STREET SAFETY: Greenway or green light? Drivers ignoring 17th SW stop signs

(If you can’t spare 3 minutes, the stop-sign-running is particularly prolific in the final minute-plus)

That video was recorded in November at 17th SW and SW Trenton by area resident Darryll Wolf. He sent it to various city reps then – and sent it again yesterday, after a close call. This time, we were on the CC list. His e-mail:

Dear SDOT, SPD, and Councilmember Herbold,

(Thursday) morning, as I was running to catch the bus to work at 7:53 am, a driver accelerated into and through the intersection at SW Trenton Street and 17th Ave SW, refusing to stop at the stop sign while I was in the lane! She did this as I was in front of her car, forcing me to run backward to avoid being hit. I’ve reported rampant violations at this intersection before and was even hit by one car (hit and run) and nearly hit by several others in the past several months. I shared this 3-minute video in this same email thread in November showing fully 85% of drivers fail to stop or yield right of way at this clearly signed intersection.

The incident this morning felt like a deliberate attempt by the driver to threaten or injure me with her car. I am very worried about my own safety as well as the safety of my family and neighbors who live, work, and play along the 17th Ave SW greenway.

In 2016, the Seattle Greenways project team created this new sanctioned pedestrian and bicycle greenway on 17th Ave SW north of SW Henderson Street and then placed stop signs at each of the east-west intersections along the greenway where no stop signs had ever existed for likely near 100 years. But they and SDOT failed to do any awareness campaign or enforcement follow-up to ensure the safety of those who use the greenway. I am disappointed that after having reported the frequent violations and one known hit and run at 17th and Trenton in the past few months to SPD, CPT, and the Greenways project team, we have only seen about an hour of SPD enforcement at this intersection with no ticketing for violations, and the Greenways team and SDOT have been a complete no-show here.

I have been documenting the continued pattern of violations at the 17th and Trenton intersection since last November and will continue to report this problem to SPD. I have reported similar incidents of speeding and aggressive or threatening driving through school crossing zones, and the general failure to yield to pedestrians along 16th Ave SW, and along SW Trenton Street from Delridge to 16th Ave SW. But I have seen zero SPD presence in those areas during rush hour and have never seen a single person ticketed for this blatant and common recklessness.

As the increased densification under HALA upzoning increase car, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic in our area, it is my hope that SPD, SDOT, and the City will take this seriously and do real traffic calming, enforcement, and ticketing before we see people killed by reckless drivers. Throughout the area from 16th Ave SW to SW Delridge, between Holden and Roxbury, there are many children and public transit users who are vulnerable to death and disfigurement by reckless drivers every day. And these drivers must be shown that traffic laws are not optional and that drivers cannot threaten and maim pedstrians with their cars with impunity. We need your help to send this message!

I look forward to hearing from SPD, CPT, SDOT, and the City in the near term on how each of you plan to address this very real public safety issue in our area. I am happy to discuss this in person or over a phone call if it will result in quick action.

From the list to whom Wolff sent the video, the first response (at least, the first to the entire CC list including us) was from Councilmember Herbold:

I watched your video and I’m aghast that of a dozen cars going through that intersection over the 3 minutes you filmed, only two cars made a complete stop at the stop sign. By the way of this message, I’m asking that Chief Davis consider an enforcement at this intersection. Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of pedestrian safety.

As mentioned here Thursday morning, SPD’s Traffic Unit chief, Capt. Eric Sano, is the scheduled guest for the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council next Tuesday (7 pm May 16th), so if you have neighborhood concerns, it’s a good time to bring them up.

84 Replies to "STREET SAFETY: Greenway or green light? Drivers ignoring 17th SW stop signs"

  • annaeileen May 12, 2017 (12:38 pm)

    My friend lives on 17th and Thistle and it’s bad there too.  I have seen many a car not stop at the signs and I don’t live there!  As with every neighborhood in West Seattle, we are getting denser and denser with more cars so any kind if enforcement is much appreciated. 

  • unknown May 12, 2017 (12:49 pm)

    WOW do these drivers think because there’s a traffic island that it’s just a slow down and look intersection?

    • WsEd May 12, 2017 (3:17 pm)

      That was going to be my comment.  I think they get confused when there is an Island.  The Island becomes the main focus and often people don’t even see the stop sign.  I think this is a bad design.  The drivers are of course still at fault, but I have seen this at other similar places in Seattle.

    • Mike May 13, 2017 (9:07 am)

      That’s probably the exact reason they don’t stop.  This area has really stupid people running how we implement traffic control.  Roundabouts are designed to NOT have anyone stop unless another vehicle is going to collide.  They are intended to keep traffic flowing at a safe speed without stopping.  If they want a four way stop there, take the roundabout OUT and put stop signs on all four corners, problem solved. 

