ADMIRAL WAY: SDOT moving ahead with converting 59th/Admiral to all-way stop

(SDOT graphic for 59th/Alki all-way-stop conversion)

One month ago, SDOT announced its plans for pedestrian-related changes to intersections along the west stretch of Admiral Way. Today, another announcement: What was described in that late June announcement as a “tentative” plan to convert 59th/Admiral to an all-way stop is now an official plan:

The crossing improvement will be installed in 2 phases. Before the start of the 2017/2018 school year, we will install new signage and signal modifications to convert the intersection to an all-way stop. These changes will encourage slower vehicle speeds through the intersection.

We’ll evaluate the all-way stop over a few months, and if it’s performing well, we’ll install phase 2 improvements, which include decorative painted curb extensions, a relocation of the westbound bus stop, and a red flashing all-way stop beacon.

Most of the other intersections where SDOT plans changes will also have “decorative painted curb extensions”; SDOT asked in June for opinions on three potential designs, and says this one won:

The 59th/Admiral news and curb-extension pattern are in this mailer that SDOT says it has sent to nearby residents. Details of the other intersection changes that’ll be made later this year were in our June report and are on the project webpage. This is all a followup to the rechannelization of Admiral west of California SW last year.

50 Replies to "ADMIRAL WAY: SDOT moving ahead with converting 59th/Admiral to all-way stop"

  • Mark August 2, 2017 (9:47 pm)

    UNWARRANTED:  all way stop is not warranted at this location, unbalanced traffic and local access street intersecting with an Arterial.  Does anyone know which SDoT employee made this erroneous decision?

    • Steve August 2, 2017 (10:24 pm)

      Solving a problem that doesn’t exist…. creating a slower commute for all. The stoplight already works as a safe method for pedestrian crossing.  

      SDOT needs to redefine arterial…”endangered species in Seattle”.

      Next….drop Admiral Way to 25 mph.

      What a joke.

      • Duwamesque August 3, 2017 (5:57 am)

        Lol at the reactionary old timers who put driving cars above public safety. Pedestrian lives are more important than you cruising fast down Admiral guys. Everyone I know who walks around Alki supports this.

        • SuperAwesome August 3, 2017 (10:28 am)

          Not everyone.  I walk around Alki everyday and do not support this.  It’s unnecessary.  If everyone follows the rules of their sign (walk, red lights, etc) the intersection works as intended currently.  All this will do is paralyze Admiral traffic on sunny weekends.  Swing and a miss, SDOT.

          • Kathy August 3, 2017 (10:47 am)

            Ah, but if you LIVED on Admiral Way you would see the benefit of this change. Admiral Way is currently a drag strip of screeching cars when traffic leaves Alki (every sunny day). Once people get used to the idea they will have to stop a few blocks from their take off point at 63rd and Admiral, maybe we will finally be able to tame down the aggressive driving behavior and speeding that causes accidents, crashing into parked cars, etc. Just check out the accident history on this stretch of Admiral Way, how many parked cars have been hit,  and you will understand why we need this.  If they have to start from “zero” at 59th, that will keep them from building up incredible speeds on this curvy arterial.

            An added bonus is that a 4-way stop will be much less annoying than the quite long wait for the pedestrian signal.  

          • JanS August 3, 2017 (1:16 pm)

            Dear Superawesome…in a perfect world  “if everyone”. News flash…it ain’t a perfect world, and sometimes things have to change. The problem is people…people who think that they perhaps are above the rules, and simply d what they want. It’s a terrible intersection. Visibility  is not the best, especially for those that want to go south from across Admiral coming from Alki. Kudos if you are perfect…I think perfection is pretty illusive. Oh, and he said “Everyone I KNOW”, he didn’t say “everyone”. Have a great rest of the week :)   This is a first world problem…just keep walking…

        • Duanob August 3, 2017 (11:53 am)

          I love the transplants that move to Seattle and then want to change everything to their liking! Actually, no I don’t. 

          As said before there is already a lighted cross walk, this is just another SDOT agenda shoved down our throats.

