Highland Park Way hill lane change? Three more chances to learn/talk about it this week, including HPAC on Wednesday

(WSB photo, downhill on HP Way, late Monday afternoon)

A week and a half ago, we reported on SDOT‘s proposal to replace a downhill driving lane on the Highland Park Way hill with a protected bicycle lane (1st rendering below), an expanded multi-use path (2nd rendering below), or both (bike lane first, expanded path later).

The announcement and infopage list several opportunities to hear from/talk with SDOT reps about the plan, and the next two days bring three of those events, so we wanted to mention them: Two are tomorrow (Wednesday, May 22) – at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Brockey Center during the Spring Fling, 11 am-2 pm, and during the monthly HPAC meeting, 7 pm, online-only this month so go here to get the connection information. Then on Thursday (May 23), SDOT will be back at Highland Park Corner Store (7789 Highland Park Way SW), 4-8 pm.

If you can’t get to any of those events in person, you can also comment online in survey format – go here by June 15 – or via email at HighlandHolden@seattle.gov.

70 Replies to "Highland Park Way hill lane change? Three more chances to learn/talk about it this week, including HPAC on Wednesday"

  • Bubbleator May 21, 2024 (12:58 pm)

    What an epically stupid proposal.  Yeah, let’s take the main arterial that adjoins one of the most important truck routes in the city – a route that bikers and walkers almost never use because it’s steep AF and is in the middle of nowhere – and reduce vehicle capacity on it.  SDOT have really outdone themselves with this idiocy.

    • Look Both Ways May 21, 2024 (10:40 pm)

      Agreed! Please voice your opinions via the SDOT questionnaire and one of their community events. We can’t afford to lose a lane from this important traffic artery.

    • Jake May 21, 2024 (10:50 pm)

      Both lanes that feed into NB Highland Park Way (SW Holden St and 9th Ave SW) are 1 lane and controlled by a stoplight. So unless the cars magically double in width as they go through the stoplight, there’s actually twice as much road capacity than what is needed. That extra road capacity is utilized for cars to pass each other going 20-30mph over the speed limit. This is primarily a traffic calming measure to increase road safety, with the pedestrian improvements just a side bonus. Road fatalities have increased roughly 30% in the last 10 years.

      • Wseattleite May 22, 2024 (9:01 am)

        Jake, traffic engineering does not work that way, especially on steep inclines with side roads and driveways present on both sides of the road.  

  • Erik May 21, 2024 (1:38 pm)

    Hopefully they don’t go through with it. The sidewalk is fine as it is. Removing a lane of traffic there would really suck.

    • Al May 22, 2024 (7:31 am)

      The sidewalk is fine as it is.

      *ahem* Have you actually used the sidewalk? It’s a deathtrap. 

      • WS Pedestrian May 24, 2024 (12:40 pm)

        Agreed. The sidewalk (if you could call it that) on the other side is even worse. 

  • KT May 21, 2024 (1:52 pm)

    Does SDOT have nothing to do but dream up useless projects?  Fix and maintain what we have for crying out loud.

  • KB1000 May 21, 2024 (1:56 pm)

    Make your voices heard by attending a meeting, send an email or leave a voicemail. I left a voicemail and they got back to me and really encouraged me to provide feedback at a IRL meeting and help stop this madness. 

  • AK May 21, 2024 (2:38 pm)

    Stop wasting tax money on things that don’t need improvement. This is useless. Removing a lane of traffic is just going to cause more road rage and accidents!!!!

    • Stranded on the island May 21, 2024 (5:33 pm)

      Wow, this is really going to effect a lot of people and neighborhoods. Since we won’t really be able to stop this, just pick a style, the only way to be heard would be to “vote” when they want another transportation package-Move Seattle (or not)

      • Ross May 23, 2024 (5:24 am)

        Yup, they will move forward with one of these options regardless of what area residents say or want… and as per usual the IRL comment times are difficult for most working people to attend. (The people most affected by it.)

  • Lala May 21, 2024 (2:45 pm)

    This is a joke right? I have never seen a cyclist take the highland hill. Leave it up to people that probably dont even take this route to dream up useless proposal. 

    • Door May 21, 2024 (7:46 pm)

      I bike up it regularly. Lots of ebikes these days.

