West Seattle, Washington
The flashing-beacon signs are in at 35th and Kenyon, the first big step in the work to bring back a marked crosswalk there, nine years after one was removed there. The plan to reinstall one, as requested by local business owners during planning for the 35th SW Safety Project, was confirmed earlier this year.
Just last week, SDOT’s Jim Curtin had told the West Seattle Transportation Coalition that the 35th/Kenyon crosswalk installation was about to start (and he told us today it should be done “within a week or two” depending on weather). He was at the WSTC meeting with updates on the planning for Phase 2, as well as Q&A. He said SDOT is continuing to work on its promised report about the first year since Phase 2 rechannelized 35th to one lane each way plus a center turn lane for most of the stretch between Holly and Roxbury.
For those who contend the rechannelization has driven drivers to side streets, Curtin told the WSTC that the volume on 35th is down a little, most notably just north of Roxbury, which SDOT interprets as an indication that Arbor Heights residents are taking other routes – Roxbury or SW 106th, depending on where they’re going. Delridge volume is down slightly on the south end, up a bit on the north end. And SDOT is observing side-street traffic volumes, Curtin said, to either verify or debunk the contention that people are diverting to residential roads.
On 35th, post-rechannelization, hey’ve had a reduction in crashes involving drivers hitting parked cars, which is “the #1 crash type in the city of Seattle,” no right-turn crashes, a major drop in left-turn collisions, no pedestrian collisions, but rear-end crashes are up, especially on weekends.
That’s expected to be alleviated, he said, by new signal timings, which are being worked on right now – they were mentioned at the August community meeting, and Curtin replied to our followup question today by saying “we’ve gone to longer signal cycles on Saturdays to accommodate higher volumes of vehicular traffic between noon and 6 PM.”
He also told the WSTC that Roxbury signal timings are being worked on, and that left-turn signalization is being looked at for 35th/Barton.
What’s next? As explained in August, they’re still evaluating possible options for Phase 2 – see page 7 of the presentation. SDOT is “slowing down,” Curtin said, because of the decisions to be made about the route for West Seattle’s next “greenway” (have you taken the online survey yet? deadline is Sunday).
No date set yet for the next community discussion, he told us today as part of our followup exchange: “We’re developing the Phase 1 report now but we do not have our next set of meetings planned just yet.”
P.S. The WSTC meeting also included a vote to endorse Sound Transit 3, the Regional Proposition 1 ballot measure you’ll see on your November ballot – 5 WSTC board members for it, 1 abstaining, none against.
WSTC also saw a presentation of the city’s plans for the waterfront, once the tunnel’s open (still skeptical? tunneling is about to hit the halfway mark, WSDOT said today). We don’t have toplines for the latter but we did get the meeting on video and it’s the first presentation, if you want to watch:
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition meets fourth Thursdays, 6:30 pm, at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center.
Just in from SDOT – the Admiral Way Safety Project work that was supposed to be happening now has been delayed until next week. SDOT’s Dawn Schellenberg just sent word that the construction schedule is now 7 am-5 pm Wednesday, October 5th, and Thursday, October 6th “depending on weather.” The “no-parking” signs in the area are to be updated. On construction dates, the plan remains:
· No parking on both sides of SW Admiral Way between California Ave SW and 63rd Ave SW to keep a travel lane in each direction open
· Existing striping will be removed and new striping will be installed
· Temporary lane closures and lane shifts around the work area; flaggers will be present to direct traffic
· Sidewalks will remain open during work; people biking on the sidewalk must yield to people walking at all times
· People biking should use alternate routes during construction
· Construction equipment, trucks, noise and activity will be in the area for about one week
· Emergency response vehicles will have continual access
The project has been in the works for a year and a half. The final design was announced by e-mail in July.
The Seattle Department of Transportation advises travelers that work on the SW Admiral Way Safety Project in West Seattle will start on Wednesday, September 28, and last for about one week, depending on weather.
Starting at 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, travelers can expect:
• No parking on both sides of SW Admiral Way between California Ave SW and 63rd Ave SW to keep a travel lane in each direction open
• Existing striping will be removed Wednesday; new striping will be installed Thursday and Friday
• Temporary lane closures and lane shifts around the work area; flaggers will be present to direct traffic
• Sidewalks will remain open during work; people biking on the sidewalk must yield to people walking at all times
• People biking should use alternate routes during construction
• Construction equipment, trucks, noise and activity will be in the area for about one week
Over the past year and a half, SDOT has worked with the community on a new street design for SW Admiral Way between California Ave SW and 63rd Ave SW. The project will create a comfortable and predictable bike connection between Alki and the business district at California Ave SW. The new design will reduce speeding and collisions, and accommodate on-street parking. SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is completed.
