VIDEO: Why the first Admiral Way Safety Project meeting won’t be the last after all

(Slide deck from last night’s meeting)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“Who can we contact to derail this program?”

That question was asked by one attendee at last night’s contentious meeting about the Admiral Way Safety Project, but could have come from almost anyone who spoke. We hadn’t planned to record the meeting on video but grabbed five minutes of public comment via phone; if you weren’t there, this is a taste of how it went:

This was the first standalone meeting about the project, and at one point during the meeting SDOT reps said it would be the only one – but before the meeting’s end, Admiral Neighborhood Association president David Whiting asked them to commit to another one, and they agreed.

The proposal for SW Admiral Way between California SW and 63rd SW is intended to improve safety by adding a bicycle lane and narrowing vehicle lanes. That would require removal of about 200 street parking spaces, per SDOT’s calculations, on alternating sides of the street. While SDOT initially contended that the proposal would still preserve more than the number of spaces they found occupied during their research, what has drawn ire is the timing of that research: They took counts last December, not during the warm-weather months that fill Alki-area parking spaces for blocks around.

The way in which this proposal emerged also has drawn criticism.

Unlike other arterial projects on the drawing board now for West Seattle – 35th SW and SW Roxbury – this seemed to come out of almost nowhere. Those two projects followed longstanding community requests for help with dangerous corridors, as did the now-under-construction 47th/Admiral traffic signal, which is in the zone covered by this project. But the Admiral Way Safety Project emerged without much fanfare – first we heard of it was when an SDOT presentation turned up on the ANA agenda for April; this preview we published before that meeting included the first publicized details.

Even without much warning, that meeting had a larger turnout than most community councils usually draw (WSB coverage here). The next briefing was at this month’s Southwest District Council meeting (WSB coverage here), a group that doesn’t usually draw much of an audience (and doesn’t meet in a room with much space for one).

But last night brought a crowd. SDOT seemed braced for one, bringing reinforcements to join project manager Emily Ehlers, including her boss Sam Woods and Dawn Schellenberg of the SDOT communications team to try to set the stage for the meeting, as well as to try to keep it on topic and away from mode-vs.-mode anger. At the start, she asked who’d heard about the SDOT safety initiative Vision Zero. A few scattered hands went up. She offered a preface – “The value of someone’s life does not change depending on how they travel. … It’s not us vs. them.” – as well as background on traffic calming and on the Bicycle Master Plan, suggesting that current bicycle riders are mostly those who’ve done it for a long time, and that the city hopes changes like the one in this plan will make more people feel comfortable enough to ride.

Ehlers picked up with the project itself, along Admiral Way between 63rd SW and California SW. She started with stats on a speed study in February – 2 percent of the drivers on the corridor are going more than 40 mph.

She showed a bicycle count – keep in mind, there’s no bike lane now. At Stevens Street, the daily use averaged about 50, and at 48th, it averaged more than 60. “Uphill? Downhill?” somebody muttered. “I don’t believe it,” somebody else muttered. Ehlers said these were measured by devices, not visually.

She also showed the collision data for the stretch over three years – 48 collisions, all but three vehicle-vs.-vehicle, one in which a pedestrian was hit, two involving bicycles.

Then, the parking chart – and she acknowledged the seasonal variations that weren’t mentioned the first time around until someone asked “when was the study done?” and got the reply “December.” So, she said, they will study again in July. The measurements were at 6 am, noon, 6 pm, 10 pm, in the January study, with the available parking only one-third utilized.

The changes are what were announced previously – reduce lane width from an average of 12 to 10 feet, for one. That encourages slower speeds and narrows the crossing distance for pedestrians, Ehlers said. And she mentioned the 47th/Admiral signal project (which is all done except for the signal itself).

The map color-coding planned parking changes was shown – none at the west end, 58 spaces in the next stretch, 124 spaces in the stretch after that, and no change in the block before California, which also will not have a bike lane.

At this point, the project team mentioned that next steps would include the July parking study, and final design; implementation in fall, and evaluation next year. That’s when they said, at first, that no additional meeting was planned after the July parking study, but Schellenberg said that they would notify people when the study results are available online.

That’s when Q/A began, growing increasingly contentious as it went on.

First question: What about correcting behavior through means such as enforcement? Ehlers said, “Enforcement is a huge issue – it’s one prong of Vision Zero along with enforcement and education,” and invited comments on where enforcement would be helpful. Woods said “self-enforcement” is what they are aiming for. She said they can research SPD citations, but they don’t have that data currently.

Another attendee said upper Admiral is enforced more than lower Admiral.

“No pavement repair?” asked an attendee. Ehlers said they planned some spot repairs in the bicycle lanes because bicycles are sensitive. “Cars are too,” was the retort.

A man who said he had been measuring parking in recent weeks said his numbers are different from the city’s, and thought they might be counting the bridge, “where no one parks.” He said that from 57th west, occupancy at night seems to be closer to 85 percent. Ehlers clarified that the 33 percent occupancy was an average, including sections “where no one parks” and sections “where people park heavily.”

A man who said he has one vehicle on the street, one in the garage, and rides his bicycle to work daily, said the best thing he sees about the project is the “narrower lanes … to slow down traffic. Whatever happens here, I hope narrower lanes will be part of it. … Right now it’s just too much of a speedway.” He and neighbors have had their cars hit by speeding vehicles.

Another attendee said “to me the data is useless if you don’t look at what’s happening down here between May and September.”

They’re going to, the SDOT team reiterated. “But you’re not going to share it in a group setting,” said an attendee. “Well, we’re hearing you might like that,” said Schellenberg.

Another attendee stood up to talk about the lack of parking for Alki Elementary and said no one from the school is here “because they’ve given up.” The “overflow parking” is “right in front of where I live,” she said. And, she pointed out, “this is a tourist area. … The whole atmosphere of our city changes (in summer) … strangers come from other cities, and they try to park here, and there’s nowhere to park. Where do they park? Admiral Way. On the 4th of July, we have to take a cab, because there’s no place to park. We’re talking about a street that’s not like the other streets you’re trying to change in the city.” That was followed by applause.

