FOLLOWUP: City says it’ll evaluate Pecos drive-thru traffic if it’s a problem


Neighbors of the Pecos Pit Barbecue project at 4400 35th SW are asking for a meeting with city reps to show their concerns about its drive-thru exiting onto SW Genesee.

The concerns aren’t new – they’ve come up since the proposal (first reported here a year ago) was shown to include a drive-through, which will be the fourth in the 35th/Avalon vicinity (after KFC, Taco Time, and Starbucks). But as neighbors point out, they’re unique because the drive-through on the restaurant’s east side will have vehicles exiting onto residential SW Genesee to the north, where parking overflow from the apartments and condos along Avalon tends to result in one travel lane.

The city has approved the plan and said it didn’t require a wider review because it wasn’t a change in use for the building, owned by City Light and formerly a teriyaki restaurant. But that restaurant didn’t have a drive-through. Neighbors say they’re not opposed to the new restaurant but they think the city has underestimated its likely popularity and that will result in not just more traffic to Genesee but also a backup on the entrance to the drive-thru, which is from an alley to the south.

In an e-mail loop about the continuing concerns, city rep Bryan Stevens said that if there’s a “long-term problem” once the restaurant’s been open, the city can take another look:

When our staff reviewed the proposal, it was for the purpose of using an existing restaurant building for a new restaurant with the addition of a drive-in function. Based on the size of the new restaurant space and that it was a small local business (not a high-volume chain), staff did not see the need to require any additional queuing space beyond what was shown. While there are prescriptive queuing requirements for high-volume drive-in businesses such as banks and gas stations, restaurant businesses require staff to use their discretion based on what is known about the business and its operations.

While it’s possible upon first opening that there may be a pent up demand leading to queuing challenges, staff determined that for normal average operations, that the spaces shown on the plans would accommodate the demand and traffic flow. If queuing volume presents a long term problem after the business is in operation, then SDOT will have the business develop and implement an approved revision to better manage the vehicle queues.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold, also in the e-mail conversation, says she has already looked into “what types of streets a drive through service can utilize. The response from DCI was that only Pedestrian Zones (which begins at SW Alaska) limit curb cuts along certain streets and prohibit businesses which are car-centric.” Neighbors are now asking for her and city and project reps to meet at the site for a firsthand look.

33 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: City says it'll evaluate Pecos drive-thru traffic if it's a problem"

  • Joe Szilagyi February 4, 2016 (4:09 pm)

    How many feet of runway will be there, compared to the drive throughs at Starbucks and KFC across the street?

  • Jon Wright February 4, 2016 (4:22 pm)

    So on one hand, the city is contemplating spending an additional $5 million to underground utilities as part of the Fauntleroy Way project for aesthetic reasons (because Fauntleroy is the gateway to West Seattle) but on the other hand the first thing people will encounter off the bridge is going to be a drive thru BBQ stand. Not to mention the big-box drug store that is on the way, too. It feels like the vision for West Seattle is a bit schizophrenic and that everyone is not on the same page.

    • chemist February 4, 2016 (7:33 pm)

      It takes a special type of business to be a stone’s throw from a “freeway” offramp.I think directing any drive-through exit to make a right on Genesse and then come back on Avalon to the light at Avalon and 35th should be fine.  Maybe they could sculpt the curb cut to prevent turning left into the on-ramp.

  • sam-c February 4, 2016 (4:34 pm)

    I don’t think the traffic back ups for Pecos could ever come CLOSE to the crazy backs ups the Starbucks drive through causes. Who eats barbecue around the clock and/or in the morning?  (It doesn’t help that the light for the WB traffic on Avalon only stays green long enough for 4 cars to get through  << though maybe if the first person stopped at the light weren’t looking at their phone, a 5th car could get through)And the city designated that area pseudo- transit – oriented, right? So, most of Peco’s customers will be all of the non-car-owning pedestrians that live right nearby; no need to worry about drive-through traffic. (sorry, some sarcasm thrown in around there)

  • Trickycoolj February 4, 2016 (5:02 pm)

    Review KFC. I don’t even think it’s 3 feet from the corner of Avalon. Review Starbucks at 6am. Yikes. 

