Rechannelization proposed for 1 mile of SW Roxbury, and other safety-improvement proposals unveiled at 1st of 2 meetings

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Rechannelization (aka a “road diet”) for the mile of SW Roxbury between 17th and 35th SW (map) is a big part of what SDOT is proposing to do, to fix what it acknowledges are “horrible” conditions for everyone from drivers to pedestrians:

Other proposals and plans for the road, between Olson and 35th, have just been revealed too – a mix of paving, painting, signage, and signals.

It was all unveiled by SDOT’s neighborhood traffic liaison Jim Curtin (who also happens to live in the area) in a meeting tonight at Southwest Library, with more than 20 neighbors in attendance, including leaders of neighborhood groups that campaigned for the city to finally get something done. (See the full slide deck here.)

As Curtin prefaced, SW Roxbury from Olson to 35th is a very busy road, a “principal arterial,” with 13,000 cars a day on average at 35th, almost twice that (25,000) at Olson Place SW. Speed studies show that most drivers are going at least five mph over the speed limit, Curtin said, adding that alongside Roxhill Elementary, 85 percent of vehicles are going more than 11 mph over the 30 mph limit, and, as he pointed out, speed is the number one factor in crashes – of which there have been 223 in the past three years, with 112 people hurt. The eastern section is more crash-prone than the western section. 11 crashes involved vehicles and pedestrians; two involved vehicles and bicycles.

Long-term proposals unveiled, under design right now into early 2015, with the “final determination” to be made before year’s end, and work to be done next year:

They’ll look at the corridor in three sections, he said, western, then White Center, then eastern. For the western segment, the most dramatic proposal:

*Rechannelization between 17th SW and 35th SW, one lane each way, middle lane for turns, shared bus lane with a potential new bus-layover zone near Roxhill Elementary, signage improvements, spot pavement repairs, but no “bike facilities” yet. He says that stats show that rechannelization works well on streets carrying fewer than 25,000 vehicles per day – and as noted above, that defines this stretch (16,000 at the most along the rechannelization-proposed segment). As if on cue, an attendee said, “This is the same thing that was successful on Fauntleroy, right?” and Curtin had a slide ready for that:

It showed 31 percent fewer collisions on Fauntleroy Way after that change five years ago, while it carries a bit more than the 17,600 vehicles a day that it did before the rechannelization. Travel times are unchanged, from four more seconds to 1.2 minutes; “top-end speeders” are down 13 percent.

Curtin says this will make for a better pedestrian situation, eliminates the “multiple threat” collision danger, so more crosswalks might result. Right and left turns will be safer too, he says. He also points out a five-foot buffer planned for each side of the road – and acknowledges that could be the future bike-lane space, after a question from an attendee.

Why can’t this stretch through the White Center area at 15th-17th? he was asked. Travel times there would go up “to unacceptable levels,” Curtin says they found out, through an analysis. But they do plan pavement repair between 17th and 18th, plus “new curb ramps and accessible pedestrian signals at 17th,” as well as signage improvements (like the ones now up at Fauntleroy/California, warning that turning vehicles need to stop for pedestrians and bicycles). “We’re going to go out there and take care of business,” Curtin declared. And yes, he told an attendee who asked, they are in communication with the county (SDOT is actually responsible for Roxbury up until the curb on the county side of the road, even though the boundary technically goes through the middle). A “crosswalk design” might be possible at that spot, Curtin suggests – not part of the formal plan but “if anyone’s interested in talking about it … we can partner up and make it happen.”

The parking alongside Roxbury right by downtown White Center will not be affected by this – business owners “fought really hard to keep it,” Curtin notes. In addition, the parking has NOT been a factor in any crashes, he said.

Now, for the eastern section of Roxbury:

*”Engineering education” is what they want to use to address the main problem, speeding, with two radar speed signs that will likely be in by year’s end, plus “channelization improvements” at Olson/4th – the latter, “to address some of the sideswipe issues.” That will include some “subtle tweaks” to the paint on the roadway to address that.

*To address concerns about a long stretch with no pedestrian crossing, they would seek, “long term,” a signal at 12th SW, in the “neighborhood pond transit stop” area, said Curtin. Grant money would likely help with this, he explained.

But that’s not all the city’s proposing, and not all it’s been doing. Some work’s already been done. But first, the new short-term projects announced by Curtin:

Work is beginning now to pave Roxbury between 24th and 27th; left-turn pockets will be installed at 26th, for both north and south approaches; and grant-funded sidewalks are in the works between 28th and 30th SW – that’s just been announced, Curtin said. If more grant money comes in, they will head south on the east side of 30th, he said.

And he listed the “short-term projects” (as in, completed now or completed soon) that are already in place:

The school-zone speed-enforcement cameras at Roxhill Elementary and Holy Family School will start issuing warnings September 2nd, the first day of school, continuing for a month – if you’re caught speeding, you will get that warning in the mail. “You’re not going to get a ticket for going 22 mph in a 20 mph zone,” said Curtin, “but if you go much faster, you’re asking for it.” They’ve also put up curve warnings and advisory speed-limit signs at the Roxbury/Olson curve, and signs will be put up soon warning that “left turn yield(s) on (green light)” at Roxbury/Olson/4th. (Curtin said that since the signs have gone up in that spot – the most crash-prone intersection in West Seattle – nothing major has happened.)

Meantime, other stats Curtin listed about Roxbury:

*153 parcels abut Roxbury
*more than half are single-family homes
*almost a fifth are retail, office, industrial
*3 schools, parks, open space
*Westwood/White Center urban village in the heart of the area
*Served by 10 transit routes, including West Seattle’s most-popular route, 120

As Curtin recapped, the speed/collision problems on Roxbury were an impetus for this, as well as Safe Routes to School funding availability, and local community councils’ request for help – Westwood Roxhill Arbor Heights, Highland Park Action Committee, and North Highline Unincorporated Area Council.

This was preceded by meetings back in February (WSB coverage here), as well as other “outreach” events that Curtin also recapped, including the White Center Summit, WC Chamber of Commerce, and more, including a WC Community Development Association outreach project making contact, he said, with more than 200 households for whom English is not the primary language.

In addition to the second “design review” meeting next Monday in Greenbridge (6 pm at the YWCA, 9720 8th SW), you’ll also be able to check out the proposed designs at Delridge Day on August 9th (11 am-3 pm at Delridge Community Center park). And if you’re in the area, look for information in the mail.