A man who said he lives on 57th says he has to park on Admiral. “There’s a parking overlay around here for good reason.” (Alki requires 1.5 spaces per unit for residential construction.)

A woman said that she can’t turn onto Admiral because it’s heavily parked, up to and even into an alley. She takes the bus to work, she noted.

Next to speak was Jackie Ramels (a former chair of the Alki Community Council), who said it’s hard “to sit here and hear you tell us how things are – I know how things are …” Last weekend during the West Seattle 5K, Ramels said, people were parking overlapping her driveway. “The future of our whole neighborhood and our way of life depend on the information you get in July … we hope you choose a really nice day” (for the July study).

Another attendee said, “My impression is that this plan will go forward.”

“We’re looking to see if we can accommodate your parking, add a new travel option, and have collisions go down on the street,” replied Schellenberg.

Next person pointed out that many of the streets in upper Alki back up onto greenbelts and there are no “other streets to park on.” He said traffic was slower “before they put the center turn lane in” years ago. He added that crosswalks are needed to help people like him – “I’m in my 60s” – at the very least.

The applause got more raucous.

“How long will the study be in July?”

“One weekday and one weekend day,” the SDOT team replied, saying cars will be counted by people.

A woman and man, each holding a baby, stood up to voice their concerns about parking removal on their side of Admiral Way. She started to cry as she spoke, saying she loves the idea of slowing down but “I’m scared to death to take (my children) across the street multiple times a day. (if parking is removed on the side where she lives) … We just heard about this meeting through a neighbor. Is this a votable issue? … I applaud you guys trying to make it safer but it scares me to death to think we’ll have to park across the street.”

The contentiousness ratcheted up from here.

“You should be note-taking,” someone admonished the SDOT team (one person was writing bulletpoints on paper on an easel, but no one appeared to be taking notes otherwise).

A man shouted that people should send their concerns to City Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

One man says “it’s up to each one of us to create our own safety. You can’t do it. I know from the engineering department you want to help – but you can’t design safety into everyone’s minds.”

Smattering of applause. “We’re not going to give up,” said an SDOT team member.

“All it takes is a little alcohol, or a drug, and a little roadway paint will not save anybody,” the man continued – he is the one at the start of our video clip. “I have to be here to tell you, you’re wrong. You insulted me by telling me my experience means I’m stupid.” (He explained he took umbrage to them having called regular bicyclists “fearless.”)

Then another attendee (also in our clip) said that the bicycle counts were wrong, saying that he works at home all day and has never seen more than a handful.

A woman said people won’t stop for a pedestrian island, they certainly won’t stop for a crosswalk. “I don’t see how this is going to work.” She thinks a crosswalk every block or two “would be great, but how you’re going to get the cars to see them …”

A man voiced concern about “all these condos being built …” – he seemed to be referring to apartment construction in the West Seattle Junction area – “they’re going to want to come to the beach.”

Schellenberg reiterated at that point that they are not looking to cut the speed limit beyond the posted speed, 30 mph.

David Whiting, president of the Admiral Neighborhood Association: “If the goal of Vision Zero is to reduce accidents, then why is the bicycle lane adjacent to traffic instead of buffered by (parking)?”

Woods replied that “doing a parking-buffered bike lane would (mean) restricting parking at every driveway, at every intersection.”

Whiting said he wanted SDOT to commit to not implementing any changes without another public meeting, after the next round of research. That drew major applause. He mentioned his group, “we’d host you, logistics are not a problem, or the SW District Council” (which he co-chairs) – “there’s enough concern about this process.”

And with that, Schellenberg said OK, they would commit to another public meeting.

Next person: “If your goal is to slow traffic to accommodate bikes, and you hope there will be more in the future to reduce car trips – I like the idea of eliminating the center turn lane along the stretch. That will slow speeds.”

Another man who said he works on an ambulance crew all day said he thought the whole impetus for this was wrong in the first place – basically, that they were trying to fix what wasn’t broken.

Then a man declared that the studies SDOT said it did in December and April “are completely flawed.” The project team quickly said they would vowed to redo the bicycle count in June, as well as redoing the parking study in July. “You are public servants and you work for us,” he continued, and said he was not happy with the project team’s giggling/laughter during the meeting.

And then:

“Who can we contact to derail this program? Tell us now, who can we write to to derail the program? You’re here to placate us.”

“Dori Monson,” someone says.

Ehlers said they can e-mail her.

One woman spoke up to support the proposal at that point, saying that, “she’s looking forward to the narrower lanes and I’m looking forward to the project.”

A man said that they’ve been asking for more pedestrian enhancements at 49th. He then graciously suggested applause for Schellenberg having “run the meeting well.”

Then a woman asked to speak. “There are only three ways to get to Alki” – and this is one of them. “This is our main thoroughfare. It’s not like any other street. That has to be taken into consideration.”

She then wondered about the genesis of this proposal – what led to it in the first place?

Schellenberg said she thought it primarily was inspired by the Bicycle Master Plan, which she had mentioned in her meeting preface.

“So – it’s all for bicyclists?” someone asked.

At that, the meeting wrapped up, with at least a third of the attendees staying to talk with each other and with the SDOT staffers.

WHAT’S NEXT? As noted above, SDOT committed to another public meeting after the July parking study. We will continue to follow up to find out when they intend to do that study.

HOW TO COMMENT: – and there’s more contact info on the project page (where you’ll also find the “boards” shown last night, as well as the slide deck we embedded above).

67 Replies to "VIDEO: Why the first Admiral Way Safety Project meeting won't be the last after all"

  • JN May 22, 2015 (10:49 am)

    This is one of the only reasonable ways to cycle up to the business areas/main new residential areas of West Seattle from Alki. It is miserable ro bike up right now, not because of the gradient, but because of the speeding traffic passing way too closely. The person bringing up the new residents wanting to get to the beach from the new apartments/etc, if you make streets like this safe, they can easily bike to the beach!

  • Don Brubeck May 22, 2015 (11:34 am)

    Agreed, JN. Admiral is a thoroughfare (that I live on), and is one of our three ways to get to Alki, whether that is on foot, by bike, by bus or by car. Adding bike lanes with buffers is one way to reduce the traffic lane width, and that is one of very few ways on an arterial bus route to reduce the vehicle speeds that make it so dangerous to walk across this street, or to park cars on this street. Admiral was built at an angle to the hill side to make it a feasible haul road, which is why it works as a bike route. It is less steep than any other route up to the destinations wa all go to along California Avenue. It does not have parallel routes on non-arterial streets that are feasible alternatives. I think we should also look at creating an RPZ (restricting parking zone) for residents. It worked well where I used to live in Roosevelt/Ravenna where we were plagued by “park and ride” commuters and UW staff on our streets.

  • Mike May 22, 2015 (11:43 am)

    JN, I agree that it’s not the safest road for cycling. It’s very busy, often with a line of traffic on hot Friday or Saturday’s, people going to Alki. You have a few alternates, ones I always take on my bicycle and often in my car…the side streets, that have no traffic.

  • Mark schletty May 22, 2015 (11:45 am)

    This is another example of this city’s insane transportation policies. Do city leaders have no conception of the meaning of representative democracy? Under our system the government is supposed to follow the needs and desires of the people, or at least the majority of the people when there is disagreement. Since when do the wishes of 2 percent of the citizenry trump the needs of the remaining 98 per cent. Certainly not in a democracy! This plan, like so many more, is driven by the bicycle fanatics, completely ignoring the rest of us who NEED to use cars for work, age, or mobility impairment. I support the use of bicycles and walking for those who can do it, but not when it comes directly at the expense of the vast majority who can’t.

  • themightryrabbit May 22, 2015 (11:57 am)

    Agree wholeheartedly with JN. I bicycle this road many days a week for my commute and somethings gotta happen to protect us. Improved safety is paramount.

  • justadumbguy May 22, 2015 (11:58 am)

    Forcing people to park on the other side of the street because parking spaces have been removed and cross Admiral seems like a recipe for reducing pedestrian safety. Maybe I’m missing something.

  • onion May 22, 2015 (12:12 pm)

    I’ve bicycled up and down the western slope of Admiral for 20 years now, and I actually think it’s rather bicycle friendly already, in that the traffic lines are relatively generous, and the left turn lane allows cars to give me a wide berth. The accident data doesn’t seem to suggest a current risk to cyclists. So there ought to be other ways to calm traffic speeds. Removing the left turn lane and narrowing traffic lanes actually seem like steps in the wrong direction.

    I’ve also thought about the parking situation and empathize with people who rely on Admiral Way for convenient parking.

  • E May 22, 2015 (12:13 pm)

    So glad I dragged my sick self to the meeting last night. The plan would increase bike safety and something does need to be done about the speeding BUT the plan as it is is horribly designed by people who seemed completely clueless about the area. Taking away parking on one side is going to increase the number of people darting across the road. Adding pedestrian crossings isn’t going to help. The speed and curves and lanes moving back and forth to accommodate the parking changing from one side to the other is going to make the road overall less safe than it currently is (or isn’t really). Obviously sdot realizes that crossing this road is hard and dangerous for pedestrians — that’s why the intersection by alki Mail is getting a light. So why do they think it will be safer down the hill? It makes no sense.
    Admiral/57th resident and Alki ES parent

  • Rpo May 22, 2015 (12:21 pm)

    I also cycle up the west side of Admiral on a weekly basis, and it certainly needs a protected bike lane going up the hill. Also, from what I have seen at all times of the day and week/weekend, there is always an abundance of open parking, so I highly doubt the removal of 200 spots will affect anyone living and parking there.

    Also, since nobody has pointed this out, homes along Admiral are generally only on one side of the street from one section to the next. The sections where the parking is being removed from one side is on the side where there are generally no homes, so crossing the street from the car/house should not be much of a factor.

  • JRamels May 22, 2015 (12:31 pm)

    Forcing the residents of Admiral Way, those who live between 5700 and 5900, to park on the north side of the street, is guaranteed to increase the accident rate. Impaired drivers routinely miss the curve and collide with parked cars. The transportation department should know that, before they make decisions that affect the everyday lives of city residents.

    What kind of place do we live in, where a city department can insert itself into our personal lives, with NO advance notice, and with NO requested public comment, with NO real data, and make changes that drastically impact where we live in our homes?

    These changes are proposed with NO research or analysis, (one study in December) no knowledge of the neighborhood or the district, no understanding of the culture, and nothing other than an IDEOLOGY.

    The residents of Admiral Way are collateral damage to an ideology. I think there’s another word for that.

    I am not surprised people were angry last night.

  • Community Member May 22, 2015 (12:42 pm)

    Trying to placate the residents with a RPZ completely ignores parking needs for Alki Elementary, Schmitz Park, Alki Park, and public events such as volleyball tournaments, 5K runs, and so forth. The general public has an expectation that they can come to the area and park.
    You don’t increase pedestrian safety by making people cross a busy road – with infants, groceries, etc – just to get to their house.
    You don’t increase area safely by moving parking from well-lit areas in front of houses and having you park next to Schmitz park.
    Parking needs in the area will increase over the next 20 years as single lots continue to be converted to multifamily housing; basing the parking needs on current density is highly unrealistic.
    I am a huge fan of increased bike use; if they wanted to increase bike safety by getting rid of the center turn lane, or reducing the speed limit, or creating no-passing zones, I would be all for it, and the modest increase in drive times would seem a reasonable trade-off for improved access and safety. But making families with small children dash across the busy road? Huh? That’s just not well thought out at all.

  • KT May 22, 2015 (12:53 pm)

    “..the collision data for the stretch over three years – 48 collisions, all but three vehicle-vs.-vehicle, one in which a pedestrian was hit, two involving bicycles”… Hmmm.
    “First question: What about correcting behavior through means such as enforcement”? “Woods said “self-enforcement” is what they are aiming for”. Really?
    A traffic study done in a beach area in December – if you don’t think that this is ideological and rigged for one particular ending, then I have some beach front property in AZ to sell you.

