Which stops might stay, and which might go? See what Delridge District Council heard and said about RapidRide H Line concepts

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

One huge question about the taking-shape plans for the Delridge RapidRide line was answered during this week’s briefing for the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council: Which stops are proposed for removal when Route 120 is turned into the H Line in 2020?

The list was in the slide deck brought to the DNDC meeting Wednesday night at Highland Park Improvement Club by SDOT’s Thérèse Casper and Dawn Schellenberg, two days after the project “online open house” went live (as reported here), asking for opinions about two potential concepts.

Their slide deck began with background including the plan to “upgrade” Route 120 to RapidRide, between downtown Seattle, Delridge, and Burien. It’ll be under construction in 2019 and in service in 2020, according to the current plan. Casper said the way had been paved by discussions in recent years regarding various transportation-related plans – the Delridge multi-modal corridor discussion, Freight Master Plan, Bicycle Master Plan, etc.

Along the Delridge section of the route, Casper said, conditions are as follows:

They weren’t sure, when asked, if the 6,300 “daily bus boardings” listed were the Delridge total or from a wider section of the route. Casper presented a demographics-information slide and was questioned about its exact source and how current it was. Other slides broke down conditions on Delridge, for vehicles and for pedestrians/riders.

Metro will be studying the entire route, including the section outside city limits, and looking at pavement conditions, Casper said. She also clarified that she was only discussing Delridge Way, not other streets on the route, such as SW Barton, which handles RapidRide C and other routes right now.

And she got to the two options featured in the current “online open house,” where feedback is being sought, Option 1 (PDF here, embedded below) vs. Option 2 (PDF here, embedded below):

The quick summary, if you haven’t seen it already: #1 would include “all day and peak period bus-only lanes,” a wider sidewalk 23rd to Holden, improved pedestrian crossings, new neighborhood-greenways connections, and a new landscaped median.

#2 would include all-day bus-only lanes at the north end of corridor, keep existing protected bike lanes and add new ones on part of Delridge, improved pedestrian crossings, new neighborhood-greenways connctions, and a new landscaped median.

And she showed the cross-section concepts (also in the “online open house,” PDF here, embedded below):

In areas where vehicle parking would be removed in North Delridge, it was suggested to Casper that an option for peak-only bus lanes would be appreciated so there would still be parking in the evenings/weekends. Maybe a compromise, Casper suggested, would be all-day bus lanes.

Another issue: Where would there be openings in the landscaped medians for turn lanes? None are proposed, outside of intersections, in the section between the West Seattle Bridge and SW Alaska (south end of Delridge Playfield).

Between Alaska and 23rd, Option 1 would only change the center turn lane to a planted median. That section didn’t generate much discussion. On to 23rd to Orchard, in Option 1, the current “parking lane” would change to a peak bus lane/off-peak parking, while the center turn lane again would change to a planted median outside intersections, and the sidewalk would be widened.

In the midst of this, DNDC chair Mat McBride observed that many people are pedestrian-to-mass-transit along Delridge, and infrastructure on side streets, as a result, matters too. That led to the question: If parking is removed from Delridge, pushed into side streets, will the city study the impacts? Casper said this is the kind of feedback they were at DNDC for – looking to hear about what “tradeoffs” could arise.

Orchard to Holden, described by Casper as a “pinch point for transit,” would have bus lanes added – peak under Option 1 (off-hours parking), but not on Option 2. Operations Lt. Ron Smith from the Southwest Precinct noted that the precinct is in that area and “right now it’s getting so bad on Delridge” that it’s challenging even for police vehicles to get onto the road. Their intersection at Webster, with a bus stop, is dangerous, he said. He also said that while SDOT is claiming a 10 percent reduction in vehicle traffic on the corridor, “that’s not what we’re seeing.” Increasing the number of buses stopping by Webster – which RapidRide would do – could create more safety challenges, Lt. Smith said. The nearby multipoint intersection with Home Depot and other businesses is a challenge too.

