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Radar Speed Signs and More on Aurora

Radar Speed Sign on Aurora at Prospect facing northbound traffic (click for larger image)

Travelers on Aurora Avenue North have likely noticed the roadway’s newest accessories – radar speed signs.  More than 20 of these units adorn Seattle streets but these are the first to be installed on this busy roadway.  These signs were installed as part of the Aurora Traffic Safety Project, a two year effort to improve safety on State Route 99.

Radar Speed Sign on Aurora at N 48th St facing southbound traffic (click for larger image)

By displaying the speed of oncoming vehicles, these signs provide direct feedback to drivers and remind them to slow down.  SDOT has found that these signs are an effective tool in reducing speeds.  Radar speed signs generally reduce speeds by three to five miles per hour. 

Five new radar speed signs will be installed on Aurora when all is said and done.  Three signs are currently active on Aurora at Prospect St (northbound), N 48th St (southbound), and near the Dexter exit (southbound).  Two additional signs will be installed near N 39th St (northbound) and Green Lake (northbound) in the next two to three weeks. 

SDOT will monitor speeds on Aurora to gauge the impact of these signs.  In the meantime, it’s nice to watch the brake lights come on as drivers approach the signs. 

And if drivers are still inclined to speed after passing these new signs, SPD is likely right around the corner.  Increased enforcement is a big part of the Aurora Traffic Safety Project and the Seattle Police Department has issued more than 10,000 citations on Aurora since the start of this project in 2009. 

Getting traffic to drive the speed limit is just one goal of the Traffic Safety Project.  Another is to improve pedestrian mobility.  On Tuesday, May 31st, SDOT crews will start work on a project that will significantly improve the pedestrian environment at the intersection of Aurora and N 130th St. 

The existing pedestrian overpass at this intersection was constructed in the 1960s and, unfortunately, is not ADA accessible. Over the past decade, the area immediately west of Aurora and centered at Bitter Lake has seen a boom in senior housing developments.  Over 1,500 new senior housing units have been built in that time.  Needless to say, demand for an at-grade crosswalk on the north leg of this intersection is quite high.

SDOT crews will install new ADA curb ramps on all four corners of this intersection and install a new marked crosswalk on the north leg of the intersection.  Pedestrian countdown signals will be installed to accompany the new crossing facility.  

The pedestrian overpass will remain in place as an alternative crossing of Aurora.  This bridge is often utilized by students from nearby Ingraham High School that frequently access Metro Transit’s Route 358 on Aurora. 

Travelers should anticipate minor traffic delays, temporary parking restrictions, temporary traffic and pedestrian detours, and moderate construction noise and dust while this work is underway.  Alternate crossing locations of Aurora Ave N are located to the north at N 135th Street and to the south at N 125th Street.  Construction is expected to last two weeks.

Aurora and 130th Pedestrian Improvement Project (click for larger image)