  • AlkiVista May 22, 2015 (12:58 pm)

    I totally agree with Mark schletty, except that after watching how SDOT works, I have concluded that when something seems insane, it’s because we aren’t being told the actual agenda that drives it. They were actually going to try to sneak this in with only a single public hearing!! And may still go ahead regardless of further opposition. After all THEY know what is best for all of us. They have degrees in public planning (scary topic). Mark, you and I need to call a meeting of like minded neighbors and exercise some true representative democracy about this mess.

  • C May 22, 2015 (1:18 pm)

    I agree with Mark Schletty & & AlkiVista !

  • AlkiVista May 22, 2015 (1:26 pm)

    Note to WS Blog. How can I capture a copy of this article onto my PC? I tried the download button but only got the SDOT slides. I’d like a copy of your article for permanent retention. Good stuff like this disappears over time. Thanks.

    • WSB May 22, 2015 (1:38 pm)

      Hi – no, it doesn’t disappear, every word we’ve ever written (and more than a quarter-million comments!) remains live online and will remain live online as long as we have anything to do with it. I don’t know about capturing pages, though; there is probably some way to do that in your browser, but browser commands vary. Just save the URL – right click on the headline of any WSB story, and you’ll get the URL, which can be reached from anywhere. (The direct URL to this story, for example, is )

  • OP May 22, 2015 (1:39 pm)

    Bravo to Mark Schletty’s comment! I fear I’ll only echo it in saying, SDOT, along with cycling activist groups, thoroughly disregard the overwhelming majority. Piece by piece, parking space by parking space, SDOT takes away parking spaces, reduces lanes in the name of “safety” and more, all in a futile and narrow-minded attempt to turn hilly Seattle into a Little Amsterdam. I applaud the Admiral community folks who stood up these political clowns and said “no.”

    BTW: “Vision Zero” is the best tagline since Nike’s “Just Do It” SDOT’s vision and respect for representative democracy and of the majority is exactly that: zero.

  • Joe B. May 22, 2015 (2:06 pm)

    Am new to West Seattle and live up the hill from Alki. Came as a fly on the wall. I felt like I’ve moved straight from Capitol Hill to Renton in the 1950s. A number of people complained about other people parking in front of their house (???). I’ve only been a couple public meetings, and never one in West Seattle, and it was just bizarre.

  • AlkiAdjacent May 22, 2015 (2:08 pm)

    I am a resident on Admiral Way in the 5700 block. I find it very disturbing that SDOT is proposing to take such action based on the needs of what is probably less than 1% of the users of the roadway. I have a bike, I ride bike. Admiral Way has nice wide lanes and seems reasonably safe for cyclists. The data appears to reflect that as well (# of bike involved collisions in the SDOT study = 2).

    A small cadre of bike enthusiasts is seeking to make changes that affect the other 99.99%. I have nothing against those who wish (and have the luxury to do so based on their job, etc.) to bike to work, etc. That is great. But most of us, the VAST majority of us cannot for one reason or another.

    SDOT should be focusing on the real problem with Admiral Way – speeding and inattentive driving. The vast majority of collision are vehicle vs. vehicle collisions where a car loses control and hits a parked car. Those who live on the apexes of the curves on Admiral know this well. Impaired, inattentive drivers do stupid things and lose control. Cars get damaged, property gets damaged, and people will get hurt.

    In our little section of Admiral (5700 block) SDOT is proposing to eliminate parking on the South side. That means all residents will end up parking on the North side. Two problems: (1) there isn’t enough space for the residents. From about mid-block in the 5700 block heading west, all of the houses on the north side are duplexes and most of these “houses” have 3 cars because there is more than one family living there. Nor is there much parking on any adjacent streets. (2) that parking (north side) is on the apex of the downhill curves (when heading West on Admiral down towards Alki). This is where cars lose control.
    Narrow lanes to slow down traffic? Maybe, but not the drunk drivers, not the idiots on their cell phones, etc. Moreover, when it snows – everyone in the neighborhood moves their cars over to the south side of Admiral – for fear of getting hit. If SDOT has their way, that won’t be an option.
    Mark my words, if SDOT proceeds with this proposal, there will be more car vs. car collision in this area and, sooner or later, there will be a serious pedestrian injury. If safety is the City’s number 1 concern, this is not a well thought out program. It is telling that they have not had a traffic engineer review this plan; and that they waited until AFTER they formulated a plan to get public feedback.

    There are other ways to slow down traffic on Admiral. SDOT’s own site approves the use of “speed cushions” and other traffic calming devices on Admiral. We need those and we need crosswalks with lights and safety island to slow down traffic and improve safety, not bike lanes.

    This is not just a random residential neighborhood. Anyone who lives in this area knows that when it is sunny and nice, parking backs up onto Admiral. The City imposed an Alki Parking Overlay in this area (requiring 1.5 parking spaces per unit in developments), as part of a recognition that more parking is needed in this area because of the beach traffic. Now SDOT proposes to take this parking away!

    I was unable to attend the meeting, but I am glad to hear that other residents spoke up with their concerns.


  • Seattlite May 22, 2015 (2:14 pm)

    Agree Mark Schletty & AlkiVista. I may be wrong but, when all is said and done with roadway diets, I see few bicyclists on the roadways when the inclement weather arrives. So all of roadway diets and dollars are going toward a few months out of the year to bicycle in favorable weather conditions.

  • JN May 22, 2015 (2:22 pm)

    Mark Schletty, you’re advocating for ignoring someone’s needs based on their percentage of society? I guess you think we should repeal the ADA requirements for roads, since I don’t see many disabled people, or we shouldn’t have legalized gay marriage because there are way more straight people! (Just so no one takes this the wrong way, I obviously don’t think we should get rid of ADA requirements and I completely support marriage equality, just trying to point out the hypocrisy of Mark’s statement. Just because someone wants or NEEDS to use a bicycle to get around shouldn’t disqualify them from being safe while doing so.)