      • Jon May 13, 2017 (11:10 am)

        Yep. Seattle has some of the worst traffic planning / intersection designs in the entire country. Most neighborhood intersections are just four-way intersections without even “traffic circles” or “Yield” signs; just a “Well, I hope I don’t get t-boned driving up this street” event every time you cross a street.

        Also, because of their rarity in this part of the state / country, most people don’t even comprehend the rules of a 4-Way Stop, even when presented with one. So I wouldn’t expect improvements overnight.

        If you want proper roundabouts (which I don’t love), then look to Olympia. If you want any amount of safety, then remove all of the dumb “traffic circles” and replace them with 4-Way Stops (and require people to actually know what a 4-Way Stop is to get their driver’s license in Seattle :P).

  • WD fundie May 12, 2017 (12:50 pm)

    Wait, I thought only ‘bicycles’ blow throw stop signs.  Turns out its actually ‘people’ and unfortunately some of them are in a 4000 pound metal box. 

  • Oakley34 May 12, 2017 (12:53 pm)

    Glad to see Councilwoman Herbold’s response.  I might consider a similar tactic (filming the volume of transgressors) at a Right turn only near my home that has an incredibly high number of Left turners onto a very busy and dangerous (one of those white silhouettes hangs right there) street.

  • bertha May 12, 2017 (1:02 pm)

    I have lost count of the number of times I have almost been hit by cars blowing through the stop signs at this intersection. I think the greenway designation has only make 17th more dangerous.

  • HPneighbor May 12, 2017 (1:06 pm)

    I too live in the neighborhood and would venture to guess that the stop signs all along the 17th ave sw route are plagued by the same failure to stop chronic offense. Targeting ALL intersections is much needed.

  • Michael May 12, 2017 (1:07 pm)

    I think some people might not notice the stop signs. Its early morning, people are still half functioning and are just trying to get to work or get their kids to school.  I myself have had difficulty noticing stop signs at such traffic circle intersections,  I don’t expect a stop sign at a traffic circle.

    Why not have the traffic circle do the calming by making it bigger and the road narrower. Cops can’t be enforcing on every street.

    • Jon Wright May 12, 2017 (3:52 pm)

      The tone of your message makes it sound like it is okay to jeopardize the lives of others because “its early morning, people are still half functioning and are just trying to get to work or get their kids to school.” How about if we set the expectation that ALL people (pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists) are responsible for following the rules and not excuse egregious violations?

      • Jort May 12, 2017 (5:36 pm)

        I agree, Jon, but I would argue that car drivers have an extra, even more important responsibility for following the rules of the road because only car drivers have the capability of using their method of transportation for killing or severely injuring other people or causing significant property damage.

        Bikes rolling stop signs is annoying because it seems unfair. Cars rolling stop signs is annoying because it has the proven potential for injuring or killing people.

      • Jon May 13, 2017 (11:28 am)

        The “tone” argument…

        Nobody is advocating that it’s okay to be irresponsible; but I will add that it is 100% your own responsibility to look out for yourself and to not rely on society’s various “rules” to keep you alive and well. Never rely completely on a crosswalk or a traffic law to protect you from a car, bus, or bike, et cetera. Ultimately, it’s an honor system – our system of laws – and you rely on your fellow humans to abide. However, they often do not – for one reason or another – and this is simply the nature of mankind which cannot be legislated out of existence. Ergo, my advice would be to assume that many people are dumb, distracted, or can’t see you at all, and will likely do something dangerous which could harm you inadvertently.

        To avoid being maimed or killed, I would teach your kids or friends the same thing: be mindful of your surroundings to make up for the potential shortcomings of others.

        I often witness people crossing the streets in all black clothing with no reflectors, lights, or any sort of visual aid. Sure, it’s your “right” to do so; yes, you have the “right of way” to cross while vehicles wait on you; but common sense says that you probably shouldn’t cross a street – especially while it’s dark – near commuting vehicles, unless you check both ways and make visual contact with the driver’s eyes before crossing.

        My guess is that the “traffic circles” of Seattle have conditioned everyone to drive a certain way. There is no consistency with intersections in this city, which is extremely stupid and obviously an issue requiring rectification. It would probably be wise to spend time and resources attempting to remove the “traffic” circle and to instead make the intersection a 4-Way Stop with a high-visibility crosswalk.

  • Trickycoolj May 12, 2017 (1:12 pm)

    Is this one of those intersections that had a traffic circle then they added stop signs?  There’s one on Brandon between High Point and Delridge and when I approached it the first time as a driver it was completely ambiguous what the intent was. (I knew it was the new bikeway) but if my eyes register circle my 17 years of driving says yield and proceed around, but then you see a stop sign and wonder why the eff is a circle still here if you want me to stop?

