HIGHLAND PARK WAY/HOLDEN: What’s proposed next, for the intersection and beyond

9:45 AM MONDAY: For decades, the Highland Park community has been fighting for safety upgrades at Highland Park Way and Holden. Within a week of the West Seattle Bridge closure, a “temporary” signal was rushed into place, followed by a few other tweaks. But SDOT promised the full “safety project” would still happen, and has just officially unveiled an early-stage plan, outlined in a flyer that arrived in some HP mailboxes over the weekend (thanks for the tips!). It spans other streets too, despite the title, but HP Way/Holden is the heart of it. Here’s what the proposal looks like:

(You can see it larger here in PDF.) The plan includes a protected bike lane on the uphill side of Highland Park Way, from West Marginal Way SW at the bottom of the hill to Holden at the top. That is discussed further, along with other nearby plans, in the slide deck presented by project developer James Le in this video from the project website:

Here are two key slides showing potential side-street “traffic calming” (Monday afternoon update – the entire deck is now online):

Once you’ve considered all that, you can take the “early design survey” in which you’re asked to prioritize what you think the area needs. It’s open through May 31st. A few days before that, SDOT expects to be part of the next monthly HPAC meeting – 7 pm Wednesday, May 27th; watch for details at hpacws.org.

11:16 AM TUESDAY: We asked SDOT to clarify the channelization proposal for the Highland Park Way hill, and the reply, just in, confirms the interpretation that one lane is proposed for downhill motor-vehicle traffic:

Highland Park Way SW between SW Holden St and West Marginal Way currently has two southbound lanes and two northbound lanes. Creating a southbound uphill protected bike lane would provide a needed bike connection between the Duwamish Trail and the Highland Park neighborhood. Creating space for this bike lane would require removing one downhill, northbound car lane. This change would also have a safety benefit by reducing speeding toward West Marginal Way.

Traffic modeling and counts of the number of turning vehicles conducted prior to the West Seattle bridge closure indicated that removing the northbound car lane would have a minimal impact to traffic. However, we know that Highland Park Way SW is one of the most heavily used detour routes into and out of West Seattle. We have been listening closely to community comments and monitoring traffic since the bridge was closed and expect to make a decision on this proposed change in the coming weeks based on the community’s input and new traffic data.

89 Replies to "HIGHLAND PARK WAY/HOLDEN: What's proposed next, for the intersection and beyond"

  • Mj May 18, 2020 (9:54 am)

    The HPW hill is a bear to ride up on an analog bike.  In the past, I simply used the sidewalk on the south and east side of the street.  I’m not clear that this steep long hill is a desirable route for bikes? 

    When I lived in the area I used Delridge/Dumar to get up to Highland Park.  

    • bolo May 18, 2020 (12:17 pm)

      As a long-time bike commuter who has lived in numerous West Seattle neighborhoods and has experimented with 100’s of routes over the years I would NEVER AGAIN ride up the Highland Park Way hill. NOT because of the perceived difficulty (extended steep incline)(that aspect does not bother me), but because of the massive toxic pollution spewed from the exhaust pipes of the constant stream of cars and trucks grinding up that hill. Not looking to be an early lung cancer victim.

      • Big Gears May 20, 2020 (5:22 pm)

        I love riding up that hill! Except for the massive toxic pollution spewed from the exhaust pipes of the constant stream of cars and trucks grinding up that hill.

        They really need to do something for bikes to get onto the 1st Av bridge though. That is the worst.

  • Brian May 18, 2020 (10:18 am)

    The label on bullet point seems incorrect. If you are going uphill (south) on HPW, you’re riding AWAY from west marginal, not toward it. 

    • BBILL May 18, 2020 (12:21 pm)

      “Southbound uphill protected bike land to West Marginal Way”  I agree that “from” might be a better word choice.

  • notaseattleiteanymore May 18, 2020 (10:18 am)

    A bike lane?  Going up hill?  Transitioning into sharing the road with cars?  That will definitely help traffic flow through there.  There is a sidewalk on the other side of Highland Park, bikes using that seems like a safer idea…

    • BBILL May 18, 2020 (12:23 pm)

      “seems like” is generally not the standard traffic engineers use to design.

      • Mary May 18, 2020 (4:41 pm)

        Seems like since this is a temporary diversion for car traffic.. Bikes will have to come up with their own route. We don’t need more to impact this anymore then it has to.

        • Tsurly May 18, 2020 (6:16 pm)

          You could make Highland Park Way six lanes wide and it will still be a parking lot when more people start going back to work; there is nothing that anyone can do to change that. The bike lane will be there for when car drivers finally realize that and change their habits.

        • BBILL May 19, 2020 (1:36 am)

          From the design, it appears that bikes *are* coming up with “their own route,” right there in the right-hand lane.

    • AJP May 18, 2020 (5:59 pm)

      The sidewalk is very bumpy with protruding tree roots. If I had a safer choice, I would rather bike on the street with a protected bike lane, than go on that bumpy sidewalk. 