  • flimflam May 22, 2015 (2:38 pm)

    safety is important to everyone, of course, but how does the city justify all these changes and road diets etc for essentially 4% of the population?

  • G May 22, 2015 (2:39 pm)

    This is not bike versus auto, this just seems to be a poorly considered plan.

  • JAT May 22, 2015 (2:46 pm)

    I too live in this area and ride this road fairly frequently (with all due respect to the enraged statisticians commenting in the video who would suggest i don’t exist), and yet I agree this plan is unnecessary and is the wrong approach to a) calm traffic speeds and b) engender goodwill between transportation modes (particularly transit which needs reasonable right of way with and full access for bus stops.
    The whole thing could be done with speed humps and pedestrian activated cross walks far more effectively and cheaply.
    Clearly the real problem is that motorists speed; let us not reengineer our entire neighborhood thoroughfare to combat that problem. Write some damn tickets!

  • rpo May 22, 2015 (2:57 pm)

    JRamels: They conducted one study in December and are conducting another in July (when traffic is obviously much higher). Please read up on the proposal before commenting.

    • WSB May 22, 2015 (3:07 pm)

      JR is correct; this was originally going forward with one parking study, done in December, at that. The summertime study would not be in the works if not for people pointing out in the first presentations of this that you can’t judge Alki-area parking occupancy by surveying in December. The original reply was then that they would study again in June – and even that, members of the public pointed out, would not be full-on summer, so they said, OK, July. (Side note: We often stress the importance of going to public meetings if it’s something you really care about. This is a case in point, whether you support, oppose, or are neutral on the plan.)

  • skeeter May 22, 2015 (2:59 pm)

    Parking: It can be free. Or it can be easy. Choose one.

  • Jason May 22, 2015 (3:18 pm)

    After reading through these comments I’m frankly embarrassed for our community. Calling city employees names? Slinging insults? Just because you happen to disagree with some proposed changes to a roadway?

    I fully support this plan, and it has nothing to do with bikes versus cars. It’s about making the road safer. Road design has been shown time and time again to influence driving habits. Narrower lanes slow cars down. That’s a fact. SDOT is not proposing to limit throughput on this road. They are proposing to make the roadway safer for everyone, especially those of you who live along Admiral. By adding bike facilities and narrowing the lanes, the crossing distances will be substantially shortened, making every crossing shorter and safer. These same improvements will slow down speeders, while making it more comfortable for those of us who obey posted speed limits. Do you have children? How about your neighbors? Any grandkids who visit you? These improvements will make it more comfortable and safer to push your stroller along the sidewalks, or to play in your front or side yards along Admiral. Live along Admiral and want to walk to dinner somewhere along Alki? Again, these improvements will make your walk much more comfortable. This is a win for everyone, not some ridiculous conspiracy designed to make your lives worse. If parking is really the most important thing in your life, you should consider examining your priorities.

  • Don Brubeck May 22, 2015 (3:47 pm)

    If you take the 50 or 56 bus from a stop on Admiral, you have to cross the street to get to the bus stop, at either the start or the end of your trip. So the street crossings need to be made more safe, no matter where the car parking is. And as it is right now, many of us cross the street mid block to get to our parked cars, so reducing speed is important. Not helpful to pretend that people do not need to walk across Admiral Way as it is right now, or in the future.

  • Mark schletty May 22, 2015 (3:48 pm)

    To JN- thank you for bringing up the ADA. I frequently cite it when I comment on some of these proposals. The city is violating the ADA every time they remove too much parking on streets. Doing so totally discriminates against mobility impaied people. It traps them in their homes because they can’t walk or bike to places and often there is no transit available. I don’t advocate not improving safety measures for bikers or pedestrians, just find ways and places that don’t adversely affect so many other people, and yes, particularly those who need to use their cars(and therefore must park) for medical reasons. I do think your equating the “need” to ride a bike with the needs of disabled people is the truly hypocritical thinking.

  • WSB May 22, 2015 (3:52 pm)

    I started to say this earlier – then things started looking more civil – now the comments in queue are turning nasty. Bike-vs.-car ugliness is NOT welcome here. Bicycles are as valid a mode of transportation as motor vehicles, regardless of which mode is currently in the most use. Yes, they don’t work for absolutely everyone. Cars don’t work for absolutely everyone. Buses don’t work for absolutely everyone. Motorcycles don’t work for absolutely everyone. But those modes of transportation and the people who use them ALL HAVE A RIGHT TO THE ROADS (and by the way, all PAY for the roads; the belief that only motor-vehicle drivers pay for the road is a fallacy). Etc. Please keep discussion on the merits or lack of merits of this specific proposal, which many commenters already have done, and eloquently. And be sure, as noted at the end of the story, to voice your comments, pro/con/mixed/whatever, to SDOT directly – thank you – Tracy

  • Don Brubeck May 22, 2015 (3:54 pm)

    Speed humps or speed tables would definitely slow down traffic, but Metro buses and Seattle Fire Department rigs cannot handle them at 30 mph (or even less), so they cannot be used on an arterial like Admiral.

  • Jason May 22, 2015 (4:15 pm)


    Regarding the ADA and accessibility for those who are differently-abled and/or mobility impaired:

    (This is directly from SDOT)

    Disabled parking spaces in residential areas

    Seattle residents who possess a valid Washington State Disabled Parking Permit may request installation (at no cost) of a disabled parking space adjacent to their residence, subject to certain conditions. A signed space may be used by any vehicle with a valid permit and is not dedicated to the exclusive use by the requesting resident. The City does not provide disabled parking spaces for businesses. Please contact Julie Erickson at or (206) 684-5092 with any sign requests.

  • JRamels May 22, 2015 (4:17 pm)

    dear rpo, be careful what you ask for :-)
    I have read every word of the proposal, including the studies that led up to the proposal, acquired through public disclosure requests. Have you?
    The plan was scheduled to be implemented before any public testimony was taken, and before “studies” were taken as to bike traffic on Admiral Way. (I asked at the ANA meeting). If you noticed, the bike studies were from last month. This plan was in the works long before then.
    SDOT did not know the times of the accidents on Admiral Way (I asked). This is important because the accidents on Admiral Way 5700 block are invariably at night by impaired drivers, hitting cars parked on the north side.
    The residents were informed last Saturday about a plan that was scheduled to be implemented in August. Did you know that?

