VIDEO: 2nd open house for SDOT’s Admiral Way Safety Project

(WSB video & photos by Katie Meyer)

That’s the public meeting that wouldn’t have happened if not for community demand. At the first open house for SDOT’s SW Admiral Way Safety Project back in May at Alki Elementary (WSB coverage here) – at which many concerns were detailed, sometimes testily – Admiral Neighborhood Association president David Whiting stood up and asked SDOT reps to commit to a second public meeting, then and there. They did. And so, nine days after going over plan revisions at the ANA’s regular monthly meeting on September 8th (WSB coverage here), SDOT held a standalone open house at Hiawatha Community Center this past Thursday.

It started and ended with discussion time around the room, where these boards were shown – with some options that weren’t in the deck at the ANA meeting:

The slide deck included in the presentation on our video is here:

The only thing we can’t show you is what Mayor Ed Murray told attendees at the start of the meeting – we had equipment trouble, so our video picks up shortly after that. He told those gathered that their concerns had caught his attention. He didn’t stay, but as you can see in the video, SDOT director Scott Kubly did, as did the staffers who led the presentation, Dawn Schellenberg and Sam Woods, and traffic engineer Dongho Chang.

The points of contention continue to be whether proposed changes are necessary and/or whether they will address the key factor in collisions along the road, drivers losing control (and/or impaired) and hitting parked cars. The need for bicycle lanes continued to be debated; while the road is not heavily used by riders now, the city, and riders, say that’s to be expected because it’s not a safe/comfortable option in its current configuration. While the city’s new options would keep much of the on-street vehicle parking that was previously proposed for removal, the potential loss of a center turn lane as a result drew some concerns.

If the goal is to slow drivers down, why not use speed humps? Chang explained that they’re dangerous on slopes.

The questions/answers continued; SDOT says it’s still open to comments on the revised plans until October 1st – a link for e-mail feedback is on the project webpage – then they will work on a “final” design, with fall/winter implementation and “evaluation” next year:

14 Replies to "VIDEO: 2nd open house for SDOT's Admiral Way Safety Project"

  • Neighbor September 20, 2015 (2:08 am)

    I just want to reiterate as Dongho so eloquently put it, a ped or a bicycle rider cannot survive a collision at 35mph or greater. I appreciate the 5ft bicycle lane. Bicycling should be safe for the masses,not only for the few riders that boast about all the riding that they do.

  • Mark schletty September 20, 2015 (8:22 am)

    Very interesting. One lane each way with a center turn lane is pushed by the city as the best way to achieve traffic calming on 35th, Delridge, Fauntleroy and other major arterial streets around the city. Admiral Way is already basicly that configuration, but to accomodate the few bicyclists who cah ride that hill the city says we should remove the turn lane. What’s up? Is this a good configuration for safety and traffic movement, or not? Or is the fantasy best case wish list of the bike activists, called the Bicycle Master Plan, adopted by the city with no real input by anyone other than bike activists, really driving all our transportation plans and policies? If the latter, then the Master Plan must go before the city loses all of its transportation options for anyone who cannot get around on a bicycle.

  • mtnfreak September 20, 2015 (8:26 am)

    I just sent an email to Mr Carillo – and I thought I’d share it with all of you too. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought since the initial kerfuffle, and I want to advocate for two features that I think would work well in this project. If you agree with me, please consider emailing Mr Carillo at SDOT – mentioning my email from 20 September would strengthen the idea too.

    What are your thoughts? I’m convinced that something should be done about Admiral Way from 49th west to 63rd – the current structure allows for too much speeding and reckless driving. I’m especially curious what other Alki and Beach Drive residents, and Alki Beach businesses think about my proposal.

    My email:

    “I’m an “Alki Flats” resident and home owner. Admiral is my primary commute route.

    I am an avid bicyclist, and I choose not to use Admiral Way because I’ve witnessed too much speeding and unpredictable driving. For a bicyclist starting in Alki, its a toss up time-wise if Admiral Way is faster up and over versus the longer (but flat) Alki and Harbor Avenues to Spokane Bridge. But if I want to reach the businesses along California, Admiral Way is the only logical route, even to reach the Alaska Junction. Therefore, I typically drive my car the 1.5 miles to my bank, pharmacy, library, grocery store, movie theater, and other local business at the Admiral Junction. I’d prefer to use my bike.

