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Councilmember Nick Licata
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Northwest Sector
N 50th St / Sunnyside Ave N, map

Respondent #23, 2/4/09

This is the one pedestrian crossing on 50th that is marked, besides the streets that have traffic lights.  It is very good and very helpful, especially since the eastbound traffic comes over a small hill and can not see people crossing at that corner until they get very (close).  

It would be a much better crosswalk and more beneficial to pedestrians if it didn't have such a long lagtime to change.  There are no other lights (close) by that it needs to take into consideration.  

The crosswalk signal at MLK and the bicycle tunnel changes very fast and that is very nice for pedestrians.  It would be much better if this one could change faster.  

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDoT) Response

At the intersection of Sunnyside Avenue NE and NE 50th Street, the signal runs an 80-second cycle length during morning and afternoon peak periods. The off-peak period runs a 100-second cycle length. A cycle length is the amount of time it takes for every movement at the intersection to get serviced once. The longest a pedestrian should have to wait is about the length of one cycle. The longest wait should only occur when the pedestrian activates the button just outside the "window of opportunity," which is the time where if the push button is activated, the pedestrian will be served that cycle. If the button is activated outside the "window of opportunity," the pedestrian will have to wait until the following cycle to be served.

One option we will investigate is called "half-cycling" this signal. This generally works well for pedestrian signals because it shortens the wait time while keeping the synchronization of the signals on the corridor. NE 50th Street services large volumes especially in the morning and afternoon peak periods, so we will have to further analyze the effects of half-cycling to make sure it does not adversely affect this sensitive corridor. Staff from our Signal Operations group will look into this possibility.

Back to Northwest Sector list of critical crossings

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