    There were two prior meetings, by other organizations, where the bike plan was on the agenda: one was the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting in April. I was there, were you? The other one was the Southwest District Council a couple weeks ago.
    SDOT did not know that parking consumes both sides of Admiral Way up to Stevens Street during events such as Alki 5K, Pirate’s Landing, 4th of July, etc. (as per the Admiral meeting and the SWDC meeting)
    One daytime study in the depth of winter does not lead to an understanding of this street. And frankly, neither do two studies in July.
    I have sent written comments to SDOT director Scott Kubly, Mayor Ed Murray and CM Tom Rasmussen; also distributed literature to all my neighbors between 5700 and 5900 Admiral Way, so at least they could be aware that a change was coming in August.

  • JRamels May 22, 2015 (4:26 pm)

    >>>Do you have children? How about your neighbors? Any grandkids who visit you?

    No, I am sorry, Jason. This will not make it easier for people who have grandchildren or those of us with elderly parents in wheelchairs (as I do), because there will be no where for them to park.

    The proposal to limit parking to the north side of Admiral Way in the 5700 block will NOT make it safer for anyone, least of all the residents who routinely wake up in the middle of the night to impaired drivers crashing into cars in the curve there. And that’s the ONE significant danger in this portion of Admiral Way.

  • Les May 22, 2015 (4:51 pm)


    How do bikes pay for the roads? Seattle is planning to build 200 miles of bike lanes how much are the bike users paying ?

  • Jeff May 22, 2015 (5:01 pm)

    The public right of way is for transportation, not free storage of private property.

  • Joe b. May 22, 2015 (5:12 pm)

    The city is not obligated to provide you free car storage in the right of way next to your house.

  • Mark schletty May 22, 2015 (5:15 pm)

    Jason- I’m aware of the option for disabled parking designation at your own home, but that is not what I am talking about or the issue. The issue is the inability to park at any of the other places you want or need to go. And I’m sorry Tracy if you thought my last comment was uncivil. I didn’t mean it to be, I just did not appreciate being called a hypocrit in the very illogical comparison comment directed at me. I have taken every survey available and commented to city staff and elected officials on this type of issue concerning the difficulty they are causing people with disabilities. I have never received a response from any of them and they don’t seem to care about the issue.

  • Community Member May 22, 2015 (5:37 pm)

    @ Don Brubeck – the traffic-calming bumps on Beach Drive work quite well. I don’t see anything about them that wouldn’t work on Admiral.

  • miws May 22, 2015 (6:13 pm)

    Thanks for the link to the Commission for People with Disabilities, WSB.


    Here’s a link to their FB Page for those that may be interested:



  • JN May 22, 2015 (6:13 pm)

    Mark, I feel my comment was perfectly logical. Your comment was about how members of society (bicyclists) should not be protected because the current percentage is low. My point was that the percentage of the population that is disabled is also small. The percentage does not matter in situations such as this because it is a matter of a minority needing provisions to be able to safely operate in society. People who bicycle need protection to feel safe, disabled persons need provisions for operating in society. And one epidemic that causes many disabilities and complications, obesity, can be staved off by exercise, which happens to include cycling. I cannot run because of joint issues, so my only real option for exercise is cycling. I cannot afford both a car and my current housing, am poorly served by bus lines, so I NEED to ride my bike to work, the store, all of my errands. So yes, I do need to use a bicycle for my life, and I would appreciate feeling safer in doing so.

  • Community Member May 22, 2015 (6:14 pm)

    Adding separated bicycle lanes (not shared with cares) to Admiral has been part of the “official” master plan since at least 2013, according to this map:

    But that map just looks like someone overlaid a grid onto the city streets, not that they actually worked with traffic and road engineers. I.E., the map also includes separated bike lanes all the way up Jacobsen, and there are sections of Jacobsen where that simply wouldn’t fit without major construction.

  • admiraldon May 22, 2015 (6:18 pm)

    wow. lots of debate. I would say safety is the big issue here. however, a few simple things could make it much less expensive overall.

    1. speed bumps. spaced to slow down the pace.

    2. everyone in Seattle should have permit parking. everyone should pay 24 hours a day. maybe 30-50 bucks a month should keep the parking problem down. all visitors should pay for parking like downtown.

    3. narrow lanes sounds like a good idea.

    4. better patrols. automatic ticket cameras would help with those who still go too fast.

    5. big barriers at the corners to protect property from those who swerve out of the lanes. let speeders and drunks ruin their cars. protect property of those who live there.

    6. 4-5 stop signs along admiral on this segment.

  • Mark schletty May 22, 2015 (7:42 pm)

    Tracy- thanks for the contact info. I have been hoping to see just a little bit of sensitivity from the transportation people so I have not yet taken the specific route you suggest. I have held back on that one because lodging a formal ADA complaint will (or at least should) initiate a lot of investigation and analysis by the enforcement department and that can be very costly and time consuming. Kind of a last resort thing to try. I think I’ll try a bit longer hoping that the sdot will finally take notice of the very large number of citizens who do not support, for a variety of reasons, what they are up to throughout the city.

  • Don Brubeck May 22, 2015 (8:20 pm)

    @Community Member: the information on speed bumps, humps and table is from SDOT. Beach Drive is not a bus route and speeds are much slower than on Admiral. Admiral has frequent emergency vehicle and bus traffic. I would love to see speed bumps if they would do it. I work on fire station design projects, and I am on Seattle’s Freight Master Plan Advisory Committee, so I have also been hearing directly from the drivers of the larger vehicles using our roads, and their tolerances for traffic calming devices. It is a difficult balancing act to design for safety and efficiency for all the different road users from pedestrians to drivers of ladder trucks and semis.

