Transportation 2519 results

DELRIDGE RAPIDRIDE H LINE: Take a closer look at what’s on the drawing board

Those are – still – key points of Delridge concern about the upcoming conversion of Metro Route 120 into the RapidRide H Line. The points were made during the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council discussion last Wednesday night that wrapped up a weeklong round of in-person feedback about the plan, including the introduction of a proposed package of stops and road changes labeled “Option 3:

(You’ll note that this includes rechannelization in some areas, which would include the removal of 270 on-street parking spaces in what are labeled as Sections C and E. SDOT says its studies showed 10 percent to 50 percent utilization of those spaces now.)

If you didn’t make it to any of the three recent events (a week before Delridge, Metro and SDOT held drop-in sessions in Burien and White Center), you might also want to scroll through the maps/renderings (below) that show how the stops would change along the route, plus specific changes proposed for Delridge/Holden and Delridge/Henderson:

(You can see the full-screen PDF version of those maps/renderings as pages 4-9 here.) The DNDC discussion of the Delridge plans followed the third SDOT/Metro open house of the week. We recorded the discussion on video:

Metro and SDOT reps were on hand for this as well. But it was far from the first time that neighborhood advocates including DNDC reps had spelled out the same concerns – including stop location/spacing – since the 120 is point-to-point transportation for many in the Delridge corridor, not just a way to get to and from downtown. The frustration was voiced at one point by DNDC’s Pete Spalding of Pigeon Point, who said this was at least the fifth time in three years that the group had listed its concerns. Michael Taylor-Judd of North Delridge wanted to be sure the project team was talking with groups including seniors who would be especially affected by an increase in stop spacing – while the third-of-a-mile spacing proposal is closer than RapidRide’s usual half-mile-apart spacing, it’s still a tenth-of-a-mile increase over the average on Delridge now.

YOUR FEEDBACK: If you have something to say about what’s currently under consideration for the Route 120/H Line conversion – where the stops are, how they’re spaced, and/or changes on Delridge – this is the time to say it, before the project team finalizes a recommended design, which will happen in the months ahead. RapidRide@seattle.gov is the address for project comments (though the county runs Metro, this is a joint project with SDOT, not only because of the road changes, but also because the city contributes funding for bus service). Design is to be completed this year, with construction of the stops and road changes starting in 2019 and continuing in 2020, when the H Line is to be launched.

HIGHER FARES? Possible increase for Sound Transit Express buses

Fare changes are under consideration for Sound Transit Express buses, including Route 560, which serves West Seattle. One option – a flat fare, whether you are riding the bus through one zone or two – would mean a fare increase for Route 560 and other one-zone riders:

They’re taking comments right now via a survey, via e-mail (fares@soundtransit.org), and by phone (866-940-4387). A public hearing is planned too – noon Thursday, February 1 in the Ruth Fisher Boardroom at Union Station (401 S. Jackson St.).

FERRY ALERT UPDATE: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth returns to 3 boats

10:35 AM: Just in from Washington State Ferries – after two days on a 2-boat schedule, the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run will return to 3 boats today, now that M/V Issaquah has been cleared to return to service. WSF says it’s not yet certain exactly when the regular schedule will be restored but promises an update, which we’ll add here when we get it.

1:49 PM UPDATE: WSF says the route returned to the 3-boat schedule as of the 1:25 departure from Fauntleroy.

FOLLOWUP: What SDOT says about the recurring Admiral/California signal trouble

After the Admiral/California stoplight went into flashing-red mode again over the 3-day weekend – far from the first time – we promised to follow up today to see what SDOT is going to do about it. Here’s what SDOT spokesperson Karen Westing found out from the department’s Transportation Operations staff:

This signal you’re referring to is one of our older ones (circa 1980s), which explains why it’s been acting up recently. Our Transportation Operations team has been troubleshooting the problem and did a fix this weekend that they think will solve the issue. If it doesn’t hold, then we’ll replace the signal in the next few months.

If you do see a problem at this or any other signal, please report it as soon as you can. During regular business hours, SDOT has a hotline at 206-684-ROAD; the rest of the time, the 24-hour dispatch number for urgent problems is 206-386-1218.

