Category Archives: Getting Around

S. McClellan to close for weekend repaving project

This Saturday, June 8, westbound South McClellan Street will be closed between 23rd Avenue South and 20th Avenue South for repaving by the Seattle Department of Transportation. The street will close at 7 a.m. to repave concrete panels in the 2100 block.

The street will remain closed until about 2 p.m. on Sunday, to give the concrete time to cure. A detour route will be provided for westbound travelers: south on 23rd, west on South Spokane Street, then north on Beacon Avenue South to McClellan and Beacon.

View S. McClellan street closure, 6/8/13 in a larger map

Plan ahead: 12th Ave S closure and detour May 18-20

The Seattle Department of Transportation wants you to know that streetcar construction will force some lane closures on 12th Avenue South from May 18 through 20. This will affect vehicles traveling from the International District to North Beacon Hill. Here’s the announcement:

Next weekend (May 18 to 20) the southbound lane of 12th Avenue South will be closed at South Jackson Street in the Little Saigon neighborhood for First Hill Streetcar track construction.

SDOT’s contractor will close the street from 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 until Monday morning. Southbound vehicles will be able to turn east or west onto South Jackson Street. For vehicles traveling to Beacon Hill, the detour will be eastbound on S Jackson Street to southbound Rainier Avenue South, and then westbound on South College Street.

The detour will be signed to assist drivers traveling through this intersection. Local access, pedestrian access, and access to businesses will be maintained.

Uniformed police officers will be on-site to keep traffic moving at the South Jackson Street and 12th Avenue South intersection.

For further information, visit the project Website at

Plan ahead: lane restrictions on S. Spokane St. 4/28

Barring rainy weather, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is planning to work on South Spokane Street between 16th Avenue South and 19th Avenue South this Sunday, April 28. During the work, from about 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., the street will be restricted to a single lane in each direction. there will be a traffic officer on site to guide travelers through the busy intersection of South Spokane Street and Beacon Avenue South.

SDOT will restripe the roadway to install left turn lanes at the Beacon and Spokane intersection, to improve traffic efficiency as well as to allow for safety improvements and better connections for the neighborhood to Jefferson Park.

In the future, SDOT and Seattle Parks will improve the intersection of Spokane Street and Lafayette Avenue South, adding a pedestrian crossing island, crosswalks, curb ramps, a stairway and a path to access Jefferson Park. These improvements are part of the Beacon Hill Neighborhood Greenway project to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Opinion: Greenway improvement at Beacon/Hanford hazardous, unnecessary

A car crosses Beacon illegally at the Hanford/Beacon intersection, which was recently revised to “right turn only” for cars going east/west. Photo by Wendi Dunlap/Beacon Hill Blog.
By George Robertson

I drove the length of the Beacon Hill Neighborhood Greenway from the freeway to Jefferson Park on April 7. It was parallel to my usual route and I was curious. There were no bikes anywhere to be seen on the Greenway, but I did see two bicyclists pass northbound on Beacon Avenue when I was parked for a minute or two at South Hanford Street and Beacon Avenue South contemplating what to do about a traffic revision blocking my path. I could have chosen backing up a block and illegally around a corner to get back onto 18th, after discovering that anyone headed for Victrola on the opposite side of Beacon Avenue now needs to make a right turn, a U-turn, and another right turn to get across Beacon Avenue on Hanford Street. I’ll use my Fifth Amendment right to deflect any questions about which option I chose to find a route across the street.

The car counts and traffic history of the intersection at Beacon Avenue South and South Hanford Street prior to the recent “improvement” have been normally uneventful, and there is simply no reason for obstructing any normal vehicular access in any direction to continue safe bicycle use at that intersection. Yet we see a river of money being wasted there inconveniencing and endangering the high frequency of bicyclists using that intersection bound north-south on Beacon Avenue South, in favor of nearly mythical bicycle usage frequencies east-west on South Hanford Street.

