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Junction Neighborhood Organization focuses on HALA and Sound Transit, after pre-meeting Fauntleroy Boulevard news

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When a meeting room at the Sisson Building/Senior Center filled to overflowing last night for the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s quarterly meeting, the biggest news was already a couple hours old – SDOT‘s announcement that the Fauntleroy Boulevard project is on hold.

For those who hadn’t already heard, JuNO director Amanda Sawyer recapped it at the start of the meeting. (SDOT did not send reps to talk about it, as had been the original plan before the suspension was announced.) She and West Seattle Junction Association executive director Lora Swift both stressed that since SDOT is saying it will reallocate the project funds – last described as $15 million to $18 million – to other WS projects, feedback to Councilmember Lisa Herbold is important. (Send yours to lisa.herbold@seattle.gov.)

So that left the meeting devoted to two other big topics affecting The Junction – the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning proposal that has just gone into City Council review, and Sound Transit planning for West Seattle light rail, which is just starting its formal community-outreach process.

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BULLETIN: Fauntleroy Boulevard project ‘on hold’


(WSB file photo – 38th/Fauntleroy, in the zone set for the now-on-hold project)

FIRST REPORT, 3:53 PM: Tonight, as we’ve been reporting, the Junction Neighborhood Organization has a Fauntleroy Boulevard project update on the agenda. This afternoon, we’ve learned it will be a MAJOR update: The project is on hold, because of concerns that have long been raised by some community members – including that it might conflict with Sound Transit‘s light-rail plan, leading to the same stretch of busy roadway being torn up twice. Just posted to the project webpage:

We’re putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold.

… Based on community input and continued coordination with Sound Transit, we are putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold. This decision responds to community concerns about prolonged construction and effective use of taxpayer dollars.

Sound Transit’s current proposed route for the voter-approved West Seattle Light Rail Extension includes an elevated rail line on Fauntleroy Way. If built after the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, there is the possibility that Fauntleroy improvements would need to be removed and potentially rebuilt.

During our recent design outreach, we heard community concerns about dealing with major construction twice in such a short amount of time. The community also asked whether constructing the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project now, and potentially having elements of the project removed later, would be an effective use of public dollars. Our decision to put construction on hold will help to ensure that SDOT’s and Sound Transit’s plans for this stretch of Fauntleroy Way don’t conflict. We recognize West Seattle has multiple paving and transit priorities, and we will reallocate Fauntleroy Boulevard Project funds to address the community’s needs.

Sound Transit is still in the early stages of their design for light rail to West Seattle, and they anticipate choosing a preferred alignment by mid-2019. Last month, the City announced plans to work closely with Sound Transit over the next 18 months to identify a preferred route for the light rail tracks and stations to the West Seattle Junction.

The Fauntleroy Boulevard plan stemmed from a community-generated proposal dating back to the turn of the millennium. It proposed a rechannelization of Fauntleroy Way SW between SW Alaska and 35th SW, adding safety and multi-modal features, and stretches of landscaped median. It was idle for some years (concepts were explored in 2010) and then “re-activated” in 2016, with the final design announced last year. But as the Sound Transit West Seattle to Ballard planning phase ramped up recently, so did the questions and concerns about why millions would be spent on this stretch only to potentially see it torn up again a few years later (it’s in the draft alignment, and ST hopes to start construction as soon as 2025).

ADDED 6:09 PM: We asked City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for comment. Her reply:

We’re working to insure that if Sound Transit builds the representative alignment then Sound Transit will be responsible for rebuilding to project-level standards if they dig up the same portion of the street. If Sound Transit, on the other hand, chooses a different alignment and we move forward with the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project and SDOT determines that there are increased costs as a result of cost escalation due to the delay, then we’ll work to see that Sound Transit picks up those extra costs. Sound Transit won’t make final alignment decisions until late 2019, so in the meantime, we need to be working to prepare for a possible reallocation of levy dollars, based on what we have heard and will hear from the community about West Seattle’s transportation priorities. We don’t want to wait on Sound Transit to keep delivering levy improvements in West Seattle.

West Seattle Wednesday: Fauntleroy Boulevard & HALA @ JuNO; Tinkerlab Challenge; basketball; more!

January 31, 2018 9:58 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Wednesday: Fauntleroy Boulevard & HALA @ JuNO; Tinkerlab Challenge; basketball; more!
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

(Another long-lens look at Uno the harbor seal, from David Hutchinson, who explains that the dark eye rings mean Uno is well-hydrated)

Highlights for today/tonight from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

TINKERLAB STEM CHALLENGE: Fun for all ages, free, at Southwest Library, 2:30-4 pm. (9010 35th SW)

JUNCTION NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATION: 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building. The agenda, from JuNO director Amanda Sawyer:

SDOT – Fauntleroy Way Boulevard – Presentation of the 100% design and project update.

Avalon Substation – Brandon Herman will present renderings of the Avalon Substation SF Zoned Lots leased to Pecos Pit to gain feedback from the community.

JuNO Land Use Committee – Christy Tobin-Presser will give an update regarding SCALE and JuNO’s legal challenge to the HALA/MHA Final Environmental Impact Statement.

HALA/MHA Discussion – Outside of legal challenge, what ideas are other Urban Villages evaluating to add density and affordable housing to their neighborhoods?

ST3 WS Light Rail – Next steps for community input. Introduction of Kevin Freitas, JuNO’s liaison between the community and Sound Transit. Presentation of Tomasz Biernacki’s renderings of elevated Light Rail and discussion of the future vision for the West Seattle Junction.