          • SuperAwesome August 3, 2017 (1:55 pm)

            I think my point is, if people think they are above the rules of following the existing stop light/cross walk what makes you think they will follow the new stop signs?     How about enforcement of what already there?

            WSB – are there statistics that I missed for how big of an issue this has been historically?  Are there facts on how many accidents and people who’ve been injured?  

          • WSB August 3, 2017 (2:02 pm)

            We’ve been covering this since the project was first proposed (the entire west Admiral project) in 2015. There’s a boatload of info on the project website, where this is the summary paragraph:

            “When we started this project in 2015, data showed there’d been 71 vehicle crashes, two bike crashes and one pedestrian crash between 2011 and 2014. From January 2015 through May 2016 an additional 34 crashes have occurred. This statistic shows that crashes along Admiral Way SW have increased by nearly 28% in the past 1 ½ years.”

            Scroll to page 7 of this
            from a 2015 meeting and it shows the collision #’s along the way, including 59th.

  • flimflam August 2, 2017 (10:22 pm)

    ooh but don’t fret, there will be  “decorative painted curb extensions”. oy vey.

  • Don Brubeck August 2, 2017 (10:30 pm)

    This is my block. Lots of kids on their way to Alki Elementary have to cross this intersection. It is not safe as it is. Cars and motorcycles speed down the hill at up to 50 mph. Warranted, warranted, warranted. Requested by the people that actually walk here.

  • Brenden August 3, 2017 (1:01 am)

    This is also my block and I support this. While I don’t have kids and don’t consider that my issue, I pullout of an ally way just east everyday for work. The amount of times I have almost been hit while, as safely as humanly possible, trying to pull out is scary. People barrel down this hill around this curve in the road. I drive a car that is lower to the ground which makes it difficult to see around all the giant SUVs and trucks that park right up on the curb. Not to mention the bike lane too. I’m always afraid I’m going to pull out in front of a biker innocently. I have to check, check, check, and check again still with uncertainty before I can pull out.

    My partner and I just moved here a few months ago and I told her just a few days ago as we were pulling out that I was going to get hit here before the years end.

    Thanks SDOT! NO reason for people to be flying down this way anyway.

  • Former Mayor of Alki August 3, 2017 (5:39 am)

    Something needed to be done at this intersection. So many times I witnessed cars illegally turning from 59th onto Admiral when Admiral had the red light for pedestrians, narrowly missing those crossing. Not the best solution, but it is a safer alternative. 

  • AlkiGirl August 3, 2017 (6:27 am)

    What I’d also like to see is more cops here handing tickets out, especially during the morning commutes. They’re on the Admiral Hill from the viewpoint to the Bridge — where there are almost no houses and no kids crossing the street. But here, where we’re trying to cross kids to school and there’s not even a blinker indicating it’s a school zone, the only cops I see are also passing me at 50 mph. Tho I don’t think an all-way stop is the best solution, I hope it’ll at least slow down cars.

  • Pedro August 3, 2017 (6:52 am)

    I run here every day, and have lived here since 1993, and think it is entirely unwarranted and a waste of taxpayer money.

    This is a major arterial folks. So when people complain about it being tough to pull out of their driveways or alleys, the simple response is, it goes with the territory (and I presume the road was there when you moved, so you knew what you were getting in to).  


  • aRF August 3, 2017 (7:28 am)

    I support efforts to make this intersection safer. With more multi-units sprouting in Alki and more traffic, I could see this becoming signal-controlled in a few years. 

  • Jort Sandwich August 3, 2017 (8:53 am)

    I am glad to see safety improvements that benefit vulnerable road users. 

    This will “hurt” the commute times of drivers by, maybe at worst, 10 seconds.

    But it will provide safer crossings for people walking and biking. This is something we should embrace.

    The purpose of streets is not to get as many cars through as fast as possible. 

  • MikeK August 3, 2017 (9:09 am)

    I am fine with the safety improvments, but with so many  pressing problems in Seattle that need addressing, do we really need to spend taxpayer’s money on curb paintings?

    • WSB August 3, 2017 (9:21 am)

      They’re cheaper than actually putting in the concrete curb extensions that would be built otherwise.

