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Should Metro Transit be self-contained again? County Executive proposes it

(WSB file photo)

Just announced by King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s office – he’s proposing that Metro Transit break away from the County Transportation Department and become a self-contained department:

King County Executive Dow Constantine directed work to begin on a plan to move Metro from a division within the King County Department of Transportation to a standalone County department. This would increase innovation and accountability in four areas: increasing mobility options, capital construction, investing in Metro’s workforce, and expanding the transit system through partnerships.

“This region increasingly depends on fast, reliable transit. So it’s no surprise that Metro is one of our most vital, visible, and popular services,” said Executive Constantine. “By elevating Metro as a standalone department, we can better encourage innovation and accountability so that we continue to make strong progress in mobility, delivering capital investments, focusing on employees, and forging strong community partnerships.”

The move builds on the successes in creating the Metro Connects long-range plan, the ORCA LIFT fare for riders earning lower incomes, and services that are better integrated with Sound Transit.

Over the coming months, Executive Constantine will form a work group with County Councilmembers to identify shared objectives and priorities for Metro as a standalone department. Following thorough business planning and budget processes, a formal proposal will be transmitted to the Council in fall 2018 as part of the 2019-2020 budget process. It’s anticipated that Metro will become a department early in 2019 following Council actions.

King County and Metro Transit merged in 1994, following a voter referendum. Metro later became a division within the King County Department of Transportation, along with the Road Services, Airport, Marine, and Fleet Administration divisions. Metro is the largest single division in King County government, providing $1.6 billion in transit services in 2017-2018 through 4,800 employees – including 2,800 transit operators.

Metro provides 500,000 rides daily through bus service and under contract for Sound Transit and the city of Seattle. Metro’s daily ridership is above 400,000 and with service expanding, Metro is the largest transit agency in the state and serves the nation’s fastest growing transit market in the country.

You can read Constantine’s letter to KCDOT director Harold Taniguchi here. The plan was announced to Metro employees yesterday, via a memo from Taniguchi that a WSB reader sent us this morning – when we subsequently asked Metro/KCDOT for confirmation of the plan, the response was the official announcement you see above. (Text of the Taniguchi e-mail is after the jump:) Read More

Triangle Task Force mulls its mission, with Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route public meetings ahead this week

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Is there really anything the Triangle Route Improvement Task Force can do to improve the route?

One task-force member asked that question about midway through the task force’s most-recent meeting at Fauntleroy Church, wondering aloud, “What is (Washington State) Ferries hoping to get out of us continuing to meet – because maybe we’re done.”

There was no direct answer for that but the indirect answers could be heard throughout the meeting, including toward the end, when time was opened for public comment, and several of the Vashon residents in attendance stood up.

While WSF changed its Fauntleroy terminal processing procedures in mid-June, hoping to get drivers through the tollbooths more quickly, frustrated Vashon residents have been pointing out that many boats are still leaving with empty spaces – and not because there are no vehicles left to load.

WSF says a major part of the problem is that the Fauntleroy dock holds 80 waiting cars, but the route is running 120-vehicle-capacity boats. Expanding the dock, in the midst of a single-family-residential zone, has long been considered to be out of the question.

Riders contend that problem could be transcended somewhat if WSF had portable scanning equipment that could be used by terminal staffers, so that those with tickets didn’t have to stop at the booth to be scanned.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, we should note that WSF plans two community meetings this coming week – the one on Vashon, Wednesday night, is likely to be particularly contentious. (Times and locations are at the bottom of this page.) Now – here’s how last Thursday’s task-force meeting unfolded:

Read More

METRO CHANGES: Columbia bus-stop move is just the start

As previously noted, Metro‘s service change one week from tomorrow will include closure of a bus stop downtown used by many West Seattle-and-beyond riders, at Columbia and 2nd. Metro’s Scott Gutierrez says it’s just the start of changes for that street, related to the impending replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct by the Highway 99 tunnel:

The bus stop on Columbia Street and Second Avenue in downtown Seattle is a busy place for those commuting to West Seattle, Southwest Seattle, and Burien. Soon commuters who use that stop will have a more convenient location to catch the bus.

