VIDEO: SW Admiral Way Safety Project ‘changes’ in the works, SDOT director tells council Transportation Committee

(ADDED: Seattle Channel video of committee meeting – SDOT director’s report starts 1:44 in)

SDOT has “already started making some changes” to the SW Admiral Way Safety Project plan, director Scott Kubly just told Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and the rest of the City Council’s Transportation Committee.

Rasmussen had told us that a briefing would be part of today’s meeting; it happened during Kubly’s periodic “director’s report” presentation, which as usual addressed multiple issues, though only two were discussed before the committee, including this one. (See the full pre-submitted written version of his report above.)

Rasmussen expressed an overall concern about the public-input portion of projects like this – suggesting, as residents have said, that it would be better for agencies to come out and say, there’s an issue we want to address in your neighborhood, and ask for ideas on addressing it, rather than beginning the public-input process by showing up with a proposed plan that invariably draws a negative response, with some walkback invariably following.

Kubly’s response to that was to say that it could stretch out a process for so long that people would lose interest – and/or that an entirely different set of participants/stakeholders might turn up if a year or so elapsed between the start of the discussion and the presentation of a plan. He also pointed out that some projects, like this, are outgrowths of existing “modal plans” (in this case, the city’s Bicycle Master Plan).

But he did acknowledge that community input is leading to some changes already in the plan, which was first presented in April with changes to Admiral Way west of California SW including addition of a bicycle lane, other channelization changes, and removal of 200 on-street parking spaces. When SDOT said it had done parking studies in December to generate its contention that the parking wasn’t needed, community members’ jaws dropped, pointing out that peak parking season in the area is summertime because of Alki Beach Park usage. SDOT agreed to study the parking again in mid-summer; Kubly indicated that “data collection” is under way (as project manager Emily Ehlers had told WSB last week).

“Allow us to collect the data in July, see what that data suggests is the right solution for meeting all of our goals – predominantly safety, for all users,” implored Kubly, adding, “We’ve already started maing some changes based on what we’ve heard … We’ll add back a lot of the parking in the highest-demand areas but without sacrificing some of the safety improvements that we’re making – we’re going through an iterative process … we’ll go back to the public with some design modifications we’ve made,” including changes to where the bicycle lane would be buffered from parked cars and where it would be buffered from the travel lane. The written version of his report says the next public meeting might not happen until September.

More than an hour and a half before Kubly’s appearance at meeting’s end, Admiral Way residents Jackie Ramels, Chris Thayer, and Brenda Gage spoke during the general-public-comment period that started the committee meeting. Thayer mentioned that Alki and Schmitz Park are both parks “with no dedicated off-street parking,” as even acknowledged by the city website. Gage mentioned that she and her three small children would have to cross Admiral Way if parking is removed in front of her house. She voiced a wish that “SDOT (would have been) more collaborative with us.” She also expressed gratitude for the 47th/Admiral light and crosswalks that opened recently, and mentioned that the group’s online petition is up to almost a thousand names. (Rasmussen also mentioned the signal/crosswalks before the meeting concluded – he and Kubly were there for its “completion celebration” two weeks ago, as reported here.)

When this meeting’s archived video is available online via the Seattle Channel, we’ll add it to this report. (NOTE: As of late night, it’s been added.)

40 Replies to "VIDEO: SW Admiral Way Safety Project 'changes' in the works, SDOT director tells council Transportation Committee"

  • vincent July 28, 2015 (1:37 pm)

    A good thing parking prevails over safety or lives.

  • Eric July 28, 2015 (2:29 pm)

    Hey Vincent – what part of folks having to walk across that busy arterial with small children (i.e. parking concerns) have nothing to do with safety or lives???

  • 33Pete July 28, 2015 (2:55 pm)

    Hey Eric – maybe I am wrong (but I do not think so), but I believe all of the houses along Admiral are required to have their own off-street parking, so I am not sure how this is an issue.

  • KT July 28, 2015 (2:58 pm)

    I would love to know if Scott Kulby has ever travelled this road? People talk as though this is the Admiral super highway. I travel this road almost daily and it is far from it.

  • Don Brubeck July 28, 2015 (3:06 pm)

    People have to cross Admiral Way with small children and big children every day right now. If you take a bus, you have to cross the street at either the start of your trip or the end of your trip. Children who walk from south of Admiral to Alki Elementary, playfield or community center or the beach have to cross Admiral Way. There is a real need to do something for pedestrian safety and safety for people riding bikes. Doing nothing on Admiral will not even protect parked cars.

