AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: What SDOT announced for 35th SW: Two-phase plan, starting with rechannelization this year between Roxbury and Willow

(Video of entire meeting, unedited, added 2:58 am Thursday)

FIRST REPORT, 6:03 PM: At 7 pm, SDOT leaders and Mayor Murray will be at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center to announce the plan for 35th Avenue SW. According to the slide deck that’s already live online, here’s what they’ll announce:

It’s a two-phase plan, rechannelizing 35th this fall between Roxbury and Willow, with one lane each way and a center turn lane. The features of the first-phase Roxbury-to-Willow plan are shown and described as:

* More space for parking
• One lane in each direction
• Center turn lane
• Bus and turn lanes (BAT) at Barton, Thistle, Holden and Webster
• 30 mph speed limit
• Signal optimization
• Channelization improvements on SW Barton Street
• No changes on approaches to SW Roxbury Street

Then after an evaluation period, and “project information sessions” next spring, rechannelization between Morgan and Edmunds is planned for summer of next year. The slide deck also says no rechannelizing would be planned on 35th north of Edmunds, and that “repaving and new curb ramps” would be planned if the “Move Seattle” transportation levy passes.

Again, this is all according to the slide deck just posted on the project page in advance of the meeting (which is what SDOT usually does) – also posted is a public-comment log regarding the project; come to the 7 pm meeting (or tomorrow’s 6 pm edition at Southwest Library) for full details plus Q/A – we’ll be updating live.

7:11 PM: After a brief introduction from project manager Jim Curtin, SDOT director Scott Kubly spoke briefly. Even before mentioning details of the plan, someone from the audience called out that they wanted to ask questions immediately.

(Some of the 60+ people at the meeting)
Kubly asked them to wait until some others had spoken. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen then took the microphone, mentioning how many years this has been in the works.

Mayor Murray then speaks, saying they’re trying to find a balance between doing what needs to be done, and listening to everyone.

He refers to a stat you will see in the presentation deck – calling 35th SW the fourth-most-dangerous street in the city. “You’ve got my attention, trying to address these issues,” he says, also talking about having been hit by a car himself.

7:22 PM: Curtin is now presenting the slide deck, same one you see above. There’s a lot of backstory, much of which has been reviewed in the public meetings already held in relation to 35th. It includes a recap of the Vision Zero plan. Man in the front row looks at stats on screen and asks how many of the deaths on city streets are because of drunk driving; Curtin says, in a given year, anywhere from a third to half. Subsequent slides include “recent speed studies” – the average speed has come down a bit in recent years from 42 mph on average (7 mph above the speed limit). A bit of point/counterpoint breaks out in the crowd on that topic (if you’re not here, you’ll hear it in our video later, as we are recording the meeting). Curtin mentions 15 pedestrians have been hit on 35th in the past few years; a woman interjects, “How many were in crosswalks?” Shortly thereafter, Curtin mentions the five deaths on 35th in the past decade (actually in less than nine years).

New traffic data shows that vehicle volume has gone up a bit in the past two years – from 16,500 at Roxbury in 2013 to 16,37 now, 24,600 in 2013 at Alaska to 24,631 now. As Curtin starts to go through this, someone starts to ask questions, and Councilmember Rasmussen comes back to the front of the room (he and others including Mayor Murray went to the back after their initial remarks) to ask people to please wait for the Q/A period so everyone could hear the presentation. That’s greeted with applause.

Next, pedestrian volumes – they counted 15 locations at peak and midday periods; 313 in the morning, 239 at noontime, 561 at PM peak.

Showing again the stats – 1,065 total collisions in the past decade, 412 injuries, 5 fatalities – Curtin says, “if this were a disease, we’d be clamoring that something be done about it.” Four of the five fatalities in the past 10 years were pedestrians or bicyclists, says Curtin, while also noting: “These are your neighbors.” Most-common type of crashes, rear-end, followed by angles, followed by left turns, followed by parked cars, followed by sideswipes. (Again, you can see all this in the slide deck embedded and linked above.) The collision rate, acknowledges Curtin, is slightly below the citywide rate. But for deaths, he says, it’s higher.

7:39 PM: The Seattle Neighborhood Greenways-initiated safety petition, launched after the death of pedestrian James St. Clair in 2013, has just been presented to the mayor here in the room. Now Curtin has brought up proprietors of The Westy and Locol, after saying the business owners in the 35th/Kenyon node had made a compelling case for safety improvements. (Not that many years ago, the city removed a crosswalk there.)

JP from The Westy said, “I don’t want to see somebody die there.” After complimenting them on enlivening the corridor, Curtin gets closer to unveiling the plan.

7:49 PM: He finally brings out the Roxbury-to-Willow first-phase rechannelization plan. No gasps, no boos, in case you were wondering. No reaction in general; people continue to listen. He says signals will be optimized along the entire corridor. Note that the speed limit will drop to 30 mph only as far north as Willow, this year. The Roxbury/35th intersection “functions really well,” so that is not being changed. Then in 2016, “We are going to evaluate what we do this year … we are going to launch a neighborhood greenway study (too).” He mentions the big new development planned at 35th/Graham (vicinity of two of the deaths in the past nine years) and that it will be starting next year. “There are a few unknowns on the north end of the corridor that we need to wait until 2016 to see what’s happening there.” SW Morgan will be rechannelized, he mentions, calling it “a longstanding request from the community,” saying it will get “the Barton treatment.”

He reiterates that no changes are proposed, this year OR next, for the busiest part of 35th, north of Edmunds. And he mentions plans for increased enforcement, which does draw applause. He’s summarizing: “We know this will improve safety” and brings up stats of other rechannelizations again, including Fauntleroy Way SW. “You didn’t change the speed limit,” an attendee calls out. Curtin acknowledges that, while going on to note that Fauntleroy has 31 percent fewer collisions now, has dropped the percentage of 10 mph+ speeders by 13 percent, and that volume change is up a third of a percent.