Work began in August to relocate the westbound bus stop one block up the hill to Third Avenue’s main transit thoroughfare. The new stop will open Sept 23 in coordination with Metro’s fall service change.

About 27,000 weekday riders will be affected, including routes 21X, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 125 and the C Line.

Temporary wayfinding decals will be installed to point customers to the new location. A new street kiosk and off-board ORCA card reader will be installed for customers who use the RapidRide C Line.

The new bus stop marks the beginning of major changes for Columbia Street. It will be transformed into a two-way transit corridor from First to Fourth Avenues to provide a vital connection for buses moving through downtown once the new State Route 99 tunnel opens and the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished. Buses traveling from the State Route 99 off-ramp in SODO will use the corridor to connect with Third Avenue, downtown’s primary bus thoroughfare.

Construction to create a new eastbound transit lane from First to Third Avenues is expected to start in early 2018, and will take about four months.

Initially after construction, Columbia Street will function as it does today; the project will simply reconstruct the pavement and prepare the curb line for the future configuration. When WSDOT opens the State Route tunnel in early 2019, the Columbia Street on-ramp will be permanently closed and Columbia Street will temporarily end at First Avenue; West Seattle buses will be routed via interim pathways.

After the Columbia Street on-ramp is demolished, the City will reconstruct Columbia Street between First Avenue and Alaskan Way as part of the Waterfront Seattle Main Corridor project, with Columbia Street reopening to traffic in late 2019.

King County is funding reconstruction of Columbia Street between First and Fourth Avenues. Columbia Street between First Avenue and Alaskan Way will be reconstructed as part of Waterfront Seattle’s Main Corridor project, which also includes dedicated transit lanes on Alaskan Way south of Columbia Street that will be operational once that project is completed in 2023.

The official alert about the bus-stop closure is here; details of other September 23rd changes affecting riders in our area are here.

PARKING POLICY CHANGES? City goes public with new proposals

img_7779(Easel photographed at one of the city’s HALA-and-more “open houses” last December)

Back in 2012, some were surprised by the city rule change that enabled some development projects to be built without off-street parking, provided they were close to what the city considered “frequent transit service” (FTS). In recent months, the city’s been reviewing that policy and others related to parking – for example, the topic was included in the famously overcrowded HALA-and-more “open house” in The Junction last December and other versions of that event. Today, the city has just announced the results – proposed parking-policy changes. This notice in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin has the documents with all the fine print linked at the top, and then these toplines in the notice itself:

The City of Seattle is proposing to modify parking requirements by amending the Land Use Code (Title 23 SMC), and parking-related environmental policies in Chapter 25.05 of the Environmental Protection and Historic Preservation Code (Title 25 SMC).

The legislation would:


-Create a new use category, “flexible-use parking,” to allow for greater sharing of parking in certain zones, including in: Lowrise 3, Midrise, Highrise, most commercial, and industrial zones; and in mixed-use development garages in light rail station areas.

-Allow park-and-ride facilities within garages as a permitted use in certain zones, including in Lowrise 3, Midrise, Highrise, most commercial, and industrial zones.

-Clarify and update parking provisions by allowing off-site parking to be within one-quarter mile (1,320 feet) of the uses served, up from 800 feet.


-Clarify and reduce the parking requirements for income-restricted housing, including for the disabled.

-Add a new maximum parking limit for flexible-use parking.

-Delete a special exception allowing more parking than the maximum parking limit in Downtown zones.

-Change the Northgate overlay zone parking provisions to be consistent with the city-wide approach.

-Provide for reduced parking minimum requirements for public uses/institutions (non-Major) in frequent transit service areas.

-Allow required parking amounts to be reduced in any zone, except Downtown zones, to a level needed to serve the parking demand for proposed uses as demonstrated by a parking demand study performed by a licensed professional engineer.

-Apply parking stall size requirements to parking for residential and live-work uses whether parking is required or not.


Allow for more flexibility in route timing and total length of daily service by updating transit measurement criteria to be more consistent with King County Metro’s and the City’s transit planning, and by simplifying provisions. The proposal includes Land Use Code amendments and a Director’s Rule that describes scheduled transit service measurement criteria and other details about physical measurement and mapping.


