Seattle Dept. of Transportation Planning Safety Improvements on 3rd Avenue NW

Jim Curtin at the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) recently sent an update about SDOT’s plans for traffic safety improvements on 3rd Ave. NW north of Holman Road.  Below is his update.

Here’s the latest info about our work on 3rd NW:

To reduce speeds, SDOT will be installing several sets of speed cushions on 3rd NW in early 2013.  Similar to speed bumps, speed cushions  are divided into sections so that wide wheelbase vehicles can straddle them.  As such, they can more easily accommodate transit, fire engines, and other emergency response vehicles. A total of seven speed cushions will be installed on the 3rd NW corridor near existing school crosswalks at NW 106th St, NW 107th St, NW 132nd St, and NW 137th St.

SDOT has been working closely with parents and staff from Viewlands Elementary to develop an infrastructure improvement plan.  The group’s priority is to secure funding for standard curb, gutter, and sidewalk along the school’s frontage on 3rd Ave NW.  SDOT helped develop a proposal for this project and submitted it for consideration through the 2013 Bridging the Gap Neighborhood Street Fund process. The proposal has made it past the first round of this community-driven process and is one of three finalists.

SDOT will be installing wheel stops along the existing walkway on 3rd Ave NW at Viewlands Elementary as a temporary measure to provide separation between vehicles and pedestrians.  The wheel stops will be placed close to the existing walkway and will not significantly alter the current parking configuration.

The Viewlands PTSA was awarded a $1000 mini-grant through SDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program to create a school-wide walking, biking and traffic safety program.  The PTSA will adopt the school crosswalks and install pedestrian crossing flags and receptacles at the crossings.  Funds will be used for student patrol equipment including vests, raincoats, hats and flags.  And the PTSA will produce sandwich boards to reinforce good driver behavior.  Cascade Bicycle Club’s Bike Skilz and Thrilz program will be offered at the school as well.

14 Comments on “Seattle Dept. of Transportation Planning Safety Improvements on 3rd Avenue NW”

  1. As President of the Broadview Community Council it is really exciting to see that the Seattle Department of Transportation is responding to the needs of one of our schools.

  2. Why are the speed bumps being put on 132nd and 137th? Those are nowhere near Viewlands. Is it legal for the city to disrupt traffic on an arterial by setting the speed limit to 15 MPH if it is not a school zone? Isn’t the legal speed limit for a school zone 20 MPH?

    • The marked crosswalks at 132nd and 137th are on routes for children to walk to Broadview – Thomson K8 School. These speed bumps were announced by SDOT last fall when the speed bumps at Viewlands Elementary were announced. SDOT waited until warm weather to install them, because asphalt doesn’t install well in cold weather.

  3. I find it very peculiar that suddenly we need school crossings on 3rd avenue between 127th and 143rd? 3rd ave is minimum 4 blocks from Greenwood (Broadview Thompson), and it’s not like we have hoards of kids walking ALONE in that area and crossing 3rd ave. ***With that formula you should have 15 miles speed limits and speed bumps installed to the east of the school, too.*** Why not? And around every school in the city of Seattle. Why on earth do you single out 3rd ave NW only? Furthermore, nowhere do I see 15 miles speed limit around schools or anywhere else in the city (not even around cemeteries, hospitals, etc). Again, why on 3rd NW. Who’s bright idea was this? Who is behind this traffic disruption? I hope that the residents on 3rd NW will object and let their voices be heard! Waiting for your reply. Sincerely, Marta H.

  4. The bumps that have been installed are simply a new danger to traffic on 3rd ave. A motorcycle came in my lane yesterday weaving around the bumps. The posted speed limit for 3rd is Not 15mph and school is not in session year round. I’ve seen so many almost rear ends on 3rd since the bumps have been installed. Some vehicles are able to travel more easily over the bumps than others making traffic flow variable and hard to determine. Dale Johnson, I’m very disappointed this is the solution SDOT came up with for 3rd ave. Im a parent if a young child and use 3rd ave daily and is it more dangerous now than its ever been. It’s unfortunate more bumps are coming in north of the school. Why couldn’t speed cameras have been used as installed on greenwood?

  5. Just ratching up the war on cars in Seattle. Most cars cannot straddle the bumbs! A year of going over these things and your suspension on most cars will need repairs.

  6. I applaud the efforts to improve safety near Viewlands School. However, I note the following. (1) The speed bump between 107 and 110 is too far north of the intersection where children and parents cross. Another speed bump closer to the intersection would be helpful. (2) While the speed bumps are posted at 15 MPH most drivers I observe drive over the bumps at 25 MPH or swerve to the middle. (3) I also observe that drivers now slow (somewhat) for the speed bumps then speed through the space before the next speed bump–defeating the effort to reduce speeds at the school and diverting the driver’s attention to the bumps and away from the sides of the street. It might be helpful to reposition the speed bumps, add more School Zone signs and/or put flashing yellow lights at the school itself as many parents and children cross (jaywalk essentially) the street at the school and not at the intersection to the south. Thank you.

  7. While efforts are being made to reduce speeds on 3rd Avenue NW, similar efforts should be made to reduce speeding on 12th Avenue NW. 12th Avenue NW from 125th Street south does not have sidewalks on either side and is heavily used by walkers, including school children. A traffic survey I participated in documented that over 50% of cars driving north between 7 am and 9 am (for example) drive at speeds exceeding 30MPH and some travel over 40 MPH. Many of these are habitual speeders. Some drivers use 12th Ave NW to 130th to avoid the traffic (and speed bumps) on 3rd Ave NW. I strongly recommend the addition of speed bumps to 12th Ave NW! Thank you!

