Have you see the new, permanent yellow dividers that have been installed on Ambaum Blvd. SW since the recent road changes inspired by King County Metro’s new RapidRide H Line?

The new dividers are in the centerline of Ambaum between SW 130th to SW 134th Streets. We recently experienced this firsthand, and also heard from some residents who were curious about them.

“How can people make left hand turns out of their driveways or returning?” one resident asked. “What’s the purpose?”

We reached out to King County for an answer, and got the following response from Jeff Switzer, Public Information Officer for the county:

“The median dividers are a permanent addition to the roadway and part of the integrated improvements on Ambaum Boulevard.

“The project changed the previous right-lanes into Business Access & Transit (BAT) lanes, and general-purpose traffic is in the middle two lanes (one lane in each direction). The dividers accomplish two things:

“1. They keep traffic flowing reliably in middle general-purpose lanes by limiting left turns and stoppages along the corridor; and

“2. Safety: minimizing rear-end collisions caused by abrupt stoppages in the single lane.

“Drivers who want to make a left turn are directed either to continue past the driveways (or go right out of driveways) and make U-turns to head in their desired north or south direction.”

Switzer also directly addressed a resident’s concerns about not being able to turn left and/or access his property like before:

“How do I access my property where the new centerline curb installed (how do I get into addresses between SW 130th Street and SW 134th Street? 

“Northbound drivers are permitted to make a U-turn at the intersection of Ambaum Boulevard SW and SW 128th Street to access properties and the southbound direction of the Ambaum Boulevard SW.

“Southbound drivers are permitted to make a U-turn at SW 136th Street to access properties on the northbound direction of Ambaum Boulevard SW.

“Signage is posted where U-turns are allowed.”

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13 replies on “King County explains why there are new dividers on Ambaum Blvd. SW”

  1. Now, these residents will know about a divided road like we have had on 160th between Des Moines Memorial and the freeway entrance for the last 54 years.

  2. Since the buses run about every 7-10 minutes during their busiest times, the bus lanes will only be used about 6-7 times in an entire hour. That leaves a majority of time where drivers are pushed down (with double the number of cars) into one lane. It definitely seems like a waste of space and resources.
    And I feel sorry for those residents, apartment dwellers, commuters, and businesses who won’t be able to turn left into their properties or onto side streets. U-turns seem much more unfamiliar and dangerous on Ambaum than a simple left turn.

  3. Arterials like Ambush normally have turn restrictions.

    As if to say, “Just do like pedestrians are supposed to do: drive down to the next marked crossing and then drive back on the other side.”

  4. This just pushes the “stoppage” further down the road as people try to make even more dangerous and time consuming u turns. Who thinks this stuff up?

  5. I like how Burien is trying to become more pedestrian friendly and to get away from a car-centric mindset. These changes should lower the rates of pedestrians getting hit or having close calls. As someone who walks their dog in an area that doesn’t have sidewalks, I’ve had too many close calls (pick up trucks are the usual culprit.) I don’t understand why not being in a car is perceived as odd. (Old school classiest mentality.) Shouldn’t we be enjoying this beautiful city and walk around it? Yes it is an inconvenience to not be able to make a left, but you’re in a car. Flex your calf for an extra minute and make the U turn. I’d rather that than hit a kid coming home from school.

  6. So, based on the City of Burien’s logic, the barriers were installed to ‘keep traffic moving’ and to lessen ‘rear end collisions due to abrupt stops’, are they going to install them on all busy streets? Seems a little odd to me.

  7. All of the changes to Ambaum are next level stupid. Increasing traffic. Increasing road rage. Making everything worse.

  8. As a resident of Burien for the past twenty five years, I see the changes on Ambaum Boulevard as making the city of Burien a bigger city. I personally liked the small town feel of Burien. I do not see enough buses to make the boulevard have one lane each way dedicated to buses. I will take the side streets where I can. I have already seen the police giving tickets to those who get out of the one lane into the bus lane, so be warned. One now needs more patience driving in one lane behind drivers who go slower than necessary. Hopefully, not bringing in more transients on the bus to Burien!

  9. Curves on Ambaum feels a lot safer now with the new dividers that prevent drivers from making left-hand turns. Quite a few times I have nearly been rear-ended by drivers stopping in the middle of the road to make an illegal left-hand turn. Traffic is slower which is so appropriate for a road through an area with so many residences and stores. Now our special Burien street is more like a Boulevard.

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