“If things are going well in the spring, we’ll look at implementing phase two next year,” Curtin summarizes, and now it’s on to Q/A.

8 PM: First question – “Monday, the mayor came out with his housing plan. All of 35th has been upzoned from single-family residences … Today I drove 35th … You’re predicating on everyone doing 30 mph … You’re going to have people doing 20 mph … that’s going to screw up your delays,” which SDOT says will max out at 2.5 minutes. The mayor came back to front of the room as soon as his name was mentioned, but the questioner has rambled on to say, “You’re increasing the population of West Seattle, increasing density, I don’t know how you’re going to make room for all the cars that people are going to own.” Applause follows. “There’s no correlation between increasing population and increasing traffic volumes,” Curtin says, and laughter breaks out. Now the mayor speaks. He says that only multifamily zones are being upzoned, “with an additional floor … Let’s deal with facts. Also, that’s my proposal. The council deals with (it from here).”

Curtin elaborates that though population is going up, traffic volume is going down. Next, Bob Neel, who started a petition against 35th SW rechannelization, says his petition had 916 signatures and the “pro-safety … and who’s against safety?” petition had 864.

He now asks for a show of hands about who signed which petition. (Both were on

Next questioner says he was pessimistic pre-meeting but is “OK” with what he’s seen so far. But he also goes on to say he used to be an avid bicycle rider and he is concerned about more bicycle facilities than riders in Seattle. Curtin points out that this design does NOT include bicycle facilities.

(L-R, neighborhood advocates Mat McBride, Amanda Kay Helmick, Joe Szilagyi)

After him, Mat McBride, chair of the Delridge District Council, says most of the critics of projects like these are speaking from fear and uncertainty – and the fears haven’t come true. “I want to thank you all in dealing with the problems of what we have today, and not with the fear of what might happen.” Applause follows.

Q/A continues. A woman says she has lived on 35th for 41 years, “I’ve seen a lot of changes – some of them I don’t like.” She goes on to say that she is concerned about “crappy” pavement, particularly at Barton and Holden.

Another exchange involves someone trying to blame pedestrians and bicycle riders who “break the rules” for injuries/deaths. Drivers break the rules too, Curtin interjects, and while he agrees everyone needs to follow the rules, he notes that drivers breaking the rules have far higher consequences in causing injuries/deaths because of what they’re driving.

What about emergency vehicles getting around? one attendee asks. City traffic engineer Dongho Chang fields that question and says among other things the vehicles can use the center turn lane and also can trigger signals to change.

Another 35th SW resident talks about problems she’s seen over the years; she wonders why the “speed detector” at Brandon/35th “was removed,” saying there’s a speed problem near her home and can the detector come back? It is coming back, Curtin says; that draws applause.

Kenyon, Dawson, Brandon, Juneau are places where people want new crosswalks, Curtin says shortly thereafter, in response to an inquiry about improving crossing safety. He mentions the new flashing-beacon signs at California/Dakota and on Holden and says they seem to be helping and might be an option.

Next person says he’s excited about the turn lane and about “parking expansion.”

(We’ve lost some of the back and forth here but it’ll be in our video.) In response to another question, Chang takes the mike and says people are adaptive, and that a reduction in collisions is “huge. … Long term for us, what we want to do in the corridor, is have people get through safely …” He addresses the population increase and traffic decrease, with “transit … carrying the bulk of our growth.” Chang adds, “we’re going to be watching (the 35th) corridor every day. You live here. You know how things are functioning. Let us know. We can make changes very quickly.” An attendee asks, why not keep the 35 mph speed limit? Chang refers to the stats about the survivability of what speed people are hit at. “I now understand the consequences of each decision … We’ll do followup studies and make sure the corridor is functioning.”

Curtin, moving toward wrapping up, says San Francisco is “moving toward this treatment for one of its busiest corridors, 45,000 vehicles daily.” Someone calls out, “They have mass transit.” Curtin says that 35th *has* mass transit, noting that he travels it daily (he’s an Arbor Heights resident).

8:45 PM: The presentation is over; dozens are still here to ask questions in small groups or one on one. We’re going to go try to get a clarification or two ourselves, and will add anything more we find out. Meantime, if you missed this, there’s another presentation at 6 pm tomorrow (Thursday) at Southwest Library – bring your questions/concerns there – and/or e-mail project manager any time.

9:29 PM: A question came up in comments about crosswalks. Post-meeting, we talked with Chang, who said that crosswalks will follow rechannelization – they’re not installing anything more on the four-lane road, but after assessing how the three-lane version is going, he says they might wind up installing “many” crosswalks.

92 Replies to "AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: What SDOT announced for 35th SW: Two-phase plan, starting with rechannelization this year between Roxbury and Willow"

  • xylle July 15, 2015 (6:16 pm)

    Yes! So much safer for motorists turning left!

  • jmack July 15, 2015 (6:34 pm)

    NO! 24,000 cars travel on 35th every day! WHY WOULD THEY SHRINK THIS?? As if commuting on 35th isn’t bad enough, why would they make it worse?? This is not a road that is often used by pedestrians and bicyclists. One pedestrian getting killed does not an epidemic make. This will make the congestion on 35th unbearable and we don’t have a solid plan for light rail on the horizon!

  • rob July 15, 2015 (6:43 pm)

    that’s what they said about fauntleroy, and it hasn’t happened

  • unknown July 15, 2015 (6:50 pm)

    jmack… 1 person killed is 1 person too many in my eyes! Choose the time you NEED to travel on this roadway and just think of that 1 person that is no longer with their loved ones.

  • Power Factor July 15, 2015 (7:11 pm)

    35th does not currently move vehicles efficiently. When cars stop to turn left across oncoming traffic, the mad dash of people changing lanes (often dangerously) slows people down in the traveling lane. Turning across 2 lanes of oncoming traffic is also dangerous. A turning lane would relieve this tremendously. While people might not be getting killed every day, there are frequent accidents.

