West Seattle Transportation Coalition: What it’s already done, what’s next, and how you can merge into the actionDecember 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 24 Comments
That’s the new all-peninsula, all-transportation-modes logo unveiled last night by the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, designed by interim-board member Amanda Kay Helmick, who started the board meeting by lauding WSTC’s “tremendous amount of progress.”
Atop the list: Less than three months after forming, the group has endorsements representing 68.4 percent of the peninsula – almost to the 70 percent goal it had set for reaching by next May. (The endorsements stretch slightly off-peninsula too, with the South Park Neighborhood Association on the list.)
Also on the list: The WSTC’s November 18th rally regarding bus-cut concern, with not only the support of but participation by three local elected officials with influence in the coalition’s topic of focus.
And, something vital to any group: The creation of WSTC bylaws, which recap its roots as well as its rules.
Now the WSTC is getting ready for a pivotal January 14th event to which you are invited – and beyond that, for its first elections, with your involvement welcome too:
Update: SDOT tells council committee that double-rate de-icer caused Dec. 2 crashes; Friday’s backup also somewhat explainedDecember 10, 2013 at 11:01 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 59 Comments
(Dec. 2: De-icer-slick, closed-to-traffic bridge; photo by Christopher Boffoli)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In a briefing before the City Council Transportation Committee, SDOT has just admitted what really caused the de-icer debacle eight days ago, when multiple crashes happened on the de-icer-slickened West Seattle Bridge, subsequently shut down until it could be sanded (WSB as-it-happened coverage here).
It was NOT the fault of possible driver error, NOT the fault of too-warm temperatures, both of which were cited by an SDOT spokesperson afterward, but instead: The magnesium-chloride de-icer liquid was applied at twice the rate it should have been. (We had asked about operator error, too, that day, asking SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan via e-mail: “So there was nothing different in the formula or the amount?” His reply: “Not that we are currently aware of.”)
The discussion about the de-icer problem was followed by a shorter exchange about last Friday morning’s 2 1/2-hour lane blockage on the Viaduct (WSB as-it-happened coverage here) – why that couldn’t be cleared sooner, and why Metro didn’t reroute sooner, given the massive resulting backup:
The answer to that last matter was a “facepalm,” as one person put it on Twitter – the city’s Traffic Management Center is usually staffed at that hour by interns, and on Friday morning, an intern who had not worked there before was on duty. Which apparently explains the first, belated SDOT tweet about the lane blockage:
SR 99 is very congested due to a bad accident
— seattledot (@seattledot) December 6, 2013
Just before 8, Metro finally texted word of a reroute, as we tweeted:
JUST got the first C Line reroute text from @kcmetrobus b/c of ongoing 99 woes. Will stop NB at 3rd/Seneca since missing EB Seneca/3rd.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 6, 2013
(STORY CONTINUES BELOW, WITH MEETING VIDEO ADDED AT THE END, AND POST-MEETING FOLLOWUP) Click to read the rest of Update: SDOT tells council committee that double-rate de-icer caused Dec. 2 crashes; Friday’s backup also somewhat explained…
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
West Seattle won’t just be the hardest hit if Metro has to carry out its plan for cuts – it will be the first hit.
So if you have something to say about the routes proposed for reductions/eliminations, it’s time to say something if you haven’t already. You have another chance to do that today, if you work downtown, with Metro’s next public meeting at Union Station at noon.
Metro’s been making the rounds, including a stop last week in West Seattle. That came almost a month after Metro GM Kevin Desmond had summoned news media to a meeting room downtown (WSB coverage here) to warn again that service slashes loom, outlining which ones were on the endangered list and how the process would roll out.
There was some hope then of a breakthrough in the Olympia-centered battle over transportation funding, including money for roads as well as transit. But it hasn’t happened yet, and most recently, while briefing the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council last Thursday, two of our area’s state legislators reiterated the lack of a deal.
So absent a major U-turn, you might say, the first batch of cuts for our area is approaching the onramp – detailed in a plan that is being drawn up right now, to go to the County Council within weeks, since these cuts would take effect in June.
Thanks to longtime WSB’er Mike (aka “miws”) for the tip – Delridge Way is detour-free from Roxbury to Orchard for the first time since January, when repaving work began. The southernmost stretch has reopened with no announcement, and no update on the project website, which as of two weeks ago projected the south end of Delridge would remain a detour zone until the end of the year.