JuNO Volunteers Needed – Have great ideas for the WS Junction? Want to plan an event or be involved in applying for a neighborhood grant from Department of Neighborhoods? JuNO is looking for volunteer committee members and officers to create a more effective and inclusive neighborhood organization.

JuNO meetings are open to the public and all are welcome. Working together to make our West Seattle Junction and Triangle Neighborhoods a better place to work, live and play!

(4217 SW Oregon)

BASKETBALL: One home game tonight – the West Seattle High School girls, undefeated in conference play, host Cleveland, 7:30 pm. (3000 California SW)

THE BILLY JOE SHOW: This is a fifth Wednesday, and that means it’s The Billy Joe Show at Parliament Tavern, 8 pm. No cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)

TALARICO’S TRIVIA: Wednesday means the legendary trivia game with Phil Tavel at Talarico’s Pizzeria in The Junction, 8:30 pm. (4718 California SW)

AND THERE’S MORE … on our complete-calendar page!

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: Update next week at Junction Neighborhood Organization

(Fauntleroy Boulevard ‘final design’ – click here to see full-size image on city website)

You might recall that the Fauntleroy Boulevard project was long described as likely to start in “early 2018,” according to SDOT. Early 2018 is here, and not only is construction not imminent, some key project points haven’t even been announced yet – such as, whether Fauntleroy Way will be one-way or two ways during construction. But new information might be days away – for the first time in eight months, SDOT is scheduled to present a public update next Wednesday (January 31st). It’s on the agenda for the next Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting.

Also planned for the 6:30 pm meeting at the Senior Center/Sisson Building, updates on the Avalon Substation site, HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, what’s next for Sound Transit light-rail planning (including the speculative renderings first shown here earlier this month), and volunteering opportunities. The meeting is open to anyone and everyone who’s interested.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: If you’re wondering when work will start…

(Fauntleroy Boulevard ‘final design’ – click here to see full-size image on city website)

Since SDOT has long been saying that work on the Fauntleroy Boulevard project could start in “early 2018” but has yet to announce a date or even the final construction-routing decision, we’ve been asking about the status, noting that the timeline must have slid since there’s been nothing official. (When the rechannelization-and-medians project was “re-initiated” a year ago, the estimated start was “late 2017.”) More than two weeks after our first inquiry, we finally got a response:

You are correct, there haven’t been any recent communications about the project; only because there haven’t been project changes or updates to inform people about. The most current information is still what is included on the SDOT website. We’re in the early construction planning phase and continuing to coordinate with Sound Transit on timelines. The project team plans to send a year-end update by the end of December to the email list and stakeholders.

The most-recent update was two months ago, when SDOT announced the final design, including a left-turn break at 37th SW. The announcement at that time had included “This fall, we’ll begin pre-construction outreach, including sharing more information about traffic routing during construction,” but with SDOT’s word of a “year-end update,” that outreach has slid to winter. (The Junction Neighborhood Organization has told us they’re expecting a briefing at their quarterly meeting in January.)

The last formal public briefing about the project in West Seattle was this one at the Chamber of Commerce’s May lunch. In June, SDOT had said they’d share the construction-routing decision when the final design was revealed, but that didn’t happen. The alternatives have been described as keeping one lane open each way, which would lengthen the construction process, or detouring eastbound traffic while keeping Fauntleroy open westbound.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: Final design to include 37th SW left-turn break

SDOT has just announced the final design for the Fauntleroy Boulevard project will include a left-turn break at 37th SW:

See the full final design on SDOT’s website, and in a smaller version below:

From the SDOT announcement:

Throughout the design process, we’ve been committed to improving mobility on Fauntleroy Way SW for all users – people who walk, bike, and drive. The final design includes two lanes of traffic in each direction on Fauntleroy Way, as we have today, with new sidewalks and crosswalks, a protected bike lane, traffic signal revisions to improve flow, landscaping improvements and more. Read more about the final design on our webpage.

Based on technical analysis and input from the community, we have incorporated into the final design a 2-way left-turn break in the median near 37th Ave SW, while maintaining the traffic calming effects of the landscaped center median. You can read the full summary of public feedback about this design change here.

Next steps

Construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project is currently anticipated to begin as soon as early 2018. This fall, we’ll begin pre-construction outreach, including sharing more information about traffic routing during construction.

This announcement went out one day after we asked SDOT specific questions about where the project stood, including the “traffic routing during construction” question – so apparently they have yet to decide whether to go with the longer construction schedule, which would involve keeping one lane open each way on Fauntleroy during the project, or the shorter schedule, which would involve making that stretch of Fauntleroy temporarily one way. The answers to our questions, which came in concurrently a short time ago along with this general announcement, also included the note from SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah that “We’re continuing to coordinate with Sound Transit on our collective project timelines.” That was also mentioned by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold in her weekly update last Friday.

@ Junction Neighborhood Organization: First take on HALA rezoning Draft Environmental Impact Statement; Fauntleroy Boulevard ‘discussion over?’ and more…


(WSB photo: JuNO’s land-use chair Rich Koehler and new director Amanda Sawyer)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

This week, we’re getting community councils’ first public take on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement published for the rezoning that’s at the heart of the city Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda‘s Mandatory Housing Affordability component.

Tonight, the Junction Neighborhood Organization talked about it during the first meeting led by new JuNO director Amanda Sawyer, who has taken over for longtime director René Commons, now serving as an advisor for the group. More than 20 people were in attendance.