For the Holden to Cambridge section, the SDOT reps were asked if turn lanes could be added to the intersections, since this is a “major pedestrian section” too. If there is one section where parking could and should be removed, this would be it – “it’s a bad stretch of road,” said McBride.

Casper said that protected bike lanes were not suggested “south of Orchard” on Delridge in the Bicycle Master Plan, and that’s why they’re not in this proposal.

“Why does the Master Plan not have bikes there?” asked Michael Riedel from the South Delridge Community Group. “That’s the section where the greenway sucks.”

Many suggest that this would make more sense with bike lanes for people to be able to get at least to where they can turn off and head to Westwood Village.

“We have a common thing here in the Delridge neighborhoods where the city comes out and proposes projects, and then the money runs out, and they (pull up short of South Delridge),” noted North Delridge Neighborhood Council‘s Michael Taylor-Judd, adding that even if the Bicycle Master Plan doesn’t call for bike lanes in this area, the community would expect them to.

Casper brought up the clamor for repaving north Delridge Way – since south Delridge Way already has been – and Taylor-Judd noted that it seemed to be pushed back year after year, as the various corridor projects have been pushed back for a variety of reasons.

Last section, Cambridge to Roxbury, a business district. One issue here would be whether to turn the angled parking into parallel parking.

Then finally came the big issue – one that several participants tried to bring up earlier in the discussion, because it’s a major point of concern that replacing Route 120 with RapidRide will mean fewer places for people to board the bus along Delridge: How many stops will there be, and where?

Existing bus-stop spacing is .22 mile; proposed would be .32 mile. The difference “is about a two-minute walk,” said Casper. Overall, they are looking at 14 locations for “enhanced RapidRide stations” – 28 stops in all – 23 where they are now, 5 to be relocated. While that’s been mentioned in previous presentations to citywide boards, they didn’t include the specific list of stops. (UPDATE: Here’s a clear version of the slide, which we have substituted for the blurry photo we originally published:)

The stops proposed to be removed on the 4-mile city stretch of the route: Oregon, Alaska, Edmunds, Croft Place, 22nd/Barton, 20th/Roxbury. Brandon and Juneau stops would be consolidated at Findlay. The Holly stop would move to 22nd. The SB 16th/17th/Roxbury stop would move.

“This is very preliminary,” Casper cautioned.

“The 120 isn’t just about people getting downtown,” Taylor-Judd pointed out. “And that’s a concern.”

Schellenberg asked for clarification, “Is it about mobility challenges – if there was a better sidewalk, or …”

“That certainly plays a role,” said Taylor-Judd. And he said that the stop placement really needs to take into account where people are coming from – down a hill, for example – because they might already have been walking a half mile or more to get to Delridge to catch the bus. “There are some folks in the neighborhood would rather NOT have RapidRide than lose a bunch of stops.”

Adding to that, Spalding noted, some bus stops were removed on Delridge just a few years ago. *****

Michele Witzki from Highland Park Action Committee said that east West Seattle needs a “holistic” approach to bus service, because of challenges with other routes, such as the 131.

Will there be shelters at stops that don’t have them now? Yes, said Casper, though that’s not covered in the slide deck currently.

Casper wrapped up by urging everyone to check out the “online open house” (which we broke down and linked to here as soon as it was made public on Monday) and to look for SDOT reps at pop-up stops the week of March 20th.

Rider Alerts will be posted regarding the survey and pop-ups. What languages will they be in? the reps were asked. At least three besides English, said SDOT: Vietnamese, Spanish, and Somali. Any ethnic-media outreach? Yes, related to a recent ethnic-media roundtable, said SDOT.

Bottom line: They’re looking at bus service every 10 minutes. “Some of that is already occurring in the peak periods,” Casper added.

When is the county beginning its review process of the route’s segments outside city limits? asked Ron Angeles, who represents Southwest Youth and Family Services and was concerned about clients in White Center and points south.

Sometime within the next few months, Casper replied.

