FOLLOWUP: SW Avalon Way rechannelization/repaving design complete, with changes; construction starting this spring

SDOT says the SW Avalon Way/35th/Alaska repaving and rechannelization project will begin as soon as April, now that it’s reached final design. They’ve added some major new elements to the plan. They’re part of the toplines from SDOT’s Dan Anderson:

The latest design changes based on community feedback and city policy include:

*Closing 30th Ave SW at SW Avalon Way to reduce cut-through driving [see postcard, with map, here]

*Adding a new RapidRide transit island with a separated bike lane at SW Yancy St

*Shifting the northbound bus stop about 150 feet [north] for routes 50, 55, and 21 to remove bus/bike conflict at Luna Park

*Reducing speed limits on SW Avalon Way and 35th Ave SW by 5 mph

*Installing skid-resistant surface treatment on SW Charlestown St [outside project zone] and SW Genesee St

*Adjusting the curb line and adding a new planting strip at 3246 SW Avalon Way

*Closing the slip lane from SW Avalon Way to Fauntleroy Way SW

*Installing a new water main

*Continuing conversations with business stakeholders about the hours of operation for the inbound bus lane

That affects parking; here’s the map showing the parking inventory, reported here in November. Meantime, more details on many of the newly announced changes are on the project website. As shown on the map atop this story, the full project zone is all of Avalon from the bridge to Fauntleroy, plus 35th between Avalon and Alaska, and one block of Alaska west of 35th.

48 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: SW Avalon Way rechannelization/repaving design complete, with changes; construction starting this spring"

  • neighbor January 30, 2019 (1:28 pm)

    There are several improvements here, but I don’t see anything in the plan that will prevent southbound cars on Avalon from veering into the northbound travel lane when the Rapid Ride bus is stopped at Bradford. That’s a significant safety issue that seems to only get worse as time goes on. Even a few plastic posts on the double-yellow center line would help a lot.

    • West Seattle January 30, 2019 (7:06 pm)

      Shocking that people are trying to pass, seems like the city should stop creating bus stops that block the flow of traffic. A great example is on SW Barton, we paid to add bus parking on the side to not interfered with the flow of traffic. Unfortunately the stop was not moved so buses pull out and completely block traffic. Most of the time they just sit with doors open and no one entering or exiting. We need to stop creating situations that put different modes of transit at odds with each other. 

      • Randy February 2, 2019 (10:19 am)

        Buses don’t block “traffic” Buses are traffic.  Roads aren’t just for cars.

  • Alex January 30, 2019 (1:43 pm)

    “Hey honey, do you want to go to the Luna park cafe? No, it’s impossible to park down there, and I don’t feel like riding my bike on that super steep hill.”-everyone, pretty soon. 

    • TSurly January 30, 2019 (2:14 pm)

      Last time this project was discussed someone recommended parking at the Southwest Spokane Street Park and Ride. In preparation for this very comment, I paced the distance from that P&R to Luna Park Cafe last time I ran through that area. The linear walking distance (including all street crossings) is about 700 feet, or 280 steps for a short person. 

    • west sea neighbor January 30, 2019 (2:37 pm)

      “But honey, there are bus stops right there, and ride hailing apps are also super convenient!” -Reasonable people, very soon

      • wscommuter January 30, 2019 (3:53 pm)

        Not sure many folks take the bus to a restaurant (who don’t already take the bus as primary form of transportation).  It will be interesting to test your pithy hypothesis as time goes by.   I’m not sure the good folks at Luna Park share your definition of “reasonable people”, but I suppose time will tell.   

    • Peter January 30, 2019 (3:05 pm)

      Luna Park Cafe has their own parking lot. 

      • WSB January 30, 2019 (4:09 pm)

        If you mean the parking area to the south, that’s not their “own” parking lot. It’s actually public right-of-way, as noted previously.

    • KBear January 30, 2019 (3:05 pm)

      Streets are for transportation. Parking is a secondary use. Avalon Way is one of the main routes in and out of West Seattle, and anyone operating a business there needs to make peace with that. While Luna Park Cafe lacks in parking, they have a prime location that is highly visible to thousands of people passing by every day. If they keep making good food, they’ll do fine. Businesses should not count on the city to gift them with ample customer parking, especially at the expense of all the other people who need to use the street for its primary purpose. 

      • Railroaded January 30, 2019 (4:15 pm)

        Absolutely correct, KBEAR!

      • NW January 30, 2019 (6:09 pm)

        Bravo K B ! Why can’t people walk a few blocks to this location or park under the West Seattle bridge and walk over? 

        • 38thAve January 31, 2019 (12:28 am)

           The P&R and the walk to Luna Park is dismal. That said, with some imagination and lobbying Luna Park might have cajoled the city into improving the lot and pedestrian access. Then they would have parking beyond their wildest  dreams.

  • skeeter January 30, 2019 (2:44 pm)

    Great news!  This project is so important for the health and safety of our community.  I look forward to the day I can bicycle to Alki with my 7YO daughter along this route. 

