West Seattle road work: 1-week closure on steep stretch of SW Charlestown

Just in from SDOT:

Starting Tuesday, SW Charlestown will be closed to traffic between 46th Avenue SW and 47th Avenue SW in both directions for one week. The Seattle Department of Transportation will close the street from 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 8 through 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 15. During the closure, department crews will replace the street’s concrete panels. Local access will be allowed via SW Spokane Street; all other traffic will follow a detour via SW Genesee Street between 55th Avenue SW and California Avenue SW. The work is weather-dependent.

34 Replies to "West Seattle road work: 1-week closure on steep stretch of SW Charlestown"

  • NW April 3, 2014 (4:19 pm)

    Man the good times that have been had on this stretch of pavement since my youth here is Westside sledding snowboarding tubing in winter along with the partying due to road closure. The times also ,which I don’t reccomend, my vehicle taking air at high speed from the top. This hill is awesome many good time had I am sure by all. Glad the sidewalks will be replaced though I don’t imagine it gets much foot traffic due to its steep grade.

  • wetone April 3, 2014 (4:39 pm)

    Would be curious as to why they are replacing ? seems like one of the better sections of road in W/S. Must be something else involved. Maybe doing something to make it faster for sledding : )

  • Steve April 3, 2014 (4:46 pm)

    Hurray! So glad to hear this bucking bronco of a street is getting some love!!

  • kathleen April 3, 2014 (5:31 pm)

    I remember sledding on Charleston too. When you hit the bottom, you could go two blocks. I hope the kids in the neighborhood are still able to enjoy it.

  • sc April 3, 2014 (5:35 pm)

    Talked to the SDOT person who was taking measurements. He said they are replacing the cement street panels with a better traction surface.
    Also have seen West Seattle High School teams running the hill for practice.

  • Andros April 3, 2014 (6:38 pm)

    Anyone know what the roadwork on 35th Ave. between Morgan and Findley is?

  • JayDee April 3, 2014 (7:01 pm)

    My sister’s Element was equipped with high mileage, low traction tires. Even with two people in front it would screech up Charlestown so much that they’d take alternates. And it is a walkable hill though the sidewalk sucks. Hopefully they fix that.

  • BCH April 3, 2014 (8:22 pm)

    As the owner of one of the properties directly affected by this closure you’d think the city would have provided some notice.
    Thanks WSB for letting me know.
    Ps. Happy to have sledders, skiers, hikers, joggers, and anyone else who likes to have fun on our hill. I love it.
    Please, no thrill seekers in cars “catching air”. I’ve had a few crash through my yard and have had to try to keep bloodied auto occupants coherent until emergency responders arrive. That’s not fun.

    • WSB April 3, 2014 (8:27 pm)

      BCH – I published it 20 minutes after it was sent – had not heard ANYTHING about this before the announcement. We try hard to get early notice of such things but it seems some decisions are made on the near spur of the moment…

  • wetone April 3, 2014 (8:23 pm)

    sc thanks, sort of figured that was the case, got a lot of new people moving into the area that might not understand how to negotiate a steep hill. Wonder why they don’t grind or blast it instead of replacing all of it, seems a very expensive choice hope it turns out better.

  • BCH April 3, 2014 (8:40 pm)

    WSB – once again THE BLOG is way ahead of the curve!

    I own the property on the SW corner of 47th/Charlestown and, as of today, have had NO communication from the city letting me know this work was planned and the street would be closed for a week.

  • GWS April 3, 2014 (9:32 pm)

    Hmm, I’m with BCH on this one. I’ve seen the No Parking signs on 46th and 47th but nothing on the hill itself. I too have not heard anything from the city about this. I checked the SDOT construction website and nothing shows up there either. I have to wonder why they didn’t wait a couple of months until after the high school kids have had their chance to paint it.

  • Charlestown Hill Resident April 3, 2014 (10:19 pm)

    Does this mean I can’t jump it next week in my pinto?

  • Charlestown Hill Resident April 3, 2014 (10:28 pm)

    @NW – Actually, I live on Charlestown hill and there is A LOT of foot traffic. Many people train/exercise on (e.g. run, walk) the hill daily. I would say that I see more people using the hill than walking down the flat part of 47th which runs perpendicular to the hill. The sidewalks are a mess and it is great to hear that they are being replaced.
    I just wish the city would inform the residents (lie me) in the homes along this stretch of their plans ahead of time for obvious reasons.
    Thanks for the heads up WSB!