The newly created islands at Beacon and Hanford are a hazard to bicycle traffic. They create a choke point in the north-south traffic flow on Beacon Avenue. There are north- and southbound bus stops in both curb lanes of Beacon Avenue South at South Hanford Street. The new concrete traffic islands squeeze all north- and southbound through traffic into a much narrower than usual lane width on either side of the concrete island. The new concrete islands block and occupy what used to be, and is everywhere else, the relatively traffic-free safe refuge area provided by a continuous two-way center left-turn lane. The hazard that represents to bicyclists on Beacon Avenue South should have been sufficient reason to prevent the islands from ever being built. But it did not. Now if we want to prevent inevitable injury at that intersection, we are faced with having to overcome the inertia of embarrassed SDOT engineers to remove the three recently built left-turn-lane-blocking islands there. I hope that public opinion will help that process move swiftly.

The needless disruption of normal turning movements of automobile traffic into and out of the neighborhoods east of Beacon Avenue South from and across Beacon Avenue, both westbound and eastbound, should motivate residents there to call for remedial action. When you consider that South Hanford Street is the only street connecting with Beacon Avenue South that goes east of 19th Ave S. between South Spokane Street and South Stevens Street, interfering with left turns southbound on Beacon Avenue South represents a very significant disruption of normal traffic in and out of a very large neighborhood area east of Beacon Avenue for hundreds of families every day. Rerouting daily east-west trips on South Hanford that would go left or cross Beacon Avenue, to South Stevens Street or onto the already overloaded Spokane Street unfairly burdens their neighbors living on the South Stevens Street route with the displaced traffic. The new median islands and traffic restrictions at Beacon Avenue South and South Hanford Street are, unsafe and are frankly ridiculous traffic engineering overkill. Bicycles and bicyclists as a special interest group do need to be accommodated, on every street, but not to the point of reckless endangerment and/or exclusion of other rightful users of the streets.

George Robertson is a Beacon Hill resident of more than twenty years, an architect, an artist, and an occasional writer of self-described “often-incendiary rants that annoy the neighbors.”

Do you have something to say? Send us your own opinion pieces on this or other Beacon Hill-related topics.

Some anonymous neighbor expressed his or her opinion about the revisions at the Beacon/Hanford intersection by stickering one of the new signs there. Photo by Wendi Dunlap/Beacon Hill Blog.

14th and Judkins paving work to close lane on Sunday

Repair work on North Beacon Hill might complicate your travel a bit this Sunday, April 7, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., when paving crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation repair the pavement at the intersection of 14th Avenue South and South Judkins Street. One lane will remain open and flaggers will be there to assist drivers. Crosswalks and sidewalks will remain open.

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Beacon B.I.K.E.S. has new co-chairs

Photo by Dan Bennett in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
Changes are coming to Beacon B.I.K.E.S.. They posted this notice today on their Facebook page:

Hello Friends, we have some exciting news!

Christine Cole and Ryan Harrison have accepted the passing of the torch as co-chairs of Beacon B.I.K.E.S.! from our distinguished founder, Freddie Merrell and the hardest working man in Greenways, Dylan Ahearn. We seek to not only continue the development of our planned network, but to make sure that it is enjoyed by our immediate neighbors as well as adjoining communities.

We are not however going this alone as we have a vast pool of enthusiastic, action oriented people in our community that share our goal of healthy and safe self-propelled travel to the many great destinations on Beacon Hill. So, we ask for your support going forward and want to make sure that you see us as a resource of experience as well as partners in helping connect our community to itself!

As warmer weather comes, keep and eye out for ways to be engaged in and enjoy all our Greenway has to offer!

Stay in touch…

Christine Cole
Ryan Harrison

12th and Jackson intersection to close for construction

You will need to detour around the the intersection of 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street just north of Beacon Hill this weekend as construction for the First Hill Streetcar continues. The intersection at the heart of Little Saigon will be closed Saturday and Sunday, February 2 and 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Police and flaggers will be there to direct traffic and ensure that businesses and residences are accessible.