  • DR August 3, 2017 (9:37 am)

    SDOT is so out of touch with reality it is staggering! They have tax money to burn, and don’t care about the impact this will make on traffic.  

    Admiral Way has already become more congested with the traffic signal by Alki Mail and eliminating traffic and suicide lanes.

    Their striping project was sub par work and has achieved nothing but creating more congestion. The fog line in the westbound direction of travel by 59th Ave. SW looks as if it was painted by someone who was drunk. 

    The contractor even painted a portion of the bike lane/vehicle “buffer” zone wrong!

    I tried to contact Dawn Schellenberg with SDOT several times to inform her about this sub par work and it has fallen on deaf ears. She hasn’t responded to my email or returned my calls.  What a bunch of garbage!

  • wscommuter August 3, 2017 (10:21 am)

    I live near this intersection as well and the hysteria above about “safety” is wildly overstated.  This intersection is already well managed.  The resources SDOT will spend would be better applied to Admiral Way itself and the spate of potholes/sinkholes that have been repeatedly opening/fixed/reopening/re-fixed ad nauseum between 59th and 55th or so.  The entire roadway in that zone is failing … god forbid we’d get that fixed.      

    • Ginny August 3, 2017 (10:50 am)

      Just what I’m thinking every time I hit a new pothole or sink hole as I drive up and down Admiral from Alki.  Can we get back to basics…please fix this stretch of Admiral! It should have been a priority before the bike lanes…. and I still see there are very few bikers as I drive this route every day, all hours of the day. 

      • SuperAwesome August 3, 2017 (12:17 pm)

        This!  So much this.   Between the potholes, the new barely used bike lanes and now this four way stop it will be impossible to get out of the Alki area on heavy traffic days.  

  • Mike August 3, 2017 (10:45 am)

    Good news.  Good idea.

  • AJL August 3, 2017 (11:34 am)

    Arterial does not = freeway

  • Mark August 3, 2017 (1:07 pm)


    Arterial does not equal unclassified residential street either


    • Jort August 3, 2017 (3:45 pm)

      Whether it’s an arterial or an access street — the city’s goal of reducing traffic-related injuries and deaths is still just as imperative. 

      Just because a street is an arterial doesn’t mean we should have a higher tolerance or expectation for injuries or deaths. We don’t need to sacrifice more lives at the altar of commuting expediency. We’ve tried that for the better part of 75 years here in America and the results have not been kind.

      I understand that old-timey traffic engineers think the sole purpose of a street is to get cars through as quickly as possible, and damn the consequences. 

      That mentality is changing. Thank goodness.

      Arterial ALSO does not equal “we care less about safety on this road, because we need to be able to drive fast.”

    • Jort August 3, 2017 (8:02 pm)

      Mark, should arterials then be granted a higher tolerance for death and injury in the service of faster commute times? 

      Why should arterials receive less scrutiny for safety than side streets?

      • Canton August 4, 2017 (6:47 am)

        Definition of arterial. ” an arterial road or arterial thoroughfare is a high capacity urban road. The primary function of an arterial road is to deliver traffic from collector roads to freeways or expressways, and between urban centres at the highest level of service possible “. Of course at posted speed limits.

        • Kathy August 4, 2017 (3:53 pm)

          Your definition does not fit this section of Admiral Way. This is a residential arterial of relatively low motorized traffic volume with adjacent properties being 100% residential between 47th and 63rd. It does connect Admiral Junction and Alki business districts, but then 59th is also a connector arterial, south of Admiral Way, connecting Alki with the Alaska Junction. So it makes great sense to give people using the 59th arterial equal access to the traffic flow by making this a 4-way stop.

          • Canton August 5, 2017 (2:55 am)

            Not “my” definition, just the darned dictionary’s definition.

  • seaopgal August 3, 2017 (2:47 pm)

    Come live in the Junction for a few minutes and then you’ll see how entitled it is to cry about how this minor change at one intersection will destroy your commute. Alki Point and the Admiral corridor have absorbed only a tiny fraction of the new residents to West Seattle. Be grateful!