-Update bicycle parking requirements and performance standards, and consolidate the Downtown bicycle parking requirements with requirements for the rest of the city.


-Update SEPA parking policies to better align with Comprehensive Plan and City transportation policies.


-Require unbundling of parking space rental from multi-family dwelling unit rental and lease agreements in new structures 10 dwelling units or greater in size, new commercial lease agreements in existing structures 10,000 square feet or greater in size, and leases in new structures 10,000 square feet or greater in size.

-Allow surface parking for up to three car share vehicles in building setbacks in commercial, Midrise, and Highrise zones.

-For new structures with a garage in zones where flexible-use parking may occur, require a pedestrian access door and route between the garage and a public right-of-way to accommodate non-resident garage access and use.

The document that elaborates on the rationale for the proposed changes is this one. We found a specific West Seattle reference of how the proposed changes would affect one particular area:

With increased FTS there are also areas outside Urban Villages where the proposed FTS frequency measure would newly allow for a 50% reduction in the required minimum parking level. These
include multifamily and non-residential zoned areas in the following locations:
• In West Seattle, near the 21 bus route, portions of land along 35th Avenue SW between approximately SW Edmunds Street and SW Kenyon Street

HOW TO COMMENT: The publication of all this today opens a comment period until October 5th. Comments go to:

City of Seattle, SDCI
Attn: Gordon Clowers
P.O. Box 94788
Seattle, WA 98124-7088

METRO CHANGES: What happens on routes in our area September 23rd

12:45 PM:Metro has sent a reminder about what’s in its September service change, which kicks in September 23rd, one week from Saturday. Here are the local highlights:

• Night Owl: From midnight to 5 a.m., riders will see additional trips on most of these night service routes in Seattle, White Center, Burien, Tukwila and direct service to SeaTac Airport.

The two local routes are 120 and RapidRide C Line.

Also, C Line will “see more trips to ease crowding.” Trips also will be added to 50, 60, and 131, described in today’s reminder as follows:

• Route 50: Serving riders between Othello Station and Alki, a dozen more evening trips, creating consistent 30-minute service until midnight seven days a week. This additional service is funded by the City of Seattle.

• Route 60: Serving riders in White Center, South Park, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, First Hill and Capitol Hill. By adding 24 trips, weekday buses will come every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead of every 30 minutes. This service is funded by the City of Seattle and Metro.

• Route 131: Serving riders in Burien, Highland Park, South Park, SODO and Downtown Seattle. Northbound trips come every 15 minutes weekdays from 6:30-9:30 a.m.

You can get specifics on those and other changes, route by route, including links to PDF versions of the new timetables, via this Metro webpage.

ADDED WEDNESDAY EVENING: BH reminds us in comments (and we have an e-mail reminder too) that the September 23rd service change also will bring relocation of a downtown bus stop many West Seattleites use – Columbia east of 2nd. Here’s the official alert doc.

FERRY ALERT: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth back to 3 boats tomorrow

Just announced by Washington State Ferries, a week after a systemwide vessel shortage put the already-challenged Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route on a two-boat schedule:

The Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route will return to a three-boat summer schedule starting Friday, Sept. 8.

The service restoration will come following the return of Hyak on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route at 7:20 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, along with a series of boat moves.

Since Aug. 31, Washington State Ferries maintenance crews have been working on the Hyak to replace a broken vessel service generator, which provides electricity to the boat. The work was scheduled to take up to two weeks.

Boat moves

Once Hyak replaces Kitsap on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route, there will be the following boat moves overnight Thursday, Sept. 7:

· Kitsap moves to Mukilteo/Clinton to replace Kittitas (no capacity change).

· Kittitas moves to Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth to restore three-boat service until Monday, Sept. 11, when:

o Sealth replaces Kittitas in order to maintain a three-boat schedule while Kittitas is out for scheduled repairs.

o Chetzemoka replaces Sealth on Point Defiance/Tahlequah, reducing Port Townsend/Coupeville to one-boat service. Even with Hyak back in service, there will be no spare vessels readily available.