    • datamuse May 21, 2024 (11:04 pm)

      I live at the top of this hill and people definitely ride it, both down and up (the latter is pretty impressive…it’s a steep hill). Whether it’s enough people to warrant something like this is another question.

    • Foop May 22, 2024 (1:18 am)

      I used to ride up it to save myself 5 miles and 30 minutes versus going up marginal and coming back down the Delridge corridor,I stopped because after the pandemic cars became increasingly aggressive and weren’t giving me space when passing. That plus when you get near the top the traffic light causes a back up which makes me lose all the inertia I had climbing and it makes starting back up on an incline hard.the sidewalk isn’t always well maintained either and I dislike riding on sidewalks.

    • WS Bike Ride May 24, 2024 (12:43 pm)

      I ride that hill frequently for the same reasons many of the drivers here are complaining about. Slow down and you might see us out there. 

  • Prudent Driver May 21, 2024 (3:19 pm)

    Yes let’s force all traffic into the “danger” lane downhill, the one that all the uphill speeders cut into in their haste to get to the top.   What could possibly go wrong?  I never drive in that lane for this exact reason.  Too many people crossing the middle line as they come around that curve.  I will be driving in the bike lane if this goes through.  

    • josh May 21, 2024 (4:13 pm)

      How safe and prudent of you.

    • cwit May 22, 2024 (11:30 am)

      So much for being a ‘Prudent Driver.’

  • DRW May 21, 2024 (3:38 pm)

    Just expand the existing sidewalk. Who the heck is going to ride up that hill?

    • Ross May 23, 2024 (5:25 am)

      Dial it back… way to much common sense. Not sure sdot could comprehend that thought process. 

  • K to the F May 21, 2024 (3:56 pm)

    Has no one here heard of e-bikes?This route is a connection to/from West Seattle for more than just those traveling in vehicles. Making it safer for those alternate modes encourages even more use and fewer cars on the roads

    • Erik May 21, 2024 (5:29 pm)

      I have seen multiple electric bike and scooter users have to push their bike up the hill because it is too steep for the motor handle.

      • Room May 21, 2024 (7:47 pm)

        Can personally confirm that it’s not a big deal to ebike up. Any ebike that can’t handle this hill isn’t going to be much use in Seattle. Can’t speak to scooters.

    • LCat May 21, 2024 (10:39 pm)

      This absolutely does not encourage me to ditch my car for a long & rainy, uphill bike ride. Daily, after work. No, I’m not encouraged. 

  • hopefulcyclist May 21, 2024 (4:10 pm)

    I hope they do this! I avoid that hill because of how fast cars drive up/down it. I have an e-bike (as do many people who I’m sure would love to use this road safely) and a bike lane here would be a game changer!

  • Seattlite May 21, 2024 (4:18 pm)

    This is a terrible and dangerous idea.  Reducing the downhill drive to one lane is ridiculous and will cause backups, possible road rage, and the temptation for drivers with no common sense to do stupid things.  Drivers going down and up this steep hill speed and rarely use common sense, defensive driving skills.  Highland Park Way Hill aka Boeing Hill is somewhat like Admiral Way SW in that no one goes the posted speed limit of 25mph which increases the risk of accidents.  Due to speeding drivers, both of these steep hills should have solid barriers between the inside lanes to prevent collisions.

    • Rock May 21, 2024 (7:51 pm)

      If car drivers are this childish and dangerous, maybe the solution is a permanent and hair trigger speed camera and some license revocations. 

      • datamuse May 21, 2024 (11:05 pm)

        Speed traps used to be pretty common on that hill, no doubt for this very reason. That was when the speed limit was higher, too.

  • Curtis May 21, 2024 (4:22 pm)

    SDOT continues to dedicate all their time to harrass and emotionally torture tax paying citizens of this city.  A transit agency dedicated to creating more traffic, slowing people down, and making our public thoroughfares as inefficient as possible.  You could pull one sidewalk, widen it, and make a two way bike lane there.  But that wouldn’t make drivers miserable so the option is not on the table.  There should be some sort of walking/biking option between South Park and West Seattle near the greenbelt along lower Roxbury.  But that would disturb the homeless encampments through the woods.

    • Ross May 23, 2024 (5:30 am)

      But if they do that they aren’t ruining our infrastructure and pandering to the ultra minority, bike riders.