  • Mike D. April 4, 2014 (3:28 am)

    At least two conmenters have referenced sidewalks being replaced. I read the WSB story three times and see that the concrete street panels are what is being replaced with a surfacing treatment to provide better traction. I recall that this same type of work is scheduled for SW Genessee between 30th and Avalon due to its streep grade, large volume of traffic and Metro #50 bus route.

    If in addition to the concrete street panels, the sidewalks are also being replaced and updated, then somegting is really wrong with equitable distribution of tax dollars. Why might I write this? Well, for starters, major segments of Puget Ridge, Cottage Grove/North Delridge have NO sidewalks. Could we give all tax payers the basics before giving certain ones upgrades?

  • NW April 4, 2014 (6:13 am)

    Looks like I made a mistake and did not read the info from SDOT about replacing the street pavement itself. On another note anyone interested in painting over the graffiti on The Charlestown Cafe I have some exterior paint whole 5 gallons

  • WSB April 4, 2014 (6:28 am)

    What is framed in blue above is the entirety of what SDOT sent us (and the general media list) AND posted on their http://onthemove.seattle.gov site. There is NOTHING about sidewalks. Just the road. – TR

  • Robert April 4, 2014 (7:34 am)

    heaven forbid they fix the sink-holes on delridge or the cave ins on 35th .

    • WSB April 4, 2014 (8:05 am)

      If you know of an unfixed pothole/sinkhole on a road, CALL IT IN TO 206-684-ROAD RIGHT NOW. Somebody did in another comment thread within the past week and said the pothole squad showed up THAT DAY.

  • wetone April 4, 2014 (10:05 am)

    Couldn’t agree more Mike D. I sure don’t understand why there replacing this section of road. Nothing wrong with it other than being a hill, do they plan on doing this to every steep hill in Seattle ? There are many areas in this town that really need roadwork and replacement this is not one. SDOT and the city making some poor judgments and spending once again if they do replace that whole section of road and get it done in a week come on, they have been working on that curb work on Alki for weeks. Just remember when voting how they spend it.

  • rls April 4, 2014 (10:31 am)

    Re: GWS’s comment: I would like to appeal to the WS seniors this year NOT to vandalize this hill street that creates an ugly site for all of us who live around this area to see the rest of the year after year…please!

  • BCH April 4, 2014 (11:31 am)

    rls: Hear hear!! The painting creates an eyesore that can never be fully removed. Not to mention all of the debris that is usually left behind as well as the risk to the kids as they dodge traffic.
    Perhaps a message from WSHS principal warning students not to deface public property is warranted, especially now that there will be a new clean road surface.

  • Charlestown Hill Resident April 4, 2014 (11:37 am)

    As I mentioned above, I live right on the hill. Cars routinely skid to a stop (if they stop at all at the 4-way stop) at the bottom of the hill when it’s wet. Cars also slide sideways attempting to go up the hill. We have seen so many near missed with on coming traffic and people turning around. There is a completely blind drop off at the top of the hill. Creating a surface with more traction could save lives. It’s a huge hazard.
    Earlier, I mistakenly mentioned that they were also replacing the sidewalks along this stretch. They are not. I met with SDOT this morning as they were canvasing the area dropping off flyers and they confirmed that it is just portions of the hill that they are improving. Apologies.

    • WSB April 4, 2014 (11:52 am)

      I e-mailed SDOT earlier this morning to ask about (a) resident notification and (b) specific reason for replacement, FWIW. Will add whatever we hear back – TR

  • Teri Ensley April 4, 2014 (11:41 am)

    The City should have provided residents months of notice, for several reasons. One big one is in case anyone needs/or wants their decades old sewer line replaced. Why? Because since the street will be torn up, the homeowner won’t have to pay the highway robbery price to have it torn up in the future should their old, vintage sewer line fail. The home owner could coordinate to have the sewer line replaced during the City’s work. Yes, I know, too logical and taxpayer customer service focused.

    On the safety of hill. As someone that lives on 46th , just south of the top of hill….please folks, don’t jump the hill in your car. The bloody occupants landing the previous poster’s yard is not a joke. There have been some serious car accidents/injuries. It is not funny.