  • AmandaKH July 28, 2015 (3:53 pm)

    Boy, it would be so awesome if SDOT put some effort in a project that is NOT controversial – egress/ingress – for the Peninsula.

  • I. Ponder July 28, 2015 (4:04 pm)

    No such thing as a meaningful project that is not controversial. Many people are afraid of change. Me included. That said, change is needed. If Admiral is rechannelized and improved with pedestrian safety as the number one priority then fear of crossing the street will be lessened.

  • West Seattle Hipster July 28, 2015 (4:41 pm)

    AmandaKH + 1

  • Dave July 28, 2015 (5:22 pm)

    Hey Ponder,
    Admiral is an arterial for VEHICLES. Why should pedestrian safety be the number one priority?

  • AlkiRez July 28, 2015 (5:59 pm)

    The one reason residents are so against it, me included is because SDOT did not do diligent and proper research. I would think it would be common sense to measure the amount of traffic during the Summer since that is when it is the worst. The winter time would give a baseline for the people that parked on the street all year.

    Maybe Admiral needs a pedestrian bridge..crazy thought I know.

  • dis July 28, 2015 (6:04 pm)

    except for drunks, admiral way is not dangerous road.

  • Lura Ercolano July 28, 2015 (7:31 pm)

    33Pete – required by whom? When? You really think the land use codes of the 1930’s, 40’s and so on mandated two car garages?

  • JayDee July 28, 2015 (8:25 pm)

    What is more important is *why* this was brought up? Was this an issue to the community? No. Was there righteous indignation that this too wide arterial needed to be throttled? Not by the Cascade Bike Club and I am a member. I ride up it until I can turn right on 49th, not from the cars (though there are less on 49th, but because of the grade.) Is this another SDOT solution in search of a problem, or are there too many traffic planners at SDOT looking to preserve jobs and forward an agenda of if it ain’t broke, fix it?

  • gasman40 July 28, 2015 (9:10 pm)

    A question I hope is relevant. If a city Bicycle Master Plan exists, is there a corresponding “Pedestrian Master Plan”, “Skateboard Master Plan”, an “Automobile Master Plan, a “Commercial Truckers Master Plan”, a “Motorcycle Riders Master Plan”, a “Pedestrian Master Plan”—get my drift???
    I believe no matter what happens from here on Mr Kubly and the bicycle establishment have set the agenda and IT WILL be installed.

  • Jon Wright July 28, 2015 (9:41 pm)

    Dave, Irrespective of whether Admiral needs reconfiguring or not, city streets are for everyone to use–car, bus, truck, bicycle, pedestrian.

  • Neighbor up Admiral July 28, 2015 (9:43 pm)

    @Dave Admiral is an arterial but that doesn’t change the fact that it needs to be safe for all types of traffic, i.e., peds, bicycles. Cars do not have priority over other types of use other than on a freeway though many stubbornly cling to this notion. And if you are saying that there is an acceptable number of injuries or death by non-motorized traveling public than well I don’t know what to say to you.

  • AmandaKH July 28, 2015 (10:29 pm)

    I love Tracy Record. Just want to get that out there.

  • ChefJoe July 29, 2015 (12:47 am)

    Jon Wright, I think it’s smarter to try to keep the pedestrians out of the city streets and on sidewalks as much as possible. As the admiral plans shown have added no crosswalks, it sounds like even SDOT agrees on that.

    • WSB July 29, 2015 (2:20 am)

      Re: crosswalks, please note our report last week, in which project manager Emily Ehlers explained that the temporary cameras in place along the route were specifically gathering information for possible added pedestrian facilities (aka crosswalks, flashing beacons, etc.). – TR

  • m July 29, 2015 (7:00 am)

    Yes 33pete I live on Admiral way and can tell you that your assumption is incorrect as I have no off street parking. So yes it is an issue.

  • Brian July 29, 2015 (7:07 am)

    @WSB: Excuse me, he asked for not one but two Pedestrian Master Plans. Pony up.

  • K July 29, 2015 (8:53 am)

    I would like to add that on our street, we get a ticket if we park in our driveways, since car length exceeds the length of these 1940 driveways. I’ve tried to contest this in court and was told that there are no exceptions. As a result of this law we have to park on the street in order to avoid fines. On summer days and holidays, it’s hard to park near our homes which is tough on elderly neighbors and those with children. Our cars are at greater risk of vandalism. Prohibiting parking on Admiral Way will increase the number of non-residents who park in our neighborhood and negatively impact Alki area residents.