  • Mark Schletty May 18, 2020 (10:26 am)

    In 17 years of frequently driving this route I have never seen a bicycle on the hill. I’m sure that somebody must use it sometimes, but the length and  steep grade of this hill make it mostly unusable by any but elite  bikers. I think a sharrows should be sufficient, and that a bike only cycle  on the signal  is uncalled for, and would only unnecessarily slow thru traffic. Otherwise, the plan looks pretty good for this stage of development.

    • Don May 18, 2020 (12:19 pm)

      3 of the 4 bullets have the word “bike” in them—on one of the longest and surely less biked hills of west seattle—this can’t be a plan that was completed after the bridge closing or we would be putting the person in charge here in an asylum.    They should be studying the traffic today, and every day after, and include the bike #’s in the analysis of what can be done to make this work better for everyone.    

      • Brian Piper May 19, 2020 (7:56 am)

        If bike numbers are low, then making improvements to increase them will reduce vehicle traffic congestion.  Just remember, every person you see on a bike is one less car for you to contend with.  And you are not ‘in’ traffic – you are traffic.  That intersection is indeed one of the main ways to get up to west seattle by bike as it comes right off the path from south park.  That said, if the sidewalk was redone to include bikes then it would be a more desirable option for grinding up that hill than being next to cars.

    • tsurly May 18, 2020 (12:21 pm)

      Must be selective vision. Based heat (use) maps on cycling platforms like Strava, it appears Highland Park Way is used quite often by bikes. Saying that the grade makes it unusable to anyone but “elite” cyclists is nonsense. The grade is nearly identical to Fairmount Ave SW between Harbor Ave and Handford, which is a very popular bike route. Use and Ebike, its doable for anyone.

    • datamuse May 18, 2020 (5:27 pm)

      I’ve been driving the same route twice daily for 15 years, at least until early March, and live near this intersection. I see bikes going down and up the hill quite frequently. (Admittedly, when I’m going up, I get off and push. But I’m not in great shape.)

  • old timer May 18, 2020 (10:40 am)

    Went thru this intersection for the first time in a great while on Saturday.  I  was really impressed with the changes already made.  The addition of the signals, the tightening of the travel lanes, and the bright striping and clear markings have removed so much of what always made this a troublesome navigation spot for me.  Thanks to all who made this happen.

  • Flo B May 18, 2020 (10:55 am)

    How many bikes use HP uphill and downhill daily?? I’ve never seen any (doesn’t mean there aren’t any). Is the cost worth it to add bike lanes??

    • vincent May 18, 2020 (11:29 am)

      Its almost like bike lanes are required by federal law on all new projects…

    • Kathy May 18, 2020 (12:13 pm)

      So let me get this straight, 2 uphill and downhill lanes are fine for cars, but people biking can crowd together on a narrow sidewalk shared with pedestrians. Fast downhill bikers  (gravity) suddenly encountering and having to squeeze by people walking and biking slowly. This is a sidewalk on the south side, built for pedestrians, not a two way bike lane. Sharrows on a 4 -lane defacto freeway where cars are speeding and jockeying to get around each other passing bikes going 7-10 mph? Not a great idea. With the growing use of e-bikes, people using bikes on this road to get to their destinations will only increase.  People in Georgetown and South Park (generally low income areas where car ownership is much lower than other parts of Seattle) may need to get to businesses in White Center and Westwood village and biking may be the only economical way to do this.  Also, we don’t know if the Spokane St. Bridge will remain a viable option for anyone including bikers to use, possibly forcing all West Seattle bike traffic off the peninsula down to the 1st Ave S. and 14th Ave S. bridges. So I wouldn’t begrudge adding an uphill lane for bikes on Highland Park Way.

      • datamuse May 18, 2020 (5:29 pm)

        That sidewalk’s in objectively terrible condition, too. Rattles my teeth when I ride it.

      • AJP May 18, 2020 (6:01 pm)

        What Kathy said. 

        • Foop May 19, 2020 (6:44 pm)

          I bike a good amount, I hate this hill. It’s a grind, but moreover the steepness plus the threat of drivers passing dangerously close plus the huge potholes on the right side of the rode terrify me. I can grind elevation. But if I took this hill daily, I would surely end up under a disgruntled commuter. The alternative adds 5 miles to my commute.

    • bryan May 18, 2020 (1:08 pm)

      When I was commuting to an office I used this route or one through pigeon point. HPW down is a wee bit quicker than going all the way up to Spokane St.

    • Trickycoolj May 18, 2020 (5:28 pm)

      I commute this way daily and yes I follow bikes going faster than my car at 45mph downhill in the car lanes. I sure as heck wouldn’t try that because I can only envision one wobble of my tire would yard sale me right in front of 4 lanes of traffic. I’ve also passed cyclist going uphill in the right lane about the same speed as Metro buses (lol) and I see plenty of others walking their bikes up the pedestrian path on the downhill side. Many commenters seem to forget that there are tons of Boeing workers in South Park and Georgetown along the Duwamish and many of them live up here in West Seattle for the 5 mile back way commute that just turned into the only way out of Dodge. 