LAND USE COMMITTEE ON HALA MHA DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT: Five days after the debut of the document (here’s our first report), Rich Koehler from the JuNO Land Use Committee presented a briefing, saying he had read all 400+ pages of the HALA MHA DEIS.

Koehler noted first that some of the MHA-related changes would conflict with the Junction’s longstanding Neighborhood Plan, so JuNO submitted a proposed comprehensive-plan amendment seeking to resolve the conflicts by taking the single-family-zoned areas out of the rezoning proposal. They had almost 250 signatures of support. The Morgan Community Association has done something similar. The amendment’s fate is up to the City Council.

Regarding the Draft EIS itself, he explained that this type of document is intended to assess the impact of the potential zoning changes on environmental factors – not just ecological – including transportation, utilities, etc. In the HALA MHA DEIS, “two new maps” accompany the DEIS, beyond the proposed rezoning map first unveiled last October. One map is “slightly less intensive and aggressive than what was proposed in the past,” and the other is “significantly more aggressive.” One lens through which the alternatives are presented is trying to minimize potential displacement. Another is mitigation, “telling city decisionmakers, we studied this, and these are things you could do to mitigate the impact.” Read More

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: SDOT goes public with newest traffic studies, will continue with plan to eliminate ‘right-turn pockets’

As the Fauntleroy Boulevard project gets closer to final design, many who are closely watching the process have asked for details of the newest traffic studies done by/for SDOT – since the project was on hold for a few years, and conditions changed in the meantime, new studies were ordered. The full report has just been linked to the project website, and we’ve uploaded it to Scribd so you can also see it, embedded, above (direct link to city-hosted PDF is here).

In short – SDOT says that the study’s results do NOT change its plan to eliminate the right-turn “pockets” at Avalon and Oregon. Right turns WILL still be allowed – but turns will have to be made from the outside through lane.

Meantime, if you don’t have time to read through the study report (31 pages) right now, here’s how the contractor summarizes its findings on page 28:

The proposed project will construct landscaped center medians, realigned intersections, improved street lighting, protected bike facilities and improved pedestrian facilities with defined sidewalks and new crossings of Fauntleroy Way SW.

DKS has completed a project traffic analysis of the existing, the year of opening, and the future 2044 project condition.  The following summarizes the main findings of analysis:

 The protected bike lanes are proposed to be one‐way on both sides of the corridor and therefore should have minimal impact on the signal operations as a bike signal phase will not be required.
  
 The year of opening conditions accounts for an 8% growth which includes planned development within the next two years in the area. Signal timing changes at intersections along Fauntleroy Way SW and 35th Avenue SW are required to accommodate this growth. The signal timing adjustments, in conjunction with turn restrictions, provide acceptable LOS D or better operations in the year of opening conditions. Certain intersections experience better operations in future conditions due to optimized signal timing.   

 The proposed additional marked crosswalks across Fauntleroy Way SW at SW Avalon Way and at SW Oregon Street are not recommended as they would require an additional signal phase for an exclusive pedestrian crossing, reducing the efficiency of the intersection operations by introducing additional pedestrian and vehicle delay at the individual intersections and to the corridor.  

 The Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard project is expected to allow for acceptable corridor operations through the year 2044.  This is due in large part to PSRC’s new 2040 regional travel demand model which projects little vehicle traffic growth along Fauntleroy Way SW, but a 25‐33% growth in transit trips on the SW Alaska Street/35th Avenue SW transit corridor.  Also, by 2040, both pedestrian and bicycle trips in this section of the City are expected to grow at approximately twice the rate of vehicle trips.    

 To ensure a conservative analysis, pedestrian volumes were assumed to double at the intersection of SW Alaska Street/Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard, while bicycle volumes were assumed to double along the corridor for the year of 2017. Through 2044, pedestrian volumes were assumed to double at every intersection and bicycle volumes were assumed to triple along the corridor.

Meantime, SDOT continues taking comments through the end of this month on whether to break the median at 37th SW – scroll to the middle of the project page to see how to send your thoughts. The city expects to finalize the design this summer and start construction earlier this year.

Previous WSB coverage can be browsed here.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: Potential light-rail-route conflict, and other questions asked at West Seattle Chamber of Commerce briefing


(WSB photo: West Seattle C of C CEO Lynn Dennis, left; SDOT’s Fauntleroy Boulevard project manager Norene Pen, right)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

No new information emerged about the Fauntleroy Boulevard project at today’s West Seattle Chamber of Commerce lunch briefing, but Q&A did bring some concerns into sharper focus – particularly, whether Sound Transit light rail might go along this route and lead to the project zone being torn up a second time.

The city team acknowledged that’s possible – but not a reason to put this safety-and-beautification project on ice. We also checked with ST later in the day regarding the current level of collaboration. But first:

Today’s briefing in the lower-level community room at The Kenney began with an extensive recap of the project’s backstory and where it stands, including a reminder that it wasn’t city-originated, but rather community-originated, with discussions dating back to the turn of the millennium. (If you’re just tuning in, its route will be along Fauntleroy Way, from Alaska to 35th.)

The briefing slide deck was basically the same as what was presented to the Fauntleroy Way Business and Neighborhood Association at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) on April 19th: Read More

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: To break or not to break? Your thoughts sought on median options

In our coverage of the latest meeting about the Fauntleroy Way Boulevard Project, we noted that SDOT would soon be seeking feedback about two options for the main median – either with a break for traffic at 37th SW:

Or without:

Those graphics are now on the project page, along with a spot for you to quickly and easily tell SDOT which you would prefer – go here and scroll down. They’re accepting comments on this through May 31st.

