A reminder, an update, and a followup, all related to the Fauntleroy Boulevard project:
WALK-AND-TALKS TOMORROW, SATURDAY: The two SDOT-hosted “Walk-and-Talk” tours announced last month are tomorrow and Saturday. On Thursday, it’s scheduled for noon-1:30 pm; Saturday, 10:30 am-noon, both starting outside LA Fitness at 39th SW/SW Alaska and continuing east to end at West Seattle Brewing, 4515 Fauntleroy Way SW. The plan, SDOT says, is to “share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback.”
PROJECT ARTIST ANNOUNCED: As with most such projects, this one will have public art, funded by the city’s 1% for Art program. SDOT announced this week that “a panel of community leaders, project staff and local artists selected Jill Anholt to develop the public art component.” The Vancouver, B.C.-based artist will be on tomorrow’s Walk-and-Talk tour. SDOT says she’ll be working with community suggestions:
Pick up a pre-paid postcard from a West Seattle Junction restaurant, coffee shop, or community center, fill in your West Seattle story, and mail it back to help inform the new art for Fauntleroy Way SW. You can also pick up a postcard at the Walk and Talks this week or fill out an online postcard on our project webpage.
According to the “call for art” from last year, the budget is $150,000.
ABOUT THE RIGHT-OF-WAY: As highlighted at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association (WSB coverage here), one concern for some businesses along the route is that they’ll be losing parking. The city says its plan is to build entirely in the “right of way.” So we followed up with SDOT (which wasn’t at the community group’s meeting) to ask about the public/private property delineation in the area. Project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey replied:
… in much of the project area, the sidewalk and street are poorly defined and people have become accustomed to using the public right-of-way for parking or loading. This means that people are sometimes driving and parking on the sidewalk. One of the main project goals is to organize the street to be more predictable and comfortable for all users. We achieve this, in part, by defining clear sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and vehicle lanes. Throughout the design process, we have been working with individual business owners to adjust our project designs for the right-of-way to accommodate their business operations; for example, by relocating loading zones and adjusting driveway placements.
The paved triangle just north of Wardrobe Cleaners is City-owned right-of-way. In the project design, this area will be converted into green stormwater infrastructure landscaping to help manage stormwater runoff. Based on our meetings with the owners of Wardrobe Cleaners, we have also incorporated into the design a “load zone driveway” in the right-of-way space between the new landscaping and the Wardrobe Cleaners’ building for customers to use for short-term loading.
At the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building, some of the area out front currently used as a parking lot is private property and some is public right-of-way. To access the parking area on private property, people drive their cars over the public sidewalk, and often inadvertently end up parking on the sidewalk/public right-of-way. We have been working with the property owner and business owners at this building to adjust the driveway placements in the design to maximize the amount of parking space on their private property. Even with these changes, the parking capacity in front of their building will be reduced from the mix of private and public space they’re accustomed to using for parking.
Even if right-of-way has been used in that way for a long time, McCaffrey says, “Washington State courts have held that property owned by governmental entities, including the City of Seattle, is not subject to adverse possession by private individuals or entities.” (Around residential property, for example, the “right of way” doesn’t end at the sidewalk.)
McCaffrey also addressed some concerns raised by Rudy’s Barbershop reps in relation to the recent meeting:
They noted that the design is based on out-of-date traffic data. Based on community feedback, we are in the process of conducting an additional traffic study on Fauntleroy to validate the findings of our original traffic study in 2012. We will share this data and any design adjustments it indicates with the community next month. Rudy’s Barbershop also raised concerns that the project does not add new pedestrian crossings. The project adds an additional crosswalk across Fauntleroy at 38th Ave SW. We have heard requests from the community for an additional crosswalk between SW Avalon Way and SW Oregon St. As we refine the design, we are examining the feasibility of adding an additional mid-block crosswalk in this area; as a part of our current traffic study, we are considering how this addition would affect safety and vehicle movements.
We’ve also asked about the status of the crosswalk that is supposed to be installed just west of the project zone, at 39th/Alaska/Fauntleroy, as part of the “public benefit package” for the alley vacation granted to The Whittaker (WSB sponsor) project, and are waiting to hear back from SDOT on that.
ADDED 1:52 PM: The reply on that: “The Whole Foods/Whittaker project design includes construction of a new crosswalk across SW Alaska St (crossing from the Whittaker to the Spruce, as you described). Based on our understanding of the Whittaker’s construction schedule, their project – including the new crosswalk – will be complete by the time we begin construction on the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, anticipated to begin in late 2017 or early 2018. If for some reason this crosswalk has not been installed by the time we are completing construction at that intersection, it is something that our project could build.”