(Newest Delridge RapidRide slide deck, as shown to WSTC)
The main topic of last night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting: The 2020 conversion of Metro Route 120 to the Delridge RapidRide H Line. The city is leading the planning right now because it’s a service enhancement using the extra tax dollars approved by Seattle voters.
DELRIDGE RAPIDRIDE H LINE: Dawn Schellenberg from SDOT came at what she called the “middle of the second comment period,” which ends on March 31st. She brought an updated slide deck with a few new slides (embedded above, and viewable here in PDF). First comment she got, toward the start, was from WSTC board member Mark Jacobs, who suggested the new line should serve the underutilized park-and-ride lot under the west end of the West Seattle Bridge. Then Kim Barnes from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council said the line should serve the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village, which is already densifying with redevelopment and facing HALA upzoning, as are all urban villages. What about having an H-A line and an H-B line, one of which loops through the WW-HP area? suggested WSTC board member Chas Redmond.
Bicycle safety is a concern. One attendee said neither of the two options currently being pitched by SDOT seems safe from a bicycle rider’s standpoint, especially the loss of a median, which motorized-vehicle drivers usually use to get safely around riders who are in general traffic lanes.
WSTC chair Michael Taylor-Judd wondered about specific outreach to bicycle riders, who don’t all seem to be aligned, he observed. Schellenberg said that West Seattle Bike Connections is requesting a protected bicycle lane along the entirety of the route. She said a presentation also has been made to the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board. What about riding in the median? Redmond wondered. “We will be building to a budget,” Schellenberg noted. She also reminded WSTC that what’s being circulated right now are “concepts,” not “designs.” WSTC board member Deb Barker asked if there were options considered besides these two; short answer, said Schellenberg, no.
Will this line go to South Lake Union? Schellenberg was asked. They want to, but haven’t worked everything out yet.
She brought a slide about what they’re hearing in outreach so far. Barnes wondered where in the process they’ll be able to ask about pedestrian crossings. Mention that in the online survey that’s circulating right now (it’s in the “online open house”), Schellenberg replied.
A table comparison showed the biggies .3 protected bike lane in #1 vs. 2.9 miles in #2, and .9 miles of widened sidewalk in #1 vs. none in #2. More landscaped median – 2.5 miles to 1.8 miles – in #1, also.
Both options have bus travel time speeding up slightly, while “traffic travel time” is faster in Option 1 and slower in Option 2. Option 1 keeps all the loading zones while Option 2 will relocate a “small number” of them.
At least 20 percent of the street trees will be lost in Option 1, while “minimal loss of street trees” is planned in option 2.
Regarding parking, Schellenberg says “the street is not set up to store private vehicles” BUT “we need to respect all the taxpayers.” The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council concern about street parking toward the north end, pointed out chair Taylor-Judd, harkens back to the removal of parking during the rechannelization in 2012.
Shortly thereafter, the bus-stop change slide came up, which we showed in our coverage of DNDC last week:
Removing the stops that SDOT is looking at stopping would put stops an average of .32 mile apart, up from .22 mile apart.
Barnes said that removing the 20th SW stop would strengthen the argument for A and B routes.
Schellenberg said feedback is all over the map. “Be sure to take the survey!” she urged, again.
So far, about 349 people have done that – fewer than half the 748 who have visited the “online open house” (here’s our original story about it). They’ve talked to 80 people along the route and made presentations to six groups. 73 percent of those who’ve taken the survey say they prefer Option 1. The full breakdown is in the slide dec.
Jacobs asked if Delridge will be repaved with this project. Schellenberg said they will “do a pavement study” this summer, but aren’t guaranteeing anything. “Potholes are the most dangerous things I can encounter as a bicycle rider,” he said.
Taylor-Judd pointed out that previous discussions were NOT strictly in the frame of “for Delridge RapidRide.” Some were under the umbrella of a “Delridge Multimodal Corridor,” for example.
Three-fourths of survey takers think it would be OK to remove stops to make buses faster, Schellenberg says. But the Delridge District Council was concerned about stop removal since not everyone is using the 120 to get “through” the area.
What about Sound Transit 3 light-rail integration? Chris Arkills, a county transportation adviser, said that’s something to be decided down the road, since station locations for West Seattle aren’t set yet.
Ideally a station location would be identified “while we’re designing this,” Arkills added.
Again, Schellenberg wrapped, take the survey and otherwise get comments in through March 31st. (The link, and what you’ll be asked about, are all in this WSB story.)
SOUND TRANSIT 3: WSTC board members are having non-public internal discussions about what to advocate for regarding ST3, chair Taylor-Judd said. He also noted that another group has made a public-disclosure request for what seem to be existing ST maps suggesting that West Seattle station planning is further along than has previously been announced. WSTC is looking at scheduling its own design charrette/planning discussion in June, and they’d like to have ST and SDOT present. A major concern is having discussions with participants who are prepared to have them – getting specific about locations for the stations and what concerns might arise. Typically, said Arkills, ST will identify the places where stations could be located, and will ask for feedback, including whether elevated or tunnel.
“We’ve got to catch up to Ballard,” said Barker. “We’re not going to wait.”
Redmond said he has been around the area and doesn’t think people realize the size of the construction footprint when a station is built. He said it would be a tremendous public service to show photos of what happened during station construction in other Seattle neighborhoods, so that people are aware – he’s been chronicling it for a long time.
Taylor-Judd observed that many people’s perception comes from behind “behind the wheel of a car” but that doesn’t give you a full look, full consideration of how things might play out.
WSTC also wants to pave the way for having diverse participation in this discussion, whatever it takes, including language interpretation, which – since they have no funds/budget – could require volunteers.
ANOTHER PROJECT OPEN HOUSE: The Lander Street Bridge has another open house coming up next week in SODO – full details on the project page.
METRO FARE-PAYING SURVEY: This is just circulating today – as we noted this morning; there was one suggestion that WSTC come up with a unified statement.
BOARD VACANCIES: Two openings remain on the WSTC board; they’re looking for more diversity, including in background/career – having a business owner on the board would be great.
NEXT WSTC MEETING – Thursday, April 27th, 6:30 pm, likely with One Center City on the agenda.