FOLLOWUP: Post-meeting, SDOT answers Highland Park Way hill project questions

Tomorrow (Saturday, May 25) you have one more chance to talk with SDOT reps in person about the Highland Park Way hill project – a proposal to remove one downhill motor-vehicle lane and replace it with a protected bike lane, an expanded multi-use path, or (eventually) both. SDOT will be at the Delridge Farmers’ Market (9421 18th SW) 10 am-2 pm Saturday. Meantime, as we reported yesterday, attendees at this month’s HPAC meeting had some questions the SDOT reps were unable to immediately answer – so we sent some of those questions to the department, and got answers late today, as follows:

WSB: “What are the cost estimates of the three options? … And how much money has been spent so far on this very early stage of the project?”

SDOT: “We are engaging the community to shape the scope before we develop draft cost estimates for the options. Generally speaking, Option 1 (protected bike lane) has fewer construction needs since it removes a travel lane and adds concrete barriers. Option 2 (multiuse path) has more complex construction needs since it involves moving a curb line, potential drainage work, and a wider landscape buffer and path. So far, we have spent $145,000 for this project.”

WSB: “(SDOT reps at the meeting) had the current car traffic data. What is the most recent bicycle usage and pedestrian usage data for that section of HP Way?”

SDOT: (Provided table as seen below)

“We plan to collect additional data this summer.”

WSB: “It’s oft-cited ‘if you build the infrastructure (for riders) they will come.’ So it was asked (at the meeting), what is the bicycle usage data for other semi-new lanes in West Seattle, like the Delridge lane post-Delridge rechannelizing?”

SDOT: “We have not measured the bicycle usage on Delridge since the project was completed. We do have data from the West Marginal Way SW Safety Corridor Project, gathered from August-October last year:

“·Weekday bike volumes have increased by 144% from an average of 103 bikers before the project was installed to an average of 251 daily bikers. Weekend bike volumes have increased by 53%.

“·The number of people walking or using a mobility assistance device (like a wheelchair or accessibility scooter) increased significantly, 96% on weekdays and 91% on weekends.

“Here are a few local and national studies showing the effect of bike lanes:”
seattle.gov/documents/Departments/SDOT/About/DocumentLibrary/Reports/NE65thSt_Evaluation_Report_91620-1.pdf
trec.pdx.edu/research/project/583/Lessons_from_the_Green_Lanes:_Evaluating_Protected_Bike_Lanes_in_the_U.S._
nacto.org/2016/07/20/high-quality-bike-facilities-increase-ridership-make-biking-safer/

Those aren’t all the questions HPAC attendees had, just the ones we asked SDOT in followup, so watch for more info from HPAC. Meantime, whatever you think about the project, you can also comment – June 15 is the deadline – via this survey, or via email at HighlandHolden@seattle.gov, or via voicemail at 206-900-8741.

53 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Post-meeting, SDOT answers Highland Park Way hill project questions"

  • Tom Lewis May 24, 2024 (10:48 pm)

    Honestly, skinny up the lanes.  I am tired of driving either way on that street, myself at 35 — not 25 — and having rage drivers blow by at 45 or 50 or even more.  I’m a cyclist, and I clearly see the rage drivers every day doing 20mph + over the speed limit, everywhere, which is what kills folks like me.

    • Bbron May 25, 2024 (3:42 am)

      woah, Tom, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. if we take away a driver’s ability to go 20 over, that’s literal oppression, and their rage is totally justified. if they couldn’t, they wouldn’t get to be the first ones to line up at the light at the top or bottom of the hill :(

    • Bbron May 25, 2024 (3:42 am)

      woah, Tom, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. if we take away a driver’s
      ability to go 20 over, that’s literal oppression, and their rage is
      totally justified. if they couldn’t, they wouldn’t get to be the first
      ones to line up at the light at the top or bottom of the hill :(

  • WS Guy May 25, 2024 (12:18 am)

    Per the project document West Marginal serves 14,000 vehicles daily, 253 bicycles, and about 40 pedestrians.  So vehicles are 98% of the users of this corridor after millions of dollars went into the bike lanes.  What a tremendous waste of money.  And 25% of the road capacity was dedicated to bicycles despite them accounting for 2% of the users.With results like these, we need to admit that bikes are just not going to be a significant mode of transportation in Seattle and stop wasting so much money and space on them.I used to commute to downtown by bike – on sunny days – up and down Avalon and across the lower bridge.  I never needed all this nonsense.  The roads were fine as they were.

