FOLLOWUP: Delridge pathway project wraps up

(SDOT photo)

One month ago, we reported on the pedestrian-pathway project at the north end of Delridge Way, after a reader inquiry about its status. Today, SDOT says the work is complete – here’s the wrapup:

When the West Seattle Bridge closed to traffic in March 2020, pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the Delridge Trail increased significantly. This is the most used route for people walking between West Seattle and the east side of the bridge. After completing a stairway upgrade at SW Charlestown St and Delridge Way, the crews started working on improving the Delridge Pedestrian Trail.

The goal was to provide more protection for people walking and to increase the width of the pathway. The project required roadway structural mechanics to build a custom railing nearly 330 feet long. To install the rail, they cut fifty-two holes in the concrete which were each 12-inches deep and 12-inches in diameter. The crews then removed the remaining rubble and soil using a hydro-excavating truck, leaving holes three feet deep. With the additional height of the curb, the railing is set into 3.5 feet of concrete, giving the railing added strength to withstand possible collisions.

To create the pathway, crews excavated the area alongside the path, removing overgrown vegetation and taking the surface down low enough to place an additional 18 inches of asphalt increasing the width of the pathway to around 9 feet.

24 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Delridge pathway project wraps up"

  • Flivver September 14, 2021 (7:07 pm)

    WSB. What’s up with the staircase/retaining wall work on Admiral way-just before Spokane St.??

  • Delridge bike commuter September 14, 2021 (7:42 pm)

    As a bicycle commuter that uses this stretch daily, I can promise the design is terrible and is way more dangerous now than it was without the railing.  The railing is so high it can grab your handlebars if you are not riding in the center of the sidewalk. Add the width from curb to railing, and SDOT effectively made the bike/walking path half as wide.  They added a bit of asphalt between the sidewalk and the falling down retaining wall, but the width varies from zero to maybe a foot and a half. Add the overgrown vegetation which is largely blackberries, and the path is effectively 2 foot wide of useable space. average bicycle handlebars are like 18″-24″.  Two way bicycle traffic is dangerous on this path!! Does anyone who designs these terrible “upgrades” actually USE them? 

    • Andrew Rodriguez September 14, 2021 (8:21 pm)

      No, SDOT doesn’t use most of what they design. I ride this stretch as well. “We need more bike riders, here use this crappy trail that makes it more dangerous for you.”

    • Anonymous Coward September 15, 2021 (7:02 am)

      To be fair, it doesn’t sound like they were thinking about bicyclists at all.  From the quoted statement “This is the most used route for people walking…” and “The goal was to provide more protection for people walking…”

    • Fellow bike commuter September 15, 2021 (8:22 am)

      I couldn’t agree more!! That railing will create far more crashes than not, specially as the days get shorter and most of us will be commuting in the dark. 

    • SamG September 15, 2021 (8:30 am)

      Another rider nearly clipped me yesterday. Everyone riding bikes in this area now needs to take extra caution. And walkers should probably avoid altogether.

  • Jay September 14, 2021 (8:06 pm)

    That sounds like an absurdly overengineered railing, especially since most potential collisions are between bikers and walkers on the trail. Has a car ever crashed onto that trail before?

    • Delridge bike commuter September 14, 2021 (10:15 pm)

      Not to mention that the railing is on the INSIDE of the corner for cars, which is rarely the path of destruction in a turn.  If a car actually crashed into the railing towards a walker or bicycle, it would more likely fold over and trap them underneath since the railing is taller than the sidewalk is wide.  Also- There will not be a car on that onramp to the West Seattle bridge for another year at least?!? Good thing they rushed the design and construction…

    • Jay September 15, 2021 (9:34 am)

      There are too many Jays on here! But I agree with you. The railing narrows this section way too much and is completely unnecessary in protecting riders and walkers from cars.

    • bill September 19, 2021 (11:21 am)

      Jay (1st Jay) — I have encountered broken down cars parked on the sidewalk. 

  • bolo September 14, 2021 (11:12 pm)

    What is the difference between a sidewalk and a trail? Why do they call this sidewalk a trail?