The announcement also included this:

WSF will hold two public meetings to discuss recent changes on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/ Southworth route:

· Vashon Island public meeting

o When: 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20
o Where: Vashon High School cafeteria, 9600 S.W. 204th Street, Vashon

· Southworth public meeting

o When: 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21
o Where: John Sedgwick Junior High School Commons, 8995 S.E. Sedgwick Rd., Port Orchard

The changes, implemented in June, have been unpopular with many Vashon riders who cite boats leaving with unfilled space, even as long lines of cars remain along streets in Fauntleroy. WSF says that waiting to fill the boats would put them further behind schedule, but even on the 2-boat schedule, it’s had numerous delays (you can scroll through its Twitter feed to see all the alerts). Riders suggest that requiring all vehicles to stop at the tollbooths, ticketed or not, is largely to blame for the bottlenecks.

FERRY ALERT: 2-hour wait at Fauntleroy; helicopters visit

As was the case during the other pre-holiday Friday afternoons this summer, TV helicopters have been hovering over the Fauntleroy ferry dock – first, the KING/KOMO helicopter around 3 pm, and right now the KIRO helicopter. Fridays have been difficult even without holiday traffic, as Vashon-bound riders are acutely aware, with Washington State Ferries continuing to struggle with attempts to improve loading times, but today has an extra problem – the route remains on a 2-boat schedule because vessel problems have left the system painfully short on backups. WSF says boats are running up to half an hour behind that schedule right now, too.

READER REPORT: Another new all-way stop in West Seattle – 45th/Spokane

This intersection change, unlike 59th/Admiral, was not accompanied by an SDOT announcement – so thank you to the person who just texted that photo and the news: 45th and Spokane, on the southeast end of the Madison Middle School campus, has been converted to an all-way stop. The texter says this follows two years of advocacy by parent Stephanie Kimball and will have a “huge” effect on “start/end of school chaos.” The intersection also has seen failure-to-yield crashes over the years, like this one.

FOLLOWUP: Why 59th/Admiral all-way stop was installed late at night

(WSB photo, looking west across the intersection at midday today)

As you know if you (a) went through the area today and/or (b) read our morning traffic coverage, the 59th/Admiral all-way stop is now in place: The signs are installed, and what was a pedestrian-activated signal is now flashing red. SDOT had told us that the work would be done “Monday or Tuesday” of this week. We had been checking morning and afternoon both days – no sign of crews. Then, we learned from two neighbors, SDOT showed up to do the work late last night, and was still on the scene, with loud equipment, past midnight. So we asked SDOT spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg why the work was done at that hour. “Because of the large volume of transportation projects being installed and the importance of meeting Levy to Move Seattle commitments, SDOT crews are currently working day and night shifts,” she replied.

Did night work mean overtime? “Overtime was not used for this project.”

Schellenberg acknowledged that advance notice to neighbors of nighttime work would have been a good thing. Since more work is coming up on other intersections along Admiral Way west of California (as announced two months ago), we asked about the plans for that work:

We’re finalizing designs at the other intersections and will issue work orders in the next few weeks. I don’t yet have information on schedule, or time of day. Agreed, public notice of night-time work would be good. I’ll try and keep apprised of our plans and update adjacent residents as appropriate.

This is all followup to the Admiral Way Safety Project that rechannelized the western stretch last year. Other work in the area included a few blocks of repaving two weeks ago, following continued complaints about the road’s condition.

FOLLOWUP: See the light-rail community comments West Seattle Transportation Coalition just sent to Sound Transit

(Map from Sound Transit’s “system expansion” website)

West Seattle’s branch of Sound Transit light rail is still an estimated 13 years away, and major planning is a ways off too. But the West Seattle Transportation Coalition saw no wisdom in waiting, and organized a June workshop to collect early community ideas and feedback (here’s our as-it-happened coverage).

Today, WSTC sent Sound Transit its wrapup of what participants said, as well as documents with community comments collected in connection with the event.

Here’s the summary they sent, followed by the community-comment collections:

Dear Sound Transit Board Members:

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC) sponsored and conducted a peninsula-wide, public workshop on June 22, 2017, to inform the community and gather their input on the ST3 light rail proposal for service to West Seattle.