Meantime, the project – involving Fauntleroy Way SW in The Triangle, between 35th SW and SW Alaska – is approaching the 90 percent design milestone. And project spokesperson Kate Cole tells WSB that the newest detailed traffic-study data should be available within a week or so – we asked her about it after the topic came up at last Thursday’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (our full report will be up tonight).

P.S. Fauntleroy Boulevard is the subject of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s next lunch meeting on May 11th – more info here.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: A call for ‘compromise’ and a promise of ‘negotiation’ as changes are considered

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Though no one said it aloud, an undercurrent of “can’t SDOT just scrap this?” seemed to be running through the Q/A at the latest community meeting about the Fauntleroy (Way) Boulevard project, held last night in the new meeting room at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor).

If not, one attendee said, at least “compromise” would be appreciated.

By meeting’s end, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold had spoken up to remind people that SDOT didn’t initiate the project – community members did, many years ago (1999, as the city reps’ slide deck pointed out) – and that the final phase of design is a “negotiation.”

The timeline reminder rankled some, who suggested that in booming West Seattle, the time for a boulevard along the last almost-half-mile to the West Seattle Bridge is long past.

But before the discussion, SDOT presented some new information, including a few tweaks to the 60 percent design, a few highlights from the newest traffic studies, and a couple potential changes along the way.

The meeting was originally announced as the second gathering of the Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association (whose first meeting six weeks ago was covered here), with the Junction Neighborhood Organization joining in as co-host, and SDOT sending a raft of reps. Here’s how it unfolded:

Read More

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: Community group’s 2nd meeting planned

2016_nov_fauntleroy60_planview

One month ago today, we published our report on the launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association, formed out of concerns related to the years-in-the-works, in-final-design-phase Fauntleroy Boulevard project. The group has just announced its second meeting, 7:30 pm Wednesday, April 19th, with a list of current/continuing questions and concerns:

The Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association will host this meeting to discuss the current status of the Fauntleroy Way Boulevard project. Our aim is to leave this meeting with a clearer understanding of the project with respect to the following Association interests:

PROJECT DESIGN

Traffic studies. Per SDOT, a new traffic study was ordered. Our requests for an update have gone unanswered, to date.

Current design completion. We were informed the design is now at 90%, but have not received updates from the SDOT mailing list, from SDOT directly, or how any traffic study may have impacted design updates.

Treed medians vs. left turn lanes. SDOT indicated that they were re-examining additional access along Fauntleroy Way in place of planned treed medians, but we have received no update, to date.

Addition of crosswalks. Much of the justification for this project relates to pedestrian safety, but no additional crosswalks are planned. At our last meeting with SDOT, we were told this was being examined, but we have received no update, to date.

Loading zones and temporary parking. Will there be any spaces along the street that allow for short-term parking, e.g. 3-minute loading and unloading.

DURING CONSTRUCTION

Construction worker parking. Given the squeeze on existing parking in the area, will workers be made to park outside the area of affected business to allow greater access by our patrons?

Communication of the project to the neighborhood. What is SDOT’s plan for communicating traffic plans to the West Seattle community? Businesses would like some say in the way this is communicated to help keep our doors open.

Signage for businesses during construction. We’ve been advised by OED that this is normally not planned for. Given the extended duration of this project, we would like to reach a compromise.

Pedestrian access. Will pedestrians have access to the length of Fauntleroy Way throughout construction?

Mitigation. We have been advised by OED that the only mitigating assistance the City will provide to impacted businesses will be in the form of access to construction updates and influence on project phasing and planning. We seek more clarity around this so that we can plan ahead to work together.

Traffic re-routing plan. We would like any update available on the planned traffic re-routing during construction. Per the note on mitigation, our strong preference would be to keep traffic moving in both directions along Fauntleroy Way for the length of the project.

23rd Project. What has SDOT/the City learned from the 23rd Ave project that will positively impact the Fauntleroy Way project?

Please contact us with any questions or concerns:
Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association fauntleroywayassoc@gmail.com

The April 19th meeting will be in the Rotary Room at the West Seattle YMCA (36th/Snoqualmie; WSB sponsor).

LAST CALL! Have you told SDOT what you think about Delridge RapidRide, Fauntleroy Boulevard, Harbor/Avalon/Spokane, Chief Sealth Walkway projects?

Earlier this month, SDOT opened the floodgates and poured out updates and feedback-requests for 4 West Seattle projects. Tomorrow is the deadline for most of the associated surveys, so we’re providing the links one more time:

DELRIDGE RAPIDRIDE H LINE: The main question for you in an “online open house” (which we explored in this story) is, Option 1 or Option 2, when Metro Route 120 changes into the H Line in 2020? The survey is open through tomorrow – find it here.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: After briefings and walking tours, your last chance for feedback on the design, landscaping, and construction detours/duration for this project is at the bottom of the SDOT project page, and tomorrow is the deadline for this too.

2016_nov_fauntleroy60_planview

Here’s our most-recent report, after going along on both walking tours; here’s our report on last month’s briefing at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition.

Two more projects, both the result of community proposals, don’t have input deadlines, but sooner is better than later:

HARBOR/SPOKANE/AVALON IMPROVEMENTS: This one has changed the official map since we first reported on the feedback phase – look at that link for the old one, which singled out possible parking removal and protected bike lane on the west side of the project, and now mentions (new map below, found on project page tonight) that Avalon is set for paving in two years and that community input might change the design:

The questions SDOT has for you, and the address to use to answer them, are on the project page.