    This came up on reddit from another part of the city and the choice of leaving in the circle when installing the stop signs seems like a poor design choice. 

  • SpaceDust May 12, 2017 (1:12 pm)

    If you haven’t noticed,  that seems to be the normal at all intersections..

    Better yet, go count the car running red lights. Just because your in the left turn lane doesn’t give you a free left when the light turns red..

    • Dave II May 12, 2017 (1:35 pm)

      True. Unfortunately 17th is just one intersection of many in WS/Seattle where traffic control devices appear to be optional. I’ve reported similar issues all over West Seattle. Police say we’ll report it to the traffic division. The problem is so widespread it’s like putting a finger in a dam. DOT is also overwhelmed. After an initial response to an issue it can take a year plus to get any action. No response to follow up emails.

      BTW, intersections usually have a roundabout or stop signs. Having both is asking for confusion, increased scofflaw behavior. 

      • sw May 12, 2017 (2:21 pm)

        I agree with this.  Usually there are no stop signs where traffic circles are located.  It seems like most folks slow down in the video but do not fully stop.  Not making excuses, but I could see where some confusion would be present.

        Also agree that this behavior happens at most intersections these days.  People are preoccupied with themselves and their devices, and looking out for others is a bygone era ideal.

    • Mark S May 12, 2017 (7:01 pm)

      SpaceDust, you are right on.  I live in Portland OR & this is a rampant problem here.  I was in Seattle from 5/4 to 5/8, staying near 40th Ave SW & SW Thistle St.  I noticed this behavior was business as usual at the intersection of SW Thistle St & California Ave SW.  I would be northbound on 40th trying to turn left onto Thistle, & would have to wait awhile due to a solid string of vehicles traveling east on Thistle.  My suspicions were confirmed when I finally reached California & watched numerous vehicles blowing the stop sign while turning left.

       It seems current behavior for vehicle operators is to treat stop signs like yield signs & yield signs like merge signs.  Good luck trying to change this behavior.





    • andy May 13, 2017 (9:35 am)

      You are absolutely correct about cars all over West Seattle running stop lights and signs. About a month or two ago, I was standing at the intersection of California and Alaska, waiting for the pedestrian  signal, when a car, traveling at least 50 mph,  ran the light well after it had turned red. And, this not the only time I have witnessed drivers in a big hurry speeding through that intersection after ignoring the yellow caution light. In the last week or so I’ve had to dodge drivers at the corner of 49th and Oregon ignoring the stop signs at that 4 way stop. Clearly, things are getting out of control with some of these negligent drivers. 

  • Lisa May 12, 2017 (1:20 pm)

    I dunno. Given that it’s literally impossible to see traffic coming from the right from the white line, it seems like part of the problem here is no crosswalk.

  • Ric May 12, 2017 (1:24 pm)

    However, if you’ve already pulled into the intersection waiting for oncoming traffic to clear for your left turn you still have to clear the intersection.  In some situations you’d rarely get a chance to turn and would keep the lane blocked if you waited  for it to clear.

  • newnative May 12, 2017 (1:27 pm)

    I can’t believe the excuses people make for blowing through stop signs and hitting pedestrians.  I agree it is deliberate because it happens in Admiral District a lot. People stop in the crosswalks and/or on the sidewalks and wave. The wave means the driver sees me and knows they are deliberately cutting me off.  Stop sign, red light, crosswalk signal, doesn’t matter.  

  • Gatewood May 12, 2017 (1:38 pm)

    I have never seen a traffic circle and stop sign at the same intersection, typically there is a yield sign.

    • dsa May 12, 2017 (4:25 pm)

      SDOT is the answer to that.  My first reaction to watching the video was:  why are there stop signs?

  • Dave II May 12, 2017 (1:42 pm)

    I wish I had the support this videographer appears to have here. I’ve posted similar videos only to be soundly criticized. 

    • Darryll May 12, 2017 (2:22 pm)


      I support you! And I hope that we can start building some momentum to build change across the city and beyond. I’m going to be wearing a camera during my commute every day now. And I plan to share the video and pictures of the bad driving I experience as part of my daily life. Please let me know if you’d like to work together to increase visbility on this issue!



      • Jon May 13, 2017 (11:33 am)

        You guys should probably spend less time with “Gotcha” cams and more time petitioning the city to remove the stop signs or the “traffic circles” (they are conflicting concepts), and try to get a high-visibility crosswalk. You’ll have to find our exactly who to contact about that, I’m not certain. If it’s so high-traffic then perhaps you should have a lit crosswalk with a 4-Way Stop.

        And I’ll say what I’ve mentioned to another comment above: count on the shortcomings of others and prepare yourself for them appropriately. For example: carry a flashlight and never cross an intersection before making eye contact with drivers and waving to acknowledge that they’re waiting for you to cross.