This last leg of work included pedestrian-safety upgrades, such as the permanent closure of a stub of 17th SW between Cambridge and Delridge; 17th/Delridge is now an all-way stop.
While Delridge is completely clear, cones, signs, and some equipment are still in evidence here and there; we’ll check with SDOT on Monday to see what finishing touches remain and how long they’re expected to take.
The comment period has just closed for Sound Transit‘s Long-Range Plan update – hope you got the chance to answer ST’s survey, mentioned here several times. Today, a quick update on two loud voices of support for light rail to West Seattle: First, Joe Szilagyi of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition just sent word of the letter the coalition sent; see it in this update on the WSTC website (which also includes the newest information on what YOU can do to advocate for solutions to WS transportation challenges). Second, the City Council has unanimously approved its own official comments for Sound Transit, and they include a request “to consider additional … corridors in Seattle, such as University District/Ballard/Downtown and West Seattle/Burien.” Next step: ST works on a “supplemental environmental impact statement” for its plan update, and somewhere down the line, maybe a new ballot measure to fund light-rail expansion.
Council approves 2014 city budget with design $ for ‘Fauntleroy Green Boulevard,’ planning $ for DelridgeNovember 25, 2013 at 3:27 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 8 Comments
That’s the design so far for the “Fauntleroy Way Green Boulevard” plan – two lanes each way, a partial cycle track, and a median if utilities allow, among other safety and beautification components. $1.3 million to finish the design is in the 2014 budget just finalized by the City Council (more backstory in our report from last Monday). SDOT told us earlier this month that they expect at least one community meeting about the design early next year; the last one was in 2012. Other budget changes include $100,000 for Delridge Way “multi-modal corridor development” planning, explained here. You can see the full list of council changes here; lots more budget documentation here.
… Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) started using barges to remove excavated soil from the SR 99 tunnel dig site this morning. The barges will take the excavated soil to Mats Mats, a quarry near Port Ludlow.
Prior to today, STP was using trucks to remove soil and dispose of it at facilities in the Puget Sound region. Moving forward, STP will use a combination of barges and trucks.
The labor issue that arose earlier in the tunnel drive has been resolved. Discussions between WSDOT and STP are ongoing. Details will be available upon the conclusion of those discussions.
By the way, a project-related closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is still looming, once the tunneling machine gets to the spot immediately beneath the existing structure, as first reported here back in April. We had asked Yerkan for an update and received this reply late Friday: “We still don’t have a date for when we will tunnel under the viaduct and thus close the structure to traffic for up to two weeks.”
The online survey for Sound Transit‘s Long-Range Plan Update includes a section where you can indicate support for extending light rail to serve West Seattle. We linked to the survey in our traffic coverage (where else?) multiple times last month and are mentioning it again now because Monday is the deadline to take the survey – so if you haven’t participated, take a few minutes and do it now. The signboard above shows Sound Transit’s current “corridor” studies, including our area, as displayed at an ST public hearing yesterday, photographed by Joe Szilagyi of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (see the gallery on Facebook, here). But a study doesn’t guarantee a plan, so far, without support and, later, funding. First step: You can take the survey here.
King County leaders presented an update this morning on the funding challenges that could result in major Metro Transit cuts (detailed two weeks ago). If the Legislature doesn’t come up with a “balanced” transportation package, they say, they’ll urge local leaders to move ahead with what’s becoming known as “Plan B” – one funding option involving a car-tab-tax hike. And they also announced a labor agreement that they say can save some money, up to $12 million. Here’s the county release with full details.
Story/video by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
As the morning traffic of busy 35th SW – including Metro buses – rolled behind them, three local elected officials joined members of the new grass-roots West Seattle Transportation Coalition to decry the political standoff that could lead to dramatic cuts in bus service, hitting hard in densifying West Seattle.
(L-R, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon)
Metro outlined those potential cuts at a briefing a week and a half ago (WSB as-it-happened coverage here) – including a map showing the shrunken local route system that would result:
(Click for full-size view)
WSTC’s board met last week to plan strategy, and the first result was this morning’s rally – 14 minutes, which you can watch in its entirety in our clip above, bookended by WSTC’s Deb Barker (below) and Amanda Kay Helmick.