FOLLOWUP: See how Delridge Way SW would be changed by new RapidRide H Line ‘Option 3’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

After the first two RapidRide H Line options for Delridge Way SW failed to generate “a lot of enthusiasm,” as SDOT spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg puts it, there’s now a third one on the table. And even if you don’t ride the bus, it will change the road – so you’ll want to take a close look.

“Option 3” (embedded above, and in PDF here) will be in the spotlight at the next RapidRide H Line drop-in info/input event – 5-6:30 pm this Wednesday at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, to be followed by a 7 pm Delridge Neighborhoods District Council discussion of the H Line. You might even have previewed it at one of the H Line open houses in Burien and White Center last week.

We obtained more information via a briefing with SDOT and Metro reps downtown. SDOT is much more closely involved in planning the RapidRide conversion of Route 120 than it was in planning the 2012 conversion of Routes 54/55 into the C Line, for reasons including the money that city taxpayers now pay for more bus service.

Along with Schellenberg, the meeting included SDOT project manager Thérèse Casper, Metro outreach specialist Jenna Franklin, and SDOT communicator Karen Westing.

Before we go through the details, note that this is not necessarily anything resembling a final design. So they want to know what you think. But it is about more than where the bus will stop – it’s about “redesigning” much of Delridge, and it incorporates some other projects that have been discussed in past years. Even before the H Line was announced and named, in fact, some changes were discussed a few years ago under the Delridge Multi-Modal Corridor project umbrella.

“It’s an opportunity to put those pieces together,” Schellenberg said.

The “pieces” potentially include:

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FERRY ALERT: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route down to 2 boats

Just in from Washington State Ferries:

The M/V Issaquah is out of service until further notice due to necessary repairs to the engine. The Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route will operate on a 2-boat schedule beginning Monday, January 15. Because there are no vessels available as relief vessels, M/V SEALTH and M/V CATHLAMET will temporarily provide two-boat service to the route. Commuters are encouraged to arrive early and expect delays during peak times. WSF is working to restore full service to the route as soon as possible.

We should also remind you – especially of note to Vashon riders – that both King County Water Taxi routes are out of service tomorrow (Monday, MLK Day, January 15th).

What MIGHT elevated light rail look like in West Seattle? See one reader’s unofficial interpretation

Though Sound Transit has stressed that nothing’s final, it’s envisioning the future West Seattle light-rail line as elevated. If you’ve found it difficult to imagine what that MIGHT look like, “Avalon Tom” wants to help. He e-mailed WSB after making these renderings based on what preliminary information is available about the possible route “alignment,” and gave us permission to publish them.

“Avalon Tom” explains that he has “18 years experience in the architectural industry producing images like these professionally,” and adds, “I’m not associated with any group, just a citizen who lives and works in West Seattle and wants everyone to understand what they are proposing.” He also acknowledges that he is concerned with “the size” of the project and hopes that ST will consider tunneling.

Again, these are UNOFFICIAL, and we can’t vouch for the dimensions – whatever’s built could be higher or lower, wider or narrower, on a different route – but it’s something we’d been wondering about, and wondering how to visualize – so we’re sharing Tom’s renderings, in case you were wondering too. And as ST stresses, NOW is the time to get involved, because major decisions will be finalized in the next year-plus, even though the service itself isn’t expected to launch until 2030.

By the way, “Avalon Tom” says he’ll be printing 11×17 versions of these (and a few others) and bringing them to meetings.

(Sound Transit’s description of the “representative” – draft, basically – alignment, on which Tom’s images are based, can be seen and heard in our coverage of last week’s Elected Leadership Group launch meeting.)

The issue of overhead vs. underground is likely to be a big one – for the Ballard end, as well as West Seattle – as the “preferred alignment” is developed in the next year-plus, and Sound Transit has warned that tunneling would change the cost and likely the timeline.

Speaking of timeline:

STAKEHOLDER GROUP RECRUITMENT CONTINUES: Sound Transit is continuing to seek applications for at least five people in the West Seattle-to-Ballard corridor area to be on its Stakeholders Advisory Group. Just another week and a half to apply if you’re interested – go here to find out more, including how to apply. This group is expected to have its first meeting (CORRECTED DATE) February 8th, ST tells us.

