DELRIDGE PROJECT: What’s happening soon – and what isn’t, thanks to neighbors’ pushback

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

While the major road project under way along much of Delridge Way right now is officially the RapidRide H Line conversion project, that doesn’t quite cover what’s happening – rebuilding miles of street in concrete, replacing old water pipes and other utility connections … and, eventually, installing high-tech bus stops.

The work began in June and has more than a year to go. We met with SDOT project-team members online Wednesday to talk about major work coming up.

But first – the story of what’s not happening, thanks to neighbors’ pushback. It’s a reason to pay close attention to what shows up in your mailbox or on your doorknob. Residents were surprised last week to get flyers like this about a plan for “diverters” on 26th at Genesee and at Brandon:

The neighbor who sent us that photo of the flyer said, “They are supposed to help calm traffic and help bicyclists, but the larger impact will be on residents in the area: Once installed, the diverter on Genesee will prevent residents on 26th south of Genesee from turning left [west] to head up to the commercial and services areas of The Junction and Admiral District–among others. In addition, residents heading west on Genesee will no longer be able to turn left [south] into their neighborhoods along 26th SW.”

The diverters were not in the original plan; SDOT’s project spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth says it was a relatively late addition. Nonetheless, he also tells us that SDOT heard neighbors’ concerns loud and clear and have dropped the plan. He says the West Seattle Bridge closure and COVID-19 teleworking have reduced the North Delridge cut-through traffic anyway – the traffic that was the target of the now-scrapped diverters.

As for the project overall, Ducksworth says it’s on schedule so far, with its 15-month first phase proceeding in multiple zones simultaneously. Some weekend and night work will start up soon. On the weekends of 8/8 and 8/15, for example, SW Genesee will be closed between 25th and Delridge (with traffic limited to “local access only” on Genesee east of Avalon). Delridge will remain open both ways; Metro Route 50 will be rerouted.

The weekend of August 8th, there will also be some nighttime water work at SW Edmunds.

One more project point: Businesses remain open, and SDOT says they are working with the city Office of Economic Development to ensure people are aware of this. Ducksworth says crews are ensuring that there’s always a way to access the businesses in the work zones, so don’t let the sight of construction chase you away from any of the restaurants and other small businesses along Delridge.

Watch for project updates every Friday; for a refresher on the full plans, the project website is here, with info on how to sign up for project updates, as well as how to reach the project team with questions/concerns.

35 Replies to "DELRIDGE PROJECT: What's happening soon - and what isn't, thanks to neighbors' pushback"

  • A July 30, 2020 (3:53 pm)

    I’m still REALLY confused why this construction can’t happen at night?  I don’t live around there so I can’t speak to the noise, if it is but feel like we just keep getting kicked in the shins over here on the island. Also would love to know (separately) if the council members are considered “essential” because I would love to know that they too have to sit in the hell on earth that is the traffic. 

    • Betsy July 30, 2020 (6:21 pm)

      The noise is INSANE. The construction folks clearly sit on the machines at 6:59 am waiting for the stroke of 7, and they do something incredibly loud — jackhammering, dropping a load of metal — at precisely 7 every morning. And it continues on and off all day. For folks who live directly on delridge, it shakes the building. It would be pure torture at night. I mean its’ gonna be great… in two years… 

      • Earlybird July 30, 2020 (7:23 pm)

        Those of us who live along Delridge are in for the first round of “night work” starting next week, per a flyer on our mailboxes today. In their words, we can look forward to “noise, vibration and lights” from 7pm-6am. Because they aren’t making enough noise during the day while we’re on conference calls.

    • Jake July 30, 2020 (6:26 pm)

      Are you confused by the fact that people live -on- Delridge, and the construction work includes piledriving, front loader excavation, and other earthquake-inducing vibration / sound?Or have you never experienced this and have no human empathy?

    • Vic July 30, 2020 (7:08 pm)

      I guarantee the council is able to work remotely from home via video chat.

    • Geoffrey Swenson July 31, 2020 (11:22 am)

      If you want it to take longer, and keep you awake with the noise they could do it at night. It also is pretty hard to do such difficult work in the dark.Sure it’s a problem, but it is rather necessary improvements. I don’t like the way it makes going to home depot or white center take so long, but OTOH I really like all the fun machines they use it’s like my old tonka trucks in the sandbox but real..

