AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: 35th SW safety project ‘design alternatives’ unveiled, both lowering speed limit to 30 mph

6:53 PM: We’re at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center as SDOT’s Jim Curtin gets ready to unveil the “design alternatives” for “making 35th SW safer for everyone.” First, he’s recapping background about how we got to this point – including more than 1,000 crashes, 412 injuries, five deaths in the past decade on 35th SW between Roxbury and Alaska. The slide decks are up on the project page – this is the one with the alternatives:

Even before Curtin gets to those, he’s been asked questions such as “which of the deaths were the pedestrians’ fault?” None, he says. When countered with “but wasn’t one mid-block?” he explains that it’s legal to cross at midblock.

The background is in this slide deck (added – midway through the meeting, it’s clear that this deck also includes much elaboration on the proposed alternatives, intersection by intersection, so take some time to go through this one):

Curtin touches on enforcement and says SPD has obtained a grant to step that up. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske couldn’t be here tonight but will be at the Thursday afternoon version of this meeting to talk about that, Curtin says. (With him at this meeting, by the way, is another high-profile SDOT employee, traffic engineer Dongho Chang.) He’s been asked about specific types of data and promises that will be made available; he also says that 35th will be monitored basically “forever.”

Somebody brings up rechannelized Fauntleroy Way and claims that it crawls at 15 MPH at certain times. Curtin says SDOT recently studied Fauntleroy and that more than 80 percent of the drivers are going 33 mph (two miles below the speed limit).

7:10 PM: Curtin has just declared that the speed limit on 35th will be cut to 30 mph, and the room erupts in cheers/applause, except for one participant who has already spoken out multiple times and claimed that higher speeds are safer. Curtin agreed that the speed limit alone won’t do it – that the road design must be made safer too. Shortly thereafter, he notes that Fauntleroy Way will be reduced to 30 mph this year too (as had been inferred in the Vision Zero plan announced recently).

What else will be done? he’s asked. The slide says “turn signals at some locations, signal optimization, reflective materials for most signals.” Also, “lane-line markers (buttons) throughout the corridor.”

Regarding bicycles, while “protected bicycle lanes are envisioned long-term for 35th,” Curtin says bicyclists have suggested that other routes be focused on first, so “that’s what we’re going to do.” A Neighborhood Greenway is planned for 34th SW, one block east, for 2017 implementation.

Now he gets to Design Alternative A, which will add 3 to 4 minutes delay during am/pm rush hours, he says. It would rechannelize 35th SW from Roxbury to Edmunds – one lane each way and a center turn lane.

Design Alternative B, projected to add 3 minutes’ delay in rush hours, would rechannelize between Roxbury and Raymond, but not north of Raymond, which instead would have peak-hour parking restrictions to create an extra lane only during those times. SDOT is still modeling this, Curtin explains, and the boundaries on this one might change.

Going into more background for the alternatives, he points out that 35th has no turn lanes right now, so all vehicles stop behind someone trying to turn. He puts up 35th between Henderson and Barton, showing how design alternatives will reduce lane changes that buses have to make, keeping them from “hanging out” in traffic. Then he shows how 35th/Barton would be affected. Asked if Metro might see a bus bulb – Curtin and Chang say no.

Next, 35th/Holden – “bus lanes through the intersection” might be considered, says Curtin, pointing out the signals at this odd intersection are “already delayed.” 35th/Webster, 8 of 9 crashes during the recent study period are related to left turns, so adding a left-turn pocket here can help – left turns off 35th.

35th/Morgan might get right-turn pockets. At 35th/Juneau, Option A could have a crossing “with turn restrictions” in the longer term, says Curtin, noting that 35th/Graham has similar conditions. That would mean no left turns, only right turns, he said in response to a question. Option B might not rechannelize this area, so a traffic signal might be needed to facilitate a crossing.

Curtin is asked about the in-pavement flashing lights that some other jurisdictions use to call attention to crossings. He says there’s concern about how they would be affected in snow/rain weather. Chang picks up, saying that he worked in Everett, which used five of them, and their lights can burn out without pedestrians being aware, giving them a false sense of security – four of the five in Everett are not working right now, he notes.

Next, he draws applause by saying a crossing is proposed at 35th/Dawson, where the community has long requested one (this is near Camp Long). In the longer term, he says, that could bring in low-cost “treatments” such as signs, pavement markings, flashing beacons, maybe even a “refuge island” midway across.

He says that Seattle’s 40 rechannelizations generally have “remarkable” results. Fauntleroy Way is an example given – 31 percent drop in collisions, 1 percent drop in 85 percent of the speed, 13 percent drop in 10+ mph speeders, volume change up a third of a percentage. “When the ferry lets out, are you really driving 35 mph?” asks someone in the audience. “There’s the data,” somebody else points out. The first speaker clarifies that she actually favors the rechannelization because Fauntleroy can be crossed a little more safely since it. (It was done in connection with repaving in 2009.)