CHIEF SEALTH WALKWAY IMPROVEMENTS: The questions about this project are also on its SDOT page. In this case, the map is the same one made public two weeks ago:

Here’s what we wrote about it then.

You can browse WSB archives of transportation-related stories, including the projects mentioned above, by going here.

TUESDAY: Junction Neighborhood Organization talks HALA, RPZ, Fauntleroy Boulevard, more

What’s up with the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability rezoning proposal right now – besides doorhangers in urban villages? That’s one of the topics set for tomorrow night’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon). JuNO director René Commons says other topics will include an update on the SDOT review of a Restricted Parking Zone application filed by a Junction resident, as well as updates on the Fauntleroy Boulevard project (now that the walking tours are past), a “Greenspace Park/Library/Community Center Plan for the West Seattle Junction,” and the future of the Avalon Substation site.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: 2 tours past, 2 big decisions ahead


(Flashing fire signal at 38th SW that is planned for conversion into pedestrian-activated signal)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With both walking tours for the Fauntleroy Boulevard project over, big decisions are ahead for the project.

We covered both tours – Thursday afternoon (here’s our report) started in sunshine; this morning had an even bigger turnout – “impressive,” as one SDOT staffer deemed it –
despite starting in steady rain.

The route and the stops were the same – from outside LA Fitness at Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th to West Seattle Brewing at 4515 Fauntleroy Way. The fact the project is focused only on that stretch is a disappointment to one of today’s participants, René Commons from the Junction Neighborhood Organization, who lives near the 35th SW entrance to the West Seattle Bridge and had been lobbying for pedestrian and landscaping improvements extending that far – not currently in the 60-percent-designed plan to transform Fauntleroy Way through The Triangle:

2016_nov_fauntleroy60_planview

One of the decisions to be made about the entire stretch is what will happen during construction, which project spokesperson Kate Cole – who, like Thursday, led about half the participants on the tour, while her colleague Rachel McCaffrey led the other half – said is more likely to start in early 2018 than late 2017.

“It’s still early,” they stressed, repeatedly. And yet it’s not so early in the design phase, which got to 60 percent before the project was shelved in 2014 pending funding.

The full-route decision to be made involves detours during construction, which is expected to last at least a year. Right now, SDOT is mulling two options: Keep Fauntleroy open one lane each way, which could stretch construction out to 15 months, or keep it open to westbound traffic only, while eastbound traffic is detoured onto SW Alaska. Asked whether left turns would be allowed during construction, SDOT staff said yes. But limiting Fauntleroy to westbound traffic would be a challenge for businesses who have eastbound customers in the morning:

The other decision to be made is about the right-turn pockets currently proposed for elimination – onto SW Oregon on the westbound side, onto Avalon Way on the eastbound side:

With three years passing since the studies that led to the elimination decision, SDOT is doing new studies now, and McCaffrey says the results should arrive in about a month. When those studies for the 2014 design were done, project team member Peter DeBoldt said, they showed a “slight increase in congestion” with the removal of the turn pockets. But as tour participants pointed out, conditions in the area have changed – anyone who drives SW Oregon between California and Fauntleroy knows how much busier it’s become; the residential areas lining it have densified, with hundreds of apartments added by projects including Oregon 42 and Junction Flats, and townhouse/rowhouse projects replacing some of the single-family houses in the area.

So the traffic-study results will be awaited with interest; how those results will be communicated to you is still being decided, she said when we talked during the tour-end event at West Seattle Brewing.

And they’re still planning what they’ll do when the final design is complete, likely “early summer,” according to McCaffrey. (We of course will continue reporting on this, but she also suggested you join the project e-mail list.)

Right now, they’re also urging businesses to talk with the city Office of Economic Development, which had a rep at the end of the tour again today.

City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who was on today’s tour (photo above), had said during the recent Fauntleroy Way Association launch meeting that she wanted to see OED get more deeply involved. But so far, there’s been no talk of possible business compensation, as was eventually offered during the controversial 23rd Avenue project in the Central District/Capitol Hill area.

“We’ve learned from the 23rds of the world,” McCaffrey said today, as she had on Thursday.

If you’ve missed the general summary of the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, here’s how Cole summarized it at the start of today’s tour:

That’s SDOT project manager Norene Pen at left in the video, in which Councilmember Herbold also gave a quick explanation of why utilities are being “consolidated” rather than undergrounded in the project.

The two big decisions we mentioned above aren’t the only ones remaining – along the route, SDOT acknowledged the request for a break in the median in the 37th SW vicinity, and said they have to evaluate the “tradeoffs” that might generate. And they continued to clarify project points along the way today; someone asked about curb bulbs, and project manager Pen said they’ll be used on side streets to shorten crossing distance, not to narrow Fauntleroy, where the travel lanes will be “about the same” in width, another question was answered.

Other questions remain about how this plan will interface with and anticipate a future that is still in motion – with much of the surrounding area zoned for development much higher than what’s currently in place, even before potential HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, and with Sound Transit light rail due to come to West Seattle in less than a decade and a half, and station-location decisions to be made long before then.

HOW TO HAVE A SAY: To tell the project team what you think about the design, landscaping, and key questions such as which detour option to use during construction (or – do you have another suggestion?), scroll down the official project page to find a form. You’ll also want to look at the boards that were shown at tour’s end – here (PDF), or embedded below:

McCaffrey says they will also come out and speak with community groups by request – e-mail fauntleroyblvd@seattle.gov – as they did, for example, at last month’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting.

