Bumps? Bulbs? Time for your feedback on draft side-street ‘Home Zone’ plans, unveiled @ HPAC

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Shut down the busiest street in the city, and suddenly numerous other streets have to deal with unprecedented traffic trouble.

10 months after the West Seattle Bridge closure, SDOT is still working on ways to handle that – including the Home Zone program, a major topic at Wednesday night’s meeting of HPAC, the neighborhood coalition for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge. After community conversations and walking tours, draft plans have just debuted, and it’s time for your feedback, via a new survey.

Here’s a video recording of the meeting. First, what you need to know about what’s being proposed:

RECONNECT WEST SEATTLE/HOME ZONE: Danielle Friedman from the Department of Neighborhoods and Shauna Walgren, Sara Zora, and David Burgesser from SDOT were there. Walgren started the Home Zone presentation. She showed what they found in their investigation of side streets:

For south Highland Park, here’s the draft plan, showing where traffic-calming features including speed bumps (humps) and painted curb bulbs would be added:

Walgren pointed out that 15th SW gets a lot of use – 2,000 cars a day. SW Barton will become a Neighborhood Greenway, which was described as long-planned, this year.

For the Riverview section of the plan, SDOT’s David Burgesser showed that draft:

In particular, SDOT reps explained, SW Holden west of 16th needs to be made more like a neighborhood street, since it was never meant to be an arterial, though it is getting that kind of use right now. There may also be future Seattle Public Utilities projects in the area, like “natural drainage.” At Dumar/Orchard, they’ll add radar speed signs and upgrade the Austin transit stop. There’ll also be speed humps on 12th SW along Riverview Playfield, and there’ll be a new walkway along the south side of the playfield.

Here’s the draft plan for north Highland Park:

They’re evaluating Neighborhood Greenway route options for that area.

Now it’s time for your feedback. A community survey just opened yesterday and will run through February 15th. You can answer it here (four language options). The timeline after that:

And if you want SDOT-provided yard signs in the meantime to remind drivers to slow down, stop for pedestrians, etc.? westseattlebridge@seattle.gov is where to email your request.

“It’s a really robust plan,” commented HPAC/HPIC’s Kay Kirkpatrick.

Attendees brought up trouble spots around the area; if they don’t appear to be addressed by the plan, the SDOT reps said, bring them up in the survey. One concern was no-through-traffic Stay Healthy Streets and some non-positive effects, such as resulting traffic pressure on nearby streets. The signage changes haven’t made a difference, said residents. The designation of part of SW Trenton, which was brought up in the early going as problematic, still is. The city will launch a survey about that separately, Burgesser noted.

Other questions included: Why speed bumps on 12th instead of 11th, since the latter is more used for biking and walking? Also, given the traffic circles on 12th, are the speed humps really necessary? They’re very effective, was the reply, especially considering how long the blocks are.

Note that these plans will not result in a postal mailing to residents – the SDOT team claimed there was no money for that – so if you’re in the area, make sure your neighbors know about the survey.

Two other shorter discussions with guests at Wednesday night’s meeting:

WESTWOOD-HIGHLAND PARK NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING: Janet Shull from the city gave a quick overview of what’s ahead. She’s from the city Office of Planning and Community Development. Though a citywide update on the Comprehensive Plan will be launched this year, this is not part of that. It’ll be similar to the North Delridge Action Plan and Duwamish Valley Action Plan. A city team is being formed now, from multiple departments, and “team-building” will happen over the next few months. The entire planning effort will last a year and a half to two years. At the heart of it, a year spent planning key strategies – and deciding what outcomes are desired. But if something needs to be done along the way, it won’t have to wait “until a formal plan.” You can email her with thoughts at janet.shull@seattle.gov. A webpage for the project will be launched within a few weeks and it’ll include a signup for email updates.

POLICE UPDATE: Southwest Precinct night-shift Lt. Chris Johnson updated the Highland Park assault case (the suspect was arrested hours later – here’s our followup from Thursday). Overall, operationally, he said “We’re doing the best we can with what we have” and mentioned, as he had during the Alki Community Council meeting last week (WSB coverage here), staffing woes. “I’m not going to sugar-coat it to you guys.” They are hiring, but “the hiring process is slow” – a year between offer and hitting the streets; training takes time. He invited questions and community concerns. One person living on the south side of Westcrest Park mentioned a problem house where there had been a shooting a few weeks ago. He stressed, every time you see something happen, call 911. “When you hammer these little problems, they don’t become big problems.” How do you get through the 911 operator, who might dismiss the call? Stress “I want to talk to an officer in person” … because “then they have to put the call through.” If you still have trouble, then ask to speak to the dispatcher’s supervisor. If they don’t get calls, they don’t know what’s going on, and they might further lose resources. “The citizens of Seattle have to say, no more, (and that) they want their streets back.” Another question was about LEAD coming to the Southwest Precinct. Contrary to what’s been said before by city and other reps, Lt. Johnson said he hadn’t heard anything about that. Aaron Burkhalter from the Public Defender Association, which is closely involved with LEAD, was among the attendees and says they’ve talked with the mayor’s office and received a few referrals.

NEXT MEETING: HPAC usually meets on fourth Wednesdays, online, at 7 pm. Watch hpacws.org for updates.

17 Replies to "Bumps? Bulbs? Time for your feedback on draft side-street 'Home Zone' plans, unveiled @ HPAC"

  • Kyle January 29, 2021 (12:53 pm)

    What will “wheel stop curbing and conveyance swales” look like? Trying to understand what that design element will look like in my head. Agree with most of what’s been outlined here for the plan. Glad SDOT is working with HPAC on this! Would love to see a lot of this implemented quickly.