Before Q&A, Curtin notes that a June meeting will unveil the “final” plan and take one last round of comments; implementation would begin in late summer.

First question – did the Fauntleroy rechannelization push traffic elsewhere? “Absolutely not,” said Curtin. (The slide a few minutes earlier had shown that Fauntleroy volume is actually up a bit since then.)

Another person has more of a comment, saying that he’s glad this might make it possible for both sides of 35th to be part of the same neighborhood, instead of, given its current freeway-like conditions, being a separator. That leads to some applause.

How much would this cost? More than $100,000 a mile, replied Curtin, for rechannelization, so this would cost at least half a million, not counting additional stoplights, etc.

8 PM: The meeting is breaking up now into a chance for one-on-one discussion with Curtin and Chang. This meeting will be repeated on Thursday afternoon at Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson), starting at 3:15 pm; Curtin also noted that his e-mail address is on the project website, so if you have questions/comments, you can reach him that way – (which is also up on the board right now with his phone number, 206-684-8874).

68 Replies to "AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: 35th SW safety project 'design alternatives' unveiled, both lowering speed limit to 30 mph"

  • vincent March 10, 2015 (7:43 pm)

    All this is useless without enforcement. 34th, 36-38th have become mini highways with dangerous scofflaw drivers.

    • WSB March 10, 2015 (8:09 pm)

      Vincent, we’ll be hearing more about enforcement (mentioned this briefly above) when local police commander is at Thursday’s edition of this meeting. SDOT says the city has a grant, which SPD has said before is needed for major enforcement projects, but they certainly do spot enforcement (like the officer who camped on our street for an hour and a half recently and caught nine stop-sign runners at a 4-way where scofflaws are common).

  • George T March 10, 2015 (7:59 pm)

    Long-time resident on 35th happy to hear about these changes. The days of “I-35” are over!

  • Mike March 10, 2015 (8:23 pm)

    I have to agree with vincent. I’ve been zoomed passed multiple times (even by SPD, no lights or sirens on) on 35th Ave SW.

  • m March 10, 2015 (8:41 pm)

    Please don’t change to one lane each direction. We still need something to alleviate the stress of getting stuck behind all the drivers going under the speed limit.

  • Paul March 10, 2015 (8:55 pm)

    Isn’t the speed limit on 35th between Barton and Roxbury already 30 mph? Not that anyone pays attention to it…

    As a frequent driver of 35th, I completely support the rechannelization all the way to Edmunds. I’ll gladly give up a couple minutes of travel time for a safer street.

  • MSW March 10, 2015 (8:59 pm)

    $500,000.00 for this? I think this will cost way more than that. The light going in on Admiral near the Alki Mail Dispatch is going to cost about $325,000.00. Is SDOT bidding this out?

    • WSB March 10, 2015 (9:02 pm)

      MSW – that’s the cost of the rechannelizing – road markers, etc. Signals etc. are extra. They won’t have a full cost workup until an option is settled on.

  • Mat March 10, 2015 (9:08 pm)

    I attended and am happy with the proposed changes. The statistic that most excites me is how channelization positively impacts excessive speeding. Thanks to everyone that came out tonight!

  • Mike March 10, 2015 (9:51 pm)

    I got to the “Drivers field of vision” and stopped reading. The report is providing false information with that alone. Your field of vision does not change with the speed of your vehicle. The reaction time you have and physics in play to stop your vehicle is what matters at speed, which is what they are trying to get across in those diagrams. This report needs some actual professional working on it. Whoever did this needs to lose their job.

  • j March 10, 2015 (9:58 pm)

    35th is an arterial.
    It is the only multi-lane north/south way out of west seattle.

    Fauntleroy was reduced.
    delridge was reduced.
    I don’t believe the city’s stats for a second about how traffic has increased on fauntleroy since lanes
    were reduced.

    that doesn’t prove that fauntleroy is better, just that there are more people commuting through west seattle from the ferry.

    the city listens to everybody except people that commute by car.

    For the record: I also commute by bus and by bicycle.

  • wb March 10, 2015 (10:07 pm)

    Fantastic coverage WSB,I was there. Jim did a great job.

  • KT March 10, 2015 (10:15 pm)

    I bet once the speed limit goes to 30MPH SPD will finally find the personnel to set up another Alabama style speed trap like the Admiral Way Hill and the W/B Spokane St Viaduct. Redirecting personnel from those two spots once a week would have helped this problem long ago.

