11:26 AM: When SDOT announced the start of “outreach” for two paving projects, including SW Avalon Way and a short stretch of 35th SW, the Avalon project wasn’t described as anything more than repaving.
But with SDOT‘s “open house” meeting about it coming up tonight, Luna Park entrepreneur John Bennett called our attention this morning to a new addition: Rechannelization is proposed, including removal of parking along a stretch of the east side of Avalon – parking that Bennett and other businesses had to fight to (partly) keep before the RapidRide C Line brought a part-time transit lane to the area.
Bennett says the new proposal was a surprise to Luna Park merchants; when SDOT asked for an advance discussion with them, he thought it might just tackle the topic of what would happen for construction. Since the addition of rechannelization hasn’t been widely announced, it might be a surprise to you too.
For the full details, see the PDF of “boards” for tonight’s meeting – added to the SDOT project page – and embedded at the top of this story; we’ve highlighted cross-sections below. Part of the stretch would lose the center turn lane as well as parking. The SDOT document shows the proposed changes in five sections. Below, the three sections through and by Luna Park, “current” followed by “proposed”:
CURRENT SECTIONS 1 & 2:
PROPOSED SECTIONS 1 & 2:
What you see above – with the view looking north – between Manning and Spokane (section 1), shows the addition of bicycle lanes, with the removal of a median and the narrowing of travel and turn lanes. Between Bradford and Manning (section 2), the center turn lane would be removed, and a bicycle lane added on the east side of the street. The west-side bicycle lane would be moved to between the sidewalk and the parking area.
CURRENT SECTION 3:
PROPOSED SECTION 3:
What you see above – again, with the view looking north – between Yancy and Bradford, would also move the west-side bicycle lane next to the sidewalk, and would add a protected bicycle lane to the east side, while removing the parking on the east side.
Bennett says SDOT first told merchants about this in a meeting last Friday and said that the east-side parking removal would stretch for 600 feet; estimating 20 feet per space, he says, means removal of 30 spaces. From his note to SDOT afterward:
I must say we were all shocked with the plans you presented us. I was thinking the main topic was going to be dealing with the inconvenience and mess of construction, not wholesale loss of customer parking. This is very scary for our small businesses. We are still reeling from the loss of parking due to the bus lane. This additional loss of parking will most likely put some of us out of business. I am not being dramatic. Our businesses depend on street parking. Permanently removing 30 street parking spaces is a devastating blow to us.
We have a call out to SDOT with several questions. The cross-sections also are shown in a revised version of the survey on the project page – which is a new survey, not the same survey that was linked from the page when the project was announced last month. If you haven’t already scrolled through that and/or all the “boards” at the top of this story, note that we have just highlighted three of the five cross-sections – there are two more, for the rest of Avalon to 35th, plus a few blocks of 35th south of Avalon.
Again, your comments are being sought at tonight’s “open house,” 5:30-7 pm at Delridge Community Center (4501 Delridge Way SW). You also can take the new survey here, and/or e-mail SDOT at firstname.lastname@example.org. The city says this project is currently targeted for construction in 2019, after the Fauntleroy Boulevard project is complete. (Speaking of Fauntleroy – you might recall that the 2009 repaving project between The Junction and Morgan Junction included rechannelization, too.)
5:02 PM: At day’s end, SDOT e-mailed us their responses to the questions we had left for project spokesperson Dan Anderson by voice mail. First, they say the parking removal would be along 465 feet of Avalon, which they calculate as 23 spaces. Second, regarding businesses’ concerns:
We previewed our proposal with business and commercial property owners in a face-to-face meeting in Luna Park last week. We wanted to make sure they were the first people to learn about our proposal and could weigh-in before the open house. We spoke for an hour and a half and discussed how paving will improve the street surface and be an investment in the neighborhood. We also talked about the long-term city goals of moving as many people in the corridor as efficiently and safely as possible, which is why we’re including protected bike lanes on both sides of the street in our proposal. We said on-street parking would be maintained along the corridor except for two blocks on the opposite side of the street as the businesses.
We’re committed to continuing the dialogue with the Luna Park merchants to explain our project, answer their questions and incorporate their feedback into final design as possible. We’ll have a follow-up meeting with them, including a representative from the city’s Office of Economic Development to learn more about their needs on the streets and how we can work together to address them.