        Stay safe.

  • Scott May 12, 2017 (1:52 pm)

    Why is there a stop sign even there,  there is a round about.  Over kill again SDOT showing how smart they are.

    • Darryll May 12, 2017 (2:15 pm)

      Hi Scott,

      The stop signs were added because 17th is now officially a greenway promoted as a safe pedestrians and bicycling route.  The problem they is that of the drivers who use Trenton as a short cut between 16th and Delridge who speed through this residential zone and refuse to yield to pedestians crossing the street. The law requires it, especially at intersections. But they just don’t care. It’s actually happend a number of times that drivers will even plow right over the traffic circles and keep on going. So, why would we not add a stop sign there?

      The bigger problem in my opinion is that too many drivers feel that driving is a right rather than a privilege.  And that they are entitled to make up their own rules out of convenience, rather than to drive lawfully in the interests of all of the users of our roadways. The truth is, streets and other rights of way are not exclusively for drivers.  They are shared spaces used by many non-drivers as well. Also, it’s just plain immoral, unethical, and criminal to use a car to threaten and injure people.

      • Scott May 13, 2017 (8:31 am)

        Then maybe you should take the circle out and just leave the stop signs. 

    • Tuck May 12, 2017 (2:23 pm)

      Yes that is very correct, i was shocked to see a stop sign was added when there was a round about already in place

    • AJP May 12, 2017 (9:35 pm)

      It’s now a green way. That means bicycles can ride down a safer side street rather than a busier street (16th). The stop signs are supposed to make cross traffic stop for added safety.

  • colleen May 12, 2017 (2:02 pm)

    “a driver accelerated into and through the intersection at SW Trenton
    Street and 17th Ave SW, refusing to stop at the stop sign while I was in
    the lane! She did this as I was in front of her car, forcing me to run
    backward to avoid being hit.”

    I’ve also experienced this sort of dangerous bullying from West Seattle drivers. I had one woman gun her engines and accelerate as I tried to leave the curb to cross the street in a marked crosswalk.  Her windows were open and I heard her laugh as she drove away.  Most people are considerate, some are careless and then there are the sociopaths who do that sort of thing for fun.

    The people who pretend that the problem is the pedestrians need to stop driving immediately.

    • Jort May 12, 2017 (5:40 pm)

      Right on, Colleen!

      I’ve heard people say that adding traffic safety measures — like road diets and improved pedestrian crossings — “causes” road rage.

      If being forced to drive more safely causes you to get road rage, it’s time to hang up the keys for good. You’re done.

      • Jon May 13, 2017 (11:48 am)

        “Road Diets” are a comical baby-gloves government solution to the problem of volume and distracted driving (some of which you will never be able to fix because making stupid mistakes is regrettably just human nature). Volume is growing at an alarming rate, and by making major roads more inconvenient to drive on, people will find other routes (often through your neighborhoods). Lowering the speed limit makes things even more inefficient which causes even more “road rage”, et cetera. I would argue that they will cause more incidents down the line as the new speed limits in many areas are simply unreasonably slow (combined with the poor traffic light timing).

        If I can offer you any sort of comfort, it would be with this: given the volume of vehicles on the road at any given time, it’s amazing that there aren’t more incidents on a daily basis.  I doubt very many people take pleasure in attempting to hurt others, otherwise, you’d have incidents like that occurring on a fairly regular basis. Most people are just trying to get through the day but are susceptible to mistakes; yes, even our bicyclists and beloved walking pedestrians. :)

        Just be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for the shortcomings of others.

  • Coffee May 12, 2017 (2:02 pm)

    I’ll be shocked if anything gets done.  It would also be great of a 4 way stop could be added to 25th and barton that’s another danger zone.  

    • AmandaK(H) May 12, 2017 (2:08 pm)

      WWRHAH has been working that one for years.  We have written grants, brought it up with the Mayor on the Find It, Fix It walk, and mentioned it on other community walks with government type folks.  I encourage you to let Lisa Herbold know how you feel, after all, it is her job to advocate and make things happen for District 1.

  • JRR May 12, 2017 (2:08 pm)

    Thanks for this focused, direct work, Darryl!

  • Just Wondering May 12, 2017 (2:08 pm)

    Many times I am in my car looking at a green light just as a car runs the red light in front of me.

    Anymore I check before I enter the intersection.

  • Jake May 12, 2017 (2:21 pm)

    A stop sign and a roundabout? What a lucky intersection. In our neighborhood we get neither.  Just a bunch of unmarked 4 way intersections with cars speeding through from every direction. But it’s ok, according to SDOT, since there is no history of “serious” collisions. 

  • Lamont May 12, 2017 (2:23 pm)

    Lots of people use 61st Ave SW as a shortcut between Beach Dr and Admiral as well and think that 61st has right of way through the traffic circles there and they don’t need to stop for anyone.

