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SDOT plans additional analysis of Broadway-John-E Olive Way for all-walk intersection

Gridlines at Broadway and John

Call it an all-walk, a scramble intersection, or a diagonal crossing, some community members say the intersection at Broadway, John, and E Olive Way needs one. But the Seattle Department of Transportation isn’t quick to OK an intersection that would stop cars in all directions and allow all pedestrians to cross.

Dongho Chang, a city traffic engineer, said those kinds of crosswalks can have unintended consequences and increase delays for everyone. But Chang said the increase in foot traffic in the last year since Capitol Hill Station opened in March does warrant additional analysis of the intersection.

“We definitely want to look at how to improve conditions for them,”  Chang said of the increasing number of pedestrians traveling through the intersection.

Chang said a new analysis was planned to begin this week.

The decision follows the Friday, February 3rd collision reported by CHS in which a driver slammed into a woman as she attempted to cross E Olive Way on the west side of the intersection. The pedestrian survived. But the incident brought new attention to the possibly dangerous situation developing around the busy, complicated stretch of Broadway where two major arteries intersect, and a busy mix of public transit including the light rail station and Metro bus stops converge.

If the problem is left turning vehicles, Chang said left turn pockets or restricting left turns can improve the intersection for everyone.

SDOT wants to make sure any infrastructure changes are “really holistic,” he said, and meet safety and mobility needs.

While the crossings and others in the area have been studied as a part of the planned, but now on hold, streetcar extension, the area’s street use hasn’t been analyzed since Capitol Hill Station opened.

“The volumes have changed significantly since the light rail station opened up,” he said.

Already one of the busiest Capitol Hill areas for pedestrians, the Broadway/John/E Olive Way crossings have become even more active since the opening of the station on the intersection’s southeast corner. Last summer, CHS reported on a study showing street and crossing dangers around the station. Late last year, intersections from Capitol Hill Station to Miller Park were selected for major pedestrian improvements though the project does not seem to include the western edge of the intersection across E Olive Way.

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce has been asking the city to make the intersection an all-way walk since last July, executive director Sierra Hansen told CHS. She was told the pedestrian count didn’t support it, but “never got a clear answer” when the last count was completed.

In a letter CHCC sent to Scott Kubly at SDOT in July, Hansen wrote of the chamber’s support for lowering speed limits on arterial and non-arterial streets but suggested more should be done.

“Lowering speeds is only one part of the solution, and the CHCC would ask the City to consider improving safety for vulnerable users such as pedestrians and cyclists,” Hansen wrote. “Capitol Hill has tremendous transit options, residential and commercial density that make it a “walker’s paradise” according to However, there are areas that continue to be of concern, such as the intersection of Broadway and John, according to a recent Seattle Greenways study of the neighborhood.”

Hansen wrote of CHCC’s support for the all-walk at Broadway and John, installing left-hand turn signals at 12th and John, Broadway and Harrison, and 12th and Madison, and installing crosswalk markings at 10th and John and Harvard and E Olive Way.

Chang said SDOT intends complete the department’s analysis and have suggestions soon.


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17 thoughts on “SDOT plans additional analysis of Broadway-John-E Olive Way for all-walk intersection

  1. Moving the stop bar back and having wider crosswalks could help. Also no turn on red. The all walk sounds good if all corners of the intersection have enough space to queue the people up in between walk signals.

    • The only Able Danger I think of when I see that Penn State logo is how a school and a community could look the other way on 40 years of institutionally allowed underage boy rape committed by a prominent member of the coaching staff.

    • Because all the students that ever went to that school were culpable for it? Do you feel better having written something that doesn’t contribute to the thread or topic at hand? Go away, troll.

  2. Enough with the “studies.” Take action here and all over the Hill. How about dedicated left turn lanes and signals at Madison &12th? No brainer, but still requires “study.”

    • Yes! We should just act after anything happens, without any consideration for repercussions! It’s how our President works; it’ll also help make Seattle great!

      Seriously, if you acted in this manner after every incident, the city would be spending millions on useless infrastructure. You first need to determine if there’s a problem (with a study)–they can’t work on “people say it’s an issue!” or “it’s totally obvious it’s an issue!” because you can use actual data–and then propose solutions.

    • Well-said, Privilege! Random citizens think they have THE answer to a situation like this, but I prefer to trust the experts in traffic management. They’re not always right either, but studying a location carefully before making an expensive change makes a lot more sense than an immediate, knee-jerk reaction.

  3. If making Capitol Hill a “walkers paradise” means making it impossible to drive, you will see businesses on the Hill wither and die.

    • That may be hyperbole, but multiple businesses on Broadway and Pike/Pine reported downturns when parking was removed for construction.

      People here seem to think that the only people that frequent local businesses are locals, or that public transportation is easily available for everyone outside of the area.

    • All-walk is better for drivers too — no pedestrians crossing when you’re trying to make left/right turns. Pedestrians get uncontested crosswalks during their time; cars get uncontested streets during theirs.

  4. Hooray! My wife and I have been talking about the need for an all-way crosswalk at this intersection since the station opened. Having to cross twice to get to the station after getting off the west-bound bus is a poor-planning hassle, but driving and having to turn in any direction with all those people crossing is a nightmare. We’ve already seen how well it works in Greenwood and the WS Alaska Junction (and those are just the ones I know of). Let’s hope SDOT sees sense.

  5. I think it’s pretty obvious that some changes need to be made to this intersection.

    Traffic heading east on Olive / E John needs a dedicated turn lane because it’s not obvious to people if there are two lanes or one with cars going around people turning left causing some quick merging when the cars behind the turning car also decide to go straight. Fix this shit!

  6. It’s funny, because every time I walk across this intersection I think how nice it is that the light is not particularly long in either direction, meaning the wait for a walk signal is not long.

  7. Another thing the city should do is make the Olive Way/Harvard Avenue intersection (one block west) a four-way stop with marked crosswalks across Olive. This would slow down traffic approaching Broadway, making that intersection safer, while enabling pedestrians northbound or southbound on Harvard to cross Olive Way safely without having to walk the extra block to Broadway and back.