(Seattle Channel video from Tuesday’s Transportation and Sustainability Committee meeting)
Next Monday, the full Seattle City Council is scheduled to consider the SDOT speed-limit-reduction proposal, primarily proposing that all non-arterial roads to have a speed limit of 20 mph. First word of the proposal a week and a half ago sparked much discussion; it was one of three major topics at this week’s meeting of the council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee.
SPEED LIMITS: As you can see in the video above (starting one hour, 29 minutes in), the SDOT presenters stressed that they believe lower speed limits will reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries; they presented this slide deck to underscore that.
As for what’s planned for other arterials, SDOT reps said this specific bill does not include any speed-limit changes for arterials outside downtown, but noted that others remain under review, especially the ones with the most crashes. They also pointed out that the city has reduced speed limits relatively recently on four arterials around the city, two of them in West Seattle (Fauntleroy Way SW last February, and 35th Avenue SW). And they said they’re reviewing some areas – many in West Seattle (though specific roads weren’t mentioned) – where they need to add signage reminding people of current speed limits.
The speed-limit proposal needs a majority vote at Monday afternoon’s full-council meeting. No one opposed it at the committee meeting.
PARKING BENEFIT DISTRICTS: While this item did not directly involve West Seattle, some information of interest emerged – particularly, the revelation that SDOT expects to review West Seattle Junction on-street parking again in 2018. That would be nine years after the last full review in 2009, which included SDOT‘s announcement that paid on-street parking did NOT seem to be warranted in The Junction. The review did result in some mostly minor changes, including time limits.
The committee briefing was about a proposal to look at Parking Benefit Districts – in which revenue from paid on-street parking would go back into the geographic districts where the parking was located, theoretically to give community members an incentive to support the paid parking. Specifically, there was a proposal for a pilot PBD in Capitol Hill. SDOT recommended against it, saying it prefers to stick with what it’s been doing, including “time-of-day” variable pricing in some areas and potentially extending paid parking later into the night in some parts of the city. The latest online update from our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold (who was not at Tuesday’s meeting of the committee, for which she is an alternate member) has more details on SDOT’s rationale for opposing PBDs.
Back to the meeting – Councilmembers Rob Johnson and Mike O’Brien had a notable exchange involving constituents’ concerns about parking. O’Brien said he hears most often about new development projects without offstreet parking and said he wasn’t sure that PBDs would have any effect on those concerns. And separate from that, West Seattle’s “remarkable growth and increase in density” was mentioned in passing a few times during the discussion.
CUTTING UP STREETS: This briefing got a little technical but here’s what you really need to know: The city is tightening up the rules for when and why streets can be cut into, and how long the cutters get before they have to restore the pavement. With the Move Seattle Levy funding new pavement, SDOT reps explained, “One of the things we wanted to avoid were a bunch of asphalt cuts turning (newly repaved) streets into Swiss cheese.” You can read here what they are working on, in addition to listening to the discussion in the meeting video (1 hour, 9 minutes in).
(September 10th photo contributed by Mark)
Remember that crash two weeks ago? It’s just one of several in recent months that have damaged jersey barriers on the West Seattle Bridge. Now, SDOT has announced an overnight closure, eight days away, for replacements:
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that maintenance crews need to replace damaged jersey barriers in the median of the West Seattle Bridge, requiring a full closure of the bridge on Saturday, October 1, during the overnight and morning hours. Damage to these barriers has been caused by several recent vehicle collisions that have struck the median. An SDOT inspection of all of the jersey barriers on the West Seattle Bridge identified 18 that are in need of replacement.
From 11:59 p.m. on Friday night, September 30 to 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, October 1, travelers can expect the following:
· The West Seattle Bridge (WSB) will be closed to through traffic in both directions between 35th Ave SW and the Harbor Avenue/Avalon Way exit.
· Crews will begin closing lanes at 11:30 p.m. Friday with full closure by midnight.
· A detour will be in place for eastbound and westbound travelers on the WSB.
· The detour for eastbound traffic is via SW Avalon Way, SW Spokane St and back onto the WSB.
· The detour for westbound traffic is via the Harbor Avenue/Avalon Way exit to SW Avalon Way to Fauntleroy Way SW.
· Crews will remove and replace 18 damaged jersey barriers.
· Crews will check and adjust any existing barriers that may have moved, but do not need immediate replacement.
· The West Seattle Bridge will be reopened by 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, October 1.
As September continues, so does the new season of community meetings – and the next group to resume its schedule is the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. The WSTC just announced what’s on its agenda this Thursday:
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition hopes you are refreshed after summer and ready to get back to work! Our first meeting after summer recess is this Thursday, September 22nd at 6:30 p.m. We meet at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.