  • Jim Clark July 15, 2015 (7:14 pm)

    What are they going to do about the people who are not crossing the street in the proper places and going against the light? Probably nothing

  • Smitty July 15, 2015 (7:22 pm)

    “1 person killed is 1 person too many in my eyes! ”

    Oh please. Lower it to 10 then.

    Oh, and how long until “bus bulbs” are added because nobody will let busses merge back into the one lane of traffic?

    Now *THAT* will be fun to watch!

    You heard it here first.

    • WSB July 15, 2015 (7:56 pm)

      Smitty – The bus bulb question has been asked at every meeting and the answer is always, no. SDOT and Metro have acknowledged that the California/Morgan design was a mistake.

  • Michael July 15, 2015 (7:40 pm)

    I can live with the 1 lane each direction, but the 30 mph speed limit seems low for a major thoroughfare.

  • PLander July 15, 2015 (7:43 pm)

    Unknown and Mike,

    Safety is a good thing, but road diets are not the answer. With the flood of building going on in WS and the mayor’s plan for higher density and affordable housing along 35th, how is the congestion going to be in a few years? I am sure residents along 35th will soon be complaining about all the idling cars in front of their homes waiting at lights and stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. WS is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods, and our bus system is not efficient. Unknown, I don’t know what you do for a living – if you have a job or work from home, but some of us don’t have flex hours and are required to commute at certain hours. Bus? Sure, just let me give my clients a bus pass when I have to drive them around town during the day.

    Why not start with controlled crosswalks and better speed enforcement, then build an actual transportation system before reducing lanes in a growing neighborhood? Our city council is NOT forward thinking enough to realize that our population is growing rapidly and this plan is a few years too late.

  • JanS July 15, 2015 (7:56 pm)

    wow, oh, wow…your need to get there is more effing important than a life lost….you all are not worth our time and energy. Get over it, it’s gonna happen. Disgusting !!!!!!!

  • JanS July 15, 2015 (7:59 pm)

    PLander…since you’re an engineer, what’s your better plan…please, oh, please…tell us that !!! If not, then your opinion is no more important than anyone else’s…yeah…dump it on the pedestrians…

  • jmack July 15, 2015 (8:02 pm)

    unknown: I am envious that you have the luxury of “choosing” when you commute. And without knowing the circumstances under which that person was killed, we would jump to shrink the means by which 24,000 people commute a DAY? People are killed on roadways every day. The only way to eliminate that is to not have cars on the road at all. Even then, accidents would still happen. If the issue is that there aren’t enough protected crosswalks, the answer is more brightly lit and dedicated crosswalks.

    Mike: If the problem is speeding, more cameras. I know no one that speeds though school zones anymore as those assess heavy fines will precision and regularity. Accidents will still happen – it’s human nature and you can’t legislate people out of being careless.

    Power Factor – There are accidents everywhere, and a turn lane doesn’t make turning left less dangerous unless you have it at a protected light.

    To everyone: What is your solution for the literally thousands of cars that travel along this corridor everyday just to get to work? Delridge has already undergone a road diet that puts it at a snails pace during commute times. Where are these cars going to go? On top of that, we are adding density now, and there is more planned in the next few years. If you think traffic is bad now, what do you think it will look like once we add thousands more people? The buses are already full, and again, we have no light rail on the way anytime soon. While I agree that lost life is always a tragedy there is some that will NEVER be preventable. This is going to cripple the area, but we could take actions that would make the road safer, but not slow it down.

    Also, the speed information – average speeds – are listed in the city council’s report above. Speed limit is 35, and the average at Brandon is 38.5, Willow is 40.9 and Roxbury is 36.5. Hardly the speed demons, no?

  • Ivan July 15, 2015 (8:04 pm)

    But you don’t see them removing it, do you?

  • KT July 15, 2015 (8:07 pm)

    I would love to know how many traffic tickets were issued by SPD on the “4th most dangerous road” in Seattle in 2014 and 2015 to date.

  • ChefJoe July 15, 2015 (8:14 pm)

    They talk about opportunities for crossing improvements, but nothing in the plan specifies adding new marked crosswalks (at least not in the slide deck). Did they add any crosswalks near The Westy/Swedish in particular (or say they’re adding them anywhere) ?

    • WSB July 15, 2015 (8:44 pm)

      Joe – there was a mention of crosswalk requests. I’m going to go up to the “how it’ll look” paper in a minute here and see what I can find out about what their status would be … lost my photographer to a possible breaking story so I have to gather up the stuff into someplace safe.

      • WSB July 15, 2015 (9:33 pm)

        Crosswalk update: None are in the plan because they’re going to rechannelize, according to Dongho Chang, and then assess. They won’t build any new ones across four lanes but once they see how the first phase is going, there could be “many,” he said.

  • Kk July 15, 2015 (8:22 pm)

    Glad to have finally escaped all the madness. For some of us cars were required to get to work. With the added housing with no parking, reducing transit and the congestion I am glad to now be in an area that actually thinks parking is important. Will maybe one day visit again

  • Flanders July 15, 2015 (8:27 pm)

    Angry much, Jan? Way to go on the attack. WS has been asking for light rail and other solutions for some time now. Surface busses can just add to road congestion. If this was really about safety, where are the controlled crosswalks to make it safer for pedestrians? Good call, ChefJoe.

  • wb July 15, 2015 (8:46 pm)

    TR – i didnt make it tonight and checked the blog at 7:50; here the story was. Live blogging, yes.

  • flynlo July 15, 2015 (8:56 pm)

    “SDOT and Metro have acknowledged that the California/Morgan design was a mistake.”

    If this was such a “mistake”, what is the schedule for fixing the “mistake”?

  • pupsarebest July 15, 2015 (8:57 pm)

    A solution without a problem.
    However bad we think things have become in West Seattle now, just wait—these will seem halcyon days a year or two “down the road”.

