By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
SDOT has unveiled its new in-progress plan for the SW Avalon Way repaving/rechannelization project, one year after it first came to light.
This time last year, SDOT had a community meeting after announcing it would repave/rechannelize Avalon plus a few blocks of 35th “after the Fauntleroy Boulevard project.”
Though Fauntleroy Boulevard is on hold pending Sound Transit light-rail decisions, SDOT confirmed this week that the Avalon/35th plan is moving ahead, and the project zone has expanded a bit. We met with two key members of the project team, project manager Bill Clark and communicator Dan Anderson, to get the rundown on what’s now in the plan.
Before we go any further – take note that SDOT does plan an “open house” community meeting, and a mailer; the former is set for June 5th in The Triangle, the latter will be on its way to project-area mailboxes soon (see it here now).
The project now calls for repaving the entirety of Avalon, from where it begins at Fauntleroy, to where it ends at Spokane. Plus, along with the stretch of 35th between Avalon and Alaska that’s to be repaved (and in some spots rebuilt), the repaving also will extend a block onto Alaska west of 35th.
As for the rechannelization, you can see the cross-sections above, and aerial views below – major points on Avalon remain the elimination of the center turn lane and the addition of protected bicycle lanes. And some street parking spaces will be eliminated. Anderson says, “We couldn’t find (a configuration) that did not remove any parking.” He says that in addition to their discussions with Luna Park businesses, Councilmember Lisa Herbold met with SDOT and asked what they could do to come up with a compromise. So here’s a change: You might recall that originally, street parking was going to be removed stretching uphill toward Yancy; now, that area will be an extension of the transit lane, 6-10 am weekdays, but will be open to parking the rest of the time. A dozen spaces will be removed on the west side of Avalon, starting along the retaining wall just south of SW Spokane, and in front of some of the Luna Park businesses.
This, Anderson explained, is to make room for the protected bicycle lane and also to improve visibility from the side streets. They’ve done studies, he says, and the peak parking utilization – the only time things might get crunchy – is 11 am Saturdays. Meantime, the public parking between The Shack and Luna Park Café – which, he points out, is public right-of-way, the SW Orleans “street end,” not private property – will not be changed. Here are aerial views of the rechannelization:
The sometimes-confusing connection to SW Manning isn’t changing, either. (If you’re still confused, no, motorized vehicles cannot turn left from there.) They will be working with businesses on how this all affects loading zones.
Across the street from there, if you are riding a bicycle downhill, “we’re going to build a ramp and jump onto a wider sidewalk that will become a multi-use path,” Anderson adds.
That side of the street also will see some tree removal, and the non-Rapid Ride bus stop will be moved closer to the bridge. As for crossing at Spokane/Harbor/Avalon, they’re synergizing/coordinating with the Neighborhood Street Fund project that’s planned to make safety improvements.
Speaking of crossing – the crosswalk by Luna Park Café, removed a decade ago, is not going to be brought back. The project team says the street is just too wide at that spot, plus it’s close to the existing signalized Spokane crosswalk.
Back to the paving aspect of the project, a few other notes from our briefing: The SW Genesee hill stretching east from Avalon will get special treatment so vehicles have a little more traction. The section of 35th that’s involved south of Avalon will be reconstructed, not just rebuilt. This has a lot to do with last year’s water break:
Clark explained, “It’s a mess” because the water flowed under the street, toward the stadium, “blew out a lot of sediment …it’s still wet under there.”
With that work, the cumulative timeline for the project could stretch beyond a year, SDOT says, because their optimal work season is the April to October window. But they don’t have a timeline yet, aside from knowing that the work won’t start sooner than April 2019, and that it has to be complete by fall 2020, which is when what Clark calls “another big one” – work related to the Delridge RapidRide conversion – will be in progress.
While they’re working on that segment of 35th, they’re also planning on pedestrian-crossing islands at the stadium entrance – no marked crosswalk, but “refuge” to make it safer for the people who invariably cross there. And the sidewalk between SW Oregon and SW Snoqualmie will be replaced.
They’re “studying” the 35th/Avalon intersection for possible safety improvements. And since the Avalon repaving will now stretch all the way to Fauntleroy, “we’re looking at that too.”
You’ve no doubt got questions. SDOT hopes to see you at the June 5th open house so you can get answers – 5:30-7:30 pm at American Legion Post 160, 3618 SW Alaska.