Years of petitioning by residents of E Arthur PL (map) and the presence of a family run day day care on the street prompted the Seattle DOT to act to reduce traffic on the street by converting it to ONE WAY. Turning right on red from MLK northbound to E Madison eastbound is prohibited and the timing of the light is notoriously long. To avoid this light, drivers have habitually turned right on E Arthur PL immediately before the intersection, frequently at speeds dangerous to a small residential street with children present.
Due in part to the popularity of the street as a way to avoid the long light and the recent change in status, wrong-way traffic on this street remains quite high, averaging one car every 10 minutes throughout the day. To combat this problem and to alert drivers to the change in status, the DOT has requested the SPD to patrol the area and cite offending drivers with a moving violation to the tune of $125.
I spoke to one of the residents on Arthur PL about the issue. Apparently the no right turn on E Madison, the long light and the annoying left from E Madison to Lk Wa Blvd. is all about traffic control for 520.
For more information you can contact either of the following from the SDOT Traffic Management Division:
Jane Rebelowski – [email protected], 206.684.0817
Mike Morris-Lent – [email protected], 206.684.5727
…i would like to see SDOT alter the timing of the light so it’s not 6 mins between green lights and the green lights aren’t 20 seconds in duration.
i’m good on the one way change as I can certainly understand the neighbors’ frustration, but now a right hand turn to Madison is painful. I bet it just gets drivers to take a right on John and a left on 32nd to get to 520 (lots of MS traffic i think). not really solving the problem, just transferring it to another block
They have been out there pretty frequently since it changed–at least once a week. I think part of the problem was also that people using that street as a shortcut mostly just treated it like they had the right of way when they hit 29th, even though it’s an uncontrolled intersection. But yes, if they changed the lights at Madison & MLK it might help.
While they are at it, they should do something about Madison and Lake Washington Blvd. too–esp. for people turning left into the arboretum–at 5 PM, it’s not uncommon to see 3 or 4 cars just run the red light.
yep. when i was at Microsoft, i would take the road by MLK School, left onto LWB and through that light. I imagine the folks on 32nd south of LWB hate it. I would
Why don’t they just allow you to take a right on the red like 95% of the intersections in the city? That would alleviate a huge portion of the problem in itself
see update: they do it to control traffic entering 520 at the other end of the arboretum.
MLK and Madison is an interesting puzzle. I believe there is a way to reorganize the lights to serve:
The left turners from Madison to MLK who don’t know they have a green until they notice folks coming the other way have stopped.
The crosswalk to the east, talk about taking your life into your hands.
People who want to turn right from MLK onto Madison.
People who want to jog to continue on 28th.
People who want to turn left from MLK to Madison.
That’s enough conundrum for today. I do think it can be figured out. For example, make the MLK headed north have a left turn+jog then straight in the left lane and make the right lane a right turn only, which is active when left turners from Madison have the right of way if they want to control access to the Arboretum. That would protect the people using the cross walk. Put really great signage and lights visible for each lane at each stage. This intersection is like four streets coming together.
Aren’t most intersections 4 streets coming together? ;-)
I’m sorry. My typing fingers don’t follow my brain well sometimes.
It’s like 5 streets coming together with the offset of northbound 28th.
The right-on-red prohibition is to give traffic on Madison higher priority headed towards 520 because of the way a backup on Madison affects the surrounding streets. Keeping MLK traffic from turning right-on-red allows more Madison traffic coming down the hill to queue up at the Lk Washington light, and strictly regulates the rate at which MLK traffic enters Madison when it is congested.
A backup on MLK would have to stretch all the way to Union before it started affecting unrelated traffic; a backup on Madison only has to reach 4 blocks up the hill from MLK before it starts interfering with 23rd ave traffic.
See my post on the earlier article.
Avoiding Madison altogether is a better plan. Cross it on Lake Washington with that light; get there from 32nd. Then you don’t contribute to the Madison backup, and you can still get to 520.