County Council changes Metro bus-cut plan; West Seattle ‘deletions’ no longer certain

July 21, 2014 at 6:50 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

Separate from the November vote on Seattle taxes to avoid Metro Transit cuts in the city limits, the King County Council has reached a deal today that changes the timetable for cuts. While the September cuts are still on as planned, and the number of hours scheduled to be cut February are to stay the same, here’s the biggest news for West Seattle: The round of cuts that was going to hit our area the hardest – originally scheduled for September of next year, involving route deletions – is not necessarily a sure thing; it will be worked out during the next round of county budgeting. (Here’s a document from last May showing which routes were to be affected in which phases.) The February cuts will be examined by a newly created committee, according to King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s version of today’s announcement. Here’s the County Council‘s version of the announcement, which includes the following explanation:

Click to read the rest of County Council changes Metro bus-cut plan; West Seattle ‘deletions’ no longer certain…

More information about President Obama’s Seattle visit Tuesday

July 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 21 Comments

(LOOKING FOR NEWEST INFO ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL VISIT? GO HERE)

(WSB photo of Air Force One at Boeing Field, July 2012)
Even if they don’t include public events, presidential visits are usually of high interest for reasons including traffic effects and Air Force One sightings. So here’s the latest information about President Obama‘s planned Seattle visit tomorrow (Tuesday, July 22nd): Boeing Field has just published an advisory that confirms Air Force One will be landing there. While some of the ground and air restrictions in the advisory span the time period of noon to 8 pm, most of what’s listed suggests that the heart of the visit will be in the 3-7:30 pm vicinity. No open-to-the-public events have been announced; the visit is reported to be fundraising only, including, according to SeattleTimes.com, an event in Madrona. If any more information emerges tonight, we’ll update this item, and as always we’ll have the key points in our daily traffic watch first thing in the morning.

How can SW Roxbury change to become safer? Find out July 31st

July 20, 2014 at 10:55 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

After a campaign launched by community advocates one year ago, the city promised to make SW Roxbury safer. Wondering how? SDOT is almost ready to unveil options. It’s announced two meetings at which it plans to show “several different engineering options to improve safety for all modes.” The first one is on the West Seattle side, Thursday, July 31st, 6 pm at Southwest Branch Library. Second one is on the White Center side, Monday, August 4th, 6 pm at the Greenbridge YWCA. These meetings were promised during a round of community meetings last winter (WSB coverage here). The project’s official page is here; check out the maps linked from the left side, including this one showing speeds, volumes, and intersections with the most crashes.

Want West Seattle to be on Sound Transit’s long-range map? Speak up now, ST rep tells WS Chamber

July 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“It’s very timely to be here today,” opened Rachel Smith from Sound Transit, speaking to about 20 people at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly lunch meeting.

The timeliness is because there’s a week and a half left for you to comment in the current stage of ST’s Long-Range Plan Update process – which could ultimately pave the way for light rail to/from West Seattle – and if you would like to see that, she said, you really need to speak up now.

She reminded the Chamber attendees first that LINK Light Rail – 16 miles with 13 stations so far, and partnering with Seattle on the First Hill Streetcar to open later this year – Sounder commuter rail, and ST Express buses are Sound Transit’s three “lines of business” around the three-county area they serve, and that the board is chaired by a West Seattleite, King County Executive Dow Constantine. (Another West Seattleite, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, is on the board as well.) “Ridership has just been going through the roof,” she added.

70 percent of Sound Transit’s revenue comes from sales tax, and it’s “down $4.7 billion” through 2023, she said – that’s a 30 percent drop over the lifetime of the 15-year plan running through then. But the system has bright spots, $100 million under budget with University Link and six months ahead of schedule. (This is a “twin-bore tunnel project,” she adds.)

Now, for West Seattle: ST is currently in its Long-Range Plan Update – the current LRP is from 2005.