Following an introduction on light rail by Tom Linde, P.E., and supported by traffic engineers Larry Wymer and Mark Jacobs, the WSTC shared the representational ST3 alignment for West Seattle, as shown in Sound Transit’s documents dated July 19, 2016 (C-03a2, Downtown to West Seattle Elevated, Rev. 1, Sheets 1-5), including station areas at Delridge, Avalon, and the West Seattle Junction. Workshop attendees were asked to complete a comment card and answer survey questions. The comments are attached.

In general, attendees expressed the following preferences:

*Run the rail line underground through the West Seattle Golf Course, and into The Junction—the central, historic West Seattle business district,

*Include a Park & Ride and a bicycle garage at each station

*Conduct more community meetings to gather public input,

*Regular Sound Transit must provide timely reports on options, decisions, and progress toward implementation

*Sound Transit and other transportation agencies are strongly encouraged to examine less expensive options that are not slope-challenged, and can be delivered faster, such as aerial tramway, app-centered van pools, and driverless vehicle systems.

To arrive at their results, WSTC workshop organizers and attendees identified several factors that they want taken into account, including: Read More

FERRY ALERT: 2-boat schedule starting tomorrow for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth

Trouble with the Washington State Ferries vessel M/V Hyak on the Bremerton run is leading to changes that will, in a domino effect, put the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route on a 2-boat schedule starting tomorrow. WSF published this announcement with full details. WSF says this could last up to two weeks.

SDOT scales back grant-funded walkway near Chief Sealth IHS because of possible future development

(Above, original design made public in March; below; revised design announced today)

Sent late today by SDOT – news that they’re scaling back on planned pedestrian improvements because of possible future development. The update sent to the project mailing list was signed by outreach lead Michael Charles:

I am touching base with you to share an update on SDOT’s Chief Sealth High School Walkway Improvements project. This project is part of the Neighborhood Street Fund program, which funds community-requested projects.

Updated Design

In the original design, we planned to have a walkway along 25th Ave SW. This was removed because of the likelihood that a developer will submit a permit for construction on the east side of 25th Ave SW in the relatively near future. Knowing this, we’ve removed the paved walkway on 25th Ave SW from the project design, because the developer will be required, per the City’s Land Use Code, to construct similar right-of-way improvements.

We recognize that this is unwelcome news to some of you who looked forward to the improvements on 25th Ave SW. While it could still be several years before this development takes place, the high likelihood of its occurring means that investing public funds at this location would not be prudent.

We will continue to advance the project and improve the walkway on 26th Ave SW. Please see the project website to view the updated project design.

(That’s the second map at the top of this story.) This is the first major update since project feedback was sought back in March. The project website now has an updated “fact sheet.”

As for the possible development, we’ve just checked the parcels along the east side of 25th and have not found any early-stage filing that would correlate with what the city’s referring to, so far. But there’s vacant land on the north side of Trenton and 25th (as spotlighted unpleasantly during last year’s Find It, Fix It walk) – we’ll keep watching the files.

WEST SEATTLE’S NEWEST CROSSWALK: SW Alaska, west of Fauntleroy

The long-anticipated SW Alaska crosswalk on the west side of Fauntleroy Way is now open (lower half of the top photo). First word came in a short time ago from Matt, who also sent the photos:

Finally! They painted the stripes this morning and it was open by the afternoon. They also re-striped East across Fauntleroy.

The walk signal is about 15 seconds long and the turn arrow does remain red; however, I did observe one southbound car start to proceed through the right turn when the signal turned green for the other two lanes only to stop quickly when they saw a pedestrian crossing. I’d suggest caution when crossing here as it may take a while for people to get used to a crosswalk being here.

This crosswalk has been years in the making – though SDOT installed it, it was part of The Whittaker‘s (WSB sponsor) “public-benefit package,” required for its alley vacation; the crosswalk goes from The Whittaker’s northeast corner across SW Alaska to Spruce (LA Fitness + apartments). We’re told there’s still a little more work ahead at this intersection, so don’t expect to see it crew-less just yet.

ALKI-AREA SURVEY: Your thoughts sought on 10 potential concerns

If you didn’t already see it via City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s weekly e-mail/online update, the city is circulating a short survey about 10 possible concerns in the Alki area, all involving vehicles/driver behavior. It asks your thoughts on those concerns, plus an open-ended question on whether you’re “concerned about anything else.” You can answer the survey by going here.

