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Northwest Sector
N 39th St / Fremont Ave N / Fremont Way N, map

Fremont Ave N / N 39th St / Fremont Way N Respondent #16, 7/31/08

If one is on the SW corner of the intersection, it requires crossing 4 intersections to get to the SE corner, to connect with walkways under Aurora. The fundamental problem is that N 39th St and N 36th St are treated as pseudo Auroras: so folks can zip through Fremont to Ballard.

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDoT) Response

This is a response to the following four intersections submitted by respondent #16:

You are correct in noting that there are no marked crosswalks across North 39th Street at Phinney Avenue North and Greenwood Avenue North. These locations were evaluated in 2007 for a marked crosswalk. The evaluation determined that a marked crosswalk was not recommended at these locations.

The North 39th Street corridor has many intersections. The largest deterrent to installing a marked crosswalk along that corridor is that there are roughly equal numbers of pedestrians at each intersection along that stretch. There is, in other words, no preferred pedestrian crossing.

The intersection of Fremont Avenue North and NW 39th Street is a complicated, five-legged, skewed intersection. You probably noticed a few years ago that we changed the signalization to allow westbound motorists on Fremont Way North to turn left onto Fremont Avenue North. At that time, we considered adding a marked crosswalk on the south side of the intersection crossing Fremont Avenue North. Unfortunately, the only way we would be able to accomplish this would be to create an all-way stop for motorists. Given the high volumes and the fact that traffic is already backing up onto Aurora Avenue, we determined that this option was not viable. SDOT must consider the access and safety needs of all travel modes when we make decisions.

We checked the signal at Phinney Avenue North and North 36th Street and found that pedestrians may sometimes wait longer than 2 minutes. Signal timing engineer Enrique Garcia is looking into the possibility of operating this signal on a half-cycle, meaning the wait time would be cut in half.

Signal response time and crosswalk-marking guidelines are both issues that the city is reviewing as part of the development of a Pedestrian Master Plan for Seattle. While a draft of the Pedestrian Master Plan has yet to be completed, continued updates, information, and ultimately, the final Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan may be viewed here. I encourage you to become involved.

Thank you again for writing. If you would like to talk further about this or another concern, please contact the Pedestrian and Bicycle Program at (206) 684-7583, or by email at

Back to Northwest Sector list of critical crossings.

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