  • vincent May 18, 2020 (11:07 am)

    I guess all the work that went into the turning circle was trashed

  • bryan May 18, 2020 (11:07 am)

    Does anyone think lowering the speed limits has an effect on speed on HPW? I have never seen a car stopped for speeding or any other reason on HPW between Holden and West Marginal cars routinely go well over 40 mph. I have a speedometer on my bike and if I ride 25 to 30 I will get passed and honked at trying to coast downhill at 25. Where is the enforcement of all of these fantasy speed limits?

    • heartless May 18, 2020 (11:24 am)

      MJ is the person who should really answer this, but I think he’ll basically agree that simply lowering posted speed limits will often not result in lower speeds–they really need to be coupled with enforcement and/or other traffic calming measures.  So no, you’re not imagining it.

    • KM May 18, 2020 (12:02 pm)

      To a certain extent, yes. I’ve slowed down driving as noticed others have too. I’ve also never witnessed any speed enforcement on this stretch. There are still a lot of speeding drivers who pass me only to for me to meet them at the stoplight mere seconds later.  In my observation, I think about 80% of people passing me only gain a car length or two by the time we arrive to the 1st Ave S bridge due to the stoplights and other car traffic. I’d love to see data on this beyond my own observations. 

    • Trickycoolj May 18, 2020 (5:29 pm)

      Someone in my house got a speeding ticket going down HP Way but it was nearly 10 years ago. 

    • PF May 18, 2020 (7:29 pm)

      SPD did away with the Aggressive Drive Response Team (ADRT) in 2012 after the sergeant retired.  ADRT worked the hill frequently and cited drivers speeding downhill at some crazy speeds – 55 to 60+ mph in the 30 mph zone.  Tracy used to post the ADRT numbers on the WSB.  

    • Question Mark May 19, 2020 (3:30 pm)

      Drivers should be aware by now (or make themselves aware if not) that if too many drivers continue to drive more than 35 miles an hour northbound more restrictive physical measures will be taken to slow traffic down. If you aren’t in favor of that,  my advice would be don’t be one of those drivers.

  • anonyme May 18, 2020 (11:32 am)

    I can’t remember seeing a car pulled over for speeding in 10+ years.  On 35th south of Roxbury, average speeds continue to be around 40 mph.  If anything, speeds seem to have increased during the pandemic and since the speed-lowering signs were installed.  I love the idea, but without enforcement, it’s worthless.  When is Seattle going to get over the idea that people will do the right thing if you just ask nicely?  A law is not a suggestion.

  • Joe Z May 18, 2020 (11:34 am)

    It’s not the hill that stops people from biking that route, it’s the dangerous proximity to fast-moving cars. A protected bike lane would be VERY popular on that segment. It’s as flat as a pancake on an e-bike. 

    • KM May 18, 2020 (12:10 pm)

      Protected bike lanes also calm traffic in general. Since safety is a major concern at this intersection, this will benefit everyone on the roadway.

    • tsurly May 18, 2020 (12:22 pm)


  • But That's Just Me May 18, 2020 (11:35 am)

    Removing an existing lane of vehicle traffic from Highland Park Way between Holden and Marginal Way seems rather insane. Traffic is already bad on that stretch, and will get worse as businesses reopen and people start returning to workplaces and moving around more.

  • Go gull May 18, 2020 (11:59 am)

    I’ve seen cyclists on the HPW hill, going both directions, usually around typical commuting times. I haven’t seen a ton of cyclists on this hill, but considering there will be more traffic and likely more people biking soon too, bike lanes make sense.  More bike infrastructure on our roadways will benefit traffic and help all share the road more safely.

  • jl May 18, 2020 (12:14 pm)

    Can we get a full picture of the lanes for the whole HPW from Holden to West Marginal Way.  Right now at the top of the hill at Holden has only one lane going downhill.  Does it go back to two lanes? Bike lanes could be built where the sidewalks should be on each side (expand the side going down).  I seen a few bike riders coming up the hill more going down and going about 45-50 mph’s. Very few people walking either way.  I think SDOT is taking some easy shortcuts and not really thinking about impacts that they are going to have.  Like they did not place a turn signal at 9th to turn onto Holden.  Even it only lets 2-3 cars turn.

    • WSB May 18, 2020 (1:15 pm)

      I have asked already for clarification on the entire HP Way hill channelization proposal, since the map cuts off. Awaiting reply

    • bryan May 18, 2020 (5:40 pm)

      Are you referring to a protected left arrow to allow left turns? There were previously very few cars making a left here, but I have seen some talk of adding an arrow, and putting hardened curbs to prevent high speed cutting of the left turns.