  • KM March 10, 2015 (10:34 pm)

    I used to be opposed to reducing it to one lane each way with a center lane, but I find myself using California an Delridge so more anyhow–much more enjoyable having the space of a bigger, slower lane than having your neighbors the lane next to you drift into yours, as happens frequently on 35th. Takes a few minutes longer to get to where I’m going, but I try to plan ahead.

    That said, some of those intersection lights on California get quite backed up, so I use a side street for a block or two as it’s less congested and quicker. I’d be shocked if traffic on side streets to 35th didn’t increase as a result of losing lanes.

    I don’t like the idea of peak lanes, I don’t think it’s ideal for more than a block or so. Seems to always add confusion and people trying to jump around traffic by passing on the right between swaths of parked cars. I notice this around Greenlake and on Madison. I don’t think we can handle that here very well.

  • Don Brubeck March 10, 2015 (10:46 pm)

    Great turnout for the meeting, with overwhelming community support for safety on 35th SW. We should be able to cross the street without fear for our lives.

    The examples of many other streets that have gone to center turn lane and one through lane each way show that is does not choke traffic, it just calms it down and dramatically reduces crashes.

    West Seattle Bike Connections supports the 30 mph speed limit, the restriping that maintains car parking and bus stops in the curb lane, without dedicated bike lanes on 35th provided that greenways with traffic calming like traffic circles are built on the parallel streets, especially 34th, to link homes to several schools, community center, library, parks, and Morgan Junction shopping.

  • KM March 10, 2015 (10:52 pm)

    WSB, can you point me in the right direction here?
    It looks to me that WAC 132E-16-040 number 5) says that pedestrians not in a marked crosswalk or unmarked intersection must yield to vehicles: and similarly noted below with RCW 46.61.240
    I could be reading this wrong, but it seems like Curtin would be incorrect with the middle-of-the-block crossing being legal. What’s the correct answer? This seems to come up often.

    • WSB March 10, 2015 (10:58 pm)

      Must yield to vehicles, but that doesn’t mean it’s illegal to cross midblock. The vehicle might have suddenly come up on you (speeding?) while you’re crossing, etc., in the crash case. We had a big discussion about this in relation to the last person killed on 35th a year-plus ago – I will see if I can find the link to the thread.

  • Mat March 10, 2015 (10:58 pm)

    J, I commute on 35th… I drive on it at least twice a day, sometimes more. As a car commuter this is what I’d personally prefer. I have driven Fauntleroy before and after its channelization and I by far prefer it now. And that’s not even taking into account the safety improvements or the looks of the road which are all wins in my book, that’s just allowing for more room for bus pull offs (and thus not blocking a lane) and the center turn lane for left turns.

    If any of you have ever been annoyed by a little white car turning left onto Juneau from northbound 35th in the afternoon, chances are you were stuck behind me. I can honestly say I look forward to the day when you won’t be :)

  • dsa March 10, 2015 (11:20 pm)

    Makes it that much harder to get to White Center where the parking and shopping is. But if the city wants to do this instead of some speed enforcement, that is what they will do.

  • jarvis March 10, 2015 (11:21 pm)

    Please, oh please, make the Walgreens lot the speedtrap. Many many birds, one stone.

  • jwright March 11, 2015 (1:46 am)

    j, why don’t you believe the city’s data?
    m, in my experience, the terror on 35th (aggressive drivers weaving in and out of traffic, hoping the car coming up behind me realizes I am stopped waiting to turn left, and the peril of trying to cross the street) far outweighs the infrequent frustration of being stuck behind someone going extra slow on a street like California, Delridge, or Fauntleroy.

  • Nanny State March 11, 2015 (5:22 am)

    You can’t protect people from themselves, but you can design with safety in mind. The plan sounds thoughtful in that regard, but 30 mph on an arterial is a joke. Honestly if you can’t safely go 35 on that street you don’t deserve a licence.

  • Neighbor March 11, 2015 (5:37 am)

    Great coverage! Thanks.

  • anonyme March 11, 2015 (5:41 am)

    Since 35th south of Roxbury is already 30 mph, does that mean speed will be reduced to 25? Not that it matters – speeds are closer to 40 mph anyway…just curious.

    This is a great plan, and I applaud SDOT to have had the cohones to implement it.

  • East Coast Cynic March 11, 2015 (6:55 am)

    Re Option B, as a resident within the SW Roxbury to SW Edmonds section, I’m very concerned about the potential peak hour parking restrictions: Some of us have cars that are parked near the front of our homes, and bus to work during the day. Do we have to move our cars around constantly to avoid the peak restrictions during the work week? There are already quite a few cars on the side streets and also on the nearby ones–36th Ave SW and 34th Ave SW. The last time I parked on a side street near my home for an extended period of time, my car was towed. 30mph restrictions could work if people abide by the speeds w/o the parking restrictions, but having the parking restrictions for people who live on 35th Ave SW could inconvenience us car owners as well as car owners on nearby streets who could possibly have spaces taken by us 35th Ave SW residents.