  • Benjamin January 30, 2019 (3:57 pm)

    I already bike with my daughter on this route.  And bike commute daily to the U District.  But I am no fan of so-called “protected bike lanes.”  They don’t seem to offer any real protection and cause more issues at intersections.  This is all my opinion, obviously.  But when I legally chose to not use these dangerous “protected bike lanes” I get yelled at by people that are mad that “We paid for all those bike lanes so why don’t you use it!”

    • Nolan January 30, 2019 (4:17 pm)

      To paraphrase, it’s a bad sign if the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal.If you have evidence — not anecdotes, *evidence* — that PBLs are dangerous, bring those concerns to SDOT. Otherwise, it’s up to you to get over it and use them, for both your benefit and the benefit of the vehicles in the road.

      • Benjamin January 31, 2019 (3:00 pm)

        But that’s the issue. There is no requirement to use the bike lane.  It’s optional. And most of the driving public is ignorant of this fact. “

        Section 11.44.040 RIDING ON ROADWAYS.

        Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed slower
        than the normal and reasonable flow of motor vehicle traffic thereon
        shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is

        • Nolan February 1, 2019 (2:42 pm)

          You must have missed my first sentence. There are plenty of things that are legal while still being a bad idea or inconsiderate or both. Refusing to use bike lanes next to a roadway is absolutely that.

  • Don Brubeck January 30, 2019 (4:27 pm)

    Glad to see it starting after all the input and design compromises. The safety improvements at intersections for people walking and biking and using the RapidRide C will be awesome.  I bike on Avalon now to Luna Park , The Shack, Alki Motors (to retrieve my car), and rode up the hill to Pep Boys this morning to drop something off, using the  door-zone bike lane. Benjamin, I have never, ever seen a bike rider “take the lane” going uphill on Avalon. You must be some strong rider.  Protected bike lanes when well designed are much safer than door-zone bike lanes. They will open up this key route to many more people than feel comfortable using it now. 

  • ericb January 30, 2019 (4:30 pm)

    What is the “slip lane”?

    • WSB January 30, 2019 (9:07 pm)

      I asked that too, as my memories from the Fauntleroy Blvd discussions have faded a bit. In this case, it’s at the far side of this Google Street View – enabling a right onto eastbound Fauntleroy from the north end of Avalon.

      • CAM January 31, 2019 (12:39 am)

        Would this make a right turn there illegal or just mean that lane is disappearing? If it’s going to become no right turn I think that may actually create more accidents on 35th between Avalon and Fauntleroy and on Avalon between 35th and Fauntleroy. That right turn allows people to exit the parking lot of Starbucks/Taco Time to head to the bridge without having to make a left out of the lot between two very hectic (and unpredictable in terms of traffic patterns) intersections where sight lines can be impaired by traffic waiting to clear the light going the opposite direction. There is an exit from that lot directly onto Fauntleroy but that exit lane is often inaccessible based on the location of the Taco Time drive through. It is more time consuming (in terms of waiting at more lights) to take that right onto Avalon followed by a right onto Fauntleroy but it is far safer during any periods of heavy traffic. (I also walk that intersection nearly every day to get to the bus so I appreciate the attempt to improve safety for pedestrians but I don’t want to see more car accidents if possible.)

        • WSB January 31, 2019 (6:09 am)

          According to Dan Anderson in our followup exchange, “Today, people driving can take a right and use the “slip lane” without having to wait at the traffic signal. With this project they won’t be able to do that. There will be a new curb poured after the street is paved. The slip lane will be closed to people driving. They’ll need to go to the signal.”

          • CAM January 31, 2019 (9:13 am)

            Ok. That sounds like a good compromise that optimizes safety for everyone. Thanks!

  • ADMIRAL January 30, 2019 (4:41 pm)


  • KM January 30, 2019 (4:44 pm)

    YES!Benjamin, I do wish our bike lanes provided more “protection” than just flex posts. Perhaps we can push the city to include barriers on upcoming projects, such as the Delridge redesign, and upgrade existing facilities. Nonetheless, happy about this improved infrastructure on Avalon, and the repaving on 35th between Alaska and Avalon–didn’t realize that was part of it until now. I generally walk/bus along Avalon (will be biking more when this is completed), and hope to see the public right of way used for parking at Luna Park/The Shack redesigned to keep cars from parking in the intersection, blocking sidewalk access. 

    • Benjamin January 31, 2019 (3:05 pm)

      KM. Weather it is posts or concrete is not the biggest issue, the issue is the intersections.  If a person in the bike lane is going straight, but a driver is turning, there is no protections! and this goes against every other situation on the roads.  When i am in my car on I5 and taking the exit, I don’t do it from the 2nd land try to determine if the other car is going through.  I get into the right lane and  slow enough to safely exit. 

  • Chris A January 30, 2019 (4:49 pm)

    Sadly, I stopped going to Luna Park years ago because the owner was so opposed to any transit lanes on Avalon despite Metro and the city bending over backwards to accommodate him.  I sincerely hope we are prioritizing  transit movement here.

    • Peter January 30, 2019 (5:55 pm)

      I went there once and never went back because their food is bad, but I too will not patronize businesses that are so rigidly anti-transit or anti-bike. 

