Pedestrian signal, crosswalk and bus-only lane coming to 15th Ave. NW

Big changes are coming to 15th Ave. NW between Market St. and the Ballard Bridge.

That busy stretch carries an estimated 50,000 vehicles and 15,000 bus passengers every day, SDOT says. For nearly half a mile — between Market and Leary — there are no crosswalks, which often results in some pedestrians making a mad dash across 15th.

Over the next several weeks, SDOT is installing a crosswalk at NW 53rd St. — that’s just north of the Starbucks’ drive-in — with a center island, pedestrian signal and curb ramps. It will look something like this (SDOT rendering):

The pedestrian island replaces the center turn lane, which will also be replaced with a bus-only lane from 53rd down to 51st, where the center lane disappears leading up to the Ballard Bridge. This bus lane is designed “to make service more reliable and faster” when traffic backs up, SDOT says.

However, removing that turn lane means you’ll no longer be able to make left turns on 15th at 52nd or 53rd streets. “Some people and service providers will change their routes to get home or access businesses,” SDOT says. “However, the change will make the intersections safer.”

All this work will result in lane closures for the next 6-8 weeks, adjusted to minimize impact on the commute. Here are the details from SDOT:

  • Two lanes of traffic will remain open in each direction for the duration of the project.
  • Outer southbound and northbound lane closures of 15th Ave NW will occur intermittently.
  • 15th Ave NW southbound will be open to three lanes 6-10 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
  • 15th Ave NW northbound will be open to three lanes 3-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, and noon to 4PM on Saturday and Sunday.
  • No parking and local access only on NW 53rd St between 17th Ave NW and 14th Ave NW.

This stretch of 15th Ave. NW is becoming home to several apartment complexes, including a new development planned for 51st and 15th.

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ed jones
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ed jones

disaster!

Henry R.
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Henry R.

This is a great improvement.

I’ve had to dodge cars crossing 15th many times, both while running and biking. It’s the most pedestrian unfriendly part of our neighborhood and I’m happy to see it made safer.

I’d rather wait 1 minute for a pedestrian to cross there than 12 minutes at the bridge for the boat of some jerky seafood company who keep delaying the B-G missing link

guesty
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guesty

this will be bad news for sure…everything coming to a halt every time someone hits the button?

its really close to the market street traffic light too. kinda weird placement in my opinion. so if you are at 52nd, 53rd its less than 1/4 mile to market or leary? disrupt traffic for that? most people can use the exercise anyway…

Bhagwan Shree Sawant
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Bhagwan Shree Sawant

The junkies need to get across more safely when they rob Subway at gunpoint or attack a pedestrian at night.
Money well spent, Seattle!

John
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John

This is silly! If it was midway between Leary and Market, maybe I could get over it but this location is within spitting distance of Market. This will delay traffic unnecessarily and disrupt left turns from the center lane.

OTOH, the new crosswalk on Leary @Olympic Atheltic is a god send and long overdue.

J Parker
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J Parker

Well, Hallelujah!

Tom
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Tom

Why not fix the crappy roads. Getting tired of dodging pot holes. : /

Tom
Guest
Tom

Why not fix the crappy roads. Getting tired of dodging pot holes.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Can we fix the crappy roads. Getting tired of dodging pot holes.

Snitch
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Snitch

Traffic on 14th between Leary to 65th is gonna be so much worse. How about an overpass ? No one needs to cross there in the first place. Absolute rubbish

GW
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GW

Great idea. Get on the bus if you don’t like it!

Fred
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Fred

Think of it like a culvert for bums.

Ericka
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Ericka

Home-owning tax-paying neighborhood-walking bus-commuting car-owning supporter of this.

trinitynzxt
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trinitynzxt

Just saw this morning they are putting in a 4 way stop with crosswalks at 57th and 20th.

matt
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matt

This will only work well if these lights and the lights at market st are times to go red at about the same time. It will be a failure if you get a green light at market only to have to stop again a few blocks later.

War on Cars
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War on Cars

The first day they put this in, I am going down there at rush hour and walking back and forth on the crosswalk for 30 minutes.

Truth
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Truth

If you want to drive 50 mph through your neighborhood, move to Irvine. The rest of us want to live in a livable, walkable city.

Dori Monson is going to be so triggered by this!

Human
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Human

This is necessary due to most driver’s ignorance or indifference towards the law.

A pedestrian ALWAYS has the right of way at a crosswalk. A crosswalk exists at EVERY intersection — a crosswalk does not need to be marked for one to exist. Here’s a nice summary:

“Legally, people can step off a curb and cross the street at any intersection, no matter its traffic or design. That means even crossings without walk signals, lights or zebra stripes give walkers the upper hand, according to state law.”