Click to read the rest of Want West Seattle to be on Sound Transit’s long-range map? Speak up now, ST rep tells WS Chamber…

4-mile, 5-hour closure, followup #2: SDOT’s response to councilmember’s questions; promise of ‘change in protocol’

July 16, 2014 at 1:26 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 12 Comments


(Above, SDOT tweet with traffic-cam screen grab shortly after crash happened)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Five weeks after the 5+-hour closure of a four-mile stretch of Highway 99 during a crash investigation, another city agency has answered City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s questions about decisionmaking during the incident, which led to a domino-effect multi-neighborhood traffic jam.

We published the response from SPD – which had the decisionmaking authority – back on June 23rd, a week and a half after the councilmember’s original letter.

Now, Rasmussen has received and shared the SDOT response, which defers in spots to SPD, and adds that city agencies are working on “protocols” for interdepartmental coordination in any such future incidents.

Since this response was made inline to his original note, we are publishing the entire document below:

Click to read the rest of 4-mile, 5-hour closure, followup #2: SDOT’s response to councilmember’s questions; promise of ‘change in protocol’…

New look at Fauntleroy Way ‘Boulevard’ in-progress design

July 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm | In Transportation, Triangle, West Seattle news | 30 Comments

That’s a “typical cross-section” from a brand-new update on the long-in-the-works Fauntleroy Way SW “Boulevard” project, focusing on Fauntleroy Way through The Triangle, between 35th SW and SW Alaska. Right now, the plan is more than halfway still in the early stages of the design process, and SDOT is stepping up the public communication. Spokesperson Maribel Cruz tells WSB they’re meeting with property owners and community organizations in the area. Here’s the brand-new fact sheet from SDOT:

(Click here if you can’t see the embedded version above.) While $1.3 million for design was worked into the current city budget (as reported here last year), the construction funding isn’t yet nailed down, nor is a timeline. But the design is scheduled for completion early next year, and a community open house is planned (no date yet) for this fall. Watch the official project webpage for updates.

West Seattle weekend scene: Local ‘STP’ bike ride

July 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

(Photos by Don Brubeck)
While thousands finished the legendary Seattle to Portland (STP) bicycle ride today, dozens of West Seattle riders showed solidarity with their own version. West Seattle Bike Connections president Don Brubeck shares the report:

We had about 30 riders of all ages on the West Seattle STP bike ride today. A beautiful day for a fun ride from SW Seattle Street to SW Portland Street in about an hour, then back to the Junction for West Seattle Summer Fest.

The group included a three-generation family and several “family bikes” or bikes with trail-a-bikes. Ride leader was Stu Hennessey, with help from Al Jackson, Jeff Hallman, and Eric and Michael from Stu’s shop.

See a few more of Don’s photos in the WSB Flickr group pool.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Special weekend edition – road closures, bus reroutes

July 12, 2014 at 7:47 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | No Comments

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally published Saturday, but it all still applies Sunday)

Before we get to the big list of everything happening today – a separate list of road closure/bus reroutes, and it’s not just The Junction:

ROAD CLOSURES TODAY: West Seattle Summer Fest continues, so California SW remains closed between Edmunds and Genesee, with east-west traffic allowed through on SW Oregon; also closed, SW Alaska between 42nd and 44th. Regionally, the 520 bridge across Lake Washington is closed all weekend.

BUS REROUTES TODAY: In addition to the Summer Fest-related reroutes in West Seattle, two local buses are affected by changes this weekend downtown, so we’re including them in this list. (Thanks to @MJS1980 for pointing this out via Twitter; Metro’s full systemwide list, from which these links are taken, is here.)

