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Getting There: SDOT plans improvements at crazy Green Lake intersection
By Scott Gutierrez
Every few months, this column is asked why there is no traffic light at the crazy intersection of East Greenlake Way North, East Greenlake Drive North, Northeast Ravenna Boulevard and Northeast 71st Street in Green Lake. The intersection, which is a pretty wide one to cross for drivers and pedestrians, is controlled by stop signs.
One reader recently wrote: “The odd angles of the intersection make it difficult to know for sure which direction other cars are going, and therefore it is sometimes difficult to determine who has the right of way. Pedestrians often enter the crosswalks while drivers are figuring out who’s turn it is, so the cars end up stopping mid-intersection. A traffic light would make this intersection much safer and more straightforward.”
The Seattle Department of Transportation has explained in previous columns why there is no light, but here’s a refresher for those who may have missed it. Also, SDOT is planning safety improvements next year at the intersection. They won’t include a traffic light, as some might hope, but the improvements should help.
Eric Widstrand, SDOT’s city traffic engineer, explains:
“SDOT looked into the possibility of installing a traffic signal, but found it would operate less efficiently because a signal would increase delays for all users of the intersection; as a result, the intersection will remain an all-way stop.
“In 2012, SDOT will begin construction on a curb bulb at the northeast corner of East Green Lake Drive North and Northeast 71st Street,” he says. “The goal of this project is to reduce the crossing distance and widen the sidewalk by realigning Northeast 71st Street at East Green Lake Drive North. The project will also include the removal of an existing median island, realignment of the marked crosswalk between the Starbucks and the waterfront park area, additional bike racks and new curb ramps.”