Before Thursday’s open house, see the latest plans for West Seattle’s next big road project

(WSB photo: SDOT’s C.J. Holt and Dan Anderson during our downtown meeting)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Though its marquee name involves a bus route, the RapidRide H Line conversion starts with a big road project that will affect everyone who uses the street: Repaving and reconfiguration for much of Delridge Way SW.

Tomorrow (Thursday) night you’re invited to see the updates and ask questions during an SDOT/Metro open house (5-7 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW). But rather than try to absorb it all at the drop-in event, you can preview it all right now. We went to SDOT HQ downtown to talk to project leaders, who have also provided the full plans you’ll see rolled out at the open house:

That’s the plan for Delridge reconfiguration, block by block. Below, the plan for paving, so you can see which sections are getting a full rebuild and which are getting a new top layer:

Ahead, what else you should know before the open house – including what community feedback’s been incorporated and what has not:

Even before Metro decided to turn Route 120 into RapidRide H Line – which officially takes effect in September 2021 – the street’s transformation was rooted in what was originally called the Delridge Multi-modal Corridor plan, as well as local advocates’ push for improvements such as boulevardization that’s planned for some stretches.

Our briefing started with a Metro manager’s update by phone. Hannah McIntosh noted that the 120 is already “at RapidRide levels of service in peak times,” and running every 10 to 12 minutes the rest of the day. The County Council also has given its blessing to the conversion; we reported recently on a planned committee vote, and it has since passed the full council, with no controversy. In addition, the decision to extend the line to South Lake Union was finalized (previously, it was set to terminate at 3rd/Virginia).

After that update, it was on to the in-person briefing, with Dan Anderson and C.J. Holt of SDOT. The department’s design work is at a 30 percent level. They started by pointing out some public comments from last fall’s update that had been addressed in the design update:

-The northbound bus lane on Delridge has been extended. Holt explained that they confirmed the backups currently usually stretch south of Alaska, so the northbound peak-only bus lane (6-9 am weekday mornings_) will be extended to SW Hudson.

“We don’t want people to get in the bus and just sit there,” Anderson noted, while also noting that means the east side of the street will be off-limit to parking during the bus-lane hours.

Another bus-lane change will be between Orchard and Holden – all day, not just peak times. Buses also will be able to queue-jump at the Orchard signal.

Addressing pedestrian-safety requests, Anderson pointed out additional marked crosswalks. These include – crossing Delridge – Hudson (with rapid-flashing beacons), Findlay (with a higher curb, 9″, to ease boarding for ADA/stroller/etc. access), and both sides of the Holden intersection, with a “bulbed-out” area on the NW side. Crosswalks also will be added north-south across Findlay, Graham, and Sylvan Way.

Other comments included a request for improvements on the 26th SW neighborhood greenway, including improving connections and the effectiveness of its speed humps. That’s still a work in progress, according to Anderson and Holt. The greenway to the east also has been the subject of concern from bicycling advocates, they note, with a request for a protected bike lane along 16th SW where the greenway otherwise zigzags between parallel streets. No final decision on that either.

In the interest of transparency, Anderson also pointed out “feedback we are NOT including” in the plan so far:

-Locating a RapidRide station at Brandon instead of Findlay. Major reason: Maintaining “consistent stop spacing” (you’ll recall that they’ve already addressed community concerns by planning on third-of-a-mile stop spacing rather than the typical RapidRide half-mile spacing). They’ll be working with Parks to try to improve trail access to the east to support High Point’s connection to the Findlay location.

-Protected bike lanes on the entire length of Delridge. Some places, especially toward the south, “just don’t have the width.”

-Not removing parking. There will be some removal – SDOT promises the inventory will be available at Thursday’s open house – including on the west side of Delridge between Juneau and Graham, across from Louisa Boren STEM K-8, and a stretch in the south. Learning from past projects, Anderson promises that residents in parking-removal zones will get communication including “targeted outreach” such as flyers on windshields of parked vehicles.

-No-right-on-red sign on westbound Andover turning to NB Delridge, also a request by bicycling-safety advocates. “Engineering standards tell us ‘no'” on that, Anderson said, adding that data didn’t warrant it, such as “crash patterns” and volume.