Festival-related:
*RapidRide C Line
*Route 50
*Route 55
*Route 57
*Route 128
*Route 773 (Water Taxi shuttle)

Downtown-construction related:
*Route 21
*Route 120

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Summer Fest Eve edition, with street closures, bus changes starting tonight

July 10, 2014 at 7:42 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 3 Comments

(WS bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Happy Thursday! It’s the eve of West Seattle Summer Fest, with Junction street closures and bus changes starting tonight. From 6 pm until late Sunday night, California SW will be closed between Edmunds and Genesee and SW Alaska between 44th and 42nd. Here again are the announced Metro reroutes – each link goes to the Metro PDF explaining the temporary changes;

*RapidRide C Line
*Route 50
*Route 55
*Route 57
*Route 128
*Route 773 (Water Taxi shuttle)

‘Head tax’ and parking tax for transit? Councilmember Licata pitches 34th District Democrats on Wednesday

July 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 22 Comments

If Seattle’s going to increase taxes to raise money to avoid bus cuts, which (if any) taxes would you prefer? As reported here two months ago, Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant are proposing commercial parking and employer “head” taxes instead of the sales-tax increase favored by Mayor Murray. Licata will be at the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting at The Hall at Fauntleroy tomorrow night to pitch the idea and seek the group’s endorsement, after the proposal comes up for a discussion and possible vote by the Council Finance and Culture Committee (which he chairs) at 2 pm – read the proposal here. In short, the proposal would raise commercial-parking taxes 5 percent, to 17.5%, and create a “head tax” of $18 per employee per year. The council could pass it without sending it to voters. Here’s the resolution the 34th Dems will consider at their meeting; the agenda is here.)

Followup: Bike-corral breakthrough in The Junction; installation soon

July 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

FIRST REPORT, 4:35 PM: A week and a half ago, we published an open letter decrying the delay in installing the planned West Seattle Junction bike corral. Today, in a comment on that letter, an SDOT spokesperson says there’s a resolution and installment is nigh:

We’ve been working with the developer at this corner on a system for requesting temporary closure or removal of the corral should construction require access to the entire frontage curb space. In the meantime, we are planning to move forward with the installation of the corral on the east side of California Ave SW, immediately south of Alaska St, and expect this to happen later this month.

The city already has 25 bike corrals (see the list, and a photo of what they’re like, by scrolling down this page) – but none in West Seattle; this will be the first.

ADDED 9:55 PM: West Seattle Bike Connections has been working to make this happen and sent this news release tonight:
Click to read the rest of Followup: Bike-corral breakthrough in The Junction; installation soon…

Followup: More details of the Fauntleroy Expressway re-do plan

July 8, 2014 at 11:40 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

(2012 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
How did more than 600 “bearing pad” cushions get installed on the Fauntleroy Expressway end of the West Seattle Bridge with a design flaw that made them too soft? The City Council Transportation Committee got a few more answers in a briefing this morning. The agenda including that briefing is what led to our report last Friday about the problem, which means that much of the work done two years ago, requiring multiple nighttime closures so the bridge deck could be jacked up for bearing-pad installation, will be re-done next year.

First: What exactly was the problem?
Click to read the rest of Followup: More details of the Fauntleroy Expressway re-do plan…

Light rail for West Seattle? 2 chances for Q/A with Sound Transit

July 6, 2014 at 9:52 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 25 Comments

Will a light rail route including West Seattle be part of Sound Transit‘s next long-range-plan update? Possibilities are being studied, as noted here two months ago, when the ST Executive Committee got a progress report on the study. But it’s by no means a sure thing. And ST is still rounding up input on future directions – including via a survey that’s open for three more weeks, first noted here last month. So this regional transit organization is at the heart of many West Seattle conversations right now – and you’re invited to be part of two of them.

First, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition is expecting two Sound Transit reps at its meeting next Tuesday (July 8th), 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center – chair Joe Szilagyi tells WSB that ST planner Chris Rule and ST government/community-relations officer Rachel Smith have confirmed. All are welcome.

Smith is also booked as guest speaker at the next West Seattle Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting, 11:30 am Thursday, July 17th, at The Kenney (WSB sponsor). All are welcome to this, too, but there’s a charge because it’s a luncheon (WSCC member and non-member rates) and you need to RSVP – more info here.

