FOLLOWUP: 30 mph Delridge Way speed limit now planned by year’s end, one year later than original plan

A resident calling himself “Disappointed Dad on Dangerous Delridge” has continued to press SDOT on the promised, but not-yet implemented, speed-limit reduction on Delridge. At one point, it was supposed to be in place by the end of last year, and SDOT had reaffirmed to us last November that it would happen. But it didn’t. We asked again early this year, and were told it was still in the works, with an addition – “fog lines” on Delridge north of Orchard. Months have elapsed; we had checked in with SDOT’s Jim Curtin recently and were told they were finalizing design details. DDoDD e-mailed again too, cc’ing us, and asking Curtin:

We are now in the ninth month of 2016 and rapidly approaching the rainy season again. Delridge remains as dangerous as ever. I understand that there is more to this project than simply putting up new speed signs, but every day that you delay increases of the chance of injury or death for those of us with small children in this corridor. In fact, as I’m sure you’re aware, a teenager was hit just last month while crossing Delridge. The first line of Mayor Murray’s statement on Vision Zero states that “Public safety is the foremost responsibility of city government.” Please prove that these aren’t just hollow words.

WSB was cc’d on Curtin’s reply to DDoDD today:

Thanks for checking-in on this effort. You will see changes on Delridge in the 4th quarter of 2016. We are currently finalizing the design which will include additional changes beyond the speed limit adjustment. These changes will include installing the aforementioned edge lines, flexible posts for the existing bike lanes in the vicinity of SW Orchard St, and enhancing the existing crosswalk at SW Juneau Street with rapid flashing beacons (the work at Juneau may not occur until early 2017 due to equipment supply issues).

The 30-mph plan originally was part of the mayor’s citywide Vision Zero announcement in February 2015.

28 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: 30 mph Delridge Way speed limit now planned by year's end, one year later than original plan"

  • Mark September 7, 2016 (10:44 pm)

    The existing 35 mph limit is the appropriate limit.   Foisting artificial speed limits reduces traffic safety, based on technical data.  The City continues to reduce traffic safety by its continued failure to adhere to national technical standards.

    • Jon September 8, 2016 (1:06 am)

      Yep, that sounds about right. I asked SDOT about the Yay, We’re So Diverse Crosswalks (which violate WSDOT standards), because I believe traffic markings should be standardized for maximum visibility (especially in a major port/tech city such as Seattle, where we have people from every corner of the world renting and driving cars for business, et cetera). The response I got was basically that the crosswalks are too awesome and diverse to follow state safety guidelines; and even if they aren’t immediately recognizable as crosswalks to someone who doesn’t follow SDOT Twitter/ Facebook (say, someone from another country), or even if they’re harder to see at night or in the rain, shame on me for thinking that maybe it’s a bad idea to not maintain uniformity at crosswalks. 

      I’m sure that traffic data you’re referencing is “problematic”, though. “Vision Zero” has mostly been am expensive, taxpayer-funded commercial for ride share (not “taxi”, remember) corporations (I wonder how much Uber and Lyft made from the program); sort of like how “Safe Place” is a comical and depressing failure which only highlights how few police officers are on the streets given the population density in high crime areas (think about how much more good they would be doing if they put that money towards even the most basic self-defense preparedness).

      As for “public safety”: you can create all of the laws in the world, but just having something on paper (or on a sign) doesn’t mean it’s going to be effective. SPD doesn’t even enforce the most basic laws (hi, Alki and Junction drag racers, 11PM-3AM) — why does “Disappointed Dad” think a lower posted speed limit sign is going to save lives, suddenly? Like that was ever the problem? People didn’t know they were speeding or driving recklessly?

      Crossing pedestrians are hard to see when you’re driving; especially if they have no way to signal to drivers, or if they’re standing behind a car, or wearing dark clothing. If anything, you’d save more lives educating walking pedestrians, teaching them to not cross until they’ve made eye contact with drivers and been given the wave, or by telling people it’s probably a smart idea to carry a flashlight to signal to drivers that you’re in the road. You may legally have the right-of-way as a walking pedestrian, but — that’s not gonna stop a 3-ton+ vehicle from crushing your bones and killing you; if only laws worked like that, huh?

      If they really wanted to make commuting safer (i.e. actually fixing anything), they’d hire more officers who can direct traffic when incidents occur (stadium events, construction, any major blockages) and actually enforce serious traffic violations (drag racing, et cetera) and have about half as many Meter Maids out on patrol as they do now; but I realize one of those is very hard work and the other is instant cash for the Mayor and the Courts (where the non-refundable appellant fees for tickets are greater than the infraction fee — which should be illegal, but…?).