“We can’t keep putting a Band-Aid on this problem, we can’t keep expecting Metro to find funds and close this gap,” warned County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee. He pointed out that Metro already has taken $800 million in gap-closing actions.
City Council Transportation Committee chair, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, pointed out that his own bus route, 37, is one of those that Metro says will be “deleted” if its proposed cuts have to be made. And the effects go beyond citizens’ commutes, potentially putting thousands of cars back on the roads and snarling traffic further, affecting freight and commerce: “If this region is in gridlock, we are in deep trouble with regard to our economy.”
Also there, State House Transportation Committee member Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, who told WSB before the event that a special session is still not looking likely for later this week (when legislators will be in Olympia anyway), because they’re not close to an agreement yet. A special session would be vital for legislators to pass a package that would at least allow local voters to be asked to approve taxes/fees to replace the transit funding that is expiring next year; the package is not just about transit, it’s been stressed, but would include road funding too.
If legislators can’t do it, said Helmick (below), closing out the rally speeches, WSTC wants city and county leaders to go immediately with “Plan B,” which could include asking voters to approve a license-plate tax up to $100. “We need action and we need it now,” she declared.
They closed with a round of chanting “Save our Metro,” and WSTC members lingered for Q/A with media in attendance, which included three TV crews.
WSTC members are all volunteers and looking for more reinforcements – as explained on the WSTC website.
Meantime, to share your opinion on the Metro cuts – which, if nothing changes, would start taking effect next September – and what to do to avoid them, the county invites you to:
*Take this online survey
*Send e-mail to email@example.com
*Come to a meeting December 3rd, 6-8 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), described as an open house with optional presentation/small-group discussions starting at 7 pm
9:56 AM: Right after this morning’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition media briefing – full coverage on that is coming up – we spoke with City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen about his proposal to add money to the design budget for the “Fauntleroy Way Green Boulevard” project. As we first reported a week and a half ago, he proposed shifting $1.8 million to the project to finish design next year – it’s a plan that’s been more than a decade in the making.
More than $1 million was to come from sidewalk work that SDOT couldn’t start until 2015 anyway, and half a million was to be diverted from design work for a Northgate pedestrian project related to light-rail service that is still almost a decade away. Advocacy groups including Feet First pointed out that while the service is far away, the project involving an overpass needs to be designed ASAP or else some other parts of the project might be in jeopardy. So this morning, in response to our followup question, Councilmember Rasmussen said he plans to propose leaving the $500,000 in the Northgate budget, and downshifting the Fauntleroy request to $1.3 million, and that he is hopeful his fellow councilmembers will support that. Above is the latest version of the Fauntleroy proposal (click it to see the full-size PDF with details including 2 traffic lanes each way and a “cycle track”); SDOT told us earlier this month that they’ll be seeking community comments early next year – the last community meeting about the “Green Boulevard” was in 2012.
3:10 PM UPDATE: The sheaf of budget-amending “green sheets” attached to this afternoon’s Council agenda does indeed include a revised version for this project, with the $1.3 million we reported earlier.
‘We’re here to act’: West Seattle Transportation Coalition plans its next moves, and calls for reinforcementsNovember 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm | In How to help, Transportation, West Seattle news | 3 Comments
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
They’ve got their strategy rolling.
Now – the West Seattle Transportation Coalition is opening the door for more people to get on board to turn goals into reality.
WSTC – an all-volunteer, grass-roots group with members and endorsees from all over the peninsula – published this invitation to volunteers today, hours after its board meeting drew more than 30 people to Neighborhood House’s High Point Center last night.
The heart of the event was organizing committees around four key aspects of changing ideas into action: Outreach, Communications, Research/Solutions, and of course – Action.
For this group, launched less than two months ago, inaction is not an option.
“We’re here to act. We’re here to do things. We’re here to make changes!” declared Amanda Kay Helmick, WSTC interim board member (and leader of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council), as last night’s meeting began.
She stood in front of three maps – one, a vision for what transit should be in this area; one, the Metro outline of possible cuts as first announced last April; the other, what Metro unveiled last Thursday (WSB coverage here), for a stark post-cuts future if funding isn’t found.
“It’s not good,” she said – understatement of the night.
*On Saturday, state legislators finished their latest special session with no action on transportation funding.