    • WSB May 25, 2024 (4:03 am)

      The project did not cost millions. Not even one million. $100,000 per the ST.

      • WS Guy May 25, 2024 (9:35 am)

        I can’t get to the link due to the paywall.  I don’t find that number credible, considering this blog post quotes SDOT as having spent $145k on Highland Park so far and hasn’t even built anything yet.  I could not find cost documentation on SDOTs site.

    • New Deal May 25, 2024 (6:29 am)

      What a refreshing point of view WS Guy.  Sensible people like you should run for a political position.

    • Swoop May 25, 2024 (8:04 am)

      Did you read the article? Experience both in Seattle and elsewhere shows that improved infrastructure leads to increased usage. Not rocket science: intelligent bikers know what’s safe and what isn’t, and avoid streets that are likely to get them killed. Extremely bad faith objection.

      • David May 26, 2024 (6:24 pm)

        The West Duwamish forest is the largest forested strip in the entire city and is only interrupted in one place: highland park way. How about an animal crossing similar in vein to the i-90 overcrossing project? Could make it part of a hiking trail too.

    • Foop May 25, 2024 (8:31 am)

      Can you explain how the marginal way lane has objectively affected your commute?things like the HPW improvements will only increase its usage, fyi.

    • WS biker May 25, 2024 (10:54 am)

      100% agree with this. As a biker up this stretch of road for 5+ years, there is no need to change the roads as they are. Just re-pave the path, maybe widen it by a foot or two and call it a day. There is no need to make these changes (reduce car traffic lanes, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, construction for months on end) if there is not a major benefit on the whole. 

    • West Marge May 25, 2024 (3:19 pm)

      And they want to put n light rail system that will only take 100 cars off the road during peak traffic, while displacing hundreds of homes, people, businesses and jobs. Wasteful spending with no end in sight. #rethinkthelink

      • Bob May 28, 2024 (9:45 am)

        Marge, you’ve been banging this ‘100 cars’ drum for a while now and it’s objectively false. Every bit of official documentation – e.g. not coming from that absurd rethink the link site – has pointed to that number being incorrect.

  • Christina Francis May 25, 2024 (4:32 am)

    A bike lane on this hill worries me really bad. My son Devin was killed on this hill along with numerous other people. This is an unsafe hill for vehicles let alone adding extra bicyclists along there. Yesterday May 24th my son would have turned 30 if he didn’t travel this road on his way home. I miss him SOOO much!

  • KeepTrafficMoving May 25, 2024 (7:03 am)

    SDOT: “We have not measured the bicycle usage on Delridge since the project was completed.” Please, go do the study!! The bike light at Delridge/Holden is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. Let’s stop 15 cars from turning right for not a biker in sight. Most people just run the red light anyway. 

    • Hoot May 25, 2024 (9:21 pm)

      You’re talking like this is some novel experiment. Bike lanes exist all over the city (and the world) and their effectiveness is well understood, and has been documented in studies like those referenced in the article. Re-studying each instance is unnecessary, inefficient, and a waste of funds — and you seem to be asking for it simply as a delaying tactic.

    • Wseattleite May 26, 2024 (1:00 am)

      I use that intersection several times a day at all hours dance long before they rearranged it. It was fine before. Since the change, I have seen a total of 1 bike go through that intersection.  And they were running their own red bike light lat the time.  It is such stupid engineering. This from an engineer mind you.  Very clear lines of site in both directions, no reason for the restriction other than ideological.  In Seattle they double down on such idiocy and then pat themselves on the back for it.  Much like Zero Vision. Deaths are up, so clearly the solution is to keep doing to same thing even more.  This was their official conclusion despite all evidence to the contrary.  I nickname this place Never Never Land due to its philosophical displacement from actual reality. 

      • New Deal May 26, 2024 (6:01 am)

        This green city likes to let cars idle unnecessarily for those nonexistent cyclists.  I used to ride that stretch.  Misery unless you are a commuter and have no other options.  Car exhaust, noise, danger.  A metro bus clipped my friend on Delridge and never stopped.  And yes, post updates.  The one way bike lane.  You can get to work but can’t come home.   Virtue signaling at its finest.  

  • Curious May 25, 2024 (7:51 am)

    I would like to see the vehicle stats for this same section during peak travel times.  What would be the impact to moving traffic through this section during the busy times?  Have the businesses weighed in on this proposal?  It’s difficult to gauge the impacts with this comparison.