  • Mark Schletty August 3, 2017 (3:06 pm)

    Just checked the city website mentioned by wsb about the accidents on Admiral. Not a single pedestrian, bicycle, or auto accident at 59th and Admiral.  A 4-way stop is simply not warranted. It won’t solve anything, because there is nothing to solve. But it will greatly increase congestion as the cars start backing up for the stops on Admiral. This, unfortunately, will only increase speeding as some irritated people will try to make up for lost time in the traffic queue.

    • Jort August 3, 2017 (3:46 pm)

      If having to stop at a stop sign makes people so angry that they feel the need to break the law and speed, then perhaps they should hang up the keys.

    • dsa August 3, 2017 (11:24 pm)

      Agreed, no accidents, no justification from a cost benefit point of view.

  • Kathy August 3, 2017 (6:18 pm)

    For all those who took the time to oppose this change in the comments above, where you when we had multiple meetings on Admiral Way safety improvements? It seems to me most people attending asked for safety improvements at this intersection and supported this specific change.

    • Brenden August 4, 2017 (12:53 pm)

      Precisely. Thank you, Kathy.

  • Mark August 3, 2017 (6:19 pm)

    The issue Jody is that the proposed stop signs on Admiral Way are not warranted based on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

    There is a reason to have uniform standards it called Traffic Safety.  Failure to adhere to these standards erodes driver respect and REDUCES SAFETY for all users.

    • Jort August 3, 2017 (8:04 pm)

      Hi Mark,

      I would love to see the specific reference in the MUTCD that says stop signs at this intersection are “unwarranted.”

      Can you help me explain how the MUTCD would specifically advise against SDOT making an intersection safety improvement in this example? 

      I would love to learn more.

  • Mark August 3, 2017 (10:04 pm)

    MUTCD Chapter 2b

    Section 2B.07 Multi-Way Stop Applications.

    First paragraph last sentence “multi way stop control is used where the volume of traffic on the intersecting roads is approximately equal”.

    It is clear this condition does not exist!  Thus unwarranted!

    And further the under Section C minimum volumes are not met (based on observation, I have requested the data from the City that has not been provided).

  • Former Mayor of Alki August 4, 2017 (8:21 am)


    Hi Mark – I’m not sure what is driving your passion for
    this, but I think it is something that needed to be done. Rush hour on Admiral
    can get out of hand, with drivers going well beyond the 30 MPH limit. Turning
    onto Admiral from 57th is always a crapshoot as drivers are flying
    around the corner. Any efforts made to help regulate this should be welcomed,
    even if the recent data does not show a history of accidents, we should appreciate
    a proactive approach.

    If the 4-way stop is not a solution you are amenable to,
    would you consider speed bumps like those on 48th Ave and Beach
    Drive? For whatever reason, drivers have no regard for speed limits posted at 30
    MPH, which can be seen at any time of day on 35th Ave, Harbor Ave,
    all Arbor Heights thoroughfares (30 MPH signs were finally erected last week,
    though I would challenge the limit should be 25), Airport Way, 15th
    in Interbay to name a few.

    I may need WSB to weigh in here—In addition, the 4-way stop
    helps add clarity to prevent illegal turns onto Admiral. When the light is red,
    giving the pedestrians the ability to cross, drivers on 59th don’t
    actually have a legal turn onto Admiral and through the crosswalk. I have seen
    several times drivers taking advantage of the red light and narrowly missing
    the crossers.

    I don’t think that “waste of money” and complaining on about
    funding of an unnecessary project is a valid excuse. In the end, most people
    who do this commute daily would say the frustration lies in the additional
    commute time a 4 way stop could add. If you don’t want a light, accept the
    change. If not, there is always Alki Ave, another possibility where stops are
    at a minimum and speeding is a regular thing.

    • WSB August 4, 2017 (8:41 am)

      It’s been said at multiple meetings that speed humps are not allowed on arterials, and Admiral is certainly that.