  • Charlestown Hill Resident April 4, 2014 (11:45 am)

    @GWS & @rls – I agree about the annual senior hill painting (graffiti). My thoughts and experiences with this are for another post, but I will say I think we should organize and maybe offer to supply the seniors with paint that is easily removed. I know they use traffic powder paint to paint the green stripe in the road for the St Patrick’s Day Parade. Maybe a few of us that live on or near the hill can coordinate and come to some sort of a compromise this year. Text me if you are interested, 206-427-9260.

  • BCH April 4, 2014 (12:05 pm)

    As mentioned before, I own the house on the SW corner of 47th & Charlestown. I have been here 15 years this month.
    I cannot count the number of VERY SERIOUS accidents that have occurred outside my home during that time (including in my yard). Multiple roll overs, etc. I have seen too many bloodied people being cut out of their cars. It is always the same, speed coming over the top of the hill, catching air, and losing control.
    I have always felt that there needs to be a stop sign Westbound, at 46th & Charlestown. This would force people to come to a complete stop before heading down the hill. There is currently no stop heading West on Charlestown from California, it is very easy to build up to 40+ mph; that much speed is enough to lose control of a car; especially at night if you are not from the area as the hill is so poorly marked.
    I contacted the City about this once before. I received a form letter telling me there were not enough accidents at 46th and Charlestown to warrant this. The accidents have occurred at 47th/Charlestown AS A RESULT of the lack of a stop at the top of the hill. Anyone interested in trying again?

  • GWS April 4, 2014 (3:35 pm)

    The notice was stuffed in my mailbox today. It really did not have any more information on it than what was posted by Tracy above except for some information on the detour route.

    The SDOT construction map on the web still does not show anything about this upcoming exercise.

  • sc April 4, 2014 (3:57 pm)

    two comments
    One year when the West Seattle High School Seniors had painted the hill the EPA was brought in after. This was because when the paint was being removed from the street it would be a hazard if it went into the street drains so the EPA was there to monitor. The paint also makes the street slick for cars to go up, especially if it is raining.
    Also, besides those “going for air” there are the drivers heading west on Charlestown who make a left turn at the top of the hill or those who drive north or south across Charlestown on 46th and are not able to see if a car is coming up the

  • BCH April 4, 2014 (4:42 pm)

    I spoke to a guy from SDOT who was placing no parking signs in front of my home today. According to him, not all of the panels will be replaced. In fact, it appears it will only be panels on one side of the street, two thirds of the way down the hill. That would be the westbound half of the street only to the driveway of the house on the NE corner of the intersection.
    Not sure of the extent of the work at the top of the hill at 46th.

  • neighbor April 4, 2014 (5:33 pm)

    I like BCH’s idea of a stop sign at top of hill for west bound traffic. It would think it would reduce accidents and more important, injuries.

  • Mike D. April 4, 2014 (5:54 pm)

    @ Terri – Your suggestion and comment are brilliant. I wish things would be more coordinated between SDOT and property owners as you suggest.

    • WSB April 4, 2014 (6:40 pm)

      SDOT did reply to my questions at mid-afternoon. As has been mentioned here, flyering has now apparently been done. As for the condition of the road – note that this is a prelude to MORE work:

      There are several damaged concrete panels that we are repairing ahead of contracted concrete grinding work that will take place in May. The grinding will improve traction on the worn panels, which are largely on a steep slope and have areas of exposed aggregate that greatly reduce traction when wet or icy. The grinding is the driving factor here. From a cost and effectiveness standpoint it is best to repair the damaged panels ahead of that process. Here is a photo so readers can see the condition of the panels.

      I’ve uploaded the photo into our system so this is a direct link (will include in an updated story at some point between now and work starting on Tuesday): https://westseattleblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Charlestown.jpg

  • Charlestown Hill Resident April 5, 2014 (9:19 am)

    Thank you for continuing to look into this TR. I seriously don’t know how you cover so much ground all of the time – and so well ;).
    The lead traffic coordinator from SDOT stopped by my house in person last night on his way to little league at Bar-S and informed me that the entire hill will be texture blasted (paraphrasing) for better traction while only the downhill side will have some panels replaced. I spoke with him about some of the ideas mentioned above (the annual senior painting canvas, stop sign at the top, etc) and he was pretty open to suggestions in general.
    I bet if we organize we can likely come to some solution at least regarding the painting and maybe even get some SDOT backing on a stop sign. I have heard from a couple of neighbors directly so far via text. If you are so inclined, text me and join in the push to organize. 206-427-9260.

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