READER REPORT: 45th/Charlestown collision, and ongoing safety concerns

The report and photo are from Kelsey:

So many accidents and near misses at this corner in this school zone near Madison Middle. Every single day. Desperately needs a 4-way stop. Today it was a police car pulling out in front of a car (his fault, he acknowledged). No injuries.

Since most “minor” accidents aren’t reported, it is not seen by SDOT as a problem corner. Spend one day here and you will know. Especially worse now during the week, when West Seattle Elementary kids are heading to Schmitz Park [Elementary].

Time to look into this more seriously before someone is seriously hurt.

This happened just after 2:30 this afternoon. The intersection is one block east of the top of the steep Charlestown hill

29 Replies to "READER REPORT: 45th/Charlestown collision, and ongoing safety concerns"

  • Thomas A Wood September 25, 2021 (5:46 pm)

    There’s no need for a four way stop.The officer acknowledged he went through the stop sign.There are  already stop signs heading north and south.Driver inattention is the biggest problem. You want to see chaos ,go for a walk in the morning around Madison,Schmitz park or Genesee hill. Mom and dads  drop the kids off and then blow through intersections because they didn’t allow enough time to get to work.

    • K September 25, 2021 (6:25 pm)

      I live near a school and have had a lot of near misses in crosswalks with distracted and speeding parents and guardians during pick up and drop off. “Baby on board” means safety for me, not for thee.

      • Steve September 25, 2021 (7:21 pm)

        I can confirm it’s the same by Holy Rosary.

      • Irf September 25, 2021 (7:52 pm)

        The craziest thing I have observed is that people with “baby on board” stickers are usually very wild drivers. 

        • Frog September 25, 2021 (10:49 pm)

          Having driven with a small child in the back seat, I would say the “baby on board” sign is misunderstood by other drivers.  That baby might be screaming, crying, throwing things, spilling liquids, emitting bodily fluids, escaping the car seat, or possibly several of those things at once.  Don’t expect much from the driver.  Keep a distance.

          • 22blades September 26, 2021 (4:26 am)

            Ugh…. no. The sticker’s there to indicate to check for a child in case of a vehicle rescue. See WSB 4 hours later at California & Dakota. I agree that these stickers indicate some completely distracted drivers operating vehicles. Also many near misses on a bike with SUV’s sporting bike racks.

          • K September 26, 2021 (9:54 am)

            Oh, I have as well. Only a driver *behind* your car can even see the sign, let alone the person you strike crossing the street because you are trying to pick up a juice box off the floor or restart Paw Patrol on the iPad. Pull over safely and deal with the kiddo.

    • Near Schmitz Park September 25, 2021 (6:41 pm)

      Yep. Lots of new traffic patterns around Schmitz Park Elementary. Recognize that students & families & busses are making a long trip, let’s give grace & be careful out there. FWIW, Herbold’s office (thanks to aide Newell Aldrich) has been responsive about traffic studies happening at the intersections of SW Hinds St and 47th Ave SW and 46th Ave SW near Madison. Waiting to hear about if we’ll get a four-way stop or other. Don’t hesitate to contact them about concerns, the more the merrier.

    • heartless September 25, 2021 (6:45 pm)

      Thomas Wood & K, 

      I agree.  It’s one of life’s little ironies that the drivers making these areas most dangerous are the parents of students.

    • JN September 26, 2021 (9:21 am)

      Couldn’t agree more about the danger of parents in a rush: I was cycling to work a few years ago, came to a four way stop and stopped. I proceeded across, and a woman in an SUV rolls right through her stop sign and t-bones me, sent me flying about 10 feet. Thankfully another driver behind confirmed, and saw her blow through 3(!) other stop signs before hitting me. 

  • joe September 25, 2021 (5:47 pm)

    How about a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Oregon and Glenn Way while we’re at it?

  • Lucy September 25, 2021 (6:46 pm)

    How about folks just slow down and be considerate. And aware.  And stop driving distracted. 

    • Ice September 25, 2021 (10:20 pm)

      Asking people not to drive poorly is like asking the clouds not to rain.

  • Higginshere September 25, 2021 (7:05 pm)

    Accidents happen.

    • notYourMother September 28, 2021 (11:40 am)

      Accidents happen a lot more in this country compared to other affluent countries. Is it the street design that leads to speeding? Is it the SUVs that lead to dead angles in front of the SUVs? Is it the sheer mass of SUVs that lead to longer reaction times? Is it automatic cars that lead to weird acceleration and braking patterns? Is it the false sense of security that makes these drivers think they can rely on not paying attention too much? Is it the lack of speed enforcement by cameras? Is it the lack of roundabouts and other traffic calming designs that lead to too many deaths in traffic in this country?

      • neighbor September 28, 2021 (12:55 pm)

        Or is it American culture, which seems to prioritize self over community?

