pm)

    People will whine about a road diet because that the one minute increase in commute time affects them. Their usual response is that if you chose to live on 35th or Roxbury you knew that it was a artery and you need to suck it up for everybody else. OK, you are right but you chose to live in West Seattle with basically three ways out and all of them are inconvenient. Face it: you were dumb enough to live south of Avalon and west of Marginal Way. Suck it up.
    However, the inconvenience is what makes West Seattle a good place to live. Just think how much your house would have cost if it were more convenient to get out of WS? West Seattle would have more density and traffic. The place would be full of bland housing, boring people and strip malls. There are many neighborhoods that fit the above description and we all don’t live in them for a reason.
    Here is my advice: Get up five minutes earlier, take an extra sip of coffee and take your time on your commute. Your hair will remain on your head longer and it will stay black/blond/red for a greater amount of time. You might even live longer in spite of your rush to work because of a safer road and a lower blood pressure. I, for one, have never understood why anyone “rushes” to work in the first place.

  • Busrider February 27, 2014 (7:54 pm)

    Intersection for 17th, cambridge and delridge just south of roxbury was just done and is confusing. Is it an all way stop? Will traffic signal be added? When heading to roxbury on delridge it becomes 3 lanes and there is a stop sign for turning right but its unclear for those continuing south on delridge to roxbury if the stop sign applies to other lanes

  • miws February 28, 2014 (8:01 am)

    Busrider, yes, that is now an All-Way Stop, which many drivers still don’t know/are ignoring. Pedestrians, and folks using other modes of transportation, be careful!


    That intersection has always been confusing, and had the great potential for collisions, IMHO, because before the rebuild, not all directions had to stop, and it seemed a bit counter-intuitive from at least one perspective.


    I walk that area, crossing Delridge after coming from the north on 17th over to Lee’s Produce at least once or twice a week.


    I have seen Stop signs mounted on A-boards there off and on, but they likely get blown/knocked over frequently. I wish SDOT would/could put an additional post mounted Stop sign there for clarification, and/or paint a Stop bar on the pavement.


    Yes, it is confusing, and it is a significant change after decades of the previous set-up. But drivers really need to pay attention to the signs that state “All-Way”, and of course everyone else needs to use due caution, and assume that those drivers are not paying attention to them.



  • Robert March 1, 2014 (6:20 am)


  • FionaEnzo March 1, 2014 (9:53 am)

    Worry that road diet will increase speeding traffic on 98th which parallels Roxbury and also has a blind hill. Hope they plan to add speed bumps on 98th. There are no sidewalks and lighting is not bright (albeit adequate for a sleepy side street).

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