PHOTOS: What happened on the first Fauntleroy Boulevard walking tour

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Even outside peak commute times, motorized-vehicle traffic roars and rumbles through The Triangle on Fauntleroy Way, along the route of the now-in-final-planning-stages Fauntleroy Boulevard project. This afternoon, that posed challenges for the “talk” part of the first of two SDOT-led Walk-and-Talk Tours through the project zone.

More than 40 people turned out in the semi-surprise sunshine to walk along most of the route, eastbound from 39th/Alaska to Fauntleroy/Avalon, with two crossings along the way. Introductory speakers included longtime resident and community advocate Sharonn Meeks (below, with project manager Norene Pen):

Meeks reiterated that the project “has been in play” for many years and said, “We’re here as a community … not as ‘I want it, I don’t want it’.”

Two groups formed; we went along with the one led by project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey, who recapped key points of the plan, including two travel lanes in each direction, and “consolidation of utilities” since the undergrounding requested by the community wasn’t part of the budget. Stops started with an explanation outside Trader Joe’s of how, since their current loading area will no longer exist, they’re going to load off 39th SW west of the store, with some in-lane loading in the middle of the night on Fauntleroy.

McCaffrey said TJ’s is “pretty happy” with what they worked out. Currently, they get two truck deliveries each night, one around 7 pm, one around 3 am. Next stop was the Parks-owned triangle by SW Oregon, where pedestrian improvements were the focus.

Discussion included the plan to change the overhead “fire signal” flashing lights to a full pedestrian-activated signal. Some questions included how that would be timed with the rest of the motorized-vehicle traffic flow on the road. Also noted at this stop, the plan to have “consistent, defined sidewalks” on both sides of Fauntleroy. Then came a chance – for those who haven’t experienced it – to see what it’s like crossing Fauntleroy in The Triangle. The amount of time allotted definitely wasn’t enough for ~20 people.

At the end of that crossing, outside Wardrobe Cleaners, tour participants got a look at the area that SDOT says will be turned into “green stormwater infrastructure.”

Someone pointed out a utility pole that seemed to be infringing on the pedestrian area. “We’re going to be moving a lot of utility poles,” McCaffrey acknowledged. Another question: How will the landscaped median areas be maintained? SDOT is accountable for right-of-way maintenance, but community group help would be great too, McCaffrey said. (Community groups actually have helped over the years – we’ve covered numerous cleanups in the Triangle/Gateway area – but their numbers have dwindled, among other challenges.) Project designer Mike Hendrix said they’re looking at “low maintenance” trees, too.

Outside the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building (Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee), questions included just how much of the parking lot was really city right-of-way.

With questions about how businesses would be helped to survive the year-long construction period – a major topic at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association – the SDOT reps pointed to city Office of Economic Development reps who were present, and suggested talking with them at the end of the tour.

After that, we missed the final scheduled stop because of unrelated breaking news. But we caught back up with the end of the tour inside West Seattle Brewing (4515 Fauntleroy Way SW), where participants were invited to check out more informational boards, talk one-on-one with SDOT reps, and chow down on pizza that WS Brewing baked at its Alki location and brought up to the Triangle for the occasion.

Also there, Jill Anholt, just announced this week as winner of the public-art contract for the project zone:

Anholt said she doesn’t have a preconceived plan for the work – she’s waiting to see the stories that community members tell. (Here’s how to share yours.) We asked what she’s done in the area most recently; turns out she has work at the newly opened Sound Transit Angle Lake station.

The second and final walking tour – at least for this phase of the feedback process – is on Saturday morning (March 18th), 10:30 am-noon. Same route – meet outside LA Fitness at 39th/Alaska.

West Seattle Thursday: ‘Fauntleroy Boulevard’ walk, Design Review for 2715 California SW, WS Timebank, and more


(Photo by Leda Costa)

The promise of that rainbow last night really came true today – it’s sunny! Here’s what’s ahead for the rest of your Thursday:

FIRST FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD WALK-AND-TALK: Noon-1:30 pm, join the SDOT project team for Fauntleroy Boulevard on the first of two walking tours, starting outside LA Fitness. (3900 SW Alaska)

AFTERNOON DANCE TIME: At the Senior Center of West Seattle with Lauren Petrie, 2-4 pm. Details in our calendar listing. (4217 SW Oregon)

LAUNCH PARTY AT ORIGINS: 3-8 pm at Origins Cannabis (WSB sponsor), launch party for House of Cultivar Product. Food from Jones Barbecue, music, and swag merchandise for the first 200 customers. 21+ (4800 40th SW)

BUSINESS RESOURCES OPEN HOUSE: Starting or growing your business? 4-6 pm at Delridge Library, come find out about resources available to help. Details here. (5423 Delridge Way SW)

WEST SEATTLE TIMEBANK: New location for tonight’s WS Timebank meeting – Neighborhood House’s High Point Center! The evening begins with orientation for new members at 6 pm, potluck at 6:30 pm, and then at 7 pm, guest speaker Chris Langeler from the West Seattle Helpline. Full details in our calendar listing. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)

DESIGN REVIEW FOR 2715 CALIFORNIA SW: As previewed here, 6:30 tonight is when the Southwest Design Review Board gets its first look at this 4-story mixed-use building proposed for the Admiral District, with 48 apartments over ~46 parking spaces. The meeting’s upstairs at the Senior Center/Sisson Building. (4217 SW Oregon)

ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 7 pm at Alki UCC, with the agenda including discussion of a noise survey, SDOT’s 2016-2024 paving plan, a grant application for safe crossing at 57th/Admiral, more. (6115 SW Hinds)

BELLYDANCING SHOWCASE: The monthly Alauda showcase is tonight at The Skylark, 7:30 pm. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

MORE, AS ALWAYS … on our complete-calendar page.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: Walk-and-Talks this week; project artist; followups

A reminder, an update, and a followup, all related to the Fauntleroy Boulevard project:

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WALK-AND-TALKS TOMORROW, SATURDAY: The two SDOT-hosted “Walk-and-Talk” tours announced last month are tomorrow and Saturday. On Thursday, it’s scheduled for noon-1:30 pm; Saturday, 10:30 am-noon, both starting outside LA Fitness at 39th SW/SW Alaska and continuing east to end at West Seattle Brewing, 4515 Fauntleroy Way SW. The plan, SDOT says, is to “share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback.”

PROJECT ARTIST ANNOUNCED: As with most such projects, this one will have public art, funded by the city’s 1% for Art program. SDOT announced this week that “a panel of community leaders, project staff and local artists selected Jill Anholt to develop the public art component.” The Vancouver, B.C.-based artist will be on tomorrow’s Walk-and-Talk tour. SDOT says she’ll be working with community suggestions:

Pick up a pre-paid postcard from a West Seattle Junction restaurant, coffee shop, or community center, fill in your West Seattle story, and mail it back to help inform the new art for Fauntleroy Way SW. You can also pick up a postcard at the Walk and Talks this week or fill out an online postcard on our project webpage.

According to the “call for art” from last year, the budget is $150,000.

ABOUT THE RIGHT-OF-WAY: As highlighted at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association (WSB coverage here), one concern for some businesses along the route is that they’ll be losing parking. The city says its plan is to build entirely in the “right of way.” So we followed up with SDOT (which wasn’t at the community group’s meeting) to ask about the public/private property delineation in the area. Project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey replied:

… in much of the project area, the sidewalk and street are poorly defined and people have become accustomed to using the public right-of-way for parking or loading. This means that people are sometimes driving and parking on the sidewalk. One of the main project goals is to organize the street to be more predictable and comfortable for all users. We achieve this, in part, by defining clear sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and vehicle lanes. Throughout the design process, we have been working with individual business owners to adjust our project designs for the right-of-way to accommodate their business operations; for example, by relocating loading zones and adjusting driveway placements.

The paved triangle just north of Wardrobe Cleaners is City-owned right-of-way. In the project design, this area will be converted into green stormwater infrastructure landscaping to help manage stormwater runoff. Based on our meetings with the owners of Wardrobe Cleaners, we have also incorporated into the design a “load zone driveway” in the right-of-way space between the new landscaping and the Wardrobe Cleaners’ building for customers to use for short-term loading.

At the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building, some of the area out front currently used as a parking lot is private property and some is public right-of-way. To access the parking area on private property, people drive their cars over the public sidewalk, and often inadvertently end up parking on the sidewalk/public right-of-way. We have been working with the property owner and business owners at this building to adjust the driveway placements in the design to maximize the amount of parking space on their private property. Even with these changes, the parking capacity in front of their building will be reduced from the mix of private and public space they’re accustomed to using for parking.

Even if right-of-way has been used in that way for a long time, McCaffrey says, “Washington State courts have held that property owned by governmental entities, including the City of Seattle, is not subject to adverse possession by private individuals or entities.” (Around residential property, for example, the “right of way” doesn’t end at the sidewalk.)

McCaffrey also addressed some concerns raised by Rudy’s Barbershop reps in relation to the recent meeting:

They noted that the design is based on out-of-date traffic data. Based on community feedback, we are in the process of conducting an additional traffic study on Fauntleroy to validate the findings of our original traffic study in 2012. We will share this data and any design adjustments it indicates with the community next month. Rudy’s Barbershop also raised concerns that the project does not add new pedestrian crossings. The project adds an additional crosswalk across Fauntleroy at 38th Ave SW. We have heard requests from the community for an additional crosswalk between SW Avalon Way and SW Oregon St. As we refine the design, we are examining the feasibility of adding an additional mid-block crosswalk in this area; as a part of our current traffic study, we are considering how this addition would affect safety and vehicle movements.

We’ve also asked about the status of the crosswalk that is supposed to be installed just west of the project zone, at 39th/Alaska/Fauntleroy, as part of the “public benefit package” for the alley vacation granted to The Whittaker (WSB sponsor) project, and are waiting to hear back from SDOT on that.

ADDED 1:52 PM: The reply on that: “The Whole Foods/Whittaker project design includes construction of a new crosswalk across SW Alaska St (crossing from the Whittaker to the Spruce, as you described). Based on our understanding of the Whittaker’s construction schedule, their project – including the new crosswalk – will be complete by the time we begin construction on the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, anticipated to begin in late 2017 or early 2018. If for some reason this crosswalk has not been installed by the time we are completing construction at that intersection, it is something that our project could build.”

@ West Seattle Transportation Coalition: Fauntleroy Boulevard Q&A; One Center City

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By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Now that the Fauntleroy Boulevard project is funded and approaching construction, it’s getting even-closer public scrutiny, and that brought a briefing and Q&A at last night’s meeting of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, which has talked about it many times before.