  • Vision Zero is killing people May 21, 2024 (4:29 pm)

    More of the same failed policies. Our transportation system is already over burdened. If people had the opportunity to move efficiently they’d get out of their cars, but we don’t, so people depend on their cars. It’s not the fault of the people, it’s the fault of the system. This project doesn’t hide the real intentions of SDOT: this isn’t about bikes, it’s about slowing traffic. When you add stress to an already over stressed transportation network it fails in ways unintended. That is why Vision Zero is bad policy. The numbers prove it. And other commentators are spot on: this isn’t cheap and we’re spending valuable resources chasing an unattainable utopian dream when we have lots of practical needs. Traffic fatalities, especially pedestrians and bikers are up. Creating traffic inefficiencies is the cause, not the solution. Cars need to be able to move. Buses (preferably in an efficient manner, like grade separation) need to move. And bikes and pedestrians need to move. Forced pain is only going to cause more pain and not a modal shift. Moderation in our politics and policy is due. How haven’t we learned this lesson yet? 

  • Mark Schletty May 21, 2024 (4:29 pm)

    This is a perfect example of the new SDOT director being a clone of the last one. Then candidate Harrell told me that he new we needed to get a director who would restore the SDOT  to its rightful purpose of improving our transportation system for ALL users,  including the main method of transportation for most of us— cars and trucks.  Harrell obviously lied to me. This is a stupid unneeded project designed to hinder vehicle traffic while helping almost no one . In my opinion this SDOT director and all of the top level employees  should be fired in an effort to restore some sanity to the SDOT.

  • CH May 21, 2024 (4:49 pm)

    Responded to the survey against removing the lane.Strangely, they do not ask for opinions from people who do not bike or walk. Also  the survey assumes that this project is happening despite public comment – there’s not option in the survey for “don’t remove traffic lanes” or “widen existing sidewalk”.

  • CH May 21, 2024 (5:03 pm)

    BTW THANK YOU for reporting on this, had not heard about it till today.

    • WSB May 21, 2024 (5:58 pm)

      Yeah, the original announcement was dropped by SDOT on a Friday (as linked above, 5/10), so many probably missed it – TR

  • Morgan junction res May 21, 2024 (5:29 pm)

    Absolutely horrible idea.  Does anyone remember the back ups on this route when the west seattle bridge went out?  If and when there is a problem with the big bridge, this is the alternate route.  We are going to constrict it?  

  • Dunno May 21, 2024 (5:45 pm)

    Was anything learned when the WS Bridge closed for almost 2 and a half years?   There are a limited number of options for leaving the Peninsula.   I remember how horrible the traffic was then.How long have there been E bikes?   I cannot ever remember seeing one going up Highland Drive.  Maybe once or twice have I ever seen anyone using the sidewalk, and I’ve driven the hill over a thousand times!   Why not widen the sidewalk for bikes and so called walkers of the hill?  Time for Harrell to replace the SDOT director.  Put resources to better use in more realistic area’s.   Could start with the broken cement on the Spokane street viaduct, 35th sw repaving, Fauntleroy, Admiral, California ave……………………… 

  • Gary Henderson May 21, 2024 (6:03 pm)

    It’s called Boeing Hill.  Bikes need not apply..

  • Seth May 21, 2024 (6:59 pm)

    Everyone here who hasnt seen a bike use this hill, thats cause id be terrified to use this hill as is with a biker.  What a biased point that just proves we need improvement here. 

    • Erik May 21, 2024 (8:18 pm)

      I think what we are saying is that the market of people that want to bike up a grade that steep is so small it doesn’t make financial sense to do it.

      • OneTimeCharley May 21, 2024 (10:22 pm)

        Bingo Erik.

        • Anc May 21, 2024 (10:54 pm)

          What about these going downhill?

  • Alayna May 21, 2024 (8:37 pm)

    Wow, this is going to make traffic so much worse.  What if the West Seattle bridge goes out again?  That was one of our only ways out of West Seattle, halving the amount of traffic that can use it would be terrible.How many cars use that hill per day versus bikes?  Can’t the current sidewalk be repurposed to be a better bike lane?         

