FOLLOWUP: SDOT timetable for tweaking traffic-signal timing for possible bus-backup relief

In our ongoing coverage of afternoon/evening Metro bus backups on 1st Avenue S. as West Seattleites try to get home from downtown, we reported Friday on SDOT‘s plan to try tweaking traffic signals in hopes that will help. What the SDOT announcement didn’t say, however, was when that will happen. So we followed up. Today, a reply from SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson: “The changes to signal timing will be implemented within two weeks.” Meantime, Metro has posted its take on the situation, recapping the SDOT plan and saying that while many riders have suggested re-implementing the routing used during the Highway 99 closure, that would be impractical.

36 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: SDOT timetable for tweaking traffic-signal timing for possible bus-backup relief"

  • Jort August 6, 2019 (12:43 pm)

    Jenny Durkan and her cars-first SDOT think it is more practical for thousands of bus riders to sit in hours-long delays for months and months than it is to even slightly inconvenience car drivers. Remember that Jenny Durkan doesn’t care about bus riders. Given the choice, she will always, always prioritize the cars, first. Good luck with the “signal re-timing,” a truly magical solution that gives the appearance of doing something without actually doing anything. This entire situation could have been completely avoided if Jenny Durkan wasn’t so pathologically obsessed with maintaining roads for the sole benefit of private automobiles. What a shameful, sad politician. Just shameful.

    • Mike August 6, 2019 (5:55 pm)

      Jort, until we all ride pedal bikes 100% of the time you’re going to be an angry person.  I’ll gladly pay you to take me to work and back daily, just get a trailer that’ll hold me.  When I don’t pedal my own bike, you can do it for me. Jortuktuk.com

  • Joe Z August 6, 2019 (1:23 pm)

    For once I agree with Jort–this problem goes straight to the top–a mayor who simply refuses to do anything that might give transit priority at the expensive of SOVs.I have maintained tepid support for the mayor, but needless to say the current failure of leadership has ended that. Given the political importance of West Seattle I find it amazing that this transit disaster has been allowed to continue unmitigated for months…perhaps the mayor thinks all of her supporters drive cars to work. I certainly drive my car to work now but it isn’t by choice!!!

  • Glad I don't go Downtown August 6, 2019 (1:25 pm)

    I swear prior to the Viaduct being closed, the City said that they were ready for any crises and could quickly handle them.  They indicated that employees could quickly alter the traffic lights to assist traffic flow.  So did they shut down the Traffic Monitoring program or were they lying.

  • dsa August 6, 2019 (1:28 pm)

    Did Metro say why the 99 reroute was impractical?  I suspect it is because was the one who WSDOT funded it.  And of course getting it set up at this late date would be difficult, but has to do with extremely poor advance planning.  So expediting the reroute would be more expensive at this late date.

    • WSB August 6, 2019 (1:44 pm)

      Follow the link to their post. Basically, Metro’s contention is that there were some extraordinary circumstances in play at that time – people altering their schedules, extra traffic police at intersections, etc., that contributed to the alternate pathway working.

    • dsa August 6, 2019 (2:00 pm)

      Yes Metro says like you say: “… several temporary bus lanes and uniformed traffic control officers at
      key intersections. These measures would be difficult and costly to renew
      and maintain for an extended time…”   About that extended time,  wasn’t the January 99 reroute about the same length as this one will be?  Another thing, since Metro brought it up, bring on more uniformed traffic control officers now to get the intersections clear when the lights change.

  • Roms August 6, 2019 (1:34 pm)

    Two more weeks of nightmare. Let’s see if and how the situation  improves with these weeks.

  • newnative August 6, 2019 (1:38 pm)

    I can appreciate people wanting to get home by a certain time, but I’m staying in my work neighborhood or downtown longer to avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. I also relieve stress by walking from Columbia to Railroad to catch my commuter bus. I’m saving my rage for the snow days. 

    • NH August 6, 2019 (3:44 pm)

      When you have to get to daycare by 6, it’s not a matter of wanting. Some of us don’t have the luxury of choosing when to leave downtown.

      • newnative August 7, 2019 (9:01 am)

        Using the word, “luxury” in reference to walking to a bus stop is an interesting choice for someone who can afford for someone else to watch their kids. 

        • Sarchka August 7, 2019 (3:42 pm)

          Wait… So childcare is a luxury?

  • rico August 6, 2019 (1:40 pm)

    Pretty harsh words for a simple policy dis-agreement.  I am no fan of Mayor Durkan, but resorting to calling her shameful because you disagree with a policy is more reflective of your mindset than hers.  Wonder how your dinner conversations go when one does not agree with your views.

    • Gene August 6, 2019 (2:15 pm)

      That’s Jort for you.

    • KM August 6, 2019 (2:45 pm)

      Nah dude, she’s awful.

    • Matt P August 6, 2019 (3:53 pm)

      It’s pretty shameful to add over an hour to a bus route and then refuse to do anything about it.  And this is definitely nothing. It has been going on for months with no action, will still take 2 weeks for some action and even then, changing signals won’t fix that there are too many vehicles on 1st ave.