OTHER ‘NEXT STEPS’: SDOT is talking to businesses August through October, planning a “final” determination and community meeting late this fall, and then would do the work in spring-summer next year.

81 Replies to "Rechannelization proposed for 1 mile of SW Roxbury, and other safety-improvement proposals unveiled at 1st of 2 meetings"

  • Joe Szilagyi July 31, 2014 (8:25 pm)

    The one downside to a road diet is it’s now very hard to illegally speed.

  • Josh July 31, 2014 (8:31 pm)

    I have a question (if anyone knows the answer)? For cars going north and south on 30th, if you turn onto Roxbury during the time the speed cams are on, how do you whether they are on or not? You’d be turning onto Roxbury in between signs. Is there some sort of warning?

  • CSWS July 31, 2014 (8:53 pm)

    As the director of the Community School of West Seattle on 22nd and Roxbury, I could not be happier for improved conditions. We serve over 65 families a day (105 different families every week) making left and right turns onto our street and it can be treacherous at times. In the last 2 years we’ve had 3 fender benders on our corner alone. And I am sure the passing traffic will be pleased that we are in a turn lane-I can not tell you how many times I have nearly been clipped by drivers speeding to go around me. THANK YOU. Sorry I couldn’t make that meeting but I’ll be at the next one.

  • mpento July 31, 2014 (8:59 pm)

    road diets and buses are a terrible combination. The turning lane is just going to be a bad passing lane and for that stretch of road there are going to be pedestrians doing the middle lane frogger game

  • bertha July 31, 2014 (9:06 pm)

    No more bus lay-over zones. There are enough problems on Barton.

  • Paul July 31, 2014 (9:30 pm)

    I would desperately love to see a left turn signal at 26th & Roxbury, by the Safeway. It is a dangerous intersection with people swerving around turning cars & there have been multiple accidents. Thank you WSB for the nice summary; these road changes are needed and should improve driver/pedestrian/bicyclist safety.

  • AmandaKH July 31, 2014 (9:48 pm)

    Thank you thank you thank you Jim Curtin and SDOT! I am pleased as punch at this plan and cannot wait until it is implemented. I can already imagine what a much more pleasant walk down Roxbury will be like! One thing in the slide deck – of the 200 people that the WC CDA reached out to – 26% of them walk down Roxbury.
    And the bus layover will double as a loading zone for Roxhill Elementary. Whose students get dropped off and picked up by bus right on Roxbury now. It will create a bus lane, and then 5′ buffer, then the Westbound lane. FANTASTIC!

  • Eric1 July 31, 2014 (9:51 pm)

    Turning lanes are only used for passing by “drivers” that don’t know the rules of the road. Some of this is impatience and a general lack of grey matter regarding the relative importance of self vs. others while in an automobile.
    I have been passed numerous times on Delridge in the turning lane by cars while I never have been passed while on Fauntleroy. You would think there would be more self-important people using Fauntleroy but apparently they can reason that passing in the turning lane is not worth it (tickets, accidents, road-rage, etc…)
    My guess is Roxbury would be somewhere in between regarding the reasoning power of the drivers using the road.

  • JanS July 31, 2014 (9:57 pm)

    Bertha…they’re talking about Roxbury, not Barton, where the lay-over zones are.

    Comments have just begun…there is a problem, and people complaining about the problem. There has been a way to fix the problem put on the table. Now wait for the same people who complained, to complain about the fix. Makes one wonder…do they just like to complain?


  • Joe Szilagyi July 31, 2014 (10:13 pm)

    @mpento road diets and buses are not terrible combinations. Buses have extra motivations than normal drivers to keep the speed limit, double reinforcing the point of road diets: that you and I cannot speed. We have no legal right to speed and there’s nothing wrong with literal physical deterrents to keep us speeding. If it adds 1-3 minutes to go from 35th to I-509 or whatever, we can leave 1-3 minutes earlier.

  • Joe Szilagyi July 31, 2014 (10:16 pm)

    @Bertha “No more bus lay-over zones. There are enough problems on Barton.”
    The buses have to layover somewhere and that somewhere is at the end of their “run”. It makes a lot more sense for them to layover in a much lower pedestrian and usage area like in front of Roxhill Elementary there during the times when school buses aren’t offloading and loading, and I hope SPS and Metro sign off on it. I was the one that first pushed that suggestion, and I think it’s a good idea. SDOT seems to think so too, since the combination school bus and passenger bus “layover zone” there is something we’ve needed anyway for school buses to get them out of the flow of traffic.

  • Joe Szilagyi July 31, 2014 (10:17 pm)

    @Paul “I would desperately love to see a left turn signal at 26th & Roxbury, by the Safeway.”
    TR or Amanda can correct me if I’m wrong or just not remembering everything, but I think that was in at least the long term plan.

  • Joe Szilagyi July 31, 2014 (10:18 pm)

    @Josh “I have a question (if anyone knows the answer)? For cars going north and south on 30th, if you turn onto Roxbury during the time the speed cams are on, how do you whether they are on or not? You’d be turning onto Roxbury in between signs. Is there some sort of warning?”
    I don’t think this ever came up. I’ll ask Jim @SDOT to take a look at the comments here.

  • Alex July 31, 2014 (10:34 pm)

    Adding one extra minute to travel time is a big deal when it happens 17,000 times a day. Over the course of the year we might prevent a fender bender or two, saving the insurance companies a few bucks, but is it worth it?

    17,000 x 365 is a LOT of extra minutes west Seattleites will spend sitting in cars, wasting time and gas in our new worse traffic.

    Hey, as long as we’re at it, why not close Roxbury entirely? 100% reduction in speeding on that road! at the low low cost of making driving totally impossible.

  • datamuse July 31, 2014 (10:47 pm)

    You know what slows traffic even more than road diets?
    Car crashes.

  • Josh July 31, 2014 (11:54 pm)

    Thanks Joe, (re: what about turning ONTO Roxbury when inside the camera zone). I’m one of those 20MPH in school zone drivers, and not looking to speed. But there are quite a few streets where you turn onto Roxbury within the camera zone (for example, leaving Safeway). Perhaps there are strict times the cams are on that we as neighbors would get to know?
    I’m glad for the calming measures, but don’t want a $335 ticket for being surprised leaving a gas station, turning onto Roxbury, at 21 MPH…!

