New school-zone beacons in West Seattle – near school that’s about to move

If you drive SW Barton west of Westwood Village [map], you might have noticed those hand-lettered signs. Residents on the block tell WSB they were startled to find out that a school-zone flashing beacon was about to be installed there – considering that the nearest school, Roxhill Elementary, is about to move, as we’ve been reporting for the past 2+ years. We also noticed a flashing beacon being installed Sunday in the same spot on SW Trenton, near 30th SW:

30th SW in that area is slated to be part of the new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway, with work starting soon, so first we checked with that SDOT project’s spokesperson; he said the beacons aren’t part of their project, and pointed us to SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program. Here’s how that program’s manager Ashley Rhead explained it, replying to us today:

The SDOT Safe Routes to School program evaluates speeds in school zones on arterial streets on an annual basis and makes recommendations for improvements based on this data. SW Trenton St has an existing 20 mph school speed zone. Last year, Seattle Public Schools assigned SW Barton St and 30th Ave SW as an adult crossing guard location. For that reason, we evaluated speeds on this corridor as well.

On both streets, we found an 85th percentile speed of 34 mph, considerably higher than the 30 mph speed limit. 30th Ave SW is a walking route to school for Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School. SDOT is also installing a neighborhood greenway along this corridor later this year. We expect this improvement to further increase the number of people walking and biking along this route.

With that said, we are revisiting the decision to install 20 mph flashing beacons on SW Barton St and collecting additional information. The plan to install the beacons is on hold for the moment. We have reached out to the school district to confirm whether SW Barton St and 30th Ave SW will continue to be an assigned crossing guard location, how many Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School students live southwest of this intersection within the school walk zones, and what education program will be housed in the Roxhill building next year.

We actually reported on the latter yesterday, with more information added to our story this morning. The programs include special education and one location of the alternative high school Interagency Academy; other details are expected at the community meeting planned for 6 pm Thursday at Roxhill (9430 30th SW). On Thistle, by the way, which borders the Sealth/Denny campus, the existing school-zone beacons don’t start until east of 28th SW.

19 Replies to "New school-zone beacons in West Seattle - near school that's about to move"

  • WS Citizen June 5, 2018 (6:52 pm)

    And the city council wonders why we balk at a head tax designed to raise funds for programs they have yet to decide on, while the problem itself spirals out of control.

  • Fire Ball June 5, 2018 (7:10 pm)

    School zones…, are supposed be with in 300′ of the school…, SDOT seems to make up school zones that are illegal. But till someone does something about it they will keep wasting tax dollars.

    • Brock June 7, 2018 (1:32 am)

      School zones are marked within 300′ of a marked crosswalk on a walking/biking route to a school.  The law is not 300′ from the school.

  • West Seattle Hipster June 5, 2018 (7:28 pm)

    SDOT dysfunction at it’s worst.  It is not about safety, it’s about $$$$.

  • Erithan June 5, 2018 (7:39 pm)

    I just…. *facepalm*

  • KM June 5, 2018 (8:07 pm)

    There seems to be a lack of communications between agencies. That aside, I welcome these changes as a driver, pedestrian and cyclist.

  • Delridger June 5, 2018 (9:34 pm)

    After the school is gone, we’ll still have a safer street. That seems like nothing but a positive.

  • Den June 5, 2018 (9:37 pm)

    Wow Ashley, I guess you doing your job but really?? City council your decision make me so sad.  Management is hard.  SDOT really, can’t say what I really want to say.. wait don’t we have a traffic person that makes decision live close to this area?

  • Jim P. June 5, 2018 (10:06 pm)

    If they are going to put one anywhere, put the silly thing at 26th (or 25th) & Trenton where there’s a major school crossing and where people think the bottom of the hill from both directions just the finest place to see how fast they can do and where the local motorcycle yobos apparently hold frequent races while people turning into Westwood Village regard pedestrians as either targets or nuisances.

  • Elwood June 5, 2018 (10:31 pm)

    This is just typical of SDOT’s continuing misuse of city funds. I drove up to where they had installed the school beacons on Trenton Street.  NOTE (A school zone refers to an area on a street near a school or near a crosswalk leading to a school that has a likely presence of younger pedestrians. School zones generally have a reduced speed limit during certain hours)  The location where these beacons are on Trenton Street is NOT EVEN NEAR A SCHOOL ZONE!!!! I drove there shortly after school had let out at Chief Sealth and Denny Middle School. I did not see one student in the area. Not one. I agree with Fire Ball above.  It is blatant misuse of city funds and a way for SDOT to shove more money in there greedy pockets.