The paving – followed by rechannelization – work will start in spring 2020 and should mostly be done by fall 2021 in time for the RapidRide H Line launch, although “a few points” might not be finished until post-launch. In the meantime, they expect to have the design complete by the end of this year, which is why this is prime time for more feedback.

One more note about what IS in the project plab at this point: Some median islands between Boren and Genesee, honoring local advocates’ longtime vision of a “boulevard”-like section. Most will be wide enough for trees and/or other plantings. “It will change the look and feel of Delridge,” Anderson observed, while warning that the median-added sections also will “remove left turns for the midblock residents.”

“It’s going to be a massive construction effort,” noted Holt.

At that point, since it hadn’t come up, we asked whether the city is talking with Sound Transit, since light rail will be crossing Delridge’s north end one way or another. Holt said they’ve “had multiple meetings with ST designers … there will be impacts and there will have to be some realignment of bus service, but we’re trying to look ahead to see what we can do” (now).

One example: The northernmost section of Delridge is not slated for “full-depth reconstruction” – they will instead do “grind and pave” work, plus some “spot panel replacements,” since it’s inevitable that some part of that section will be torn up several years later after West Seattle light-rail construction starts in 2025.

Sound Transit, by the way, will be represented along with SDOT and Metro at tomorrow’s open house, which, again, is set for 5-7 pm Thursday (May 30th) at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center – just drop in when you can.

24 Replies to "Before Thursday's open house, see the latest plans for West Seattle's next big road project"

  • zephyr May 29, 2019 (6:52 pm)

    Thanks for the update WSB.  Have they announced when they will start this project?  Right now some of us are using Delridge more often to avoid the strictures on 35th.  If they started before 35th is complete this would be a big challenge to say the least.

    • WSB May 29, 2019 (7:06 pm)

      6th paragraph from the end, “early 2020”

  • Crash May 29, 2019 (8:59 pm)

    I won’t be able to attend this meeting, but I do have a question I’d love answered:”What is the plan and funding for continued maintenance of the landscaped sections? In the future is it all going to look like the planted areas on the way to Alki? Nothing but 4 ft high weeds and blackberries?”

  • zephyr May 29, 2019 (9:32 pm)

    WSB said:  6th paragraph from the end, “early 2020”Thank you!  I missed that. 

  • Darryll May 29, 2019 (11:06 pm)

    Loss of bike lanes is a big fail. 

    • KBear May 30, 2019 (9:21 am)

      Where are bike lanes being lost? It looks to me like the plan includes more bike lanes than Delridge already has.

    • sam-c May 30, 2019 (10:52 am)

      Yes, I am disappointed also. I thought I remembered more protected bike lanes along the north end of Delridge.KBear, refer to this text in the article:“In the interest of transparency, Anderson also pointed out “feedback we are NOT including” in the plan so far:……….-Protected bike lanes on the entire length of Delridge. Some places, especially toward the south, “just don’t have the width.””

      • WSB May 30, 2019 (11:08 am)

        If I wrote that confusingly, please forgive me, but the full document is included – there are PBLs but not on the full length – check the doc (or go to the open house) to see where. We’ve reported previously on the channelization plan (link when I can go pull it up)

      • KBear May 30, 2019 (11:30 am)

        Sam-C, I read the article, including the passage you cite. Darryll’s comment made it sound like they were taking away bike lanes, but it appears to me that existing bike lanes are maintained, and new ones are being added. That does not make for a “loss of bike lanes”. 

        • sam-c May 30, 2019 (1:50 pm)

          I thought Darryll’s was trying to say “they’re taking away protected bike lanes that were shown in previous design phases”Regardless of what Darryll was saying, while they are adding more bike lanes on Delridge than are in existence now, they are taking away an existing protected bike lane. The  NB protected bike lane from Holden to Orchard is being removed by this project.

  • Kathy May 30, 2019 (10:20 am)

    The plan to divert bikes to the greenways will not work very well unless the greenways are upgraded to be real greenways. This means everycrossing protected, the same as they all are on Delridge Way. Also install diverters so that motorists don’t try to use the greenways as by-passes. Also recognize that the greenway routes are much hillier than Delridge Way. People biking will choose to ride on Delridge Way instead which is their perfect right. In the long run, attempting to social engineer people biking out of the way of cars  onto side streets instead of installing bike lanes on the arterial will  result in cyclists taking the general traffic lane, annoying  drivers, slowing down traffic,  and setting us up for more dangerous situations.