  • sophista-tiki August 1, 2014 (6:08 am)

    The road diet on Delridge seems to be working great I find it much easier to drive through there now. and to the guy who is making mentality judgements about the who lives in what area …. Really dude??!
    People who live on Delridge aren’t smart enough to follow the rules of the road but people who live in the richer/ whiter sections like Fauntleroy are?!
    Thats what it sounds like you’re saying.

  • Joe Szilagyi August 1, 2014 (6:23 am)

    I heard back from SDOT already about questions here last night in comments!
    “-Drivers turning into the school zone from 30th will not pass the photo enforcement sensors so they cannot be cited by the camera system. They will, however, pass ‘School Zone Speed Limit 20’ signs prior to reaching Roxbury (from the south) or Roxhill Elementary (from the north).
    -Turn signals will not be installed at 30th and Roxbury
    -Left turn lanes will be installed on 26th. Signal changes are being considered.”
    @Josh, yep, by policy these will only be “on” during certain defined windows to do photo enforcement, but state & city law is 20mph when “children are present”, and there will be a lot more surprise SPD enforcement at times during the school year.

  • Joe Szilagyi August 1, 2014 (6:34 am)

    @alex, by that logic speed limits are harmful. That logic is completely flawed, unfortunately, and I say that as someone who in his life has picked up a LOT of speeding tickets. I never had any right, be it personal, Constitutional, God-given, or whatever else, to go over the limits. The more time I spend working on this stuff the more every argument AGAINST things like traffic calming devolve to either some variant of “liberty”/”I’m opposed to government controls on me” or fear their drive will take much longer.
    The former has no legal or societal merit in this context, or let’s toss speed limits whole along with seat belt and child car seat laws and most other laws that restrict the individual unless they opt in (intended or not, it’s the crazy sovereign citizen thing), while the latter fear has been disproven repeatedly already with other roadways that got road dieted. Fauntleroy end to end at peak times takes maybe +1 minute PER driver PER trip, not in some cascade aggregate. that’s not how it works or else you’d have those ten day long backups like in Chinese news media, stretching from Avalon Way south to the Columbia River. :)

  • David Boneham August 1, 2014 (7:13 am)

    A road diet for Roxbury is a welcome improvement over the aggressive and dangerous situation of that road today. On different occasions, I drive my motorcycle, car or bicycle from 35th over to White Center and no matter which mode I choose the situation is stressful and dangerous. Bicycling is the worse as I am condemned to riding the sidewalk because of the aggressive and hostile tendencies of motorists on Roxbury. No matter which mode I use traversing Roxbury is stressful. A road diet will make the road more humane and will improve it for all modes of transportation.

  • Smitty August 1, 2014 (7:29 am)

    I guess I don’t understand this comment regarding the Fauntleroy re-channel:

    “Travel times are unchanged, from four more seconds to 1.2 minutes”

    How is adding 1.2 minutes considered unchanged?

    If this was originally a 3 minute segment (just guessing) this represents a 33% increase in travel time. Similarly, if accidents went from 3 to 2, big deal.

    They should at least be consistent in their metrics. If they are using % for accident reduction they should also show % change in travel time. Or show both % change AND real numbers for all measurements. To not do so makes one wonder if they are gaming it a bit.

  • miws August 1, 2014 (7:48 am)

    You know what slows traffic even more than road diets?
    Car crashes.

    DingDingDing!! Winnah! Winnah! Winnah!



  • miws August 1, 2014 (7:59 am)

    Also, I can only imagine how much nicer it will be for pedestrians that regularly use the sidewalks in that stretch.


    A few years back, I walked the stretch from 16th or 17th, down to 30th, on the south side of Roxbury. A walk I probably took quite regularly, 40 years ago now.


    It had been years, if not a couple decades or so, since I had walked it, and had forgotten how intimidating it could be, with narrow sidewalks, no parking strip, occasional necessary obstacles such as lampposts, and vehicles whizzing by. I worried about getting beaned on the head by a mirror sticking out from a truck.



  • jhonny davies August 1, 2014 (9:25 am)

    With living a couple blocks off Fauntleroy and having my office off of W Nickerson St, I thought these ‘road diets’ would be tragic. In the end though, I have to say, I feel they’ve made for much improved conditions and any delays are almost nil. Left turns from side streets are much safer and left turns across one lane are too. Although I’d note that buses on Nickerson do pull out of traffic to the side, as in, no bus bulbs. I gotta say, I was wrong – I’m now a supporter.

  • dsa August 1, 2014 (9:56 am)

    This will work fine most of the time west of White Center where peak hour volumes are lower. But I am suspicious of the before and after traffic data chart. Average time delays based on the total days volume are *very* misleading. The important criteria is throughput during peak times, typically called “peak hour”.

    A general note is all this road diet stuff, meaning taking lanes all over the Seattle, is going to put this city in a world of hurt in disaster situation.

    But it is a quick and cheap easy fix to all the problems SDOT is incapable of dealing with.

    Median barriers, restricting left turns, signal synchronization, full size traffic circles, pedestrian actuated signals, one way traffic roads, live enforcement are some of the tools that can be used to accomplish less accidents etc, without creating congestion and the resultant air pollution and traffic diversion to other streets.

  • Greg August 1, 2014 (10:12 am)

    Its interesting that the increased travel time along Nickerson is listed as N/A. Considering that Nickerson is now a parking lot most days does that mean that increased commute time is beyond calculation?

    If people put down the cell phones I bet we would have a lot few collisions as well.

  • flimflam August 1, 2014 (10:45 am)

    the nickerson road diet was not necessary imo. I used to take nickerson on my bike long ago and felt just fine re: safety – there was almost always a chance for cars to pass safely via inside lane, etc. now, its essentially a constant train of cars stuck behind the buses.
    i drive this route more than bike now, for a variety of reasons, but i am very happy that i am out of the area before rush hour.