Close to 30 people were there, including an SDOT delegation led by Fauntleroy Boulevard project manager Norene Pen and project communication lead Rachel McCaffrey, who launched the briefing with background:

The project area is .4 miles long, and the concept dates back to 1999 discussions. Part of the project involves the Bicycle Master Plan‘s designation in 2014 of Fauntleroy Way for a protected bike lane. Outreach to adjacent property owners, and discussions, started in 2014-2015. Early ’15 is when the project was “put on hold” for lack of funding; then it was added to the Move Seattle levy, approved by voters in November 2015. She said they’re aware that the partial design that’s just been “re-initiated” is two years old and they are assessing current conditions to be sure it still works, as they then finalize design and move toward starting construction “late 2017 or early 2018.”

The project’s 3 main goals: Read More

West Seattle Thursday: Fauntleroy Boulevard @ WSTC; Orca Talk; Metropolitan Market remodel; burger benefit…

February 23, 2017 11:27 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Thursday: Fauntleroy Boulevard @ WSTC; Orca Talk; Metropolitan Market remodel; burger benefit…
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous


(Looking north along the East Waterway at the mouth of the Duwamish River – photo by Don Brubeck)

Busy morning – but there’s still time for this lineup of highlights for the rest of today/tonight, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

BURGERS FOR MENTORS: Empower Mentoring Program gets part of the proceeds today at Zippy’s Giant Burgers in White Center, open until 9 pm – details in our calendar listing. (9614 14th SW)

FREE TAX HELP: 5-9 pm at the West Seattle Food Bank/Community Resource Center, courtesy of United Way of King County volunteers. Details in our calendar listing. (35th SW & SW Morgan)

WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: The Fauntleroy Boulevard project is the big agenda item when WSTC meets at 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, as previewed here last weekend. (6400 Sylvan Way)

BYSTANDER INTERVENTION WORKSHOP: 6:30 pm, free workshop at Fauntleroy UCC Church “to learn practical, safe alternatives to doing nothing in bullying or harassment situations.” (9140 California SW)

ORCA TALK: 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), this Orca Talk presented by The Whale Trail and Seal Sitters will bring you the “rare firsthand story of an orca rescue,” as previewed here. (5612 California SW)

METROPOLITAN MARKET REMODEL TALK: The Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) Admiral remodeling work is about to resume, and as reported here last Friday, company leadership knows customers have questions and concerns about what’s changed so far and what’s next, so they’re inviting you to a gathering at the store 7-8:30 pm tonight to talk with the CEO and store director, preview what’s next, and enjoy some bites. (41st/42nd/Admiral)

TRIVIA NIGHT: Monthly trivia at Tap Station, 7 pm. All ages welcome. Prizes! (7900 35th SW)

OF COURSE, THERE’S MORE … for today, tonight, and beyond, on our complete-calendar page!

Fauntleroy Boulevard Walk-and-Talk #2

From SDOT’s Fauntleroy Boulevard project team:

We’ll be holding public “Walk and Talk” tours to discuss improvements for Fauntleroy Way SW between 35th Ave SW and SW Alaska St. We resumed design on this project in late 2016, and these walking tours will be an opportunity for us to share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback. We’ll include light refreshments from Fauntleroy businesses along the way.

To accommodate schedules, we’re offering the same tour on two different dates: Thursday, March 16, from 12-1:30 PM, and Saturday, March 18, from 10:30 AM-12 PM. The tours will begin outside of LA Fitness, at 3900 SW Alaska St, and end at West Seattle Brewing Co., at 4415 Fauntleroy Way SW.

Fauntleroy Boulevard Walk-and-Talk #1

From SDOT’s Fauntleroy Boulevard project team:

We’ll be holding public “Walk and Talk” tours to discuss improvements for Fauntleroy Way SW between 35th Ave SW and SW Alaska St. We resumed design on this project in late 2016, and these walking tours will be an opportunity for us to share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback. We’ll include light refreshments from Fauntleroy businesses along the way.

To accommodate schedules, we’re offering the same tour on two different dates: Thursday, March 16, from 12-1:30 PM, and Saturday, March 18, from 10:30 AM-12 PM. The tours will begin outside of LA Fitness, at 3900 SW Alaska St, and end at West Seattle Brewing Co., at 4415 Fauntleroy Way SW.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: Two ‘Walk-and-Talks’ announced for March

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6:48 PM: The Fauntleroy Boulevard project through The Triangle is suddenly a hot topic, and tonight we have word of two more chances for you to find out more about it. Along with the West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting tomorrow night (Thursday, February 23rd, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center) and the new Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association‘s meeting a week from tonight (Wednesday, March 1st, 7:30 pm at Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee), SDOT just announced two “Walk-and-Talk” tours along the route.

Project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey says, “These walking tours will be an opportunity for us to share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback. We’ll include light refreshments from Fauntleroy businesses along the way.” She says it’s “the same tour on two different dates: Thursday, March 16, from 12-1:30 PM, and Saturday, March 18, from 10:30 AM-12 PM. The tours will begin outside of LA Fitness, at 3900 SW Alaska St, and end at West Seattle Brewing Co., at 4415 Fauntleroy Way SW.” Also, watch your postal mail for a postcard about this (see it here) – she says it’s being sent to a “swath” of the area (we have a followup question out asking exactly where said “swath” is).

ADDED 11:57 AM: We have the reply to that: “We mailed the postcard to approximately 8,560 addresses roughly in the boundaries of SW Charlestown St, 45th Ave SW, SW Juneau, and 26th Ave SW. We’ll also announce the event via our email newsletter, which has about 300 subscribers.”

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