    • CannibalWarrior August 7, 2020 (9:11 pm)

      I live on Delridge and the amount of noise is insane. Due to the vibrations it’s impossible to sleep through it in my street faceing bedroom even with headphones in. Nothing blocks out the intense vibrations of the jackhammering. And the poster Betsy is 100% correct about the loud drops and bangs first thing every morning between 645 and 7. I naively didn’t realize how long this was going to continue. Woof. 

  • Tracey July 30, 2020 (4:28 pm)

    Were the no turn signs already installed?  I swear I saw them the other night driving home and was confused wondering if I had missed them all this time.  There were no “new traffic signal” signs to indicate a change.  

    • Steven Engle July 30, 2020 (7:45 pm)

      The “no left turn” signs went up ~2 weeks ago – with no advance notice. Last time I checked, 3 days ago, they were still there. Hopefully they have since been removed. Glad to hear this “diverters” project has been cancelled. No left turns makes no sense.

  • Fun Fun Fun July 30, 2020 (4:53 pm)

    For those people who live south of Genesee, but between Delridge and 26th avenue we’re seriously running out of capacity to reach our homes with nearly all the cross streets on Delridge closed Genesee is one of the few routes available. Will they re-open any of the closed Delridge Way cross streets before they begin the work that closes Genesee?

    • Michelle July 30, 2020 (5:51 pm)

      I sent a message to them and their reply was, “use the alley”. Are you seriously telling me that it is a responsible thing to divert traffic down alleys — sometimes the only safe place for children to play away from traffic? I think the person who decided staging did a really poor job of understanding the full impact.

    • Jake July 30, 2020 (5:54 pm)

      Re-read the blog. The diverters are no longer being installed.

      • Hilary July 30, 2020 (7:28 pm)

        The diverters have been canceled, yes, but I believe this is in reference to the new notice we got today that they will be closing Genesee at Delridge for two consecutive weekends. This is an issue because Juneau is our only way out to the south, and with parked cars, it’s really only one lane. AND there was a crew and flagged on Juneau today between 25th and 26th. I know that’s only temporary, but we sure felt penned in today!

        • Hilary July 31, 2020 (7:27 am)

          Oops. Sub Findlay for every time I referenced Juneau. Perils of being a landmark direction-giver because I’m terrible with street names.

    • Fun Fun Fun July 30, 2020 (9:08 pm)

      It was in reference to Genesee being closed. From SW Alaska through SW Brandon all of the intersections at the west side of Delridge are closed for construction equipment storage and whatnot. With Genesee closed SW Findlay street is the only cross street we can use to get out and I haven’t even gotten into how the streets have extremely wide easements and the extra giant vehicles parked on both sides of the roads, these roads in particular are barely one lane roads now.

  • Melinda J-S July 30, 2020 (4:55 pm)

    Hip, hip, hooray!  SDOT does listen to us!  Grateful to all the neighbors who took action on this harebrained idea.

    • Kathleen Warren July 30, 2020 (5:27 pm)

      Thanks so much to you and all the neighbors who mobilized us!

      • Kathy July 30, 2020 (7:10 pm)

        Great, now SDOT should take out parking on one side of 26th Ave SW between  Andover and Genesee and put in bike lanes. That stretch of the greenway is totally unsafe for biking  due to cut through traffic and narrow roadway due to too many parked cars. SDOT decided to take out bike lanes on the north end of Delridge Way because the neighbors wanted meridian planters. Instead they said use the greenway, we’ll make it safer.  So they need to do that because this is a major bike commuting corridor. Isn’t the city saying more people need to bike because of the bridge crisis?

        • Aaron July 30, 2020 (9:27 pm)

          26th is terrible for bicycle commuting for all the reasons you stated, plus I’d add super tough to get across Genesee when traffic is heavy, geography is terrible for bicycling, and the stupid greenway speedbumps are miserable on a bicycle. It would be MUCH better for there to just be a dedicated bike path on the most direct, best geography, and shortest distance…Delridge all the way.  There is room, SDOT just decided not to do it. 