  • Nathan August 1, 2014 (11:04 am)


    The traffic situation in Seattle is terrible. I agree, lots of us walk, bike, motorcycle. However, most of us walk AFTER driving to get somewhere, because public transportation is awful. I live half a block off of Roxbury, for over 7 years, with two young boys. I walk Roxbury all the time, up to White Center. Is the traffic quick? Yes! And it should be. It’s the only road to get OUT of West Seattle quickly on the South end. If that bothers you, take a different route! Those that complain obviously must not use this section of road for their commute. The parking in front of Guaymas already causes a major traffic problem during heavy commute times, because people park there regardless of the sign that says not to during specific hours. And how about all the people turning right, causing traffic to slow or stop. This city’s idea that roads should be downsized is ludicrous. Metro/Seattle keeps cutting public transportation, and then keeps shrinking the road system to keep us out of our cars. I road the bus for over 5 years, until my commute times increased to where the bus takes a minimum of 60 minutes longer per day, if not 120 minutes, for the same commute by car! In fact, I can ride my bicycle, 9.5 miles, to work twice as fast as I can get to the same location by any bus route from West Seattle. I’ll bike before taking the bus its so bad. And the WiFi on the C-Line – the 2 times I tried this past Spring – it never worked!

    Road diets are not a solution, and what they are planning with Roxbury is stupid, unless there is an alternative plan to provide traffic flow out of West Seattle. Changes like this, the idiotic tunnel system to replace the viaduct that is costing us billions, and will leave us with a permanent tolling system to go North to Fremont/Ballard, and the consistent cutting of bus services is infuriating. I question why I still live in this city….I seriously wouldn’t if I didn’t like my job.

    …and in 7 years of using Roxbury…I can’t remember a single time I was delayed by an accident. I can remember the countless times I was delayed by congestion due to the funneling of traffic to one lane because of cars parked next to Guaymas.

  • Nathan August 1, 2014 (11:12 am)


    Want me to embrace this plan? Provide us with a functional public transportation system. Not this joke of an express route that takes nearly as long as the old 54. Create more park’and’rides. Provide true express service from the park’and’rides straight to downtown. Provide functional wireless, so that I can work while I commute.

  • Data August 1, 2014 (11:43 am)

    This is so typical of Seattle. Rather than addressing the root cause, they engineer junk around it and then claim success with dramatic statistics. When you cut a road in half to reduce accidents, there’s a bigger issue that needs solving. Reducing throughput in a growing city is not the answer. The road diets also encourage drivers to use non-arterial streets – where collisions are more likely. Where are the statistics for that?

  • Chris August 1, 2014 (12:30 pm)

    As a homeowner on Roxbury Street for the past 12 years, I can attest to the dangerous and unpleasant conditions for all users of this street.

    Drivers speed excessively throughout the day, constantly jockeying around any left-turning vehicle and never – ever – stopping for pedestrians waiting at corners without signed crosswalks (even though any corner is a legal crosswalk). Walking to Safeway along Roxbury is exhilarating – if you like being a whisker away from cars and trucks traveling 40 MPH or more.

    This stretch of Roxbury looks and feels like a freeway, so drivers treat it that way. I find it funny when people complain about rechannelization being an “engineering” solution, as if anything engineered involves some kind of insidious restriction on our freedom. Re-engineering is exactly what this road needs to solve the above problems and I would welcome the proposed lane changes.

    Also, to all those who complain that travel times will increase: Yes, if you have been speeding and you change to driving at the speed limit, it will take longer. Accept it.

  • Nathan August 1, 2014 (1:41 pm)

    @SDOT @Chris,

    Want to make a difference? The city could widen the sidewalk and put in some overhead crosswalks at key locations. Keep the traffic flowing with 2 lanes in each direction. The parking at Guaymas – how does 1 business’s opinion matter more than the thousands of people that use that road?

  • Data August 1, 2014 (1:59 pm)

    @chris – it’s not difficult to “show no rerouting of arterial traffic to side streets” when you don’t look at more than one or two alternate streets. If you’re really drawing conclusions from the presented data (especially when reported by a special interest / lobbying group), that’s your prerogative. There’s not enough space here to teach a statistics course.

  • AmandaKH August 1, 2014 (2:20 pm)

    @Data. First, don’t condescend to Chris please. He is a champion of this neighborhood, and a fair one. And there are no alternative non-arterial side streets that parallel Roxbury from 35th to 17th Ave SW. Barton St (already an arterial) and 98th Ave SW from 26th St only are the closest things. If people take them, they will only do so once as they learn that they will loose time once they have to zig zag through UKC.
    The thought that it might take you a little longer to get where you want to go in your car cannot trump safety for all. Traffic will actually flow *better* with this configuration as vehicles turning (left or right) will move out of the flow of traffic. The 2 parking spaces in White Center, according to SDOT, were fought very hard for by the businesses. If you want to take on the mantle of removing them, I suggest you start by speaking to those businesses.
    Nathan (hi neighbor), your anger with the transit system in Seattle should be directed to City Hall and Metro, not SDOT. They do not have anything to do with transit. In fact, you should join the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (I am co-chair) and put that passion to work.

  • FedUp August 1, 2014 (2:36 pm)

    There is enough BS here to fertilize my whole yard. OMG, this city is getting nuttier and nuttier – I hate it and really, really want to leave. Barton is messed up with the bus parking, but mostly because of the bus-bulb; and there is just as much pedestrian traffic there as Roxbury. Now Roxbury will be messed up as well. I know that the city hates all car drivers, but some of us must drive – that is what SDOT doesn’t understand. They think we are all ass-hats!! That attitude continues to show. I am fed up.
    Yes, travel times will increase due to slower speeds and that is good, but reducing lanes from two to one also causes delays because traffic backs up at signals (like Alaska) and there is more and more frustration among drivers, which causes additional problems. I prefer going to Burien and points south than going anywhere within Seattle, including West Seattle. Less business for Seattle shops and restaurants.
    Regarding bike lanes – I believe that bikers are safer without dedicated lanes. I used to commute to work between Lake City and UW in the 70’s. I was careful to take the least busy streets in my commute for MY safety. Why not use the non-arterials as bike lanes?
    Someone mentioned adding a left turn signal somewhere. It is really needed at 35th and Barton – we almost got in a serious accident due to an incompetent Uber driver turning in front of oncoming traffic.
    SDOT: who are your customers?

  • Nathan August 1, 2014 (2:40 pm)

    @Amanda @MayorEdMurry

    Although SDOT isn’t directly responsible for Metro/public transportation, they have to coordinate their efforts with Metro, to some extent, as Metro uses the city streets and needs dedicated stops, etc. And they both are the direct responsibility of the city proper, and the Mayor. A Mayor who lives in West Seattle (or at least used to). A Mayor who doesn’t seem to concern himself with the South-end of the city, as attested to the SoutPark community meeting he recently cancelled his attendance to, just moments before the meeting was started. Ed Murray – where is your vision of an “interconnected city” in this project….?

