@ Admiral Neighborhood Association: Revised Admiral Way plan; changes for Hamilton Viewpoint Park

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two hot topics brought a big turnout to last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting – about 50 people at the start.

SW ADMIRAL WAY SAFETY PROJECT: As shown here earlier in the day, SDOT has revised its plan for rechannelizing SW Admiral Way west of California SW. The original proposal, introduced at April’s ANA meeting and discussed at an at-times-raucous “open house” in May, included removal of more than 200 parking spaces, and drawn howls of protest from some who live along the stretch, not just because of the reduction, but because it would have left some stretches with parking only on one side. The new configuration would remove the center turn lane in spots instead.

Dawn Schellenberg and Sam Woods from SDOT led the presentation about the revised version, going again through contextual information about collisions and bicycle use, with questions that had emerged before emerging again from attendees – how many collisions were the fault of drunk drivers, how many bicycle riders are using the road, etc. Numerous documents are now online – scroll down this page to find them.

The new plan includes a reduction of lane width – SDOT says wider lanes encourage speeding. Currently, between 63rd and 60th, the drive lanes are 12 feet wide, and will be narrowed to 11 feet. Between 60th and Stevens, there will be a “door zone” buffering drivers from the new bike lane (and vice versa) on the downhill side. Going uphill, the buffer will be between the bicycle rider and the driver. Between Stevens and Lander, the lanes are 11.5′ and will narrow to 10.5′; between Lander and 47th, “where we didn’t see a lot of parking no matter what time of year we studied it,” … and between 44th and 47th, standard bike lanes, and between 44th and California, no changes, to maintain the left-turn lane.

Additional safety features are now under study on the west end – maybe an all-ways stop at 59th/Admiral, which currently only has a pedestrian signal, leaving people to be confused about traveling in the non-controlled directions when someone is using the signal.

On first take, the revisions did not seem to be receiving rave reviews.

A couple of people voiced concerns that this will bring safety risks rather than solve safety problems. One wondered aloud if the city has a “hidden agenda.” Schellenberg declares there’s no “hidden agenda” but that the city wants to “add another travel option” to the stretch. Asked what that is – she says, “Bicycling.” Yet another attendee suggested that’s what she considered to be a “hidden agenda,” contending that Alki/Harbor Avenue should be sufficient for bicyclists in the area, describing Admiral lanes as “donating” a quarter of the street to riders.

Don Brubeck, a project-zone resident who is president of West Seattle Bike Connections and on the city’s Bicycle Advisory Board, tried to explain that bicycle riders need a safe route in that area, that Alki/Harbor won’t get them to stores and other destinations in central WS.

Things grew briefly acrimonious again, and then settled down, until a few last words from someone: “Please save the parking.”

SDOT is asking for comments on the revised plan through October 1st. One week from tomorrow, at Hiawatha Community Center at 6:15 pm September 17th, they’ll hold another “open house” – a meeting including a presentation as well as a chance to talk to project reps one-on-one. When it was pointed out that the date conflicted with the regular monthly meeting of the Alki Community Council, which represents part of the project zone, the city reps expressed surprise. Could they change the date? No, because the mailers had gone out.

HAMILTON VIEWPOINT PARK: The discussion of safety in the park was supposed to include Seattle Police as well as Seattle Parks, but those in attendance were told that SPD’s Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores had to cancel because of a family emergency. So three Seattle Parks managers took centerstage: South and Central East Park Resource Manager Robert Stowers, South Seattle park resources manager, West Seattle crew chief Carol Baker, and security supervisor Marlan Teeters.

In addition to general ongoing concerns about troublemakers in the park, recent incidents have raised the concern level higher, including the August incident that started as a robbery at Hamilton Viewpoint and led to a shooting in North Delridge (the suspect charged in the case is still in jail – we just checked) – and the Palm Avenue incident in which a man was confronted by gun-wielding youths in his driveway.

For starters, Stowers said, Parks is aware of what’s going on and it’s “going on in every neighborhood … but we always seek a solution.” He said they would do a few things right away, from vegetation reduction to different operating hours:

“Landscapers want to make it more visible so we’re going to be taking out some of the vegetation and making it more exposed to police as they drive by, so they have a sightline into the park – we’re doing this for a lot of our parks.” He also said a contractor will be accountable not just for locking the gate at a certain time but also going through the park and making sure everyone is out first. “Another thing we’re going to do is – we have a proposal out to the superintendent to change the hours at the park permanent, with a trial period first, then we’d go for permanent.” That drew applause even before Stowers said “6 am-10 pm” would be the new hours.