Remember the Fauntleroy Expressway earthquake-strengthening project? Hundreds of parts to be replaced because of design flaw

July 3, 2014 at 4:41 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 35 Comments

(January 2012 photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Remember the work done to toughen up the Fauntleroy Expressway end of the high bridge in 2011-2012, to make it more earthquake-resistant?

We’ve just learned that much of it has to be re-done because of parts that weren’t as strong as they should have been.

This is revealed in the slide deck that accompanies an item on next Tuesday’s City Council Transportation Committee agenda (thanks to the texter who pointed it out before we’d gotten a chance to read the agenda, which was just published this afternoon).

We’re still working to find out more – a challenge with government shutting down for a 3-day holiday weekend – but here’s what we know so far:

The problem, according to the slide deck, is with the bearing pads – cushions inserted between the bridge deck and supporting pieces such as columns – which should have been designed to be “stiffer.” This city webpage reminds us that more than 600 of those pads were replaced during the $2.7 million project. We took a closer look at the work in January 2012; much of it happened during overnight closures of the southwest end of the bridge.

One slide indicates this potential problem was noticed at final inspection of the work two years ago. Since then, it says, they’ve been working to develop a new pad design and putting together other logistics. That slide also mentions “Additional funding through existing Bridge Rehab Program; balance approx. $2.6M, pending design & additional scope.”

Preparation for replacement is scheduled for later this year; then the new bearing pads will be ordered and installation will begin next spring, with, “overnight & limited weekend structure closures.”

Again, we’re asking around right now to see if we can find out anything more before the holiday weekend. The Transportation Committee meeting with this item on the agenda is at 9:30 am next Tuesday (July 8th).

ADDED 6:07 PM: Our inquiry to SDOT was answered by manager Bill LaBorde. In a phone conversation, he confirmed that all 670+ of the bearing pads will be replaced, and that the $2.6 million cost is in addition to the original project cost.

One key clarification: He says that some of that cost – he didn’t have the breakdown handy, so we’ll expect it next week – is discretionary: The replacement bearing pads are being designed to an even-stronger (and costlier) industry standard that has come out since this project. Since they were redesigning and remaking them anyway, he says, they decided to go with the upgrade, which will extend the bridge’s life. Another part of the added $2.6 million will cover some “repair work” that needs to be done, separate from the bearing-pad replacement.

As for the original design flaw, he says that the design consultant was to blame, not city specifications – we asked, so if they had designed the bearing pads to what the city specified, no replacement would be needed? Yes, replied LaBorde.

Last but not least, we asked if this had been mentioned publicly since its identification as “an issue” in July 2012. LaBorde says it had been mentioned in SDOT directors’ reports at some previous Transportation Committee meetings. (We still have a message out to committee chair Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, and that’s one of our questions for him.)

2 reports from Metro: Strategic Plan progress; RapidRide customer survey

July 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 19 Comments

Metro Transit has gone public with its annual Strategic Plan Progress Report, which its announcement says “provides data on 61 performance measures” and “includes opinions expressed by riders and non-riders, drawn from a survey of 2,500 King County residents. It also looks at how we stack up with peer transit agencies across the country.” This is in advance of upcoming assessments including an audit and “independent peer review.” Another recent report that might be of interest is the compiled customer-survey results on RapidRide, including the C Line. First: Toplines from the “progress report” announcement today by Metro general manager Kevin Desmond:

*Ridership continues to grow: We delivered 118.6 million passenger trips in 2013—a near record. An all-time-high 45% of King County households now have at least one Metro rider.

*85% of riders say they’re very or somewhat satisfied with Metro service. 90% of our riders say Metro is an agency they trust.

*Metro gets people to jobs: Almost all (97%) of Metro’s regular bus trips serve the region’s job and growth centers.

