More Improvements Coming to Aurora

Aurora Ave N (State Route 99) through Woodland Park

Over the past two years the SDOT Blog has covered our efforts to reduce collisions on Aurora many times.  From new radar speed signs to pedestrian improvements at 130th Street and from channelization improvements at Halladay Street to our ongoing education and enforcement efforts, we are determine to reduce collisions on this busy roadway. 

But what else is in the works for Aurora? 

For starters, we recently implemented a unique new signal cycle at the intersection of Aurora and 80th in an effort to improve the busy walking route to and from Bagley Elementary School.  Prior to this change, drivers attempting to turn left from 80th onto Aurora encountered a protected-permissive turn phase.  Left turning drivers would first receive a green arrow – the “protected” phase.  Then the green arrow changed to a solid yellow arrow signaling the end of the protected turn phase.  The solid yellow arrow then turned to a flashing yellow arrow while the signal for through traffic on 80th displayed a solid green ball.  The flashing yellow arrow indicates that drivers may attempt left turns when there are sufficient gaps in traffic.  This is called a “permissive” phase.

The new signal operation gives pedestrians priority.  When the pedestrian push button is activated, the flashing yellow arrow, or permissive phase, is skipped for that cycle.  Therefore no vehicles can make the left turn while the “walk” signal is displayed for pedestrians.  The flashing yellow signal would resume during the next signal cycle if no pedestrians are present.  The change is welcome by parents of children attending Bagley Elementary located a block east of the intersection, especially since it’s in place for the start of the school year.  

In other signal news, SDOT crews will install a new protected left turn for drivers wishing to turn from northbound Aurora to westbound Winona in late 2011.  This is the first signal on 99 as you drive north from downtown.  SDOT expects this new signal to improve traffic safety and traffic flow.

Protected Left Turn Phase Coming Soon to northbound Aurora at Winona

Signal improvements are coming to N 95th Street and Aurora as well.  This location is the mid-point of a ten block stretch of the Aurora corridor without a signalized crossing with transit stops and businesses on both sides of the street generate pedestrian traffic throughout the day.  In 2009, SDOT fully assessed the intersection and determined that a new signal would drastically improve pedestrian safety, improve traffic flow, reduce speeding, and better connect the neighborhoods on either side of Aurora.   So we worked with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to acquire a signal permit (Aurora is a state route) and successfully obtained grant funding for installation.  Design is underway and installation will likely occur in 2012.   

Further south, SDOT is preparing to implement a series of safety improvements centered around the Aurora Bridge.  New signage will be installed warning drivers to expect merging traffic prior the Fremont Way and Halladay Street entrances.  This project will include improved directional signage to the Queen Anne neighborhood and minor tree trimming to improve the visibility of these signs.  Channelization improvements will be implemented concurrently on southbound Aurora at the Fremont Way and Raye Street entrances to Aurora.  At Fremont Way, a solid white lane line will replace the existing dashed lane line and extend 200 feet south of the point where the two roadways become one.  Since it is illegal to cross a solid white lane line, this new configuration will allow drivers entering Aurora to get up to speed before making lane changes.  At Raye Street, a new edge line will be installed to provide drivers with better sight lines when entering Aurora.  Coupled with the recently completed improvements at Halladay Street (for drivers entering and exiting northbound 99), the roadway around the Aurora Bridge will certainly funtion better.  

All of these projects were conceived by the Aurora Traffic Safety Project’s Task Force.  Read more about our Action Plan here

Safety Improvements Coming Soon in the Vicinity of the Bridge (the roadway, not the structure)

Share Button


  1. Jason says

    Me again 🙂

    Any news on the pedestrian crossing at 95th & Aurora? Accessing the bus stops around this intersection continues to be a dangerous undertaking.

    The new Wilson Pacific elementary & middle schools at 90th & Stone will likely increase pedestrian activity when they open in 2017.


  2. Jason says

    Any update on the pedestrian crossing signal at 95th & Aurora? This continues to be a very dangerous situation. If the Metro Rapid Ride E line brings an increase in ridership, things could get worse.

    • pegNielsen says

      Jason, this signal is funded by a Washington State Pedestrian Safety Grant and is scheduled to be installed next year. The Signal Operations section received your email as well and will be replying to you directly. That work group is short staffed and really swamped right now, so it could be 7-10 days before you receive additional information from them. We appreciate your patience!

  3. Genevieve Vayda says

    I find that Southbound Aurora traffic speeds up noticeably (well over the 40 mph speed limit) as it roars downhill, between the Zoo and the Aurora Bridge. This creates dangerous on/off exiting to the West.

    Please do something to Control Speeds, which are regularly exceeding legal limits in this area. (speeds are often reduced going ACROSS the bridge, as that becomes an uphill portion, and the lanes are quite narrow, as you know).

    Thanks very much.

    • PalmaS says

      Thank you for your comments. Please check the SDOT Blog on Friday to on Friday for a story about this very issue.
      Stay tuned …

  4. Bob Messina says

    Thank you for the coming protected westbound green arrow from Aurora northbound at Winona.

    Question: After the green arrow goes off, there can still be cars in that lane who will rush behind, but the eastbound Winona then gives a fast green arrow to turn northbound, thus they might still conflict with the Aurora to Winona late left turners. Can the two new green arrow features be separated from each other a little more? Bob

    • pegNielsen says

      SDOT staff is currently in the process of designing this signal improvement. Your observations are valuable to SDOT and we will pass on your request to the project manager for consideration.

  5. Margaret Bartley says

    I’m so glad to hear of the light at 95th. There are literally hundreds of residents within two blocks of that light, many of whom have to cross a 7-lane freeway to use the bus. I’ve seen people standing in a left-turn lane, trying to cross the street, because there isn’t even an island in the middle.

  6. Daisy says

    I’m happy to hear of the revised signal at 80th and Aurora, but would like to see more done to protect pedestrians from vehicles turning right off of Aurora while pedestrians have the walk signal. Cars going northbound on Aurora turning right onto 80th rarely slow down before making that turn when they have the green light, regardless of whether there are pedestrians present or not. This is especially true during peak hours and for all thru lanes.

    This intersection is going to get even busier than it is once paving begins on 85th, so addressing pedestrain safety will become even more important. Has the City considered an all-way pedestrian-only crossing signal in which all lanes of travel have a red ball and only peds get to cross? That would certainly eliminate all left and right turn conflicts between peds and vehicles.

    • pegNielsen says

      This is a complicated issue which has been given to our Signal Operations experts who will answer you directly. Because their findings will require involved analysis to assess your concern, please be patient. You will likely hear from them directly in about 10 days to two weeks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *