Does 20th Ave NE & NE 105th Street Need Traffic Calming?

Looking north at the intersection of 20th Ave NE and NE 105th Street

Looking north at the intersection of 20th Ave NE and NE 105th Street

A topic that came up during last month’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council was a proposal to do some sort of “traffic calming” [Seattle-ese for traffic circles, yield signs, or speed bumps] at the intersection of 20th Avenue NE and NE 105th Street (the SE corner of Victory Heights Park). The is where 20th Avenue “jig jogs” as it crosses NE 105th to 19th Avenue NE, an uncontrolled intersection with many blind corners. However, speaking with the residents whose houses surround the intersection found most felt nothing needed to be added.  “People are careful,” said Jim whose tan house can be seen in the photo, directly behind where northbound 20th Avenue “T”s out. His driveway is on the 19th Avenue side (facing the park), and although he always exercises a lot of caution when backing out, he thinks people slow down at the intersection.

Jerry, his next door neighbor, also doesn’t see the need for a traffic circle, although he pointed out he never lets his children cross the intersection without him present because of the blind corners. He wasn’t against a yield sign being put in.

His neighbor across the street was very adamant against putting anything in the intersection, particularly a traffic circle, saying, “I’d be against that.”

In fact, four of five of the neighbors I spoke with said they’d never seen an accident at the intersection and seemed to think it was okay as it was.

However this view was in contrast to Sarah, who has lived on the corner for three years, and reported several near misses and an accident a year ago in which a tow truck had been required. She was in favor of yield or stop sign going in.

The consensus definitely was against putting in a traffic circle, like the one that already exists just one block north at NE 106th Street, or the one soon coming a few blocks east at 23rd Avenue NE. But maybe we haven’t heard the last of this. Feel free to add your comments below.

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SDOT Proposes Northgate Way Project

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has proposed the 2013 Arterial Asphalt and Concrete (AAC) Program N 105th Street and N/NE Northgate Way paving project.  The project includes reconstructing the existing roadway along N 105th St and N/NE Northgate Way from Greenwood Ave N to Interstate 5. In addition it would involve installation of new signals, closed circuit television (CCTV), license plate recognition (LPR) and digital mapping system (DMS) cameras and signal and street light upgrades along N 105th St, N/NE Northgate Way, and Lake City Way NE between Greenwood Ave N and Lake City Way NE at NE 120th St.

A 14-day comment period begins on September 13, 2012 and will end on September 27, 2012.  A seven-day appeal period will follow. Plans can be viewed at the Planning Resource Center, 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, or the main branch of the Seattle Public Library and the Northgate branch.


East/West Routes From Victory Heights

I love Seattle but driving cross town (that is, east to west) can be frustrating due to the lack of through arterials and various geographic barriers. Trying to get from Victory Heights over to Greenwood for example is a challenge at the best of times, and with construction this summer on Northgate Way (see Pinehurst Seattle’s story), and NE 85th Street, this is a good time to seek alternative routes.*

Allow me to share one of my favorite secret shortcuts. This can get you to Greenwood in under 20 minutes any time of the day, or to Thornton Place in less than 10 without having to use Northgate Way. (Note: this will take you through residential neighborhoods, so keep your speed under 25, watch for pedestrians, and be cautious approaching uncontrolled intersections.)Victory Heights Shortcut Map

Starting from Victory Heights Park (green line on map), go west on NE 107th, across 15th Ave NE, around the curve at 12th Ave, then a quick left on NE 108th (caution narrow one-lane bridge over the creek), then turn left on Roosevelt. To get to Greenwood, turn right off Roosevelt at NE 92nd Street, cross 5th Ave NE at the light, over the freeway, past the community college and turn left on Wallingford Ave. Turn right at the next 4-way stop on NE 90th, cross Aurora at the light, up and over the Phinney ridge and finally turn left at the light onto Greenwood Ave.

To get to the Thornton Place, follow the instructions to Roosevelt, then use the blue line on the map: turn right on NE 105th, left on 8th Ave NE, then right on NE 103rd, cross the light at 5 Ave NE and there you are.

Feel free to share your favorite short cuts.

* Although taking Lake City Way south to NE 80th/85th can be an alternative to Northgate Way, traffic in the late afternoon backs up at 15th Ave NE making this a less than desirable workaround.