West Seattle Transportation Coalition: What SDOT says it’s hearing about Delridge RapidRide, midway through feedback time

(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.

She continued on through the toplines about Option 1 (PDF here, embedded below) vs. Option 2 (PDF here, embedded below):

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.)

Also discussed:

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.

9 Replies to "West Seattle Transportation Coalition: What SDOT says it's hearing about Delridge RapidRide, midway through feedback time"

  • Mel March 24, 2017 (5:25 pm)

    The feeling I get from SDOT is “you can choose which harmful change you like, but you’re going to get at least one.”

    As concerned as people may be regarding bike-lane-vs-widening-sidewalks, the question is incorrect: there should be Option C: Repave the existing North Delridge road and leave it as is, then add RR shelters.

    We’ve got something that ain’t broke (unless you’re talking about the pavement itself), so why are we talking about reconfiguration at all?

  • J March 24, 2017 (6:18 pm)

    I don’t understand all of the focus on bicycles because I rarely see them on Delridge. I drive up and down Delridge at least 4 times a day, twice during commute hours, and I see maybe one or two bikes yet it seems to be more of a focus here than cars, and pedestrians who are often walking to/from the bus stops that they’re considering consolidating.

    • bolo March 24, 2017 (8:37 pm)

      You don’t see many cyclists on Delridge because it’s a tortuous route on a bicycle. Potholes, gouges, broken concrete and pavement, numerous areas too narrow for vehicles to pass cyclists at a safe distance, not to add the concentration of vehicle exhaust fumes and noise levels. “Bikeifying” it by painting sharrows will not measureably help any of these issues. Big mistake to think minimal changes can create a viable cycle route on a main arterial.

      At the Shelby’s (R.I.P) encounter a few months ago one of the SDOT officials was telling me they were going to discard that process of trying to incorporate cycle routes along arterials and start making cycle routes on the calmer side streets. Made sense to me, but apparently he misspoke because that is clearly not happening anywhere I can see.

      • Amy March 25, 2017 (11:23 am)

        All of this. Every word is true.

  • dcn March 24, 2017 (10:34 pm)

    I’m shocked that they would plan all this without guaranteeing the repaving of Delridge. That is by far the largest issue with that road. It is a hazard to motorists and bicyclists. Has anyone in SDOT actually driven on Delridge? How can they justify all the money to create a “multi-modal” corridor, when the corridor itself is so badly degraded?

    If they remove the center turn lane by creating a planting strip, it would mean coming uncomfortably close to bicyclists along much of the arterial when passing them. I usually drive partly in the center turn lane whenever I pass a bicyclist in order to give them a wide berth.

    And if they remove that center lane and don’t repave, drivers will have to edge closer to bike lanes to prevent damage to their vehicles. I see nearly everyone on Delridge choose to either drive too close to parked cars, or drive partially in the center turn lane in order to avoid damage to their cars due to the many, many potholes.

    I agree with @mel: there should be an Option C: repave Delridge and leave the center turn lane intact. The center turn lane serves too many uses and shouldn’t be replaced by a planting strip, as pretty as that might be. At the very least, repaving should be the number one priority when spending money on this arterial, since the northern half of it is so deteriorated.

  • Shoobahn M. March 25, 2017 (8:15 am)

    My feedback is happen faster

  • camp long neighbor March 25, 2017 (4:59 pm)

    Cyclists already have a route parallel  to Delridge,   on 26th Ave SW between Hanover and Brandon and it has ramps that control the speed of cars. Was that not put in to facilitate cyclists? 

    • Alon March 26, 2017 (6:06 am)

      26th only goes as far south as Juneau. There is no parallel facility further south of Juneau and no reasonable place to put one given dead ends and stairs. 

  • BB March 27, 2017 (7:28 am)

    I commute on Delridge to downtown on my bike every day to downtown. The potholes and speeding cars make it pretty scary. I’d say the only saving grace is the center turn lane, which allows cars to zoom by with appropriate clearance if they choose. Putting in a median will prevent cars from passing bikes safely, causing more contention between people who bike, drive, and bus, which seems like a big step backward in safety and commute time. Seems like a step away from “Vision Zero”. 

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