    • Jay September 15, 2021 (9:32 am)

      It’s just a sidewalk but they’re calling it a trail so they can add more bike paths to the map. It’s like the sharrows they put on high speed chokepoints like when the bike lane ends and lane narrows near the top of the Admiral hill coming from the east. Widening the lane or providing an alternate route would cost money so they just put down some paint and added another green line to the map. Most of the bike infrastructure mileage in Seattle only exists on paper. Try to plan a route with the SDOT cycling map and someone is going to get hurt or killed.

  • Blinkyjoe September 15, 2021 (7:56 am)

    Terrible design. Please, SDOT, just leave things alone, you do more harm than good and waste money. 

  • Mj September 15, 2021 (9:53 am)

    Bolo – a sidewalk is designed for use by pedestrians and a trail is multi modal use with higher design criteria, in particular sight lines!

  • Jort September 15, 2021 (10:32 am)

    Once again, when sacrifices have to be made because of a limited amount of space, SDOT chooses to put cyclists at the bottom of the priority list. There is enough room to place a reinforced jersey barrier on the pavement side of the road, leaving space for cars while still protecting cyclists and walkers. But, that would involve narrowing the car lane, which would in turn require people to have to slow down and drive safely instead of accelerating to freeway-like speeds to get on the supposedly re-opening bridge. SDOT would rather accomodate the desire of car drivers to speed than to protect safety of cyclists and walkers. They do this all the time, and. yet somehow people still credulously claim that there is a “war on cars” in this city. 

  • Sherman Olsen September 15, 2021 (10:38 am)

    Before the pandemic I rode on this stretch thousands of times as a daily bike commuter. I never once thought about getting hit by an out of control car, but was always hyper-vigilant about pedestrian and cycling users. Why don’t they talk to the users before spending all this money on “improvements”? Here they have narrowed the sidewalk by putting in the railing when it desperately needed widening. And with all this effort we’re stuck with it for all time. Who made this decision and how do we get them demoted?

  • tony September 15, 2021 (11:19 am)

    I really don’t think the complaints here are an issue if people are riding in control. I passed another rider going the opposite way yesterday and everything was fine, and I’m on a cargo bike with 750 mm wide bars.  If its an issue for you, use the connector to 22nd Ave SW. Remember that this was a pedestrian improvement, be reasonable.

  • JB September 15, 2021 (11:59 am)

    Hmm i’m not seeing the problem others complain about. From the pic, looks like the pedestrians get the concrete sidewalk to the left of the railing and the bikes get the new black asphalt. I guess i will have to ride my bike over there to check it out and have a beer at Ounces :-)

    • bolo September 15, 2021 (3:19 pm)

      That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? But that new black asphalt is the vehicle on-ramp to the upper bridge. The pedestrians and bikers all get the (now more narrow) sidewalk.

  • Mj September 15, 2021 (4:23 pm)

    Bolo – you inquired what is the difference between a sidewalk and trail.  A sidewalk is designed for pedestrians whereas a trail is designed for multi modal (not cars) use with primary difference being sight lines and curvature.

    • bolo September 16, 2021 (12:07 pm)

      OK, thank you.

  • Yep September 15, 2021 (4:33 pm)

    Shame that they didn’t seem to consult with cyclists.

  • Foop September 15, 2021 (6:34 pm)

    When I first heard of this I honestly thought it was to help protect cyclists should they lose control around that corner (southbound) from falling into the street in event of a collision. At no point in my years of using this path have I every been worried about a car coming into the path. how odd.

  • Don Brubeck September 15, 2021 (8:59 pm)

    I have not tried the final result and don’t have an opinion on whether is was needed or not or works or not. But the project was proposed by a bike rider who uses the route regularly, and her reasons were as FOOP above describes. It was part of a successful Neighborhood Street Fund project voted on by community ballot and vetted by SDOT.  Not a top-down project, for what that is worth.  https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/neighborhood-street-fund/current-projects/delridge-neighborhood-greenway-safe-connections

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