Woodridge Traffic

Project Update

The turn restrictions in Woodridge, installed to discourage evening commuter traffic from using neighborhood streets, will remain in place on a permanent basis. Since the installation of the signs in July 2018, two traffic studies have been conducted (October 2018 and May 2019) to evaluate the effectiveness of the turn restrictions. Key findings to date include:

  • Evening and daily traffic volumes have decreased on most streets
  • 75-80% reduction in left-turning vehicles from southbound 128th Ave SE to SE 32nd St
  • Less congestion and fewer back-ups on 128th Ave SE
  • Routing apps (e.g. Waze, Google Maps) no longer route drivers through the area
  • Bellevue Police officers have issued more than 340 citations
  • The majority of comments received during the pilot project have been positive

This project addresses concerns about weekday evening commuters using streets in Woodridge to bypass nearby congested arterials. Commuter traffic impacts neighborhood livability, creates safety concerns and makes it difficult to get home. Staff have worked with volunteers in the Woodridge community to understand the traffic issues and develop improvements to address the concerns.

Background

 

Woodridge Turn Restrictions Graphic
Transportation staff have heard from Woodridge residents about excessive commuter traffic using neighborhood streets. A meeting was held in March 2017 for the community to learn more about traffic conditions, talk with city staff to learn how cut-through traffic is typically addressed, share information about impacts and participate in an interactive poll. Ahead of the meeting, 272 Woodridge residents responded to a survey to help staff better understand the issue.

 

Information gathered from the survey and community meeting formed the basis for traffic studies to address commuter traffic. A group of community volunteers worked with staff to develop tools to improve access, improve neighborhood identity and discourage traffic. As a result, an all-way stop and crosswalk were installed at 128th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 26th Street and residential area signs were installed at all entrances into Woodridge. Time-based turn restrictions (weekdays, 4-7 p.m.) were installed at 128th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 32nd Street and 128th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 30th Street.
 

Woodridge Traffic Study Map
The turn restrictions restrict all traffic (bikes and buses are exempt) from traveling southbound on 128th Avenue Southeast to eastbound Southeast 32nd Street, Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. Additionally, traffic is restricted from southbound 128th Avenue Southeast to westbound Southeast 30th Street. Installation occurred in July 2018 and was in place for six months to gather community feedback and gauge effectiveness. A traffic study in fall 2018 revealed that traffic volumes have decreases during the evening commute along 128th Avenue Southeast, community feedback is favorable and the traffic committee supports extending the pilot. In December 2018, the pilot was extended through June 2019 to allow for additional evaluation. In July 2019, following evaluation and consultation with the group of community volunteers, the determination was made to keep the restrictions in place on a permanent basis. 

Funding

This project is funded by the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program (CIP PW-M-7). Project budget: $25,000.

Schedule

  • July 2019: Following additional study, turn restrictions determined to remain in place
  • June 2019: revised end date of pilot; at which point an informed decision will be made to remove, modify or keep the restrictions.
  • December 2018: Based on community feedback and traffic studies, turn restrictions extended through June 2019
  • July 2018: Installation of pilot turn restrictions
  • May 2018: Community open house to discuss planned turn restrictions
  • Winter 2018: Residential area signs and all-way stop installed
  • Summer/fall 2017: Traffic Committee meetings to determine improvements\
  • Spring 2017: Community survey and open house

Background materials

Commonly Asked Questions

As part of the project, an all-way stop and crosswalk were installed at SE 26th Pl/128th Ave SE to improve pedestrian and vehicle safety and traffic flow. Additionally, residential area signs were installed at each entrance into Woodridge (SE 8th St, SE 21st St, SE 26th St, and SE 32nd St) to increase neighborhood identity. Also, yard signs that note “Do not block driveway: drive like you live here” were made available to residents. If you would like a sign for your yard, please contact John Murphy.

The community first brought the concern of commuter traffic using Woodridge streets to the city’s attention several years ago. To better understand specific traffic concerns, all Woodridge residents were invited to complete a survey (February 2017) and attend a community meeting (March 2017). Over 250 Woodridge residents completed the survey and nearly 100 people attended the community meeting. The survey and community meeting narrowed in on travel patterns, severity of traffic concerns, and potential tools to address traffic issues. Also in spring 2017, a call was made to all Woodridge residents to serve on a community Traffic Committee. The Traffic Committee of 15 Woodridge volunteers met with staff three times in summer/fall 2017 to develop tools (all-way stop, residential area signs, and turn restrictions) to address the evening commuter traffic issue. A community open house was held in May 2018 to allow Woodridge residents to learn more about the turn restrictions. While the turn restrictions are in-place you can provide feedback by completing a short survey.