As the discussion concluded, McBride emphasized that while the meeting’s discussion tonight was just about the H Line’s Delridge Way segment, a separate discussion is needed about the Westwood transit hub, where “poor design choices” were made as it morphed into a transit center back when it was decided that RapidRide would extend to that area with the launch of the C Line. “26th SW was never, ever designed for heavy equipment,” pointed out resident Earl. “Everyone’s house shakes.” (This issue has been addressed at the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council. Casper confirmed that they’re booked to talk with WWRHAH on April 4th – 6:15 pm, Southwest Library – but won’t be ready to discuss that area in general.)

McBride added that mobility is vital on the corridor but the “most important thing,” from the Delridge District Council’s ongoing goals, is to “create a boulevard feel” for Delridge – “we agreed a long time ago that the look, feel and presence of this roadway is tremendously importance – so when you look from SDOT perspective, think boulevard, boulevard, boulevard.”

Riedel said that it’s aggravating to see that the Delridge Triangle bus stop on which the South Delridge Community Group is working, is apparently not in the plan for a RapidRide stop. “We were kind of told it would be a good stop for (that),” he said. “You’re leaving out a big (area) of high density,” without it, he noted, also saying that since light rail isn’t set to go this far south, “this (RapidRide) is all we have.”

WHAT’S NEXT: As outlined in the “online open house,” SDOT reps will be out along the route to talk with riders and others face-to-face. The dates/times/places:

3/20 from 7 – 8 AM at the southwest corner of Delridge Way SW and SW Andover St
3/20 from 11 AM – 1 PM at bus stops along Delridge Way SW
3/21 from 7 – 9 AM at bus stops along Delridge Way SW
3/22 from 5 – 6 PM at 21st Ave SW and SW Dawson St along the neighborhood greenway east of Delridge Way SW
3/23 from 4:30 – 6:30 PM at bus stops along Delridge Way SW
3/24 from 8 – 10 AM on the east sidewalk at the intersection of Delridge Way SW and 17th Ave SW

And if you haven’t already answered the questions/survey in the “online open house,” be sure to do it before month’s end – start here.

Also at Wednesday night’s DNDC meeting:

COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Pete Spalding reminded everyone that the West Seattle Food Bank‘s open house for their new “shopping” model – which has more than doubled the time they are open for clients each week – is coming up Saturday, March 25th, 3-6 pm, all welcome (kids too), 35th SW/SW Morgan … Deborah Vandermar from the High Point Open Spaces Association noted that May 20th is the next West Seattle Bee Festival, starting at 9 am with the Honey Run … Highland Park Action Committee‘s next meeting, 7 pm March 22nd at HPIC, will include a variety of agenda items from community cleanups to an update on the Camp Second Chance encampment expansion on Myers Way … South Delridge Community Group‘s next meeting is this Sunday (March 19th), 10 am, info hereCamp Long Advisory Council always welcomes the public and will next meet on March 22nd …

DNDC BUSINESS UPDATE: The RapidRide discussion ran to meeting’s end at 9 pm so next month will bring discussions of document-sharing and grant applications that were tentatively planned for this meeting.

Delridge Neighborhoods District Council is rotating meeting locations quarterly – for the next three months, 7 pm on third Wednesdays, it will meet at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW).

8 Replies to "Which stops might stay, and which might go? See what Delridge District Council heard and said about RapidRide H Line concepts"

  • Jort Sandwich March 17, 2017 (1:42 pm)

    Thanks for the coverage, West Seattle Blog!

    One thing I think would be helpful to note: the proposed reduction in bus stops, as well as lane reconfigurations, will decrease bus travel times by as much as 16 percent. That’s the “Rapid” part of RapidRide, and when it becomes faster and easier to commute via reliable, frequent service, more people use transit. 

    This piece seems to talk a lot about the potential downsides (and there are downsides with any transportation configuration), but I think it’s important to note that there will be marked benefits to transit travel on this corridor, chiefly in the sense of reliability, frequency and travel time.