  • Mark Dale May 18, 2020 (1:48 pm)

    I bike commuted via Highland Park Way for years, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. I’ve biked on just about every street in West Seattle and vicinity and can tell you that this section of road is one of the longer and most consistently steep hills in this part of the city, averaging 10-12% grade for most of the way (Fairmont Ave SW is a much easier climb, despite what was mentioned earlier as a comparison).  I don’t know how frequently people ride it now during commute hours, but prior to my retirement I seldom saw other cyclists on it during my rides to and from my office. Having said that, now that electric bikes are becoming popular, I could easily see an increase in bicycle traffic on that hill. “Back in the day” I always rode on the sidewalk uphill and took the road downhill. I very rarely saw pedestrians, and because the climb on a bike is so slow, there was no danger to either rider or pedestrian when passing on the sidewalk. If it weren’t for electric bikes and the resulting potential for more bikes on this road I would say the uphill bike lane is unnecessary since the sidewalk is sufficient for that purpose. But, electric bikes are becoming much more popular and I foresee a time when this could be frequently used by cyclists. The electric bike makes it relatively easy to ride up steep grades like this.

  • WSB May 18, 2020 (4:01 pm)

    Update for anyone interested: The slide deck from James Le’s video presentation has been added to the project website:

  • West Jack May 18, 2020 (4:29 pm)

    Why is this plan concentrating on providing cyclist access when everyone knows this will be used by cars and trucks almost exclusively and the goal should be getting them to and from West Seattle? When the bridge is fixed, look at other options maybe, but now is not the time for this plan.My understanding is that cyclist can use the low bridge, which means they have a way off the peninsula. Vehicles do not have that option and that is where the problem will lie.Holden from the fire station to Highland should be 3 lanes, with the middle lane switchable to allow for rush hour. Get rid of the bicycle parking and the car parking on the street to allow this. Change it back when the bridge is fixed. If drastic changes aren’t made, life will be very difficult for anyone commuting once the virus situation allows free movement.

    • West Jack May 18, 2020 (4:38 pm)

      I just took the online survey. There was almost nothing on there about vehicles using this road. It’s as if cars and trucks don’t exist in the minds of these traffic planners. Do they not realize how truly awful traffic will be for a very long time?

      • KM May 18, 2020 (5:25 pm)

        The reason they didn’t ask about automobiles is likely because that roadway has ONLY catered to automobiles for decades. They KNOW what to expect from driver behavior and what traffic patterns look like. They understand cars speeding down the hill and the dangerous cut through traffic. They know that if they change Holden to 3 lanes it will result in more injury to people using the roadway. They are working with data, and not car drivers opinions about what they think improves drive times for car drivers only.

      • Chris May 18, 2020 (5:50 pm)

        West Jack, what you stated is what the city wants.  The city wants to make it as difficult as possible for you to get around in a car.  Jort, WSJ, and BBill will tell you the same.  There’s no room for workers to use a personal vehicle to commute with, no room for parents drive kids to sporting events, scout meetings, what have you, and no way to drive an elderly relative to a doctors appointment downtown in your car.   Ride the bus or ride a bicycle is what you’ll be told.  Or wait for the light rail in 2030.  No doubt this will get pushed through like the bus bulbs at the Morgan Junction and bicycle racks blocking lanes where one used to be able to make a right turn from.  I’m not sure why this is even up for public comment, the city hasn’t cared about what the public has thought in quite a while.  All those wasted tax dollars on pet projects while basic infrastructure of the city continues to deteriorate.   Thanks Comrade Jenny and Comrade Lisa!

        • BBILL May 19, 2020 (4:17 am)

          Pedestrians, bicyclist, trucks, motorcycles, transit, emergency vehicles, there are many more users of highway transportation than just a bunch of car drivers.

    • Tsurly May 18, 2020 (6:24 pm)

      Because focusing on moving cars is frivolous; there is a snowball’s chance in hell that a fraction of the cars that used to drive out of West Seattle daily before the bridge closure will be able to do so when people start going back to work. When people get fed up of sitting in traffic going absolutely nowhere, at least they will have another option out of West Seattle when they get on a bike.

    • Kudoo May 18, 2020 (8:24 pm)

      Well stated.  there isn’t enough roadway for all the vehicles moving and as the traffic continues to increase – long delays and frustration will build.   if bikes can use the lower bridge – why would there be limitations to the car traffic’s only means of getting in and out of west seattle 

  • M May 18, 2020 (4:33 pm)

    I am a cyclist. I haven’t biked up that hill since 2006.  I used to lead club rides and occasionally, I would take the group up the hill, via the sidewalk.  I would be concerned if too many cyclists start using the road on the decent. When I lead rides, there were a few times, we road down the hill on the road. I had cyclists being crazy by riding 50 mph down hill!  I don’t intend on cycling either direction on that road.

  • David May 18, 2020 (4:43 pm)

    Does anybody else in the area still refer to that hill as “Boeing Hill?” My siblings and I all grew up at the top of that hill, about a block from the intersection where they just installed that traffic signal. “Boeing Hill” was just what everybody in the neighborhood referred to the hill as.I can still remember the old Boeing Red Barn was down at the base of that hill. Though that was moved to some other location many years ago.

