Highland Park Way/Holden ‘temporary’ signal to stay around longer

(March 2020 photo)

Shortly after the West Seattle Bridge’s abrupt closure in March 2020, SDOT installed a traffic signal at Highland Park Way and Holden – an intersection where community members had long been begging for help. The signal was described at the time as “temporary.” It was scheduled to be replaced by a “permanent” signal this fall. Today, SDOT announced it’s pushing back construction of the permanent signal until after the West Seattle Bridge reopens. From the announcement:

We originally scheduled construction at this intersection for fall 2021. Out of sensitivity for Highland Park neighbors who are already experiencing increased traffic, and the travelers who use the intersection, construction on the signal will now begin after the bridge reopens in 2022. This is to ease the impact on people living in Highland Park of more congestion and more cut-through traffic. We expect to select a contractor later this year.

Prior to the high bridge closure, we had already been working with the community to better understand needs for this intersection. The Highland Park community had been asking for changes at this busy intersection, which has been the site of several crashes and safety issues. Poor sight distances, high speeds, travel lane confusion, and a lack of curbs and crosswalks for pedestrians have contributed to these issues.

The project has reached final design and we expect to select a contractor for building the changes next year after the high bridge reopens to traffic.

The final project design includes:

• A more durable traffic signal with metal poles that have signal lights instead of lights connected to wooden poles.
• The signal will also include traffic cameras to monitor and adjust the signal in real-time, as well as vehicle detection in the pavement so the signal can recognize when a person driving is waiting at the light.
• Rebuilding all four corners of the intersection with new American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible concrete curb ramps and curb bulbs.
• Painting permanent crosswalks at each crossing.

This is the intersection where a roundabout once was proposed, but eventually scrapped because required grading cost too much.

14 Replies to "Highland Park Way/Holden 'temporary' signal to stay around longer"

  • Leave it August 11, 2021 (11:24 pm)

    Just make it permanent, why would it even be removed?

    • WSB August 11, 2021 (11:38 pm)

      As explained above, to be replaced by “A more durable traffic signal with metal poles that have signal lights instead of lights connected to wooden poles.”

    • It is staying! August 12, 2021 (9:41 am)

      haha Leave it… I was confused for a second until I read the entire post which clearly indicates there are plans to update what is installed with additional features and a more permanent structure. The light is not going anywhere :)

  • Chemist August 11, 2021 (11:47 pm)

    I’d bet 2 cents they’re hoping to revive the (cheaper and easier for SDOT) uphill paint-separated bike lane instead of the community-suggested upgraded path on the East side of HPW and don’t want a constructed intersection to be an obstacle. 

    People biking on Highland Park Way SW. Prior to the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure, this project began design on an uphill bike lane on Highland Park Way SW from West Marginal Way SW to the Highland/Holden intersection. This would have required a vehicle lane reduction to accommodate the extra space for the bike lane. This design was shared with the community in early summer 2020 and we learned this was not desired while Highland Park Way SW was being used as a detour route during the West Seattle Bridge closure. Instead, we heard from many community members and the bike community that a widened path on the east side of Highland Park Way SW from the intersection to West Marginal Way SW could be a good alternative to the uphill bike lane.At this time, the Reconnect West Seattle project team is looking at how this widened path would integrate into the full bike network in West Seattle. We are determining feasibility and funding options while gathering further input from the community and neighborhood.  

  • John Smith August 12, 2021 (5:19 am)

    Gee, thanks, SDOT. After speed limit decreases, speed humps, curb bulbs, tearing up newish concrete for a new “rapid transit” bus line while people quit riding the bus,  street “closures” for “healthy streets,” damage to streets by heavy buses, new stop signs, new “greenways,” etc., it’s nice to read that you are thinking of us.

  • Flivver August 12, 2021 (6:51 am)

    After the bridge reopens in 2022……that gives our beloved sdot 365 days of leeway.

  • Delridge Resident August 12, 2021 (8:06 am)

    Is there an analysis available that compares the direct costs, indirect costs, traffic capacity/flow, and accident risks between roundabouts and traffic light solutions at this intersection?

    • Auntie August 12, 2021 (9:51 am)

      I can guarantee you that a roundabout would be a nightmare at this intersection, even after the high bridge opens and there is less traffic here. People around here don’t seem to be able to figure out how a roundabout actually works (ever gone through the intersection at SW 108th & 8th Ave SW?) as yielding to the left is a foreign concept to many. Well, actually, yielding is a foreign concept to many.

      • They August 12, 2021 (12:09 pm)

        I would have to agree, I have been a eb computer since the bridge closure and impulse control has never been lower…would be a disaster in a roundabout 

        • trickycoolj August 12, 2021 (12:34 pm)

          I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how quick the traffic line up goes with a light allowing a long stretch of traffic turning from Holden downhill in the mornings. In the past if you were backed up to 13th it was faster to go around (sorry HP neighbors) now with the light that line clears in 2 cycles. Much faster than staying in line in the before times and much faster than going around. Roundabout would introduce all the same hesitation per car to go with limited visibility rather than the light that takes turns. Grew up in Thurston County when they got roundabout happy in the early 00s when I was in drivers Ed. So many side swipe accidents in the 2 lane circles. 

  • wstrafficjams August 12, 2021 (12:58 pm)

    Are there any plans to alleviate the congestion caused by drivers going up the hill (west) and then stopping to make an illegal left turn into Pioneer Manufacturing? Traffic in both directions is disrupted when people attempt to cross the double yellow line to go into the complex.         

    • Auntie August 12, 2021 (3:59 pm)

      If people would observe the “don’t block the box” crosshatching, the westbound/uphill vehicles going into Pioneer wouldn’t have to stop and block traffic, now would they? But even though drivers eastbound on HPW are sitting still, waiting for the light to change, people insist on crowding close to the car in front of them (wow – a whole 20 feet they gain) instead of leaving the driveway open.

    • John Smith August 12, 2021 (5:46 pm)

      Double yellow line does not mean “no left turn” unless the yellow lines are wide (I don’t remember how wide). Double yellow lines mean “no passing” in either direction.

    • Huh August 12, 2021 (6:35 pm)

      Why would they put the hash marks and signage to not block the area if you can’t turn.  Just think about for a minute. It is legal to turn there.  

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