*Tomorrow (Tuesday), you can do something about it – join forces with the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. WSTC – an all-volunteer, grass-roots, not-government-affiliated group – has just announced its agenda, focused on organizing members into subgroups to take on specific aspects of the work of advocating for our area’s transportation needs. See the agenda here, and be there to help make it happen, 6:30 pm tomorrow at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW).
The state Legislature’s latest special session is over on its third day – and still no transportation-money deal, despite high-profile pleas like the one County Executive Dow Constantine headed south to make after warning again of the major Metro cuts that loom if funding isn’t found (Thursday WSB coverage here). The Legislature did approve breaks for Boeing meant to keep that company from building the 777X elsewhere; asked about transportation at a briefing minutes ago, the governor said he would call legislators back “if we have an agreement [on a transportation bill] by November 21st.” If not? Metro moves closer to setting the wheels in motion for making those cuts next year.
(ADDED 1:42 PM: Updated partial design for Fauntleroy ‘boulevard’ – click for full-size PDF)
The process of shaping next year’s city budget is into the final stretch now, and proposed changes are going before the City Council for discussion. This afternoon, potential transportation-budget changes will be considered, and two involve major roads in West Seattle:
First – City Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen, Sally Bagshaw, and Richard Conlin are proposing adding $1.8 million to the Fauntleroy Way Green Boulevard project, which, the budget document says, would complete its design next year.
It’s been two years since the first council discussion of design funding for the project; the detailed budget document goes into other background (including mentions of Fauntleroy’s “gateway” status that date back to the ’90s), and then:
Currently, Fauntleroy Way SW is a poorly defined street that has numerous curb cuts and paved planting strips. Pedestrian and bicycle safety are cited as major concerns by residents and business owners. It is perceived as a difficult street for pedestrians to safely cross.
The Fauntleroy project will improve the pedestrian environment and crossings, access, traffic safety, lighting, and drainage on Fauntleroy Way SW between 35th Ave. SW and SW Alaska St. as well as implementing the boulevard concept for this section of roadway, as originally discussed in the West Seattle Streetscape Concepts Plan.
The project was first funded in 2012. Additional funding was provided in 2013. The base budget includes sufficient funding for work through July 2014 when SDOT expects to complete 60% design. SDOT reports that it could complete final design by December 2014 if Council added $1.8M to the project’s budget. Construction costs are currently estimated at $11.4M and could begin in early 2015, sixteen years after the adoption of the Neighborhood Plan.
The aforementioned “additional funding” emerged last July, the council added $200,000 more to the design budget, as reported here.
Where would the $1.8 million come from, you ask? More than half is from sidewalk work that the budget document says SDOT can’t do until 2015 anyway); half a million would be moved from “planning work on pedestrian amenities in the vicinity of the Northgate Link Light Rail Station, scheduled to open in 2021 (or potentially sooner). This is work that will have to be done, but it need not be done in 2014.”
Second – This afternoon’s presentations/discussions will also include Councilmembers Jean Godden, Sally Clark, and Rasmussen’s proposal to add $100,000 to the SDOT budget for Delridge Way “multi-modal corridor development” planning. Here’s the detailed budget document, which explains in part:
The Delridge corridor has increasing importance as a priority transit corridor, and funding for the corridor study will support the community’s intense desire to address a number of pedestrian safety, bicycle access and transit priority upgrades. By initiating planning in this corridor in 2014, SDOT can begin the public engagement phase with the community, as well as data collection and an inventory of existing conditions and potential improvements recommended in the relevant modal plans.
The transportation-budget proposals are on the agenda for the council’s 2 pm budget-discussion session today; you can watch via the Seattle Channel, online or cable. If you have comments for the council – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll update later with the outcome on these items.
1:44 PM UPDATE: We have just obtained the newest rendering for Fauntleroy, added atop the story, and explained by SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan: “This represents the current design, which has not yet reached 60 percent. To incorporate the recommendations of the draft Bicycle Master Plan, a cycle track is part of this latest design. SDOT will return to West Seattle in early 2014 to collect feedback from residents and businesses on the design.” Cycle tracks are bike lanes separated from motorized-vehicle traffic for safety. They’re the brown-shaded areas in the rendering.