      It’s amazing: you go to any other major city in the area (Bellevue, for example) and they don’t have these hilarious traffic disasters when a light goes out or there’s an event on a major street. They’ll still have awful congestion, sure, but cops on the East side seem to do a much better job with traffic problems. They have officers out there, calmly and efficiently directing traffic; or they have traffic lights which are properly timed. It’s incredible, coming from this side of the lake! Then you come to Seattle and it’s your greatest driving nightmares realized, every time anything happens.

      You see, Mayor McCheese can’t pretend like he’s actually doing anything unless his government continues wasting time and effort on pointless Looks Good On Social Media endeavors; all of which are miniscule and/or totally ineffective compared to solving actual problems like homelessness and the income disparity with the tech sector versus everyone else (see: pretty much everything he’s ever raised or spent money towards). So, why fix a difficult problem when you can simply win Good Guy Points by creating expensive Rainbow Crosswalks in Cap Hill? If he can’t pretend like anything he’s doing is helping the general public, then why would we vote for him again next election cycle?

      Hey, remember when he threw an email tantrum over a homeless issue and threatened to pull SPD off of the streets as political leverage? He was just going to let crime run rampant until he got his way. What a cool guy! He obviously has our best interests at heart!

      Is there a “TRAFFIC CZAR” who is responsible for these silly decisions? The best politicians always appoint “Czars”, I’ve found; each with at least two committees appointed to them  and where everyone gets a new iPad and a Government Prius. If you can’t find a good “Czar” , then the next best bet is to hire someone from a private corporation who then spends city money on said private corporation’s failing businesses (ciao, Pronto!) to pretend like they’ve solved another big problem by creating a few more.

      And like we needed lower speed limits on most of our roads; people hardly even drive the speed limits in heavy traffic as it is. Whenever I’ve gone along 35th during peak traffic hours, pretty much everyone is going 20-25, max, just given the density. The traffic lights – like at most intersections throughout Seattle – are so poorly timed that it creates these impassable bottlenecks (one cluster of vehicles gets the green only to all stop a block away); not to mention the fact that only about one in every four Seattleites comprehends how the passing lane, left-turn arrow, or four-way stops work.

      I’m sure the data you’re referencing also points out that by lowering major arterial traffic lane speed limits (to “Twenty Is Plenty”), it encourages commuters to speed through residential streets to cut around the jams (making it more dangerous for foot traffic, children, pets, you name it).

      Ah, but that doesn’t fit the narrative or sound as good on Facebook.

      Here’s hoping we get a better Mayor, next time.

    • Peter September 8, 2016 (9:19 am)

      Please share your data and identify the source of the data.

  • Mel September 7, 2016 (11:23 pm)

    I live on Delridge, and the only thing I regularly see that is dangerous is the people crossing mid-block and without regard to traffic. Just last week a guy walked across mid block right in front of me – he didn’t even bother looking my direction as he walked, despite the fact that had I been distracted in any way, I’d have hit him.

    That will not change with a 30 MPH speed limit.

    And unlike, say, 35th, the current 35 MPH is rarely exceeded – in fact, since Delridge’s “road diet” way back when, 35 is often not achievable due to traffic. (They don’t even bother with those electronic “your speed” signs on Delridge for this reason.) 

    So in sum, any problems “Disappointed Dad” is seeing will not change with signs reading 5 MPH  less than they do now. Of course, that won’t stop the city, because there’s money there to be spent. And it won’t stop “Dad” because he has a Thing He Wants. 

    • Jon September 8, 2016 (1:07 am)

      Exactly. I’m more of a walking pedestrian than I am a driver and I agree entirely. The amount of people I see rolling the dice playing Frogger on a daily basis astounds me. Some people really do just have a death wish, I guess. :|

  • mok September 7, 2016 (11:57 pm)

    Couldn’t agree more, Mark. 

  • dunnkld September 8, 2016 (12:10 am)
    • Injury minimization or safe system approach: Speed limits are set according to the crash types that are likely to occur, the impact forces that result, and the human body’s tolerance to withstand these forces.
    • I prefer this Federal Highway Administration method to speed limit determination. Minimizing impact in a crash trumps shortening the commute by a few seconds. 
    • If you want to use the 85th percentile method, then how about we also factor in the average speed of other road users like pedestrians and bikers, not just automobiles, trucks and buses. 
  • Maggie September 8, 2016 (3:16 am)

    I’ve been driving 30 on Delridge for years! Feels like a safe speed. 

