Admiral Way Safety Project: Preview what SDOT will present tonight @ Admiral Neighborhood Association

(Admiral Way Safety Project area map, from SDOT)
We’ve already mentioned that the Admiral Neighborhood Association will hear tonight from SDOT about bicycle lanes proposed along Admiral Way between the business district and Alki. Since then, SDOT has sent this preview – which reveals it’s not just a bicycle-lane project, but includes other planned safety improvements including narrower vehicle lanes (note that this area includes the already-underway 47th/Admiral signal-and-crosswalks project):

Project Need

Collisions from 2011 to 2014 along SW Admiral Way

· 1 pedestrian collision along project extent (2012)
· 2 bike collisions along project extent (both in 2011)
· 45 vehicle collisions along project extent

Project Description

· Reduce lane widths along SW Admiral Way and design the street to encourage slower speeds and reduce collisions

· Add new travel option by installing buffered bikes lanes from 63rd Ave SW to 44th Ave SW.

In order to add the bike lane, depending on the location, on-street parking will be consolidated to one-side of the street where parking utilization is low; or the two-way, left-turn lane (will be) removed to keep on-street parking on both sides of SW Admiral Way.

Parking Study Results

Along this 1.4 miles of SW Admiral Way, there are 441 parking spaces. We tracked the parking utilization on weekends and weekdays, morning, noon, evening and late night. At the maximum occupancy for each block, only 33% of existing spaces are being used. Of course, this isn’t uniformly distributed across the corridor. Between 45th Ave SW and California Ave SW and between 57th and 63rd avenues SW on-street parking occupancy is relatively high.

Existing Spaces: 441
Current Utilization: 33%
Percentage Preserved: 56%

Project Schedule

April – Community briefings
May 6 – SW District Council briefing
May – Open House
May – July – Final design
August – Implementation
2016 – Evaluation

(We are asking SDOT to confirm that “percentage preserved” in the “parking study” section means that 44 percent of the 441 parking spaces are to be removed, or whether it means something else. Update: Yes, SDOT’s Norm Mah confirms, that’s what it means – so, about 200 spaces will go.)

Now that you’ve seen the plan, if you have questions/comments, come to tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, 7 pm, The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd/Lander). If you absolutely can’t – watch for one of the other briefings (such as the SWDC, 6:30 pm Wednesday, May 6th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle).

45 Replies to "Admiral Way Safety Project: Preview what SDOT will present tonight @ Admiral Neighborhood Association"

  • AlkiAdjacent April 14, 2015 (2:04 pm)

    Thanks for posting this. Do you have a link to the release or info from SDOT? My car was totaled by a hit and run driver while parked on admiral last year.

    • WSB April 14, 2015 (2:48 pm)

      This *is* what they sent. (Everything we publish in a blue box is quoted material.) It wasn’t a release, it was the body of an e-mail. I suspect there’ll be a webpage but haven’t found it yet.

  • Chad April 14, 2015 (2:17 pm)

    45 collisions in three years!? That is a lot. I’m with SDOT on this. The lanes are too wide and that encourages speeding. I would love to have buffered bike lanes along this stretch. There are hardly any good/safe routes from Admiral down to Alki. I would love to have the option of riding this with my kids and buffered bike lanes could make that possible while also slowing cars down to the posted speed limit. Seems like a win-win so long as residence still have reasonable access to parking and it sounds like they would.

  • ktrapp April 14, 2015 (2:43 pm)

    It doesn’t surprise me that the accidents are clustered around the California and 63rd areas.

    I’d love it if they made the right lane going Westbound at California into a right turn lane only, instead of it merging after the intersection. I wonder how many of those accidents have been caused by people who use that lane to pass a bunch of cars and then cut in before they run into the back of a parked car outside of 7-11.

  • Jason April 14, 2015 (2:44 pm)

    This definitely sounds like a win-win. And I completely agree with Chad that wider lanes encourage speeding. I’m looking forward to this huge improvement!

  • admiraldon April 14, 2015 (3:00 pm)

    In some countries they install speed bumps in the lanes where excess speed and the need to slow down is warranted. might be a good idea for Admiral (and maybe 35th) to force speed reduction. Would be good to slow the speeds down from what they are. Maybe we can get new paving to fix all those pot holes as well…..

  • alkistu April 14, 2015 (3:06 pm)

    45 vehicle accidents in 3 years sure shows through statistics what the problem is.

  • Born on Alki 59 April 14, 2015 (3:25 pm)

    “In order to add the bike lane, depending on the location, on-street parking will be consolidated to one-side of the street where parking utilization is low; or the two-way, left-turn lane (will be) removed to keep on-street parking on both sides of SW Admiral Way.”

