All Jaywalk? All Walks vs. All-way Walks and what happened with the changes on Broadway

CORRECTION: In March, CHS reported that an “all way walk” crosswalk would be installed at Denny in coordination with other safety changes around Broadway in front of Capitol Hill Station. The new Broadway/Denny crosswalks are, indeed, “all walk” crosswalks as the Seattle Department of Transportation recently corrected us. CHS regrets the error.

We also kind of regret the All-way walk.

“The compliance issue arises from pedestrian expectations of a walk coming on with a parallel green light, which is not our practice for All Walks or All-way Walks,” a department spokesperson tells CHS about our observation that many if not most people jaywalk against the signals at Broadway and Denny. The relatively short crossing of Denny has long been a temptation for a quick cross as long as no cars are speeding through. Hard to say but it might be that people are even more likely to cross against the lights in the new configuration.

“Typically, in both treatments, crossings pedestrians do not get a walk light with their parallel vehicle green lights because green time is reduced significantly,” the SDOT spokesperson writes about the setup at Broadway and Denny. “We try to reduce conflicts with turning vehicles to keep traffic moving. In this location, since Denny is a one way outbound (westbound), there is no conflict on one leg of the intersection so we do bring up the parallel walk, but only on one side of the street.

But let’s take a step back onto the curb. There are two different types of “all walk” crosswalks, you say, SDOT?

That’s right, All Walk and All-way Walk should not be used interchangeably, because they are not one and the same.

Here’s the difference:

  • All Walks only service pedestrians in the typical crosswalks at the intersection. Example: Broadway E and E Denny Way near the Capitol Hill Station- straight across, no diagonal crossing here.

  • All-way Walks – thumbs up to crossing diagonally! Example: First Ave and Pike St outside the market

  • All-way Walks require a much longer signal length to implement.

As fun as a diagonal crossing might be, Broadway and Denny is set up only as an “All Walk.” SDOT says the 10-second-longer signal cycle required for a full-on “All-way” would create “more congestion on the Broadway corridor.”

Meanwhile, Broadway and John/E Olive Way is also a bad place for any “All-way” shenanigans, SDOT says. As part of the street’s safety improvements, engineers opted for a “Leading Pedestrian Interval” giving pedestrians a” few extra seconds at the start of the walk cycle.” You can check out all the timings and maths here.

As for the “All Jaywalk” reality at Broadway and Denny, SDOT said it is evaluating the changes.

“The All Walk was the preferred option from the community at Broadway and Denny,” the SDOT representative said. “It could be changed back to the old operation if we determine this option is not working as intended, or we could evaluate other options depending on the situation.”

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3 thoughts on “All Jaywalk? All Walks vs. All-way Walks and what happened with the changes on Broadway

  1. Thanks for this update. This intersection is confusing but this article clears up why this is a seemingly “off” walk signal.

    I like that they are trying new things, but they might want to share information when they use a new format like this. From anecdotal experience, seems like everyone is just jaywalking.

  2. I’m glad they’re reevaluating that intersection – in particular, they should consider that since there’s no right on red from Denny onto Broadway and no left turns at all from Broadway to Denny, there is no reason for both sides to not get a walk on parallel green since there’s no way for cars to go (legally) go through that crosswalk while Denny has the green.

    • The problem, of course, is that at least half of the right-turning drivers at that intersection either fail to see the “No Turns on Red” sign or disregard it. But I agree, this signal change only makes matters worse. For the first couple of days I thought the signals were malfunctioning. I finally figured it out because I live nearby and cross here often, but those who don’t are understandably confused.