WALK-ALL-WAYS: Here’s why the signal sequencing changed back

(SDOT camera image, this morning)

Multiple readers messaged us earlier this week after noticing that the Walk-All-Ways intersection at California/Alaska in The Junction had reverted to its previous signal sequencing, almost half a year after SDOT changed it. We asked SDOT about it, and received this explanation today:

Our team at SDOT initially changed the sequence as part of our work to decrease overall delay at the intersection for people traveling into and through this part of the neighborhood. After giving drivers some time to adjust to the change, we observed the intersection performance and discussed the change with our partners at KC Metro. We learned that the original sequence worked better for bus reliability, so we changed the sequence back while retaining 5 seconds of additional time for pedestrians to cross the intersection. The walk time was increased by 2 seconds and the flashing don’t walk time was increased by 3 seconds.

P.S. Reminder that an extra block of California SW in The Junction will be closed for this Sunday’s Fall Festival, south of SW Alaska, which will remain open to traffic during the festival and Farmers’ Market.

10 Replies to "WALK-ALL-WAYS: Here's why the signal sequencing changed back"

  • Vee September 22, 2023 (12:41 pm)

    I’m glad, change was bad, it worked do well before for walking and driving. Kept flow moving good,  with  change people walked against light and seemed like took too long  for walking and driving

  • Mellow Kitty September 22, 2023 (2:27 pm)

    So happy they changed it back. I know several 128 drivers who were, shall we say, displeased with the original change. 

    • Joe Z September 22, 2023 (3:28 pm)

      I don’t understand who designed the bus routing in the Junction. So much time wasted deviating one block off of California for no particular reason. The bus stops should be on California on the south side of Alaska. 

      • miws September 22, 2023 (5:43 pm)

        Joe Z, They tried that sometime in the very late-’70s or early-’80s. The 55 turned right onto California northbound from westbound Alaska, and the 18 (this was pre-route 54, IIRC), turned left onto California. They turned from California to Alaska for the inbound trip. I don’t recall what the particular issue(s) were that resulted in it reverting back to pretty much what it remains today. —Mike

      • Matthew September 23, 2023 (5:49 pm)

        Every time I’m on the C I wonder why the route goes around California for one block. Would love to know why it’s routed the way it is. 

  • Odd son September 22, 2023 (3:40 pm)

    Vehicles turn left illegally but I noticed several instances of cars turning left illegally on a red light while pedestrians were walking. I even saw 2 drivers do it in a row. I reported this to SPD again and SDOT.  a lot of danger for pedestrians with vehicles turning right on red too despite the signs. I think cyclists should yield to pedestrians too.

  • Confused September 22, 2023 (5:02 pm)

    From the original change’s post: “we… adjusted walk signal timing to give people more time to cross
    the street and sometimes made other enhancements for pedestrian safety
    such as making walk-signals turn on automatically without pressing a
    button or adding pedestrian-first walk signals which give people a head
    start before cars get a green light.” So does this reversion mean that there is no longer an automatic walk-signal and no longer giving peds the head start before green lights? Or is it exclusively reverting the ordering of the signal, i.e. going back to walk-all-ways after East/Westbound (because they say they’re retaining the increased walk time)?

  • Danimal September 22, 2023 (9:39 pm)

    Once again, SDOT making decisions that ultimately increase driver anger, and therefore danger to EVERYONE else. The new light timing worked great. Now it’s back to not being able to clear not even close to all the cars backed up at the Junction light on California N/S before the light changes. Stupidity defined for a roadway when you’re talking about pedestrian safety.

    • Jon Wright September 23, 2023 (10:40 am)

      If someone is prone to getting so angry waiting at a traffic light that they are a danger to others, they are not fit to be driving in the first place.

      • Danimal September 23, 2023 (2:35 pm)

        That may be so, but that doesn’t mean those people aren’t behind the wheel anyway. If SDOT is truly interested in maximizing pedestrian safety, they need to take into account how many drivers out there do get road rage over nonsensical light timing that does not permit traffic to clear up. That N/S light timing used before and now again is atrociously short, especially during peak traffic times. The change they made just prior to reverting was a good one; it increased the green light length on the highest volume route, allowing traffic to flow freely and cleanly. They increased pedestrian danger by dropping back to the former light pattern.

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