  • Seattlite May 25, 2024 (8:07 am)

    Was this follow-up question asked to SDOT’s answer below:  What is the percentage comparison of the number of bicyclists, walkers, other modes of of mobility to the number of drivers on West Marginal Way SW during the week days, weekend days, all peak hours?                                                                “SDOT: “We have not measured the bicycle usage on Delridge since the project was completed. We do have data from the West Marginal Way SW Safety Corridor Project, gathered from August-October last year:“·Weekday bike volumes have increased by 144% from an average of 103 bikers before the project was installed to an average of 251 daily bikers. Weekend bike volumes have increased by 53%.“·The number of people walking or using a mobility assistance device (like a wheelchair or accessibility scooter) increased significantly, 96% on weekdays and 91% on weekends.”

  • jw May 25, 2024 (9:16 am)

    Just wondering on how they will count the bicycles and pedestrians. .  One day event, a week or different days/weeks.  Who will they use, will they take photos showing someone going up or down the hill with timestamps. You need someone at the top and bottom to ensure the counts are actually real and not made up,  SDOT already lied to us about this project from a Bike lane to actually slowing down cars.  I remember back in the 80’s and 90’s police had 4-5 cops located in the middle of the hill on the last street turnoff just waiting for ya.  

  • Amy May 25, 2024 (9:38 am)

    So, for 100 people or less a day they want to spend hundreds of thousands for a little stretch of bike lane that goes between a residential neighborhood and basically an industrial zone/freeway onramp? What am I missing that this would connect for people?
    First I’d like to be able to safely bike to the store, or a restaurant, or to do errands within my neighborhood… but the sidewalks are messed up, and biking in the streets is not safe. Anyway in order to use it I’d have to be able to bike there safely–so would there be a future plan to revamp the entire detour route so folks could get from California to Morgan to Sylvan way and Holden street?  Maybe the city should focus on creating downtown-style area healthy streets first where people can bike/walk safely in their neighborhoods to get daily errands done, like in europe, rather than these out of the way one-off zones.

    • Foop May 25, 2024 (11:19 am)

      You’re so close! You said it! Biking in the streets is not safe!South Park is a 29 minute bike ride if you take HPW, Georgetown is 25. Do you know how hard it is to get to our neighbors without a car? And Georgetown is a nightmare to park in. So many good bars, restaurants and brewery this would open up for me that I hate driving to and the 60 is an awful slow and cumbersome bus.

    • WS Guy May 25, 2024 (12:59 pm)

      I found biking on the street to be safe.  And this was decades ago.  As a biker, you learn a route that works well, mostly side streets, and maybe there’s a short stretch where you cross a busy intersection.  I left the main streets to the cars.

      But here comes Seattle, and in the name of multi-modal decides that the main streets all need to carry bikes.  So they cut their vehicle capacity to install bike lanes.

      So what happens?  Vehicles divert to the side streets to avoid the congestion.  Now the side streets are carrying more car traffic, with narrow space between parked cars.  So that environment which used to be ideal for bikes and peds is now less so.

      • Bbron May 25, 2024 (5:10 pm)

        what side streets are there for this hill?

        • 1994 May 26, 2024 (10:41 pm)

          It is called a sidewalk. What is wrong with biking on the sidewalk on this hill?  Like WS Guy, I rode my bike to work from Arbor Heights to North Delridge using only the side streets. This was way safer then riding on 35th or Delridge. When I rode home on Delridge I used the sidewalk and that worked just fine.  

  • VOTE NONE OF THE ABOVE May 25, 2024 (1:03 pm)

    Earlier today we stopped by the #11 Fire Station (Holden & 16th SW) to ask their opinion of the proposed project. “No one has asked our opinion”, was the reply from all 3 firemen who answered the door. (Shocker.) They went on to say that SDOT used to consult a first responder representative, but that doesn’t happen anymore. They all think it’s a bad idea to close an important exit lane off West Seattle. How is it our tax paid transportation agency does not consult our tax paid first responders when considering major road changes? Unreal. Even funnier and coincidentally, just as we were leaving, an older gentleman / neighbor who lives near the Holden / HPW intersection walked up to ask the firemen the exact same question!! Wonder if @WSB can ask SDOT why they don’t consult area first responders on these topics.

    • WSB May 25, 2024 (1:24 pm)

      In some past projects, they have, but I can add that to the followup list.