  • Shaley May 18, 2020 (6:11 pm)

    Are they taking away a downhill lane to compensate for the bike lane?

    • WSB May 18, 2020 (7:16 pm)

      Have not heard back from SDOT yet regarding how the full length of the hill would be channelized. (Media relations acknowledged it but are working on getting the answer.)

  • Tony May 18, 2020 (6:45 pm)

    You realize the City of Seattle doesn’t want people driving…if you own a car the goal is to make it as painful as possible to get around in one. #fact

    • heartless May 18, 2020 (7:27 pm)

      I find it trivially easy to drive in Seattle.  Out of all the major cities I’ve driven in, Seattle is one of the easiest (I mean, especially in West Seattle–do you know how insanely car friendly West Seattle is?  I mean, no, you obviously don’t, so I guess never mind.  But still!) 

      The City of Seattle might be trying to make it as painful as possible to get around in cars, but if so they are failing dramatically.  

  • Craig May 18, 2020 (6:50 pm)

    I appreciate all of the work that has been done regarding recent traffic calming on 9th and the speedbumps installed on 10th ave but this plan seems to completely ignore the north side of Holden.  We’re seeing increasing aggressive driving in Riverview, especially during the evening commute due largely to dysfunctional intersections at 16th and Holden/SW Austin and ever increasing traffic through HP Way.   11th Ave is the cycling/pedestrian bridge between HP and Riverview.   We need traffic calming now to protect cyclists and pedestrians especially at the blind corner on SW Webster where there are no sidewalks but there is a ball field parking lot.   Note the planned greenway on 10th /11th below if it loads.    

    • Chemist May 18, 2020 (9:24 pm)

      That red color in that 2014 version of the BMP map was for an off-street bike facility, not protected bike lanes on HPW.  In the most recent implementation plan, there was no project planned for HPW.  What’s being proposed seems subpar compared to an off-street bikeway.  Is this paint-protected bike lane a low-budget treatment due to the council’s recent mandate that SDOT projects on the BMP have to provide a reason if projects don’t insert bike lanes or in relation to the bridge closure? A bike lane on HPW wasn’t included back when these things were presented to the HPAC back in October 2019.

  • dcn May 18, 2020 (7:30 pm)

    I really hope they are not planning on removing one of the 2 car lanes going downhill. Why would they add a bike lane and remove a car lane, when 100,000 people have to detour from the West Seattle Bridge and this is one of only 2 routes for cars out of West Seattle? This will back Highland Park Way all the way up the hill once people go back to work. Bikes can still use the lower bridge so it seems crazy to add a bike lane at the expense of a car lane here. Seattle needs to care about its air quality too. Cars idling in traffic jams isn’t good for the air or the bikers who might use the new lane. If the lane reduction for cars is short-lived (i.e. it opens back up to 2 lanes right after the intersection), then this is a fine idea. 

  • Joyce May 18, 2020 (8:45 pm)

    Will the improvements include a left turn green arrow NB on Highland Park Way turning left onto Holden? Even with the minimal traffic right now you have to wait 2+ light cycles to make the left turn due to the free right for cars coming up the hill on Highland Park Way and turning right into Holden. It’s dangerous when people get frustrated and just break into traffic to make the left. Will only get worse as traffic increases.

  • Craig May 18, 2020 (9:03 pm)

    The map above is from the BMP.  The undetermined bike route marked in red down HPWay is one of two ways to bike on or off the peninsula and is used frequently (Thank you Tsurly)  This is an important route for drivers and cyclists.   I have heard SDOT reps make the comment that two lanes are not needed in the downhill direction given what feeds into it.  Maybe, but I believe that a left turn lane and two continuous lanes are needed at the base of the hill to maintain adequate throughput as downhill traffic builds up at the signal and should be part of the design.    While I’d rather see the south sidewalk made into a multi use path for cyclists,  a new bike lane will encourage more cyclists, especially given the ebike option.  In any case, I’ll be biking up or down the safer south side sidewalk (or the Soundway road in the greenbelt where there is no exhaust, but don’t tell the Parks Department because the don’t allow bikes for some reason.)  

  • Chemist May 18, 2020 (9:09 pm)

    Here’s a link to an earlier meeting about this project back in October.  They were using a NSF design as the root back then, pre-west seattle bridge closure.https://westseattleblog.com/2019/10/what-sdot-told-hpac-about-highland-park-area-safety-project-pending-funding-finalization/

  • Don Brubeck May 18, 2020 (9:43 pm)

    Yes to what Kathy said. Over the last few weeks, our  group has given custom bike routes to
    Seattle fire fighters, police and medical personal at all the major
    hospitals on First Hill, Beacon Hill and at UW Medical Center. This is
    real. Try finding a bike route to the 1st Ave S bridge or to the Duwamish Trail to the Spokane St Bridge from the south end of West Seattle. Highland Park Way works, if improved for safety. It can be done without deleting car lanes.  We (West Seattle) need to get some percentage of vehicle trips moved to bikes in order to keep traffic moving over the 1st Ave S bridge.  HP Way is not the choke point. The bridge is the choke point, You could add four traffic lanes to HP Way and  it would only make the traffic jam wider, not shorter. We need some people to  change to bike riding and buses. Protected bike lanes or a wide, smooth multi-use path are needed to make it safe for biking and walking on HP Way.  E-bikes are flattening the hills. 