    Does this mean that people who live on the other side of the street will need to walk across Admiral Way every time they park? Seems to me this will cause an increase of pedestrian vs. car accidents. Vision Zero

  • Don Brubeck April 14, 2015 (3:40 pm)

    Some people park on the “other” side of Admiral on purpose because their cars have been totaled while parked in front of their houses on the north side, so they would rather take the personal risk of crossing the street every time they use their car. If this helps slow traffic down and give a buffer to cars parked on the north side, it could reduce that kind of accident and mean less pedestrian crossings at mid block. Most people on my block of Admiral have had their parked car hit at least once by people speeding around the curves.

  • Chad April 14, 2015 (3:48 pm)

    Alki 59 – I agree, it will be interesting to see their plan with regard to parking. Hopefully, it can be done in such a way that people are not having to frequently cross the street to get to their car and when that is necessary safe crossings are provided.

    I have to admit, I sometimes find myself speeding on these wide roads. Another example is Genesee. That road is huge and I frequently see people driving 40 MPH on that road. Luckily traffic volumes are relatively low there, but why such a huge road?

  • FrancisE April 14, 2015 (4:12 pm)

    Will the new traffic signal at 47th be pedestrian activated?

  • NW April 14, 2015 (4:13 pm)

    When in high school and few years beyond we use to race down admiral standing up on our skateboards also do long drawn out carves along the entire width and stretch of the hill top to bottom. There were those too who I recall doing it barefoot. I look back now and see how careless and dangerous it was. I personally wrecked a few times on it.

  • JAT April 14, 2015 (4:43 pm)

    Only two bike collisions? You know why? the nice wide lanes! Narrowing lanes is widely believed in the cycling advocacy community to be somehow objectively safer, but as a Seattle cyclist of 44 yrs experience (how’d that happen?!?) my strong sense is that different lane widths make sense for different conditions.

    Narrow the lanes on Admiral west of California and you will see more bike collisions. That’s my prediction.

  • wetone April 14, 2015 (4:57 pm)

    Is there a breakdown describing the 45 vehicle accidents ? It looks to me most were vehicles pulling out onto Admiral. Not so much a speed problem maybe, but a vision ? with all the trees/bushes that have been planted on parking strips along with cars parked to close/near intersections of streets and alleyways is were I would be looking to improve. Line of sight for walkers, bikers and drivers is something the city has done a terrible job with and has been getting worse here in W/S and through out the city. If you can’t see it doesn’t matter what the speed( being realistic). There is going to be a problem. City needs to remove plantings and cars with-in 50ft of intersections. Start requiring parking on new builds so people have a place to park their rigs, especially if the city continues to keep taking street parking away. Funny how they are adding thousands of units here in W/S many with no or little parking and then start pulling street parking away. Murray and Kubly just keep saying no war on cars……..

  • JayDee April 14, 2015 (5:49 pm)

    Again, data with no meaning. Is 45 collisions a lot of collisions for three years? Remember Admiral Junction is an urban village, and if you increase the number of rats in a cage without enlarging the = more collisions. And echoing the 63rd Ave/Alki observation…people speeding downhill…59th feeding cars across/through with poor visibility and plenty of people not used to the above.

    And again, 47th and Admiral is scary but so scary no one has been hit in years. But that is why SDOT is spending $350K to fix a problem that doesn’t require a car-activated stoplight.

    Lastly, the West Bound lane at Admiral and California should be right turn only, and no through traffic. IMHO.

  • JN April 14, 2015 (6:02 pm)

    Good, this has been needed for a long time. I commute up Admiral along this stretch daily, and the percentage of people speeding here is ridiculous. The buffered bike lane would be fantastic in making this less stressful!

  • ChefJoe April 14, 2015 (6:23 pm)

    wetone, you don’t think the 30 ft from intersections mandate is sufficient ? I recently trimmed back some pines/junipers to clear 8 ft over my sidewalks too.
    Our codes require that you:

    Trim or remove vegetation that overhangs or obstructs streets, alleys, or sidewalks. Ensure vegetation has an 8-foot clearance over sidewalks and a 14-foot clearance over traveled roads.

    At intersections, ensure the view of the intersection is not obstructed by vegetation. Trim any vegetation that interferes with the view of an intersection from 30 feet away.

  • Grinzold April 14, 2015 (6:25 pm)

    Removing the left turn lane is a pretty bad idea. This will lead to more collisions due to stopped cars waiting to turn left. The uphill bike lane on admiral coming up from the west Seattle bridge is well done. why not do something similar here?