OTHER WAYS TO HAVE A SAY: Keep an eye on the project website (and on WSB) – more feedback opportunities/meetings are expected soon.

HIGHWAY 99 TUNNEL: Next round of toll talk

(WSDOT photo from December, southbound tunnel portal)

As reported on Wednesday, the Highway 99 tunnel might be ready to open this fall, instead of early next year. But the matter of tunnel tolls hasn’t been settled yet. The Washington State Transportation Commission, which has to set the rates, will talk about it again next Wednesday afternoon. This time, the focus will be on listening to feedback from the city, county, and port. They’re on the WSTC agenda for 1 pm Wednesday (January 17th) in Olympia. The commission won’t be making a decision before September, but there is public comment at day’s end on Wednesday (4:45 pm), and there will be opportunities when there’s a formal tolling proposal this summer. If you want to comment to the commission sooner, here’s how. (Backstory: Here’s our previous update on the tolling issue.)

RAPIDRIDE H LINE: What was shown in Burien tonight, and will be in White Center tomorrow

We stopped by the first RapidRide H Line drop-in meeting in Burien tonight to preview what you’ll see if you go to the White Center meeting tomorrow. It’s classic open-house format – informational boards around the room, staffers there so you can ask questions, maps on tables, comment forms to fill out if you choose to. They include explanations of how RapidRide works, as well as focusing in on specifics of this project, which is scheduled to convert Route 120 into the H Line in 2020.

While there’s a separate meeting coming up in Delridge one week from tonight to talk about the new options for that stretch of the route, those boards are available too – ask if you don’t see them.

It’s not a different route, we were told, but rather some possibilities for where the stops will be – which has been a major concern in previous community discussions. The new Delridge option – they started with two and now this is #3 – would include stations at Genesee, Andover, Hudson, Findlay in the north, for example. (Andover would eventually be a connection at/near the future Sound Transit Light Rail stop.) For those who have been advocating to have RapidRide H use the Delridge/Barton triangle stop, that’s still not considered an option; Metro’s Jenna Franklin told us their projections suggest the Westwood area will have many more jobs by 2025 and the connection needs to be closer. The proposals include more than just bus-stop locations, but also multi-modal right-of-way improvements, so take a good look and be ready to discuss, especially at the Delridge meeting on January 17th (Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW), which starts as a drop-in event and then is followed by a discussion with the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council starting at 7 pm. (We also are scheduled for a more in-depth briefing on the proposal, so watch for a followup.)

Also note that tonight’s Burien meeting had materials in multiple languages and you’ll find those in White Center Thursday night, too (5-8 pm, Mount View Elementary, 10811 12th SW). And whether you do or don’t get to an in-person meeting, the “online open house” is open now too, linked from this info-laden page about the RapidRide H Line project – if you need it translated, look for the SET LANGUAGE button at lower left, which brings up a list of dozens of languages.

HIGHWAY 99 TUNNEL: It ‘could open … as soon as this fall’

(Northbound deck inside Highway 99 tunnel – WSDOT photo from last week)

WSDOT‘s newest Highway 99 tunnel update is out, and the state says that Seattle Tunnel Partners‘ newest schedule indicates “the tunnel could open to drivers as soon as this fall.” They’re not ready to estimate a date yet, and WSDOT notes that a “significant amount of work remains between now and tunnel opening,” but it’s getting closer. And WSDOT’s update includes the reminder that when “the tunnel is ready to open, SR 99 through downtown Seattle will be closed to traffic for approximately three weeks” so that connections can be finalized. You can read the entire update here.

P.S. As we’ve been reminding you in the morning traffic/transportation updates, the Battery Street Tunnel will be closed for four hours this Saturday morning, 6-10 am, for an inspection related to its future decommissioning

Metro plans to stop buses for ‘moment of remembrance’ on MLK Day

Just announced by Metro:

King County Metro will briefly pause all bus service at 4:04 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, for a moment of reflection and remembrance to honor the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

About 975 commute time Metro and Metro-operated Sound Transit buses will be in service at that time, and the majority will pull over and stop for a brief moment of reflection in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose legacy of justice, inclusion and diversity serves to drive King County to better serve people. King was assassinated April 4, 1968, and King County is named in his honor.