Esteemed guests who will be joining us include Jim Curtin from SDOT to talk about the 35th Ave SW project and Angela Brady from the Office Of The Waterfront for a general talk about the post-Viaduct world. And undoubtedly we will also discuss ST3 and WSTC’s role (if any) in the initiative process.
We hope you can join us for what should be a fascinating meeting!
(It’s been a month and a half since the unveiling of options for Phase 2 of the 35th SW Corridor Safety Project – but the final plan hasn’t come out yet.) The meeting site is at 6400 Sylvan Way.
The photo is courtesy of the office of County Council chair Joe McDermott, sent with his announcement of two new bus shelters. We’ve already reported one – the RapidRide stop on southbound 35th SW, just moved back to its permanent spot south of Avalon, after more than a year at SW Snoqualmie during construction of mixed-use Aura. The newly installed shelter in the photo is on westbound SW Morgan, just west of 35th. McDermott’s announcement points out that this is kitty-corner from the West Seattle Food Bank and was the last shelter-less stop at 35th/Morgan: “The West Seattle Food Bank serves some of our most vulnerable residents. This new shelter will make it both easier and safer for those who use the bus as transportation to and from the Food Bank.” He tells WSB he first heard about the shelter-less stop at a fundraiser for the WSFB, whose executive director Fran Yeatts is quoted as adding, “Having a covered bus stop so these individuals can wait for the bus out of rain will be a very, very big help.” According to Metro’s website, fewer than a fourth of the system’s more than 8,000 stops are sheltered.
For those who have been asking when the RapidRide stop on southbound 35th just south of Avalon would move back to its permanent site … it’s back. Don’t know if it’s been back for hours or days, but Eddie tipped us this afternoon, so we drove by for a photo. We had most recently checked with Metro in July, and – as we wrote here – they expected it to return in August, so it was a little behind schedule, but it’s there now. During the construction of mixed-use Aura, the stop had moved about a block south.
When Mayor Murray announced the “Vision Zero” plan more than a year and a half ago, the plan (p. 14) promised to start reducing speed limits on “residential streets” to 20 mph. By last summer, the change was made on a few streets in north West Seattle. Now, it’s going citywide. One week from today, the City Council’s Transportation and Sustainability Committee will consider the proposal that was announced this afternoon:
Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Mike O’Brien today unveiled a proposal to enhance safety on Seattle’s streets by changing the speed limit on all residential streets from 25 to 20 MPH and streets in the center city from 30 to 25 MPH. The proposal is part of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.
“Having helped pass the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill during my time in the legislature, I’m proud that Seattle will be the first city in the state of Washington to implement lower speeds on all residential streets,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “When combined with other elements of our ongoing Vision Zero work, such as redesigned roadways and data driven enforcement, lower speed limits will help make Seattle’s roads safer for all.”
Speed contributes to 25 percent of collisions citywide and 42 percent of downtown traffic fatalities every year. It is the critical factor in survivability for a crash. Pedestrians struck by vehicles traveling at 25 MPH are half as likely to die as those struck at 30 MPH.
“Studies show that lowering speed limits is one of the best ways to improve safety in our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “Reducing speeds will not only reduce accidents and fatalities but it also brings peace of mind for those who use our sidewalks, including children and our elderly neighbors. The reduction we are proposing will not restrict mobility.”
In residential areas, going down to 20 MPH brings the entire neighborhood to existing school zone speed limits, making safer routes of travel for all. Vehicle safety in Seattle has improved significantly, but not for people walking and biking. Pedestrian and bicycle collisions make up seven percent of total crashes, but nearly half of fatalities. The new speed limit will apply to 2,400 miles of non-arterial streets and help enhance safe routes to schools, transit, parks and other destinations.
“The proposal presents the opportunity that exists to balance the need for safe passage with thoughtful engineering,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “Reducing speed limits has a direct impact on safety and helps the City implement better design standards that will allow drivers, bikers, pedestrians and parents alike to breathe a little easier as we head back to school by bus, bike or single passenger vehicle.”
Downtown there has been a 20 percent increase in speed-related fatal collisions over the last four years. Signal timing has already been adjusted to the new 25 MPH speed limit and drivers are moving more efficiently through the center city. A 25 MPH speed limit fits the typical operating speed of vehicles in the downtown core today.
This change would mainly impact the off-peak hours when there are more high-end speeders and more severe collisions.
“Speed is the critical factor in crashes, and lowering speeds is essential if we want to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets,” said Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly. “You can save a life for only an extra minute more per trip.”