  • SRRA September 8, 2016 (3:34 am)

    I travel the length of Delridge more than once a day and it is extremely rare I ever get to go 35. My joke is the speed limit should be 27, because that seems to be what most people want to drive. IMO this road doesn’t need a new speed limit or new painted lines, it needs it’s severe potholes fixed and for safer crosswalks to be added.Also, was it already reported that the reason the teen was hit this summer was because of speed?

  • d September 8, 2016 (7:20 am)

    The speed limit needs to stay 35 and the other two lines need to be put back as well it used to be a four-lane road to just like 35th was and should still be stupid politicians

  • Matt September 8, 2016 (8:32 am)

    Fixed potholes, new lines, lit crosswalks would all help.  People off their cell phones would be even better.  But it seems that isn’t the priority, so let’s reduce the amount of lanes and lower the speed limit so the people who don’t pay attention when they drive have less of a chance of hitting something. 

  • sam-c September 8, 2016 (8:45 am)

    “flexible posts for the existing bike lanes in the vicinity of SW Orchard St”

    I am really excited they are adding those.  There have been multiple times where I’ve almost been hit by some &%$(&% using the bike lane as a right turn lane, as I try to turn right from the actual vehicle lane.

    I’ve also been honked at for blocking traffic, waiting for a cyclist to get thru before I can safely turn right.  But, I can handle horns and one finger waves, it’s the near misses that drive me crazy.

    • WSguy September 8, 2016 (12:47 pm)

      Most drivers seem unaware of this but the vehicles merging into the bike lane to turn right are doing it correctly for exactly the reason you mention. If you turn right from the “car lane,” you’d be turning in front of a bicycle who might not be looking for you and cause an accident. Here’s a diagram with explanation from the SF bike coalition:

      • sam-c September 8, 2016 (1:50 pm)

        OH! I didn’t know that – thanks!

        I wonder how it will go though, when they put in the plastic posts.  A lot of buses also use the bike lane as a bus lane… since that stop is right there (in front of the storage place), they continue on Delridge in the bike lane, and don’t merge to the left until after the light at Orchard.

  • madmom September 8, 2016 (8:56 am)

    Ridiculous! You can hardly even reach 30 mph on Delridge. I drive it daily. How about some pressure on actually getting the road itself fixed?

  • Scooty September 8, 2016 (9:12 am)

    35 is too fast.  Ppl saying you can go that fast cos of traffics aren’t thinking about the evenings and weekends when all the folks are out at the sports fields.

    Lets go 30 or less and save some lives!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • d September 8, 2016 (10:25 am)

    When is the last time you seen a speed trap on Delridge or 35th time for the cops to start doing their jobs we don’t need to cut down Lanes or lower the speed limit we actually pay people to enforce those laws they’re not volunteers man I’m starting to think that everybody has forgotten that

  • Jakers September 8, 2016 (11:00 am)

    Save lives how?

    Will a 5mph reduction in speed save lives if someone is hit at 30 vs 35mph?  Please cite some actual facts for that please, and not some anecdotal “it’s right because I say it is” or “I really want people to believe this because I do” evidence.

    Will a 5mph reduction save lives because of the increased stopping distance?  That’s a possibility, but the difference is only about 20 feet; if someone darts in front of you, that won’t matter.

    Will a 5mph reduction save lives because it’ll make drivers get off their cell phones and pay attention?   Pardon me while I take a long laugh break.

    <laugh break over> 

    Will a 5mph reduction (or any reduction for that matter) make stupid people stop doing stupid things like crossing a street without looking, crossing in front of vehicles, crossing mid-street, coming out from behind a vehicle/object that prevents them from being seen?  Big fat “nope” right there.  

    Perhaps the “Disappointed Dad” can explain how the teenager was hit last month…was he hit while crossing in a crosswalk, with the light, in an area that was well lit with good site lines, and the driver of the car was not distracted at all but was unable to stop in time because of their speed?  Because if that ISN’T the case, then a reduction in speed wouldn’t matter and is nothing more than a stereotypical “think of the CHILDREN” tug at the heart strings that people pull to get their way…especially when “their way” won’t accomplish anything.

    Perhaps if Delridge is really such a “dangerous” street SDOT should look at what actually makes it so dangerous and fix those things…except of course, that would require actual effort and work on behalf of the city, the solution would likely impact the same whiners who complain now (but in a way they wouldn’t like) and…oh yeah…require there to  be a problem in the first place.