  • Brock S. July 29, 2015 (9:30 am)

    Hilarious that we (those who Rasmussen foolishly channels) ask sdot to spend years on kumbaya for every little project. I bet we would then complain how expensive and long every project is. Sdot manages roads, and they should stick to that. If your goal in life is parking at the door, then set your life up to enable that. Your choice are your own.

  • Mark schletty July 29, 2015 (9:30 am)

    I’m all for save bike routes on city streets. But not on our major arterial streets. The disruption of traffic flow exceeds the benefits. If Kubly can’t see that Seattle is not flat like Chicago, and if the Master Bicycle Plan is being used to justify these traffic strangling and parking elimination projects, then both of them must go.

  • miws July 29, 2015 (10:04 am)

    Dave, please tell us you are being facetious….



  • ChefJoe July 29, 2015 (11:16 am)

    If you want to watch the Seattle Channel video, Kubley and Emily start to discuss Admiral around 2:04:00 and goes for the next 11 minutes or so. About 2:08:00 Tom asks about getting the neighborhoods involved early in the design process and then the chuckles about Seattle process/”if we start too early a whole new set of actors might emerge later” ensue.

  • Craig July 29, 2015 (11:18 am)

    Beach Drive is exponentially more traveled by bicycles (commuters and recreational) than Admiral – with much less room for cars and bikes to coexist. If SDOT wants a project to improve bicycle and car cohabitation feels like a rethinking of Beach Dr would be better return on effort more than Admiral. I just can’t see why Admiral is a priority.
    PS: I’m a bike and car commuter both.

  • Jason July 29, 2015 (12:50 pm)

    SDOT is focusing on Admiral because it’s too wide and too dangerous in its current configuration. That doesn’t benefit anyone. Nothing they have proposed will reduce car throughput or increase car traffic, but it will reduce lane width and that has been proven to reduce speeding and make streets safer for everyone. Adding bike lanes will also increase pedestrian safety by reducing the crossing distance at all points along the roadway. Those of you who are against this because you think crossing the street is dangerous are really doing yourselves more harm than good. The improvements are specifically designed to make the street safer for people crossing the street, and you’re basically demanding that SDOT keep the street dangerous.

  • ChefJoe July 29, 2015 (1:22 pm)

    Jason, you’re speaking all the buzz-words, but in most places the pedestrian crossings are only being significantly decreased where there’s a center turn lane being eliminated or if you don’t divide what’s sketched as a 21 ft parking next to travel lane into something narrower. You could make double-yellow false “islands” (or actual raised islands) in the center turn lane and paint a solid white outside line separating parking from travel and accomplish similar pedestrian reductions. In some places, by eliminating parking on one side of the street, you can increase from zero to 29 ft how much roadway someone needs to cross to get to their vehicle.

    Remember, as originally announced, implementation was to begin in August.

  • admiral neighbor July 29, 2015 (1:41 pm)

    The big piece missing from all this is who identified a need on Admiral Way for bike lanes? For someone who lives on Admiral Way, I can attest that it really does not see that many cyclists. Downhill cyclists have no issue keeping up with traffic. Not very many ride uphill, and for those that do the lanes are wide and I am not aware of any “problem”. I do think something needs to be done to slow traffic down, but to institute this bike lane project under the guise of “safety” – is misleading. Sacrificing parking and increasing safety risks to pedestrians who will have to cross the street more does not make sense. There are better ways to improve the safety of Admiral Way. SDOT is wasting taxpayer money and Kubly’s attitude towards citizen input just confirms the problems at SDOT.

  • Emily July 29, 2015 (2:08 pm)

    While walking to pick up my kid at camp at the bathhouse today, I was stopped on 59th by the school by a lady in a car trying to find parking. Something along the lines of “where are you supposed to park to go to the beach?!?” And this was just before noon on a Wednesday. Not the weekend (granted, it’s a beautiful day). I also live on Admiral and even with the proposed changes, this will not make it safer for pedestrians. Adding bike lanes and making the car lanes narrower will not make it easier to cross at 57th where you have curves and speed. Cars turning from 57th onto eastbound Admiral get honked at often because you look, there’s no oncoming traffic, you go and by the time you’re going straight, there’s an irate driver on your bumper. Adding a flashing pedestrian sign will do nothing (imo) (see Admiral/47th/Waite). I’m also curious how the semis that travel this road regularly (I assume for the restaurants on the beach?) would do with curves and narrower lanes. They fill up those lanes as they are now.