This speed limit is consistent with the Washington State speed limit for city streets and Seattle is the only city in King County with an arterial speed limit over 25 MPH. Also, 25 MPH is the speed limit in the overwhelming majority of city centers nationwide including cities like New York, Portland, Phoenix, Denver and Houston.
The City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee will discuss and vote on the proposal at its September 20 meeting. The legislation will then go before the full council for a vote later this month. If passed into law, the City expects to begin rolling out speed limit changes in November.
If you’re not sure whether a street near you is “residential” – check this map. If it’s not an arterial or freeway, it’s residential.
One week ago, thanks to tips, we reported on SDOT‘s preparation work for restriping Admiral Way west of California SW, a project that’s been in the pipeline for a year and a half, with the final design announced in July. Today, SDOT announced the work schedule:
Work to restripe SW Admiral Way between California and 63rd Ave SW will occur the week of September 26. We expect construction to take about one week, depending on the weather. During this time on-street parking will be restricted on both sides of the street between 7 AM and 5 PM for the entire length of the project. This allows the street to be restriped while keeping a travel lane in each direction open. “No parking” signs will be in place for 72 hours prior to the start of the restrictions. We’ll work to reduce impacts as much as possible and appreciate your patience during this work.
Here’s the mailer that SDOT says will go out to residents and businesses next week; it says SDOT is drafting “Phase 2” of the project, based on suggestions from the August walk-and-talk meeting (WSB coverage here).
But first – as reported here last night, project reps will be at next Tuesday’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting (7 pm Tuesday, September 13th, The Sanctuary at Admiral, 42nd/Lander), for updates and community Q/A on the work that’s about to start.
As reported here one week ago, SDOT has started marking Admiral Way for forthcoming changes a year and a half in the making. That’s one of two major topics just announced by Admiral Neighborhood Association president Larry Wymer for next Tuesday’s meeting:
*Dawn Schellenberg and Sam Woods from SDOT will be returning for their 3rd visit to our group to provide their latest update – and Q&A session – on the SW Admiral Way Safety Project. They both conducted an on-site ‘Walk & Talk’ session on August 20 which some of you were at, and are now involved in “preparatory work” including marking the roadway for upcoming lane changes as part of the final design. Construction should begin within a matter of weeks, with the exact schedule announced prior to our meeting.
*Jesse Robbins is doing research across Seattle to learn if and how noise pollution from, among other things, cars and motorcycles with loud mufflers is a problem among residents. He has been visiting neighborhood organizations throughout Seattle as part of this research project, and is now focusing on neighborhoods throughout West Seattle to make sure our voices are heard. He welcomes any insight Admiral residents can provide towards his research in proving that vehicle noise pollution is still a problem, and working towards resolving with the right prioritization of focus and resources among city officers.
The ANA meets at The Sanctuary at Admiral, at 2656 42nd Ave SW. Our monthly meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
The Lander Street Bridge (ex-overpass) in SODO – seen as a key part of mobility between there and here – is now $40 million away from full funding.
That’s what the city says in this afternoon’s announcement that the feds have just finalized a grant covering about a third of the price tag of the project that’s been revived after almost a decade on the shelf. Read on for the official news release, plus news of another “open house” about the project: Read More
ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:35 PM THURSDAY: Thanks for the tips: SDOT crews have started marking the roadway for upcoming lane changes as part of the final design of the SW Admiral Way Safety Project. Our photo shows what we found in the 61st SW-62nd SW area when we went by this afternoon. SDOT project reps did not respond to our subsequent request for an update on the construction schedule; during the August 20th walk-and-talk meetings (WSB coverage here), they had promised to get that information out “soon.” The project page says only that work will be done in “late summer/early fall.” The final design was announced via e-mail on July 21st.
The first version of the plan was unveiled in April 2015 at an Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting. Much neighborhood criticism ensued, especially concern over the city underestimating how much Admiral Way parking is needed for residents and visitors; the city re-evaluated and then held a second and final community meeting in July of last year.
At the walking tours last month, the focus was on the possibility of added pedestrian improvements along the route, and the project webpage says tomorrow (September 2nd) is the deadline to make suggestions along that line – go there to see how.
ADDED 11:43 AM FRIDAY: Finally heard back from SDOT. This “preparatory work” will continue into next week, says spokesperson Norm Mah: “We are looking to start construction toward the end of the month and will provide a 3-week notice prior to beginning construction.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
This started, as many WSB stories do, with an e-mailed question:
Why is the new sidewalk along Fauntleroy Way SW, by Fairmount Playfield, half concrete and half asphalt?
The sidewalk was installed this summer, two years after the removal of trees that left the old one cracked and bumpy. This is an especially bad place for that since this is a school-bus pickup/dropoff zone for nearby Fairmount Park Elementary, in addition to its frontage along a popular park in a densifying area.