“Dr. King devoted his life to fighting for equality and human rights for all, and we dedicate this moment to equity and social justice for all that Dr. King lived and died for,” said King County Metro General Manager Rob Gannon. “Metro believes that mobility is one of those rights. We are proud to provide public transportation services that enable all people to access the opportunities needed to thrive in King County.

“As we briefly pull our buses to the curb for a moment of reflection, we invite you to join us.”

Metro and Metro-operated Sound Transit buses in King County will pull over and stop only where and when it is safe to do so. Buses will not pause service if they are traveling on highways, in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel or on roadways where there is no place to safely pull over.

Metro will notify riders via transit alerts and on-board announcements in the days leading up to the moment of reflection. We appreciate and share our thanks to riders in advance for respecting and supporting our pause in service, and give our assurance that transit service will quickly restart at the conclusion of the moment of remembrance.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Why you need to heed 2018 ‘sense of urgency’ for 2030 service

(Sound Transit’s West Seattle-to-Ballard ‘representative’ map – draft ‘alignment’)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you care about what’s going to happen with West Seattle’s forthcoming light-rail line, you need to pay attention to and get involved in the process right now, especially for the next year and a half – though it’s not due to arrive until 2030, the timeline depends on key decisions being made in the next year and a half.

That point was made repeatedly during the first meeting of one of the groups that will be involved in the planning process for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle and Ballard extensions, the Elected Leadership Group. Here’s video of the meeting, just published by Seattle Channel:

Another point: The planning process is not ONLY for groups – individual comments will be vital. (But if you want to get involved at a more-intense level, you are invited to apply ASAP for one of up to seven spots open on the soon-to-launch Stakeholders Advisory Group, which has 19 members already announced – more on them, and how to apply, later.)

West Seattle-residing County Council Chair Joe McDermott is co-chairing the Elected Leadership Group with City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. Others in attendance at the group’s first meeting, at Sound Transit headquarters on the south side of downtown, included Mayor Jenny Durkan, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Lorena González, Bruce Harrell, Lisa Herbold, and Rob Johnson.

ST CEO Peter Rogoff opened by speaking of a “certain sense of urgency” and mentioned “how much worse congestion will get … before we can deliver these projects.” He also mentioned the hope of speeding up the projects beyond the current 2030 West Seattle/2035 Ballard opening plans. And he acknowledged the complex logistics – including the bridges to be built over waterways for both lines, and the new tunnel that the Ballard line will use. He vowed to be “responsive” and “straightforward” in the anticipated “back and forth,” and promised that ST would do its best to answer questions thoroughly and transparently.

Two West Seattleites was among the half-dozen people who spoke during the public comment period early in the meeting.

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NEW FERRY: M/V Suquamish christened at Vigor on Harbor Island

That photo from Washington State Ferries shows WSF boss Amy Scarton christening the newest state ferry, M/V Suquamish, this afternoon at Vigor Industrial on Harbor Island. It’s the fourth Olympic Class ferry, and scheduled to go into service later this year. Before that, you’ll see it out on sea trials starting in a few months. The plan for starters is for it to be on the Mukilteo/Clinton run in the summer and be on maintenance relief for other vessels at other times of the year. The ferry’s name is explained in the announcement: “The Washington State Transportation Commission selected the vessel name in 2016 to honor the Suquamish people, a tribe that has inhabited the central Puget Sound for approximately 10,000 years.”

VIDEO: Parking-policy changes’ backstory @ City Council committee

City Councilmembers’ first discussion of proposed changes in city parking policy – offstreet parking, especially what will or won’t be required for buildings – began with a primer on who owns cars in Seattle.

You can watch the entire briefing for yourself starting 12 minutes into the Seattle Channels video of the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee‘s meeting. The briefing was presented by council staffer Lish Whitson, who said car ownership is growing as the city’s population grows – though not at the same rate; as the city’s population grew 25 percent in recent years, car ownership grew 20 percent.