    I can understand why stop signs get added to traffic circles because most Seattle drivers are blissfully ignorant of how a traffic circle is supposed to work.

  • ktrapp May 12, 2017 (3:00 pm)

    I drive on Thistle nearly every morning, and have always wondered why 17th has a stop sign there.  I stop, but it is typically one where a lot of people doing a slow roll through.  One thing I will call out about that video, while there are a number of cars that are driving on Trenton, there are ZERO cars, pedestrians, or cyclists that are traveling in either direction on 17th.  Yet the Trenton drivers are the ones that are required to stop.  I get the concept of it being a “greenway”, but it seems counter-intuitive to be forcing the drivers on the road with substantially more traffic to stop for the road with little to not traffic on it.  I’ll join the people saying that both a stop sign and traffic circle seem like overkill.  The bigger danger at these intersections are the idiots who cut the short way around the circles when doing a left turn.  Several times now, I’ve nearly been hit head on by someone who couldn’t be bothered to go around the circle counter-clockwise.

    • AJP May 12, 2017 (9:38 pm)

      The roundabouts were there first. I’m sure it takes some $$ to remove them, so the stop signs were put there instead. Though you may not always see bikes and pedestrians using it, it is used, and the longer it’s there hopefully it will get used more and more. 

  • KBear May 12, 2017 (3:00 pm)

    The whole purpose of having a roundabout is so you can have a safe uncontrolled intersection WITHOUT a light or stop sign. But they’re very poorly implemented in Seattle. Many are so small that drivers speed on through without slowing down, or they drive around it to the left. Drivers fail to yield to traffic already in the roundabout. Some, like this one, have redundant signage that is easily missed and often ignored. Even worse than the ones with stop signs are the ones with yield signs but in only 2 directions.  A ROUNDABOUT IS A YIELD! Everyone’s supposed to yield to traffic in the roundabout.

    • Big Jim May 12, 2017 (7:10 pm)

      Traffic circles are not roundabouts.  They are “calming” devices positioned in uncontrolled intersections to slow traffic.  Just as in non-traffic circle intersections, you yield to the vehicle to the right.  You don’t have to yield to cars coming from the left and you don’t have to yield to someone turning left in front of you.  Really pretty simple except when you encounter some yahoo who thinks it’s a roundabout.

  • Aussieshed May 12, 2017 (3:00 pm)

    I’d bet people aren’t seeing the stop signs, or if they are, they’re proceeding with the roundabout rules of yielding to the left. I didn’t watch all the video, but all the cars I saw definitely looked like they were yielding. Like others have said, I’ve never seen a roundabout with stop signs before so this could very well raise confusion with drivers and be part of the issue.

    • Seavieu May 12, 2017 (6:38 pm)

      To be clear though, “yield to the left” is misleading. The driver that arrives at the circle first has the right of way – and if 2 vehicles arrive at the same time you yield to the right. 

      • Big Jim May 12, 2017 (7:26 pm)

        The rules for an uncontrolled intersection with a traffic circle are not the same as for a four-way stop intersection.  At a four-way stop it’s essentially “first come, first served” but in an uncontrolled intersection you always yield to the vehicle coming from the right.  The only situation where you don’t yield is when you can safely continue through the intersection and not impede the progress of the vehicle approaching from the right.  I suppose on the rare occasion where four vehicles arrive at an uncontrolled intersection at the same time you would need to consider who came first to avoid a bit of a stand-off!

    • Craig May 12, 2017 (8:00 pm)

      Neighborhood Traffic Operations

      Who has the right-of-way at an intersection? 

      Under State law, when two vehicles approach an intersection with no stop signs at about the same time, the driver on the left shall always yield to the driver on the right. This is also true for intersections that have a traffic circle or all-way stops.

  • CFN May 12, 2017 (3:35 pm)

    We also live on 17th and hardly anyone stops at the “new” stop signs at any of these intersections. I have seen it happen down the entire street. Last week an actual school bus blew right through at 17th & Thistle without even pausing!

    I have found that all of the “roundabout” intersections are dangerous — whether in WS, Ballard or elsewhere — they rarely slow people down and no one seems to know how to handle them. You’d think the ones with stop signs would be better but are actually worse.

  • Paul May 12, 2017 (3:43 pm)

    Being a pedestrian in West Seattle/White Center is scary. We need far more of a police presence to catch speeders and those not obeying basic traffic laws! 

  • Concerned citizen May 12, 2017 (3:43 pm)

    Westbound Thistle turning right onto northbound California is also bad. 9/10 cars I have witnessed never stop for the stop sign. I called SPD out some time ago and they set up a car to watch and ticket violators. Perhaps calling them may help?