    And regarding RPZ’s: they usually allow anyone to park for up to 2 hours. Long enough for a school conference or community center class. Not long enough to spend the day at the beach.

  • KT May 22, 2015 (9:38 pm)

    I wonder if anyone remotely involved in these decisions actually live in the City of Seattle and have familiarity with its needs?

    “’re advocating for ignoring someone’s needs based on their percentage of society? I guess you think we should repeal the ADA requirements for roads, since I don’t see many disabled people, or we shouldn’t have legalized gay marriage because there are way more straight people! (Just so no one takes this the wrong way, I obviously don’t think we should get rid of ADA requirements and I completely support marriage equality, just trying to point out the hypocrisy of Mark’s statement. Just because someone wants or NEEDS to use a bicycle to get around shouldn’t disqualify them from being safe while doing so.)…”

    Just an insulting, ignorant, ridiculous comparison of groups. Are we really going to compare the needs of disabled persons, or the civil rights of gay people, with bicyclists? Wow! The collision data shows two involving bicyclists over 3 years with no further description of the incidents. Hardly seems like a bicycle war zone out there.

  • Community Member May 22, 2015 (10:09 pm)

    @Don Brubeck – It sounds like you are better informed on this than I am; I respect that and am not trying to argue/ But I still don’t see why they are so very different, at least at the bottom of the hill.
    The slide show above gives a volume on Admiral at 61st of 6236 cars. SDOT’s data for Beach Drive in 2013
    has a volume of 4900 cars. So – the bottom of Admiral has 25% more car traffic. That doesn’t seem drastically different.
    Both roads have a speed limit of 30 mph. I’m not sure why you say Beach Drive’s speeds are much lower than Admiral’s. If there is a drastic speed difference, why does that happen?
    I agree that Beach drive doesn’t have the frequent bus service that Admiral gets. But It does have the 37 and numerous school busses, and fire engine service, all of which do manage the speed bumps.
    Is there a reason why the 37 can navigate the bumps, but the 50 cannot? Sincerely curious.

  • JN May 22, 2015 (11:42 pm)

    KT, you’re completely missing my point. The percentage of the population of a group does not dictate whether or not provisions should be provided for that group, (“Since when do the wishes of 2 percent of the citizenry trump the needs of the remaining 98 per cent”) was the statement I took issue with. Mark’s comment was equating a groups percentage of the population with how much consideration they should be afforded. That is NOT democracy, that is oppression. Try having someone pass you in their truck with inches to spare on purpose going 40mph and tell me if you feel oppressed. I was drawing a comparison, not trying to offend anyone, and I apologize if any offense was given, but I am tired of being harassed and my safety ignored on the road.

  • alkiadjacent May 22, 2015 (11:44 pm)

    SDOT has specifically approved “traffic calming” measures for arterials –

    This is not a complete list, but it does includes ‘speed cushions’ like you see on SW beach drive – which have gaps so that fire trucks and buses can drive safely through. I am no traffic engineer but these would seem to make more sense – to address the real problem.

    I have nothing against cyclists, and would like the streets to be reasonably safe for them. But, it should be an equitable balancing act – taking into account the interests, concerns, and rights of all interested parties. That should include residents and non- residents alike. As a resident who will be DIRECTLY impacted by what SDOT does on a DAILY basis, I would like to think that my input, and the input of my fellow neighbors, would get a bit more consideration. If this was your street, if it was your family that had to park 3 blocks away and cross a busy street – wouldn’t you be concerned?

    I would like to see SDOT do a re-set on this project. Slow the traffic down with more effective measures, measures that help all users of admiral way, and measures that have less negative impact on tax paying residents.

    Nothing against cyclists, but I fail to see why our dwindling transportation budget should be used for something that benefits maybe 1%, while falling to address the real problem.

  • MSW May 23, 2015 (10:33 am)

    Here’s a suggestion. Have SDOT put a office/trailer on one of the city’s property in the Alki area and have someone work there all summer taking data. I bet they would be surprise what they find.

  • AlkiRes May 23, 2015 (1:55 pm)

    MSW, I lkie it! Have them put it near the 5800 block and staff it 24 hours with shifts and no reserved parking for their own cars. Maybe they could ride their bikes to work. And bye the way, the curved street above, SW Winthrop St. Is wall to wall with residents’s cars all night long now.

  • commentoreador May 23, 2015 (3:05 pm)

    Well! Now that everyone has fired off about Admiral… just wait and see what SDOT is planning with 35th! Between the two projects, traffic apocalypse is coming to West Seattle and you better start stocking up the canned goods because no one will be driving anywhere anytime soon!

  • Brenda Gage May 23, 2015 (4:10 pm)

    My name is Brenda. I am the mother of three small children (Shayla 4 1/2, Spencer almost 3, and Gwen 3 months). We live on the 5700 block of Admiral on the other side where the parking is suggested to be eliminated. Our house is the one with the whale wind vane on top. If you are ever walking by, feel free to say hello. I stood up at this meeting and started to cry when I heard about the elimination of 200 parking spaces in front of my street. I realize that we are just one family, but we have no alley access and if this passes, will be forced to find parking across the busy and dangerous street. We bought this house last fall and would never have purchased it if we had an inclination that the parking would be removed. My next door neighbor is disabled and this will negatively impact their family as well. And while it appears that some of us have one car garages, many of them (ours included) was built back in the 1930s down a steep cement incline that is actually too narrow for a modern day vehicle. And before I go on any further, I am not opposed to a bike lane, or making Admiral a safer street to drive down. With that being said, eliminating all of the parking on our side of the street would be devastating for our family. I am trying to picture me holing a baby as well as the hands of our 2 precious kiddos in the rain with groceries… You get the picture. But aside from the personal situation that arises for our family, what really scared me was the fact that not one of the 5 neighbors I have asked (on our side of the street where the parking is planned to be eliminated for) got notification about the meeting. We all passed around a photocopied flyer that was mailed to an Alki resident not on our block. That is disappointing to say the least. Could we have ALL missed the mailing? Anything’s possible but it seems unlikely. In addition, many neighbors felt that there were not nearly as many bikes as were counted. When asked what methodology was used to collect the data, we were told that a long tube was placed across the street and sidewalk to count that were sensitive to bike tires. I asked if the tube was able to differentiate between bike tires and large stroller tires like Bobs that I frequently see. I was told they weren’t sure. In addition, I was disturbed that in the plan no additional crosswalks, lights, speed bumps, speed reductions and/or additional policing were a part of the current plan. Glad to hear they are going to take a harder look at their proposal and I sincerely hope and pray they re-work a few things. The road is plenty wide for a safe bike lane without the reduction of parking spaces. And certainly the influx of summer parking that Alki Beach experiences as a popular Seattle tourist attraction alone should be a reason enough to leave parking. If anyone knows of who I can personally reach out to about this in an effort to stay informed, please let me know. I definitely don’t want to miss the next meeting.