There’s no obvious explanation for the mid-sidewalk material switch. But we went over for a firsthand look and noticed that where the concrete ends, it has a stamp: MOVE SEATTLE.
That, you’ll recall, is the $930 million levy passed by voters last year.
When we asked SDOT about the two-tone sidewalk, we learned that it’s related to a much smaller number: $90,000 – less than one-hundredth of one percent of the levy amount.
SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah first answered our question “why is half the sidewalk concrete and half asphalt?” with this information: “SDOT was able to replace a portion of the sidewalk with concrete and use asphalt temporarily for the remaining section to keep within budget. SDOT is planning to replace the asphalt section with concrete next year.”
So – we asked in a followup – there wasn’t enough money to use concrete for the entire project?
That’s not exactly what “keep(ing) within budget” means in this case, Mah replied: “With the budgetary constraints facing projects, our goal is to minimize project costs as much as possible. This sometimes requires doing small projects in phases. The statewide bid limit law restricts SDOT crews to projects that cost approximately $90,000 or less per year. Otherwise the project has to be sent out to bid, which can raise the cost and extend the timeline to deliver the project. To stay within the bid limit, we split the project in two phases – one in 2016, the rest of it next year in 2017. The city is aware that there would be some cost savings and efficiencies if we could mobilize the crew and finish it all at the same time. However, we are bound by the state’s law concerning limits on crew-completed work.”
And now you know.
10:25 AM: We are at 49th and Admiral with about 20 residents and SDOT reps Dawn Schellenberg and Sam Woods for this morning’s first of two ‘Walk & Talk’ gatherings to talk about the upcoming Admiral Way Safety Project changes. No walking yet – all talking. (Added: Here’s our video of the first 14 minutes:)
The second session is supposed to start at the entrance to Schmitz Park on Admiral at 11:15. Main focus here: Pedestrian safety and what can be done to enhance it.
In general, those here are concerned about speeding. “This intersection is critical,” one person said.
10:42 AM: One group has gone on to Schmitz Park, while one that trailed, with Woods taking notes, is now at 53rd and Admiral, where Lander cuts off to Alki.
Woods is explaining that all three lanes here will narrow to 10 feet.
We are breaking off to move on with other events. SDOT says comments will be taken until September 2nd (contact info is at the end of their project webpage); restriping on Admiral will start a few weeks later.
Four weeks after SDOT went public with its final decision on changes for SW Admiral Way west of California, tomorrow’s the day for its two announced “Walk and Talks.” The announcement on the project webpage says the main goal of the walking tours is to talk about more possible “pedestrian improvements” for the street. The first one starts at 10 am Saturday on the south side of Admiral at 49th SW (map); the second one, 11:15 am Saturday, is set to start at the entrance to Schmitz Park at Admiral/Stevens (map). Last month’s announcement was more than a year after SDOT’s original plan was met with a multitude of concerns.
6:01 PM: That’s the plan for the 35th Avenue SW Corridor Safety Project walking tour that SDOT is leading tonight, with the times and places where you can meet up with the tour if you just want to go along for part of it. We’ll be covering it for the duration; updates to come.
6:08 PM: Above is the photo we took on arrival at 35th/Avalon; we now have four residents, two SDOT staffers. Not walking yet so this might run a bit behind the posted schedule.
6:30 PM: Now at Dawson. 11 residents. (Added – video of part of the conversation:)
Someone parked along 35th just north of here displaying an anti-rechannelization sign.
Dawson might get a signal to facilitate crossing – to and from popular city park Camp Long – and that could mean it would need to keep 4 vehicle lanes, SDOT says.
One man who joined here says there are far more families with kids in the area now and they need to be able to cross safely.
6:54 PM: At 35th/Juneau. The person with the protest sign walked over to join the group, expressing a concern about speed limits being too low. 5 mph won’t make a difference, she said. Actually, SDOT’s Jim Curtin said, it would. (Added: Video from this stop, including that exchange:)
7:10 PM: At Graham, where two people have been hit and killed in the past decade. This corner will get a big mixed-use development soon, so it will be much busier. Curtin says vehicles will enter and exit from Graham, not 35th. 8 people on the tour now, by the way. He also says this intersection will soon get temporary painted curb bulbs on the SW and SE corners.
7:25 PM: Tour crossed Morgan and is wrapping up – this is where ‘Phase 1’ begins, with the road becoming one lane each way just south of here. What happens along the stretch we just traveled will be decided in the months ahead.
One woman who has been along for most of the way says she understands the safety rationake but she and her husband find the rechannelized stretch frustrating. Signal timing is a clear problem, and Curtin acknowledges that, reiterating what he told us after last Thursday’s meeting – that the timings will be fixed.