      Only other points I can add:

      -While the document to which Mark refers may lay out that standard for all-way stops, there certainly are exceptions. We are very familiar with one close to our HQ on the Gatewood/Fauntleroy line, California/Thistle, which has been an all-way stop (with flashing red beacon overhead as well as stop signs) since before we moved here 24 years ago, but only has notable traffic in two directions, westbound Thistle to northbound California, and southbound California to eastbound Thistle. (No excuse for the endless people running the westbound Thistle stop, though! Y’all have almost broadsided us numerous times as we head northbound into the intersection while you come downhill without even looking our way. JUST SPARE A FEW SECONDS AND STOP.)

      -We also are frequent users of the 59th/Alki intersection, as drivers, usually heading through it either northbound or southbound across Admiral to/from 59th. (When we have to get to Alki for a story, breaking or planned, a route that includes 59th is shorter than the arterials.) Sightlines are difficult at best, especially the traffic on Admiral, coming from either direction, even on a not-too-busy day. One recent day, after waiting a long time on 59th, pointed southbound toward Admiral, we had to just give up and make the right turn onto westbound Admiral.

      • sb2780 August 4, 2017 (10:32 am)

        This is why an actual light is warranted at this intersection, not a 4 way stop.  Why is it justified to put in a 4 way stop, when Admiral at 47th received a light?  It’s the same arterial, just further down. The other intersections referenced are basically at the end of the arterial, or where two arterials intersect, such as Thistle and California. 

        However, instead of bickering about this change on a blog, is there anything residents that oppose this change can do AT THIS POINT? From my experience, it’s virtually impossible to retroactively make a change once SDOT has made up their mind. It seems like they will manipulate the data however they see fit to justify the ends (i.e. 35th rechannelization).

  • Mark August 4, 2017 (10:18 am)


    My issue is SDoT’s continues to ignore national standards, there is a reason for the MUTCD that is to provide standard traffic control that are uniform nationwide.  This is a SAFETY issue.  SDoT continued disregard for standards will reduce Traffic Safety in the long run.

    The unwarranted signal at Admiral at Waite (Alki mail) creates significant WB queues during the pm peak, past California at times.  This unwarranted signal has added congestion, time delay and pollution.  And the potential for people to divert to residential streets.

    SDoT needs to get back to basics, simply repaving Admiral would be nice!  As a bike rider poorly maintained streets creates danger for bike riders, pot holes, rutted streets are hazards!

    • Jort Sandwich August 4, 2017 (12:04 pm)

      The Federal Highway Administration, which publishes the MUTCD, has also published guidance on traffic-calming techniques that would allow for the installation of multi-way stops. That guidance isn’t included in the MUTCD, but it is available and cities have utilized it for traffic-calming and safety purposes. 

      In fact, The FHWA specifically recommends the use of traffic calming techniques to increase safety for streets and intersections that are near schools, like Alki Elementary. 

      The MUTCD, again published by the Federal HIGHWAY Administration, is certainly one tool that local DOTs can use as guidance for its street and road planning decisions. But dogmatic, inflexible and strict adherence to it is not a requirement for every situation, in every city.

      In addition, the insistence that the purpose of the SDOT should be directed toward repaving Admiral due to supposed “safety” concerns, it should be noted that very, very few people in Seattle have been killed or injured due to rough pavement and/or “potholes and ruts,” while many people have been injured or killed because of conflicts at intersections. That dichotomy might be why SDOT focuses on making actual safety improvements that benefit the health and well-being of its citizens, rather than the smoothness of the commuter’s driving experience.

  • Mark August 4, 2017 (12:20 pm)

    Jort please provide me the referencing for the comment you provided.  

    59th at Admiral simply is not an appropriate location for AWS control.

    • KM August 4, 2017 (12:57 pm)

      This might be helpful:

    • Jort August 4, 2017 (2:22 pm)

      You forgot to add, “In my opinion …” to the beginning of your second sentence.

      SDOT has a different opinion, and they’re basing it on a goal of improving street safety. Your opinion is based on prioritizing a goal of traffic throughput. That’s OK! Some jurisdictions think traffic flow should be their primary focus! Seattle doesn’t — thank goodness!

  • Mark August 4, 2017 (4:20 pm)

    Jort I asked for the reference for your comment earlier.  

  • Mark August 5, 2017 (9:37 am)

    Jort I provided you the reference to my resource and am still waiting for the you cited.  

Sorry, comment time is over.