  • Chas Redmond February 4, 2016 (5:06 pm)

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in any promise SDOT makes to re-do or correct mistakes.  Witness California Ave/Fauntleroy Way/Morgan St bus bulb on northbound California Ave.  Even with SDOT admitting it doesn’t work, has caused the intersection to fail for morning and evening traffic times, has said no other corner will ever be constructed like this one – and yet they have absolutely NO plans to change the currently failing configuration and push back on the issue all the time. Trust SDOT at your own peril.

    • Joe February 4, 2016 (5:43 pm)

      I agree Chas and appreciate your efforts!

  • Chuck February 4, 2016 (5:28 pm)

    @Chas: amen.

  • Joe February 4, 2016 (5:41 pm)

    Forget the drive thru issue. Think of all the customers trying to turn left from 35th into the lot! Trying to get south from Fauntleroy us already a challenge hence the no left on Avalon between 4 – 7 pm.

    • wsn00b February 4, 2016 (6:45 pm)

      This is the main thing not called out in the original article. 35th and West Seattle Bridge are going to back up with people trying to make a left from SB 35th Ave SW into Pecos  trying to cross the double yellow. Guaranteed. I’ll bet SDOT a Pecos BBQ  sandwich.

    • KM February 5, 2016 (8:51 am)

      Bingo. People still try to take the left during the forbidden times onto Avalon. Left turns on that block from traffic headed south are a giant headache.

  • JayDee February 4, 2016 (5:52 pm)

    After you’ve purchased your meaty treats at Pecos, unless you walked there (Like the people living in the nearby apodment who don’t buy cars perhaps) how would you escape the lot? Turn right onto Fauntleroy? and then drive home to Georgetown? Pray for a break in the traffic and turn right to take 35th either direction? Or place your faith in humanity to get on Avalon to get to Fauntleroy via the signal?  There is a reason this lot has been vacant, and Pecos Pit is dreaming that they will last a year, IMHO.

  • Wsgal February 4, 2016 (6:08 pm)

    Used to live in the urban residential neighborhood close to Buddha ruksa and it wasn’t an issue in the neighborhood. The hustle and bustle was lovely, like a real city. Turning left over double yellow lines from 35th (which is by the way illegal) is already an issue so I would imagine everything’s just going to slow way down , especially when the new apt building opens on Avalon and  35th- which may be  good for everyone who’s in a rush these days. I believe west Seattle could use a slower pace, these aren’t highways, they are city streets. 

    • JanS February 4, 2016 (6:17 pm)

      Can I turn left over a double yellow line?Two solid yellow lines between lanes of traffic means neither side can pull into the on-coming lane to pass another vehicle.  However, you may turn left over a double yellow line that is less than 18-inches in width if you do not block traffic.  If the yellow line is solid and wider than 18-inches, or if the space between double lines is crosshatched, it’s illegal to turn left. [SMC 11.55.140 Left turns between intersections –Limitations].

  • Cc February 4, 2016 (6:29 pm)

    We’ve had the discussion here before (I believe in the WSB Forum as well) and actually – you *can* cross a double yellow line to turn. They mean “no passing,” NOT “no turning.” Page 3-10

  • wetone February 4, 2016 (6:31 pm)

     Can’t wait to see cars heading south on 35th at rush hour trying to turn left into Pecos. Backing traffic up thru intersections. From site plan looks to have 3 parking spots with drive thru passing right behind. If more than three cars in drive thru one can not back car out. WSB posted site plan at earlier date.  Sure would like to know story on who actually holds lease of property from city light and what they pay ? Such a common statement from city these day : ( city rep Bryan Stevens said that if there’s a “long-term problem” once the restaurant’s been open, the city can take another look )       you just have to laugh.

    • Joe February 5, 2016 (1:57 pm)

      I filed an online form concern about left turns into Pecos but not holding my breath. 

