47th/Admiral/Waite project: SDOT update; safety reminder

(Photo taken this evening, looking westward at 47th/Admiral/Waite)
Two messages tonight about the 47th/Admiral/Waite signal and crosswalks project. First one is a progress report from SDOT:

Work resumed last week at the intersection of 47th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way. Crews installed the signal poles and striped the intersection, including new crosswalks. They also began installation of wiring in preparation for the new signal heads that we expect will be delivered later this week. We anticipate approximately three more weeks of construction while the signals are installed and configured.

The striping of the crosswalks before the signal’s installation, however, led WSB reader Jennie to e-mail this safety concern and ask if we’d share it:

I was wondering if you might be able to highlight a safety concern and an extra need for people to slow down and use caution when driving through the new Admiral stoplight intersection that is being created near Alki Mail and Dispatch.

There are not lights yet to control this intersections, yet they have decided to lay down all of the crosswalks. I am *very* concerned that someone is going to use one of these new crosswalks (potentially even young kids now that they are out of school) and get hit. The one crosswalk that was always there was placed in about the best position for line of sight for cars and it obviously didn’t do its job well with crossing deaths and accidents.

Crosswalks don’t require lights – don’t even require striping (as explained here) – but nonetheless, since the painted crosswalks are new features and the light is still a few weeks away, it’s a good idea to take extra care in that area as people using all modes get used to the new features.

12 Replies to "47th/Admiral/Waite project: SDOT update; safety reminder"

  • Mike June 24, 2015 (5:44 am)

    I already had to flash my lights and honk to prevent a dump truck from running over a family about to cross in the new cross walk path. This does not seem like a wise crossing area, even before, more now with two in a blind curve sloped.

  • ktrapp June 24, 2015 (8:23 am)

    Well with any luck, people will see the traffic lights before they even get to the corner, and will be able to tell if it’s red or not. I’m guessing the first few months will be the most dangerous, what with people not even noticing the lights. Hopefully the City will set up signage reminding people of the new signal, and, dare I dream, maybe station a patrol car there occasionally to hand out tickets to those who just blow through the light.

  • I. Ponder June 24, 2015 (10:46 am)

    I think most people don’t realize that pedestrians cross at the intersection whether or not there’s a marked crosswalk or flashing safety lights. Pedestrians have the legal right of way to cross at unmarked intersections. Most drivers do not know this basic traffic law fact. Stopping for pedestrians is not a courtesy — it’s the law!

  • Mike June 24, 2015 (11:07 am)

    I. Ponder, it’s also not legal for pedestrians to just step out into traffic, even at a crosswalk. The law that will always trump laws on paper are the laws of physics. People need to think before they react.

  • dsa June 24, 2015 (11:19 am)

    Great photo, you can see how the sight distance sucks.

  • Peter June 24, 2015 (12:28 pm)

    There’s no doubt this is a dangerous crossing location, with or without a light. The sight lines, especially westbound are terrible. Concerns about pedestrians being lulled into a sense of safety merely by the painted crosswalks are valid.

    Putting a pedestrian-activated light, like the one at Admiral/SW Olga, would’ve made *MUCH* more sense than the simple timer, that is currently planned. (Please correct me if I’m wrong on that.) Also, the SW Olga crossing has warning lights above the curve to tell drivers the crossing light ahead is red. That would be a worthwhile addition at this crossing, too.

  • ChefJoe June 24, 2015 (1:41 pm)

    Mike, sure, but vehicles frequently won’t yield until they see someone step off a curb and into the roadway (laws don’t require yielding until “upon the roadway”). The prohibition is that the pedestrian not step into the road under such close proximity that it’s impossible for the vehicle to stop.

    (2) Pedestrian sudden movements. No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.

  • JayDee June 24, 2015 (5:52 pm)

    @Jennie @Peter:

    Dangerous intersection, maybe. Deadly? Not so much–one car/ped accident and one pedestrian death (during the accident)over the last 19 years I’ve lived here. Regrettable, yes, but not as dangerous or deadly as stretches of I-35. And we don’t need an automatic signal…I just hope it can be retro-fitted for Pedestrian-activation after it is clear how it affects traffic. Yes, I am fighting the tide…Just call me Don JayDee.

  • dsa June 24, 2015 (6:04 pm)

    Great comment Jeydee. SDOT said from the beginning it did not meet traffic warrants for a signal. Eventually what happened is that it met “political” warrants and got funded.

  • peter June 24, 2015 (10:02 pm)

    For the record, I fully support a pedestrian-activated light and I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 50+ years. I cross the street at Admiral and SW Olga every working day. It’s a pain waiting for the light to change, but not nearly as thrilling as it used to be crossing Admiral Way on a dark and rainy winter night. My issue is with the automatic timer that will presumably be stopping traffic, even if no pedestrians wish to cross.

  • miws June 25, 2015 (7:44 am)

    Thank you WSB, for once again taking the time (which is at a great premium for you), to research the information to cite, and post facts about a topic that commenters are posting misconceptions/misinformation about.



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