  • miws May 12, 2017 (5:00 pm)

    Depending on where I’m going (or coming home from) I cross both 17th and Barton on a regular basis. One thing I’ve noticed since the stop signs were put in on Barton is, just like in Darryll’s vid,  that many, if not most drivers at least slow down like they should at a yield sign or an uncontrolled intersection, unlike before, when many drivers just whipped around the traffic circle without, or at best barely, slowing down.

    One thing that has troubled me since moving into this neighborhood nearly 4 1/2 years ago, is at this particular intersection, even if a driver of a small car is driving slowly, and in a safe and sane manner, they are basically forced into the crosswalk area. If these crossings were striped, the cars would probably be taking up at least half of the area between the lines. I don’t recall having this issue at other intersections, with traffic circles, that I’ve crossed at on a regular basis around Seattle over the years. 

    The only reason I can figure out for this that the planting/parking strips along Barton are narrower than those along manny other streets and the sidewalks seem a bit narrower as well. 

    I believe at most other traffic circled intersections I’ve encountered over the years, it would be relatively safe for both a pedestrian to cross, and a small car, at least. traveling along the same street, as long as the driver was driving slowly and safely enough, hugging the traffic circle without riding up along, or scraping against it, and if the pedestrian was not hugging or over the imaginary crosswalk line. 


  • Mr. B May 12, 2017 (6:21 pm)

    I used to live at 40th and Brandon St.  The Papa John’s drivers used Brandon St. as a shortcut and sped up and down the hill all night.  I called SPD and requested they do speed enforcement as repeated calls to Papa John’s management had no effect.  The SPD officer told me they only do speed enforcement between 9-5 M-F.  In other words, they don’t care.  And don’t bother trying to get anyone in the City or City Council to respond.  Lisa Herbold has been totally unresponsive to my emails.  

  • Craig May 12, 2017 (7:41 pm)

    Seattle kind of screwed up when we staggered the arterials in this area.   Traveling east/west on an arterial and suddenly you’re on a neighborhood street.   People often stay on Thistle through the non arterial section  because it makes sense.   The fact that they speed, and fail to obey stop signs,  however,  is a unacceptable.  

    My son was nearly killed as a driver failed to yield on the sidewalk as the driver rushed into the parking lot to get smokes at 7 11.   Our culture is out of balance and It feels like the only thing that will stop people will be the inevitable tragedy.   The Seattle of 2017 can’t handle  uncontrolled intersections.  We need to do away with this model and enforce traffic laws.    

  • K* May 12, 2017 (8:11 pm)

    I went to use this street few days ago and that got me confused! The island and the stop sign got me lost and I admitted that I passed the stop sign which I didn’t see and realized there is stop sign.  I have been using my eyes not the ears which I’m profoundly deaf and don’t hear any sounds.  I pulled over and saw the stop sign and the island.  What does make this to improve the stop sign and island as I understand the island to be cautious but the stop sign is there to stop.  It’s a confusion as I have some thoughts and see some conflicts. This area needs some visual adjustments to prevent incidents…   

  • KBear May 12, 2017 (10:09 pm)

    You’re wrong, Jim. A traffic circle IS a roundabout.

    • BD May 13, 2017 (5:34 am)

      Kbear, from the SDOT document you linked:

      Under State law, when two vehicles approach an intersection with no stop signs at about the same time, the driver on the left shall always yield to the driver on the right. This is also true for intersections that have a traffic circle or all-way stops.

      So, no, the little traffic circles in uncontrolled intersections are not euro-style roundabouts. We are to yield to the vehicle on the right. It seems almost all Seattle drivers do this wrong.  Perhaps we need some group driving lessons which might also include stopping at stop signs, even if we feel they are superfluous . 

  • Mark May 12, 2017 (10:47 pm)

    Placing unwarranted ‘STOP’ signs breeds disrespect.  In the past SDoT had engineers that understood this.  Unfortunately now they no longer have these individuals that understand Traffic 101.  How many times will a driver ‘Stop’ at an intersection when they rarely see cross traffic?  This is why there are warrants that need to be met.

    SDoT’s failure to adhere to warrants is reducing traffic safety, increasing delay, increases pollution and needs to stop.  There are warrants for a reason, to provide consistency throughout the Country that promotes safety.  

    • colleen May 13, 2017 (5:30 am)

      “Placing unwarranted ‘STOP’ signs breeds disrespect.”

      If  stop signs make you indifferent to the fact that your driving may kill pedestrians you need to start taking the bus. 

  • John May 13, 2017 (8:48 am)

    Fifteen years ago when I lobbied for traffic calming on our street, I was informed by SDOT that stop signs were not allowed at intersections such as these.  SDOT claimed that traffic engineering studies had proven that installing stop signs at such sites just resulted in drivers ignoring them.

    It appears that political pressure has overcome the scientific evidence in the installation of these stop signs.