  8. I want to complain about the speed bumps being installed on 3rd Ave. NW between Holman Road and 145th.

    Placing speed bumps on a major north-south arterial lacks all common sense. The SDOT has stated in community meetings it is their mission to slow traffic down. This mission is causing an unnecessary additional expense in time and resources for all commuters, whether driving, riding, or walking. This does not make children, or any pedestrians safer. What is does do is take the driver’s concentration off the children and pedestrians and places it on the speed bumps. This creates more inattention to driving and more danger.

    Children must and will learn to deal with traffic as all of us did as part of our education. Predictability is what any pedestrian needs to accurately negotiate interaction with vehicles. Speed bumps make cars unpredictable and that creates more danger.

    These speed bumps create a danger to all drivers, because each vehicle can treat them differently. In the SDOT statement about “safety” the ..”speed cushions are divided into sections so that wide wheelbase vehicles can straddle them. As such, they can more easily accommodate transit, fire engines, and other emergency response vehicles.” The implication is, the SDOT allows trucks and busses the freedom to drive unaffected by the speed bumps, while cars are slowing to 15 MPH, or below, to avoid damage to their car. What possible reason can be drawn that suggests safety for pedestrians and children is increased by having larger, heavier vehicles, that have much longer stopping distances, driving at higher speeds than vehicles that can stop quickly. Is safety enhanced when small cars slow to a complete stop at the speed bumps while trucks and busses have no expectation that these cars will be stopping. This promotes rear-end collisions in a school zone and seems certain to increase the potential for pedestrian-vehicle crashes.

    Schools are in session 180-days per year and children are only present on the street between 7:00 and 8:00 AM and 3:00 – 4:00 PM. This means SDOT built speed bumps on the arterial to slow down traffic for 360 hours per year, or on average 1-hour per day. The other 23-hours slow traffic unnecessarily, endangering pedestrians and drivers alike, causing major traffic jams, wasting resources and infuriating the populace. The US Census Bureau reports that Seattle has the LOWEST pedestrian-vehicle crash rate in the country. Why is SDOT fixing something that isn’t broken? We achieved the lowest rating without these speed bumps.

    The SDOT is losing all credibility in their efforts to slow traffic down by gerrymandering the infrastructure in the name of safety. How is it safer to frustrate drivers by intentionally mis-timing traffic signals and purposly putting in speed humps on arterials? More and more frequently drivers are running red lights out of frustration created when they sit at a red light with no cross traffic present. More and more frequently drivers are speeding when an opening to do so is available, because they have had to sit in an artificially created traffic jam. More and more drivers are cutting off the arterials into the neighborhoods and speeding on side-streets to make up for their frustration. Once again the SDOT is determined to keep their stated mission to slow traffic down. For arterials, they are successful! They have created a city of enormous traffic jams and unsafe conditions due to road-rage. Their mission should be to make traffic efficient, because efficiency is safer.

    Don’t forget that slowing traffic has a negative effect on commerce and that affects us all. The simple economics are; the speed bumps are inhibiting the flow of commercial traffic (i.e. people, goods and services) that support the commercial life of our city. This raises the costs of goods and services and increases the cost of living in the city, driving people and businesses to the suburbs. This lowers tax revenues. By placing speed bumps on an arterial, property values are lowered in the neighborhoods, which lowers property tax revenues. Lowering tax revenues reduces the chance of obtaining the necessary revenues to do truly derserving projects, such as putting in real sidewalks on the streets north of 85th St.

    Use some common sense and get rid of those speed bumps on the arterials. Use your police force to ticket speeding drivers and get them off the road. If you want a neighborhood that is safe for walking, if you truly believe in pedestrian safety, then fight for sidewalks in these neighborhoods.

  9. A hearty amen to all those comments which question the CRAZY speed bumps on 3rd NW !!!!!!!
    The speed limit on 3rd NW, at 15 mph is slower than on the side street., Northwest 137th at 20 mph… Hmmm!

  10. The sanity at the Seattle Traffic Engineering Department and/or SDOT (same mentality) has hit a new low. The same traffic engineering department that thought up the poorly-conceived turn arounds, and bicycle rules, has done it again. They embraced, with open arms, the SDOT poorly-conceived “traffic controls” on and around 3d Avenue N.W.,and they don’t care what we property-owners, who pay the taxes, think.

  11. I strongly disagree with almost all of these comments! How many of you actually LIVE on 3rd Ave? I applaud the DOT decision to install the speed cushions as part of a “traffic calming” solution to the INCESSANT SPEEDING that beleaguers our RESIDENTIAL neighborhood!

    I’m tired of scraping dead wildlife off the asphalt and waiting for a break in the traffic to cross the street just to get to my mailbox. It’s not uncommon to see speeds in excess of 50mph on 3rd Ave.

    Most of the arguments here are absurd. If you can’t negotiate a simple speed cushion safely, perhaps you should use a different commute. I hope they finish the project soon.

    Kudos to the DOT.

  12. This was NEVER completed and traffic is much faster! I live on 3rd Avenue and you can’t believe how fast cars are going. Especially on weekend nights. Put 4 stop signs not stupid cushions that are a test for speeders.

  13. It now looks like the idiotic speed cushions are going to be installed anyway near 132nd and 137th. Why not put in a couple more 4-way stops like the much needed one that went in on 130th & 3rd about a year ago? Much preferable to the schizophrenic speed limits due to the cushions. It’s ridiculous to travel on a road where the supposed speed limit is 30mph when you actually have to go 15mph over the bumps
    Not to mention the damage to cars. A much better solution is 2 more 4-way stops .

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