He said they talked about some features they could put in to try to deter people from hanging out but “that would interfere with the beauty of the park.” He also urged people to report problems – they looked at police reports to find support for making changes, and didn’t find very many incidents reported, despite people saying there were endless problems. Neighbors, though, said they call “all the time” and vowed to continue to call. The security rep said that the more calls there are, the more resources they will be able to dedicate. Another neighbor stressed the importance of calling 911, not the non-emergency number. Yet another one complained that people who are camping out on nearby parkland “come into our neighborhoods, break into our cars – how does Parks work with the police?”

Baker talked about how they post “no camping” alerts when they get word of an active camp via the Citizens Service Bureau: “We are bound to respond to any report – we haven’t had a lot of fresh ones, we have 1500 acres in West Seattle and cannot systematically go out and check everything,” but when they get a report, they check it out.

Baker mentioned that Hamilton Viewpoint “is a wedding venue,” so they are trying to balance that status with clearing ways for neighbors and police to see in and be able to report if something is amiss. An attendee said he would like to see police pass through a couple times per shift just to show “a presence” and to deter people loitering, speeding, etc. Stowers said they could ask Superintendent Jesús Aguirre to ask Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole about regular visits.

Another attendee mentioned seeing SPD tweets indicating police are at the park for “exclusion” all the time, but wondered if any arrests or other actions ensued.

Then came a question: When are trees going to be trimmed so that Hamilton Viewpoint Park will be a viewpoint again? Baker said action would be taken that would be “horticulturally correct” and would “open up view lines” but would maintain “sense of enclosure, which is a big part of the park.”

Back to the safety issue, “What if we called the mayor and the city council every day?” Stowers said, “You do what you have to do. Every neighborhood has problems. They’re writing letters, they’re talking to the superintendent … the Police Department is short-staffed, there’s an agreement with the Justice Department, there’s a lot of restraint. We do have an exclusion policy that people can be excluded from the park.” Teeters elaborated on that, saying those involve “trespass warnings” unless they are major crimes such as those involving weapons.

Stowers thought the new hours for Hamilton Viewpoint would take effect within a few weeks.

HIAWATHA CONCERT SERIES RECAP: Whiting delivered the update that we published here last week, and asked the attendees for any thoughts. “Outstanding bands!” one person declared.

The Admiral Neighborhood Association meets second Tuesdays, 7 pm, at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd SW & SW Lander).

24 Replies to "@ Admiral Neighborhood Association: Revised Admiral Way plan; changes for Hamilton Viewpoint Park"

  • Wsea September 9, 2015 (8:12 pm)

    As a cyclist, I really don’t understand the return on investment per the improvement. The current road has large shoulders and a nice center turn lane ( which is what they are adding on 35th). This reminds me of needing to spend money before budget cycle when they lose it.

    I would rather have a fully paved beach drive, a bike path on California, more stops signs in residential, etc. seriously, I can’t think of a lot more bang for your dollar.

  • RickE September 9, 2015 (8:56 pm)

    Great comment Wsea! I completely agree! Wish more people had your ‘common sense’. I’d prefer devoting 42nd SW to alternating one-way blocks for cars and moving through bicycle traffic to 42nd with the stipulation that bikes don’t have to observe one way signs, getting bike traffic off of California Ave SW where it is just too easy to tangle with a car and parking is still important to the many small businesses.

  • Nancy R. September 9, 2015 (9:26 pm)

    Admiral Way SW is the most logical way for bicyclists to go up the hill from the beach. California Av from Harbor Av is unsafe with the steep narrow sidewalk, and Bonair Av is very steep and unrideable for almost everyone. Admiral Way is the best way to get over the hump. Its great that Wsea prefers to ride along the flats on Beach Dr and on top on CA, but for those that live on top of the plateau rather than at the beach and need to go up or down, the safety improvements proposed on Admiral seem to make a lot of sense.

  • PF September 9, 2015 (10:34 pm)

    As an avid star gazer inspired by Alice’s astronomy, there are very few parks with late hours where I can go to observe the night skies. Too bad the hoodlums causing trouble in our parks and neighborhoods are robbing us of a resource meant for all to enjoy. I want a safer neighborhood but am sad to see the hours of the park cut.

  • Craig September 9, 2015 (11:12 pm)

    Similar to Wsea’s thoughts, I don’t see why Beach Drive isn’t taking a priority over Admiral if the concern is bike travel frequency and safety. Many, many, many more cyclists use Beach and its much more narrow lanes, poor road surface, near non existent protection from cars are a much larger hazard to riders in terms of trouble spots, quantity of riders and even equal in importance to connect major WS destinations.

