Despite Big Neighborhoods, Busy Park, Bus Stops, it’s a NO for New Traffic Signal on Snoqualmie Parkway

At the November 23, 2015 Snoqualmie City Council meeting some bad news was delivered to residents of the Ironwood and Woody Creek neighborhoods wishing to see a new traffic signal at the intersection of Snoqualmie Parkway and Fisher Ave – the ‘gateway to their large neighborhoods, a big school bus stop, as well as the location of busy, re-designed Fisher Park.

City officials said a new 4-way traffic signal won’t be happening anytime soon.

According to a presentation made to the city council, the intersection doesn’t meet the legal requirements of Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which is issued by the Federal Highway Administration.

Basically, the intersection doesn’t meet specific minimum thresholds for a signal, including traffic accidents (collision rates below the state and King County averages) and Level of Service measured by peak hour wait times – as well as others.

According to city records, in the past eight years there have only been three accidents at the intersection, including a vehicle vs. light pole; a car vs. pedestrian that resulted in minor injuries; and a bicyclist crash that did not involve a vehicle.  Additionally, the wait time at the two-way stop sign managed intersection is approximately 19 seconds during peak hours, which according to the council presentation is better than city standards.

Now that doesn’t mean a signal will never happen for residents of Woody Creek and Ironwood.  It just means a 4-way traffic signal may have to wait.  The city estimates the intersection possibly needing one (and meeting legal requirements) in the year 2032.

For now, though, the city proposes installing a pedestrian-activated signal called a Hawk signal – one alerting drivers to stop for a crossing pedestrians  – because a city intersection study does show existing pedestrian demand for crossing Snoqualmie Parkway in the often times busy area.

The City is currently designing that Hawk signal (90% complete) and will be applying for grants in the coming year to fund a pedestrian signal for the Fisher/Parkway intersection.

 

hawk signal

Example of a pedestrian-activated signal proposed for the intersection of Fisher Ave and Snoqualmie Parkway.

 

Comments

  1. Meanwhile, people are getting injured……

  2. I was at the November 23rd City Council meeting when our Mayor saved Fisher Ave as the last agenda item to discuss at 10:30 pm in hopes not many residents would be there. As legally required after he surprisingly brought closing this issue for good to a vote, I requested an opportunity to speak. Mayor Matt Larson told me “We have heard enough from you Monica” and put the issue to vote. Clearly all of our council members discussed this prior to the meeting. There was no discussion, simply a quick yes vote to close the issue down for good. Later residents who attended the meeting told me the Mayors actions were illegal and out of line by not allowing me to speak. Others wanted to speak and were denied the opportunity as well. Does this sound like due process?
    Since then we have had another serious two car collision accident at the intersection of Fisher Ave and Snoqualmie Parkway on January 13th 2016, less than two months after the Mayor dictated the council close our issue for discussion.
    Both cars collided, one coming from Ironwood the other traveling down the parkway. A school bus loaded with children had just crossed through the intersection narrowly avoiding contact, yet clearly witnessed the aftermath. Many students were shaken by the incident and a young boy on the sidewalk was walking close to where one car landed near the county bus stop and sidewalk. The 2nd vehicle also spun out and landed in the very location in the grassy divide that our city plans to install a hawk crosswalk. It is common sense that a crosswalk should never be on the downward slope of a busy intersection.
    This is a dangerous plan and will not prevent future auto accidents, help organize traffic or slow speeding cars and trucks down on the parkway traveling at speeds exceeding 50 mph.
    Your article also fails to account for another two car collision that occurred on 3-20-08 and also involved a school bus loaded with children. As the bus pulled over to pick up students at 8:10 am on the parkway at Fisher Ave a driver with two young children in the back seat stopped behind the bus when the bus displayed the stop sign and flashing lights.
    Another car traveling down the parkway at unknown speed was not able to stop in time and rear ended the mother with two young children in the back seat. The eighteen year old and his younger sister in the car that struck the stopped vehicle had serious front end damage to their car.
    From what I have put together there are similarities with these two accidents. Both accidents had teenage drivers traveling to school in the morning hours and both accidents involved the distraction and placement of a school bus picking up students in the morning. I have the police reports of all of these accidents if you would like a copy. Our school district has been made aware of this also.
    Lastly the city failed to mention the 2008 rear end collision involving a school bus to you. In the future I would suggest you do your own research opposed to taking the cities word for it. They did not include this 2008 bus accident in their recent traffic survey either which I had to point out to them. Now we have a new accident.
    As a matter of fact they did not complete the traffic survey and failed to consider Traffic Warrants 6- Coordinated Signal System or Traffic Warrant 8- Roadway Network. Residents believe the current improper platooning of vehicles and lack of organization and flow of traffic based on these warrants would justify a traffic signal at this intersection. The city has refused to include these Warrants without providing residents a reason why. I am hoping they respond soon.
    They have also failed to performed a speed survey which residents have been recommending for months and would help to justify the traffic signal. The last speed survey the city performed was in 2007. Since then the mayor and city council voting to raise the speed limit to 40 mph from 35 mph.
    So the statement that the city has done their due diligence regarding this issue is false. Clearly the recent two car collision is proof of that. The city signed a contract with Quadrant Homes and accepted $204,710 ten years ago agreeing to install a traffic signal at this intersection. This is the only four way intersection on the parkway without a traffic signal. It is not only a school bus location but it is also a county bus stop location.
    Our Mayor also chose to perform the pedestrian and traffic survey on a 40 degree day in November with heavy sideways rain when no one was out. This does not produce a fair analysis of a typical day in Snoqualmie. When the weather is dry the park is packed with visitors both in vehicles, as I see the 20 parking spaces full, and residents that walk or ride bikes to the park. If you would like the other side of the story for future blogs, please feel free to contact me. You can also refer to the article regarding the 1-13-16 accident at Fisher Ave for more details. The bottom line is this is about money taking precedence over the safety of our community. I am told the bicyclist that was hit by a car is still recovering from serious injuries.

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