  • FedUp August 1, 2014 (2:47 pm)

    @Nathan – you are awesome! I just read your posting to my husband and he’s going, “Yes, yes, yes!”

  • Chris August 1, 2014 (2:48 pm)

    @Nathan – On my stretch of Roxbury (35th to 30th), there is not space for wider sidewalks and four lanes. Besides, the cost of such construction would be vastly greater than rechannelizing.

    Also, in response to your request to “Keep the traffic flowing with 2 lanes in each direction.”, please keep in mind that other rechannelization projects have shown IMPROVED flow of traffic with a dedicated left-turn lane. I have seen no evidence so far of such an arrangement significantly slowing the flow of traffic. (It would slow down speeding drivers, though, which is a different, and valid, objective.) I would welcome, though, any studies or data to the contrary.

  • Chris August 1, 2014 (2:51 pm)

    @Data – Not being able to collect my own statistics on non-arterial traffic rerouting, I have to assume that SDOT’s data are legitimate. I would welcome, though, any studies or data to the contrary if they exist.

  • Nathan August 1, 2014 (2:54 pm)


    Although I agree with much of your sentiment, most of the West Seattle side streets consist of “4-way” stops with no stop signs, and/or round-a-bouts, that impede the flow of cars and bicycles. I wouldn’t call those safer than a dedicated bike lane. I would need to see some truly unbiased statistics that show the data one way versus the other.

  • Nathan August 1, 2014 (3:00 pm)


    While we are at it, lets turn 35th into one lane each direction! There are 100 times the homes, accidents, and speed-mongers on 35th! That must mean it would be safer to turn it into a a two lane versus four lane! Lets make traffic impossible in West Seattle!

  • Kathleen August 1, 2014 (3:16 pm)

    Road Diet on one street means more traffic on some other street. Road diet on Fauntleroy made more traffic on 35th. 35th is way worse now.

    Road diet on Barton made more traffic on Roxbury.

    Seems like the real strategy is to prevent anyone from getting anywhere.

  • Nathan August 1, 2014 (3:18 pm)


    I’ll be the first to admit I generally don’t travel by foot much West of Roxy’s. I run in the neighborhoods behind that area, all the way to Marine View Dr. etc., but most of the time I come out on 28th and Roxbury. There is no dedicated cross walk at 28th, over to the park/school. There probably should be, as its a park and a school. However, there is a dedicated cross walk slightly East of that intersection, and it’s very easy to access. In 7 years of driving Roxbury, the number of times I have been stuck behind cars turning left is substantially less than the number of times I have been stuck behind cars turning right! The left lane is almost always the faster moving lane, coming west from 99. I can see a few intersections that cause problems specifically with left turns. Some of those issues are addressed with left-hand turn arrows that spawn at the beginning of the light sequence. Other ways of addressing that is forcing traffic to turn left on intersections where a dedicated turn lane can be created. Like 4th and Roxbury. Make 16th and Roxbury no left turn and the cars would turn @ 4th, and traffic would likely improve. There never is more than 1 or 2 cars at most turning @ 16th, yet 20-30 cars will pile up behind them.

  • jwright August 1, 2014 (3:45 pm)

    Kathleen, Unfortunately there is no objective data to support your anecdotal claim.

  • Joe Szilagyi August 1, 2014 (4:28 pm)

    We can go round and round, but as a resident myself right by the 35th to 30th stretch, with a wife, mother-in-law, myself, and kid who go on foot that way to Roxhill Park a lot I gotta say – if the likely Roxbury rechannel and speed controls are up-ended I will personally go to war with City Hall until there’s a cop camped 24×7 issuing tickets like a fascist on every speeder, even if it’s me. The same goes for 35th, because my kid will be spending years on 35th going to Arbor Heights Elementary.
    “Road diets” and “lanes” are total red herrings. The entire point is to force people to stay at or under the speed limit. Full stop. That’s it.
    Is the implication here in these comments that we shouldn’t be prevented from speeding?

  • NT August 1, 2014 (4:59 pm)

    You meant 14th and Roxbury, right? Not 4th and Roxbury.

  • D Del Rio August 1, 2014 (5:15 pm)

    How can we stop this madness? If my elderly parents didn’t live here, I would move out of Seattle in a heartbeat. I can deal with all the urban density but road diets I just can’t.

  • Nathan August 1, 2014 (5:49 pm)


    I want to correct one of your statements. Roads are not created and maintained to force people to drive a certain speed. They are created to allow people to travel over a distance to a new location. Their sole purpose is to facilitate this transition, as quickly (and safely) as possible. This is why we have freeways, highways, inter/intrastate road systems, AND THROROUGHFARES.

    Do you walk your dog on the freeway? Do you cross the highway with your kid in a stroller? No – because it’s ILLEGAL to do so, and not safe! Why should Roxbury be any different? It’s the one and only thoroughfare from the South end of West Seattle quickly out of West Seattle. Why should it be converted to a residential street? In my opinion, West Seattle needs MORE thoroughfares! If traffic could move quickly on specific streets, every other street would be considerably safer as traffic would be reduced.

  • smokeycretin9 August 1, 2014 (6:14 pm)

    As someone who lives on a corner of Roxbury west of White Center, I see people driving WAY over the 30mph limit, people texting, and people not paying attention.
    If you wanted to take a left turn on 22nd ave sw, to go south, you spend more time looking in your rear view mirror hoping that the person barreling down on you isnt too wrapped up in updating a Facebook status to notice you and your young child in the back seat, making a left hand turn.
    I have seen and heard so many accidents on this street. I dont advocate a full road diet down Roxbury, but it might be the only way to change human behavior. Left turn lanes, and bus turnouts would be a great start.
    People treat this issue like they have the right to use Roxbury as their own speedway in and out of West Seattle.
    Maybe I should start to film West Seattlites driving down the street texting and eating ice cream instead of driving.

  • Joe Szilagyi August 1, 2014 (6:43 pm)

    Nathan, I think you sort of sidestepped my question. We can call the street whatever we want. But if SDOT says 30 west of Delridge, 35 east of Delridge, and 20 in front of schools for safety reasons, I have not heard a single legitimate reason every car shouldn’t be compelled to that speed. Is there a reason they should not be?