  • Vision zero is not killing people May 21, 2024 (8:49 pm)

    I’m glad they’re doing this. It’s way too hard to get from Delridge down to SODO/Georgetown. This will make my life a lot easier to bike up and down this hill 

    • Vision Zero is Economically Unjust May 22, 2024 (8:51 pm)

      What’s so hard about using the paved path already there — for, what…a couple football fields long? I’ve done it many times. A limited few’s wishes should not eliminate the greater needs of mass commuters, servicers, first responders, and etc. southbound vehicles which rely heavily on this.

  • Jeremy Cole May 21, 2024 (8:52 pm)

    Plenty of bikes use Highland Park Way up and down, myself included. People don’t “see” them because they are speeding 45+ mph on the hill.

  • bill May 21, 2024 (8:53 pm)

    Seems to me SDOT actually does not want to execute this project but is afraid to say so and instead is passively aggressively counting on the predictable selfish driver reaction to any bicycle project that might slightly inconvenience drivers. There is actually plenty of room on the south side of the road to build a better sidewalk and bike trails. Taking away a driving lane to slow traffic is a good idea and in no way should be conflated with a bike facility. The inner downhill lane could be divided with jersey barriers for safety and to create a shoulder for each direction.

  • David Vanbolt May 21, 2024 (10:11 pm)

    Contrary to many comments, It’s not the middle of nowhere for cyclists and, as someone that bikes down it sometimes, it would be ok (the shared path) but definitely not at the expense of losing an entire lane to driving.  The first proposal of a death trench is absolutely insane.  I’m a cat 1 road racer and you could not pay me to ride 35 mph down a 3 foot wide trough, full of leaves and glass that buses are welcome to pull into but there is no swerving out of.  It would be much safer to just ride with traffic.  Also, bike brakes are really only meant for stopping not holding a speed down a steep grade so going a safe speed down a shared path for walkers isn’t really practical unless you’re we’re talking e-bikes anyways.  Love the sentiment but it’s gonna be a no from me dawg. Just throw some token white painted bike symbols on the road and consider it a “black diamond route” as far as biking goes.  

  • grilled cheese May 21, 2024 (10:22 pm)

    That is a dangerous curve, especially when it’s wet. I live down the road and drive it all the time. They should add a barrier in the middle to protect drivers. They could also widen the sidewalk, but not into the road, which would allow more bike traffic.

    • DM May 22, 2024 (10:36 pm)

      We’ve lived at the top of the hill for over 40 years and have seen several fatalities and dozens of crashes usually at the bad curve 2/3rds the way down the hill. We tell everyone we know to never drive in the left lane going either up or down the hill.  Now they want to force everyone into the left lane going down hill. Stupid and dangerous idea. We’re also bike riders and have always thought they should just fix and widen the path. The best solution is to is to widen the path simply put a barrier of some kind between the path and the right lane. But as grilled cheese suggested, a center line barrier on the entire hill (except at Othello, the street we use to exit our neighborhood) is a way overdue solution.  So if they go ahead with the plan to give up the right downhill lane, at least add a center barrier and figure out how we are suppose to come and go from Othello when cars, trucks, and busses are backed all the way to Holden at the top of the hill.

  • CeeBee May 22, 2024 (7:49 am)

    I suggest that SDOT close the car lanes as they propose and then study the results for at least one week.  And don’t close it during school vacations or anything else that would affect normal traffic conditions.  Then we’ll all know what it will be like.

    • Seattlite May 22, 2024 (8:22 am)

      CEEBEE….Your comment is full of perfect common sense which means that SDOT will not do that study, because it does not fit their agenda to  impede the flow of traffic with decreased lanes and bicycle lanes.

      • Erik May 22, 2024 (11:16 am)

        ROFL. Agreed!

    • Wseattleite May 22, 2024 (9:13 am)


  • CH May 22, 2024 (9:37 am)

    To echo other posters: What happens when the West Seattle Bridge is out of commission again?Traffic was terrible last time (2020-2022). Highland Park was bumper to bumper. Imagine the traffic out of West Seattle with one less lane.

    • AD May 22, 2024 (4:19 pm)

      Wow, “streets should be planned to accommodate the failure of critical infrastructure” might be the most cynical take on this project yet.  I mean, why stop at a lane of cars, why aren’t we building a whole backup bridge just in case the West Seattle Bridge is at risk of catastrophic failure again?  Think bigger!  But in all seriousness, a bunch more people started biking to work when the bridge was out, so bike infrastructure will help in the cataclysm you’re worried about too.

