Transportation 2318 results

Dropping bike-share program ‘the right call,’ says Councilmember Herbold

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(WSB photo from March 2016)

West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold says the mayor made “the right call” in announcing late today that the city will scrap its bicycle-sharing program for now, rather than replacing the failed Pronto system with something different.

Last March, she was one of two council votes against the bike-share buyout. So last month, we asked her about the bike-share situation during our wide-ranging interview looking back at her first year in office and ahead at her second year; she replied that she didn’t hold much hope the program would be scrapped, and restated concerns that a new version still wouldn’t serve our area.

Tonight, she published this statement after the mayor’s announcement:

This was absolutely the right call. With limited public dollars, these resources are better used to develop safe routes to schools for our students. Now is not the time for public investment in a bike share system.

I’m glad to see these funds are proposed toward implementing the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, and School Safety projects, in line with my proposal last year to re-direct $4 million in funding away from expansion of the Pronto system toward these existing needs. I regularly hear from constituents about school crossing safety, most recently regarding Genesee Hill Elementary.

During last year’s budget cycle, I sponsored a budget action the Council adopted to remove $900,000 in funding for operation of the Pronto system in 2017 and 2018, to preserve funding for these existing needs.

Here’s how the mayor announced the bike-share change, redirecting $3 million to other pedestrian/bicycle programs.

More battery-powered buses for Metro

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(King County photo)

40 feet long, with a range of 25 miles, and a 10-minute charging time. Those are the baseline stats for the additional battery-powered Metro buses announced today, following up on the testing announced back in 2015. King County Executive Dow Constantine says Metro is buying “up to 73 all-electric battery buses from Proterra at a cost of up to $55 million, starting with 20 buses totaling $15.12 million. Charging stations to support the initial orders of those buses will range from $5.5 million to $6.6 million.” The first eight will go into service this year, likely in Bellevue. But that’s just part of the plan, according to the news release:

As part of today’s announcement, Metro will acquire up to nine long-range electric buses from different manufacturers to test the battery technology with a range of about 140 miles. With this approximately $7 million acquisition, Metro is challenging the industry to produce buses that can travel farther. Metro also is calling on the industry to develop 60-foot long buses, better able to replace the articulated buses that make up 55 percent of its fleet.

That’s the length of many buses you see in West Seattle – RapidRide, Route 120, Route 21, among others. Read today’s announcement in its entirety here.

2016 LOOKBACK: West Seattle’s transportation Top Ten

The challenges of getting to, from, and around our peninsula make transportation a hot topic just about any time. So here’s our view of the top 10 transportation stories, for another 2016 lookback:

#10 – UNDER-THE-BRIDGE PROJECT WINS NEIGHBORHOOD STREET FUND

(May 2016 photo contributed by Chris, showing one traffic-choked morning at south section of the project zone)

In October, West Seattle Bike Connections found out that its proposal for the Harbor/Avalon/Manning/Spokane intersection, basically under the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, would be funded. This will help with safety and flow at an increasingly busy confluence of paths, roads, and bridge on-/off-ramps.

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#9 – FAUNTLEROY EXPRESSWAY CUSHIONS RE-REPLACED

(WSB photo, June 2016)

674 quake-safety cushions under the deck of the Fauntleroy Expressway (southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge) had to be re-replaced because of a design flaw. The work started in May and, despite requiring more than a few bridge closures, proceeded fairly painlessly, traffic-wise, over the ensuing two months.

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#8 – WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES VOWS TO FIX FAUNTLEROY-VASHON-SOUTHWORTH

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(WSB photo, October 2016, The Hall at Fauntleroy)

After a summer of problems that made things miserable for many trying to get to and from Vashon – and for Morgan Junction/Fauntleroy drivers/riders trying to get around the traffic – WSF launched a process to gather comments and make an action plan, including an October open house. Next step, launching a task force – including ferry users.

