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SDOT Proposes Changes to SW Roxbury Street

SW Roxbury Street is located along the Seattle city limits and traverses parts of West Seattle, White Center, and Highland Park. The roadway serves a number of purposes – from providing access to transit and schools to facilitating regional travel by connecting to roads like State Route 509. High speeds have been documented on the corridor and there have been hundreds of collisions and injuries over the past three years. With local community councils on board, SDOT launched a process to identify the issues and develop solutions earlier this year.

Typical view of Roxbury. SDOT and KC Roads will build proper sidewalks in this location.

Typical view of Roxbury. SDOT and KC Roads will build proper sidewalks through this project.

On July 31st, SDOT held the first of two open houses to discuss potential changes for SW Roxbury Street. Proposals were based on traffic data and feedback obtained during public outreach that has taken place since February 2014. SDOT has recommended a variety of treatments intended to address specific collision patterns, high vehicular speeds, a less-than-ideal pedestrian environment, and pavement issues. The goal: to improve safety for all roadway users: pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.

A complete overview of the proposals can be found on the project webpage and we’ll highlight a few today on the Blog.

First and foremost, our outreach will continue into the fall. SDOT and our partners will be speaking with businesses along the corridor to ensure that their needs will be met by these potential changes to the roadway. We’d also like to hear from you too. Please review the project website and send us your thoughts on these proposals via the means listed at the bottom of the page. Final recommendations will be presented to the public in late 2014.

So what are SDOT’s recommendations for improving safety on Roxbury? SDOT proposes to implement a series of engineering and enforcement measures along the corridor to achieve our safety goals including:

  • Spot improvements to signs and pavement markings
  • Pavement repair in several locations
  • New sidewalks on the south side of Roxbury between 28th Avenue SW and 30th Avenue SW
  • Radar speed signs east of White Center
  • Rechannelization of Roxbury between 17th Avenue SW and 35th Avenue SW

A rechannelization is when SDOT changes the number or configuration of the lanes on a roadway. On Roxbury, SDOT is proposing to change the western segment of Roxbury from a road with two lanes in each direction to a road with one lane in each direction with a two-way center left turn lane. Changing the number of lanes will help us reach our safety goals by reducing vehicle speeds, improving turning movements for vehicles, and significantly improving the pedestrian environment by providing a buffer between pedestrians and the vehicular travel lanes. By reducing the number of lanes, we also limit amount of time that pedestrians are exposed to traffic when crossing the street. This is particularly important for students walking and biking to the three schools along the western segment of Roxbury. The roadway carries between 13,000 and 16,300 vehicles every day and SDOT’s analysis of the proposed rechannelization shows little impact to vehicular travel times.

Roxbury passes three schools including Roxhill Elementary

Roxbury passes three schools including Roxhill Elementary


We’re also planning to apply a number of additional treatments to boost safety including:

  • School zone speed limit photo enforcement – Photo enforcement cameras have been installed at Roxhill Elementary and Holy Family School to reduce speeding when the school zone speed limit is in effect. These systems will start issuing warnings in September 2014 and start issuing citations in October 2014.
  • New sidewalks – SDOT and King County Roads will construct sidewalks on the south side of SW Roxbury Street between 28th Avenue SW and 30th Avenue SW. Three pedestrian-vehicle collisions have occurred in this area during the past three years. We hope to complete sidewalk construction in 2015.
  • Pavement repair – SDOT will repave Roxbury between 25th Avenue SW and 27th Avenue SW in 2014. We will repave Roxbury between 17th Avenue SW and 18th Avenue SW in 2015. New curb ramps will be constructed at each intersection. Spot pavement repairs will be made on the western segment of Roxbury.
  • Radar speed signs – These signs display the speed of oncoming traffic and provide a reminder to driver to slow down. SDOT studies have shown that radar speed signs can reduce speeds by three to five miles per hour. Two radar speed signs will be installed east of White Center in 2014 or early 2015. The exact locations are still to be determined.

Existing pavement conditions prevent SDOT from installing bike facilities at this time. These pavement issues will be resolved with the pavement repair work and sidewalk construction projects listed above and bike lanes will likely be added when that work is complete.

For a complete summary of these proposals please visit the project website and be sure to send us your thoughts and comments on these recommendations.