  • wsea September 10, 2015 (7:19 am)

    @Nancy R – I ride the west side of admiral 2-3 times a week. I’m saying that the current configuration is safe enough. The lane is large, the traffic is not too crazy and the middle turn lane allows for cars to move over when needed. Now consider beach drive where you have to weave in and out of the road to avoid the pot holes. Again, consider the number of cyclists who ride beach vs the west slope of admiral and then consider those who are new to cycling. The funds can be better spent. Another thing to think about why more kids don’t ride bikes to school. Its unsafe. Lets use the money to impact the masses and not a small percentage of cyclist.

    If you need some other uphill options try Jacobson, Fairmount, Avalon or east admiral. I really don’t know many who consider west admiral that bad. I’ve even taken my kids up the slope until they have to walk the sidewalk.

  • M September 10, 2015 (7:32 am)

    Wsea makes sense this is a solution looking for a problem. How about they take this budget and fix some of the pavement problems instead.

  • MsK September 10, 2015 (7:39 am)

    Call me selfish but, as an Alki resident bike commuter, I want both an Admiral bike lane system and (Yes, please!) good pavement along all of Beach Drive. If I have to pick I will choose the pavement improvement but I don’t see why we can’t have both.

  • markinthedark September 10, 2015 (8:27 am)

    I also bike the west side of Admiral and have not felt unsafe. Having the left turn lane present allows cars to give bikers a wide berth. Westbound Admiral from Olga to California is the worst.

    As a biker and driver on Admiral, keep the left turn lane!

  • JortSandwich September 10, 2015 (9:30 am)

    Oh yes! The ever-dangerous “Hidden Agenda,” in which I as a bicycle rider would prefer not to DIE because some cars want to drive 5 or 10 mph faster on a twisting road. Curses! My secret evil plans are revealed! What on earth will I do now that I’ve been exposed as somebody who doesn’t want to die!

  • Chad September 10, 2015 (10:16 am)

    I agree, Beach Drive could use improvements for cycling, but I’m not sure why that is being compared to Admiral Way. They are completely different routes. Yes, Beach Drive is more heavily traveled, but improving that does not provide a route from the Beach to the Admiral area. It looks like they are putting left turn pockets in the areas where I see people turning left the most.

    Yes, the lanes are wide on Admiral and as an experience cyclist, traveling the existing lanes is not an issue, but I would not take my young children up/down Admiral as it stands today. I would with buffered bike lanes. I also know many adults that would not take Admiral as it exists today.

  • markinthedark September 10, 2015 (11:25 am)

    There is no left turn lane pocket proposed for 57th Ave. and it is heavily used. The problem is that there are parking spots, bus stops, left turns and now bike lanes to accommodate in a constricted area and on a bend with limited visibility. It’s probably the worst section of Admiral to accommodate all interests.

    I’m a biker and all for separating bikes and cars where feasible, but I’m not convinced this proposal is it.

  • HC September 10, 2015 (1:16 pm)

    There is no plan that can save people from themselves. Everyone – motorist or cyclist – need to act responsibly.

  • AceMotel September 10, 2015 (2:53 pm)

    Admiral Way is not in Black Rock City, unfortunately.

  • SKap September 10, 2015 (4:18 pm)

    Things we know: (1) most motorists on this 1.4 mile stretch of road travel at 37 mph; (2) about 32 seconds are saved between California and 63rd by traveling 7 mph faster than the speed limit; (3) between 30 and 40 mph, the risk of death increases up to 5.5 times (for both motorists and pedestrians); and (4) there has been roughly 1 collision here every 3 weeks over the past 3 years.

    Speeding through this curvy area puts each and every person at risk for serious injury or death. Thankfully, it seems none of the 48 collisions in the past 3 years have been fatal. How many more seconds of commuting time need to be saved before we decide it’s an issue?

    The proposed traffic calming measures are evidence-based and effective for both motorists and cyclists. Vision Zero and the Bicycle Master Plan are agendas with nothing “hidden” about them. The proposal is not unilateral or paternalistic. A problem was presented thoughtfully with supporting data. Community input was sought and revisions to the proposal were appropriately made. The status quo shouldn’t be an acceptable option.

  • Diane September 10, 2015 (4:44 pm)

    TERRIBLE idea; unfortunately, I was the ONLY person in the meeting to speak out against closing our parks at 10pm

    “Another thing we’re going to do is – we have a proposal out to the superintendent to change the hours at the park permanent, with a trial period first, then we’d go for permanent.” That drew applause even before Stowers said “6 am-10 pm” would be the new hours.

  • JayDee September 10, 2015 (6:37 pm)

    From a email reply to SDOT on the Admiral “plan”:

    “I am pretty much opposed to the project because it seems like a solution in search of a problem. There was no community outcry, unlike the new signal at 47th and Admiral, so I wonder why the City is pursuing this?