          • Foop August 3, 2020 (9:45 am)

            We should give alternate forms of transportation right of way on delridge. Most direct, fastest, and downhill for bikes, busses, etc. If you want to drive your car, have at 26th. Make biking and bussing faster and safer than driving, and more people will get on a bike or take the bus when the weather is crappy.inb4 “NoT eVeRyOnE cAn RiDe A bIkE” – a net more people biking and bussing will overall improve car traffic even if you are diverted through roads like 26th. If you can’t ride a bike, or take the bus, shut up, or speak up that more people should so your commute can also get easier.

          • Nag August 4, 2020 (11:40 am)

            I was told directly by SDOT that “there just isn’t enough room for bike lanes” on Delridge but somehow they were able to add a tree lined median and preserved two lanes of parallel parking in the process…

    • david August 1, 2020 (9:03 am)

  • Betsy July 30, 2020 (5:38 pm)

    Trying to get in and out of our house, on 26th South of Juneau, is pretty wacky, with major disruption on 24th and Delridge, closure on every street that crosses Delridge except for Findlay, and new townhomes connecting to the gas lines at Findlay with construction crews diverting traffic. It occurs to me that if we had an emergency, it would really be a challenge for emergency crews to get to our neighborhood. Forgive me if this has already been discussed, but is there a plan in place for that possibility? 

  • Macs July 30, 2020 (6:31 pm)

    While the diverters were badly designed, an alternative could have easily been provided that could have satisfied most folks. No improvements here will continue to put bikers at risk, especially at a time when biking is being looked to as a transportation solution during the bridge closure.I’ve been commuting to/from Youngstown by bike for 7+ years; in that time I’ve seen two dead cyclists on my route, witnessed another hit by a car and had to provide my testimony to the police, and waited with another hit and run victim to be picked up by an ambulance. Seeing as how there will be no improvements/commitments to the safety of cyclists now or for the foreseeable future, I don’t see a safe future for myself as a carless resident of north Delridge and will probably need to consider an alternative.

  • Chemist July 30, 2020 (7:41 pm)

    Good job of taking notice about the diverters.  The project website SDOT maintained said “last updated Nov 5” into late March with “feedback from 60% design still being evaluated for inclusion in final design: – Evaluating the need for a neighborhood greenway diverter at 26th Ave SW and SW Genesee St by collecting new data and comparing it with our standards” and then in a Mar 31st update it went to “Added 2 traffic diverters on the 26th Ave SW neighborhood greenway, at SW Genesee St and SW Brandon St, more information below … Community feedback from 90% design that was included: Added a neighborhood greenway diverter at 26th Ave SW and SW Genesee St after collecting new  data, evaluating the need and comparing it with our standards” with no publication of the standards or evaluation data and significantly reduced chances for discussion/feedback thanks to COVID19 safety measures.  Someone dropped the ball on open discussion of that design feature.

  • Don Brubeck July 30, 2020 (7:56 pm)

    Very disappointing that SDOT did not review the diverter design in advance with bike riders and residents who asked for a way to stop cut through traffic.  The design in the flyer is clearly a problem.  We asked for a “half-diverter” that would not stop southbound vehicle traffic from continuing south, and would allow for left and right turns by drivers on 26th, and would allow for emergency vehicle access both ways.  There are good working examples in Seattle. They may not be needed right now, but will be once the bridge is back in business and the pandemic is behind us. 

  • Steve July 30, 2020 (7:56 pm)

    A further complication is that SW Brandson St at Delridge is now closed. That means 4 adjacent Delridge access roads are now now closed (5 when the Genesee access is blocked), making access to the neighborhoods around the West Seattle Golf course very difficult to get to/from. I consider this a safety hazard, emergency vehicles will have significant detours responding to an emergency in the area, especially with 25th  essentially now a one-lane road due to all the street parking overflowing on to it.

  • robert vogt July 30, 2020 (9:11 pm)

    Last night, about 10 :PM heard a low frequency sound coming from the west…Could have been thunder, from a long distance away..Could not identify the source…Anyone else heard the sound?

