VIDEO: At long last, a light – tonight’s 47th/Admiral ‘completion celebration’

Eight years and eight months after 26-year-old Matthew Tatsuo Nakata was hit and killed at 47th and Admiral, the intersection finally has a signal – a safety improvement that some were seeking even before his death. The then-City Councilmember for whom Mr. Nakata worked at the time, David Della, joined community leaders and city reps tonight at an event commemorating the completion of the signal and crosswalks at the intersection. Among them: Past and present leaders of the Admiral Neighborhood Association had advocated tirelessly for the signal, including a rally in November 2011, close to the fifth anniversary of Mr. Nakata’s death:

Earlier that year, SDOT had again turned down ANA’s request for a signal, but they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Almost two years later, then-Mayor Mike McGinn proposed a “flashing beacon”; but Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and his council colleagues changed the budget to include funding for a full-fledged signal. Construction finally began this spring, and the light went into service last week. One more feature: RainWorks art by Peregrine Church :

It’s only revealed when the sidewalk is wet:

(ANA president David Whiting says they’ll be leaving a container of water nearby all week so you can test it for yourself.)

ADDED: Here’s our video showing what Whiting, Rasmussen, Della, and SDOT director Scott Kubly said, about 12 minutes followed by, in the last minute of the video, the water pour that “revealed” the art:

A corner on the north side of the intersection has another RainWorks creation with a similar theme:

Though Kubly acknowledged arriving at SDOT late in the process to get this project in place, he said it was one he heard about frequently:

The completion brought big smiles from Katy Walum and Don Wahl:

She was ANA president during the biggest push to make the signal reality; he has operated Alki Mail and Dispatch at the corner for many years and has seen and heard both crashes and close calls for too long.

11 Replies to "VIDEO: At long last, a light - tonight's 47th/Admiral 'completion celebration'"

  • Beth July 14, 2015 (8:36 pm)

    This is great news. But, I still can’t help but think how sad it is that it took the City of Seattle so long to get this light purchased and installed. Shameful. Thank you Tom R. and Matthew’s friends for NOT letting it go! I think of Matthew each time I drive over that intersection; now, when a red light, I will get the chance to think of him longer…

  • Laura July 14, 2015 (9:10 pm)

    Great work by Rasmussen and the community activists pushing for this. As a person who drives, cycles and walks in and around this intersection every day, it feels much, much safer for everybody and it is a huge relief. RIP Tatsuo, you were remembered today and will be remembered every time I cross this intersection on my way to the bus stop.

  • Petunia July 14, 2015 (9:37 pm)

    Thank you Admiral Neighborhood Association for all your work to help make this light and crosswalk happen

  • ws_suzanne July 15, 2015 (12:24 am)

    Like so many others who remember that terrible day, I think of Matthew every time I cross that intersection. I am so glad that Councilmember Rasmussen and the community kept at it until the city finally installed a full-on traffic light. I wish that Matthew didn’t have to die to create this, but it is a step toward this never happening again — hopefully.

  • Don Brubeck July 15, 2015 (7:07 am)

    Thankyou, ANA, Tom Rasmussen and SDOT for your work to make Admiral Way safe at 47th.

  • mrsB July 15, 2015 (9:45 am)

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be the end of pedestrian accidents; since the lights were installed, we’ve seen many incidents of pedestrians crossing against the light. A friendly reminder, pedestrians and cyclists are subject to the same rules of the road as motorists.

  • scofflaws July 15, 2015 (10:20 am)

    True mrsB. It happens all over Seattle but hopefully this will reduce collisions and deaths. At least it will shift the blame from the driver to the ped or cyclist if they are found to be in the cross walk when they didn’t have a walk signal.

  • scofflaws July 15, 2015 (10:49 am)

    Mr Nakata had the right of way and it is a shame he passed away. It’s also a shame that it took so long to get some improvements to this wacky intersection. Sight lines are poor on a curves and hills by definition so a crosswalk should never be there IMO but hopefully the light will make it more safe. Thanks to ANA for keeping the pressure on over the years.

  • JC July 15, 2015 (3:25 pm)

    Is there a study or break-in period for the timing and cycle of this light? Adding this light was a positive but it certainly needs some fine-tuning. It seems to run a full cycle even when no cars or pedestrians need to pass, resulting in backups on Admiral that I’ve already seen stretching several blocks back to California Avenue. I’d like for public opinion to remain positive for this project since it was a good solution, so making sure the timing is optimal for arterial use is important.

  • jj July 16, 2015 (12:56 am)

    this signal RULES. coming up waite, it triggers in seconds, lets me through and then goes right back. brilliant! no more waiting 10 minutes for the admiral traffic parade. the light cycles quickly. i hope there’s a plan to add plants – otherwise we’re going to get weeds

  • Born on Alki 59 July 16, 2015 (10:28 am)

    While I see this light as a major safety improvement there is one major flaw. Why on earth did they locate a large steel utility pole and the signal control boxes directly in the path of the inevitable out of control downhill vehicle(s) that will be attempting to stop in snow or ice? Hope I’m wrong, but I’ve witnessed this before. They all “collect” in that same spot.

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