By David Whelan
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
A state/city briefing on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement/tunnel plan highlighted Wednesday night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting.
Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin was scheduled to speak but didn’t make it to the meeting.
They presented several maps of routes into both downtown and north Seattle for both cars and transit (no electronic copies yet but will pursue them for an update).
When questioned on the capacity of the tunnel vs. the existing viaduct, both emphasized that the tunnel is only one piece of the plan and that many other components – both surface street and transit — would be part of the overall solution.
Two major components that were addressed were the Mercer Street Corridor and Spokane Street Viaduct Widening projects. The Spokane Street project in particular affects West Seattle as it would provide access to 4th Avenue South that does not exist today. In fact, residents would have a more direct route to the 4th Ave Costco – a suggestion that led some in attendance to suggest that the warehouse company should foot some of the bill in gratitude for the additional customers.
With no representative from the King County Department of Transportation in attendance, many of the comments on transit were high level. However, enhanced transit for West Seattle mentioned included a new Rapid Ride transit bus from Delridge with trips downtown every ten minutes, and upgrading the planned Fauntleroy Rapid Ride service starting in 2011 to trips every six minutes.
Many of the questions posed to the representatives focused on safety in the proposed deep-bore tunnel. While both reps gave assurances that both earthquake and fire mitigation methods would be used, they recommended attending the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping meeting being held next Tuesday, February 24th at Madison Middle School from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Project staff including the engineering staff will be on hand to answer questions. (Disclosure: The AWV project is running an ad on WSB to encourage attendance at that meeting.)
Paananen ended by giving an update on where the project sits in the Legislature. Though the controversial King County “motor vehicle excise tax” (1% to raise money for more transit) will probably be punted this year, he said, he expects that the major bill introduced – basically an endorsement of the tunnel option and a suggestion to investigate tolling – will probably pass this year.
“If we get nothing else, that would be a big deal,” he said.
Construction of the bored tunnel would take place from 2011 – 2015. The Viaduct would stay open during construction and then be torn down as part of the construction of the “waterfront promenade” in 2017.
Other topics discussed at the meeting included:
CAMP LONG GETS PARK LEVY FUNDS: Chas Redmond, speaking for the Camp Long Advisory Group, revealed that funding from November’s voter-approved Parks Levy has been designated for Camp Long. The money will be used to upgrade and replace the camp’s kitchen and remove the existing boiler and replace it with a low-carbon-footprint environmentally friendly model.
CHIEF SEALTH HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT: This one has come up at many neighborhood meetings lately: Sealth students Nicole Stariha, Ally Stariha and Daniel Ross reported on their school project involving restoration work in the nearby West Duwamish Greenbelt. Working with 4th and 5th graders from greenbelt-neighboring Cooper Elementary, the three students are working on adding art to a nearby walking path along with documenting the area’s living history.
DELRIDGE PRODUCE CO-OP UPDATE: Galena White gave an update on her goal of bringing an organic produce co-op to the Delridge area. Those interested in volunteering to work on bringing the co-op to live can attend a 6:30 meeting tonight (Thursday 2/19) at Pearls on Delridge (formerly Bubbles) or check out the co-op Web site here.
MORGAN COMMUNITY FESTIVAL: The new Morgan Junction Park will be officially dedicated at the festival on June 13th – though it will be open by the end of May. The Beveridge Place Pub will provide a beer garden between the pub and the park and the alley behind the park will serve as a festival area for non-profits. Visit the Morgan Community Association website for more info.
SUSTAINABLE WEST SEATTLE: Brian Allen shared that the theme for the upcoming (May) SWS Festival is resiliency, and will focus on reusable and resilient energy systems, food and waterways. The group is also planning a “Net Positive” project for this year — taking an entire city block and making it generate more energy than it uses. Details on these an other SWS projects can be found by attending their monthly meeting at Camp Long on the 3rd Monday of each month or by checking out their newly re-launched Web site.
The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council’s next meeting is March 18th and will focus on the City of Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.
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