Reader report: New sequence at ‘Walk All Ways’ intersection

(“Walk All Ways” signage in 1956; click image to see full-size Seattle Muni Archives photo)
It’s not often news when a traffic signal is tweaked. But in this case, we’ve now received several reader reports of a sequencing change at the most-famous intersection in West Seattle – and since tomorrow is usually its busiest day of the week, with Farmers’ Market shoppers and brunchgoers (among others), we’re sharing the FYI. First word came from Kathleen, who explained:

The sequence of red/ green lights and “walk” signs has changed sequence. I walk up to the Junction nearly every day and it has always been: green light going east on Alaska across Calif.: then green light going west; and then green light for the traffic going north/south on Calif; THEN the walk all 4 ways signal.

(Thursday) I couldn’t figure why so many cars were running through the intersection at the wrong times. I almost missed going across the street because I was waiting for the north/south traffic to go before me. It has been changed so the 4-way walk is now BEFORE north/ south cars can go. Confusing to anyone who has done it the old way forever!

We’ll be asking SDOT about this on Monday.

P.S. The history of “Walk All Ways” here is part of this essay about The Junction, which says it was installed in 1952, removed in 1974, brought back in 1988.

24 Replies to "Reader report: New sequence at 'Walk All Ways' intersection"

  • Rumbles October 4, 2014 (11:09 pm)

    Really, SDOT?! Is there a “Signal Revision Ahead” sign out there??

  • cj October 4, 2014 (11:52 pm)

    My husband and I saw this yesterday [Saturday] also. Or rather I did not notice lol and my husband got kind of freaked out by it. Might want to communicate with the community about things like this SDOT.

    Personally though I keep thinking at least 2 blocks of the Junction should be no traffic at all [not just for festivals]. Maybe someday.

  • Cãrlãinthãbãrrã October 5, 2014 (12:24 am)

    Noticed it earlier!! Why in the heck would they change that? I’m really curious and Can’t wait to hear the reason it was changed.

  • community member October 5, 2014 (5:14 am)

    Just guessing here, but It probably saves a minute for bus riders, without a downside. Pedestrians cross, pedestrians board busses while n-s traffic. flows, and the eastbound bus is ready to leave when the e-w light is green.
    Other than no “signal revision” notice, is there a downside? I can’t think of any.

  • AEP October 5, 2014 (6:35 am)

    It wouldn’t surprise me to hear it’s related to transit. The Morgan intersection operates differently when RR buses alter the cycle. Several times I’ve noticed the pedestrian lights skipping their turns after a bus goes through.

  • sillygoose October 5, 2014 (9:58 am)

    I love this photo look at the ladies in dresses, I wish women still dressed like this instead of the pants hanging off of their rear end!! Love the old photos.

  • Patt October 5, 2014 (10:25 am)

    Will this have anything to do with the outbound C Line wanting to skip the Edmonds loop?
    Is this part of the feasibility analysis SDOT is conducting?

    “August 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | Should the outbound RapidRide C Line run on California in the heart of The Junction instead of jogging onto Edmunds, 44th, and Alaska? ”

    • WSB October 5, 2014 (10:27 am)

      I’ll be asking about that whether or not it’s related. Note the “reaching out to the community” promise regarding that proposal; hasn’t happened yet so far as we’ve heard, no community-meeting presentations, etc. Hoping to have the followup tomorrow.

  • CanDo October 5, 2014 (11:27 am)

    Nice to know I’m not the only one curious about this. I don’t think it’s a big deal, but was surprised to see the light turn green on the West bound side first the other day.

  • ChefJoe October 5, 2014 (11:50 am)

    Perhaps they’ve done some tweaking for the “up to 55 trucks a day” that are making a right at that intersection while full.