FLAT FARE: Ready to pay $2.75 per Metro trip?

Last spring, Metro launched two surveys about simplifying fares. The second one asked about two options. Today, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the County Council will be asked to approve one of those options – a $2.75 flat fare. That would be a fare reduction for some riders. Otherwise, the announcement notes:

An estimated 35 percent of Metro boardings take place during off-peak hours, and those passengers would pay 25 cents more.

21 percent of off-peak riders pay full adult fares without any subsidy or employer-sponsored pass.
14 percent of off-peak riders use employer or organization-sponsored transit passes.
About 31 percent of Metro riders qualify for ORCA Lift, youth, senior and disabled fares. They would see no change.

The ordinance would include additional funding to help passengers who earn very low incomes not covered by ORCA Lift and passengers least able to pay during off-peak hours:

-Increased funding for the Human Services Ticket Program, from $3.6 million to $4 million, to offset higher cost for social service agencies that distribute discount tickets. Forty-four percent of tickets sold through the program are for off-peak trips.

-Working with ORCA partners to reduce fees for adult and youth ORCA cards and eliminate the $3 card fee for seniors and people with disabilities.

-Continuing to work with schools, colleges and universities to enhance fare programs for students.

The announcement says the soonest this could take effect is July of next year. Here’s more background on the process that led up to this proposal.

FOLLOWUP: 59th/Admiral all-way-stop conversion next week

(SDOT graphic for 59th/Alki all-way-stop conversion)

Three weeks ago, SDOT said it was going ahead with the plan to convert 59th/Admiral to an all-way-stop intersection, with the first phase of work to be done before school started. Since that’s just two weeks away, we asked SDOT’s Dawn Schellenberg for an update on the timeline. She tells WSB today that the stop signs will be installed next Monday or Tuesday, and once they’re in, the pedestrian signal at the intersection will be set to flashing red. The plan from there is what was announced in early August – to evaluate how it works for a few months, and if it’s a keeper, to go ahead with phase 2, which includes “decorative painted curb extensions, a relocation of the westbound bus stop, and a red flashing all-way stop beacon.”

BACK TO SCHOOL: SDOT plans tree/shrub trimming on walking routes

August 17, 2017 6:34 pm
|    Comments Off on BACK TO SCHOOL: SDOT plans tree/shrub trimming on walking routes
 |   Safety | Transportation | West Seattle news

Just announced by SDOT:

Summer break is winding down, and next month Seattle’s youth head back to school. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is launching Operation TREE-IAGE (Triage) to make sure that the city’s Safe Routes to School locations are clear of overgrown vegetation so that students have a safe and clear walking path. This important safety project will prune trees and vegetation along school routes to improve safety as part of Vision Zero so that drivers have clear visibility of traffic control signs such as STOP, CROSSING and SPEED LIMIT. Crews will be targeting areas around Seattle’s 59 public elementary schools.

Beginning Monday August 14, through Friday August 18, 6 teams of SDOT inspectors began inspecting routes along Seattle School District elementary schools looking for areas where trees or other vegetation blocks the visibility of school zone signs, beacons, signals, and sidewalks.

Beginning Thursday August 17th, SDOT staff began notifying adjacent property owners if their sidewalk was partially blocked by vegetation.

On August 21 through September 1, SDOT and contractor crews will focus along these school routes to prune overgrowth before classes begin this fall to clear sidewalks for students who walk to school, and make sure all traffic control signs, signals and beacons are free of overgrowth so drivers can adjust their speeds accordingly.

All major tree pruning operations will be overseen by an ISA certified arborist (as required by City Ordinance). Most SDOT gardeners are ISA Certified Arborists and/or Certified Horticulturists. All pruning crews will include experienced Urban Forestry Gardeners to ensure the best outcomes.

SDOT will also be engaging Seattle residents to share information on tree trimming and vegetation maintenance requirements in the right-of-way. In addition, SDOT is working with Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection to educate residents of the City’s weeds and vegetation ordinance.