Another concern – getting stopped behind the Route 21 buses and their frequent stops. One person wonders if there can be fewer stops. Someone else points out that not everyone can walk further – elders, people with disabilities, people with small children, etc.
7:39 PM: Tour officially over. We will be adding video clips from a couple of the stops once we are back at HQ.
7:58 PM: Talked at the end with Curtin and the other SDOT staffer on the tour, James Le. Curtin stressed that whatever you think about the possible changes along the way – detailed in the boards prepared for last Thursday’s meeting – “it’s not a done deal” and they’re continuing to review the hundreds of comments they’re receiving and have received (at least 110 at last Thursday’s meeting alone). Another community meeting will be planned before year’s end, and they plan to incorporate both feedback and data as they work on design for Phase 2 (north of Holly, south of Alaska).
Six months after we first reported on a long-requested traffic-calming plan for Fauntleroy’s Endolyne district, it’s about to become reality. We’ve confirmed with SDOT that installation work starts next week, likely on Wednesday – what you see in the photo above is part of the layout that’s been marked in the area to get ready for the work. As explained in the just-mailed flyer:
This project will change SW Brace Point Drive to a one-way, eastbound street, provide 7 new back-in angle parking spaces, enhance pedestrian crossings with three paint-and-post curb bulbs with plantings, and install on-street bicycle parking. This project will also restrict parking on a short segment of SW Wildwood Place to increase safety.
Construction is scheduled to last approximately one week with minimal impacts to residents, businesses, and travelers. Later this year, we will return to install 12 planter boxes in the new paint-and-post curb bulbs to help clearly define the pedestrian space.
For an even-more-detailed look at the plan, here’s the final design.
FIRST REPORT, 6:27 PM: Here are the boards/slides for SDOT‘s meeting tonight about Phase 2 of the 35th SW Road Safety Corridor Project. They start with stats that SDOT says prove “the roadway redesign is improving safety,” referring to the Roxbury to Holly rechannelization put into place last fall:
The slides continue on to what SDOT says is under consideration for Phase 2, including:
*Rechannelization between Edmunds and Juneau (one lane each way, center turn lane)
*Possible extension of rechannelization from Juneau to Graham
*Signal or turn restrictions/crossing at Juneau or Graham
*Crosswalk or signal at Dawson (a signal might require 4 traffic lanes, SDOT notes)
*Holly (north end of current rechannelization) to Graham, likely keeping “4 to 5 general-purpose lanes”
Whatever is decided for Phase 2 would not be put into place until next year, but some tweaks are planned in the meantime, including the crosswalk, with flashing beacons, at Kenyon, to be installed next month. More to come at the 7 pm meeting at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW).
7:02 PM: The meeting has just begun. Outside the front door to NHHPC, rechannelization opponents were handing out bumper stickers.
Inside the hallway, dozens of people were already gathered.
Before opening the doors, SDOT’s project manager Jim Curtin stuck his head out to explain the format – strictly open house, no presentation. When he mentioned that the information would include an update on Phase 1, somebody said loudly, “Sucks!” and laughter rippled around the crowd. When he said, “We want your feedback,” someone else was heard to say, “Do you really?” (Added – our video of Curtin’s announcement)
Yet another voice wondered aloud whether SDOT director Scott Kubly was present. (Doesn’t appear to be.) Boards from the document atop this story are on easels around the room, and there are a few tables set up for different forms of feedback.
We’re sitting near a staffer who is explaining the greenway concept (set for 2019 construction).
More to come.
7:20 PM: The room is getting crowded. People are writing down comments to put in a box by the front of the room, and there are other feedback opportunities, including a table at the center of the room. It’s a little loud in here for effective Q/A, and somebody approaching the comment box just verbally commented to that effect. One man was heard standing at the greenway table nearby, demanding to know who he could vote against in the next election. We haven’t looked at the sign-in sheets for an estimate but we would guess at least 100 people have circulated through so far.
7:30 PM: We’re going to circulate and listen in, since it’s mostly just a dull roar where we currently are sitting. Also looking for a copy of the survey/comment form that people are filling out; one voice nearby suggests a reason for supporting safety improvements is “Because I’d like not to die.”
7:41 PM: Pending discovery of a PDF somewhere, here’s a photo of the “Phase 1 Comment Sheet”:
The crowd has thinned. Maybe 50 in here right now. The lights have gone on, finally. Nobody at the greenway table at the moment. Might be our chance to ask a few questions. West Seattle has two greenways already – one through North Delridge, one in Puget Ridge/Highland Park – and this one is supposed to be mostly parallel to 35th, but not scheduled for construction for at least three years.