  • West Seattle Born April 14, 2015 (6:26 pm)

    I feel sorry for those folks that can’t park in front of there houses…especially on Costco shopping days. We do need it to be slower but I don’t think creating a bike lane and taking parking away is a good solution. I can’t wait until we get permit parking by Alki….all the restaurant works fill up the parking by 11am and I can’t even have friends over.

  • themightyrabbit April 14, 2015 (7:53 pm)

    I commute by bicycle up Admiral daily, this is SO OVERDUE to have a safer way to ascend this road. It’s so wide but set up with exorbitant speeding. I have to have my eye in my mirror more than 50% of the time on this stretch just to watch for inattentive drivers too close for comfort.

    Hey for those doing a Costco run, park your vehicle temporarily for 10 mins for unloading, then move it to it’s evening parking spot. Where I live this is what I do with my vehicle when unloading from Home Depot or whereever. Simple.

  • dsa April 14, 2015 (8:59 pm)

    Will they undo it if the collision rate remains at 45 per three years? What will they do if the collision rate gets worse? Don’t ask sdot, they don’t know.

    • WSB April 14, 2015 (9:22 pm)

      Just a note, I was at the meeting but won’t be writing the separate story until tomorrow. Among what we learned beyond the basics in this preview: The city did its parking studies, determining parking in the area is greatly underutilized … in December. SDOT reps were told they really need to evaluate in the warm season to get an accurate reading. They promised to look again in June. – TR

  • Mike April 14, 2015 (10:50 pm)

    “I commute by bicycle up Admiral daily, this is SO OVERDUE to have a safer way to ascend this road. It’s so wide but set up with exorbitant speeding”
    So wide that the buses can’t stay in their own lane…because they’re physically wider than the lane as is. You enjoy trying to go around the bus now, just wait until the bicycle lane magically ends when the bus is at the bus stop.
    The city needs to expose exact data that proves the accidents were caused by speeding to make the case that speeding is the problem being resolved by thinning lanes (remember cars also park along the curb now and busses stop along the curb and there are current sections that buses are wider than the painted lanes). Will their idea cause more accidents? I’ll throw in $10 to a pool betting that the new light at Admiral Way has a major accident in the first month. Will the city remove the light when we have somebody sent to Harborview because people can’t tell there’s a red light when they come over the hill and start turning left? Will cyclists obey the lights or blow through them?
    Time for some real solutions and not just throwing money to contractors that love our tax dollars being thrown around to appease some political agenda for the next election.

  • themightyrabbit April 14, 2015 (11:33 pm)

    “So wide that the buses can’t stay in their own lane…because they’re physically wider than the lane as is. You enjoy trying to go around the bus now, just wait until the bicycle lane magically ends when the bus is at the bus stop.”

    Heh, I don’t mind the buses, they’re generally the safest drivers out there and actually give me a wider berth than your average car. I ride around buses all the time – downtown on 3rd Ave, up Avalon Way at the bus bulbs….when the ‘bike lane disappears’. I don’t in general care for bike lanes as a bicyclist, except that, on roads like Admiral Way, especially on the corners, cars are going at a rate endangering other users or simply driving distracted. Try riding that road and experience those lovely near misses. Thank gosh for mirrors on my glasses.

  • Alkiadjacent April 15, 2015 (12:01 am)

    I was at the meeting too. What struck me was how few options seemed to have been considered and how far along this process has gotten – without any public input. SDOT is looking to finalize its plans by August this year. As I recall, there is only one more public meeting on this issue. I would encourage anyone who has any input to contact SDOT soon. I have the contact email for the SDOT program manager for this program, but will defer to WSB on whether it is acceptable to post that.

    The city seems bent on eliminating parking, reducing lanes and making this city car-unfriendly. I think there are ways to enhance bike safety without worsening our traffic and scarcity of parking. As someone who has to drive as a result of my work, I do not want to see parking reduced for the sake of a handful of cyclists.

    • WSB April 15, 2015 (12:08 am)

      They’re public servants and their e-mail is in the city directory, so go right ahead, for folks who will continue happening onto this until I polish up the meeting report for midday or so tomorrow. Re: meetings – Southwest District Council is next on May 6th (6:30 pm, Senior Center in The Junction), then an “open house” that they said was tentatively slated for May 21st.