*Our buses were on time nearly 78% of the time. We continually monitor on-time performance so we can make adjustments to keep buses on schedule.

*Metro has significantly improved safety and security over the past 10 years and is holding on to those gains. Preventable accidents have steadily declined since 2011, and we’ve enhanced emergency response.

*Metro’s cost per hour grew 2.7% — above the inflation rate — but cost per passenger mile decreased by 3.1% as the job market improved and Metro buses carried more commuters.

*Fares covered 29.1% of Metro’s operating costs. Our farebox recovery rate increased by 8.8 percentage points in the past 10 years — more than most of our national peers.

*Energy use per bus boarding decreased 4.6% last year.

Read the full report here.

Next, the RapidRide customer-survey report. It was mentioned in passing in a Metro announcement last week but we didn’t happen onto the report link until today. Here it is. Skimming through, two points of note: From page 17, “Satisfaction with personal safety on RapidRide C Line remains significantly lower than it was on the routes it replaced.” And on page 22: “Dissatisfaction with the availability of seats on the RapidRide C Line is the primary factor driving lower overall scores” in the area of “satisfaction with things about the bus.” The surveys were taken on board RapidRide buses in April, according to the report, which also – after page 39 – looks at the D Line.

Followup: What went wrong with the low bridge last night

July 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

Toward the end of the peak pm commute on Tuesday evening, the “low bridge” malfunctioned, second time in two weeks. We asked SDOT today what happened. From spokesperson Marybeth Turner:

When the bridge operator was opening the bridge to allow a vessel to pass through at 6:20 p.m., the gate on the west side that stops vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians experienced a mechanical failure. A shear pin in the internal linkage had broken.

The bridge control system is designed to always fail in a safe mode, which prevented the operator from opening the bridge. The vessels, bicycles, pedestrian and vehicles were delayed until the operator was able to make the repairs himself. The delay was approximately 67 minutes.

On June 18th we had another control system safety shut down related to the sensors that monitor the location of the bridge. This caused a 2 ½ hour delay that likely affected many of the same commuters.

We continue to look for ways to engineer more reliable systems associated with bridge openings. A delay of this length, although rare, has severe impacts on the traveling public. Detour routes for bicycles and pedestrians are not convenient.
The Spokane Street Bridge opens over 1,500 times per year with very few incidents that delay traffic due to malfunction of the bridge.

West Seattle road work: More Morgan Junction-area repaving next week

July 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | Comments Off

Last weekend, SDOT repaved the intersection of California/Fauntleroy. Next week, they’ll extend the new pavement a block south, according to this announcement just in:

Once Fourth of July festivities are over, Seattle Department of Transportation paving crews will move in to California Avenue Southwest to pave the block south of the Morgan Junction.

Providing the good weather holds, the crews will grind and pave California from Fauntleroy Way Southwest to Southwest Holly Street, starting at 7 a.m. on July 8 and July 9, and ending at 7 p.m. each day.

One lane of traffic will remain open in each direction with Police Officers and traffic flaggers assisting drivers through the work area. Crosswalks and sidewalks will remain open. On-street parking will be restricted.

As noted in our update on last weekend’s work, SDOT already has repaved stretches of California to the north and south.

Mayor’s choice for SDOT director: Scott Kubly, formerly of Chicago and D.C.

July 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 22 Comments

(Photo from seattle.gov)
The mayor has announced his choice for Seattle Department of Transportation director: Scott Kubly, former deputycommissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Transportation and former associate director of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation. In the news release (read it here in its entirety), Mayor Murray calls Kubly “a transportation visionary” with “a proven track record” who has “worked on bike issues, car share programs, traffic management and pedestrian safety strategies, rapid transit and street cars; he’s done long-range budgeting, strategic planning, cost reduction, major capital project development, and performance measurement and accountability.” Kubly is quoted as saying:

Seattle is growing incredibly fast … To accommodate that growth and preserve the city’s great quality of life, we need a transportation system that doesn’t just get the basics right like freight mobility and safety,, but that also invests in new, high quality transit, bikeshare, new bike lanes for Seattleites from 8 to 80 to ride in, and improving the pedestrian experience throughout the city. It also means creating an environment in which the private sector can provide transportation services that complement the public transportation network. This means creating an environment that allows transportation network companies and taxis to thrive, carsharing to expand, or for new types of transportation services to evolve. The fact is, people aren’t tied to individual transportation modes, they’re tied to outcomes – and we must continue bringing forward options that will deliver the positive outcomes they need and expect.

West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the Transportation Committee, is quoted as saying:

Seattle needs a transportation director who recognizes the importance of a balanced transportation system and can help guide our city’s transition from auto-dependence. … Mr. Kubly’s experience in Chicago and Washington, D.C. shows a commitment to accomplishing just that. I look forward to our discussions with Mr. Kubly over the next several weeks. I also encourage the public to participate in the confirmation process.

Pending Council confirmation, Kubly is slated to start on July 28th, making $180,000 a year. He follows acting director Goran Sparrman and previous director Peter Hahn, who was announced last November as not staying on once former Mayor McGinn departed. Hahn had succeeded Grace Crunican, who resigned at the end of 2009.

SIDE NOTE: A search shows that the most-recent program for which Kubly made news in Chicago was overseeing its speed-camera program. … A few months later, here’s what one Chicago website wrote when Kubly announced his departure.

Admiral Way bike-lane widening: City finally unveils new plan

July 2, 2014 at 9:04 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 32 Comments

It’s been almost ten months since SDOT announced it was shelving and redesigning a plan to widen the bike lane and buffer on the Admiral Way hill north of the West Seattle Bridge – here’s the last thing we published, back in September. The city said residents had voiced concerns about loss of parking spaces and time restrictions on what remained. At the time, they said a new version would be out “early” this year. It’s just arrived today:

As you know, SDOT has been studying how to make the uphill bicycle lane on SW Admiral Way safer and more inviting by widening the bike lane and buffer from SW City View Street to 80 feet south of 3508 SW Admiral Way. We originally proposed to restrict on-street parking on the east side of SW Admiral Way within this section to allow for the improvement. After receiving concerns about the impacts, we delayed implementation of the project to work on an alternative that would preserve some on-street parking.

The attached revised design preserves on-street parking in front of the residences, while restricting parking in the green belt area. Time restrictions will not be installed. The work is expected to be completed this summer.

Here’s a closer look at each of the color-coded configurations:

See all of the above in one PDF with the configurations next to the map here. And if you want to compare it to what SDOT originally proposed in May 2013, you can see that map here.

P.S. Speaking of SDOT, Mayor Murray is set to announce at 11 am today who he’s chosen to be the department’s next director.

4 years ago, South Park chanted ‘We need a bridge’; now, the community and its neighbors have one again

June 30, 2014 at 6:14 am | In South Park, Transportation, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

(WSB video, 6 am today)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The new South Park Bridge is now officially in service, opened to regular traffic minutes ago.

(Motorcyclist Charles, center, was first in line; that’s bridge project manager Tim Lane at right)
This comes on the morning after an all-day-and-into-the-night celebration. And it comes exactly four years to the day following the closure of the bridge’s 80-year-old predecessor with a wake both boisterous and bitter.

On June 30, 2010, the crowd chanted, “We need a bridge”:

That night, June 30, 2010, it was by no means certain they would get another one. The bridge’s drawspan was raised one last time, and there it stood.

Sunday, there was no chanting. But there were fireworks:

Click to read the rest of 4 years ago, South Park chanted ‘We need a bridge’; now, the community and its neighbors have one again…

Celebrating (and walking on) the new South Park Bridge, report #1

June 29, 2014 at 10:57 am | In South Park, Transportation, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

(GALLERY ON THESOUTHPARKNEWS.COM: See it here. And report #2 is in the works for WSB)


4:43 PM: The new South Park Bridge is officially open – if you’re on foot (vehicle traffic won’t be permitted until tomorrow morning at 6 am)!