    • Max May 30, 2019 (5:24 pm)


  • e May 30, 2019 (10:24 am)

    Seems like blocking left turns could create a lot of headaches and u-turns.  Would love them to drop the median islands.

  • Aubrey Pullman May 30, 2019 (11:01 am)

    I regularly bike to WS via the bridge path and then on to the sidewalk on the west side of Delridge to Andover. There’s a pretty scary section as the sidewalk joins to Delridge that’s just a few feet wide with a blind corner. If something happens and you get knocked off the sidewalk, you’re on a 40mph on-ramp with people accelerating up the hill to the bridge. I can’t tell from the images if this will be widened or made safer for bike/ped.

    • Kathy May 30, 2019 (2:50 pm)

      Aubrey, I submitted a Neighborhood Street Fund project proposal that includes a suggestion for a barrier separating the trail from the ramp at this location, as well as a safe bike route through the Delridge Way/Andover intersection. The project made it to the final round, it remains to be seen whether it will be selected for funding. If you would like to get involved in efforts to improve bicycle infrastructure in and around West Seattle, you should check out

  • MJ May 30, 2019 (11:28 am)

    The grade on Delridge is favorable for bikes.  Not sure the thinking of why the existing bike lanes are being removed and with the addition of a raised median is a double impact to riders, the raised median make it difficult for motorists to give space to bicyclist when passing!

    • dcn May 31, 2019 (7:33 pm)

      I agree. I usually veer partly into the middle turn lane whenever I pass a bicyclist to give them a wide berth. I also straddle it when I need to avoid potholes. The new Delridge might be more attractive, but I see it as being less functional.

  • e May 30, 2019 (1:23 pm)

    It looks like the bus stop at Genessee and Delridge will still be right at the corner. When busses stop and sit it is very hard to see around them. It makes right turns from Genesse to Delridge scary even on a green light because of the narrow space to pass between the bus and the opposite lane of cars turning left onto Genessee. Is there a reason the stop couldn’t be slightly further south?The whole plan seems like it will make visibility for turns more challenging. On intersections with Delridge without stop lights, it can already be hard to see oncoming traffic around parked vehicles. The center turnlane has saved my life on more than one occasion. If we have tall vegetation between N and S lanes and no center lane to pause in it seems like a formula for accidents.

  • AmandaK May 30, 2019 (3:17 pm)

    So, if I am looking at the slide deck correctly, SDOT is doing nothing in the South end (the Urban Village, which also has the “transit hub”).  Has anyone mentioned that yet?

  • Bubbasaurus May 30, 2019 (3:42 pm)

    Based on what I’m seeing, all of the parking on Delridge is removed by the playfields. Are there plans to add accessible options to get to the Delridge Playfields once everyone that parked on Delridge is parking on 26th? Right now there are only stairs at the north end by the tennis courts on 26th and they aren’t connected to the playfields.

    • KM May 30, 2019 (4:56 pm)

      There a ramp from SW Alaska accessing the playfields. There might be access in the parking lot but not sure? You could provide some feedback to them that they should have disabled parking spots reserved on SW Alaska if there isn’t access in the parking lot, especially if there is a loss of such spots on Delridge.

      • sam-c May 30, 2019 (6:48 pm)

        that parking lot is for the SW youth and family services- is that open to people using the playfields?  Either way, when that field is in use for practices or games, parking fills up everywhere, side streets, along Delridge, the CC parking lot.

  • SoccerDad May 30, 2019 (4:39 pm)

    So, it looks like they’re removing all of the street parking along Delridge Playfields…With that, are there any plans to make the fields accessible from 26th Ave SW? Right now there are only stairs that go up to the tennis courts and stop there, so it’s not easy to get to the fields from the west side. 

  • Steve May 31, 2019 (3:04 pm)

    Well, that eliminates the Light Rail option for the Delridge and Andover neighborhood. 

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