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/lets-get-something-straight-pedestrians-always-have-the-right-of-way-at-intersections/

I cross 15th regularly by foot. Few cars ever stop, even when I’ve stepped off the curb and am standing in a lane of traffic. Many more will stop on 8th, 3rd, or 24th, but for some reason drivers just figure that the rules don’t apply on 15th.

If car drivers didn’t willfully ignore the laws, these sorts of marked crosswalks wouldn’t be necessary. But here we are. So for all those drivers complaining about bicyclists and the homeless, how about policing yourselves first?

Ballard Needs Eats
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Ballard Needs Eats

“If car drivers didn’t willfully ignore the laws, these sorts of marked crosswalks wouldn’t be necessary. But here we are. So for all those drivers complaining about bicyclists and the homeless, how about policing yourselves first?” @Human: well, as a pedestrian, it’s your ‘right’ to step off the curb wherever you want. It’s a driver’s responsibility to be aware of their surroundings. Think about this though…if a car sees you step off the curb, but they have a guy tailgating their car, do you think they’re going to stop, and potentially get rear-ended, if they assume you’re not going to be dumb enough to step right in front of them? Because, in that situation, the car is always going to win. There’s the law, and then there’s common sense, which I think has been lost on both pedestrians and bikers. I try to be a conscientious driver, but I see many who are distracted by their phones, their babies in the backseat, or any other number of things. When I walk anywhere, I wait for a driver to make eye contact or I can physically see the car slowing down. Or, I huff it a few more blocks to a… Read more »

darrel e.
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darrel e.

Human is correct. Unfortunately, drivers on 15th think obeying traffic law is entirely optional. This expensive intervention would not be necessary if drivers were capable of obeying the law regarding pedestrians and intersections. Since they are not, the rest of society has to pay for their lawlessness.

darrel e.
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darrel e.

Ballard Needs Eats makes a fair point. The culture of lawlessness among drivers is quite widespread–they not only treat pedestrians dangerously, by failing to respect the law regarding pedestrian crossings, they treat each others dangerously, by ignoring the law (and basic common sense) regarding safe following distances.

That’s precisely why we need to redesign our streets in ways that make them safer, and to attempt to constraining the rampant lawlessness of drivers, who simply can’t be trusted to obey the laws under normal circumstances.

Truth
Guest
Truth

@Ballard Needs Eats: Maybe if cars were obeying the 30 mph speed limit on 15th, they wouldn’t need to worry about slamming on the brakes and getting rear ended to let a pedestrian cross. Pedestrians shouldn’t suffer because of the anti-social behavior of car drivers.

Oh SDOT
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Oh SDOT

This makes little sense. Any other city would preserve traffic flow for major throughways, but not Seattle. The whole 15th-innerbay area went from sensible street design, to planned gridlock. I’m sure it will save about 10-30 people a day the effort to walk up to Market, but it will result in thousands and thousands of bus riders and cars to stop and wait. For such a long intersection, to make it ADA compliant, the light will be stopped for a minimum of 1:40, if I am estimating the street width correctly. This is a vastly different use of a pedestrian only signal than say, on Aurora next to Greenlake park where there is high pedestrian demand, and much, much further away from the next closest pedestrian access point. SDOT really hates Ballardites, and want’s us all to spend at least an hour getting to work downtown based on their gridlock by design decisions in the past 7 years: 1) double intersections with traffic lights at Whole Foods in Interbay (should have made the commercial development enter have parking lot access from W. Armory Way (where the new light is just now going in) 2) 30MPH zone. The National Transportation Safety… Read more »

Bhagwan Shree Sawant
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Bhagwan Shree Sawant

People avoid I-5 and Aurora and take Elliot/15th. This will only increase once the tolls kick in at the new tunnel and surface roads downtown.

Putting up magical crosswalks to mitigate a traffic flow problem CREATED by sheer stupidity is, well…

…I can’t think of a better analogy than a mid-block crosswalk on 15th. On the bright side, Elenchos can get a foot long fast food sandwich when she gets the urge. #seattlepriorities

Ballard Needs Eats
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Ballard Needs Eats

@Truth: “Maybe if cars were obeying the 30 mph speed limit on 15th, they wouldn’t need to worry about slamming on the brakes and getting rear ended to let a pedestrian cross. Pedestrians shouldn’t suffer because of the anti-social behavior of car drivers.”
I don’t disagree, but I don’t enforce the rules. I had some guy cut into my lane, almost totaling my car, only to then try to sideswipe me as I tried to get around him, all the while screaming that I was the one who didn’t know how to drive. If that’s your average Ballard driver in regards to another car, do you really think he gives a crap about pedestrians?