    • Chemist May 18, 2020 (10:11 pm)

      The 2014 BMP had planned for an off-street bike treatment for Highland Park Way, not a paint protected bike lane.  There is no way this is an ALEGRA bike facility.

  • Shelly May 18, 2020 (10:10 pm)

    Lots of red light runners turning to go down the hill plus they turn into the fast lane with the white diagonal lines.

  • KayK May 18, 2020 (10:15 pm)

    While I agree that it’s a great time to improve cycling on HPWAY I disagree with this solution. Taking out a downhill lane puts a bus stop right after a blind curve for drivers coming downhill at 40-45mph- sorry that’s the reality of the speeds on that street- you would also have 2 lanes of straight thru traffic backed up into one lane at the bottom of the hill I presume- ending up at a dead stop just around the curve. On the uphill side – bikers placed in the right lane will be contending with streams and sheets of water running off the hill during wet times, while folks exiting the 131 mid grade will have to somehow cross this extra concrete barrier to get over to Othello. The safest way way to provide more bike usability is to widen and improve the already existing path on the downhill side of the grade. I live one block from this route and travel it almost every day during normal times- there are a fair number of bike riders using the downhill option – almost none going uphill. It is very steep. If you can’t afford an electric bike you better be young or in terrific shape. 

  • Mj May 18, 2020 (10:31 pm)

    The longer days with nicer weather is conducive to bike riding right now.  Yes e bikes flatten the hills but the dark and rain of winter is a big deterrent. 

    Metro will absolutely have to add significant bus service to WS, this really is the only viable option in the Fall when activity picks up and the weather turns south.

  • Chemist May 18, 2020 (11:12 pm)

    This survey appears hastily thrown together.  It starts out on a description page citing being funded by a program that had no funding “The project is funded by SDOT’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.”  Meanwhile, the actual project page says “This project is funded by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015.”  I’m pretty sure that some money was allocated from the sale of the Mercer Megablock to fund Vision Zero priorities….  including the HPW improvement that The Urbanist felt wasn’t a priority.

    Like every place in the city, no collisions at this intersection would be the goal. But the data showing this spot in the middle of the pack for collisions, with few serious injuries reported, begs the question of how it was prioritized to the top of the list to receive these one-time funds being allocated to Vision Zero.

  • Kayo May 19, 2020 (6:45 am)

    I fully support separated bike lanes. Always. When you have ridden a bike to work and seen the condition of a lot of sidewalks you might understand how dangerous they can be to someone on a bike. I also want to point out a safety issue that I noticed when we were coming home from outside of WS last weekend. There was a huge lineup of cars heading north on West Marginal to go straight through the light and and up to the north end of WS. In order to bypass that huge line, we saw multiple people turn left onto HP Way from W Marginal (much shorter line) and promptly do a U-Turn to use the left turn lane and get back onto W Marginal heading north. Meanwhile people fly down HP Way toward them at top speed. Some kind of concrete barrier may be necessary to stop this behavior.  I can imagine this would endanger cyclists as well although the bike lane will be on the other side. 

    • Chemist May 19, 2020 (10:21 am)

      Paint protected bike lanes aren’t much protection compared to what was in the 2014 Bike Master Plan, an off-street bike facility (like the Duwamish Trail).  The 35th NE debacle should have taught some lessons about SDOT building challenging bike facilities/ones that aren’t built to ALEGRA (ages, languages, ethnicities, genders, races, and abilities) standards end up creating more risks than they solve.  If you wouldn’t want to take your child on the bike facility, why are we settling for this vs the off-street bike facility originally planned?

  • Tom Alberts May 19, 2020 (6:54 am)

    I alway’s thought people rode bikes for exersize. What’s the deal with e-bikes? Seems to be a motorcycle without the plates.

    • WSB May 19, 2020 (11:15 am)

      You don’t have the option of pedaling a motorcycle. E-bikes take away the concern about getting up hills.

  • HPResident May 19, 2020 (8:06 am)

    Did anyone try to email HighlandHolden@seattle.gov? I tried just now and got a “Message Blocked” delivery failure response.

  • WSB May 19, 2020 (11:21 am)

    Update: SDOT’s reply to my followup about the entirety of the Highland Park Way hill is in, and yes, they’re proposing removing one downhill motor-vehicle-traffic lane. Full response added above.

    • Steven MC May 19, 2020 (7:00 pm)

      That is absolutely insane.  One lane, coming downhill around a blind corner into a stopped bus or a backup of left turners?  I really hope it won’t take actual blood to open the eyes of whoever is in charge of this unbelievably idiotic plan.

