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‘Left-turn Signals at Broadway & John’ only D3 project to survive crowd-sourced Street Fund process

Cut from an earlier plan to improve the corridor for pedestrian, bicycling, motor vehicle, and public transit travel, one of the more challenging intersections on Broadway is lined up to finally get left-turn signals — eventually.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has released the final roster of projects approved this week as part of the crowd-sourced 2019 Neighborhood Street Fund process, an annual series of online voting and community meetings that allocates funding to projects identified by citizens and often including efforts with relatively significant budgets of $100,000 or more.

The long and winding road to eventually implementing the project now depends on SDOT planners to come up with implementation specifics and City Hall lining up the budget money to do the work.

The project was one of 22 being considered around District 3 — but the only one in the district to survive the final pass through the Levy Oversight Committee this week.

The project description lays out the issues the left-turn signals are hoped to address:

The intersection has been recognized as one of the most hazardous in Seattle for pedestrians. Two important pedestrian corridors meet at this intersection, and the pedestrian flow is continuous in all directions. In 2016, pedestrian counters adjacent to Seattle Central College recorded an average daily volume at Broadway and E Olive Street of 22,539 people. The annual pedestrian count at this corner repeatedly records approximately 1000 pedestrians an hour crossing that intersection during peak hours. The number of people crossing the intersection is only going to increase, as Sound Transit expects the number of people entering or leaving the Capitol Hill station to double by 2030 and there are many conflict points with cars.

Last year, SDOT cited cost as it backed off a plan that would have added the turn-signals as part of the larger overhaul of the John/Thomas corridor intersections across the Hill. New signals would cost around $250,000.

Seattle’s new ‘MASS Transportation Package’
Outgoing City Council member Mike O’Brien, chair of the Sustainability & Transportation Committee, and the M.A.S.S. Coalition are set to unveil  a new MASS transportation package Friday afternoon to “address the multi-modal needs of Seattle’s pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and the differently-abled community.”

O’Brien’s legislation “aims to make Seattle safer to walk, bike, roll and use transit,” and will also require SDOT “to include bike lanes on any paving project in excess of $1M in the long-standing bicycle master plan.”

The package will include “sidewalk repairs; prioritization of transit with the creation of more bus-only lanes; aligning traffic signals to create accessible and safe crosswalks; and, doubling the number of bike share spots, allowing for clearer sidewalks,” according to a statement on the announcement.

The M.A.S.S. Coalition formed last year representing groups including brings together groups including the Sierra Club, the Transit Riders Union, Cascade Bicycle Club, and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

You can read more about the MASS Transportation Package here.

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23 thoughts on “‘Left-turn Signals at Broadway & John’ only D3 project to survive crowd-sourced Street Fund process

  1. This intersection could really benefit from being made into a pedestrian scramble as well–like Denny and Broadway and a few of the busiest pedestrian intersections downtown like 1st and Pike and 1st and University.

    • The problem with this type of intersection is that many pedestrians have not been educated about it. At Broadway and Denny I see many people walk when the light is green even though the walk sign is not on. The city should really put up some type of education sign at this crosswalk to educate the public. Until that time it is just an accident waiting to happen.

      • I see lots of that too, and I also see clueless drivers trying to wave the pedestrians across against the walk signal. It’s an epic fail. What might help is left and right green arrow lights facing the eastbound Denny traffic. Most drivers know those mean they unequivocally have the right-of-way AND most pedestrians know to stay put when they’re on. Otherwise SDOT should just go back to the old straightforward signal pattern. There was nothing about it that really needed fixing.

    • That’s a great idea! I’d love to see this intersection as a pedestrian scramble, so pedestrians crossing in all directions separately, then the cars go separately. Seems a lot safer!

  2. I’ve laughed (to keep from crying) more times than I care to count as I see a city bus trying to make a left turn onto broadway from the east side of the intersection.

    It’s a great example of how utterly clueless the city is at directing traffic, of any sort, including its own damn buses.

    It’s also a great example of the how the city is reactive instead of proactive to traffic and growth. The city knew for how many YEARS that the light rail was going to bring thousands of new pedestrian crossings every day, so what did they do? Nothing. It took what, a year just to get the slight delay on the light change so idiots trying to turn left on broadway (including our own Metro buses) wouldn’t run over a pedestrian as they ran the red?

    And yet we are still in the “planning” stages for a left turn arrow or prohibiting it all together? Come on! This should have been figured out at the same time the Light Rail station was planned.

    Let’s talk more about planning. Why was there no plan to (like NYC has on most of its subway exits) allow pedestrians to walk underground to come out on the other side of John? You can come out on the other side of Broadway (with enough walking) but not John. Why? What sense does that make? How much more money would it have cost? Probably a reasonable amount was it even considered?

    The city spent how much time and money expanding the sidewalks for the bus stops at that corner but they couldn’t have made an underground tunnel from the bus stop to the light rail so those overused (sorry, but they are, and the flashing yellow lights now do nothing but slow traffic to a crawl even more coming up to 15th) crosswalks could be closed and traffic could actually flow?

    I walk and drive that part of John almost every day and have a perspective on being a pedestrian and a driver. I really don’t need as a pedestrian to have a crosswalk ONE BLOCK DOWN from the one at John and Broadway. But as a driver, there is nothing more irritating then finally crossing over broadway heading east only to slam on the brakes for a pedestrian crossing on what the city need to realize is now a main cap hill arterial. You got the fucking light rail station right there guys. It’s time to put on the big city pants and make some hard decisions. Either put in a bridge or underpass or close that crosswalk. or I guess we can continue to have traffic backed up all the way to the Denny as you head east trying to get up the hill.