  • dsa February 4, 2016 (7:20 pm)

    Just because a commercial driveway exists into a residential area does not make it right to promote it’s use in this manner when the property in question is actually city owned.  Seattle had a choice here, and took the wrong one.  This could have been a public space, or rented to a low volume tenant.

  • Cynical girl February 4, 2016 (7:37 pm)

    Turn it into outdoor seating. You’ll really get that “smokey” taste.

  • HappyOnAlki February 4, 2016 (7:53 pm)

    If they don’t think there will be a traffic problem, they’ve never tasted Pecos Pit BBQ.

  • Gatewood Rob February 4, 2016 (9:00 pm)

    I can’t wait, unless they are only open 10-2, like SODO…  Hopefully they will post for returning customers the appropriate route to enter easy, south to 1 block S of Avalon, right, right, right back to Avalon, left back on 35th, right to the best BBQ!  Interesting it’s owned by City Light.  Hmm.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident February 4, 2016 (10:58 pm)

    Here’s a novel idea…why not make the apartment owners provide parking for their tenants in an effort to get those “overflow” cars off the street?

  • Don't make me carsick on the bus February 5, 2016 (5:56 am)

    Take a bus to Pecos, oh wait can’t eat on the bus. you’ll have to just hold on to the food until the end of your ride. I bet the smell will still effect fellow passengers and can still get spilled on the bus. Maybe they can implement a Pecos Shuttle to a nearby parking lot.  Snark!

  • Jennie February 5, 2016 (6:35 am)

    Another place with dangerous overflow around there is the busy Trader Joe’s parking lot. It backs up unexpectedly into the very busy street. I’ve nearly had an accident twice. I can’t be the only one.

    • Joe February 5, 2016 (2:01 pm)

      I agree. Trader Joes is a “cluster”. :) there have been accidents on Fauntleroy (covered by wsb) but the city wont do anything because there haven’t been enough accidents. Or it doesn’t fall in line with their density plan.

  • neighbor February 5, 2016 (11:39 am)

    Primary concern is that the only drive thru exit is a right onto a residential neighborhood street that is being turned into a WS Bridge freeway off ramp by the city that continues to find new and creative ways to raise property taxes. This area is zoned as residential not a ‘transit area’ whatever that may be,  as assumed in comments here.Those that feel the they have anything to say on what is next door to my home, don’t get an opinion until you are paying the mortgage. 

  • j February 5, 2016 (1:39 pm)

    Does anyone know if they will be smoking meat at this location as well or will it be delivered from SODO? If they are smoking the condos won’t even be able to open their windows. For their sake I hope it arrives from SODO. Hopefully it’s going to be easy in easy out cause Pecos Pit is delicious. 

    • WSB February 5, 2016 (1:47 pm)

      What condos? East side is an empty old substation, south side is the 7-11, to the southeast are two microhousing buildings, west side is Taco Time, north side is the on-ramp to the bridge…

    • wetone February 5, 2016 (5:59 pm)

      J,     very good point with question if and how much smoke will be generated from this type of business.  Even more so with the very high density of unit’s close by. Will be very bad for anyone with respiratory issues.   

  • j February 5, 2016 (1:56 pm)

    Condos east of 7-11 right next to Pecos Pit property. Easily within distance to receive wafting smoke. 

  • WSince86 February 5, 2016 (3:14 pm)

    Exactly, Neighbor!  Have friends who have owned a house on that stretch of Genessee for 30 years. Since the micro housing was added in that area, with all the ‘non-driving’ tenants, that street is crowded beyond belief. Adding the traffic from the drive thru will be downright dangerous as currently one can barely drive that street at any time of the day or night without encountering a traffic jam. Turning on to Avalon is not made any easier by the people who park a foot from the corner either.  

  • Mickymse February 5, 2016 (4:40 pm)

    @Tracy, I’m still confused as to how the restaurant is being allowed to ADD a drive-through to a business that did not have one previously. I thought that wasn’t allowed in the City limits?

  • Mike February 5, 2016 (5:21 pm)

    Another missed opportunity by the city.  This space would have been a perfect location for a bus stop.   Buses would have room to pull off the street to let passengers load and then merge right back onto the bridge. 

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