  • WSCommuter2 May 19, 2020 (12:08 pm)

    Reducing HPW car lanes for a bicycle lane is a bad idea.  SDOT, uncover the sidewalks that line HPW.   Start there.  Prove to us you can handle something more than the “manufactured brilliance” of yet road diets.

    • Don Brubeck May 19, 2020 (9:31 pm)

      WSCOMMUTER2 for the entire morning I was out there this week helping dig up the sidewalk on the N side of HP Way, cars and trucks were honking at drivers who were blocking the intersection at HP Way and West Marginal Way.  Drivers from three directions are trying to squeeze into two lanes on HP Way east of WMW to get to the 1st Ave S Bridge. They don’t fit now during the COVID-19 restrictions. It’s not going to get better.  The bridge is the choke point, not HP Way up the hill.  Since they can’t put more lanes on that bridge, the only solutions are to get more people onto buses and bikes. People are afraid to ride the bus. We don’t need SDOT to dig up the sidewalk. Volunteers from HPAC, Duwamish Greenbelt Trails, and West Seattle Bike Connections are doing the section from WMW to the service road to the greenbelt trails.

      • Chemist May 20, 2020 (10:31 am)

        We need SDOT to follow through on the bike master plan and upgrade a sidewalk to a full off-street bike trail, as the bike master plan outlined for HPW.

  • KatHP May 19, 2020 (12:23 pm)

    For 22 years we lived in the small neighborhood that’s tucked away in the greenbelt that hugs the south side of the Highland Park Way hill (We called it Boeing Hill too).  Thankfully for us, this past November we sold our home and moved to Burien. I thank my lucky stars everyday for the fortuitous timing so we can avoid the crazy that HP is and will be for (probably) years to come.Removing a downhill lane on HPW will certainly create a change – and hopefully not too much havoc – for those residents living in my old neighborhood. The only way in or out of our neighborhood is either Othello or Austin (at the new intersection light). I wonder if they’ll make Othello a right turn only option? Turning left out of the ‘hood from Austin to travel UP the hill was already a headache PRIOR to the increased traffic. You have to time it just right because even when there’s a traffic gap in the downhill lanes, cars often *rocket* up the uphill lanes and jump over at the last minute to the thru lane (often with no signal, either). If SDOT removes a downhill lane then even pulling out from Othello to go DOWN the  hill will be a complete cluster. The new traffic light at Austin/Holden/HPW will be more needed than ever for residents to be able to safely exit the neighborhood. I feel for those residents on 7th Place SW who will now see a regular stream of cars from 6th and 7th Avenue SW driving down their small alley-like street to reach the traffic light so they can get out.

  • Ted May 19, 2020 (8:54 pm)

    This is yet another example of the city’s war on automobiles. I also bike and realize there are concerns with sharing the road – but this is not the place. Let’s figure out how to replace the SDOT leaders who:1) Decided to narrow what was a smooth running 99 expressway into a closed off lane for buses only2) Decided to make permanent the healthy streets initiative without public debate or input3) Now this chaos. Limiting the lanes of the most highly trafficked road due to the bridge closure.4) Should I even start about the West Seattle Bridge??Don’t get me started. 

    • K May 19, 2020 (11:26 pm)

      Spot on! Not to mention, it took over a year to repave a mile or so of roadway on Avalon. In any other city that would have been a one month project. Plus they took away dozens of parking spots. 

  • heartless May 20, 2020 (8:46 am)

    Does anyone know if Seattle ever expands sidewalks or puts in protected bike paths where a sidewalk ought to go?  I’m curious about the more north side of HPW SW and just…  It seems like really unattractive and wasted space, and maybe wide enough for a separated bike path?  Just musing, really.

  • miws May 20, 2020 (8:53 am)