As-it-happened coverage: Metro briefing on potential cuts – including routes facing ‘deletion’ – if $ doesn’t come throughNovember 7, 2013 at 11:01 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 129 Comments
(What the bus network in our area would look like AFTER the cuts, IF they have to be made – click for full-size view)
11:01 AM: We’re at Metro Transit‘s SODO base awaiting a briefing on the cuts that are expected in service if there’s not what at this point would amount to a last-minute funding miracle – even as the Legislature starts its special session. Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond is here, and County Executive Dow Constantine is expected at any moment. We’ll update with details as they are announced. We have a stack of printed-out documents already, listing among other things (following list was updated post-meeting, with links to route-specific proposal info):
West Seattle routes among the routes countywide that would be deleted:
21 (click on the number on this page for info)
22 (click on the number on this page for info)
37 (click on the number on this page for info)
57 (click on the number on this page for info)
113 (click on the number on this page for info)
West Seattle routes among the routes countywide that would be “reduced/revised”:
Rapid Ride C Line – details
50 – details
55 – details
56EX – details
116EX – details
120 – details
125 – details
128 – details
131 – details
11:05 AM: Constantine begins by saying “Thank you for being here today, but we should not have to be here today.” He says the Legislature “has a unique opportunity to do what it wasn’t willing to do last year … let us prevent cuts to bus service … The size of these cuts is without precedent in the 40-year history of Metro Transit.” Transit service “is congestion reduction,” he said, adding that he is headed to Olympia in minutes “to present the case to lawmakers (who) need to act now – it will be dramatically more difficult to do so during next year’s regular session … I want our Legislature to be different from Congress; I want our Legislature to *work*.”
(11:08) Constantine says that this is a time for MORE bus service, not less, before he gives the mike to County Council Transportation Committee chair Larry Phillips, who points to the non-moving buses in the parking lot out the window (photo added) –
“That is the future (you) will see … buses idle, parked, not serving the public, drivers laid off … riders left stranded, passed by, buses very full, overcrowded, that is our pending reality … one we have held off for five years by a significant number of actions by (county leaders).” Service already is overcrowded and riders ‘are fed up with traffic and congestion’ so cutting service is ‘exactly the wrong direction for us,” Phillips warns. “Yet the council has no choice – we have to balance our budget …” He says the county already has found $800 million in efficiencies, fare hikes, one-time monies, etc., to “fill the (funding) gap,” but they have “no more way in which to stave off 17 percent cuts in service … now all that’s left is cutting service unless we have new revenue. The council would like to give the voters of King County that choice.” He adds, “If the Legislature does not act, we will have to explore other options. … People across King County are about to find out what not having a bus will mean to them.” Next, Metro GM Desmond will speak.
11:13 AM: Desmond begins. He goes into the sales-tax-funding mechanism that’s been in crisis for years. He reiterates that “we’ve been working for five years to keep service on the road” but a $75 million “challenge” remains. “Absent new revenue, we will have to proceed with an unprecedented downsizing of the system. … Instead of (doing that) we really should be growing the system.” He says there is documentation (we’ll add a link to that) showing why. He points to a chart showing that transit should grow by “almost 90 percent” by 2040 but “we’re falling behind, not getting ahead.”
**If you want to skip ahead, the Metro docs about cuts and more are now online here**
Desmond mentions a 42 percent increase in growth along the Alaskan Way Viaduct corridor, “most of that coming from West Seattle, Burien area.” He mentions that Rapid Ride is already “very very crowded” along the four lines launched so far. “As jobs continue to come to this very vital part of the United States, it will be a tremendous setback to the economy of this region if Metro Transit” has to make cuts like these. He mentions that employers offer transit passes a benefit “because they know the value of transit to their employees … in an incredibly competitive environment as they try to get the best and brightest to come (here).” Desmond mentions systems to the north and south that have “already cut a third of their systems.” He again mentions the $800 million that Metro has already ‘generated to help keep service on the road.’ (Added: Here’s the breakdown.)
11:20 AM: Desmond continues with a reminder that the Congestion Reduction Charge, which staved off earlier cuts, expires next year. “There is good news (though) – the economy is improving and our sales-tax collections have been growing somewhat faster than expected … but make no mistake, that increase doesn’t come anywhere near close to resolving our problem, especially in the context of the need to continue growing our system.”