  • bn March 11, 2015 (8:27 am)

    It’s awesome to have such detailed coverage on these meetings, thanks for your work :)

  • Bloicer March 11, 2015 (8:40 am)

    Inducing congestion to create safety? That’s seattle for you… The only city that enjoys creating backups.

    Why can’t they just reduce the speed limit and enforce the law? All these lane reductions, bus bulbs, etc are a waste of money.

    heres an idea, make roads safe and improve flow at the same time! Always seems like they make it way more complicated then it needs to be

    • WSB March 11, 2015 (8:47 am)

      SDOT does not expect this to induce congestion, and pointed out that other rechannelizations haven’t, either. At a separate meeting recently, as we reported, it *was* noted that the California bus bulb north of Fauntleroy was a mistake and “that design” will not be repeated anywhere else. Doesn’t seem to be in line for removal, though, however.

  • KM March 11, 2015 (8:55 am)

    Thanks WSB–I appreciate it.
    Kind of reminds me of the U-turn law. You can do it if you think it’s safe type of rule. I wish it was a bit more cut and dry in Seattle in regards to their traffic and similar laws. I don’t think we’ve proven to be great decision makers in choices related to driving and transport.

    • WSB March 11, 2015 (8:59 am)

      After more than 20 years in this state, I was rather shocked to learn the U-turn law a year or so ago. I’d been under the mistaken impression that they were almost entirely illegal.

  • Joe Szilagyi March 11, 2015 (9:05 am)

    Speaking just as a resident who lives two blocks off of the south end of this 35th project, and who uses 35th and Roxbury (also about to get a very similar treatment this coming summer) as my main arterials for accessing anything, I am overjoyed by this. I am not a timid or cowardly driver. I’ve driven in every major city from Washington DC north to Boston, from the race track that is midtown Manhattan to the crazy “What in the hell is going on???” insanity that is most of a lot of the Boston area. I grew up in a part of the country where sidewalks were – often, even on major arterials and routes – a comical fantasy that simply didn’t exist, and only the foolhardy or stupid walked or biked upon. Oh, the limit was 40? Yeah, let’s go 70, because. Enforcement? Ha ha ha. That’s most of Connecticut when you drive off of the highways and parkways.
    That said, walking on Roxbury and driving on 35th are to me more nerve wracking than any other driving or walking I’ve done in Seattle in my time here. The only thing that came close was walking on the Ballard Bridge, where you’ve got about three inches of old concrete and mortar separating a two foot wide sidewalk from speeding cars. Nothing else is as out of band scary. I’ve zoomed and weaved and merged with a few feet of clearance on New York City roadways and highways, because that’s how everyone drives, and you know what? That stuff on 35th scares me. I often drop into the far right lane, and literally often drop my car into a 30 mph cruise control and just ignore the crazy.
    We shouldn’t have to do that, and if a driver like me that’s done the level of crazy in our crazy cities has problems with the crazy on 35th, something is wrong. If you’re acclimated to the crazy on 35th, something is wrong with you. Bring on the changes and the full on road diet. I filled out my feedback form yesterday asking for Design Alternative A, asking for the full roadway changes all the way from Roxbury north to Providence, and for the enforcement section and suggestions I wrote, “Maximum. 24×7. Ruthless.” If it takes you or I twelve minutes to drive from Roxbury to Avalon instead of ten minutes, who cares?

  • Jeff Bartel March 11, 2015 (10:07 am)

    Good job Sesttle- West Seattle is about ruined.
    Build condos on every block. Fill the streets with even more cars. Then bottle neck it all.
    And spend tons of money in the process.
    Since so many don’t know how to drive around here- we should just go back to a horse and wagon.

  • bernstea March 11, 2015 (10:53 am)

    This is insane! Arterial roads are meant to move people in an efficient manner, and West Seattle is getting rid of them one by one! By decreasing the speed limit AND reducing the number of traffic lanes, it’s creating a bottleneck. With the boom in development happening around West Seattle and more drivers on the roads, this is going to increase travel times by WAY more than a few minutes, as indicated in the report.

    Maybe if Seattle drivers: 1) knew how to drive AT the speed limit (not speeding 10 mph above or crawling 10 mph below), 2) didn’t unnecessarily change lanes, and 3) used turn signals regularly, there would be no need for this design. I can see this forcing drivers to find other roads (read: side streets) and I don’t think many of the residents who are applauding this plan would like to see cars zipping down side streets to avoid the backups this will cause.

  • teah March 11, 2015 (10:58 am)

    I agree with Joe and say bring it on! I live in the same area and have lived in West Seattle for over 10 years. Driving down 35th has become something I avoid and is just too scary. What everyone fails to realize is this is a NEIGHBORHOOD! 35th Ave is many peoples home and street. They (and all of us that live here) shouldn’t feel terrorized driving in our neighborhood.