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#7 – ADMIRAL WAY RECHANNELIZATION

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A year and a half after announcing a controversial plan to rechannelize Admiral Way between The Admiral District and Alki, SDOT finalized it, announced it in summer, and restriped the road in fall.

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#6 – DOC MAYNARD BECOMES WEST SEATTLE’S WATER TAXI

What began with an Argosy Cruises vessel in the ’90s finally got its own brand-new vessel in 2016, as M/V Doc Maynard officially took over King County’s West Seattle to Downtown Seattle run in January (four months after its dedication).

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FERRY UPDATE: Repairs done, South Vashon route confirmed for Saturday resumption

Just in from Washington State Ferries – final confirmation that Vashon Island will be back to two ferry routes as of first thing tomorrow:

Point Defiance dock repairs have been successfully completed and service on the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route will resume on Saturday morning 12/31, beginning with the 5:55 am departure from Point Defiance. Thank you for your patience throughout the unexpected terminal closure and please accept our apologies for the inconvenience this caused.

The dock was damaged while the ferry Chetzemoka‘s crew dealt with a Christmas Eve medical emergency involving its captain, who WSF says is expected to fully recover.

FERRY UPDATE: South Vashon route expected to resume Saturday

Washington State Ferries says it’s now expecting the South Vashon-Tacoma (Tahlequah-Point Defiance) route to resume service on Saturday, after a weeklong shutdown:

Due to ongoing dock repairs at the Point Defiance terminal, the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route is now expected to remain out of service through Friday, December 30, and reopen Saturday, December 31. Our crews are working as quickly as possible to restore service, and we will provide updates as more information becomes available. In the meantime, please use alternate routes, Southworth and Fauntleroy, for travel to and from Vashon Island.

The Point Defiance dock was damaged while the crew was dealing with a medical emergency involving the captain of M/V Chetzemoka. Yesterday’s WSF update said the captain is expected to fully recover.

WEST SEATTLE NEW YEAR’S EVE: Free overnight parking in The Junction

This year’s West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays (with sponsors including WSB) wrap up Saturday night with New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you are planning to celebrate in The Junction, and getting there via your own vehicle, the West Seattle Junction Association is covering overnight parking in its lots:

The West Seattle Junction merchants feel it’s important to stay safe while celebrating incoming 2017. On Saturday, December 31st, from 7 pm through Sunday, January 1st, 10 am, we invite you to leave your car overnight in one of our FREE Junction parking lots. Please pick up your car by 10 am, though, so we have plenty of parking for the January 1st brunch crowds. Happy New Year from the merchants!

Those are the lots marked “free 3-hour” on this page of The Junction’s website – at 44th/Oregon (southeast side of intersection), 44th/Alaska (southeast side of intersection), midblock on the east side of 44th between Alaska and Edmunds, and 42nd/Oregon (southwest side of intersection). WSJA also is spotlighting some of the Junction venues with special NYE events, here.

SDOT replaces vandalized no-parking signs on Alki Avenue SW

Earlier this month, someone called to say they had seen a driver going down Alki Avenue SW, stopping and spray-painting multiple no-parking signs. We advised calling 911 if they hadn’t already, and we mentioned it on Twitter, but we neglected to follow up until Ken sent the photo at right this week, asking if the painting had been done by SDOT to signal a change in parking policy. Short answer: No. After the holiday, we asked SDOT spokesperson Sue Romero if and when the city planned to clean or replace the vandalized signs (we counted 10), and today she tells us a crew was out this morning to replace them.

FOLLOWUP: SW Thistle stairway’s future, and past

Last week, we reported on SDOT’s online survey looking ahead to 2017 work on the much-used SW Thistle stairway east of Lincoln Park, and nine other stairways around the city. That led to a variety of questions, and today we have answers, thanks to a comment from, and followup e-mail exchanges with, project manager Greg Funk. First:

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Funk sent those photos in response to our question about when it was built. While he hasn’t found the exact date, he says records show that it “was approved in May 1945” and that the photos show “the stairway was close to being done in February 1948.”