Now, he gets to the proposed cuts. “The program calls for 600,000 hours or 17 percent of the system potentially to be reduced.” See them here. He says productivity, social-equity, and geographic considerations were involved in making the decisions. “All of the routes you’ll see … are ranked in tiers, high, medium, and low …” Most of the cuts, though, are “cutting deeply to the bone” in services ranked “medium.” Metro has 240 routes; 74 routes will “be deleted altogether, 35 percent of the system – the routes, gone. Another 107 routes, 50 percent of the routes, will have some kind of service reduction,” he says, either schedule changes or ‘pieces of a route’ might be cut off. (The walls here are swimming in pie charts, posters with route numbers and big X’s on them, by the way [photo added].)
He says, “The vast majority of our customers will almost certainly feel negative effects.” (Various maps are up around the room, too.) “42 percent of the reductions will be taken for peak-only service,” Desmond adds. “In many cases … many of the routes you’ll see deleted are well-used routes, but they’re very expensive to operate … if we don’t eliminate those services, we’d have to cut some place else.”
The cuts, he said, would add up to about 50,000 fewer transit trips per day – 14 million per year – and those are trips currently taking cars off the road; “with these cuts, we would estimate something like 20,000 or 30,000 more car trips on the road in King County … loss of these trips will slow highway travel …” (There’s another chart up on an easel detailing that – see it here. Lots and lots of numbers here.) Either the state would have to build more lanes “at a tremendous cost” or else the roads “won’t work any more,” and he warns that would affect industry tremendously. The cuts would “bring our service back to 1997 levels,” but since that time, King County has grown 22 percent in population, according to Desmond.
11:29 AM: Desmond goes on to mention the other funding/service loss – Alaskan Way Viaduct mitigation service added because of construction. “In order to keep Seattle moving … (the state) understood they had to (pay for more bus service).” That led to 7,500 seats, 150 daily trips, being added to the system. “That service contract expires prematurely in June of next year,” Desmond said, as has been noted before. They want the state to extend that “at least until the tunnel is open in 2016 … For West Seattle transit riders, we’ll have an instantaneous reduction of 11 percent of service in June, on top of the cuts that area of the county would experience through the systemwide reductions.” So, he says, they are kicking off an extensive public-outreach process. “We want our customers to understand how we made these decisions – they are objective and transparent and anyone can see the homework (behind them).” He says nine “large public meetings” will be held throughout the county plus “more than 30 additional outreach events” and they’ll be “open to other invitations.”They will have a van going around “on the fly.” And they want people to check out the website we linked earlier – kingcounty.gov/metro/future – to find out more about this, route by route, among other ways. They want to hear from you, Desmond emphasizes.
“When is all this going to happen?” he says you’re likely wondering. First, he says, they are hopeful the special session will result in action. If not – April 1st is when they’ll deliver the 600,000-service-hours-cut proposal to the County Council, depending on how their March economic forecast comes out, “based on our finances at that time.” By end of May/early June the reductions would be approved, and then after that, starting in September 2014, February 2015, June 2015, September 2015, is when the cuts would kick in, “by installment.” But “the timing can remain fluid,” Desmond said.
“In closing … we should be growing by half a million hours, 15 percent, to keep the county moving … I want to assure the public we’ll continue to take steps to be as efficient as possible .. but .. at some point the only way to balance the budget, is to affect the bus service. … We also urge the state to work with us to stave off the Viaduct-related cuts (too).”
11:37 AM: Desmond takes questions. First one – what EXACTLY are they looking for in a funding package? He says, what was recommended to the Legislature almost a year ago by a coalition of organizations. And he reminds, it’s not just about holding off cuts – it’s about allowing the service to grow. It was in HB 1959, which was passed last session (but died in the Senate). Councilmember Phillips elaborates on the voter approval that would be needed – this mostly is about the Legislature authorizing the county to ask voters to approve funding. He doesn’t have a specific sum; “right now we just need the authority to move forward and fill this gap.” What was asked about before equaled something like $150 per $10,000 of vehicle value. Desmond steps in to remind that the tax would NOT be just for Metro – voters would be asked for taxing authority that also would pay for local roads (the County Roads department, for example, is so low on funding, some roads are going into non-maintained status – those are county roads, outside the Seattle city limits, by the way, including White Center just south of West Seattle).
TAKE NOTE – Meeting schedule includes:
Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in North Delridge, 6 pm December 3rd
Elaborating on the traffic effects of bus cuts, Phillips says 90 percent of Metro riders are believed to have access to cars. Drivers are making a decision about their “congestion future” if they even get a chance to vote on potential.