  • Community Member May 23, 2015 (5:37 pm)

    Brenda – thank you for sharing that.
    I think that residents focusing on how few bicycles are currently using the road are making a serious strategic error, because that argument only supports the idea that the road as currently designed doesn’t work well for cyclists.
    The west end of Admiral should be able to meet ALL needs: parking for residents, but also parking for park users, school meetings, economic activities (roofers, plumbers, etc), and increasing housing density. The road should meet needs for buses, emergency vehicles, cars, AND bikes.
    I DO want the street to function well for cyclists; but not at the price of making pedestrians have to dash across the road with small children, or making residents park blocks away, or making it so non-residents are unable to access city park facilities.
    The on-street parking IS the parking for the parks and recreation in that area. Increasing bike access and bike safety is a laudable goal, but not if the price is that there is less public access to enjoy the beach, schmitz park, whale tail park, community center, alki elementary, etc, OR less pedestrian safety OR less parking for disabled residents and families.
    Brenda: I would urge your disabled neighbors to get designated handicap spaces in front of their houses immediately. The city is quite accommodating in meeting that need, but the disabled person has to pursue it. Now would be a very good time to do so.

  • Brenda Gage May 23, 2015 (7:07 pm)

    @Community Member,

    I will certainly pass along the tip about disabled parking to my next door neighbor.

    In response to your comment about a ‘focus on too few bicyclists on the road’ I merely wanted to point out that in addition to a flawed parking study in December in a tourist/beach area, I felt the methodology was flawed for the bikes also. That is not to say I am against a bike lane, I am totally for a bike lane if they can put one in without elimination parking.

    I simply wanted to point out that there are other types of residents and visitors whose needs are being overlooked. For example, if 40 or 50% of the supposed ‘bike’ traffic was actually stroller traffic crossing Admiral to Schmitz Park, or walking to and from Alki Elementary, perhaps additional crosswalks/lights and/or other safety measures supporting SDOT’s “Vision Zero” would have been a part of their presentation.

    The point being, the road as laid out is dangerous to more than just cyclists.

    I am not trying to exclude safety for bicyclists, just pointing out SDOT’s fixation on this ONE group and lack of inclusion of the overall safety for everyone on Admiral Way.

  • G May 24, 2015 (12:05 am)

    Ok, can we stop with the prefacing of everything with “I love bicyclists, but…” Jeez, this is so passive-aggressive Seattle. We’re all adults here, say what you want to say. Maybe I’ve been in LA too long, but I do like the big city mentality of communicating – and the way motorists and bicyclists fearlessly share the road with each other.

  • Bryan t. May 24, 2015 (5:55 pm)

    Can we bookmark this thread for the next time people complain about (new) residents parking their cars on street instead of on their private property?

  • MSW May 25, 2015 (10:41 am)

    Just saw the post about the Aegis building near 47th. It’s huge, and will likely bring more traffic to Admiral. I bet the back up at the light will kick in once the building is in use.

  • Dave May 25, 2015 (3:50 pm)

    Overall I think it’s a good start. That section of Admiral Way is bad for pedestrians and bike riders. A safety project that will help reduce accidents and make the road safer for ALL users is, in my opinion, a worthwhile idea.

    As for parking, I agree SDOT should have surveyed it during warm weather months and had those figures available at the meeting. However, I think it does makes sense to design a parking plan that takes in to account the amount of used spaces during the majority of the year, rather than from spaces used for just a couple months.

  • Gail May 25, 2015 (3:50 pm)

    We need a coalition to effectively protest the removal of parking on Admiral Way. Is there yet a group working on this? Individual feedback is always good but a concerted effort is needed here, I think. Many neighbors are willing to knock on doors, email, contribute – let’s work together.

  • Nancy R. May 26, 2015 (8:43 am)

    Making Admiral Way safer for everyone should be the priority. Free unlimited parking in Seattle is unsustainable and almost all parts of Seattle are moving away from this. Making sure that safe travel by bike, walking, and car is way more important than having free parking everywhere, especially on a major arterial. I support the bike proposal for Admiral Way.

  • Zero Vision May 26, 2015 (10:42 am)

    Gail and other interested parties: We have started organizing, dedicated to understanding the truth about “safety,” traffic, and parking on Admiral Way. Among other things, we will study bike traffic, history of accidents, and parking capacity by block (averaging across 16 blocks gives a very skewed picture of the street). Please note, donations are NOT requested. We need a coalition of like-minded individuals. Facebook page is in process.

    Please contact zerovisionseattle(at)gmail(dot)com.

  • Thomas M. May 26, 2015 (5:48 pm)

    How about some ENFORCEMENT? Get a six pack of motorcycle officers and move around between the West Seattle freeway, I-35 and Admiral. Target
    offenders and leave the regular guy alone. All we want is someplace to park our cars on our own street.

  • Gail May 26, 2015 (7:24 pm)

    Nancy R – I agree that safety is important. That’s why I don’t want small children (next door) and wheelchairs (two doors down) crossing Admiral Way. I really think that we can accommodate bike lanes, traffic and parking. If we were to eliminate the turn lane left turners would slow down traffic (a good thing) and this would free up real estate for bike lanes (also a good thing).

Sorry, comment time is over.