(Taken on 35th looking toward Fauntleroy just before 8 am February 8th)
Hundreds if not thousands of drivers who use the Fauntleroy Way entrance to the West Seattle Bridge may still have memories of February 8th, the morning the 35th/Fauntleroy stoplight turned into a 4-way stop for much of the morning commute. We first reported on it as a traffic alert, and then followed up later in the day, because we and others had noticed the light in flash mode the night before, and wondered why it hadn’t been fixed before it could cause a rush-hour backup.
Hours later, SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan told WSB , “Though reported overnight, the signal required specialized diagnosis and repair expertise.” (The rest of his statement’s in our followup story.) In an article published online tonight, Seattle Times (WSB partner) reporter Susan Kelleher digs further into what happened. She writes that at the time of the incident, SDOT had a rule that in essence resulted in no one being available for overtime callout to West Seattle the night of February 7th, and reports that rule was dropped last week after a union grievance. The Times report attributes the rule to an SDOT manager who gained notoriety because he, as Kelleher writes, “led the city’s botched response to the December 2008 snowstorms and who figured prominently in a yearlong human-resources investigation into the department’s street-maintenance division.” You can read her story here.