    The accident frequency is much higher east of California/Admiral, and much less between California and Admiral and 63rd SW. More single car spinouts and cars running into parked cars. One death at 47th and Admiral in the 19 years I’ve lived here that was presumably addressed by the signal at 47th (One car sitting on Waite is worth delaying two dozen on Admiral).

    Is there any chance that this proposal can just go away, and the money used to improve the pavement on Admiral? You’ve driven this stretch of road, I hope, the pavement and road contours are more likely to cause an accident than actual cars/bike conflicts. Removing the center turn lane will make turning left onto Avenues without a turn lane a real adventure.”

    Lastly, if the project cannot be killed outright at this point what is the point of going to the meeting on the 17th? The City has surprised me once by ruling out paid parking in the Junction (for now) and revising the East Admiral lane markings but if this is just proforma like Fauntleroy and 35th, what is the incentive for a worker bee to go to the meeting?

  • AceMotel September 10, 2015 (9:51 pm)

    JayDee, if YOU don’t go to the meeting, and other people who feel likewise don’t go to the meeting, then SDOT will have a bunch of yea-sayers in the audience, and they will think that everyone is happy, such as the SDOT employee posting above. just sayin’. But yes, I think there is NO CHANCE the project will be scrapped, even though all the things you said are true. The portion of Admiral Way slated for major bike lanes is the portion on the other side of California, per the bike master plan. With this new scenario, the major bike lanes will be on this side of California instead.

  • themightyrabbit September 10, 2015 (11:14 pm)

    “There is no plan that can save people from themselves. Everyone – motorist or cyclist – need to act responsibly.”

    Oh, you conveniently missed off cars, trucks etc. which are the safety threat here.

    Perhaps including the Mercedes Sedan that zoomed past me riding my road bike this afternoon at approx. twice the speed limit, certainly fast enough I couldn’t scan their license plate id. I can generally read all license plates with my still good eyesight.

    The sooner this road gets re-striped the better. I live on another WS arterial, and I don’t know any neighbors that want the arterial speeds to stay the same. Everyone I know wants the speeds lower. We’ve had many speed related incidents there.

    The mind boggles at reading comments from people who think the current road speeds and state of Admiral Way is OK.

  • AceMotel September 11, 2015 (3:27 am)

    The mind boggles at anyone who thinks the re-striping will make that section of Admiral Way safer. The accident rate will increase, mark my words. The only question is how long before the first serious accident.

  • wetone September 11, 2015 (9:52 am)

    If you want safer roads put a cop on the corner with a radar gun a couple days/eves a week and ticket ALL not following laws, don’t penalize everyone else. Worked great in 60’s 70’s 80’s 90’s along Admiral and many other streets, Very Simple Solution. Kubly and Murray’s road plans have and will do little for road safety. Their plan for Admiral wy. is very flawed and will make it very dangerous for people entering and exiting the side streets from 49th down to Lander and through to 63rd. Can’t keep adding thousands of people to area thinking you can make it safer by slowing main arterial’s down, only pushes traffic off to side streets. Making them much more dangerous. Money invested in this project could have been much better spent fixing/repaving road infrastructure in need. Novembers Billion dollar “Move Seattle” levy does nothing for road and bridge repair. Will have to wait for next’s year’s billion dollar levy to fix roads and bridges……get ready for another big property tax hike driving rents higher and home ownership tougher next year.

  • Thomas M September 12, 2015 (9:34 am)

    Video Cameras at the park. Cheap, small, deterrent. I do hope the parks follow through and lock the park up at 10pm. The cops could make a fortune if they went after speeders from the viewpoint up to about Park West.

  • gina September 15, 2015 (12:42 pm)

    Re: changes on our arterials. Yes, they have comment periods (the City, that is), but does anyone actually LISTEN to the opinions of users/residents? I see that Roxbury, 35th, and others are already being carved up. Having only one lane in each direction on any of those streets, as on Fauntleroy, is simply crazy-making. Attempts at “traffic calming” just make drivers search for unsafe alternatives withing the residential street networks, which really DO need calming. How can we end this madness? And who is the big gun behind all this, anyway? The Mayor’s office?

    • WSB September 15, 2015 (12:48 pm)

      Significant changes were made in both plans based on feedback. In particular, the 35th changes are going in between Roxbury and Willow, with evaluation to follow before the stretch north of there. Both the Roxbury and 35th plans have been in the works for a year and a half (covered here incrementally all along the way, and with involvement from community councils, WWRHAH in particular for Roxbury). And yes, the mayor was at the meeting at which the final 35th plan was announced in July. – TR

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