  • Chris August 1, 2014 (6:57 pm)

    @Nathan – As someone who drives for work, I can appreciate that the roads should allow traffic to flow well. As someone who also walks, however, I would like to clarify a few of your comments.

    Roxbury is NOT a freeway. It is not being “converted” to a residential street; it already IS a residential street with a 30MPH posted speed limit for a reason (same as everyone else’s street). Out of 153 parcels directly fronting Roxbury Street, 52% are single family residential homes, with many of those located, I would guess, in the stretch proposed to be rechannelized. (This data is from last night’s presentation.)

    Yes, it is illegal to cross a highway, but it is also illegal for drivers to fail to recognize pedestrians waiting to cross at an intersection on Roxbury. Just because people have treated Roxbury as a highway over the years does not mean that it is one. Pedestrians have full rights to use it, same as any other street.

    Finally, in general and to echo Joe’s comment, what is wrong with preventing speeding, especially with a method that is proven to be effective at doing so?

  • Chris August 1, 2014 (7:08 pm)

    Quick question: Is the City of Seattle solely responsible for ALL of Roxbury? Just curious what level of involvement King County has, since it’s the border between Seattle and unincorporated King County.

    Anyone know? Thanks.

    • WSB August 1, 2014 (7:15 pm)

      Explained earlier in the discussion and story. SDOT has responsibility for maintenance of Roxbury, curb to curb, even along the section where the county line goes down the middle (there is a pocket at Holy Family where city limits jut south of Roxbury. This does NOT go for public-safety agencies; if an incident happens on the county side of Roxbury, it’s King County Sheriff’s Office/North Highline Fire District territory (though you might often see the Seattle counterpart helping, or even initially responding depending on how the call came in to 911). – TR

  • Nathan August 1, 2014 (7:53 pm)

    @Joe @Chris

    My argument against this project has nothing to do with speeding. I agree – people should drive the speed limit. I have no problem with the enforcement of speed limits. I disagree with the City of Seattle’s policy of car hatred, and the intentional prevention of people’s ability to drive their cars.
    I would 100% rather take a bus than drive my car to work. In fact, I made myself suffer through horrible transit times for years before finally giving up and going back to my car. Since then, the transit system has only gotten worse, not improved. Since then, the city has consistently reduced the flow of vehicles to force people on to transit, while simultaneously cutting the exact same transit they want people to use.
    Roxbury is not a freeway, correct. It’s an arterial thoroughfare, designed to take traffic off of side streets and get cars from 99 to 35th quickly. It is not a standard residential street, requiring a 25 mph speed limit, for people to take a leisurely stroll down. Nor is 35th. I vehemently oppose the policy of this city to consistently shrink our road system, rather than increase capacity for traffic flow. This is just another effort for the city to force us out of our cars, by making the road system impossible to navigate.
    By your arguments, the entirety of 35th should receive the exact same treatment. There are considerably more homes on 35th than on Roxbury, in terms of percentage, and people speed on 35th just as much, if not more. Would you also support that project? Or would that be too much of a burden on your ability to get anywhere in West Seattle? It’s not the length of this particular stretch, or even its specific effect on me that frustrates me so much. It’s the city’s continued policy to force people out of their cars, without providing a reasonable alternative.
    And, don’t get me started on the school zone cameras. The one at Holy Family is the city’s attempt to rake in cash. It’s been a speed trap for years, and the city has done nothing to improve the visibility of the signs so that people know when to slow down. Both the sign and the light are considerably obscured by overhanging trees, to the point you have to be right next to them before you can even see them. And, half the year the sun comes up directly at Roxbury and completely washes out the flashing lights. I know, because I turn on to Roxbury just before this area. The city could easily install additional signs and flashers as you come up the rise, in order to notify people to slow down, yet they don’t, because they make money on every ticket they write.
    Explain to me why riding my bicycle takes the same time to drive my car to work. Sometimes my bicycle is faster. Does that make any sense at all? Sure, I then have to shower and dress, which adds a few minutes. But the actual transit times, pretty much the same. And the bus? As I said before, it is at least twice as slow, if not 3 times slower.

  • Chris August 1, 2014 (9:03 pm)

    @Nathan – Thank you for clarifying your position. I can see how some drivers may feel that city planning decisions are making their commutes longer or more difficult and I sympathize with that. I do not want to comment, though, on this general perception.

    Rather, I would like to argue that for this specific stretch of this specific street, rechannelization would offer many benefits, based on the precedents set by previous similar projects. I don’t think anyone desires to create gridlock or reduce the flow of traffic. In fact, at the meeting it was explained that SDOT modeled rechannelization going all the way to 4th Ave. on Roxbury but found that doing so would create unacceptable traffic delays. This suggests to me that this approach is being applied where it is reasonable and where it will not impede the flow of traffic.

    I agree that public transit should be better here. I grew up in Boston, which had a fantastic subway system running independently of traffic. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that a city of Seattle’s caliber cannot get their act together to create a comprehensive transit system which is not affected by traffic. (I believe a recent Stranger article suggested that at the rate light rail is expanding the entire city should be served in 100 years!) I ride the bus less frequently in recent years, but I have noticed the decline in bus service in my 17 years here.

    Still, these public transit deficiencies and worsening commutes shouldn’t cloud our thinking and keep us from making positive changes in roadways when we can. I see neither a “policy of car hatred” nor “the intentional prevention of people’s ability to drive their cars” in SDOT’s proposal. If either were true, wouldn’t they be pushing for the rechannelization to extend east of White Center, thus ensuring the gridlock you fear?

  • flimflam August 1, 2014 (9:14 pm)

    ah, Nathan. thank you. road diets on arterial streets are a terrible non-solution.

  • denis August 2, 2014 (8:57 am)

    Nathan, if you run for office I will vote for you. SDOT listen up he is right in most of what he days and you SDOT and city planners are making many many people very angry, sad, late, etc etc.

  • AmandaKH August 2, 2014 (10:31 am)

    I’m sorry, but there is FACTUAL evidence that shows that road diets work to slow down traffic to the SPEED LIMIT and REDUCE crashes. Which is what this area needs. You lovely speeders are going 41 miles per hour at Roxhill Elementary. A school my son will start going to next month, and a school that Your Neighbors kids go. Your inability to understand that you are not the Only People in this Neighborhood is appalling. Where are you going to move? Downtown Seattle? Please do, and take your selfish attitude with you. You want to rant and rave about Metro, please do – I’m right there with you. But please, leave the road engineering decisions to the Experts at SDOT.