      • Mike May 22, 2024 (7:43 pm)

        The bridge has to be replaced, so not a theoretical situation.

      • CH May 23, 2024 (10:20 am)

        Yes, planning should take into account failure and aging of infrastructure. That’s not cynical. It’s common sense. Agree with Mike.

  • wetone May 22, 2024 (12:37 pm)

    Another terrible, $$$ waste, zero common sense plan from SDOT and City of Seattle. This plan just shows how much city’s mayor Bruce Harrell and SDOT’s most current leader Greg Spotts want cars off street. Then add Vision Zero and Healthy Streets programs that per city’s own data has little or opposite results of SDOT’s intentions, impacting most all living/working here.  Social engineering project at it’s worst, something Seattle government is leader at…… There is zero reason bike and walking path could not be incorporated on southside of road where current sidewalk is today and have little impacts to ALL. Greg Spotts please quit spending our tax dollars on projects such as this and start fixing our crappy roadways….. Show your feelings and vote……….         

  • Reed May 22, 2024 (2:55 pm)

    This has nothing to do with adding bicycle infrastructure. The objective is to redesign the road to physically force dangerous and inconsiderate drivers to slow down. If those mitigation measures utilize bicycle infrastructure to to that, great. For all the naysayers, please place the blame where it belongs: on car drivers, not cyclists and pedestrians.

    • CH May 23, 2024 (10:36 am)

      There are other ways to mitigate speeding like law enforcement and traffic cams. The bottleneck created by removing lanes will create new traffic problems in the neighborhood at the top of hill.

      • Evin May 28, 2024 (11:58 am)

        Those measures don’t work as well as changing the design of the road to encourage people to go slower. People naturally drive at the speed they feel comfortable at, so you should design the road so most drivers feel comfortable going the speed limit rather than 10 over. I’d recommend watching this YouTube video as well as other videos from Not Just Bikes; this particular video explains how redesigning a road to get people to show down is more effective than just slapping up a lower speed limit sign: https://youtu.be/bglWCuCMSWc?si=ssNHFe35oJIz9-mm

        This also allows police resources to be used for more important things like fighting crime than handing out speeding tickets to otherwise law abiding citizens.

    • Evin May 28, 2024 (11:50 am)

      Yes, that’s correct. Changing the design of a road is much more effective at slowing people down than anything else.

  • Arbor Heights Resident May 22, 2024 (5:41 pm)

    Entitled drivers in this comment section with no understanding of how any of this works. There is a reason why hill sections of highways have the passing lane on the UPHILL side. It’s way too easy for drivers trying to pass on a downhill to speed and put everyone at risk.And there is a reason why biking in Seattle is so dangerous: aggressive drivers and a lack of bike infrastructure. I would love to bike in Seattle again, but I’ve had too many close calls, also my neighborhood has literally no bike lanes at all (and even lacks sidewalks on most streets). Bike lanes have a higher capacity than car lanes which will be needed as our population keeps going up and up. You’ll survive just fine with 3/4 lanes still dedicated solely for cars.

    • CH May 23, 2024 (10:25 am)

      We’re not “entitled”, we’ve earned the right to a say in this. This is a democracy AND we pay for the roads. We have to use it to get to work, school, doctors and grocery stores.

      • Evin May 28, 2024 (12:02 pm)

        Actually, bicycle advocates have had to fight really hard to get city DOTs to actually consider their interests, whereas the interests of drivers are often considered by default, often while ignoring the interests and needs of other road users. So no, bicyclists are not entitled.

  • WSB May 23, 2024 (10:54 am)

    I’m writing the story of last night’s HPAC discussion right now, hopefully done by 12:30, but I just got word from SDOT that they’ve added one more feedback/info event, beyond 4-8 pm tonight at Highland Park Corner Store – they’ll also be at Delridge Farmers’ Market (9421 18th SW) 10 am-2 pm Saturday. They’re also close to 1,000 responses to the survey, linked above.

  • Elle May 23, 2024 (11:10 am)

    I was seriously wondering what the heck “Highland Park Way hill” was. Boeing Hill. Got it. 

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