Other numbers included: 83 percent of Seattleites own cars; 75 percent of renters, and 95 percent of homeowners. “When people have access to ‘free’ parking, they are more likely to own a car,” Whitson noted.

Another number – $35,000 is the average cost per space to include underground parking in a project.

Whitson also provided a history lesson – saying that parking requirements didn’t make their debut in city zoning until 1957. He also touched on how a Hearing Examiner ruling (in a West Seattle-based case) had required the city to re-evaluate how it determines an area has “frequent transit service”; a new definition of that plays a large part in these new recommendations. West Seattle-residing Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Lorena González had questions about that part of the plan in today’s discussion. Herbold also said she hoped to hear more about the contention that housing might be cheaper if parking wasn’t required, and was looking for data comparing rents on apartments with and without it.

What today’s 26-minute briefing didn’t do was get into details of the proposed changes, originally released in November by then-Mayor Tim Burgess (WSB coverage here). Committee chair Councilmember Rob Johnson noted that more reviews are coming up, starting at PLUZ’s next meeting (January 17), and a public hearing is planned in February. Johnson also said that on-street parking recommendations are in the pipeline too, pointing out that those would be under the jurisdiction of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee, chaired by Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

SOMETHING TO SAY? Here’s how to contact the council.

HELP SPEND $3 MILLION: 2018’s ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ seeks park, street project ideas

Last year was the first time the city tried “participatory budgeting” – under the banner Your Voice, Your Choice – for park and street projects. After ideas were proposed, then vetted, then voted on, each City Council district got a share, and four transportation-related projects were the winners in our area. This year, the city’s starting the process earlier – right now! – with more money to spend, $3 million citywide. So this is your official alert that if you have a “small-scale” park or street improvement idea – something that wouldn’t cost more than $90,000 – you have a month to tell the city about it – either online by going here, or via a paper form you’ll find at Seattle Public Library branches. February 2nd is the deadline; see the full announcement here.

P.S. If you contributed an idea last year but it didn’t make the final cut, it may have been rolled over for reconsideration this year – 400+ of those ideas are on this city-created Google Map and don’t need to be resubmitted.

Next step in planning West Seattle light rail: ‘Elected leadership’ group’s 1st meeting

And more transit news as the new year begins: When Sound Transit reps visited West Seattle twice recently for updates on light-rail planning, they mentioned that an “elected leadership” group would be convened to focus on the West Seattle (2030) to Ballard (2035) line. Toward the end of this morning’s Seattle City Council meeting, Councilmember Mike O’Brien mentioned that group would meet for the first time this Thursday – so we asked Sound Transit for details. Here’s the agenda – the meeting, including City Councilmembers and ST Board members, is set for 2-4 pm Thursday at Union Station downtown, and is open to the public. (added) Here are the members:

 Representing the project corridor:
o Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold
o Seattle Councilmember Bruce Harrell
o Seattle Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
o Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien
o Seattle Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez
o Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman

 Representing Sound Transit
o Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers
o Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan
o King County Executive Dow Constantine
o Seattle Councilmember Rob Johnson
o King County Councilmember Joe McDermott

One agenda item involves appointments of all but five members of another group that’ll be involved, the Stakeholder Advisory Group. Here are links to all the meeting-related documents, including directions to the location.

P.S. 11 of the members to be appointed to the stakeholder group are listed on the last page here.

PLANNING RAPIDRIDE H LINE: ‘New’ Delridge-area option – and meeting – added

(Front of postcard that SDOT is about to send)

4:10 PM: We’ve already reported on upcoming White Center and Burien meetings coming up to talk about the conversion of Metro Route 120 to the RapidRide H Line. Today there’s word a Delridge meeting has been added, and that an “online open house” will start this Friday. Along with the Delridge meeting comes word of a “third option” proposed for the route’s West Seattle segment. From the announcement:

Community feedback will help decide the preferred alignment options in Burien and White Center, all proposed H Line station locations, and “access to transit” improvements along the entire route that would make getting to the bus by foot or by bicycle easier. Riders can share their views and priorities with Metro and learn how SDOT is incorporating feedback on redesigning Delridge Way SW at upcoming open house meetings and via an online open house.