    I’ve also witnessed numerous frightening moments of bicyclists and pedestrians vs autos, especially on the stretch from 51st to 63rd, because of the wide lanes that encourage speeding and the lack of cross walks to even suggest that cars should stop for pedestrians crossing.

    I’d like to ask for the consideration of two features to be added to the Admiral Way Safety Improvement – roundabouts and a boulevard divider.

    Roundabouts – as you likely well know – are more efficient than stop signs for moving traffic, allow for easy u-turns, and – most importantly to me – slow down traffic. Key spots that I would install them are the following intersections along Admiral Blvd: 63rd Ave, 61st Ave, 59th Ave, Stevens St, and 49th Ave (replacing the new stoplight). Roundabouts would be perfect for Admiral Way it seems – the road is already wide enough to accommodate them, and the allow for easy u-turns (a common occurrence at 63rd and Admiral).

    Because the roundabouts allow for u-turns to occur in the intersection, a boulevard divider could be added, from 49th west to 63rd. Vehicles wanting to turn left at intersections other than the roundabouts would simply travel to the next roundabout, turn around, and then make a right onto the street (this would effect 62nd, 60th, 57th, 53rd, 51st, Garlough St, and Garlough Ave).

    The existence of roundabouts and a boulevard divider would narrow the perceived width of the lane, encouraging slower traffic. I’d be willing to give up some of the bicycle lane buffer to accomplish this, or even consider moving the bicycle lane to the outside between the sidewalk and parking.

    Finally, I’d like to see the street parking removed on the north side of Admiral Way between Lander St and 49th. Its very lightly used, and the increased space simply encourages faster driving along that section.

    If you’d like any clarification about what I’ve written above, please feel free to contact me.”

  • Neighbor September 20, 2015 (9:13 am)

    Respectfully, it’s not your bike lane buffer to give up. Also, as was mentioned in the meeting, types of control systems are appropriate for different situations. They take traffic volume, modes,terrain and accident history into account. a roundabout may not be appropriate for example where it is not flat such as 59th, the street that leads to Alki Elementary.

  • Westie September 20, 2015 (9:49 am)

    Neighbor, the project board graphics say 50% at 30 mph and 10% at 40 mph so I am not sure why dhongho would say nobody as you suggest. Still best not to have collisions though.

  • SeaSpade September 20, 2015 (10:05 am)

    ..and don’t be fooled by the effectiveness of roundabouts as speed deterrents…this was all the rage back in WI where I moved from, and – while I could argue about the quality of the design and placement – you could watch as drivers would literally speed up going into the roundabout if they were going straight ahead and hear the tires screeching. The even more amazing sight was watching people who were turning left bypass the roundabout altogether and just turn left into oncoming traffic. That’s basically the same mentality as the drivers who speed here.

    Be realistic about the need/viability of bike travel on that route – especially up. Do I want to go to my bank needing a shower?

    Funny how I don’t see much “e” word in the whole discussion – enforcement. A couple of speed cams would do more good than all the passive gimmicks (speed bumps, roundabouts, etc) you could throw at that. A paid position on the SPD would also pay for itself easily on that stretch.

  • Just another user of Admiral Way September 20, 2015 (10:16 am)

    Indeed this city doesn’t use roundabouts too much.
    There are inherent problems with them, coming from a country where they are in use everywhere – the main one is that they don’t work well where you have unequal traffic volume, coming from different tangents. The higher volume direction i.e. Admiral Way, would take precedence over the lower volume road making it still difficult to get ONTO the roundabout. These problems get solved in various ways, including guess what, stop lights. Impractical.

    No as a regular rider of Admiral Way (surprise! We don’t all go directly home, and enjoy the extra exercise along Alki!), I appreciate this project’s proposals (option A) immensely, with the proposed lanes and additional buffers. Good thinking on their part. People don’t realize you have to be a bit crazy to bicycle Admiral Way in it’s current configuration – I’ve had so many near misses from inconsiderate drivers that wearing mirrors is essential for survival on 2 wheels. Dismayed I was at the meeting to witness the anti 2 wheel sentiment by some, when those who live on this road will actually benefit the most from the changes, safer for them to park, get in and out of their vehicles or driveways due to the bicycle lane additions.