      • Don Brubeck January 30, 2019 (9:28 pm)

        TJ, There has not been a 20% drop in bike commuting in the past five years. A survey question of the annual  federal census that goes to a small sample had a question on what the sample’s “primary” commute mode is. It did not count bike riders. The city has automated 24/7/365 bike counters at key locations including Spokane St Bridge. They show bike traffic fairly steady, with a couple points decline in 2017 and a much bigger increase in 2018.  The city is spending less than 3% of its transportation budget on bike infrastructure.  Not a huge investment.  Data graph from SDOT counters is here.

      • Don Brubeck January 30, 2019 (9:37 pm)

        Peter,  I don’t think that John Bennett or the other business owners are anti-transit or anti-bike.  They have legitimate concerns about customer access and deliveries of goods.  It’s tough to make those businesses succeed.  SDOT and bike advocates and Metro have worked to create a plan that preserves as much parking and delivery zone space as possible, while still addressing changing transportation needs.  If you don’t like the food at Luna Park, maybe try The Shack.  It would be good to support them as customers.  They give back a lot to our community.

      • chris January 31, 2019 (10:15 am)

        These comments about Luna Park Cafe are unfair. The food is great.  My kids love to go there. Unless you have a way to back up these claims about the owner, this is slander. You should be ashamed. Transit only lanes were not vetted by the public properly. Build light rail and stop creating confusion in the streets. 

    • 1016182-VI January 30, 2019 (6:33 pm)

      … and sadly all of that opposition came after John Bennett
      and Luna Park were cited for illegally removing parking to establish outdoor
      seating in 2008.

  • Wendell January 30, 2019 (5:16 pm)

    I have no opinion one way or the other about the closure of 30th, but going by the project website, there seems to be a lot of effort gone into striping and painting this whole area, so I was wondering the closing of 30th will get the same love and attention , or will the closure just be one of those ubiquitous concrete barriers that attracts graffiti, weeds and paper coffee cups? Just askin’.

  • Mike January 30, 2019 (5:29 pm)

    Great engineering – fixing what ain’t broke.  A few minor tweaks would help – eliminate folks turning left onto Avalon when they come down the ramp from Admiral, remove that bus bulb by the storage place before someone gets killed passing the uphill bus in the downhill lane.  

  • TJ January 30, 2019 (6:50 pm)

    I’m glad everyone who loves the huge investment in bike infrastructure the city has made through the years cites the conveniences for them, but what about the 20% drop in bike commuting in the last 5 years? It just doesn’t add up that we will hit some magical bike infrastructure point where bike commuting will all of a sudden take off.

    • Azimuth January 30, 2019 (9:13 pm)

      TJ, Go to Copenhagen, your opinion may change. Even if it doesn’t change, it’s a wonderful place to visit.

      • wscommuter January 31, 2019 (3:37 pm)

        I’m all for more bikes and love Copenhagen.   But it’s also flat as a pancake.  Probably not the best comparison for advocating as to why more people should ride bikes.   And yes – a wonderful place to visit.  True that.  

        • Azimuth February 1, 2019 (3:02 pm)

          Build it and they will come! 

  • AlkiMark January 30, 2019 (7:13 pm)

    I like it there and will patronize it more since I now know they understand that most of us still need our cars.  All you people who criticize small businesses clearly have never owned one. 

  • chemist January 30, 2019 (7:41 pm)

    All these changes and they still have a multi-use path/bike trail that goes through the bus stop in front of nucor.  If they hadn’t relocated the bus stop further north, this new bike lane would have actually eliminated that conflict/crash point with pedestrians and bikes.

  • NDR January 30, 2019 (10:26 pm)

    I’m so excited for this. A huge thanks to SDOT and all of our neighbors who advocated for a safer Avalon for everyone. 

  • smittytheclown January 31, 2019 (5:53 am)

    I wish they would either get rid of – or improve signage – on that little cut through road people use to cheat their way from Admiral to the front of the line on Avalon NB.   Make it a definite right turn only by making it a merge lane SB.

    • Marietta January 31, 2019 (1:46 pm)

      @smitty – that little road that deposits onto Avalon north is the most direct route from my house to the bridge- how is it a “cheat” for me to go that way? Are you saying I should go a mile north out of my way to get onto admiral because that’s the way that you go?are you cheating all the people who live farther away than you do?

      • Marietta January 31, 2019 (2:33 pm)

        @smitty- disregard my previous comment. I think I see what you were referring appologies!

  • T Rex January 31, 2019 (1:12 pm)

    I could have sworn I ate outside in the summer back in the mid 90’s? Luna will survive, people have been eating there for many years. We will find a way. 

  • Bobbi Nodell January 31, 2019 (1:46 pm)

    SW Avalon has some very scary blind spots for pedestrians between 35th Avenue and Genessee. I would love to see a crosswalk installed before someone gets killed.

    • CAM January 31, 2019 (7:13 pm)

      Agreed in general about most intersections in West Seattle. The biggest factor in this, in my experience is the fact that cars park illegally and too close to the intersection. If I can’t clearly see cars coming in both directions from the sidewalk because your vehicle is in the way your vehicle is a hazard to the public even though it’s not moving. 

Sorry, comment time is over.