· Wednesday, Jan. 10: 5-8 p.m. at the Burien Community Center, Shorewood Room, 14700 Sixth Ave. SW

· Thursday, Jan. 11: 5-8 p.m. in White Center at Mount View Elementary School, Cafeteria/Multi-purpose Room, 10811 12th Ave. SW.

· Wednesday, Jan. 17: 5-6:30 p.m. at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW. Give input on a NEW option for improving Delridge Way SW and share stories with the artists hired to create project art.

· Online Open house: From Jan. 5-15, to be available at Metro’s RapidRide page or online at www.kingcounty.gov/metro/hlinefeedback

· Community interviews: Metro will be working in the community in coming weeks to interview people in person, and will have translated survey materials available in Vietnamese, Somali, Spanish and Khmer.

According to SDOT – which is a partner in RapidRide with the county – the “new option” is still being refined, so the link in the postcard graphic atop this story won’t show it to you yet; we’ll have a followup when it’s available. Also note that the January 17th Delridge meeting is described as “drop-in.” And if you haven’t answered the current survey – it’s still open.

ADDED 7:24 PM: Delridge Neighborhoods District Council co-chair Mat McBride has more to add about the newly added meeting in that area. He explains it’s “a co-production with the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council. Immediately-ish following the drop-in session, the DNDC will do a more in-depth vision and design meeting with Metro and SDOT concerning the H line. This will consume the DNDC meeting for the month of January. As always, the public is welcome and encouraged to attend and participate in any DNDC meeting. This one happens to be particularly important for transit consumers in the Delridge corridor.” So it’s a RapidRide doubleheader that night (January 17th) at Youngstown.

YOUR COMMUNITY: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC won’t meet tonight but invites you to 2 special events

January 2, 2018 1:47 pm
|    Comments Off on YOUR COMMUNITY: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC won’t meet tonight but invites you to 2 special events
 |   Arbor Heights | Transportation | West Seattle news | West Seattle parks | Westwood | WS culture/arts

The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition usually meets on first Tuesdays – but not tonight, given the proximity to the holidays. However, WWRHAH is helping coordinate these two special upcoming community discussions that you’re encouraged to be part of. First – imagine more events in Roxhill Park!

learntodance(2016 WSB photo from ‘Blood Wedding’ performance in the park)

On Tuesday, January 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 at Southwest Library, we’ll join Parks Commons and Arts in Parks Coordinator Randy Wigner to discuss ways Roxhill Park could be a good location for this program. The goal of the Parks Commons Program is to develop community capacity and civic engagement in event production, and the program is assigned to parks that experience long-term public safety issues and where those issues would be improved by increased community use of these parks. We’ll discuss park needs and if the program is a good fit.

Next – looking ahead to the RapidRide H Line, but not about the buses or routing:

On Thursday, January 18, community members and kids are invited to join artists from Oakland’s WowHaus studio for a discovery walk to help inform art projects coming to our neighborhood as part of the redevelopment of the 120 into the Metro Rapid Ride H line. Around 2:30 pm, we’ll meet at Roxhill Elementary under the main entry awning, then walk over to the 26th and Roxbury stop and hop on the 120 bus to the stop at Trenton and Delridge (so bring your bus fare). Members of the public can also meet at between 3:30 and 4 at the corner of Delridge and Henderson (where the largest concrete triangle is located in the right-of-way), and join the walk from there. What ideas do you have? Join us and share! Learn more about our selected artists here.