    • AT May 25, 2024 (4:18 pm)

      I’m not convinced they even talk amongst themselves.  They finally made some improvements with the traffic signals, but the ginormous sidewalk expansion  took away the right turn lane from Holden to HPW which could have been used by cyclists, also took away the free right turn at the bottom of the hill.  Do they want one lane with no right on red?   At least they admit they are trying to create gridlock, cool, cool  :/  How does more cars idling at the lights improve things?   If speed is the issue, add speed bumps, traffic camera, etc.  Pretend it’s a city where people and goods need to get places, and make the cyclists a lovely route  on secondary streets, away from major bus and truck traffic.

    • West Seattlle Resident May 25, 2024 (10:25 pm)

      THANK YOU FOR THIS!

  • West Seattlle Resident May 25, 2024 (1:11 pm)

    49 collisions in 5 years..  nothing mentioned about whether caused by speed or distracted driving.  I see so many people on their phones when using that hill.  Let’s fix the cause before we try to slap a bandaid on the aftereffect and stop using cyclists and pedestrians as an excuse.

    • K May 25, 2024 (4:18 pm)

      People use cell phones on other roads, too, and there aren’t as many collisions there.  The cause is road design, and they are trying to fix it.

      • West Seattlle Resident May 25, 2024 (6:04 pm)

        I’m all good with better road designs but so far their designs (in their own words) have only been about creating congestion to slow it down.  

        • Bbron May 25, 2024 (6:45 pm)

          except that narrowing a road or reducing the number of lanes is proven to slow down traffic because driver’s themselves need to feel uncomfortable before they’ll consider intentionally slowing down. you use the word congestion as a straw man; reducing capacity has been the stated goal because drivers are being reckless. how many more collision or fatalities will it take before y’all will be convinced that drivers, when left to their own devices, will trend towards deviant driving behaviors? the West Marginal project got the same “congestion” nonsense, and yet the commute time has increased 0.5 seconds, the horror!

        • Hunk May 25, 2024 (9:37 pm)

          The faster a car is going, the more deadly a collision will be. If you want safer streets, you slow cars down. 

      • VOTE NONE OF THE ABOVE May 25, 2024 (6:18 pm)

        What data are are you using to assert that? The latest citywide traffic report (2023) doesn’t support that at all.

  • Steph May 25, 2024 (3:24 pm)

    Gonna say it again: Ask yourself the real reason our government is narrowing the streets and dangerously limiting our ability to evacuate in the event of an emergency.  Let’s tell them again to just leave it like it is!  I know dozens of other necessary projects for them! This is not one.

  • Steph May 25, 2024 (3:32 pm)

    Case in point: They took a perfectly ok intersection at Del ridge and Henderson and destroyed it down to one lane E/W.  A car broke down right at the light and no one could go anywhere until a bunch of hero teenagers ran out of a nearby house and pushed the car out of the intersection. We don’t always have anyone there to do that especially if you remove the entire lane for blocks. Like they did East of Home Depot for the several blocks East of Del ridge. Used to be several lanes and traffic was bearable. Now it’s down to one and always always jammed up for blocks. I’m actually keeping a small light boat for my emergency evacuation. There’s no driving out.Why? Fish in a barrel?

    • Bbron May 25, 2024 (5:30 pm)

      this comment is confusing. Henderson has always been 2 lanes. and if you’re arguing that space has been taken away from cars there: it was replaced with much needed sidewalks. but let’s keep huge shoulders on the off chance a driver’s car breaks down? I’m also frequently near Orchard during rush hour, and E/W movement is not blocked at all. you have to wait at a signal, but then it always clears in one go…

      • Kpetersmark May 25, 2024 (9:44 pm)

        Believe the comment is about Henderson and how there used to be room for buses to turn left or cars to turn right and still go straight. Now during rush hour, one bus gets through and everyone waits another light cycle.

  • Admiral-2009 May 25, 2024 (7:26 pm)

    K – taking the downhill curb lane away reduces traffic safety by forcing all downhill traffic closer to uphill traffic!  I already identified how to improve safety and will reiterate:  

    1.  Reinstate the 30 MPH speed limit that is technically credible; aka the science!

    2.  Replace the inside downhill lane with a 6′ striped buffer space 

    3.  Stripe the remaining downhill space with a 11′ travel lane and a 5′ bike lane

    4.  Widen and improve the existing sidewalk on the south side to accommodate pedestrian and uphill bikers.

    • Kyle May 25, 2024 (9:44 pm)

      This is reasonable 

    • Charles Burlingame May 26, 2024 (7:45 pm)

      Your personal preference for a speed limit is not, in any way shape or form, “science.”