    • WSB March 17, 2017 (2:18 pm)

      In some parts of Delridge, as the SDOT reps said, the bus already runs as fast as it’s going to run as “RapidRide.” Neighborhood residents’ concerns regarding the reduction in the number of stops focus on accessibility of the stops – some of which are accessed by people who have already walked/rode a significant distance. They may use it to get to local businesses – the “Brandon Node,” for example, or Westwood Village’s QFC, given that there are no supermarkets along Delridge.

      P.S. Just got a clear version of the “possible stop changes” slide from Dawn @ SDOT and am substituting that momentarily.

  • Melissa March 17, 2017 (5:22 pm)

    Thanks for the coverage.  I would strongly suggest that people read the documents and take the survey.

  • dcn March 17, 2017 (8:53 pm)

    I looked at the options and took the survey. A few comments:

    Option 2 completely removes the middle turn lane in the northernmost section. This would gum things up even worse during the morning commute. For example, northbound parents dropping kids off at Delridge Community Center would hold up traffic indefinitely. And they’d never get back out of the lot. That section of Delridge is already bumper-to-bumper in the morning. 

    Without a middle turn lane, anyone turning left into Youngstown or any other building on the East side of the road will bring the already barely moving evening commute to a halt. 

    If they plant trees in that middle turn lane for most of the rest of the stretch, where will I drive to avoid all the deep holes in the road? Occasionally straddling the turn lane to keep from getting flat tires is necessary along the most wrecked stretches of that road.

    Delridge is also very residential. If the middle turn lane is converted to a planting strip, does that mean that all the people living in all those apartment buildings on Delridge will have to do U-turns half the time to go the direction they want to go? 

    In the “trade offs” section of the site it mentioned that Option 2 would increase travel times by ~10% for cars. But, hey, it’ll be a “boulevard.” That means it will be so pleasant that we won’t mind if it takes a lot longer.

    • McBride March 17, 2017 (9:35 pm)

      Options 1 & 2 both have trees. If you missed the meeting, then you missed the additional context surrounding boulevard (hint, it’s about more than trees).

      .

      But, agreed, SDOT was told last night that any option which increased travel time along Delridge was a non-starter. 

  • Pete March 18, 2017 (7:01 am)

    And it should be noted again that SDOT was informed that not all transit riders in the Delridge corridor have downtown as their destination. If you pay attention to both options and all of the materials did you see anywhere how they are going to speed up getting the buses on and off the bridge? When they add the bus lane or take away the turn lane where will all of the residents who live on Delridge, and have no off street parking, going to park? How will the planned and presently permitted new construction lack of parking be dealt with? How will SDOT then design the pavement piece of Delridge for rebuild? Are you worried that what we actually voted for in the Move Seattle levy (then known as the Delridge Multi Modal project) will only given us this Rapid Ride line? So many unanswered questions from SDOT and we don’t even know what Metro is thinking at this point since we have not heard from them. 

    This story reflects the continued involvement of the groups that make up the still doing things for our community Delridge Neighborhoods District Council. Even though the mayor cut city ties, and the minimal monetary support, this group is still delving into the same issues they always have. And you notice that city agencies are still using the district council meetings as a forum to get information out to the community and to acquire citizen feedback. Wonders never cease to amaze. 

  • New Thinking Needed March 18, 2017 (11:06 pm)

    I don’t understand how having a green median in the middle of Delridge is going to help move traffic or improve the driving experience. Wasn’t the idea of adding middle turn lanes on 35th Ave and on Roxbury to make driving safer? And SDOT is proposing to remove the middle turn lane on Delridge? 

  • sam-c March 20, 2017 (4:35 pm)

    3/22 from 5 – 6 PM at 21st Ave SW and SW Dawson St along the neighborhood greenway east of Delridge Way SW

    Dumb question, but why are they going to be along 21st and Dawson? wouldn’t people there be riding 125? they are not reducing the 125 service level/ frequency, are they ?

    People might be more likely to walk down to Delridge from way up there if the sidewalk were wider and / or had some separation from the cars zooming up the hill, which doesn’t seem like a part of this project.

    (Also, re: greenway and cyclists: seems like cyclists up there stick to the bike route through Pigeon Point, and don’t really bike on Delridge.)

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