  • West Seattle Lite September 25, 2021 (7:49 pm)

    Many accidents over the years on Spokane and 48th, which is near Madison. Drivers fly down Spokane and don’t slow down whatsoever. And for that matter, cars fly down 48th and don’t slow down at the Spokane intersection. I’ve seen some awful accidents over the years there, including one involving a motorcycle. People just need to slow the $&^%*&^ down. 

  • Chuck September 25, 2021 (8:47 pm)

    After 22 years in this area I can tell you the biggest problem is the almost always ignored four way stop at 47th/Charlestown.  West bound  Charlestown drivers have no stop sign from California to slow them down. So they fly off the top of the hill and, mostly, blow through the four way stop at the bottom of the hill at 47th.  A number of them have lost control and crashed, rolled over, etc  between 46th and 47th on Charlestown.     A stop sign west bound at 46th would force traffic to stop before continuing down the hill.   I should mention the East bound traffic on Charlestown is often the Alki crowd looking to bypass the traffic on admiral.  They also blow through the four way stop at 47th/Charlestown and race up the hill (which is the ONLY stop sign on Charlestown west of California. )

    • Cp September 25, 2021 (9:43 pm)

      Agreed. WSB covered a vehicle that sped over the hill and lost control then smashed into a little green electrical box between 47th and 48th. I think they found a tequila bottle in the vehicle as well.

  • just wondering September 25, 2021 (8:49 pm)

    Try the intersection one block west at 46th and Charlestown.  Cars scuttle accross 46th even though the sign says not to.  I live at the top of the hill and have seen children in the back seats of these cars.  Drivers coming up Charlestown heading east cannot see the top of the hill.  Where ever the parents need to be cannot be more important than the lives of their children!

    • Cp September 25, 2021 (9:41 pm)

      Yes, I have seen a lot of cars ignoring the no turn signs. I have been coming up the hill and almost t boned someone turning left illegally southbound on to 46th. This type of hill would not be allowed these days. 

  • Cp September 25, 2021 (9:33 pm)

    44th and Charlestown has seen quite a few accidents as well. I have tried to get help from SDOT but they only go off stats when police show up but police don’t show up unless someone is injured or a vehicle is inoperable. I followed up with this fact with the SDOT contact, William Burns, but he didn’t respond…I believe West Seattle Elementary is using the old Schmitz Park school so, that volume hasn’t been in the area since before covid. Add that to students returning to Madison and Genesee Hill and it’s a mess. I’ve been in this area 15+ years and it’s a bit too much for me. Too many people most who are distracted, speeding and I have seen way too many accidents over the years.

    Police are less available now as everyone knows. The last speeding patrol in the area was in 2006. I know because I asked for it. Now and in the past years they don’t have the staffing and Charlestown has a lot of speeders,.

  • Barb Z September 25, 2021 (10:24 pm)

    Accidents don’t “happen”.  They are caused by distracted, rushing, inattentive, and lawbreaking drivers.  That’s why they are now called “collisions” instead of accidents.  Too many drivers who would rather save five minutes than a life.

  • 22blades September 26, 2021 (4:44 am)

    I drive through the neighborhoods in San Mateo for work. EVERY intersection is a four-way. It’s so annoying, but you know what? I think it actually works: no excuses. Another huge problem is adequate sight lines at intersections with parked cars & unkept vegetation. That “leap of faith” trying to join arterials is made worse with people driving +10, +15 or +20 mph reducing reaction times, AND, allowing the building of multi-family buildings with 2:1 ratios of units to parking spaces.

  • Judy Gray September 26, 2021 (7:03 am)

    I find myself avoiding this intersection. A traffic circle would be great. 

    • notYourMother September 28, 2021 (11:45 am)

      Agreed. Roundabouts are cheap, require no maintenance and are successful in other countries in calming traffic.

  • Pessoa September 26, 2021 (5:07 pm)

    A four way stop would only produce more Seattle “four-way stop paralysis” and too many of these could cause the city to grind to a halt. I jest – though only slightly. 

  • WeSeaRes September 26, 2021 (9:00 pm)

    Another terrible and unsafe intersection is 45th And Stevens. Especially now that kids are back in school. People speed through this awkward no stop intersection and we’ve seen many near misses and a few crashes. One parked car was even totaled in a hit and run. At the very least their should be some yield signs or better yet stops at Stevens so people actually watch where they are going. 

  • Cp September 27, 2021 (4:26 pm)

    Thank you for doing a story on Kelseys’s report/concern. I have documented and reported issues on Charlestown west of California to SPD and SDOT for more than 10 years. It’s frustrating to see incidents increase and nothing done about it by the city. I understand officers have quit in droves recently but SPD was in a much better situation staffing wise in the years before the defund movement and they still would not address speeding after 2006. SDOT has gatekeepers or tricks to dismiss citizen concerns like only looking at police reports for accidents when the bar is set high for an officer to show up to a collision.

Sorry, comment time is over.