Questions? 206-684-TREE or

ADMIRAL REPAVING: The bumpy backstory

(Monday photos courtesy Tim Nelson)

The repaving work that’s under way this week on the west section of SW Admiral Way has more of a history than most other “spot paving” projects SDOT announces shortly before they start. When Admiral Way rechannelization west of California SW was first brought up in 2015, calls for repaving resurfaced, but it wasn’t part of the project, and it wasn’t even part of the SDOT long-range plan (see this map). But the road has had persistent bumps, sinks, and other problems, especially near Schmitz Park, and some residents have been persistent about urging that SDOT get something done, including Tim Nelson, who shared the photos.

Last May, we reported on a sinkhole, thanks to a tip, and it was finally filled days later, but that’s continued to be a trouble spot – one of several revealed as SDOT ground off the old pavement yesterday:

Nelson says he has been trying to get something done about this section for a year and a half. He rides a motorcycle and has as a result been extra-aware of the bumps and holes. After getting nowhere with SDOT, he contacted City Councilmember Lisa Herbold; this is from a response she sent him in late June:

… in response to yours and my requests, Transportation Maintenance Division Director, Rodney Maxie, conducted several site visits in West Seattle last week, including this segment of Admiral. In response to my follow up questions last week, when several Admiral Way constituents visited me at my office hours on Friday, SDOT told me the following:

“Mr. Maxie, or one of his Pavement Maintenance leads will follow up with an assessment of Admiral Way. Depending on the ensuing assessment, Mr. Maxie may request a follow-up site visit with the residents who have sent in complaints about the pavement conditions on these blocks. While this street is not prioritized as an AAC project, Rodney will be looking to see whether it might be a good candidate for nearer term spot improvements.”

And then, last week, this week’s work was announced. Meantime, work is still ahead for nearby intersections, including the conversion of 59th/Admiral to an all-way stop; we are checking with SDOT on the newest timetable for that, since it had been announced as “before school starts.”

FERRY ALERT: Two Fauntleroy/Vashon runs canceled Wednesday morning

August 15, 2017 6:12 pm
|    Comments Off on FERRY ALERT: Two Fauntleroy/Vashon runs canceled Wednesday morning
 |   Fauntleroy | Transportation | West Seattle news

From Washington State Ferries:

On Wednesday, August 16, the Vashon 5:45 am to Fauntleroy and the Fauntleroy 6:10 am return to Vashon are cancelled due to overnight repairs to the propulsion system of M/V Issaquah, requiring sea trials in the morning. The Issaquah will return to service with the Vashon 6:40 am sailing to Fauntleroy upon successful completion of sea trials. We apologize for any inconvenience. Updates will occur as more information becomes available.

UPDATE: Fairmount Ravine tree concern

ORIGINAL REPORT, TUESDAY: Earlier today, we mentioned in the morning traffic/transit report that closure signs were up – then removed – for Fairmount Avenue, through the ravine between Alki and Admiral, and that a reader had called us last night asking how best to report a tree concern. The reader, who comments here as Drahcir61, has since sent the photo shown above, with this report/alert:

I called 911 last night to report a 200-foot dead tree that is collapsing & now resting on another massive live tree. I heard several small popping/cracking of tree branches giving way. The dead tree is now at a 45-degree angle; the live tree is now leaning itself from the weight of the dead tree.

The police & SDOT responded early evening last night & put up warning tape & flashing beacons to alert anyone moving past this area overnight. One of the SDOT guys told me he also heard branches starting to crack & pop. The police returned this morning & closed off Fairmount while SDOT surveyed the site (see attached photo). Due to the proximity of power lines it appears SDOT has deferred to Seattle City Light. By 10 am this morning the police, SDOT & all warning cones/beacons have been removed.

I advise extreme caution if you are in this area, especially if you are walking or riding a bike. These are massive trees & if/when they fall there will be little warning to get out of the way.

We’re checking with SDOT and City Light to see if anything is planned. By the way, if you see what seems to be an imminent or current hazard – whether it’s a tree, road debris, etc. – the first call to make is always to 911.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Drahcir61 confirms that City Light crews did the work promised in this Wednesday comment from SCL’s Scott Thomsen. And SDOT’s Sue Romero just sent this reply to our original Tuesday inquiry:

The tree was growing in the side of a creek bank which may have contributed to its failure. As the tree leaned, it got hung up on another tree and began to encroach on both the road and nearby high voltage powerlines. Though the tree initially appeared somewhat stable, the City determined the tree needed to be removed quickly. SDOT, SCL and Parks coordinated efforts and determined an SCL contractor was best suited for the job as they access to a 70’ aerial lift. The tree was on Parks property. The road was closed for about 2 hours while the work was completed.

