West Seattle Transportation Coalition: What it’s already done, what’s next, and how you can merge into the actionDecember 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 37 Comments
That’s the new all-peninsula, all-transportation-modes logo unveiled last night by the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, designed by interim-board member Amanda Kay Helmick, who started the board meeting by lauding WSTC’s “tremendous amount of progress.”
Atop the list: Less than three months after forming, the group has endorsements representing 68.4 percent of the peninsula – almost to the 70 percent goal it had set for reaching by next May. (The endorsements stretch slightly off-peninsula too, with the South Park Neighborhood Association on the list.)
Also on the list: The WSTC’s November 18th rally regarding bus-cut concern, with not only the support of but participation by three local elected officials with influence in the coalition’s topic of focus.
And, something vital to any group: The creation of WSTC bylaws, which recap its roots as well as its rules.
Now the WSTC is getting ready for a pivotal January 14th event to which you are invited – and beyond that, for its first elections, with your involvement welcome too:
NEXT MONTH’S BIG EVENT: January 14 is the deadline WSTC set in this October letter to elected officials, inviting them to bring and outline their plans for West Seattle transportation solutions. It will be in the theater at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, and all are invited. They’ll be putting specific questions to the participating elected officials and their reps – simple questions with “no wiggle room” – no “yes” or “no” – questions requiring specific answers.
Some of the potential questions suggested by attendees at last night’s board meeting involve ways to get funding, whether it would be feasible to have a “moratorium on (parking-space-less) density” until transit funding stabilizes, or “calling density off” when growth targets in neighborhood plans are met. That led to a sidebar discussion about the city’s Growth Management Act and whether density increases without transit increases represents an “unfunded mandate,” among other things.
Another potential topic, a confluence of neighborhoods’/governments’ plans without knowing who is accountable for being sure those plans can work together.
What is heard and said at the January 14th meeting is expected to give rise to two followup meetings.
The coalition also had asked for regional leaders to send an “explicit plan for West Seattle, with milestones (for) enacting it” by yesterday. County Councilmember Joe McDermott, it was noted last night, is the only respondent so far.
The request has been acknowledged by others, according to WSTC, except for Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray, who, after four contact attempts, hasn’t been heard from aside from his Olympia staff pointed them to his transition staff.
BACK TO THOSE BYLAWS: If you’ve been longing for a few more details before considering involvement with WSTC, a few points of interest from the bylaws/credo:
*”Groups and people grant us their permission to speak on their behalf for transportation issues”
*”Positions, issues, etc., all derive from those endorsers in aggregate – the WSTC is an executor.”
*”WSTC covers ‘the big stuff,’ peninsula-wide or multi-neighborhood transportation issues”
If you’re not on the board, how do you become a member? “Anyone living or working in West Seattle,” can be considered a member if they’re interested. Those who attend at last one WSTC event a year have voting rights when it’s time to elect the board. (Again, it’s an “interim board” in charge for now, chosen from who showed up for organizational meetings. Here’s who’s on it.)
Elected board members will serve 2-year terms, and select their own officers for 1-year terms. All 11 board members must serve actively on committees. Board candidates “must declare in person not later than March.” Elections will be in May. You have until April to attend (and sign in) one WSTC event – the year for that, in the future, will be May to April. The newly seated board will start work in June and announce its officers for the ensuing year.
Though the group hasn’t even discussed fundraising, dues, or other monetary matters yet, the bylaws even note that “in the unlikely event (it) ever dissolves, any/all money (will be) split 50/50 between the West Seattle and White Center food banks.”
METRO: Helmick mentioned conferring with another area’s newly formed Transportation Coalition (for the new City Council District 2), talking about Metro’s looming proposed cuts and input about which routes are of the most value, and which cuts would affect which areas. It was pointed out that Metro’s decisionmaking criteria might not necessarily take everything into account – such as the fact that potential changes to Route 128 would “sever the connection between Morgan Junction and High Point” – so citizen comments need to point out such things.
Interim-board member Michael Taylor-Judd segued to some observations from last Tuesday’s Metro meeting in North Delridge, including the criteria that are being used for singling out routes for deletion or reduction, if necessary.
Interim-board member Kevin Broveleit talked about delving into past plans and the omission of West Seattle in Sound Transit’s plan. ST is reported to have had a relatively high number of West Seattle respondents to its recent “long-range-plan-update” survey, promoted by the WSTC and here on WSB, among other places.
FRIDAY’S 2 1/2-HOUR BLOCKAGE: Following up on the City Council Transportation Committee briefing earlier in the day regarding last week’s two big West Seattle-commute-crippling incidents (here’s our report), Helmick said that the city DOES have an “emergency response” plan. She was particularly outraged about the biggest shocker of this morning’s discussion – that the only person in the city’s Traffic Management Center while the Friday morning crash backed up 99 further and further was an intern. (And, as discussed at the meeting, an intern who hadn’t had experience staffing the center.)
“This is unacceptable on so many levels,” Helmick declared.
“It’s not a City Council issue, it’s an Executive issue,” noted Chas Redmond. “Peter Hahn [outgoing SDOT director] failed us on this.”
Some asked why WSDOT wasn’t accountable. (SDOT is accountable for managing the roadway, while WSDOT is accountable for its structure.)
Interim-board member Joe Szilagyi read from the letter that he drafted on behalf of the coalition and sent to various parties after Friday’s debacle. (See it here.)
“The main problem I’m seeing is that there’s a lot of, ‘we don’t have the money … to maintain safety and security of the citizens’,” Helmick observed.
Eventually, what ensued was a discussion of who’s in charge of the city during this time of transition between mayoral administrations. Interim-board member Tod Rodman contended nobody is and so he feels that nothing can be accomplished right now. Taylor-Judd countered by insisting that some things can be changed now – such as the stationing of tow trucks.
Mat McBride noted that he is a member of the city’s Disaster Management Committee and will inquire via that group.
FUTURE OUTREACH: Interim-board member Deb Barker talked about upcoming plans for tabling, with WSTC reps setting dates and times to be in locations in various West Seattle neighborhoods, to meet-and-greet with any interested community members who stop by.
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