  • Ann July 15, 2015 (9:13 pm)

    If 35th ends up anything like the bus jam on Barton it will not be good. To get to my house I usually travel via 35th to Barton. I think it’s important to deal with irresponsible drivers, particularly those who drive into pedestrians but surely there must be other options that are more viable than the one currently on the table. I question whether those who are redesigning our vehicle corridors are really in touch with the community and its needs. Go ahead and reduce the speed limit but from what I see when I am out driving, many drivers are very aggressive and discourteous. Almost nobody drives 35 mph. At 35mph, I am routinely passed. I am not so sure anything will change. And then, of course, there is all of expense that the city will incur for what may well become a traffic nightmare. Check out Barton and the wall of buses and traffic line-ups up to ten cars long. Aargh!

  • acemotel July 15, 2015 (9:17 pm)

    >>>>>>There’s no correlation between increasing population and increasing traffic volumes

    OK, that was the most outrageous statement of the evening, by Curtin. Is the inverse also true, I wonder. So therefore, when population decreases, there is no decrease in traffic volume, either? So in that case, what exactly determines traffic volume, then? Maybe weather. Maybe the stock market.

    Interesting that the proposal for 35th is almost identical to the current configuration of Admiral Way…… the Admiral Way SDOT says needs narrower lanes because wide lanes are too dangerous. Admiral Way is 9/11.5/10; The 35th proposal is 10/11/12.

  • KM July 15, 2015 (9:29 pm)


    Do you have the numbers for daily trips on California, Delridge and 35th current? I believe you had posted this in the past, I can’t seem to locate.

  • OP July 15, 2015 (9:31 pm)

    My schedule has conspired against from attending this meeting and others, but i remained extremely disappointed by this myopic Vision Zero plan and disregard for the people who travel down 35th daily. We’ll end up with “turn lanes to nowhere” as I’ve dubbed them on Fauntleroy. The serve very little purpose. Furthermore, the continued citing of 5 deaths in 9 years. While any death is disheartening and regrettable, given the volume/trips made in those 9 years, the deaths are almost statistical outliers; moreover, they lack context of why. And presenting this fact as if it were an epidemic is patently ridiculous. The safety point is a false flag, a near ruse to let the mayor and his mass transit and bike allies push their hapless agendas. (Yeah, on Saturdays, I’m gonna strap the kids onto our bikes, go to Target and try to be home for dinner….on Sunday.)

    I’m all for making 35th safer, and there are many, many other less expensive and meaningful ways to do that. And I offered them in my letters to the mayor and Kubly. But this “option” isn’t a solution, it’s a joke. A fiscal joke. A “green” joke.

    I’m sick and tired of this mayor and his cohorts running roughshod over Seattle neighborhoods. It stops right here, right now.

    You just bought yourself a fight, Mr. Mayor.

  • KM July 15, 2015 (9:37 pm)

    Thanks for the update on the crosswalks, WSB. I have requested the city look into the congestion at Kenyon/35th/34th with no luck–hope they reconsider both crosswalks and visibility issues for drivers/pedestrians/cyclists at Kenyon after the first phase.

  • Lesley July 15, 2015 (9:38 pm)

    I live on 34th and have to turn left off 35th at least daily. I wish these turn lanes would’ve been in place 5 years ago. There have been at least two deaths that I know of within two blocks of where I live (one a motorcycle, one a pedestrian) since we moved in 5 years ago. I fear for my life every time I turn left and have witnessed several accidents involving left turns. It’s just ridiculous that there isn’t a center turn lane. I can’t wait for this to happen. This has been happening all over the city and people adjust. In addition to improving safety, it also improves the walkability and community feel of the neighborhood. This can’t happen soon enough.

    • WSB July 15, 2015 (9:40 pm)

      And again, if anybody missed it in the tag … a second meeting is tomorrow, 6 pm, Southwest Library. SDOT also plans to have someone at High Point Commons Park on Night Out (August 4th).

  • Tired. July 15, 2015 (9:45 pm)

    so the city has admitted that the bus bulbs were a mistake.

    That’s great.

    But they are not going to fix it.

    If the rechannelization is a mistake, are they just going to say “oopsie, did it again”?

    Tell you what: post a bond equal to the cost of undoing the channelization in case it is a mistake, then we can talk.

    • WSB July 15, 2015 (9:53 pm)

      Tired, they actually have reversed rechannelizations in the past. One on California in The Junction is often pointed to. I have a dim memory of that one myself but it was pre-WSB so sorry I can’t recall what year.
      Devnull, I know you’re being facetious but the railroad tracks are BNSF jurisdiction, not the city, in case anyone happens onto this and gets confused.

  • devnull July 15, 2015 (9:47 pm)

    And in totally unrelated news, the City of Seattle is going to be putting the railroad tracks through Gold Gardens park on a road diet as more people have died on those tacks than on 35th Ave in recent history. Seriously, I’m sorry for those hurt or injured, but living in a major city there is the possibility of accidents happening.

  • Seattlite July 15, 2015 (9:47 pm)

    Seattle leaders want you all out of your cars and on a bus, bicycle, or your two feet. Road diets will continue to clog WS streets. New developments on the avenues with little or no parking will clog residential streets with parked cars. This is urban village utopia. I shall remain true to my suv and drive WS streets with caution.

  • brian July 15, 2015 (10:08 pm)

    We Want the Monorail!

  • Neighb July 15, 2015 (10:11 pm)

    The question people may want to ask is what is the accident and /or fatality rate on a comparable street in Seattle? As for non-signalized crosswalks, it is generally shown to be more dangerous than not having any marked crosswalk. This is because pedestrians have a false sense of security. I have crossed 35th near Juneau and do not feel safe.

  • Nicole July 15, 2015 (10:12 pm)

    Is there a plan to work on the intersection at 35th and Barton? I have seen pedestrians and cars struck on multiple occasions and more almost accidents then I can count.