P.S. We asked Desmond if the numbers on the documents include the potential expiration of the Viaduct-related service (which heavily affects West Seattle) as well as the other money – he says yes. A staffer says that overall, West Seattle would lose 27 percent of its current bus service combining the 17 percent potential funding loss systemwide and the Viaduct-mitigation money loss.
11:52 AM: Briefing’s over. We will add more links, more maps and other graphics directly to this to cut down on the amount of wading through the website that you would have to do otherwise. For starters – here is a direct link to the map showing potential service reductions in our area.
2:50 PM: We’ve added numerous links as well as photos/graphics above, with more information route-by-route. In case you missed the links in the comments, we also have some backstory – earlier this year, the stage for this was set by another announcement we covered as-it-happened – that link is here; six weeks later, we had a one-on-one interview with Metro GM Desmond answering some of the questions readers asked then (and are asking again now) – see it here.
State legislators get another chance to make transportation-money moves that could keep Metro Transit from slashing service as threatened. They’re going back for a special session on Thursday, as ordered today by Gov. Inslee. Main purpose: To pass incentives for Boeing to build the 777X here. And a transportation package is listed as one of the “elements” of those incentives. The State House passed a transportation-funding package last session; the State Senate held it up. Local leaders are voicing their hopes it’ll go through this time; via Facebook, County Councilmember Joe McDermott (a former state senator) says, “I implore the Legislature to find a compromise during the upcoming special session and avert this catastrophe.”
(SDOT rendering of future South Atlantic St. overpass, via Flickr)
We’ve already mentioned this weekend’s planned Highway 99 closure, mostly for work on the Atlantic Street Overpass – but there’s more to it than The Viaduct. Here’s a detailed reminder from WSDOT, including details of a partial closure north of the Battery Street Tunnel:
Crews working above, below and on the ground will close State Route 99 through Seattle this weekend.
In SODO, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will unveil the permanent concrete shape of the South Atlantic Street overpass above SR 99 by removing temporary steel and timber beams that supported construction.
North of downtown, contractor crews working for the Seattle Department of Transportation will install a sewer line under the road for the Mercer Corridor project and grind the pavement in the southbound lanes of the Battery Street Tunnel.
(Ferry leaving Fauntleroy at sunset Sunday; WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
Washington State Ferries is expecting to revise its schedule for the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run (aka the “Triangle route”) for the first time in a long time, since the vessel assignment is changing next year and adding capacity. WSF has just completed two open houses, on Vashon Island and in Kitsap County, and is also inviting comments via an online survey. We took a look at the survey; it seems geared toward regular ferry riders, but the third page includes an open-comments area, so if you have something to say about other potential effects of the change – traffic, transit, etc. – take it anyway. The survey starts here. This is one of the last public-comment opportunities before WSF comes out early next year with a draft of the revisions.
While out this afternoon checking out something else, we happened onto that SDOT pothole crew working on SW Barton near 31st, and tweeted that photo. Sharing it here, we’re adding some info in case you don’t know how to report one:
*Phone (voice) – 206-684-ROAD
*Web – fill out this form
*App – Find out about the city’s smartphone app for reporting potholes, among other things, here
*Map – See if somebody’s already reported it, by checking the map
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
How can West Seattle’s transportation tangle best be untangled?
With unified, peninsula-wide voices, resolve, and action.
That’s what the newly rechristened West Seattle Transportation Coalition is organizing. This morning, its interim board members are meeting for a strategy session, as they prepare for their first big public action, sending a letter to local political leaders – the ones who have (or potentially have) the power to forward and fund solutions to our peninsula’s muddled intersection between population growth and lack of transportation vision.
Here’s the brand-new letter the WSTC will send to elected officials and candidates (scroll to the end to see the list of addressees, and if you can’t see the embedded document, here’s the PDF link):
The WSTC (whose board members are listed here) isn’t just going to wait for politicians to take action, though. It’s also going to draft a transportation vision. And it’s looking for as much support as possible. Here’s how:
-Show your support and/or your group, business, organization – go here
-Explain what matters most to you in the creation of a peninsula-wide transportation vision – send e-mail, circulate a survey, see how by going here
-Come to WSTC meetings, listed here – next one is Tuesday, November 12th, a general meeting expected to focus on operational issues including planning and recruitment.
6:59 PM NOTE: WSTC board members finalized and formatted the letter at their meeting today and that finalized version is now linked and embedded above.