‘Neighborhood parking reform’ goes to City Council committee Wednesday

On the second day of 2018 City Council meetings, the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee will take on the “neighborhood parking reform” proposal. We first wrote about it in mid-November, when the proposed changes to parking policy were released by the office of then-Mayor Tim Burgess. Wednesday’s 9:30 am committee meeting will bring the first official briefing for, and discussion by, councilmembers, according to the agenda circulated today, which includes this map:

The map (also viewable here, in PDF) shows areas of the city where the proposal would lead to reduction or elimination of parking requirements (see the legend at the bottom of the map, explaining the color coding). The proposal enables this by expanding the definition of “frequent transit service” to cover more areas. You can read a relatively short summary in this agenda attachment, or the long version in the “director’s report” here. Along with the change in parking requirements, it also lays out the rules for “flexible-use” and “shared” parking, intended to increase usage of what the city says is underutilized offstreet parking that already exists, or will be built, and it would require rental properties’ owners to “unbundle” parking so that renters who don’t want it aren’t required to pay for it. There are also some changes in requirements/allowances for car-sharing and bicycle parking, and also a provision to close a loophole that some said was leading to parking stalls that were too small to use – it would “require that non-required parking for residential and live-work uses meet the existing minimum size standards for parking spaces” (currently, the standards only apply to required parking). The full 138-page bill is here.

HOW TO COMMENT: This meeting isn’t scheduled to include a vote. But you can comment on this, or any other, proposed legislation by e-mailing and/or calling councilmembers – this page includes all that information, as well as details of which councilmembers are on which committees – our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold is a member of the PLUZ committee that will start this proposal’s review Wednesday.

DETOUR ALERT: Pre-streetcar work starts soon on NB 1st Avenue South

If you take 1st Avenue South to get into downtown – take note of a long-term detour that could start as soon as the day after New Year’s. As announced by SDOT, they’re about to start utility work to get ready for Center City Connector streetcar consstruction. This means northbound 1st Ave. S. will be closed between S. Jackson St. and Yesler Way, January through May, for installation of a new water main. The work also will close westbound Jackson between 1st and 2nd. More details are on the streetcar project website, including a note that staging will start later this week.

WEST SEATTLE SNOW AFTERMATH: Metro back to regular routing

Just in from Metro: Buses are back to their regular routing after a day on snow routes. Separate from the weather, remember that it’s “reduced weekday” service this week.

SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS: SDOT crew installs flashing-beacon signs on 16th SW

(WSB photo)

Thanks to Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Michele Witzki for the tip: SDOT crews have been out today finishing the installation of pedestrian-activated flashing-beacon signs for crosswalks on 16th SW – the one in our photo, at 16th/Trenton, as well as 16th/Thistle, 16th/Kenyon, and 16th/Webster. Along with the recently installed speed humps on Trenton, these are related to the Highland Park Greenway project, as detailed on this SDOT mailer, which includes a map of the project zone.

P.S. The beacons aren’t active yet – we learned while reporting on an unrelated project elsewhere in West Seattle recently that it takes a separate crew, with electrical specialists, to do that part of the work.

NEW YEAR’S EVE: Metro offering free rides

From King County:

For the first time, King County Metro will offer free rides on New Year’s Eve between 4 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31, and 4 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1, including DART and Access service. In addition, Metro will add service to its night routes. The Seattle Streetcar will also be free on New Year’s Eve and Sound Transit will extend Link light rail service between Angle Lake and the University of Washington.

“As we put the finishing touches on 2017, we want you to be able to get out on the town and come home safe,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Whether you are heading to the Seattle Center or other King County destinations on New Year’s Eve, Metro will get you there and back, all for free. It’s our way of saying thank you for making Metro the nation’s best transit system, and we look forward to riding with you next year.”

“We want people to go have a good time and know they can get home safely, affordably, and reliably,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who proposed the idea.

Metro will operate regular Sunday schedules on New Year’s Eve with extra buses as needed on several routes serving destinations such as Seattle Center, Capitol Hill and downtown. New Year’s revelers can take advantage of Metro’s recently expanded Night Owl network, with added service on major routes between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Sound Transit will operate extended Link light rail service with trains running northbound from Angle Lake Station every 30 minutes until 1:30 a.m. Southbound trains from the University of Washington will run until 2 a.m.

The Seattle Streetcar will operate until 1 a.m.

Metro routes with added service as needed will include 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 14, 24, 32, 36, 40, 41, 62, 65, 70, 101, 106, 120, 124, 150, 255, RapidRide A, B, C, D and E Lines, and ST 550, ST 554. The fareboxes and ORCA card readers on Metro buses will be covered to remind customers not to pay. A regular valid fare will be required on Sound Transit Express buses.

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