  • Waitasec August 2, 2014 (5:53 pm)

    Can somebody help me to understand something?

    So intersections at 4th and 8th at Roxbury, which I believe are highest incidents/accidents will be made safer how? If no road diet, what is going to protect Greenbridge kids walking to new Westcrest Park playgrounds and what is going to protect seniors at Arrowhead Gardens who cross at Olson to get to Westcrest Dog Park? And what is going to stop cars careening into fences on 4th while EB?

    What about that area? I don’t understand how it is made safer for Greenbridge and Arrowhead people who don’t have cars when no road diet. Why can’t they do both? Old and poor deserve safe passage.

    How will 8th and Roxbury change? I am confused.

  • BaDNA August 2, 2014 (8:42 pm)

    Road Diet, give me a break..Widen the road, block the left turns to major intersections. I see more jaywalkers crossing Roxbury then speeders. Where’s the enforcement?

  • miws August 2, 2014 (9:05 pm)

    Question for those suggesting widening the road; how?


    Narrow sidewalks along much/ most of it, much of that with no parking strips.


    Do you want to take out the sidewalk on one side?


    Do you want to go Eminent Domain on private properties along one side? Both?



  • K August 2, 2014 (9:12 pm)

    They can do whatever they want and I’ll be stoked as long as they remove the half-block parking in front of Guaymas.

  • nep August 2, 2014 (11:34 pm)

    Just repave the road its in terrible shape.
    ROXBURY NEEDS TO BE 2 LANES each way due to the volume of cars!!!

  • T August 3, 2014 (11:04 am)

    The turning lane here and on Fauntleroy could use some stree trees, stop paving our City SDOT. The perfect food for this diet is greens and trees

  • Nathan August 3, 2014 (10:47 pm)


    The idea that everyone who disagrees with this plan be labeled a speeder, called appalling, and told to get the f* out of the neighborhood due to our “selfish attitudes” shows just exactly your attitude – incredibly poor to the idea that there are those that don’t support your opinion on this matter. Something tells me that if your son wasn’t going to be attending Roxhill next year, you likely wouldn’t care at all about this proposal, and might even be against it. Your opinion is just as self-serving as what you are blaming of others.
    I care about the continued shrinking of our road system and the continued poor decisions made by SDOT. SDOT continues to reduce overall capacity, and the City does nothing to correct the situation. Either by widening different roads, or increasing access to mass transit. SDOT is just one more hub of the city’s wheel, and if you can’t see that, you are blinding yourself to the obvious. This effects EVERYONE – not just you, and those that have children attending Roxhill – explain to me how my opinion is more selfish than yours. When SDOT reduces all our roads to single lanes, for safety, and it takes you 75 minutes to reach downtown, or 35 minutes to reach the AK/CA junction to grab a slice at Talarico’s or a steak taco for happy hour at the Matador, are you going to still favor your decision? The confederacy of dunces that are SDOT will make this city impossible to traverse, if left unchecked.
    This continued policy is what I am against. I don’t care if its my neighborhood, or someone else’s. I only know about this particular project, because of the WSB – thank you BTW for keeping our community so informed.
    I don’t speed past Roxhill at 41, and in fact I drive past Roxhill maybe a few times a year. I prefer Barton, to be honest. I care about the people of this community. I also care about the fact people have a hard enough time getting anywhere in West Seattle as it is. In fact, if SDOT provided some other means of departing WS quickly, I might not actually care about this project. However, they never “give” – they only “take.”

    I am incredibly vexed that I cannot attend the meeting tomorrow night and voice my opinion. For all of those that agree with my point of view, I hope at least one of you will carry the standard to the meeting and voice those opinions – for both of us!

  • Nathan August 3, 2014 (11:07 pm)


    I want to make it clear that I don’t disagree with the idea that reducing Roxbury to a single lane in each direction won’t make traffic slower. It obviously will, as it will cut the throughput of traffic in half. Those cars have to get through somehow, or take another route. I am sure traffic will slow considerably. If the city’s only goal is to make us go slower, than they are succeeding with every project they introduce. I personally don’t know of a single SDOT project that has made any driving I have done in Seattle, quicker, or more pleasurable.

    SDOT has a love affair with the idea that roads aren’t made for cars…

  • AmandaKH August 4, 2014 (9:27 am)

    @Nathan – I’m sorry I lost my cool. I shouldn’t have called anyone selfish. I’ve almost been hit twice as a ped on Roxbury (once 5 years ago while carrying my son, once crossing at the 17th Ave SW crosswalk 2 years ago). So yes, being the elected Chair of the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council and Co-Chair of the WSTC that I co-founded is stemming from a selfish place on my part. To make my Neighborhood safer. I signed the letter last June to have SDOT take a look at Roxbury along with the Chair of the Highland Park Action Committee, and the President of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council. I think I’m in good company here.
    SDOT is not suggesting a re-channel of the Whole street. In fact, they studied the corridor and found that would be a terrible idea. And yes, the whole point of this project is to slow the traffic down. Exactly. Obviously cops handing out tickets has not worked, so now, we need more extreme measures.
    We were informed. In fact, SDOT sent out a post card two weeks ago with information about the meetings.
    Your insinuation that the re-channelization of Roxbury will lead to such inflated travel times is simply not true. SDOT has done this work in other areas of the City, including West Seattle, and the extended travel times are minimal. Especially in light of the reduction of accidents and speeding. The speed limits are not there as a suggestion. They are the law. In denser Cities, buses, peds and now bikes are starting to rule. And like it or not, Seattle is becoming denser. It just makes more sense to start setting up the roads now to accommodate more than just cars.