  • alkipug April 15, 2015 (6:35 am)

    I live on this stretch and I can count on one hand the number of “bicycle commuters” in any given work day. Simple reson is they use Alki ave which is flat (as I do) to commute to Seattle and is safer and already has a bike lane (but then look at all the bicycles that choose to ride in traffic on Alki even tho there is a bike lane?) I commute on Admiral every day and I don’t think I’ve seen one bike in the bike lane on the other side of the hill once. How about instead use an elevated crosswalk at 45th (like they have in the Junction?)

  • JN April 15, 2015 (8:47 am)

    Alkipug, at least one reason you see cyclists not on the cycle track along Alki is all of the pedestrians on there, especially on sunny days, who apparently have no idea that it is a cycle track. The bike lane on the other side of Admiral has a multitude of problems, there is no protection from the speeding cars going up on your left, and at the top it ends and spits you out into a terrible merge with the aforementioned speeding drivers. And you really wonder why you don’t see more cyclists using it?

  • Alkiadjacent April 15, 2015 (9:32 am)

    Here is the program manager (I think that is her title) at SDOT who gave this presentation. Please contact her and let her know your concerns/support/questions.

  • MSW April 15, 2015 (9:56 am)

    I’m still floored by the 350k cost for the 47th light. Seems pretty expensive for this small project.

  • Alkiadjacent April 15, 2015 (10:05 am)

    Also, if you want to submit a public disclosure request to the City for more information: here is the PD officer for SDOT:

  • Average Joe April 15, 2015 (10:41 am)

    FYI Over the years, I’ve “used my resources” and emailed countless city employees with a kind tone, clearly stating what my concern is and ideas on a solution… I’ve had more luck winning the lottery. I don’t email anyone anymore, it’s a waste of time. I wonder how many hours/days I’ve wasted just trying to be a good citizen looking out for safety and the law?
    On a related note, Chef, I agree that the laws are already on the books but the city won’t enforce vegetation infractions due to budgets. Maybe it has changed but safety issues I’ve pointed out these last few years have fallen on deaf ears or they say thanks but nothing we can do. Same goes for vehicles parking too close/illegally to intersections, crosswalks, driveways, hydrants. SPD parking enforcement does not enforce this from what I see everyday in WS. I heard they only have 2 officers in WS.
    If the idea of turning a once through lane into a right turn only lane is implemented, enforce it or make it so a car can’t go straight because people will keep doing what they used to do.
    Agree with wet one.
    Good points Jay dee and alkiadjacent.

  • Average Joe April 15, 2015 (10:48 am)

    Something else about codes like vegetation, there are a lot of ignorant people out there who don’t know or don’t care. I believe whether you know the law or not, you live by the law. People plant those gardens in the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road because it’s legal. Great, I’m all for it but these people don’t read the rules which state nothing above a certain height like 3 feet. This is a violation I see often with bamboo or sunflowers. A house near mine did something like this and it caused an accident. When someone pointed it out to them they scoffed. People plant without getting a city permit so they don’t know the law or get the permit and don’t read the rules.

  • KM April 15, 2015 (10:55 am)

    These lanes are so wide there’s no reason we cannot easily, and cheaply make this safer for all transportation modes. Great improvements!
    Oh, and enforcement! A ton of it.

  • wetone April 15, 2015 (11:24 am)

    ChefJoe, I think 30′ would be ok but 50′ better with more bike riders, walkers and drivers around from the population growth. Problem is city doesn’t enforce anything you mention, in fact they do the opposite planting more and making it harder to trim plantings (legally) without getting a city arborist’s ok in many cases. Anyone can take a walk around the block and see for themselves. Vision blocked or impacted areas from trees/plantings at intersections, alleyways, driveways and sidewalks. Once again a problem that the city could improve on without big redesign and Murray’s open checkbook style spending. Seattle has so many task forces doing survey’s and designing, but no one to make a simple commonsense decision. Things will only get worse as the city continues to let developers run the show and build without providing parking. A pretty simple solution for many problems were having in this city. But our government here is more concerned about making profits for developers than the impacts caused to surrounding neighborhoods.

  • ChefJoe April 15, 2015 (11:25 am)

    Average Joe, it’s been more than half a decade since I last reported one house with overgrown hedges that pushed me off a sidewalk every day and a house that was rented where a broken down car parked across the sidewalk (for many months) that also closed it off… but in both cases I submitted the complaint online, included my contact info for a followup, and within about a month I was contacted that they’d talked with the property owner it did get cleared… the hedges took longer but they were removed completely from the property after a few months.

    As for parking issues… try the find-it, fix-it app and make sure there’s a license plate in the photo. At the very least, you do get a status on your complaint that makes you feel like they’ve seen it.