As mentioned in our Tuesday calendar preview, what was the West Seattle Transit Coalition had its first board meeting last night, two weeks after the coalition’s launch meeting. We say “was,” because one big decision was made and has been announced on the group’s website: Broadening its scope, it will be the West Seattle Transportation Coalition from hereon out. As will be mentioned in today’s upcoming calendar preview, the group will be speaking during tonight’s 34th District Democrats meeting (7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California SW).
Thanks to Scott Miller for the photo of the South Park Bridge‘s second drawspan leaf being lifted into place this afternoon. It’s been three weeks since the first one quietly arrived; this time, King County gave the community plenty of advance notice just in case anybody wanted to watch – and what a perfect sunny afternoon it was. The county says the bridge project remains on track to open next spring, which will be just under four years after its predecessor was closed for safety concerns. The new leaf will be maneuvered and bolted into place over the course of this weekend, as explained here, if you’re interested in a firsthand look (here’s a map).
One year ago, Metro‘s fall 2012 service changes brought the West Seattle launch of RapidRide and a long list of changes for other routes. Today, Metro’s fall 2013 service changes take effect, with a much shorter list of West Seattle effects – to be specific, three routes are affected this time around: 21 (adding a trip), 22 (route changes), 120 (added trips). The details are in our original report from earlier this month.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The lively launch meeting of the West Seattle Transit Coalition was as much an attempt to map a route as anything else – almost one year after changes and cuts in Metro service pushed bus concerns further into the peninsula spotlight than ever before.
Many of the 30-plus people in attendance at High Point Center were neighborhood activists from around the peninsula (and from White Center/North Highline too).
Two elected officials, State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and City Councilmember Richard Conlin, also showed up – to listen, not to talk, though both did the latter briefly on request.
Metro/county reps were there listening as well, including Chris Arkills, the West Seattleite who is County Executive Dow Constantine‘s transportation adviser.
As organizers had hoped, the loudest voices were those of the West Seattleites who say this is the time for a peninsula-wide effort to advocate for our growing population’s transit needs. “We’re all underserved” was a declaration early on that resounded.
As was sharply pointed out by some, including reps of the Transit Riders Union, advocacy efforts have not been in short supply – what has been missing, organizers contend, is a West Seattle-wide voice.
(There is no WS-wide general leadership group or individual, in part because the city handles West Seattle as two districts – Southwest and Delridge – so neighborhood-group reps meet in two groups, as two separate “district councils,” and also in part because the City Council is elected at large, not by districts.)
The WSTC meeting concluded with 11 people volunteering to serve on an interim board (listed at story’s end).
It began with slides prepared and presented by Joe Szilagyi from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Neighborhood Council, where the coalition idea sprouted, as transit issues emerged early in the new council’s life as a top priority, given past cuts, potential future cuts, and Westwood Village swelling into a major transportation hub, particularly starting with the launch of RapidRide C Line in fall 2012. Download the PowerPoint here via the WSTC site, or see the slides below via Scribd:
View Proposed sidewalk projects in a larger map
You’ve probably heard that Mayor McGinn went public on Monday with his city-budget proposal for next year. Now, it’s in the hands of the City Council for reviews, tweaks, additions, subtractions, etc. Not everything in it that would affect West Seattle specifically MENTIONS West Seattle – but we’re going through it right now and looking for specifics, and will publish “budget bits” notes here and there as we find them. For starters, from the proposed transportation budget:
In 2015, SDOT will use $1,450,000 of REET II funds to build sidewalks at the following locations:
• 35th Avenue Southwest between Southwest 104th Street and Southwest 106th Street to complete the sidewalk network on 35th between Southwest Roxbury Street and Southwest 106th Street;
• 21st Avenue Southwest between Southwest Dawson Street and 22nd Avenue Southwest to provide a connection between two non-arterial segments of the proposed 21st Avenue Southwest neighborhood greenway; and,
• Southwest Barton Street/Place and 24th Avenue Southwest to improve access to a transit center and shopping at Westwood Village.
The funding source, REET, stands for real-estate excise tax. More budget bits as we find them! And if you’d like to say something about this or anything else in the budget – or that you think SHOULD BE in the budget – two public hearings are coming up October 3rd and 24th; details on the council’s budget-process home page. They’re also taking e-mail feedback at email@example.com.
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