  • waitasec July 15, 2015 (10:15 pm)

    So, did I get this right? The Mayor edified a questioner commenting about increased volume with/or about the upzoning in SF by clarifying that 94% of SF housing will remain unchanged and the only change to that is an additional floor? Did he say that? Did I comprehend what you quoted him saying? Because if that is what he told that crowd then somebody, please, explain what Westneat learned from an HALA architect about what that SF upzoning means for less expensive neighborhoods and that Mr. Mayor just told a bald face lie to the crowd tonight. Wow.

    • WSB July 15, 2015 (10:51 pm)

      Yes, waitasec, that is what he said. And yes, the latest Danny Westneat story was brought up in another thread earlier, and the whole thing came up in my side conversation on Twitter too. We’re working on a followup with a HALA member ourselves. What I said earlier was that none of this matters until there’s actual legislation, anyway, and here’s hoping that will be soon – the new City Council committee that will start parsing all this has its first meeting on Monday.

  • Mat July 15, 2015 (10:15 pm)

    Ann, they actually mentioned Barton specifically as a part of this plan and fixing the bus jam issue. A huge part of this plan is full bus pull offs to eliminate the backups they cause.

  • Paul July 15, 2015 (10:21 pm)

    I agree that people drive way too fast on 35th Ave SW, but lowering the speed limit to 30 MPH is not the solution. How about keeping it at 35 and better enforcement? I never see police on that road.

  • Devnull July 15, 2015 (10:25 pm)

    @WSB, yes I was being facetious.

  • Jon Wright July 15, 2015 (10:28 pm)

    The discouraging thing for me is that pretty much every concern raised about the plan for 35TH AVE SW was disproved by hard data. Nobody who spoke at the meeting (or commented above) offered any legitimate problems with the plan, just alarmist hyperbole about how this plan was allegedly bad.
    35TH AVE SW has issues, SDOT worked really hard on a plan to address those issues, and I am very grateful and look forward to a new and improved road.

  • Sub July 15, 2015 (10:35 pm)

    I live on 35th between Barton & Cambridge. People do not go the speed limit and are extremely aggressive. As a pedestrian, I fear for my life when crossing 35th & Barton intersection. I see accidents all the time, to the point where it’s so common place that I just shake my head and go about my business. I am happy for any change to make 35th safer even if it means a lower speed limit. So what if that means I have to leave maybe 1 or 2 minutes earlier. I would like to see more police ticketing along I-35. Grow up assholes who prefer efficiency over safety.

  • Sunny.206 July 15, 2015 (10:52 pm)

    Why aren’t they implementing the whole thing….Roxbury to Edmunds per the original plan, because they know it going to be grid lock with ped’s playing frogger between stopped cars. Left hand turns, good luck, turning thru the stopped solid line of cars from 35th to the bridge. 34th & 36th ave watch out, that’s the only alternative now. Unfortunately, I can’t see any other way to move the volume of cars out of west Seattle. I personally travel west to east, and with the adjustment to the stop lights, it takes me 15 min to go 4 mins (buses only Go north and south and I do car pool) Good luck shell oil, we’ll need the petro.

  • ChefJoe July 16, 2015 (12:49 am)

    Good point Neighb, they’ve got a lot of marked, controlled crosswalks on 35th, but on the S end they’ve not done either improvement with the expectation that making pedestrians more “afraid for their lives” when crossing in unmarked crossings makes them behave more safely.
    However, in earlier presentations on the Admiral way project they were linking increased driver yield for pedestrian rates on slower streets at crossings with the pavement being marked for a crosswalk.
    So, do you want pedestrians more afraid about crossing the streets or do you want to actually use the reduced speed limit to the fullest extent by making it more likely for traffic to yield for someone to cross ?

  • JanS July 16, 2015 (12:49 am)

    solution that others want on how to deal with the “gridlock” they all say will definitely happen…leave earlier…simple…

  • David July 16, 2015 (1:36 am)

    I attended the meeting tonight and am pleased with the solution SDOT came up with. Hey folks complaining about this solution: if everyone simply followed the posted speed limit, maintained a proper following distance (SDOT cited a large quantity of rear-end collisions on 35th), and drove cooperatively instead of competitively/aggressively, guess what?! 35th wouldn’t have gotten the attention from the city that it did and would still remain a four-lane, 35mph road! Oh well, tough crap – these are the consequences! Now you have to spend that devastating extra 2.5 minutes (or *gasp* 25 seconds if you hit all green lights) taking in the greenery around you instead of spending it staring at your phone screen somewhere. What a tough life. I got a kick out of the comments from the crowd complaining Seattle has “no” mass transit (despite all the discussion about buses on 35th), and that almost no one in Seattle bikes. So it’s the city’s fault people choose not to use the bike lanes provided to them? It’s the city’s fault people choose not to use the buses provided to them? It’s the city’s fault that there’s a massive flood of single-occupant motor vehicles cramming into the urban core every morning (the same area the bike routes, bus lines, and rails lead to)? I’m glad the city is taking action to solve traffic safety issues around town. With all the aggressive, the-rules-don’t-apply-to-me drivers around here (take a look at people’s speeds, or maybe even your own speedometer, next time you’re crossing the West Seattle bridge), it’s quite an amazing challenge to design roadways in a way to maintain order – hats off to the SDOT engineers for tackling the challenge.

  • Under_Achiever July 16, 2015 (4:56 am)

    Other communities have found success in controlling traffic flow by timing traffic signals as a reward for following speed limits. Why not time the lights as a first step and see what happens?

  • WS gal July 16, 2015 (5:58 am)

    Sdot’s Scott Kubly is the worst I’ve seen in a long while. No thank you to slowing down 35th- Lame, lame, lame!!

  • WSHC July 16, 2015 (6:17 am)

    As a resident of 35th, I support the changes detailed in this plan.

    Many thanks to Jim Curtin and SDOT for reaching out to the community on so many occasions in the last 9 months to explain the issues and solicit feedback.