The planned detours:

  • Eastbound traffic – south on Fourth Avenue S, east on Seattle Blvd S, east on S Dearborn St
  • Westbound traffic – northwest on Boren Ave S, west on Yesler Way
  • Northbound traffic – east on S College St, north on Rainier Ave S, northwest on Boren Ave S
  • Southbound traffic – west on Yesler Way, south on Second Ave S Extension

Open letter: Coal train impacts need to be studied

Today at 5 p.m. is the end of the “scoping period” to submit written concerns about the proposal to run new coal trains through South Seattle near Beacon Hill from the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point. Comments submitted in this scoping period will help in defining the impacts to be included in the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Neighbor Mira Latoszek wrote this commentary letter:

Dear Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Ecology and Whatcom County Council:

I am a resident of the North Beacon Hill neighborhood of south Seattle. I live directly to the east of the train tracks that would carry an increased number of trains to and from the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point. Beacon Hill is a large Seattle neighborhood of approximately 40,000 people. I am asking that you study impacts associated with the increase of trains at crossings in south Seattle, specifically at Spokane St., Lander St. and Holgate St. These are major intersections connecting Beacon Hill to the Industrial District, the Port of Seattle, the waterfront, and downtown.

I, along with many of my neighbors on Beacon Hill, are dependent on goods and services from the SODO area which would be directly affected by the increase of trains at these crossings. In addition, many of us work in an around the SODO area and the southern end of downtown Seattle, including several owners of small businesses. I travel by car and bike through these intersections on a daily basis to get to my job on Second Avenue in Pioneer Square. Being able to get across the train tracks quickly and safely is an important part of my life.

According to the applicant’s Project Information Document (Feb. 2011), full build out of the coal export facility would result in nine full northbound trains along this line a day, which equates to 18 train trips a day; however, nothing in the project materials specifies a maximum. The 18 trains per day round trip could be increased if export capacity of the proposed port were expanded in the future. The current port proposal occupies 350 acres of a 1,000-acre site. Each train may be over 1.5 miles long, which at 50 miles per hour would mean approximately 3-4 minutes between train approach warning/gate closure and ultimate gate opening. At 35 miles per hour it could take approximately 6-7 minutes to clear a crossing as the siding near
this area is rated for 35 mph. The 18 trains per day would equate to approximately one additional coal train every 1.3 hours, all day long, in addition to existing train traffic. That would translate to an addition of approximately two hours per day that vehicles and people would not be able to cross these major intersections in south Seattle.

Continue reading Open letter: Coal train impacts need to be studied

Columbian Way ramps to West Seattle and southbound I-5 closed this weekend

by Broch Bender, WSDOT

If you’re traveling from Beacon Hill to West Seattle or southbound I-5 this weekend, plan ahead. The S. Columbian Way shortcuts to the west and south will be off-limits to traffic around-the-clock for WSDOT bridge expansion joint replacement work. (Keep in mind, the detour may add five or ten minutes to your Costco run or West Seattle Junction jaunt.)

Here’s what’s closed: 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 through 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21

  • S. Columbian Way to southbound I-5
  • S. Columbian Way to West Seattle Bridge
  • S. Columbian Way to 6th Ave. S. (AKA: Route to Costco)

The signed detour will direct Beacon Hill drivers south on 15th Ave. S. to a turn-around point on Corson Ave. S. From there motorists can access southbound I-5, or follow signs to West Seattle and 6th Ave. S. using northbound I-5.

Residents living near I-5 may hear loud construction work, especially at night. Crews will shroud the work zone with noise-deadening shields, but if it’s too noisy, residents can pick up a free pair of earplugs at the Jefferson Community Center (3801 Beacon Ave. S.) or call the project’s 24-hour construction noise hotline at (206) 440-4DOT (4368).

Columbian Way/West Seattle interchange repair work continues this weekend

The ramps from South Columbian Way to the West Seattle Bridge and Sixth Avenue South will be closed all weekend (January 11-14) for the continuing bridge expansion joint replacement project. The closures will begin at 10 p.m. on Friday night, and end at 5 a.m. Monday morning. A detour will be provided for drivers needing to access the West Seattle Bridge or Sixth Avenue South via I-5.

This nighttime work is noisy, and nearby North Beacon neighbors may hear it. If the noise is bothersome, you can call 206-440-4DOT (4368) to receive a free pair of earplugs or pick up a pair in person at Jefferson Community Center.

The project will continue through April. Find out more about the project and download a detour map at the project website.