He also notes that the Thistle stairway includes historical materials: “The stairway is constructed of concrete slabs that used to be the base for the old streetcar, and the R/R tracks were cut up into sections for the rail posts and painted white. The slabs are stacked on top of each other with a brick spacer to give a roughly 6-7 inch rise.”

Since Funk’s comment mentions what sounds like extensive work – “The stairs will be updated so there will be more consistent run rise and upgraded rail on both sides” – we asked what will happen to those historical materials: “If we can, we will build over the existing stairway – it saves on disposal cost, and that’s the plan for this location. Old rail will be cut and scrapped.” (No lighting changes, he says, in case you were wondering.)

As for the project timeline and duration: “It will be closed for about 2-3 months; we have not set a date, but we want to try and be done before summer kicks in, as this is a heavily used stairway.” (Among those who use it – the project manager himself.)

P.S. He says that next year, they’ll get word out earlier about the stairway-work list for 2018 – you should see that list by next March. And if you haven’t responded to the stairway survey for 2017, it remains open through Friday.

FOLLOWUP: South Vashon ferry route not expected back in service until Friday

The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route will remain the only way to get to and from Vashon Island until Friday, according to the newest update from Washington State Ferries on the aftermath of the Christmas Eve incident that took the other Vashon route out of service:

The Point Defiance/Tahlequah route remains out of service through the morning of Friday, December 30 due to ongoing dock repair at the Point Defiance terminal. The damage to the dock occurred when the captain of the M/V Chetzemoka suffered a major medical emergency as the vessel was preparing to depart the Point Defiance ferry dock. The captain collapsed and hit the control panel as he fell, causing the vessel to break away from the dock and damage the dock apron (the articulated ramp at the end of the dock). No passengers on the Chetzemoka were injured, and the captain of the Chetzemoka is expected to make a full recovery. However, the damage to the dock is significant, and as a result, the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route is expected to remain out of service until December 30 while crews work around the clock to repair the apron.

FERRY UPDATE: South Vashon route still out of service

December 26, 2016 4:32 pm
|    Comments Off on FERRY UPDATE: South Vashon route still out of service
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

Traffic is likely to be heavier than usual again tomorrow on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route of Washington State Ferries, which expects the Tahlequah (South Vashon)/Point Defiance (Tacoma) route to still be out of service tomorrow morning: “… due to ongoing dock repair at the Point Defiance terminal. … We apologize for the inconvenience and advise alternate routes, Southworth and Fauntleroy, for travel to and from Vashon Island.” The dock was damaged by a ferry after its captain suffered a health problem on Christmas Eve.

FERRY ALERT: Trouble on both Vashon Island routes

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(Photo taken just before 11 pm – line stretched past The Kenney at that point)

7:45 PM: Christmas Eve trouble for Washington State Ferries on both Vashon routes – the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route had to cancel some sailings because of a crew shortage, but WSF says things will be back to normal after the canceled 8 pm departure from Fauntleroy. Then, the South Vashon (Tahlequah)-Tacoma (Point Defiance) route went out of service until further notice “due to damage to the Pt. Defiance dock apron following a medical emergency.” No estimate yet how long it will take for repairs; keep an eye on the WSF website’s “bulletins” page for updates.

8:32 PM: The Fauntleroy terminal currently has a one-hour wait, according to WSF.

8:52 PM: Now that’s up to two hours, also because, “The Issaquah continues to operate one-boat service on the route making multi-destination sailings in place of the regular fall weekend schedule. Due to limited vessel capacity and holiday traffic demands, there will be upcoming single destination service based on demand.”

6:34 AM SUNDAY: WSF says Tahlequah-Point Defiance is still out of service TFN. Vessel Watch shows two boats running now on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth.

5:27 PM SUNDAY: The Point Defiance dock still isn’t fixed, so the South Vashon run is still out of service.