    It really just boggles the mind how shitty the entire thing is. How does a city with so many smart people become so learned helpless with transit?

    • Good Lord, you must really be in a hurry to stomp on the gas pedal, if you have to slam on the brakes at a crosswalk 100 yards further down. Just how many crosswalks are you willing to delete? It’s a dense residential neighborhood, not I-5. Maybe it’s time to put on your big city pants and realize that this is not a place you can basting around at 40 m.p.h.

      • Why did the city choose to make the street just south of john on the east side of broadway one way? It could be a great way for vehicles to avoid the pedestrian area around john, thus keeping vehicle and pedestrian traffic separate (hooray for safety), but instead they make it into a non-thru street (it previously was a thru street) thereby directing all vehcile traffic to the john/broadway intersection. A more screwed up configuration can not be imagined. But dont worrry, our traffic engineers are hot on the trail of a “solution” to this unanticipated ( how stupid are we?) congestion.

      • Glenn, It’s a festival street. When the station’s housing is complete, there will be a plaza and it will feel more connected to the park, and hopefully we can fully close Denny except to deliveries. Can’t wait for the farmer’s market to move there.

      • We don’t need more car drivers on those roads. 10th and 11th are the only north-south connections that I still feel safe biking on. Usually numerous near misses on 12th with ride shares and aggressive drivers and broadway pbl just launches you out into mayhem.

      • Nobody is asking to go 40 mph from the bottom of the hill to the top. What I’m asking for is for an improved traffic plan and tough compromises to be made.

        Most people that move here from the east coast expect such compromises as part of urban life. In NYC they have long realized that traffic MUST pass through dense (much denser than any Seattle neighborhood) in a certain pattern, especially on bus routes. If that means a crosswalk is eliminated so be it.

        John is a major route through cap hill and that intersection has become a flash point for needless congestion as a result of increased population density no doubt — but also chickenshit decision making.

        Somebody has to come in and make the tough choices otherwise we get these half assed things (like putting in the flashing pedestrian crosswalk at 10th and John but not an over or underground pedestrian walkway that would alleviate the problem 20+ years into the future) instead of real long term solutions.

      • Real long-term solutions are better transit, bike lanes, and congestion tolling. Not deleting crosswalks and making the city even more hostile than it already is for people walking.

    • What is an “overused crosswalk”? A crosswalk by which too many pedestrians regularly arrive at their destinations without being run over? Is it analogous to Larry Summers’ notion of an “under-polluted country”?

      Is the neighborhood’s walk score too high for people of your caliber and importance, especially given the model of car you drive?

      Has the lack of people yelling “Fuck you!” at each other got you down? Have you been doing your best to “correct” that situation? Can we help?

      Is the local pitying attitude toward complaining New Yorkers leaving you simultaneously mystified and enraged?

      When you use the phrase “cap hill,” do you wonder why people raise their eyebrows, then fall silent, stare at their shoes, and sidle off?

    • Crosswalks on John cannot be closed, eliminated, or deleted. Every intersection is a legal crosswalk at which drivers are required to yield to pedestrians, whether it’s marked or not. The presence of the light rail station and bus stops along John between Broadway and 15th means lots of pedestrians; that’s why the city made recent improvements to the crossings. I cross John, usually at 10th, twice a day going to work. My kid crosses John every morning to catch Metro to school. Drivers need to drive slowly and recognize that this is a pedestrian corridor where they must expect to stop frequently.

      • > Crosswalks on John cannot be closed, eliminated, or deleted ….

        One would hope not, however there is a crosswalk at Mercer and Taylor that I used to find quite useful and it was recently eliminated and barricaded, I guess because yet again people who drive cars are more important than people who walk and ride bikes and buses. Wouldn’t be surprised if there are plenty more that have been eliminated around the city. I would not put anything past SDOT these days, especially with the visionless and cynical Mayor Durkan pulling the strings.

      • Slowing the bus down so your kid and yourself can cross a block further east is frankly everything that is wrong with this city and the entitlement of long term residents that cannot fathom changes.

        I’ve lived in this part of cap hill going on 10 years now and I’d hazard a guess that part of John sees at least 2x the amount of traffic as it did when I moved here. The fact is that John is a DE FACTO cap hill arterial.

        Drivers will continue to use it that way and will continue to be frustrated.

        I can’t wait to see how bad it gets when all those new condo and apt units fill up on the back side of Cal Anderson.

        You’ll never get an 8 bus on time again.

      • Oh so now suddenly it’s the bus you’re concerned with? What a laugh. People on foot have a miniscule effect on bus (and car) speeds compared with the congestion caused by single-occupancy vehicles. If you’re so worried about keeping the bus on time, then let’s make John and Denny a transit-only street from I-5 to 23rd Avenue. What do you say?

  3. It’s a shame that Light rail stations are not integrated with the neighborhood. The oversized entrances only on one side of this busy intersection. Cap hill station should’ve had smaller entrances on all sides, so people don’t have to cross busy streets, Build underground walkways or do an intersection where everyone can walk in any direction.

    • Adding entrances across the street would cost a lot of money and displace businesses — Sound Transit would surely get criticism for that too. The entrance across Broadway at Denny was a special case because of the need to provide good access to Seattle Central College.