    It’s near impossible to prevent the drunks from using the road, if they have to concentrate more due to the changes and SLOW DOWN, again everyone will be benefit.

    I live on an arterial also in West Seattle, you don’t hear anyone there upset at slowing down the drivers.

    Thanks SDOT for a positive change to this road that’s woefully overdue!

  • wetone September 20, 2015 (10:38 am)

    Simple common sense solution for Admiral wy, neighborhood police officers in area with radar gun ticketing all law breakers…..along with responding to other issues. Done deal, worked very well in past. Should be no budget issue as Mayor Murray and SDOT Kubly seem to have open budgets for hiring groups of people trying to engineer and implementation of projects that do very little for improving problems this city has. Move budgets where really needed and get police ticketing lawbreakers.
    When was the last time you saw someone getting a ticket on Admiral ? or anywhere else……..

  • Born on Alki 59 September 20, 2015 (11:33 am)

    Sorry Wetone, Seattle doesn’t do simple common sense solutions anymore. All the genius Seattle leaders have masters degrees now, no longer promoting people from within that know what they’re doing. Sad but true, I see it every day internally.

  • Dan September 20, 2015 (12:38 pm)

    … Why are people still talking about this?…. Like everything else in this city, if the powers that be WANT it, its a done deal….. Our opinion doesn’t matter….. Hey, lets spend a million dollars on another survey to find THAT out!!…. Ridiculous

  • chemist September 20, 2015 (2:34 pm)

    Dan, it’s comically difficult to keep up with city planning process sometimes. If you look up the bike master plan versions that are published on seattle’s website they’ve long included Admiral way. What’s interesting is that they’ve gone through a few variations on the W end near Alki over the past few years. The 2013 SW map planned for a in-street, minor separation bike lane along Admiral from 45th to 63rd. The 2014 map changed to recognize the 63rd N/S bike lane as completed and terminated that planned Admiral bike lane at 59th, instead heading south to meet up with a planned lane on Charlestown. Then they put out a 2015 BMP update in March that announced the plan to implement the admiral bike lane all the way out to 63rd again.

  • ScottRAB September 21, 2015 (3:12 pm)

    Many people confuse other and older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. East coast rotaries, large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D’Triomphe, Dupont Circle), and small neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts. If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout), go to to see pictures. And here’s another site that shows the difference between an older rotary and a modern roundabout:

    Single-lane modern roundabouts (90-120 feet in diameter) can handle intersections that serve about 20,000 vehicles per day with peak-hour flows between 2,000 and 2,500 vehicles per hour. Two- and three-lane modern roundabouts (150-220 feet in diameter) can serve about 50,000 vehicles per day and handle 2,500 to 5,500 vehicles per hour. Right-turn slip lanes can increase that number if needed (just like for signal intersections). Much depends on how balanced the entries are, but only in determining how many lanes are needed for each movement.

    Mini-roundabouts are less common in the US, but frequently used in the UK. They are all truck apron. Mini-roundabouts examples:
    White Center, WA:
    Dimondale, MI:
    Missoula, MT: Toole and Scott:
    San Buenaventura, CA:
    Anacortes, WA:

    How steep is the road in question? Some cities build speed tables on grades as high as 12%.

  • John September 23, 2015 (11:16 am)

    I commented my outrage on previous proposals on Admiral Way here, and I feel inclined to express my pleasure with the proposed changes, so long as it includes Option B from Lander to 47th. That is the stretch that is shown to be the most dangerous for a left-turning driver, and maintaining the left turn lane there I find essential.
    I must say, I’m pleased with the process at this point.

  • alki_2008 September 26, 2015 (3:04 pm)

    Have any of the considerations for the bike lane considered the elevation change between Alki and California? Many people cannot bike along Admiral Eastbound due to the hill, so it’s mostly ‘serious’ cyclists that cycle uphill…which ‘leisure’ bikers just walk their bikes, and that should be done via the sidewalk.

    The Westbound bicycle traffic is different. I’ve seen many people on all types of bikes flying down the hill, without any slowing or looking out for people exiting driveways or pulling out of parallel parking.

    The turns in the road and the elevation changes need to be factored into the plans for this road. A plan that works for a straight and/or flat road may not work for a windy and/or hilly road.

Sorry, comment time is over.