Two turn restriction signs are being installed in an effort to discourage weekday, evening commuter traffic from using Woodridge streets instead of using nearby congested arterials. The changes will restrict all traffic from traveling southbound on 128th Ave SE to eastbound SE 32nd St, Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. Additionally, traffic will be restricted from southbound 128th Ave SE to westbound SE 30th St, Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m.

Installation is planned for mid-July 2018 and will be in place for six months. Following installation, traffic data will be collected and community feedback gathered to determine whether the restrictions remain in place, are modified or are removed.

Yes. Past experiences show that when turn restrictions are implemented, within a few days to a few weeks, streets where the restrictions are placed will be removed from the routing choices provided by apps such as Google Maps and Waze.

Recently installed time-based turn restrictions on 108th Ave SE at SE 16th St (south of downtown Bellevue) helped to lower volumes by 750 vehicles during the three-hour commute time (4-7 p.m.). This represents a 63% reduction in evening traffic in the key direction of travel.

Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m.

No, all motorists must obey the restrictions.

Yes, like other turn restrictions in the city, bikes/buses are exempt.

No such program currently exists in the city. Such a program would be logistically challenging to administer and has legal implications. Implementing such a new program would require policy and resource changes.

Yes. Verbal warnings will be issued during the first two weeks following installation. Then, as staffing allows, they will issue $136 citations. Past experience from similar turn restrictions in other parts of Bellevue show that an almost equal amount of violators were found to live in the neighborhood where the restrictions were located.

Washington state law (RCW 46.63.170) prohibits the use of cameras to enforce turn restrictions. Cameras are permitted to enforce red-light violations and school zone speed limits.

An online survey will be made available while the pilot is in effect to help gather community perspectives.

We know that the turn restrictions will impact some of those residents in Woodridge who choose to leave the neighborhood at SE 32nd St during the evening commute. Based on traffic studies and community surveys, we are being very intentional about where we place the signs. The locations of the restrictions were selected based on the results of a recent traffic study and community feedback. That study showed twice the volume of vehicles traveling from southbound 128th Ave SE to eastbound SE 32nd St (i.e. back to Richards Rd) than getting on the freeway at 128th Ave SE/SE 32nd St. This substantial volume differential is why the targeted turn restriction at 128th/SE 32nd is being deployed at this location. Further, the community survey yielded that 21% of residents use SE 32nd/Richards Rd to exit whereas 79% of other residents use one of the remaining four exits (SE 8th St, SE 21st St, SE 26th St, or the freeway). This means that the majority of Woodridge residents are already using other exits to get out of the neighborhood. Additionally, the community survey revealed that 75% of respondents either are coming into the neighborhood or not traveling anywhere between 4-7 p.m. In other words, only 25% of Woodridge residents are leaving the neighborhood between 4-7 p.m. and many are using exists that are not at SE 32nd St.

Without this turn restriction, SE 30th St/125th Ave SE/ SE 32nd St would be a convenient way for motorists to bypass the turn restriction at SE 32nd St. Additionally, research shows that navigation apps route motorists onto SE 30th St when congestion on 128th Ave SE is heavy. Without this restriction, navigation apps would likely continue to route motorists onto SE 30th St/125th Ave SE/SE 32nd St.

To get to your home between 4-7 p.m. on weekdays, travel to SE 32nd St and make a right to loop back to SE 30th. With volumes anticipated to be lower on 128th Ave SE, traveling an extra block to SE 32nd St should be less cumbersome than it may be today. If you wish to travel to Factoria between 4-7 p.m., you can travel south on 125th Ave SE to SE 32nd St straight out to Richards Rd.

Community surveys and traffic studies show that the majority of Woodridge residents use other exits and/or don’t travel out of the neighborhood at this time. However, if you are traveling south, use SE 26th Pl to Richards Rd

The signs will be in place for six months following the date of installation. During this time, we will be conducting traffic studies to determine if the signs are effective in discouraging traffic and also gathering community feedback. The traffic studies and community feedback will help to inform whether the restrictions remain in place, are modified or are removed.

We’ve heard from many in Woodridge that traffic during the evening commute period impedes resident’s ability to get home, creates safety issues, and impacts the general livability of the neighborhood. We have a limited toolbox (partially closing the street, fully closing the street, narrowing the road to one lane in each direction, or turn restrictions) to address excessive traffic that occurs for only a few hours a day. Turn restrictions are preferable tools for several reasons. First, they can be employed during specific times such as the evening commute when the traffic issue is most pronounced. Other traffic calming measures (e.g. speed humps) are often more restrictive in that they are employed on a 24/7 basis and are not as effective as discouraging commuter. Navigation apps (e.g. Google Maps, Waze) have contributed to increased traffic occurring in our neighborhoods. Fortunately, regulatory turn restrictions, such as those coming in Woodridge, force these firms to remove streets from their routing algorithm and help to decrease traffic levels.