Delridge Way speed limit to be lowered starting tomorrow

4:47 PM: This has long been in the works, and the official announcement is just in from SDOT:

On Tuesday, December 20, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will lower the speed limit on Delridge Way SW as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative to enhance transportation safety and save lives. Reducing the posted speed limit improves safety for everyone; especially people walking and biking.

The speed limit will be changed to 30 mph for a 3.5-mile stretch of Delridge Way SW between SW Henderson Street and the West Seattle Bridge. The speed limit is currently 35 mph on this segment of Delridge despite mainly single family homes and the presence of parks and schools adjacent to the corridor. This change will create a consistent 30 mph speed limit for the entire Delridge corridor.

Data collected on this section of Delridge shows most drivers are currently driving slower than the existing 35 mph speed limit. In fact, the 85th percentile speed at SW Trenton Street has been measured at exactly 30 mph so this should not be a significant change for people that drive this roadway often. The speed limit change will help reduce the likelihood and severity of collisions. This is especially true for vulnerable users like pedestrians since lower speeds significantly increase the survivability of crashes.

“The Delridge speed limit adjustment will help enhance safety on this corridor where more than 300 crashes have occurred in the last three years resulting in 148 injuries, six serious injuries and one death,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “These changes will significantly help people walking and biking to schools, parks, transit and other destinations.”

Travelers on Delridge Way SW can expect to see new speed limit signs installed this week. SDOT will also deploy the Speed Watch Trailer to the corridor to provide feedback to drivers about their speed and highlight the new speed limit.

ADDED 5:49 PM: Some background links – the original announcement (now linked in the introductory line at the start of this story) was in February 2015, and even in November 2015, SDOT was saying it still hoped to implement the reduction by the end of that year. Last time we checked was this past September, when SDOT’s Jim Curtin said it would happen by year’s end, and mentioned some other features: “… edge lines, flexible posts for the existing bike lanes in the vicinity of SW Orchard St, and enhancing the existing crosswalk at SW Juneau Street with rapid flashing beacons (the work at Juneau may not occur until early 2017 due to equipment supply issues).” We’ve seen the posts by Orchard, but will be checking in on the other two (and if you see crews installing signs later this week, please let us know – we’ll be looking, too).

FOLLOWUP: Metro going ahead with plan to remove two bus shelters in Junction

Metro has just announced its final decision on two bus shelters in The Junction: They’re going, not staying.
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(WSB photo from October; shelters set for removal are the two on the right)

The original announcement of a removal plan for the two shelters on the west end of the south side of SW Alaska between California and 44th was made via signage that appeared on those shelters – and two NOT proposed for removal – on October 22nd; then concerns arose that the announcement, part of a Junction problem-solving plan, had been made without a chance for comment. So a comment period was opened up, until November 18th, and Metro told us at the time its decision would be made within “weeks.” Now, it’s here:

As part of an effort to address customer comfort and access to Metro bus service as well as to address non-transit use including illegal and uncivil behavior at the Alaska Junction, Metro is moving forward with the retention of two of the four oversized “double” shelters at one of the six transit bays in the area of California Avenue Southwest and Southwest Alaska Street as soon as December 20.

The decision to remove two of the shelters was finalized after several weeks of public feedback and further analysis of rider usage. With this change, the remaining two double shelters at Bay 2 will continue to provide a weather-protected area sufficient for the riders who use these facilities. Metro also provides two RapidRide shelters at Bay 1 for transit riders. The removed shelters will be reused at other bus stops that are in need of shelters, and the artwork will be relocated to bus shelters within the Junction.

Bay 2 is served by routes 50 (Alki to Othello Station) and 128 (Admiral to White Center and Southcenter). Route 50 generally operates every 20-30 minutes and Route 128 every 30 minutes. Metro staff were sent to the location to observe how riders were using the stops at different times and days. Staff observed between zero and five customers waiting for buses at any one time under normal conditions, based on recent observations during peak and off-peak hours.

