LETTER: Median on Harbor Ave. SW makes traffic worse not better
Last summer the traffic was horrible going southbound on Harbor Ave SW (most traffic coming from Alki to Harbor Ave SW) within 2 -4 blocks of 30th Ave SW, and the Spokane Street SW intersection area, which includes the left turn to the West Seattle bridge entry. This is especially the situation in the evening and on weekends in the summer. It may also be an issue on weekday mornings.
The area in question is near the 3417 Harbor Ave SW area. The problem is that the median in the middle of the north and southbound lanes which has trees, plantings etc, extends way too long to the north, it has street lights on the south and the north side- in case that helps you estimate its length. With the parking southbound right lane being full of parked cars when the local residents are home, we local people get stuck in the single lane behind the cars wanting to turn left at the intersection at Spokane St SW, and we can't get into the short right lane (once the parked cars end) that goes straight past Spokane street going to SW Avalon Way. I've waited for 20-30 minutes or more, just to be able to get up to be able to get into the right lane to go up to either check my mail on SW Yancy St. or go up to Trader Joes, etc.
Form needs to follow function- to quote a wise saying. I don't think that whoever decided to put such a very long, wide median in that area had any clue as to the summer traffic demands in that area! It should have been only a third of it's current length, or however long so that the southbound flow of traffic is better by allowing the cars waiting to turn left onto Spokane street to be further to the east, so at least small cars are to be able to get past the waiting cars, and also the parked cars and into the right lane that continues to Avalon Way SW. That would require a slight curve, but not waiting for 20-30 minutes is well worth it.
I think that northern part of the median needs to be removed, so that we have an extra room lane in that area so we can get past the southbound parked cars on the right side.
I also think that some restrictions need to happen to only allow so many cars on Alki Ave SW at a time. In the summer, it has taken me over 30 minutes to get from the West Seattle bridge to the 1300 block of Alki Ave SW, which usually takes only a few minutes. If no parking is provided down by the far end popular beach area, so cars have no way to park, then it's ridiculous to encourage so many cars to go down there- there can be miles of idling cars, which is causing bad pollution and noise issues!
Mary Suzanne Ulloa
Alki resident, Seattle, WA