    I get so tired of hearing “War on Cars”. There is no war on cars. “Cars” declared war on pedestrians *years* ago; excessive speeding, running red lights and stop signs, blasting into a crosswalk when pedestrians have the WALK light, to make that precious Right-Turn-on-Red even when the crosswalk is obviously occupied with pedestrians, or they are standing on the curb, *in plain view*, getting ready to step off and cross when they get the WALK signal, and the car has a red light, and, the one that is my absolute biggest peeve; flying in and out of parking lots and driveways, across the sidewalk, the place (when and where they exist and are in good repair), should be the pedestrians’ last remaining refuge. The last thing they “own”. Pedestrians, some using mobility devices, also regularly deal with parked cars partially or completely blocking sidewalks. Any of the long, long, overdue changes in recent years that have been proposed and implemented are to simply make things more equitable for *all* forms of human transportation, like that one that has been around millennia before cars; walking, along with bicycling, and to make this safer for differently-abled folks that would have enough of a challenge in navigating around cars, even if “cars” were largely behaving in a safe, responsible, and respectful manner. Do these changes make it a little more inconvenient for cars? Probably so.  But, I have a hunch that no matter how many and what type of changes made in the upcoming years to make things more equitable across all forms of transportation, “cars” will still enjoy the largest benefit overall, if for no other reason than they are the least vulnerable to harm.  Yes, this whole situation with the bridge sucks, but any changes to make it easier for cars to work around it, and to get to and along alternate routes must not come at the expense of the more vulnerable forms of transportation. Again, any implemented so far were a long time coming, as are any remaining proposed ones. There have been some proposed changes across the city that have been altered or rescinded altogether, because, “cars” got all up in arms about stuff “being taken away from them!”. SDOT should do their best to make these next few to several bridgeless years as painless as possible for cars; continue with signal revisions and real-time monitoring, lane and parking revisions, as long as they don’t take away already implemented or proposed safety and mobility improvements for the more vulnerable forms of transportation. Once again, they have been way too long in coming. As others have pointed out here on WSB many times; there’s just no way that the same number of cars are going to be able to get off/on the peninsula as quickly and easily as with the bridges along Spokane St. fully accessible to them. Sacrifices have to be made.I honestly feel bad for those that must commute in/out of West Seattle, I did so for more than two decades, both by bus and car, including by bus, (or as a passenger in a West Seattle-residing coworker’s car), from the time of the “Ship Hitting the Span” in 1978, and on through the entire construction of the highrise bridge. It wasn’t fun.  —Mike

    • heartless May 20, 2020 (11:11 am)

      This is a good post, and I agree. 

      One small thing I’d add is how amazingly good car drivers have it in West Seattle in particular–I’ve lived and driven or ridden in various other cities, and towns, and West Seattle remains one of the easiest places to drive and park.  I sincerely get flummoxed when I come across people bemoaning the plight of drivers.

  • WSCommuter2 May 20, 2020 (9:23 am)

    Totally agree Ted.  SDOT has failed miserably and now are looking to distract with more propaganda on road closures and lane reductions as we head into the fall mayor’s race.  It’s a dog whistle to urbanist progressives.   It’s also tantamount to an admission that the lower bridge will be closed during the upper bridge remediation in whatever form it takes.  So, as usual SDOT hasn’t thought through what happens when Metro has to go south to go north during those upcoming lower bridge closures.   I don’t think it is corruption this time, but just flat out incompetence.   Why has SDOT not proposed anything with Wash State to make the ramp onto the 1st Ave S bridge more functional?  There’s enough room to split the lane into 2 so that those wanting to go N on 99 are able to merge off to the left and those who are waiting to exit to head east to I5 are waiting to the right.  That’s only a minor improvement, but better than doing nothing for the current back ups that loop well beyond Seafreeze.  People who haven’t ebiked up that HPW hill for a winter commute don’t understand that range will be an issue for batteries with less than 500wh or older batteries or the reality that batteries drain faster in cold conditions making your range reading dicey.  A ebiker would need a minimum of 750-1000wh if they can’t charge their bike after the morning outbound commute.  And if the (head)winds are out of the SW as they often are returning in the evening it will put even more of a load on a battery.  Good luck with that.

  • HD May 20, 2020 (1:08 pm)

    Looking at that Flyer HP residents got (thx for the link), this may be were the confusion lies: “SDOT staff will also take into account new
    traffic volumes with the closure of the West Seattle
    Bridge and restrictions on the Low Bridge (Spokane
    Street Bridge)”.
       Makes me think they’re conflating their long-time promise to fix a dangerous intersection/stretch with solving for the current ‘bridge crisis.  They’re two exercises with potentially overlapping & conflicting goals.  Good for SDOT to “take this into consideration” now; otherwise we’d all criticize them for not ‘considering’, right.  But this sounds like one instance where they may conclude to separately solve for the bridge crisis, promptly.  And make sure they keep their long-standing promise on the table, incorporating as many safety elements as possible. Per WSB above (However, we know that Highland Park Way SW is one of the most heavily used detour routes into and out of West Seattle).  It seems wrong at this time to reduce auto lanes for an uphill bike lane.  The larger focus should be on safe travel for people trying to get into and out of WS.  Property values certainly won’t benefit from making this travel more difficult.

    • Ice May 20, 2020 (4:40 pm)

      “It seems wrong at this time to reduce auto lanes for an uphill bike lane.  The larger focus should be on safe travel for people trying to get into and out of WS. Property values certainly won’t benefit from making this travel more difficult.There is a lot of good data out there showing that bike lanes make roads safer for all users (IE bikes, pedestrians and cars) so I am confused how using a proven method to improve safety would cut away at a larger focus of safe travel. Bike lanes tend to be associated with higher property value as well. I think that a grade-separated bike lane on this uphill would be more desirable for cyclists than what is being proposed, but the proposed changes will almost certainly improve safety for everyone and quite possibly improve home values.

  • dcn May 20, 2020 (5:30 pm)

    The response from SDOT says they will be looking at new traffic data in the coming weeks to help make their decision, but traffic is currently a fraction of what it will be when everyone goes back to work. They need to table this plan until they have data for when everyone is back at work–sometime in 2021, hopefully.

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