  • NT August 4, 2014 (11:05 am)

    I take Roxbury or Fauntleroy from the Ferry area daily to get out of West Seattle.
    Fauntleroy since the road diet is very slow (under the speed limit) and infuriating to drive, the traffic backs up in several street lights, school zone, etc.
    Roxbury got an increase of cars because of this re-chanelization on Fauntleroy.
    I don’t disagree that the speed limit needs to be enforced on Roxbury but a rode diet is stupid!!! People need to go to WORK!!!! I believe if we let this happened soon we will have this diet going all the way to the 4th.
    Schools are already getting cameras, like many of you asked for it.
    How many pedestrians got hit on this stretch of Roxbury in the last year? Really?
    Traffic will suck and people will be driving on Barton, 35th to avoid it and guess what? Time for another diet…

  • Nathan August 4, 2014 (11:26 am)

    My argument against this proposal isn’t about the effect this segment, as a single project, will have on the overall times of people driving in West Seattle. It’s about the continued reduction of lanes all over Seattle. Case in point – the removal of the viaduct in favor of city streets with stop lights for everyone on the West side to reach downtown – and only 2 lanes of throughput each direction, through a stupidly overpriced tunnel project that will rob our taxes for years to come and may not ever be completed at the rate they are going with it, to reach Ballard/Fremont and beyond (with tolls).
    One project by itself (other than the tunnel project) may not necessary have that much of an effect. It’s the continued application of such projects, as a whole, that will make this city impossible to drive in, and commute times so slow. As you can read in the forum comments, there is at least one voice in the Greenbridge area that wonders why rechannelization isn’t being applied there as well. The people that like Roxbury as it is, don’t need to file complaints or request that the city change something with it. Yet, it only takes a few dissenting voices to get the city to investigate rechannelization. This is hardly the voice of the majority.
    I also agree that streets should support people, bicycles, and buses. I run on these streets, as well as bicycle to work occasionally. If the City took this rechannelization approach, yet also provided streets with improved capacity for cars, and better driving times, no one would argue. As I mentioned, the city never gives back in this regard. And while the City removes our roads, they also remove our bus routes.
    Cities need arterial thoroughfares as much as they need streets for walking and biking. Not every street in a cramped city can support both. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rechannelization of Roxbury also results with an increase of traffic lights. It’s already difficult at times to turn onto Roxbury, due to the volume of traffic. I can also imagine that cars coming to and from Westwood Village will use our residential side roads with greater frequency to get out of the traffic. This will result with a greater number of people driving fast down the roads our children actually play and ride their bicycles on. I would much rather keep them on Roxbury, as they find our street with enough frequency as it is.
    Denser cities need better transportation plans – agreed. Better transportation plans don’t consist only of road diets, rechannelization, and the reduction of traffic throughput. This is the only plan SDOT seems capable of implementing. Do you plan to walk downtown? Or even to the AK/CA junction? How about riding your bicycle to either, with your entire family? As I mentioned in my previous posts, I can already ride my bicycle 9.5 miles to work with the same travel time, if not faster, as driving. Almost 10 miles! And my bike is just as fast or faster than my car? That exemplifies the problem with SDOTs policies, and the current state of traffic in Seattle.

  • Chris August 4, 2014 (12:14 pm)

    I have a question for those suggesting that the City is trying to reduce road capacity throughout Seattle solely to make things more difficult for drivers: What would be the City’s motivation in doing so, from your perspective? Reducing the amount of road surface to maintain? Making us more like a bike-oriented city like Amsterdam? I’m curious what the perceptions are about the suggested “War on Cars”.

  • Nathan August 4, 2014 (1:17 pm)

    The “war on cars’ is multifaceted. The city has made increases to parking rates, significant increases in writing parking tickets (not necessarily a bad thing but a pain if you get one), re-engineered roads with reduced capacity, sometimes force businesses to charge employees for parking even if they have their own dedicated garage, and many more examples. Previous Mayor McGinn publicly admitted he was pursuing policy to get people out of their cars and onto bicycles and their feet. Personally, I don’t have the option of walking to work, nor can I work from home with any kind of frequency. I am forced to drive, bus, or bike, at a minimum. Bicycling every single day 20 miles, more often than not in the rain and cold, isn’t something I am willing do, nor should a city of this size expect its residents to do. Nor is bicycling cheap. A decent bicycle is going to cost several hundred dollars, with several hundred more in wind/rain resistant gear/shoes/etc…

    Frequently, people have to drive. I actively choose not to go many places because the traffic is so ridiculous on I5 and the 405. If Seattle had a great mass transit system, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion. Nevertheless, they don’t, and we are.

  • Bradley August 4, 2014 (10:04 pm)

    I live on Roxbury and the main thing I DON’T want to see happen is what Metro/SDOT did on Barton in the east-bound lane. They built-out the sidewalk at the Rapid Ride stop and put a center median so all eastbound cars must stop behind any bus that is loading/unloading there. Cars back all the way up to 30th SW at times. I see no reason for this intentional stopping of all eastbound vehicles. I have seen many a driver go dangerously around the new concrete median (at the crosswalk) in the west-bound lane to get around the stopped bus(ses).

    • WSB August 4, 2014 (10:11 pm)

      Bradley – I covered the second meeting tonight, though the presentation was the same, just to see what new questions were asked/concerns offered. That did come up and Jim Curtin from SDOT said they were NOT planning bus bulbs/medians. Semi-short writeup to come – TR

  • Nathan August 4, 2014 (11:20 pm)


    Thanks Tracy! I am looking forward to hearing more about the meeting, since I couldn’t attend. I would be curious to know, of the people that attended, what the split was of those in favor and against the project (if you happen to have that data).

    • WSB August 4, 2014 (11:26 pm)

      No vote was taken. Sentiment voiced by several people was “why can’t the road diet be on the entire stretch?” One lady said she was worried about congestion.

  • Thomas M August 5, 2014 (8:42 am)

    Even if no vote was taken, what was the overall feel of those present?

  • Chris August 5, 2014 (10:37 am)

    I attended the second meeting last night. I would say that, overall, the mood was supportive of the proposed changes. As WSB notes above, one person was concerned about “congestion” with the rechannelization but this was before SDOT explained the reasoning and data behind their proposal. (See the above WSB story for the details. Also, the presentation’s powerpoint slides are available at I would say that most of those who voiced their opinion at the meeting, though, seemed in favor.

  • Thomas M. August 7, 2014 (5:35 pm)

    I note with some interest that the positions taken by people who live on or near Roxbury smack of a retroactive “not in my back yard” campaign. Roxbury has been the main vein in and out of South West Seattle for decades. Clogging it all up is not going to help anybody but those who want to deter traffic on the only useable route.

  • wa August 7, 2014 (10:55 pm)

    The worst Idea ever. Repave the road and make the lines clearer. AND CUT THE TREES That block the speed cameras or don’t give you any warning.

Sorry, comment time is over.