Metro solicited comments between October 28 and November (18th) and received feedback from both riders and non-riders, some opposed and some supporting the change. The majority of comments opposed to the removal were based on the misconception that Metro intended to remove all shelters at this location.

The change is expected to reduce non-transportation use of Metro facilities, and to better match transit facility supply and demand.

Pay by the mile, instead of by the gallon? Testers sought for state experiment

Should road-usage charges replace gas taxes? The state is looking at the idea, and looking for volunteers to help figure it out. Here’s the announcement, just out of the WSB inbox:

Drivers will have a chance to “test drive” a proposed system that would charge them by the mile, rather than by the gallon of gas for their road usage. The Washington State Transportation Commission today approved a plan to conduct a Road Usage Charge pilot project in fall 2017 that will simulate how this system might work.

“As the fuel efficiency of vehicles increases, gas consumption decreases and this equates to a reduction in gas tax revenues over time. The gas tax serves as the major source of funding for building and maintaining our state highways and ferries,” said Commission Chairman Jerry Litt. “Under the direction of the state Legislature, the commission has been assessing a road usage charge as a possible replacement for the gas tax in the future.”

The commission’s Executive Director Reema Griffith added, “During the commission’s evaluation over the past four-plus years, we’ve determined a road usage charge is feasible and that it could produce the revenue needed for Washington’s roads well into the future.”

The commission’s next step is to test the concept with the public and see what people think of it based upon actual experience using it. Recruitment will begin in spring 2017, with up to 2,000 volunteers needed from across the state to participate in the year-long test. Individuals who want to learn more about the project and have an interest in participating can visit the Road Use Charge website at www.waroadusagecharge.org.

Pilot project participants will choose different ways to participate and report their vehicle’s mileage. Some options do not involve any technology, such as manually reporting odometer readings; others do involve technology utilizing smartphones or in-vehicle technology. Because this is a simulation, participants will not be charged for any miles driven.

A 25-member steering committee has guided this work since 2012. The steering committee includes representatives from: auto and truck manufacturers, ports, environmental groups, trucking industry, cities, public transportation, business community and state agencies. The committee also includes three transportation commissioners and eight legislators.

A key finding from the work of the steering committee is that the gas tax is becoming more and more inequitable. Under Washington state’s current gas tax system, drivers pay widely different amounts for roadway use, depending on their vehicle’s fuel efficiency; those driving older, less efficient vehicles fill up more often and therefore, pay more in taxes. This inequity is expected to grow each year as vehicle fuel efficiency continues to rise, and as more alternative fuel vehicles that don’t use gas at all come onto the market.

Currently, 14 other states are evaluating a shift from the gas-tax revenue model to a road use charge. Funding for this work stems from a $3.8 million Federal Highway Administration competitive grant received earlier this year.

Here’s the slide deck that accompanied this agenda item, on the first day of a two-day meeting for the WSTC. Tomorrow morning its topics include tolling updates, one of which will focus on the future Highway 99 tunnel (see the agenda here).

Help fix the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route: Volunteer for the task force

(Live WSF webcam photo from Fauntleroy dock)

As part of the process of fixing problems plaguing the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth (aka “Triangle”) ferry route, Washington State Ferries promised last month that it would put together a task force. Today, WSF has taken the next step – calling for volunteers:

WSF is now seeking volunteers for the Triangle Improvement Task Force. The task force is the citizen advisory group that will be charged with:

· examining the situation on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth ferry route
· recommending “quick wins” to improve service by summer 2017
· coming up with recommendations for the long term

The task force will begin meeting in January and will consist of nine volunteers, three each from the Fauntleroy, Vashon and Southworth communities. For more information on the process and to apply to be a task force member, please visit our volunteer application page. Applications for volunteers are due Dec. 27, 2016.

New Admiral Way sign goes up

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Thanks to Val for the photo: SDOT was out installing one of the final components of the SW Admiral Way project west of California SW today. The sign was described on the project map last summer as “new westbound radar feedback sign at high speed location.”