  • Diane October 5, 2014 (1:02 pm)

    wow; 15 yrs in West Seattle, and I’ve never even noticed a sequence; I just wait for light to turn green; sorry, I don’t get the big deal

  • Diane October 5, 2014 (1:15 pm)

    If this is transit related, could it possibly be response to my request of our new SDOT director to turn on signal prioritization for Rapid Ride that was promised 2+ yrs ago; if so, they should have informed us; btw, I brought this up at the WS Transportation Coalition meeting; SDOT director and the guy with him taking notes (please remind me of his name) promised to look into this and get back to me/us; I’ve heard nothing from them; also, my question was mainly related to intersection of Alaska/Fauntleroy eastbound at the Hole/new WF, where the Rapid Ride is still sitting behind all the cars waiting at the signal; please turn on signal prioritization there; that’s where I catch RR to go downtown, and the buses are likely being held up several minutes between the junction and Alaska/Fauntleroy signals

  • pat October 5, 2014 (2:20 pm)

    The hallmark intersection of West Seattle. I did notice the change in the sequencing and can say other than getting used to it, I agree, no big deal. However, if any of those traffic goons get any idea of changing it back to the alternate pedestrian model more common throughout the city, I’ll be hunting them down (figuratively). I remember when the changes were made to this intersection in the 70’s (and the 2 blocks of California through the business district) and what a mess. The “Junction” has always been a pedestrian centered business area and the scramble sequence supports this so well. It also seems to work well at 1st and Pike.

  • WS1966 October 5, 2014 (3:11 pm)

    Diane I am with you been here 48 years never paid to much attention just waited for my walk sign or jay walked :)

  • jim October 5, 2014 (3:34 pm)

    The biggest change to the flow that I can see is that the Right turn arrow on Northbound California now follows the North South flow instead of preceding it. Not sure how this will effect anything. If the car in front of you is going straight on California, you are still going to wait. Unless they plan to make it a right turn only lane from 7:00-3:30 during this 55 trucks a day excavation work.

    So how many of you remember the Junction reduction to two lanes… What a mess that was.

  • JayDee October 5, 2014 (4:02 pm)

    After being in a car-ped accident 4 years ago, I have qualms crossing any intersection, even if I am walking with the walk sign. Twice I have nearly been run over at Walk-All-Ways by WB Alaskan Way drivers turning right on a red, even though there is signage. Keep your wits about you. If I’d had a phaser, there would be two less scofflaws in WS-land.

  • West Seattle since 1979 October 6, 2014 (1:17 pm)

    Diane, thanks for bringing up signal priority for Rapid Ride! If they ever get that going, maybe it will actually be *rapid*.

  • kj October 6, 2014 (3:25 pm)

    Also, regarding cars going east on Alaska across California, the green light only lasts for about 4 seconds now! And the north/south on Calif green light is not much longer. Would this have something to do with the buses?

    The walk-all-ways is still almost 30 seconds. Whew.

  • Azimuth October 7, 2014 (12:04 pm)

    @cj, While I don’t personally think I would go so far as to close it completely, I think it would be worth it close the out lanes and have extra wide sidewalks.

    • WSB October 7, 2014 (12:08 pm)

      P.S. We’re still awaiting the full answer from SDOT – they told us yesterday it was done for ‘safety’ but were awaiting more info from engineers.

  • Kara October 7, 2014 (4:55 pm)

    I’m a buser and long time West Seattleite and had the old pattern down…so no wonder I was a bit oblivious when it went to walk this morning. I could see how those who have that pattern recognition need to pay a bit more attention now. It would have been nice to be warned, but at the same time I think our hood is getting used to handling change…or at least we try ;)

  • I. Ponder October 9, 2014 (12:26 pm)

    I think it’s laughable that some expect to be notified in advance by SDOT or have an opportunity to discuss such a small change at community meetings. Nice that WSB is covering it.

    • WSB October 9, 2014 (12:40 pm)

      IP, maybe so for any other intersection, but this is the only one of its type in West Seattle, and it could have at least been mentioned in advance, or at one of the local community meetings. Certainly not a full-blown public-engagement process – sadly, too few people participate in the ones offered for much-bigger changes – but in the context of what we hear come up at the many meetings we cover, it wouldn’t have been out of the question. – TR

  • dennis October 9, 2014 (5:34 pm)

    SDOT? Really? Someone please tell me one thing they have done that make sense. SDOT- is starting to sound like a bad word I won’t let my children say.

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