  • anonyme July 16, 2015 (7:06 am)

    I applaud this plan. Most of the complaints come from those who have habitually used 35th as a speedway. I do hope they add back more crosswalks – which they removed just a few years ago.

    My main concern is the number of construction projects that will be occurring simultaneously along this corridor. Rechannelization; charter school construction at 35th & Roxbury; sidewalk construction on 35th south of Roxbury; and construction on both Arbor Heights Elementary and Westside. Talk about a mess.

    • WSB July 16, 2015 (7:43 am)

      Anonyme, Westside School is moving in next month, so they’ll be done before any of this starts. The Summit (charter) project is still in the permit stage so I would suspect they won’t be starting the renovation work (remember, now THEY have a two-phase plan, with renovations first, then additions later) until after the road work. Arbor Heights, though, will be continuing another year.

  • Garbl July 16, 2015 (7:11 am)

    I think it’s worth remembering that the so-called passing lane on 35th isn’t just for people who want to break speed limit laws (or drive at the speed limit, for that matter). It’s also for vehicles (including bikes) turning left onto side streets and vehicles turning left into private/commercial/church/school driveways and parking lots. It’s also for vehicles turning left onto 35th from side streets, driveways and parking lots. In addition, vehicles using the “passing” lane must stop for children, senior citizens, disabled people, bus riders, and other people crossing the street legally at marked AND unmarked crosswalks, with or without stop lights. It’s definitely NOT like the passing lane on freeways … and shouldn’t be.

  • Ws resident July 16, 2015 (7:37 am)

    Thank you SDOT for taking a careful look at 35 th. I drive it everyday. I am tired of all the speeders driving recklessly to get around a car trying to turn left and of seeing accidents. I fully support this plan.

  • anonyme July 16, 2015 (8:29 am)

    Thanks for the clarification, WSB. Far as I know, sidewalk construction on 35th between 100th and 106th will still commence at the end of this year – possibly earlier.

  • OldAndGrumpy July 16, 2015 (9:11 am)

    As a resident of the 35th corridor, I strongly support these safety changes. Thank you SDOT for prioritizing safety over speed.

  • Ash July 16, 2015 (9:11 am)

    Now if we can teach drivers how to use the left turn lane properly (IT IS NOT A PASSING LANE)

  • Kim July 16, 2015 (9:23 am)

    Thank you SDOT, these changes are very necessary. This isn’t a highway, it’s a neighborhood of single family homes and small businesses. I only wish they were immediately implementing this for the entire stretch from Alaska to Roxbury.

  • KM July 16, 2015 (9:41 am)

    Thanks TR for the info–that’s what I was looking for.
    I’m pretty neutral on this plan. While it is unfair to say most who disapprove of this project use 35th as a speedway, it’s valid to point out that the traffic can be dangerous on this arterial, and pretty much everywhere in West Seattle. This includes roads that have been on diets in the past, and non-arterials. I’m incredibly disappointed that enforcement of traffic laws is such a low priority for this city. Regardless of how many lanes are on the road or the speed limit, many drive like the rules don’t matter because without enforcement, they don’t.

  • Smitty July 16, 2015 (9:48 am)

    The one thing I will say is that there were a TON of naysayers when the Fauntleroy re-channel was announced (myself included) and that worked out just fine.

    Driving Admiral a lot I really do think 30 MPH is too slow though. Just enforce the current 35.

    Also, I will believe the “no bus bulbs” when I see (or don’t see!) it. Metro is going to add a lot more than 2.5 minutes without them. One lane of traffic is going to produce a steady “train” of cars, even with light timing adjustments.

    Just my $.02.

  • a July 16, 2015 (10:01 am)

    If you want to know what 35th is going to look like once they go ahead with this project, just take a drive on 45th Ave North in Wallingford between Stone Way and the U District. It’s one lane each way with a turn lane and it’s an absolute parking lot. You could get to the U District faster by walking 45th than by driving it. As a result, the side streets are used by a lot of people who want to avoid 45th. This is what our future looks like and it sucks.

    • WSB July 16, 2015 (10:14 am)

      A, having been stuck in that recently (we’ve had a fair amount of business in the north end in the past year-plus), (a) that’s a good question for somebody to ask at tonight’s event so I hope you will go or, if you don’t, that someone will ask, but (b) that stretch has many factors that are not replicated on 35th (which we drive multiple times a day). Such as, 45th is wall-to-wall businesses – no residences. Plus, if you’re heading eastbound, getting to I-5 is a bottleneck – the most recent time we were stuck there in pm rush hour, once you got past I-5, the U District was a comparative breeze. Also, no bus pullout lanes – note the spots where there *will* be bus-and-turn lanes here, roughly coinciding with the lights (Thistle, Barton, et al). But back to (a), the more specific examples people have to ask about, the better. – TR

  • David July 16, 2015 (10:26 am)

    a, 45th Ave North in Wallingford and 35th Ave SW in West Seattle are so different, I can’t even begin to compare them or draw the conclusion that 35th will end up like 45th after the road diet is implemented. Sorry. 45th in Wallingford is so congested because it is close to the UW and is much more densely lined with businesses (coffee shops, bars, restaurants, the QFC, etc.).

  • wsn00b July 16, 2015 (10:44 am)

    Does the plan involve totally redoing the surface of 35th? Or they going to do some patching and painting lipstick-on-pig engineering?