This followed an epic dedication ceremony:

We have it all on video and will have it in a separate story later (lots of photos too, of course). Most importantly, the street party is scheduled to run until about 9 pm, so you have time to get here, walk on the bridge, enjoy the Lucha Libre masked wrestling that starts around 6 pm …

Earlier:

2:05 PM NOTE: We’re heading back to SP for the heart of the party, but we visited in the noon hour and are already building a gallery on The South Park News.

Scroll down here on WSB, meantime, for helpful advance info if you’re planning to go. And watch the WSB Instagram feed between official updates.

And earlier still:
EARLIER, 10:57 AM: Few planned activities/events on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar today – the city’s biggest event is downtown, the Pride Parade, starting shortly (11 am). But in the “almost West Seattle” category, our neighbors in South Park are celebrating the new bridge today, on the eve of its official opening tomorrow, exactly 4 years after the old one was taken out of service.

(Added: WSB photo taken after today’s bridge party started at noon)
So here’s what you need to know if you’re planning on, or thinking about, going to the party. First, a map (the party’s on the south side of the bridge, on 14th Avenue South)! Now, today’s schedule, from the King County website:

12:00 – 3:00 p.m. — Street party: music & performances, info booths, self-guided tours of the bridge’s south tower, food & drink

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. — Dedication ceremony with elected officials & community leaders; fireworks

4:30 – 5:30 p.m. — Parade [you can walk on the bridge!]

6:00 – 9:00 p.m. — Lucha Libre; street party continues

Elected officials announced so far for the 3 pm event include U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Ed Murray, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott. Info about street closures, parking, and bus changes during today’s party is at the bottom of this page. We’ll be covering the events here and at TheSouthParkNews.com. If you’re just waiting for the chance to use that route across the Duwamish again, take note that the new bridge will NOT be open for regular use until 6 am tomorrow (Monday).

P.S. Browse our photo galleries previewing the new bridge – looking at its exterior (including the new raingarden in the footprint of the old bridge); peeking inside during a behind-the-scenes media tour.

West Seattle road-work update: California/Fauntleroy done

June 29, 2014 at 8:47 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | Comments Off

The work ran a little longer than scheduled but somewhere around 8 pm Saturday night, the California/Fauntleroy intersection did indeed reopen – as noted in our tweet, above – after a one-day repaving job. Going back in the archives, we were reminded that the intersection was not part of the big Fauntleroy Way repaving/rechanneling project in 2009 – SDOT told us at the time that it had had more-recent attention than the rest of the stretch, and that it would be repaved at some point in the future, along with other parts of southern California SW. But it was indeed on the 2014 list we obtained from SDOT in January, and it follows block-by-block repaving in the area over the past few years, including Graham to Fauntleroy, Holly to Myrtle, and Frontenac to Mills last year,

Open letter: City/developer spinning wheels on promised bicycle parking in The Junction?

June 27, 2014 at 11:56 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

Bicycle parking along California is supposed to be part of the plan for the two-building Equity Residential project in the heart of The Junction. But supporters of a bicycle “corral” believe the developer is responsible for wheel-spinning that’s delaying installation, and have just sent open letters to the City Council Transportation Committee and Mayor Ed Murray (as well as media). This one is from West Seattle Bike Connections:

Dear Transportation Committee Councilmembers and Mayor Murray,

I am writing on behalf of West Seattle Bike Connections (WSBC) to find out what it takes to get a bike corral installed in West Seattle, more specifically in Alaska Junction at the southeast corner of SW Alaska St and California Ave SW. This letter and a timeline are attached with the efforts we’ve taken to date, beginning in late 2012. We have one simple request: please provide support to have a bike corral installed in Alaska Junction by mid-August of this year.