  • Mike June 6, 2018 (6:41 am)

    Bwahahahahaha.  Don’t fix the roads, don’t repaint the lines, just burn money so you can get your budget for next year.  I think we need a new cross walk there too… why not.  How about we add another round about for fun.  Add some speed bumps for kicks and giggles.  It’s just tax payer money, we’ll just give them more when we vote NO and they raise our taxes anyways.  What a joke.  Democracy is dead in Seattle, stupidity reigns.

    • KM June 6, 2018 (7:36 am)

      There will likely be new crosswalks installed at 30th and Trenton since this is a future Neighborhood Greenway. I expect 30th and Barton to have improvements as well. Construction is starting this summer.

  • Walkmore June 6, 2018 (7:09 am)

    Given that is is likely that SPS will continue to use the Roxhill building, that this is a walkable route for Denny/Sealth students And that the beacons will support the use of the new greenway  it seems pretty reasonable  that SDOT follow through with installation.I’m pretty sure that school beacons are associated with a state grant funding.  Placing the beacons here achieves traffic calming for the greenway at a decreased cost to the city.   Seems like a win win.   

    • Elwood June 6, 2018 (9:03 am)

      I live a couple of blocks away from where they want to install this Beacon. This location is NOT in any school zone. Everyone I’ve talked to in the neighborhood cannot figure out why they would put it in this location. School zone beacons are for school zones. Period.

      • Walkmore June 6, 2018 (5:41 pm)

        Good luck with your battle agains traffic calming.   I hope the future greenway is well used by area students and the school beacons make the area’s three schools safer to get to.   Thanks SRTS 

        • Sling June 7, 2018 (6:28 am)

          Then why not a permanent reduction in speed on Barton St.?  Why not add medians to Barton Street to protect pedestrians from oncoming traffic? Other arterials have them. What about the concentration of people,  including  kids, that are around Westwood Village? Don’t we care about protecting them? Traffic solutions should focus on where people go instead of tossing money at arbitrary constructs that you hope they might use.  Pet projects  that make arbitrary decisions around zoning laws do not result in comprehensive solutions.

  • Jeanne Read June 6, 2018 (11:12 am)

    Here again is another ploy to get money out of our pockets. This beacon has nothing to do with “keeping our children safe” but everything to do with money.  The new beacon does not have a camera yet but you can bet your bottom dollar it will in the not too  far future.  As for crossing guards at the said corner, there hasn’t been anyone there for two years.   And as to crossing middle school and high school kids I have counted only the three that live down my street.  The rest go through Westwood Village not down 30th.  Another matter referenced to was excess speed on SW Barton. There are three traffic lights and a bus terminal within six blocks of each other that keeps traffic well within the speed limit especially the busses lined along Barton.   Yuppppp just another misuse of  our money. 

    • WSB June 6, 2018 (11:22 am)

      No, new beacons here will NOT have a speed camera any time soon if ever. There are others in line and the city hasn’t added new ones in three years. It’s talked about possibly adding a handful – around the city – but that talk has gone nowhere since 2015.

  • sling June 6, 2018 (1:09 pm)


    Clearly this is a case of agency overreach.  These intersections are not in school zones.

    Also, take a look at the Safe Route to Schools website,
    walking zones.  It shows walking area
    maps for schools in the area.  Click on
    Denny Middle Schools and Chief Sealth. 
    You will see 30th and Barton St. is not in the walking zone
    of either school.  Another case of
    overreach.  SDOT is contradicting their own website.

    Further, the blog confirmed the school beacons are NOT part
    of the West Seattle Greenway project.  Be
    clear about that and don’t let SDOT confuse the issue.

    Just because you may want to enhance public safety, it doesn’t
    excuse SDOT from its accountability to us as taxpayers.  Those school beacons are expensive and are
    designed for a very specific purpose.  We
    can’t send them a signal that they abuse their authority and misuse tax
    dollars, just because they think they’ve convinced us it’s a good idea.  Next time they do it, you might not like the

    If you have a chance, take a look at the school beacons at
    30th and Trenton.  The
    placement is ridiculous, because it’s going to encourage drivers to speed up as
    they approach a playground and a high concentration of children and adults at
    Westwood Village.  This lack of integrity
    and poor planning is NOT going to produce the results our community deserves.

    Again, these are NOT school zones.  Don’t let them convince you otherwise. Hold
    SDOT accountable.

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