    • WSB March 11, 2015 (11:00 am)

      And this point was made again last night, as SDOT has made it before – you can see it in the longer slide deck above. 35th is lined predominantly with homes, houses and apartments. More than 80%.

  • Ginger Terry March 11, 2015 (11:05 am)

    No one mentions here the hills. When the buses and big trucks are going up the hills south from Avalon, from Morgan, and from Barton, they are going 15-20 miles an hour at best. With one lane, traffic will be slowed significantly more than the 3 minutes claimed at the meeting. In addition, as happens throughout the city on road diet streets with hills, traffic will zoom around the buses, using the center lane.

  • Joe Szilagyi March 11, 2015 (11:45 am)

    @Ginger, not true, they specifically addressed this. On the hill climbs on the right side street parking is barely used and they said there will be plenty of room to carve out a bus/transit/truck only lane on the right hand side so cars can pass them on the two hill climbs.

  • bolo March 11, 2015 (12:22 pm)

    Can someone please explain these statements about percentage improvements to me? I thought I had a pretty good handle on percentages until I read this:

    “Fauntleroy Way is an example given – 31 percent drop in collisions, 1 percent drop in 85 percent of the speed, 13 percent drop in 10+ mph speeders, volume change up a third of a percentage.”

  • rob March 11, 2015 (12:28 pm)

    i drive on fautleroy regularly and i feel it greatly improved after the change. people see it as creating a backup by removing a lane, but it really removed significant backups and a hazard in my opinion. cars sitting in the left lane waiting to turn caused backups in the left lane which in turn causes backups in the right lane as drivers scramble to get over to go around the car waiting to turn, often doing so from being stopped behind the waiting car and slowing the right lane to a crawl when they moved over. now that there is a two way turn lane, this doesn’t happen anymore. now, you might not go as fast but you spend way less time sitting behind cars waiting to turn so you come out ahead.
    35th has this problem and i think putting a turn lane would help in the same way. it would also help to slow down the speeding lane jockeys who make all kinds of ridiculous moves just to be in the front of the line at the stoplight.

  • WSHC March 11, 2015 (12:29 pm)

    As a resident of 35th, I see this as a welcome change and opportunity to create better, safer connections between our homes and amenities such as parks and transit stops. Kudos to Jim Curtin and SDOT for all of their hard work on this.

  • dcn March 11, 2015 (12:39 pm)

    I disagree that the rechannelizations in other areas have not slowed down those other arterials. Some examples:
    1) Delridge at Andover. The reduction from 2 lanes each way to one lane and a bus lane back up Delridge at this intersection Northbound in the morning, and southbound in the evening, often almost all the way to the West Seattle Bridge.
    2) Delridge at Orchard. Same thing. The reduction from 2 lanes each way down to one lane backs up, although usually only in the evening in the southbound direction.
    3) Alaska at Fauntleroy, especially going westbound. The light to cross Fauntleroy isn’t long enough, and causes unnecessary backups, when there is the mostly wide open bus lane that could move twice as many cars through in the short time given.
    I think that whenever you have to sit through several light cycles to get through an intersection, something is wrong with how it is designed, or with the timing of the lights. I agree with KM that people might start avoiding backed up intersections on 35th by taking side streets when possible. Unfortunately for 35th, this is a lot easier to do than it is on Delridge.
    That being said, I think the 3 lane set-up on Delridge works fairly well, although it worked better before they reduced the lanes going through the busy intersections at Andover and Orchard. I often get stuck behind people going slower than the speed limit, but as long as I’m not sitting through several light cycles at an intersection, I’m OK with the flow, because it’s fairly predictable. I prefer it to 35th.
    I think 2 lanes with a turn lane could work for 35th too–many intersections like Holden definitely need a left turn lane. But, I do not think they need to reduce the speed from 35 to 30 mph. Delridge is still 35 mph, and 35th SW is the major north-south arterial for West Seattle and needs to move a large volume of people.
    The extra time of 3-4 minutes during peak traffic flow probably assumes that the intersections won’t have crazy backups, as so many cars will need to move through with only half the lanes to do it. Hopefully, the timing of the lights will be changed to accommodate a longer line of cars needing to get through. Otherwise, side streets like 34th and 36th will see much more traffic as people learn to avoid congested intersections.

  • 34th and Thistle March 11, 2015 (12:50 pm)

    “1 percent drop in 85 percent of the speed”

    The 85th percentile speed is the speed at which 85 percent of the traffic is moving. (Ie. people not speeding)

    Applied, what that stat means is that for all the people claiming that rechannelizations mean traffic and slowdowns, they’re wrong. (Or, they’re right, if a 1 percent drop is significant to you. I think that is most likely within the margin of error of the study.)