    • WSB July 16, 2015 (11:01 am)

      WSNoob – mentioned in the slide deck for the meeting (see above) and aloud, repaving and curb ramps for the entire stretch would be planned – if the “Move Seattle” transportation levy is passed this November. Another good question for someone to ask tonight. – TR

  • JM July 16, 2015 (10:48 am)

    My biggest issue with 35th has been visibility (or lack thereof) when making left turns at cross streets where no specific left turn lane is provided. I don’t like not being able to see oncoming traffic when there’s a vehicle facing the opposite direction also wanting to make a left turn. My dislike for this is such that I will refuse to make a left unless there’s a specific lane, even if it means doubling-back. Overall, I’m not thrilled about losing an extra lane in each direction, but I think increasing visibility for traffic making left turns (as well as taking left turners out of the through-traffic lanes) helps make up for that. However, I see no reason to reduce the speed to 30. When Fauntleroy was rechanneled, they kept the speed at 35… even through the curvy portions between Findlay & Morgan. If my experience driving on roads like Fauntleroy, California, or Delridge is any indication, I’m usually behind a motorist traveling at 5-10 below the posted signs anyway. :)

  • Scott July 16, 2015 (10:57 am)

    Do the city and transportation folks look at drive times as well as traffic volumes? I see traffic volumes quoted as staying the same, but are drive times increasing? Are traffic volumes going down because people are using alternative streets and clogging previously unclogged roads?

    I’ll love to learn more about how they are coming to the decisions they are. Any references appreciated. Thanks.

  • 33pete July 16, 2015 (10:58 am)

    Kim, implementing this from Alaska to Roxbury would be a disaster. There may be single family homes along 35th, but it is definitely a major thoroughfare and pretending its not is just ignoring the facts.

    All that said, I am generally in support of the current rechannelization plan, but think the speed limit should stay at 35.

  • will July 16, 2015 (11:08 am)

    I think anyone who does the daily slalom up and down 35th would welcome a left-turn lane, wider lanes and ‘cleaner’ traffic. As would anyone who has had their side mirror ripped off parking outside the Westy and Locol. However, the philosophy taken by the city and SDOT seems to be to make all the changes at the expense of drivers. There doesn’t seem to be any reduction in parking along the corridor and the city is talking about adding many additional crosswalks.

    35th is an arterial, but we’re treating it like a run-of-the-mill residential street and trying to make it 100% safe for people for whom being on an arterial is dangerous (up to and including jaywalkers), while treating enforcement like a dirty word.

    I know that there is a ton of data backing up the city’s plan, but I feel like the point of this change is to hit a couple of city/SDOT KPIs and push an anti-car agenda without considering the impact to those who actually live in the 35th corridor.

  • Live on 35th July 16, 2015 (11:13 am)

    I actually live on 35th so my opinion means a bit more than those who do not…
    I am glad they are slowing down traffic on it.
    It will discourage people from communities south of west Seattle using 35th as their highway back route into Seattle…and most importantly make living on 35th a bit better place to live with less noise, pollution and traffic…
    The only thing missing is the plan is a dedicated bike lane…

  • AceMotel July 16, 2015 (11:35 am)

    Liveon35th. Don’t fool yourself. Just because you live on any certain street, as far as SDOT is concerned, your opinion means no more, and no less, than anyone else’s. IF you think your opinion will be given preferential treatment: it won’t.

  • wb July 16, 2015 (1:02 pm)

    As I live on 35th, I have a special window on the repeated irresponsible driving that takes place. I’ve watched parents with children and dogs try to cross the road. I’ve missed buses downtown because I can’t get across the roadway. 35th is not your personal freeway and never will be.

    As far as not dropping the speed limit. You may want to take a look outside your knothole. Vision 0–which the SDOT plan incorporates–is a multinational effort to create safety on roadways. The recommended speed limit for locations with possible conflicts between pedestrians and cars is 30 km/hr. It’s all bigger than you and your commute.

  • David July 16, 2015 (1:09 pm)

    I was pleased to hear at the meeting last night that there is actually a plan in the works to reduce the Fauntleroy speed limit to 30 mph as well (someone in the audience asked about this). Just because it was left at 35 mph doesn’t mean that was the correct decision. I lived right near the crosswalk in the Fauntleroy “S-curve” near 40th Ave and Juneau for several years, and I lost count of how many times I would hear screeching tires and look up to see a car inches away from a pedestrian(s) in the clearly marked crosswalk. Having that crosswalk on that curve to begin with still boggles my mind. Lowering the speed limit improves driver reaction time to obstacles such as pedestrians crossing the street, and also reduces the likelihood of a fatality in the unfortunate event in which a pedestrian is struck by a car.

  • lincolnparkdude July 16, 2015 (1:27 pm)

    Living near Fauntleroy, I sympathize, although, we have 4 different crosswalks with signal lights activated by those needing to cross, meaning green turns to red, it works! I get trying to cross 35th, it’s terrifying. I think putting in these pedestrian activated lights would solve lot’s of problems.

  • John July 16, 2015 (1:34 pm)

    I would rather see no parking along 35th. It slows everything down. Replace parking with cycle-track or designated bus lane.

  • Fiwa Jcbbb July 16, 2015 (2:13 pm)

    Dedicated-line rapid transit is the future, no matter how many rails it has, and this city was stupid to listen to Howard S. Wright and put Joel Horn in charge of the Monorail, but…water under the bridge. We’ll have to wait for years for “Light Rail”, and hope by then we’ve elected someone smart enough to know it can’t run on the surface streets and solve any problems.

    In the meantime we get “War On Cars”. 30 mph is much too low for one of few major north south arterials, and 1 lane either way is ridiculous. I’m sorry anyone was killed, but I think a much better solution to prevent more would be for the State Dept. of Licensing to change it’s longstanding policy and ensure that people actually know how to drive before they are let loose on the roadways.

  • peter July 16, 2015 (2:31 pm)

    another phase of the complete gridlock of seattle.

  • West Seattle Hipster July 16, 2015 (2:59 pm)

    I used to be vehemently opposed to the road diet on 35th. Reducing transportation capacity in a city that is experience rapid growth is illogical.


    However, I have spent time walking on 35h, as well as driving and riding a bus, and I see so many people driving negligently. I feel the roadway has no major design flaws, it’s the people that have poor driving skills. Tailgating, speeding, and distracted driving seems to be what causes the issues.