8:10 PM: We’ve just roamed the room a bit to listen in. The board with the major Phase 2 proposals – another possible stretch of rechannelization, possible signals/crossings – is on the northeast end of the room. There, an SDOT employee cheerily corrected one man who asked about “the road diet” by saying, “It’s NOT a road diet.”
“Hey, I’m FOR the road diet,” replied the attendee (not in photo above). A woman standing at the other end of the board says she supported what’s been done so far. Down now to about 35 people; we’re taking a quick look at the sign-in sheets to see if that gives any sort of an attendance count (keeping in mind that not everyone will take the time to, or want to, sign in).
8:25 PM: The biggest crowd remains around project manager Jim Curtin, who is next to the board with the collision data from Phase I – the official full evaluation of the first year is due out in October, according to the project timeline. He’s listening to concerns including intersections where it’s become tougher to turn.
Meantime, even with far fewer people in the room, it’s still loud. If you prefer a quieter venue for questions/concerns, the “walking tour” planned for next Tuesday – 6 pm-7:30 pm August 9th, starting at 35th/Avalon and heading south – might be of interest. SDOT did this before Phase I and there was little turnout, meaning those who did drop in at various spots had no trouble engaging the SDOT reps in conversation.
8:32 PM: One woman leaving the room told the SDOT staffer at the check-in table, “Thanks for listening to all our gripes!” Staffer’s reply: “That’s what we’re here for.” We’re not quite down to 1-to-1 ratio SDOT to general public, but getting there. Quiet enough now that we can hear Curtin’s voice from around the room, reiterating what’s in the new documents, that travel times have not increased by much and that transit times have improved. Yes, but, one man says, he lives in The Arroyos and the 21X experiences delays. Curtin, who has said often publicly that he lives in Arbor Heights and uses 35th in multiple modes, says he rides the 21X too and can vouch for that. The attendee suggested Metro should have been here along with SDOT.
8:45 PM: Still a handful of people here. The greenway-table SDOT staffer is talking with a woman about Arbor Heights’ sidewalk shortage. We have a few questions to ask once this is about to wrap, and we’ll add the answers after we get them.
9:40 PM: After the last few attendees trickled out just past 9, we spent a while talking with project manager Curtin. First, we brought up the point made in comments, about comparing the crash and injury/death stats from the not-quite-a-year post-Phase 1 to the ten years ahead of time. He agreed that the real tale will be in the official report this fall, when they will use a 3-year period for comparison, and will “lay out everything we have.”
Second, we clarified that the stretch which might be rechannelized next is very much in flux – if SDOT decides new signals/crossings at Dawson and/or Graham are warranted (and this is tied into the greenway planning, so there would be a cutover to The Junction), that could reduce how much of the roadway would be eligible for lane reductions. But Curtin stressed that road redesign is vital to reduce speeding on the stretch north of Morgan.
Third, we asked what could and would be done to address some of the concerns brought up over and over again, especially people having difficulty making turns, either onto or off 35th, because there’s no break in the one-lane-each-way traffic. He said there WILL be changes in signal timing and he expects that will make a major difference – they will use a timing scheme they had in place before Phase 1 – and he promised it will happen before year’s end.
The last major point – he stressed that they are proceeding more slowly with this phase, that what was on the boards you see above (and/or saw at the meeting) are “concepts,” with more discussions coming up at the August 9th walking tour, at a community meeting before year’s end, and another one early in 2017.
We have some photos to add, before the night’s out.
More road work you need to know about: Lower Spokane St., just east of the “low bridge,” is in for some major work starting soon. From the official project page.
Starting in early August, SDOT will repave and make other improvements along SW Spokane St from SW Klickitat St to East Marginal Way S. We expect the work will take approximately three months to complete.
Repave street surface
Add new pedestrian crossing (with pedestrian push button signal request) on the West Seattle Bridge Trail (west side of the intersection of SW Spokane St & Klickitat Ave SW/11th Ave SW)
Build new and upgraded curb bulbs and curb ramps
Replace 2 active railroad crossings
Remove an abandoned railroad crossing
Construct raised crosswalk on the north side of the 900 block of SW Spokane St, creating a speed bump to slow people driving as they cross the paths of people walking or biking on the West Seattle Bridge Trail
Repair sections of sidewalk and trail where tree roots have badly cracked the surface.
The project coordinator tells WSB that as of right now, this is scheduled to start on August 8th – one week from Monday.
As we’ve been reporting for more than three weeks, the next community open-house meeting about the 35th Avenue SW Corridor Safety Project – what’s been done so far, and what’s planned for Phase 2, north of SW Morgan – is coming up on August 4th. First we reported the date; then additional information from SDOT Blog; and then yet more information from the mailer that was sent to a wide area of West Seattle (including news of an August 9th walking tour planned in addition to next Thursday’s meeting) and our subsequent exchange with the project manager.
