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.
8 thoughts on “Plan ahead: lane restrictions on S. Spokane St. 4/28”
Plan ahead: lane restrictions on S. Spokane St. 4/28 http://t.co/7HBRsQ75cG
Intersections that reduce straight ahead traffic only backs up the traffic lanes and clogs up traffic. This is very evident in areas like 15th and Columbian infront of Asa Mercer and on Columbian and ML King.
Beacon and Spokane already have a left turn light allowing traffic to make left hand turns or proceed straight forward. All this does is clog up traffic and create congestion.
RT @beaconhillblog: Plan ahead: lane restrictions on S. Spokane St. 4/28 http://t.co/7HBRsQ75cG
Please be clear that this means Spokane will be reduced to one lane each direction at Lafayette. I had heard that this portion of the project had been eliminated due to traffic and nieghborhood concerns. It’s another choke point on cars on one of the 3 main arterials in Beacon Hill and will do wonders for the goal of increasing traffic back ups. Too bad people can’t cross at the lights located two blocks either direction. Also great is that all those transit busses get stuck behind or in front of choke points as well. While busses are okay in Seattle, there are so many places that you cannot go using busses in any meaningful way even when allowing 2 hours for out of the way connections for a 15 minute car equivalent ride.
It’s going to be one lane in each direction on a permanent basis, not just while they’re painting, and it won’t be only at Lafayette. It’s going to be one lane in each direction with a center turn lane for the entire four blocks between 16th and Beacon. There will also be a useless half-lane along each curb. DoT employees were laying down the chalk lines the other day so I went out and talked to them and they confirmed that was the plan.
Not only will this worsen traffic on Spokane (which is already gridlocked during evening rush hour), it’s going to divert traffic onto the residential streets. Impatient drivers will try to avoid idling on Spokane by zooming down 17th, Lafayette, and Alamo, and turn onto Hinds, Horton, or Hanford to get to either 15th or Beacon. We already saw a lot of this during the week when they were repaving Spokane and restricted it to one lane in each direction. The new configuration might make Spokane St. safer, due to the cars just sitting on it barely moving, but it’s going to make the residential streets significantly more dangerous.
The really sad thing is that in ten or fifteen years, someone at DoT will say, “hey, we can really improve the traffic flow on Spokane if we make it two lanes in each direction! Hardly anyone uses that center turn lane anyway so we can get rid of it!”
So, how are the two lanes coming from the I-5 off-ramp going to throttle down to 1 lane? Is the left lane becoming a dedicated 15th ave left turn? The plans posted for this project end abruptly west of the new median at Lafayette, and show no indication of how this will be integrated with the traffic flow from the off-ramp, which also feeds from West Seattle and SODO. It’s important to note that this affects BH residents directly and indirectly, since Spokane is the electronically-directed I-5 and West Seattle access route for a good sized area east of Beacon Hill.
Chris, based on the way it’s currently chalked, it looks like there are no changes west of 16th. The two lanes heading east on Spokane coming off I-5 remain unchanged up to 16th, where they have to merge into one lane. Worse, people who are turning right off 15th and coming up that ramp also have to merge at 16th. So eastbound, it looks like it’s going to be three lanes merging into one at 16th.
When I first saw the plans for this I too was nervous that it would cause big backups. Since the striping has occurred I have driven through the area about 8 times. It seems like traffic flow may have actually improved! I think it has to to with the changes they made to the signalling. SDOT will do follow up studies to verify/debunk this, but that is just my first impression.
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