    • 120rider August 6, 2019 (6:14 pm)

      it is shameful to punish tax paying VOTERS(hint, hint everyone who votes), taking away our private and family time to appease single car drivers.

    • TreeHouse August 6, 2019 (7:41 pm)

      Actually it’s shameful that she is giving us garbage solutions that create the illusion that she cares and that she is helping us when she knows she isn’t. I don’t understand why our mayor prioritizes single occupancy car drivers over bus riders. I constantly regret voting for her. 

  • Quora August 6, 2019 (1:50 pm)

    Implementation within two weeks? Oh come on. What a joke this whole thing is. Again, when they were developing a plan and the simple fact that buses cannot travel down 1st Ave in the right hand lane, the whole thing should have been blown up AT THAT MOMENT. It’s not a matter of reality to think that this plan would work. More of the same from this city and the “leadership”; plenty of time for planning, an abundance of money and yet they are still scrambling to find a fix to what should have been a glaring problem.

  • FG August 6, 2019 (1:59 pm)

    How about having off duty police officers directing traffic at those intersection that are getting tied up they are already directing traffic out of parking garages . As cars and buses are blocking the intersections to make traffic to a stand still  . To sit on a bus through 20 signals to go one block is crazy .. 

    • Gene August 6, 2019 (2:16 pm)

      You’re talking big $$$$$ then.

  • Max Said August 6, 2019 (2:12 pm)

    I recently switched from the C to the 116 in the mornings and the time door-to-door has been about 10 mins less generally, and much more predictable. I did trade sitting in downtown traffic to walking the last 1.5 miles, but that’s a trade I’d make any day. I’ve been wanting to switch my evening commute too, because the 116 skips that horrid Pioneer Sq insanity, but it usually sends its last downtown run around 5:25 and I’m generally not out of the office in time. Yesterday I was thrilled to see a 116 running at 6:30!! Does anyone know anything about the 116 route running later in the evening while the ferries are on hiatus? I asked the driver and he said yes, it was temporary, but I couldn’t find anything online about actual timing of the routes this week. Would love to have a week of easy breezy commutes before resorting back to the C :)

    • DH August 6, 2019 (5:44 pm)

      I don’t want to be a hoarder of good info but why are you sharing the secret of the 116? ;)

  • Alternate buses August 6, 2019 (3:35 pm)

    Hello, leaving downtown by light rail to the SoDo station and then getting on the 50 is a good alternative.  Im going to try the 116, thanks for the suggestion.  

    • Ian Babbitt August 6, 2019 (4:40 pm)

      From 3rd and Cherry on the 116 I got to the bus stop by the Trader Joe’s in 25 minutes

  • Bus Guy August 6, 2019 (4:42 pm)

    So, in other words: we hear you, and we ignore you.Note to Mr. McDermott, if you are following this: your inaction just cost you my vote.  I mean that literally, as in I’m dropping off my ballot this afternoon.  

  • Pdxmark77 August 6, 2019 (4:47 pm)

    Come January we shouldn’t have this issue anymore when the busses go on their permanent routing with dedicated bus lanes.until than, we are kind of screwed especially Thursday when the Seahawks play at. 7pm.

  • carole August 6, 2019 (5:36 pm)

    Why does it take two weeks to change light timing?  What is technically involved that would take so long?

  • MJ August 6, 2019 (5:51 pm)

    The Metro planner who routed busses on 1st should be dismissed for piss poor planning.  SDoT should not need two weeks to retime the signals.  This should be priority number 1!   I suspect the signals are antiquated, aka have not been upgraded in years.  New signals are much more responsive and can adapt to changing traffic demands.

    • flimflam August 6, 2019 (7:55 pm)

      infrastructure isn’t that interesting to our city leaders unfortunately. not edgy enough.

      • Seriously? August 6, 2019 (8:43 pm)

        @flimflam, city leaders love infrastructure . . .if it’s an unnecessary billion dollars sports stadium . . .

  • TiredofGovernmentGreed August 6, 2019 (8:52 pm)

    Has anyone been happy with Metro’s response when they complain directly on their website?  Is anyone seeing Herbold or McDermott doing anything to solve this problem and push SDOT or Metro to fix it ASAP?  PLEASE, West Seattle voters, consider voting out the incumbents!  Tonight Herbold and McDermott are leading in the election returns and yet these two do nothing for you.

    • WSB August 6, 2019 (9:10 pm)

      I did get a response from CM McDermott today and it’ll be in a separate followup tomorrow.

    • Mickymse August 7, 2019 (4:46 pm)

      You mean like the letter Herbold sent to SDOT requesting a response to everyone’s complaints?Perhaps we should leave politics out of it and not just claim someone’s not doing their job because you don’t like them and don’t pay attention to their constituent notices?

  • 120rider August 7, 2019 (5:24 pm)

    another day, another fixable snail crawl down 1st Avenue 

  • Alternate Buses August 7, 2019 (5:31 pm)

    The 118 and 119 go from 3rd Avenue downtown to by Trader Joe’s also.  Another two good options, along with the 50 and 116, for getting out of downtown during evening rush hour. 

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