WESTWOOD TRANSIT HUB: Long-requested lighting, sidewalk work to start within weeks, Metro says

(WSB file photo: ‘Wall of buses’ along Roxhill Park, across from Westwood Village)

Another “years in the making” project is about to get going. Even before the south side of SW Barton across from Westwood Village became a major transit hub, there was talk of more lighting – it’s mentioned in this WSB story from 2009. Four years later, the lack of lighting was still an issue when the then-new Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council led various government reps on a walking tour including the transit hub. In early 2015, Metro promised the lighting, and sidewalk improvements, would happen that year. Then the time-frame estimate shifted to mid-2016.

Now here we are in the second half of 2017 … and the work is apparently finally about to begin. Metro’s Paul Roybal responded to an inquiry from former WWRHAH leader Amanda Kay by saying, “Currently the construction work is scheduled to begin on August 28th, but subject to slight modifications (contractor is finishing up other work for Metro elsewhere, so the start date may be a few days later).” We subsequently checked with Metro spokesperson Scott Gutierrez about the planned scope of the work; he says it’s “to repair the sidewalk along the south side of SW Barton … and to add 4 pedestrian-scaled light fixtures to improve visibility and safety from the layover [area] to the existing RapidRide bus stop.”

ROAD WORK ALERT: 4th Ave. S. repaving starts next week

August 12, 2017 8:09 pm
|    Comments Off on ROAD WORK ALERT: 4th Ave. S. repaving starts next week
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

In addition to the Admiral Way repaving alert we published on Friday, there’s one more that you might want to know about – outside West Seattle, but a major route for getting to/from downtown. SDOT says that the six-month repaving project for 4th Avenue South, between S. Spokane Street (the bridge) and S. Royal Brougham (stadium zone), starts Monday. Here’s what that means:

From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays beginning Monday, August 14, travelers can expect:

· Crews on 4th Ave S to be working from south to north beginning at S Spokane St and working north to S Royal Brougham Way.

· Work will be done during the week; however some night and weekend work is expected and will be communicated in advance.

· Intermittent lane closures around the work zone. 4th Ave S will otherwise remain open throughout construction.

· On-street parking will be temporarily removed in the active work zone.

· Rough pavement after grinding and steel plates on the roadway.

· Construction-related noise, dust, vibration, and asphalt odor. …

· King County Metro bus stops will be temporarily shifted around work zones. For information on changes to Metro routes, please (go here).

You can read the full announcement here. We’ll track this project in our weekday-morning traffic coverage, in the weeks/months ahead.

THE WINNERS: Four West Seattle/South Park projects get enough votes to share Your Voice, Your Choice dollars

Just announced by the Department of Neighborhoods – the results of the Your Voice, Your Choice voting on how to spend city grant money for park and street projects. In District 1 – West Seattle and South Park – these are the four winners:

Delridge: Crossing Improvements at Delridge Way SW & SW Oregon St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 477)

Westwood/Highland Park: Bus Stop Improvements at Delridge Way SW & SW Barton St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 470)

High Point: Walkway Improvements on SW Orchard St between Delridge Way SW & Sylvan Way SW (Cost: $80,081, Total Votes: 425)

South Park: Crossing Improvements on S Cloverdale St (Cost: $85,700, Total Votes: 396)

If you paid attention to the process, which started with suggestions and continued through voting on finalists, you might notice that adds up to more than the $285,000 maximum per district that the city had said was available. The online announcement explains:

To provide some context to the results above, with $2 million to spend on park and street improvements, we allotted a maximum of $285,000 per City Council District. After the top projects in each district were selected by voters, there was $233,019 remaining in the budget. These dollars were used to fund one additional project in the three districts with the highest voter participation (Districts 1, 2, and 5).

You can read more about the winning projects (and the other finalists) in the District 1 Voter’s Guide that was circulated while voting was under way in June.

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