    • WSB September 8, 2016 (11:12 am)

      Yes, actually it will. I don’t have time to find the version of this graphic but we’ve shown it before.

      And PLEASE stop with the pedestrian blaming, folks. It’s deplorable. People on foot have more right to the right-of-way than drivers seem to understand. I also spend a lot more time behind the wheel of a multi-ton metal machine than on my own two feet walking, but I drive as if a pedestrian could appear on any corner, and if we see one, we stop. Period. And often are gravely disappointed in our fellow humans coming in the other direction, oblivious, as if they have all the right to the road. I’ve taken to waving my hand out the window in frantic hope of catching the other drivers’ attention – both behind us and coming in the other direction. Shouldn’t have to do that.

      • chemist September 8, 2016 (12:16 pm)

        If you ever find the source data for that graphic, I’d love a citation I could read.

        Vision Zero Boston had a similar graphic with different numbers involving injury rather than just death.  They did give a citation, though, which concluded a 90% likelihood of death at 58 mph, 50% at 42 mph, and 10% at 23 mph though, so maybe vision zero programs have used different studies.

      • WSguy September 8, 2016 (1:03 pm)

        I agree. No matter what that pedestrian or cyclist is doing (and I agree that some make risky choices), it’s ultimately the driver’s responsibility to stay aware of their surroundings and avoid a collision. 

    • chemist September 8, 2016 (11:46 am)

      WSB reported the police said the teen was crossing for the bus.  I know no details beyond that.

  • d September 8, 2016 (11:55 am)

    Another perfect example of what the SPD is not enforcing when it comes to the law every intersection is considered a crosswalk and very rarely does anyone ever stop including the SPD it boils down to enforcement and the lack thereof pretty ridiculous

  • BJ September 8, 2016 (12:15 pm)

    I live at one of the busiest intersections on Delridge – Trenton. This intersection is INSANELY busy, loud, congested and DANGEROUS. I fear every single time I have to walk my 6yr. old across the street – utilizing crosswalks, mind you. With the bus and big rig traffic, it’s a haven for a major accident at any given point in the day and it should be monitored more closely for the speed junkies as well. Simply put – all of Delridge is a dangerous, accident prone roadway and anything that can be done to hinder that would be prudent.

  • c_wit September 8, 2016 (12:48 pm)

    Not trying to victim blame here and I don’t know what the official accident report says but I happened to be at Delridge park when the Delridge & Genesee accident occurred.  Eyewitnesses I spoke to said it looked like the teen was running across Delridge against the light to try to catch the bus. 

  • Melissa September 8, 2016 (4:51 pm)

    I agree with BJ. I don’t know how many times I have been more than halfway across the street at Trenton and have been nearly hit by someone not stopping and turning.  It must be horrible to cross it with a child.

  • Scooty September 8, 2016 (10:06 pm)

    @Jakers massive rant:

    1) imagine safety of crossing a nascar track

    2) imagine safety of crossing parking lot

    3) interpolate

    I hope this helps.

    @others: agree strongly with those calling out the wrongness of ped blaming.  it’s nuts to act like a pedestrian deserves to get hit by a car no matter what they are doing.  Someone makes the mistake of crossing the road inappropriately, is a death sentence the appropriate punishment for that crime? Drivers moving in massive steel structures with lots of momentum are responsible for using that machinery with care.  That means stopping for pedestrians and going *below* the speed limit when circumstances warrant.

  • dunnkld September 15, 2016 (9:23 am)
    Ploughing through an intersection at 35 miles per hour just because the light is green for you or you don’t have a stop sign is just plain stupid and also morally wrong. You might hit a person running for a bus who maybe makes a bad decision because the bus is early or they misjudged the time, who knows when the next one will come, and they don’t want to be late for work/school. Or a car coming from the cross street makes a bad judgement and blows through a light or a stop sign, T-bones you and then you are injured or dead.
    This goes for everbody walking, biking and especially driving since automobiles are heavier and faster than other road users and can inflict tremendous damage: Check left, right and left again before entering any intersection. Like your parent should have taught you when you were small.
    It’s much easier for a driver to check for and react to cross traffic if they are approaching an intersection 25-30 mph versus 35.
    I would guess some remedial defensive driver training is overdue based on driver behavior regularly witnessed @WSB on Delridge.

Sorry, comment time is over.