    • Alan July 31, 2020 (12:13 am)

      Robert. Yes, I heard it last night, same timeframe, and heard it another night as well. I live on 41st facing West. I am very familiar with the recycling plant noises and this wasn’t that. I would love to know what it it was. It didn’t seem like thunder to me. 

      • North Delridge Neighbor August 1, 2020 (10:20 pm)

        Hi Alan and Robert, I happened to be in the south sound area, 10pm on the night you are referring to, and witnessed a lightning/thunder storm moving east from my position.  The storm was moving toward seattle/tacoma.  Lots of lighting and thunder but no sign of thick rain clouds.  

  • Dakota neighbor July 30, 2020 (9:15 pm)

    The street closure signs on SW Dakota Street said no parking until July 7th, and on Delridge near the community center August 3rd.  When questioning this today with the contractor they said the project goes until the end of September.  So, we have lost access for our neighborhood for 3 months, with no communication. Sounds like some poor planning (if any planning) for this project.   

  • Fiona July 30, 2020 (9:57 pm)

    We live near the construction. Yes, it’s loud. Yes, it is annoying to have to drive in a maze to leave our house. But the workers out there are doing a great job. They keep the dust down, they work fast, they are friendly and respectful. This is hard work in the hot sun. And it is all work to make our neighborhood better. Let’s keep our eye on the bigger picture and give these workers a break. 

  • ACG July 30, 2020 (10:11 pm)

    I hadn’t been on Delridge since this project began and had to get to the Delridge playfields the other night. Oh my word!!  It was nuts!  I am so sorry for all you folks living in the middle of this right now.  Hang in there- my thoughts are with you!

  • 1994 July 30, 2020 (10:31 pm)

    I don’t reside in the immediate area of 26th and Genesee but I was so outraged by seeing the diverters preventing a left turn from 26th onto westbound Genesee I wrote to the SDOT on April 20 asking this question:I noticed that the reconfiguration plan on 26th Ave SW a northbound driver will not be allowed to continue across Genesee because only a right turn towards Delridge will be permitted from 26th. I work at one of the large office buildings and sometimes drive to the buildings north on 26th because Delridge is backed up. 26th provides a back way to the parking lots for both of the office buildings and gets traffic off of Delridge that doesn’t need to contribute to the back up. I think the intersection of 26th and Genesee should be left as it is. Also, residents from the area would need to take a detour to get up to the Junction area. This seems like it is causing drivers to take detours, and is not moving traffic efficiently, especially now that there is a traffic light at Genesee and Avalon.Here is the Delridge Transit Outreach Team reply June 15 to my question/comment:The 26th Ave SW Neighborhood Greenway has been identified as an important bike connection throughout the Delridge neighborhood. After feedback from the community and a new evaluation of traffic on this neighborhood greenway, we identified the need for traffic reduction measures to increase safety and reduce travel times for people biking on the neighborhood greenway. This improvement will help balance the needs of both people driving and people biking in this area.Please let us know if you have any further questions.Thank you,Delridge Transit Outreach Team

  • WSlite July 31, 2020 (9:38 am)

    Yeah, those no turn signs on 26th & Genesee were just plain silly to have installed at all. Right now, they have garbage bags covering them. When the signs were put up in plain view, I saw a lot of drivers still turning left when sign clearly said ‘no left turn‘. Sooo many residents go westbound towards the Junction all the time, they need to go shopping for necessities, etc. Understandably so. Honestly, I was shocked when I saw signs installed last week. I never received any sort of notice from SDOT either and I live only 3 blocks from that location. What a hot mess that would’ve been and not very logical. Glad SDOT listened to residents, thank you! It is already chaotic having so many entrances/exits closed off along Delridge Way. It’s a big project yes, but with the bridge down too just always seems like we’re being Detoured somewhere, going to/from home and work and running errands. It’s such a relief when you finally arrive home after all the detours, broken bridges and train traffic. Seattle has definitely overgrown itself I must say. Side note: those construction workers along Delridge Way are very friendly and are working hard in the heat constantly. Kudos to them for doing such great work, seems like they’re always moving quickly to get the project done. Stay hydrated out there!

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