    New stop signs at Andover and 21st Ave SW are violated hundreds of times per day by parents and  school bus drivers racing to arrive on time to nearby Pathfinder School as well as regular commuters. 

  • NotOnHolden May 13, 2017 (8:58 am)

    Stop signs are really easy to understand, they even say “STOP” on them.  Unless the sign is obstructed by trees or something else there no excuse not to see the sign and stop at it every single time.  And the confusion caused by the circle, is this for real?  Those circles are probably the only thing keeping people from plowing straight through.  This is so simple, stop at the stop sign.  I’m pretty sure there was a test on this to get a driver’s license, right?

  • Alan May 13, 2017 (9:39 am)

    Wow, there are so many excuses for not stopping. I was taught (and passed this to my kids) to wait until I felt the little jolt of the complete stop with the nose of the car before the stop sign, then roll slowly forward (if needed) to see traffic. Now it seems that most drivers coming to a stop sign fail to stop until they are into the intersection and then they only fully stop if there is traffic.

    About a year ago, I sat in front of Fresh Flours and watched as one car after another sailed through the stop signs at 17th & Delridge. Most slowed down but almost none of them stopped. Some went through the signs at 30+. When I saw one woman come to a complete stop, in spite of there being no other traffic to force her, I almost ran out to thank her.

    • miws May 13, 2017 (5:06 pm)

      Alan, a couple months ago, while walking to Lee’s Produce, I saw a couple of motorcycle cops sitting in front of the Tommy Sound building. I thought “finally!”, because so many people run the stop signs there, 3 1/2 years after that was made into an all-way stop, rather than the confusing and dangerous most-way stop that was there for *years*. 

      In my observation, it’s mostly southbound Delridge, jogging off to the right to continue south on 17th, that the stop sign gets run the most, with southbound to continue down the final block of Delridge the second.  Northbound from either 17th or Delridge, most people actually come to at least almost a stop and do so before their front bumper enters the crosswalk. 

      Anyway, this particular time, a car went through the sign northbound along Delridge, right in front of FF. They seemed to be going about the speed limit, but cruised right through as if the sign weren’t there.  I started to smile inside figuring they’d get nailed, but the officers were both facing the other direction, keeping an eye out for the southbound traffic. 


      • Alan May 14, 2017 (4:51 pm)

        Too bad! We can only hope they were busy writing up a previous incident.

      • miws May 17, 2017 (7:06 pm)

        And again this morning, on my way to Lee’s, I witnessed a northbound driver go right past the stop sign on Delridge to Delridge as if it wasn’t even there.  And, again, seemed to be going about the speed limit, not speeding or driving recklessly other than running the sign.  I was just steps from reaching the curb. Seconds earlier, a large-ish box truck went through southbound Delridge to southbound Delridge, after slowing down and apparently deciding no cross traffic approaching meant they didn’t need to come to a full stop.


  • unknown May 13, 2017 (12:05 pm)

    @Ric…I do believe that at an uncontrolled lighted intersection when making a left turn that you are not supposed to pull out beyond the crosswalk to make your turn I do believe you are to go when it is clear and still green…am I wrong? 

    • Rick May 14, 2017 (4:03 pm)

      I should have been more clear.  I’ve always believed at a controlled (green/yellow/red)  intersection you were supposed to pull into the intersection for a left turn and wait for oncoming traffic to clear or wait until the light turns yellow/red to clear the intersection.  ”  I’m not sure what the law says but next LE client I talk to I’ll be sure to ask.

      • Rick May 14, 2017 (4:46 pm)

        Gotta fix that Ric thing too.

      • Alan May 14, 2017 (4:50 pm)

        I saw this question posed to an officer in one of the other Seattle publications some time ago. He said that the letter of the law restricts you from entering the intersection until you are able to clear it. He did say that he felt most officers would realize that some intersections would never clear enough for you to make the turn without already being in the intersection, so it would be unlikely they would ticket you for that. So, if the intersection isn’t too crazy, I wait behind the line until things are clear. If it is crazy, I will roll forward and hope not to be caught by a less tolerant officer.

      • miws May 14, 2017 (5:01 pm)

        That’s the way I’ve always understood it too, Rick. Unless things have changed in the 20+ years since I last had a car and drove regularly. But then again,  back then, there didn’t seem to be such a large amount of red light runners.  Generally, a left-turner that had pulled into the intersection could make their turn quickly, when the light turned red, without getting stuck in the intersection and having very little, if any, impact on cross-traffic that just got their green light.


  • TM May 14, 2017 (1:02 pm)

    I bet the city changes the signs from “stop” to “yield” and calls this problem fixed…

  • Crazy May 14, 2017 (3:26 pm)

    Who puts stop signs on roundabouts?  Crazy, incompetent SDOT, that’s who.  That is absolutely nuts, but seems to be par for the course in Seattle. 


    i did not see even one car stop at the stop line.