Tonight, our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold mentions the upcoming 35th SW discussions in her periodic e-mail update (read it in full here), including what she’s heard from residents and what she’s asking SDOT to do:
… SDOT has indicated they will be doing a 1-year review of the project later this year (scheduled for October), similar to this one done for a rechannelization street project in North Seattle on NE 75th.
I have heard a variety of concerns about the impacts of the project, including from people who live on side streets near signals who have struggled to merge onto 35thduring rush hour, or even get out of their driveway onto the street, and rush hour travel times.
I’ve asked SDOT to expand the parameters of what they study in the 1-year review. The NE 75th study mostly looked at speed, collisions, and traffic volumes. SDOT indicated they could ask for feedback to inform the study as they do outreach for Phase 2; I’d like any decision about whether to revisit the project, or alter plans moving forward, be informed by community suggestions about what to include in this study, to ensure it assesses the full range of impacts. So, what additional impacts do you think SDOT should study? …
One way you can answer her question: Stop by during Councilmember Herbold’s next in-district office hours, tomorrow (Friday) at Southwest Neighborhood Service Center (2801 SW Thistle), noon-7 pm.
After more than a year, SDOT has just gone public with what it’s decided to do on SW Admiral Way, between Admiral Junction and Alki. Here’s the full text of the e-mailed announcement, including plans for “walk-and-talk” meetings on August 20th:
We’ve spent the last few months incorporating feedback into a street design that will reduce speeding and crashes and preserve parking where it’s in high demand.
We heard during public engagement that people are driving too fast along SW Admiral Way, crashing into parked cars, and residents are afraid to cross the street. In fact, one mother choked up at our first public meeting at the thought of walking her children across SW Admiral Way.
When we started the project data showed there had been 71 vehicle crashes, two bike crashes and one pedestrian crash between 2011 and 2014. From January 2015 through May 2016 an additional 34 crashes have occurred. This statistic shows that crashes along Admiral Way SW have increased by nearly 28% in the past 1 ½ years. The neighborhood has people who’ve lived here for decades, new families, and visitors enjoying Alki Beach. Each person deserves safe travel whether walking, biking or driving.
After sharing a few designs with the neighborhood, studying on-street parking occupancy during the summer, and talking with community members, (the map above shows) what will be installed.
You may be wondering how the new design improves safety. We have proven success throughout the city that narrower travel lanes reduce the speeds people drive and the number of crashes.
We are also adding buffered bike lanes. Adding buffered bike lanes makes the street operate more predictably by giving everyone a space; and makes biking more comfortable, which can encourage more people to give it a try.
Here is how your input was included:
· Parking study. We conducted an on-street parking study during the month of August. Study times were 5-7AM, 1-3PM and 5-7PM on a sunny Saturday and Tuesday. The study confirmed what you told us. Parking spaces on the west end of the street with convenient access to Alki Beach are in high demand.
· Center turn lane. At our first public (meeting) you suggested we remove the center turn lane rather than impact on-street parking, so we did in the high-demand parking area.
· Left turn access at 57th and 59th Avenues SW. At the second public meeting, you requested left turn access to help reduce the risk of being rear-ended. We’ve included the access. To make room for them, about nine on-street parking spaces will be removed on the south side.
· Crosswalk at 61st Ave SW. We asked if you would like a new crosswalk in this location and one is included in the project.
Here is what we were not able to include and why:
· All-way stop at 59th Ave SW. You suggested we change the pedestrian activated signal at this location to an all-way stop. Unfortunately, studies showed that an all-way stop at this location did not meet guidelines. However, we have agreed to look at it again in the future.
Finally, we heard you want improved pedestrian crossings and supplied information on where. We’ll conduct a second round of outreach on August 20 in the form of “Walk and Talks” to gather site-specific input and talk about low-cost opportunities (visit web site for more details). The Walk and Talks will build off of comments collected through the first phase of outreach. Any improvements identified would be installed as a second phase of construction.
Our project web site at seattle.gov/transportation/swadmiralwaysafetyproject.htm has information on the walk and talk; and a flier with similar information will be mailed early August. Construction information will be shared as soon as available. However, work to restripe the street is expected to be completed before October 2016.
BACKSTORY: The first version of the plan was unveiled in April 2015 at an Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting. Ten months have passed since the second and final community meeting held by SDOT – which wasn’t planned until community members demanded it.
Datapoint regarding one assertion in the city news release: The “mother who choked up at (the) first public meeting at the thought of walking her children across Admiral Way” was reacting to what the city was proposing at the time, removing parking on the side of the street where her family lives, as noted in our coverage of that meeting.