    • Jort May 27, 2024 (10:31 pm)

      You continue to baselessly assert “science” as the reason for your personal preference to set higher speed limits. There is no science of any kind that supports your personal opinion on this matter. 

  • Actually Mike May 26, 2024 (8:10 am)

    There are a number of effective ways to slow traffic on the Highland
    Park Way hill and improve bicycle / pedestrian safety without creating a
    huge traffic jam (widen and re-surface the existing sidewalk; add BOLD warning signage
    together with speed cameras; utilize spot traffic patrols, etc.). Any approach that removes a traffic lane on Highland Park Way will create a massive bottleneck and will exacerbate, rather than alleviate, safety problems. Don’t do that–it’s a bad idea. Mistakes made in haste are repented at leisure.

  • Staeheli Peg May 26, 2024 (8:17 am)

    I drive HPW frequently – cars go fast- up or down- so as a cyclist I currently see that section as a barrier to bike travel. The path is also not consistently maintained. The curb is too low for speed and slope. Finally – drainage improvements are needed. Take time do the design right. SDOT should be able to give Rough estimates for each as it may be that a transitional improvement approach is best. 

  • Actually Mike May 26, 2024 (10:17 am)

    A camera monitoring the Highland Park Way – West Marginal Way intersection to deter folks from entering late and blocking the intersection after the light has changed might also help. I know, I know–I hate ’em too, but that approach has worked elsewhere. People will learn and change their behavior when there’s enough reason.

  • Chemist May 26, 2024 (4:20 pm)

    I was already surprised when they recently pinched east-bound Holden lane at the Holden/HPW intersection via jogging the center line over several feet.  These sort of lane jogs are especially annoying when rainfall and shallow puddles in the street obscures our non-reflective lane markings.  I want SDOT to do the full built-up lane expanding the sidewalk path, but not with forcing the bus to stop in the auto traffic lane as currently proposed for option B

  • Bbron May 26, 2024 (11:12 pm)

    folks suggesting a camera as a solution have not been following along. this won’t work until our laws stop bending to the whim of drivers and get actual teeth to punish those that disregard the safety of public roadways. drivers are already embolden to the point of driving 20mph over on average, so they’ll use perjury to get out of any rightfully earned ticket. we have folks in the comments of this blog that have admitted they done it themselves, and have advocated for others to commit perjury, as well. until fines are guaranteed to be collected, by law, the only way to slow entitled drivers down is infrastructure that makes them uncomfortable to speed. it’s drivers’ own doing.

  • WSTrafficistheworst May 28, 2024 (9:13 am)

    There goes using this as my alternate route now that there is a stop light going in at the top of the hill on Myers Way/Roxbury interchange headed west bound…that’s going to create its own nightmarish scenario for that already backed up intersection during the peak times…I’m all for pedestrian safety but putting stop lights in willy nilly only creates for hazards on an otherwise blind curve going up a steep hill.

  • Amy Thomson May 28, 2024 (3:28 pm)

    I think they should build a separate bike path on the downhill side of Highland Park Way, there’s room for it.  It would definitely be safer.  I agree that we should consult the first responders about how removing a lane will affect emergency access.  Also, should the West Seattle Bridge go out again, losing that lane will make things even worse than they were the first time it happened.

  • wetone May 29, 2024 (12:03 pm)

    This project has little to do with or about safer roads, just as project around Alki Point and many other  whiz bang ideas SDOT has implemented last couple years. It’s about Seattle government and SDOT’s cult like social engineering. Most these ideas and designs have come from certain groups and those with-in city and SDOT with a certain agenda. If you look at the experience with those designing roadways and  bike related projects many have little experience doing so. There is no consistency and little communication at SDOT between themselves and other utilities driving cost up, time frames extended and projects canceled well into. If project for Boeing hill (Highland) was really about safety and helping ALL with safety, commuting and all mobility, bike and walk path would be replacing existing path. Just as the Alki 4yr redesign project should never have been implemented. Until city starts holding those accountable that are causing problems , nothing will ever change. Adding time, cost and taking away accessibility to most all for their travels will only cause bigger issues and division. City wonders why their broke, look into mirror and start using some common sense !!!! might also help with getting a police force back and allow them to do their job…… Wasting tax dollars on installing speed bumps, useless signage and all this stupid road diet BS……. has zero impact on those causing issues. We need Accountability ;)

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