    I love the plan. Rechannel away!

  • Joe Szilagyi March 11, 2015 (1:00 pm)

    @dcn, “Otherwise, side streets like 34th and 36th will see much more traffic as people learn to avoid congested intersections.”
    Yet the side streets off of Delridge, California and Fauntleroy never materialized any spike or rise in traffic.

  • D-mom March 11, 2015 (1:17 pm)

    When is the city going to realize that people in the south end of town do actually need to get places within a reasonable amount of time? What we really need is a decent expressway, but I know that’s next to impossible. Think about the length of Weat Seattle vs the north part of town (Greenlake, Wallingford, which has 99 and I-5). It takes me 5-10 minutes to get from my house to the bridge. 3-4 minutes added to that is not insignicant. It’s especially frustrating trying to get to other parts of town when you can’t even get out of West Seattle. That is what creates aggressive drivers.

  • a March 11, 2015 (1:22 pm)

    When I first heard about these changes I was strongly opposed to them especially being someone who commutes via 35th daily. Recently my opinion has changed and here are the reasons why. I have witnessed or driven by more than 10 accidents on 35th within the last two years alone. Drivers are becoming more and more distracted and there are too many bad drivers out there to have a 4 lane road with narrow lanes without turn lanes-it’s a recipe for disaster. 35th is in horrible condition and needs to be re paved and just needs a makeover in general. The fact is W.S. is becoming more and more crowded and with that come more cars on the road and more people who don’t know how to drive-I drove by the scene of 3 accidents in 1 day last week. This road diet will add to our commutes for sure but it will also make 35th much safer and if it saves even one life then it is well worth it.

  • Rose March 11, 2015 (1:32 pm)

    Regarding “signal optimization”, would the 35th/Holden signal pair be staggered?

    The simultaneous signal change causes drivers to accelerate through the signal. Staggered signal change would ensure drivers to pass through without speeding up – like Eastlake/Mercer in the city.

  • plf March 11, 2015 (2:09 pm)

    Joe I live on 44th and the amount of traffic and the speed has signficantly increased as folks try to find away around California
    there have been numerous accidents with folks speeding go fast around the round abouts and hitting cars so I would disagree with you and the folks who run parall will see signficant traffic and speed

  • Nancy Folsom March 11, 2015 (2:29 pm)

    As someone who drives on 35th regularly, I am glad to see the hard job of changing the roadway and driver’s habits begin.

    If 5 minutes (more than the estimate) is too much a delay–only during rush hour, mind–then I suggest one is cutting it too close and people should leave earlier.

    As the city grows and changes, and as we learn more about effective traffic management, our streets, and we, will need to change, too. And we will have to accommodate others. That’s the nature of society.

    Thirty-five is surprising fast for stopping in an emergency. Thirty makes sense (and I can but dream of the day Delridge is dropped to 30). In my opinion, of course. And I’m saying this as someone who tends to be a lead foot, who’s driven mostly in places with much faster and crazier traffic. Chilling down, even if I take longer to get somewhere–usually a matter of minutes–is worth it because my stress level is improved.

  • Joe Szilagyi March 11, 2015 (2:49 pm)

    @D-mom, I live about as deep as you can get into the SW corner before you start getting into the Arbor Heights main hill. The West Seattle Bridge is the last option we should we be using especially during commute hours — Roxbury to 509 or 106th toward White Center for 509 on several routes. Unless I’m going to be running errands in or around the middle of West Seattle or north end before downtown driving I never take the West Seattle Bridge or Spokane Bridge unless I’ve got a bus or bike to ride. If you’re north of Roxhill or Highland Park it’s silly to not use the 1st Ave South bridge.
    @Rose they said that 35th/Holden and the the wonky intersection will require a lot of work. They weren’t sure of a final change yet.

  • Gordon March 11, 2015 (2:56 pm)

    It’s really counterintuitive to think that changing the lane configuration would not impact the number of people driving (just dangerous speeding), but that has indeed been the case for the other safety redesigns SDOT has done.

    Don’t take my word for it. Check out this post by the Walking In Seattle Blog that dives into the data:

  • wetone March 11, 2015 (3:13 pm)

    Joe Szilagyi, curious where got the data for saying “Yet the side streets off of Delridge, California and Fauntleroy never materialized any spike or rise in traffic.” As a long time WS resident and having homes in the areas you mention that comment is totally false. I also see some big issues with the studies and numbers the city has used above. Traffic on the side streets in areas close to California Fauntleroy, Delridge and 35th have increased substantially over the last 7yrs during commute times. All one has to do is ask residents living in those areas. The more traffic lights and traffic on arterials the more people go to side streets. Your comment might hold some water if you were talking 1-3 in the afternoon or after 8pm. Just the population increase in WS would make that a false statement. I also own a home 35th couple blocks north of Morgan and would like something done to make it safer for all. My solution would be more police presents and speed traps ticketing all for bad/stupid decisions one makes. That means tickets for motor vehicles, bicyclist, walkers. Add more pedestrian activated crosswalks and keep speed limit 35mph. Taking parking away on 35th will cause problems for many and should be left as is.