  • LongTimeInAlki April 15, 2015 (12:23 pm)

    @ JayDee

    > Lastly, the West Bound lane at Admiral and California should be right turn only, and no through traffic. IMHO. <

    I completely disagree. The option is vital otherwise the center-thru lane would backup cars well past the 41st Ave during rush hour. I think the problem is more that some people don't properly allow the right lane to merge, causing some aggressive behavior in response.

  • maplesyrup April 15, 2015 (2:10 pm)

    Yeah I’m with LongTimeInAlki. The backup would be pretty bad. It would also encourage more people to divert through the earlier side streets, which would stink for the residents on those streets.

  • FrancisE April 15, 2015 (2:23 pm)

    Will the new traffic signal at 47th and Admiral be pedestrian activated?

  • Harry usual April 15, 2015 (6:44 pm)

    Am new to West Seattle but confused at everyone’s obsession with Street parking. If you rely on that you have made bad choices it seems

  • themightyrabbit April 15, 2015 (9:51 pm)

    Thanks JN for clarifying for alkiplug why there’s hardly any riders on the bike lane in Alki. I was riding along there last week and the male in one couple held out his arm sideways ensuring I wasn’t to close his comfort zone. It was an obnoxious move, because there was another rider coming the other way and pedestrian on the other side of those lanes. Totally inconsiderate and unnecessary. I’ve never hit a pedestrian riding and don’t ever plan to.

    But he should have been on the parallel sidewalk. This kind of stuff gets old quickly. I’m just trying to get home safely. When the weather is nice that bike lane becomes a labyrinth of people not paying attention to themselves, their kids or animals in that bike/rollerblading lane and it gets rather dangerous. I have kids myself, they know to watch for all users.

    So in summary…it’s safer literally to be with the cars when the weather is nice. Mostly it’s better for cold, cloudy or rainy weather, then it’s only the hardcore joggers who are cognizant of their surroundings or predictable.

  • Chad April 16, 2015 (11:49 am)

    I agree with “April”, I often ride on the road around Alki because it’s just not safe with all of the pedestrians walking on the bike path when it’s busy. I would rather take my chances with the cars then risk hurting a pedestrian riding my bike.

    Also, there was mention of seeing only a handful of bike commuters. There are typically anywhere from 500 to over 1500 bike trips coming in and out of West Seattle each weekday and that is with relatively poor bike infrastructure in many parts of West Seattle. That number is increasing too. Many people won’t commute by bike due to safety concerns. Bike infrastructure is one of those things that has to be put in place to encourage biking. For the most part, bike infrastructure is a win-win for drivers and cyclists so long as it’s implemented in such a way that doesn’t increase congestion and cause significant parking problems. When bike infrastructure exists it gets cyclists out of the way of drivers while providing increased safety for the cyclist.

  • Kathy April 17, 2015 (2:08 pm)

    Alki neighborhood has very little in the way of retail shopping, and no bank, no library, no high school. If you check the density maps, Alki is a populous area with many people who need to get up Admiral Way to do their errands, go to school, etc. Thanks to SDOT for planning a safer way for Alki residents to do this with out getting in a car for the 1 mile trip to the Junction. A bike with baskets, panniers or a trailer can get the job done very nicely, if the route is made safe. The grade is not too steep, because it has plateaus at intervals that are relatively flat, where you can recover your energy for the next climb.

    The reason we need parking restricted 50 feet from some intersections is that there are a few hilly curves where sight lines are reduced. Notably at 53rd and Admiral Way there are often cars and vans parked on the curving SE corner of Admiral. This may be legal, but it can make biking uphill at that corner a hair raising experience. The cars passing you, often exceeding the speed limit, have no right hand striping to encourage them to stay closer to the center line. Bikers exiting the curve are not visible to passing drivers.

    Since speed bumps are out for Admiral Way (SDOT can’t put them on a hill, especially on an arterial used for buses and emergency vehicles), narrowing the car lanes by adding buffered bike lanes is something we can do to discourage cars from racing and wandering across the right-of-way banging into people and parked cars. By the way, SDOT briefed that 22 of the 45 collisions in the past 3 years were moving vs. parked motorized vehicle attributed to speeding and/or distracted or impaired driving.

  • TheAdmiral April 22, 2015 (2:15 pm)

    i’ll never understand why seattle is opposed to left turn lanes at intersections. instead there’s always a gamble – will someone turn left and block that lane, or turn right and have to wait for a pedestrian crossing? has anyone from SDOT ever been to other cities and seen how much better it can be while using the same amount of space? it’s like we’re stuck in 1930’s traffic management theory.

Sorry, comment time is over.