From the ‘in case you wondered too’ file: New crossing islands at 30th/Trenton

If you travel on SW Trenton between Delridge Way and 35th SW, you have probably noticed those new crossing islands installed at 30th SW. It’s part of the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway, which is on 30th SW between SW Roxbury and SW Kenyon, before moving to 34th SW as it continues north. We’ve received a few questions about the islands – most recently, a reader wondering how emergency vehicles would get around them. We took that question to SDOT’s project spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth, who explained:

Your observer is correct, they will interfere with the turning movements of large vehicles. We designed them knowing that larger vehicles – specifically commercial vehicles – would have to drive over them.

To accommodate such large vehicles, the islands would have had to be designed in a manner that would not have provided as much refuge for pedestrians. So we decided on a compromise: design and locate them as originally intended for pedestrian safety, while making them mountable for the low volume of larger vehicles turning to/from 30th/Trenton. In other words, large trucks can drive over the islands. The curb is only about 4 inches off the ground versus the standard 6 inches.

The Phase 1 design (see the map here) also includes crossing islands at 30th/Thistle and 34th/Morgan.

We asked Ducksworth what’s next in the greenway project, which is in its first phase and eventually will stretch all the way to north West Seattle. He says that “almost all of the speed humps are in” for Phase 1. “We still have to put up the signs and paint the markings. That work will likely happen in the near future in 2019.”

9 Replies to "From the 'in case you wondered too' file: New crossing islands at 30th/Trenton"

  • 1994 November 20, 2018 (8:57 pm)

    This is now a novel and unusual intersection for 2 cars arriving at the same time and both want to make left turns from Trenton onto  30th. What is the protocol for driver’s wanting to  make left turns and who arrive at the same time? It is not clear who gets to go first since there is only space for 1 car at a time to make the left turn. Seems like more car flipping may be in the future from all these curbs in the middle of the road. I observed one car completely skip the intended route between the  islands. The car entered the opposite lane of travel to make their left turn. 

    • KM November 21, 2018 (9:02 am)

      I’ve been digging for an answer to your left turn question out of curiosity, and I can’t find anything! Good question. I think it’s one of those “communicate with the other driver” solutions, like when you drive down a one-lane street with parking on both sides?  To to your second point, would be yet another good intersection for a traffic camera, especially since it’s a greenway. Cops can’t be everywhere and even when they are there, they might not do anything about it. Maybe a no left turn here is warranted?

  • wetone November 21, 2018 (8:26 am)

    Very poor design and will cause many problems for those trying to turn onto Trenton from 30th or even Trenton onto 30th if vehicles are parked near corners.  Trucks can not get needed arc with out driving onto bulbs.  UPS, garbage, school buses and large type trucks will be hitting curbs or having to back up and make 2 passes. Seen many people driving cars having issues at this intersection since islands were built. Another very poorly designed project by SDOT. Project managers need to lay projects out on street with cones and try driving through first, instead of just looking from sidewalk thinking it’s fine and on computer it works great ;)     

    • Jon Wright November 21, 2018 (1:03 pm)

      All of your objections have to do with vehicle traffic so it sounds like you’re saying that improving pedestrian and bicycle safety is a bad thing if it inconveniences vehicles.The whole point of greenways is to give bikes and pedestrians an option to the major streets.People cry “war on cars!” when busy streets are modified to be friendlier to non-car users and now it seems that extends to the side streets that are being used for the greenways.

  • Jenkins November 21, 2018 (9:15 am)

    “So we decided on a compromise: design and locate them as originally intended for pedestrian safety, while making them mountable for the low volume of larger vehicles turning to/from 30th/Trenton. “Standing on a tiny island in the middle of a busy street while a commercial truck intending to drive right over it comes at you doesn’t actually sound all that safe, but maybe that’s just me.

    • KM November 21, 2018 (10:15 am)

      Technically, if you are a pedestrian in the crosswalk you should be yielded the right of way. In practice, we know better! However I’m not sure 2 inches in height would save a pedestrian from a crappy truck driver :-(

  • 1994 November 21, 2018 (8:23 pm)

    Jon Wright – the comments reflect the practical things drivers must make decisions about and navigate around. The reality seems to be there are a lot more people on the street whether they be biking, walking, or driving.  Making the streets appear safer for one group may leave another group a bit confused and annoyed at how to maneuver these intersections.  SDOT should MOVE Seattle for all.PS – I did my share of biking to work before it became the thing to do.

  • Tracey November 23, 2018 (6:00 am)

    I’ve tried making that left from 30th to Trenton and it is very difficult even in a Honda Fit.  Perhaps I’m a bad driver but I don’t think that is the problem.  Pedestrians are not safer when drivers are confused or have difficulty navigating.  When there is too much to pay attention to or distract you, you are bound to lose sight of something.  

  • Scott Coomes November 29, 2018 (4:31 pm)

    Get a fire truck or an aid car to try it out. That should solve our questions.

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