    I am fairly certain that after 35th has it’s capacity reduced we will still see fatalities. I also think AWM’s will use the turn lane to pass cars going slower than they are. I hope the proponents of this plan are sincere about increasing enforcement.

  • Kathy July 16, 2015 (3:19 pm)

    Smitty, if you lived, walked or biked regularly on Admiral Way as I do, you would not feel the speed limit is too slow. People already treat it like a highway and often go 15-20MPH over the limit. Enforcement isn’t discouraging them. If it were increased to 35 they would just take it as a license to do worse, and 2 travel lanes each direction just encourages that behavior. In fact, on the uphill stretch just after the freeway exit, there is no good reason to have two westbound car travel lanes until after the ravine bridge. If they reduced it to one travel lane westbound that would do a lot toward slowing down the speeders without a lot of expensive enforcement. A bonus could be a protected bike lane on that dangerous curve at the viewpoint. Remember, enforcement can never be 24/7 at one spot on dangerously designed roads, but tragedies can happen 24/7.

  • julie98106 July 16, 2015 (3:56 pm)

    I just read the whole thread and want to thank you. I have a better understanding of the situation now.

  • pissed_off_in_white_center July 16, 2015 (9:26 pm)

    “though population is going up, traffic volume is going down” Absolute lie. There are stories about every other day about how Seattle traffic is one of the worst in the nation and worsening.

    Looks like I will be using the turn lane as a passing lane for a-holes who go 20mph and hold everyone up, just like I do on Delridge since they clustered that one.

    Note to self: not voting for Murray or Rasmussen next election season. Also, time to move out of West Seattle, if not Seattle entirely.

    • WSB July 16, 2015 (9:39 pm)

      Rasmussen isn’t running again.

  • Casey July 16, 2015 (10:27 pm)

    I-35 is dangerous that is a fact I know. I have been run off the road and totalled my car, two cousins have been totalled out and I saw the man die on Othello years ago.
    However reducing 35th to one lane each direction is not the answer. If the majority of accidents are rear endings and failure to yield the right of way, clearly the problem is people dont know how to drive. Mandatory reeducation and relicencing of all drivers in the state is needed, probably every five years. Another clear indication that Seattlelights don’t know how to drive is the first rain. The first rain in awhile washes off all the oil on the road from our cars making it the most dangerous time to drive yet very few people increase braking distance. Another example the city is full of poor drivers is when it snows a quarter of an inch. If you are one of these poor drivers do us all a favor and either learn or take the bus.
    A further side note, these public hearings are just a formality, when government has a plan it is implemented regardless of facts or public opinion.

    • WSB July 16, 2015 (10:40 pm)

      Casey, thanks for your comment; I do have to refute the cynicism at the end, because we need more people participating in the civic process, not fewer who might believe that erroneous contention.
      We’ve covered numerous projects in just our almost 8 years of WSB that *have changed* following public outcries.
      For one, this is just a partway implementation – Roxbury to Willow. There was NO talk originally of a phased implementation. This is already a win for those who urged the city to slow down its slowing-down.
      Another one – five years ago, the city proposed rechannelization for Admiral Way north of The Bridge. After much criticism, the plan was dramatically changed – no lane reduction:
      A year before that, a plan to extend sidewalks around Alki Point caused an uproar because it was going to affect some parking. The plan was reworked. The sidewalks went in – taking an unusual turn here and there:
      In the non-road realm, there was the case of Seattle Parks having talked secretly with GoApe! for a year before its Lincoln Park proposal came to light. A huge public outcry led to it being withdrawn. And the case of the potential municipal jail in Highland Park … while it’s fashionable now to deride citizen opponents as NIMBYs, it turned out the Highland Park advocates whose research showed the jail was unnecessary … were right. That saved millions of taxpayer dollars.
      And yes, there are some unpopular projects that charge forward anyway. But I just wanted to say, it’s not true that it’s ALWAYS a done deal by the time it gets to the public comment stage. – Tracy

  • I35 resident July 16, 2015 (10:30 pm)

    I was disappointed to hear the applause for the digital sign coming back around Brandon street. I live in front of that sign just north and many times a day I’d hear the revving of engines trying to see how high they could make the sign go. (Even though it shuts off after 49 mph). Especially late at night. Please consider not putting the sign back.

  • McBride July 17, 2015 (12:13 am)

    I’ve been involved in advocating for (and against) city projects for a number of years. Early on, when things didn’t go my way, I was not happy. Because, obviously, I was right. These days, I recognize the simple fact that you win some, you lose some.
    But I do know this: civic process is like voting. Even if you don’t vote (true of the the majority), an election still happens. Same with municipal projects. Whether the outcome is as proposed or modified depends more often than not on the results of the community dialog that too few people take advantage of.
    You’re lucky in that you have a tremendous resource concerned with civic matters (the WSB). There are daily notices on ways to get involved and participate in creating the outcomes you desire. Anecdotally, participation in civic process is currently somewhere south of one percent. Still, the world is run by the people that show up. And, even if we don’t agree, I’d like to see you at the table.

  • MOVE! Seattle PLEASE! July 17, 2015 (10:08 pm)

    How about removing street parking on 35th and use the parking lanes to create a center turn lane? Most homes on 35th have alley access. I don’t see many driveways on 35th. For the greater good – isn’t that the saying from long ago?

  • 35thResident August 4, 2015 (1:06 pm)

    I hope people are going to turn out and provide feedback tonight at High Point. I received a mailed “invitation” postcard to the meeting on July 15th from SDOT, of course it didn’t arrive until the 20th so I had missed my opportunity by not being aware of the forum.

    In the 3 years I have lived on 35th, I have had 6 near-misses with pedestrians. Every one has involved a person darting out from between parked cars to jaywalk across the street. So, yes I’m biased, I don’t believe reducing the # of traffic lanes or the speed limit is the best solution for pedestrian safety.

    Please take opportunity tonight push for both improved safety AND appropriate traffic management!

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