    • WSB March 11, 2015 (3:43 pm)

      The data comes from SDOT traffic studies. Anybody can say “Oh, I don’t believe the data.” Happens often when people don’t *want* to believe it. I can make my own declaration if I wanted to, since we travel West Seattle’s major roads daily, checking for news both breaking and possible – Delridge, 35th, 16th, California, Fauntleroy, Avalon, Alki. Side streets too. I wouldn’t dream of making a pronouncement because I’m not a traffic engineer taking measurements. If you have questions for Jim Curtin, Dongho Chang, and the others working on this, come to the Thursday meeting (3:15 pm) and talk to them in person. If you can’t go, send e-mail or call, rather than basically suggesting they are lying or bumbling. They both stayed after the meeting last night to talk with people until the last person left so you don’t even need to stand up during the meeting and pose your question/challenge if you don’t want to. – TR

  • AIDM March 11, 2015 (3:30 pm)

    I prefer option A and think it will be safer. This is mainly because there have been several accidents and one fatality at the intersection of 35th and Juneau. Also, there is a crosswalk across 35th at Raymond that many children use. I think cars move way too quickly through the 35th and Raymond crosswalk and starting the road diet there won’t slow down enough cars before the crosswalk. Finally, there are lots of people who cross at 35th and Findlay to access Camp Long, so option A also covers these vehicle/pedestrian interactions.

  • Thomas M. March 11, 2015 (5:06 pm)

    I-35 is nuts. I am darn glad to see the city do something useful with its time and money. Safety first, the injury you avoid may be your own.

  • West Seattle Hipster March 11, 2015 (5:09 pm)

    While I feel that reducing road capacity in an area that is experiencing a rapid rise in population is foolish, I can understand the push for a road diet. Too many times I am driving the speed limit on 35th only to be tailgated or road raged by an AWM who is in a hurry to get to the next stop light. With it being reduced to one lane in each direction, I expect to see the impatient drivers passing folks in the turn lane.


    I lament the added pollution being spewed into the air by the cars that will be stuck in traffic on 35th, especially near Avalon. Hope the new condo dwellers there keep their windows shut.

  • (required) March 11, 2015 (5:29 pm)

    Wow, it looks like 35th will FINALLY get safer. Good job, Seattle. But the story here is the true thoughts and feelings of some of the people opposed to this effort. It’s interesting — and disturbing — to read some of the comment-makers’ candor here. One claims making 35th safer will kill business. Another says an added 3 minutes is “not insignificant.” Yikes! I applaud these people for speaking honestly and openly, but I hope it is their first step toward becoming a better person and more responsible driver. It’s amazing that anyone not stoned would really see an added few minutes on a road that’s just 5 or 6 miles long as anything other than insignificant. And did anyone else find it amazing that some person at the meeting would actually ask out-loud and in public if a dead pedestrian should be blamed for getting killed because of a “mid-block” cross?? Yikes! Open season on pedestrians, anyone?? How amazing is it that some car drivers are actually so ignorant of the harm they can cause a pedestrian, or how drivers can feel so self-entitled inside their car to blame pedestrians for denting their grilles or sullying their hoods with blood?? Yeah, some pedestrians in history have probably intended to kill themselves by jumping in front of a train or car or bus or whatever. Yeah, surely that has probably happened. But on 35th, is that what happened when people were killed?? Many of us bipeds feel like we take our own lives into our hands whenever we walk near 35th because of the drivers on 35th. Does that make it our fault if we try to cross the street in the middle of the block and some driver going 60 mows us down?? I am also intrigued that people are trotting out WAC and RCW provisions to discuss whether pedestrians or drivers are at fault when a pedestrian gets mowed down on 35th. I thought all drivers knew that they were responsible for driving safely — and that means NEVER letting yourself get close enough to mowing someone down that it could actually ever happen. It’s not dumb or weird to ask about the many seemingly contradictory WAC and RCW provisions regarding driving and pedestrians. Conversation on that is fine. But I sure hope this ends with people realizing they need to drive more safely. Come on — even if one WAC rule or RCW says cross where it’s marked, lots of others say don’t kill people, don’t drive too fast, yield to pedestrians, etc. It’s amazing that it’s somehow unclear to anyone that they need to be extremely careful not to kill someone when driving a car. And we should not forget that a lot of the injury and death on 35th has come from the design of 35th itself — often from cars turning across two lanes at an uncontrolled intersection. The fixes the city’s proposing will end that design flaw with a much safer alternative. About time.