  • reed January 29, 2021 (1:46 pm)

    Here is a conveyance swale on 49th Ave SW just south of Brandon


  • L January 29, 2021 (4:21 pm)

    It’s going to be really difficult to make any meaningful changes, traffic will just divert to other side streets.    Instead of wasting time on this, why doesn’t SDOT get with the program and accelerate the timeline for getting the bridge fixed.     It should not take so long.   Opening up the lower bridge to more cars would also help a lot as well.   There is just no good reason for closing the bridge to cars so early in the day (especially on weekends).

    • Wsbridge January 30, 2021 (8:35 am)

      I totally agree with you L, I think it should be a red flag that there’s time and money being spent on ways around the bridge.  

  • Chris January 29, 2021 (4:36 pm)

    Holden West of 16th was never meant to be an arterial?   Says who?  The people who let the WS Bridge fail over 7 years of watching cracks form?  Tell that to everyone who lives on the top of High Point Hill…   been an arterial for me for the time I’ve lived up there.   If SDOT would actually take care of the goat trails, I mean “roads”.  35th Ave SW is terrible from Roxbury to Alaska.   16th Ave SW is terrible north of Holden. Complete squandering of our tax dollars.   

  • Craig January 29, 2021 (8:16 pm)

     On the first Home Zone walk,  a group of local volunteers and SDOT planners  observed the clearly hazardous scene along this stretch of SW Holden.  One  SDOT rep stated that the road was an arterial although the department’s  maps say otherwise, as did one of the same SDOT reps when they returned during last night’s hpac meeting.  I’m not sure that road designation really matters.  Following these improvements , drivers will still be able to pass through but at slower speeds,  making it safer for neighbors to cross the street.     We’ve heard form SPU  that the location may be a good fit for work that the department  is required to do to lessen the impacts of the combined sewer system on Longfellow Creek  –  This could be a win for the neighborhood,  for salmon,  and for driver safety-   not a waste of money.  Thanks to all city reps and volunteers for your parts in making the most of this opportunity. 

  • Dan January 29, 2021 (8:45 pm)

    Adding speed bumps to Holden has got to be a joke right? I realize people who live in the area don’t appreciate the traffic increase but if we’re going to put speed bumps on what has become a main route in and out of West Seattle we might as well add them to the bridge right?  What’s next? Shut down all gas stations in West Seattle?

    • BlairJ January 29, 2021 (8:58 pm)

      The speed humps will be west of 16th, not in the section of Holden between 16th and Highland Park Way.

    • Chris January 31, 2021 (8:54 am)

      Agreed, both Chris and Dan. Just fix the roads and adjust the traffic signals timing where needed. Stop wasting money. Roxbury and Barton road conditions are atrocious!

  • Tyler January 29, 2021 (9:57 pm)

    I think this is great. I live on 15th, and have been advocating for some of these changes since long before the bridge closure. I’m not surprised to read that we have 2000 cars a day going past our house, many of them speeding on their way to Roxbury. More than once, I’ve seen cars passing each other moving in the same direction. Many thanks to HPAC and SDOT for all of their hard work on this!

  • 1994 January 29, 2021 (11:26 pm)

    By the time the SDoT has done any traffic mitigation that is effective the WSB will be repaired and open.  There are very limited west/east corridors in West Seattle. The SDoT should be focused on improving west/east traffic flow instead of hindering it. Trenton and Holden are good streets to start improving traffic flow. As long as the city permits and encourages increased housing density, then the transportation system needs to keep pace with increased population and vehicles. 

  • sherry January 30, 2021 (6:14 am)

    Fix the bridge and all these roads go back to the neighborhoods.  End of problems. Insane to spend money now.

  • Craig January 30, 2021 (8:06 am)

    Arterial throughput is critical for both drivers and for those of us in the neighborhood.  The new light and turn pockets have made a huge improvement in traffic flow through Highland Park.  To your point,  HPAC has heard from neighbors both for and against local Stay Healthy Streets like the those on Trenton and Webster.   Not an easy conversation to have with people who live on non arterial Trenton but the effect of city planners having  intentionally widened the arterial grid  inarguably puts more strain on Barton and other streets.   The Stay Healthy Streets is a City program, not part of the Home Zone but the survey seems like a good place to state your opinions on the  program or these specific locations.  As for the speed bumps on non arterial Holden,  I hope you all will support this aspect of the plan.  If one drives the speed limit for this stretch, these speed humps wont effect travel times as the limiting factor is the narrow “goat trail” switchbacks below and the un-signaled intersection at Delridge Way.  Given the steep grade and hairpin turn on this E-W goat trail, my feeling is that the road is already at capacity and is truly a safety hazard, especially for large trucks who have repeatedly caused backups or accidents at the hairpin.    Please  support this aspect of the plan that will improve on neighborhood livability and will do nothing to stop commuters from using this non arterial route and may in fact improve throughput by discouraging it’s use by large trucks and area visitors once the main arterial direction is made more evident at 16th.  

    • Kyle January 30, 2021 (9:06 pm)

      5 speed humps on that stretch might be a bit excessive though. Especially the two on the decline where you are already braking. Might lead to some warped brakes over time. But I would take it over the speedway it is now. Agree the limiting factor is the tight turns.

  • JT January 30, 2021 (12:56 pm)

    What happened to the discussion about opening the upper bridge to emergency vehicle traffic only and re-opening the lower bridge to all vehicles.

    • WSB January 30, 2021 (1:08 pm)

      That has never been formally proposed. Comes up in comments now and then.

  • Millie January 30, 2021 (7:46 pm)

    “L” you’re spot on!   The CIty and SDOT are spending money on everything but bridge and road maintenance.  Signage has gone up overnight regarding the 25 MPH speed limit (which by the way is mostly ignored)!   Let’s fix the West Seattle Bridge and maintain our roads/bridges.

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