  • Fred Johnson July 29, 2015 (2:37 pm)

    SDOT currently has somewhere in the neighborhood of $300MM in maintenance backlog but have plenty of money to screw around with ‘rechannelization’ safety projects.


  • Paul July 29, 2015 (3:41 pm)

    This is exciting. I am happy to see that the city has engaged in listening to reasonable feedback. I am about to say something controversial. The group that is advocating for not change on Admiral is laughable. The city should have engaged the community first, thats a fact. The issue is that they are running a propaganda campaign plain and simple. Their call to action is inaction. [STOP SDOT from changing Admiral Way] ( In one sentence they use they hide behind elderly, disabled and children being mowed down by a bus, car or bike however they are content to wear blinders in asserting that Admiral _is_ already safe for pedestrians under a no change circumstance. All of this in a the name of parking. Let’s call a spade a spade. This is not an argument about _safety_, this is an argument about parking, plain and simple.

    If the group were truly concerned about safety, they would engage the city on positive change to admiral…. Instead they insist on no change.

    SDOT and Mayor Murray. If you are listening, please abandon this project. Their are other under serviced neighborhoods in Seattle that would welcome high impact safety improvements without the costly combative and adversarial campaigns present along admiral way.

  • admiral neighbor July 29, 2015 (4:26 pm)

    @Paul – apparently 1,001 people disagree with your assessment and agree with the sentiments of that grassroots movement. If you go to that website: and then click to the online petition – they have over 1,000 signatures. Safety? That is SDOT’s language and supposed priority. Whether it is safety or parking or a waste of money – 1,001 people have signed on to oppose SDOT’s project. That strikes me as a lot for a project like this.

    What I heard when watching that video was that people were trying to have a dialogue with SDOT but had run into a wall. That doesn’t strike me as combative, that sounds like that group is trying to work with SDOT. My $.02

  • Paul July 29, 2015 (5:00 pm)

    @Admiral Neighbor – You are right there are 1001 people who have signed the petition. That is a fact. However, I am not sure that people understand the goal of the Admiral group and the petiton. The goal in no uncertain terms is to “STOP SDOT from changing Admiral Way.” See their mission statement on the website.

    The mission (and the petition) fail to engage SDOT rather they seek to block SDOT. The media, petition and facebook campaigns are creating a false narrative in an effort to retain parking. If your concern is parking, please say that. Stop hiding behind elderly, disabled and youth crossing the street. It is already dangerous. The argument that Admiral is safe and that doing nothing keeps Alki safe does not hold water. The whole thing is disingenuous.

    As I told one of the organizer of the campaign (maybe thats you), I would happily sign a petition that was not hiding behind a false narrative.

    1. The city moved forward with a plan that among many other things would presumably increase the safety of admiral way, create a bike lane and reduce parking.

    2. SDOT did so without engaging the community and soliciting feedback and in the process may have missed opportunities to make the street more safe for everyone.

    This is where is all goes wrong. Rather than 1. Engaging the city and asking them to rethink design, 2. Suggesting changes that would make the road work better for the community. The group demands “No CHANGE”.

  • Ruby S. July 29, 2015 (6:41 pm)

    I know this is hard to take, but West Seattle is full of old people who hate change in any form. For now.

  • dis July 29, 2015 (7:15 pm)

    read the comments, everyone understands what they signed.

  • JN July 29, 2015 (9:01 pm)

    Why take parking counts during the very short period during the summer when the beach is full? That leaves 90% of the year where parking is UNDER-utilized.

  • Kathy August 2, 2015 (9:07 pm)

    Thank you Scott Kubly and SDOT for addressing safety deficiencies on Admiral Way west. Disregard the Chicken Littles that are screaming that the sky will fall if you paint lines to channelize the traffic. In fact, by channelizing the overly wide right of way, we will be sending a signal to those car and truck drivers who now flagrantly speed, pass cyclists too close, and refuse to stop for crossing pedestrians, that we simply cannot encourage that kind of behavior anymore. If this project is delayed any longer, and someone is hurt or killed before something can be done to reduce speeds, this frantically illogical crowd that is trying to shut down your efforts will suddenly slink away with their tails between their legs. They should be ashamed of themselves but since obviously they are not, I am ashamed for our community. I thought we were compassionate for all our members, no matter how they need to get around.

    And for those commenters who assume because they don’t want to bike up and down Admiral Way, then probably no one else wants or needs to, either: that is a flat-out falsehood, and you should probably keep your misguided assumptions to yourselves.

Sorry, comment time is over.