  • Bradley March 11, 2015 (10:33 pm)

    I used to live on 34th between Othello and Myrtle for many years. Every time there was some construction that limited lane traffic in any way, we would have countless vehicles using our 34th to bypass 35th. People on 34th and 36th had better prepare for vastly increased traffic on their streets during rush times when one of these plans is implemented.

  • KM March 12, 2015 (8:42 am)

    I know this is a pretty hot topic, but it seems that most of us think enforcement needs to happen, and frequently, but I can’t recall ever seeing a car pulled over on 35th, not even during the school zone hours. I saw a car run a red light and almost hit a pedestrian in a cross walk, and the cop about 10 feet away did nothing. A car park in a lane and a cop did nothing. Although I am now for reducing lanes, I would first and foremost like to see our traffic laws enforced.

    I agree that rechannelization won’t fix all of our problems if people we can’t address illegal and reckless driving, regardless of road design. I know there’s a grant in the works to step is up, but this seems to be a citywide problem that needs addressing immediately if not yesterday.

  • steve March 12, 2015 (9:36 am)

    If I understand the changes correctly(eliminating street parking), There’s a lot of homes on 35th that don’t have driveways/back alleys to park in. What do people do with their cars at that point? Not to mention it’s illegal to park within 15 feet of the sidewalk even if you’re in your driveway. Plenty of homes along 35th only have a 15-20ft driveway.

    • WSB March 12, 2015 (10:04 am)

      The details of how and where parking would be affected, if at all, are still down the line, but you should definitely come today if you can and/or at least send Jim Curtin (address in story) your comments – especially if there is a specific stretch you’re concerned about. Past rechannelization plans have been changed (Triangle, Admiral come to mind) because of specific input. – TR

  • steve March 12, 2015 (11:33 am)

    Thanks for the reply, WSB. I decided to write my comment more for the folks whom are living on 35th thinking that eliminating street parking for an additional lane is a good idea. I do agree that adding in some of the additional crosswalks is a good idea, but lowering the speed limit to 30 I don’t believe will affect much in terms of accident rates. For the amount of cars that travel on 35th the current accident rate is normal. The accident’s I’ve witnessed are just from careless drivers or the drivers coming from off streets attempting to get onto 35th where there is blind spots from sidewalks to crosswalks. Often times I see people who don’t slow down prior to coming up on a crosswalk but once they hit it they slam on their breaks. 35th has a normal speed limit that should stay. An accident will happen if one is going 35mph or 30mph. I recommend those that think lowering the speed limit to look at this link

  • jwright March 12, 2015 (2:46 pm)

    “”! Now there’s a group that doesn’t have an axe to grind.

  • David Trotter March 12, 2015 (2:47 pm)

    I have downloaded this and am reviewingit. I may not be able to make the Thursday meeting, but will be at the candidate forum at the Senir Center on Saturday and will be open to questions from Friday onward via my website,

  • Mark Olsoe March 12, 2015 (4:47 pm)

    Why not “channelize” by simply making the right lane into a bus only lane? This would cost a fraction of the physical re-channelization and would provide a boost for buses. Try it for a year and if it doesn’t work THEN spend the millions of dollars on physical channelizing.

  • steve March 12, 2015 (6:57 pm)

    Jwright, there’s plenty of information from different studies out there that agree that lowering the speed limit doesn’t help. What does help is drivers who pay attention and remember their driving. The majority of people who get into an incident tend to be either distracted or are not keeping a safe distance from the car that is ahead of them. Explain how someone distracted on a cellphone isn’t going to get into a crash going 30mph rather than 35? Hey, maybe they even end up etching up in speed while on their phone.

    • WSB March 12, 2015 (7:15 pm)

      The city is not necessarily contending that lower speeds mean fewer crashes. The numbers noted in our coverage of the Vision Zero launch are on page 12:
      According to what’s on that page, the difference between getting hit at 40 mph and 30 mph is 4 more survivors out of 10 pedestrians hit.

  • Thomas M. March 12, 2015 (8:57 pm)

    Enforcement would help a LOT. I can’t recall the last time I saw a cop on radar or writing a ticket on I-35. They may occasionally be there, but the impression I get is one of near complete absence of enforcement. Couldn’t hurt to keep an eye on the geniuses that hang out near Walgreen’s.

  • steve March 13, 2015 (10:21 am)

    WSB, I have only read of the past 2 deaths on/near 35th, but haven’t both of them been in the crosswalk on the side of the road and not the crosswalks going across it? Using their own field of vision graph, it’s the same between 30-40mph, and doesn’t change until you’re 15mph.

Sorry, comment time is over.