    For pedestrian safety, they should put in crosswalks with the flashing lights in the street, activated by pedestrian push buttons.


    Either get rid of the illogical stop signs or replace them with flashing ones activated by pedestrians.  

    • Craig May 14, 2017 (8:58 pm)

      What’s crazy is people driving through stop signs into a City Greenways.  

      Try to figure it out before you hurt someone. 


  • NotOnHolden May 15, 2017 (6:36 am)

    Just stop at the freaking stop signs.  I cannot believe we are even having this discussion.  Stop at the stop signs.  Also,  keep the circles and lets plant pretty flowers in all of them.  

    • BartonSpartan May 15, 2017 (12:07 pm)

      Exactly- Regardless of what should have been done it’s a friggin’ STOP Sign so you stop before the white line! 

      Same situation at 16th Ave SW & SW Barton St. all day/night long. 

    • datamuse May 15, 2017 (12:13 pm)

      Right? I drive through this intersection about once a week. The first time I saw the stop signs, I thought it was kind of odd because yeah, one doesn’t usually see them together with traffic circles, but I mean. Come on. It’s a stop sign. If a stop sign is confusing to someone, they should probably stop driving…

  • drahcir May 15, 2017 (9:00 am)

    Ask yourself this question, are YOU a good driver in everyone’s neighborhood or just your own???

    I live on Fairmount Ave SW which runs from Hanford to Harbor Ave near Salty’s going under Admiral.  The speed is posted 20mph.  Fairmount Ave SW has NO SIDEWALKS & is used regularly by runners, bicyclists, dog walkers & of course people driving cars 35-40mph!!!  I’ve seen moms & dads, teens & elderly … doing 40mph thru a residential neighborhood that has no sidewalks (Fairmount Ave SW).

    So next time your bitching at someone who coasts thru a stop sign doing 10mph think about your own driving habits in someone else’s neighborhood.

    • Alan May 16, 2017 (12:04 am)

      I was right with you until you suggested that the people complaining about the failure to stop are the ones speeding through your neighborhood. I think it far more likely that those failing to stop are also speeding on Fairmont. 

  • Craig May 15, 2017 (11:08 pm)

    SDOT needs to slow people down on Fairmount Ave.?

    Good point.   Maybe  we should all drive like our kids or parents are just around the corner wherever we’re driving?  

  • Dekartes May 16, 2017 (8:59 am)

    I live on Thistle and really don’t understand the ‘green way’ on 17th.   I bike too.   No reason the main traffic for bikes can’t be on 16th.   Doesn’t condone running a stop sign; but the signs on the side street make no sense to me.   Thistle is the larger problem and that wasn’t even addressed.  That is basically used as an arterial.   People roll right through Delridge and keep going to 16th.   Semi trucks roll though.   One ran over the circle this Saturday as I stood there and watched.   Even that being said it is up to us parents to educate our kids that even if you have the right of way a car will still kill you.   Be careful and be aware of your surroundings.  

  • Charlie May 16, 2017 (1:12 pm)

    If you’ve ever driven in Manhattan, you know that you never EVER enter the intersection if you can’t clear it completely. Then again, they have painted the entire intersection in a diamond pattern with giant DON’T BLOCK THE BOX signs and a $500+ fine (that was 10 years ago, likely more now).

    Even better, on many intersections a group of NYPD officers just stand on the corner (they don’t even need to be in a car). If the light changes and even the tail of your car is still in the intersection, they just walk out, point at you, point at a space to pull over, and write you a ticket on the spot. Takes <5 minutes. It teaches you how to not block traffic PDQ.

  • 22blades May 16, 2017 (4:00 pm)

    My statement is not a defense for running signs or lights.

    Traffic calming measures (roundabouts) combined with Traffic control measures (stop signs) are a bad combination.

    a. Negotiating a roundabout takes an entirely different skillset than stopping for a stop sign. A design issue.

    b. Most drivers don’t even know how to legally negotiate an unmarked intersection much less a roundabout. A continuing driver’s education issue. 

    Possible solutions…

    A. If there’s a combined roundabout and stop sign, install a stop sign in the middle of the roundabout where the driver’s eyes go. Revamp the entire SDOT signage design strategy; It’s truly awful from a design standpoint. Both traffic and parking.

    B. Make a rudimentary test required to renew your driver’s license. If there are traffic infractions on your record, a more extensive test. Additional testing is a better deterrent than money.

  • WSNeighbor May 17, 2017 (6:20 pm)

    Does the City ever enforce traffic violations, anywhere?  I don’t think they issue tickets or even bother looking for violators unless there’s an actual collision.

Sorry, comment time is over.