WSBC has worked with three different SDOT contacts over the last 18 months, where the process began anew with each different representative. SDOT has been asked by the property developer at the location (Equity Residential) to delay installation until construction is complete in 2015. We do not want to wait any longer or go through this process again with new SDOT personnel. We are upset that SDOT is succumbing to a developer for authority over the public right-of-way. We have support from several organizations and businesses who want to see this bike corral installed as soon as possible:

Click to read the rest of Open letter: City/developer spinning wheels on promised bicycle parking in The Junction?…

One more mention: City vote for Metro money? Public hearing tonight

June 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 17 Comments

No time today for a calendar preview – you can browse our full calendar any time – but one event tonight does need one more mention: A public hearing about bus funding, and whether the city should be going to the ballot with a proposal to raise money for it. That hearing is tonight, 5:30 pm, at City Hall, with the City Council wearing its collective Seattle Transportation Benefit District hat. Chairing the STBD, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has proposed sending the mayor’s proposal to voters, but the question now is, what do you think? From the city’s reminder:

The STBD is interested in hearing public feedback on the following:

1) How would planned Metro Transit service cuts impact you if no action is taken to prevent these cuts?

2) What is your perspective on an additional vehicle license fee of up to $60 and a 0.1% sales and use tax to prevent planned Metro Transit service cuts in Seattle, and if funds allow, to enhance transit service?

3) What other information should the Board take into consideration as it develops a potential ballot measure for the November election?

The deadline to get something on that ballot is August 5th.

Ferry update: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth back to 3-boat schedule

June 26, 2014 at 11:39 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | Comments Off

ORIGINAL 11:39 AM REPORT: M/V Issaquah is out of service for repairs, and Washington State Ferries has the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run on a 2-boat schedule as a result. See the schedule here; we will update when there’s word that it’s back to 3 boats.

2:14 PM: As of just before 2 pm, the route is back to three boats with the return of the Issaquah, says WSF.

‘Green Light District’ turns 22nd/Roxbury crosswalk into keyboard

June 26, 2014 at 9:45 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

9:45 AM: Received early this morning and attributed to the “Green Light District” – a new feature at 22nd/Roxbury. We’re going over for a daylight look.

ADDED 11:21 AM: A view from the northeast side, on the berm by the Community School of West Seattle:

Surface traffic jam safer than Viaduct traffic jam? SPD explains decisionmaking behind 5-hour, 4-mile Highway 99 closure

June 23, 2014 at 11:02 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 34 Comments


(Above, SDOT tweet with traffic-cam screen grab shortly after crash happened)
Two weeks ago, an almost-citywide traffic jam resulted when four miles of southbound Highway 99 were closed for five hours while Seattle Police investigated a head-on crash at East Marginal/Idaho/Nevada (map). As we have noted, investigative closures of that duration are not unusual when SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is assigned to gather evidence at a scene. But questions persisted about why traffic wasn’t allowed to continue at least as far as the West Seattle Bridge, and what kind of consultation was made between city departments and officials as traffic continued to back up on alternate north-south routes as a result.

As noted in our first major followup, the decision on when and what to close rested solely with SPD. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen sent the acting leaders of that agency and SDOT a list of questions, published here. This morning, Councilmember Rasmussen shared the reply from SPD, and said that SDOT has told him theirs is in progress. One key point from the SPD reply signed by SPD Traffic Section Acting Captain Ken Hicks – the department feared that allowing anyone onto 99 between the Battery Street Tunnel and the crash scene would have led to drivers getting stuck “in an area without services,” surmising that traffic jams on surface streets were safer for drivers. Read the entire reply for yourself, ahead:

Click to read the rest of Surface traffic jam safer than Viaduct traffic jam? SPD explains decisionmaking behind 5-hour, 4-mile Highway 99 closure…

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