Pay by phone to ride Metro, Water Taxi, more, with new Transit GO Ticket app

Just out of the WSB inboxMetro has just announced a pilot project offering mobile ticketing for buses, the Water Taxi, and other regional transit:

Riders who don’t want to pay cash to ride transit now have a new way to pay. King County Metro Transit is launching the Puget Sound region’s first-ever mobile ticket app – Transit GO Ticket – allowing riders to buy and redeem transit tickets on their mobile device without needing cash to ride. Under a six to 12 month pilot project, tickets can be purchased for use on King County Metro buses, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar and Sound Transit’s Link light rail and Sounder trains.

Currently, riders pay cash, purchase tickets or use an ORCA card to ride transit. Having an app is designed to be more convenient for infrequent transit riders – including visitors, sports fans or those who would otherwise pay cash.

Riders can simply use the app to purchase a Transit GO Ticket on an Apple, Android or Windows mobile device and show it to a transit operator, fare collector or fare inspector.

“Transit GO Tickets are the latest example of innovations that make transit easier for our customers,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We look forward to hearing from the community about mobile tickets as we continue to make sure Metro and Sound Transit offer seamless, efficient service across town and across the region.”

Mobile tickets are the latest milestone in Executive Constantine’s efforts toward greater regional transit integration between King County Metro and Sound Transit. This includes joint regional planning and the bus and rail integration as Sound Transit extended Link light rail to Capitol Hill and UW.

Data gathered in the next year will determine whether Metro fully implements the service or makes adjustments.

“We are customer driven, and feedback will help make this new tool even more effective at serving the needs of riders,” said Metro General Manager Rob Gannon.

Water taxi customers also can pay to ride with their mobile device.

“A Transit GO Ticket is a flexible and convenient option for the casual water taxi rider, and could help visitors more easily travel to and from downtown during the holiday season,” said King County Marine Division Director Paul Brodeur.

How does it work?

Riders who don’t want to pay cash or purchase an ORCA pass can:

· Download the Transit GO Ticket app for Android, Apple or Windows mobile devices.

· Create an account

· Purchase one or more tickets through the app using a credit card or debit card.

· Activate the tickets needed just prior to boarding; there is no limit to the number of tickets that can be activated at one time.

· Show the mobile display to a transit operator, a water taxi fare collector, or have it available if requested by a fare inspector on RapidRide, Link light rail or Sounder.

· Transfers are allowed between Metro buses within a two-hour window.

The Transit GO Ticket app pilot project was created under contract by Bytemark, which has similar systems in use (or coming to) in Austin, Texas; New York Waterway; Massachusetts DOT, Atlanta, Toronto, and York. With its partners at Sound Transit, the City of Seattle and King County Marine Division, Metro will evaluate the performance of the app and gather rider feedback through November 2017. The results also will guide further developments of mobile ticketing.

The pilot project is budgeted at approximately $470,000 and 86 percent of the project is funded by Federal Transit Administration grant money.

BUS CANCELLATIONS: Here’s Metro’s explanation

If you were affected by bus cancellations, announced and unannounced, this afternoon and evening – we asked Metro, and here’s the reply:

Earlier Monday, Metro made changes to its trolley fleet operations as a precaution.

Articulated 60-foot-long buses are the workhorses of Metro’s fleet; however, the 60-foot-long articulated electric trolley buses were temporarily grounded due to the expected inclement weather – a regular measure for Metro with its trolley fleet due to difficulty operating in snow conditions. Some bus trips were temporarily canceled Monday morning and afternoon in order to shift buses to serve those electric trolley routes.

Metro will continue to evaluate when it is safest to return the 60-foot-long articulated electric trolley fleet to service depending on weather conditions in Seattle

That explanation is also included in Metro’s look ahead to more possible snow tonight and tomorrow. We’ll have a wider update later this evening about the overall forecast and how other local agencies are getting ready.

Lynne Griffith retiring from Washington State Ferries leadership

December 5, 2016 11:10 am
|    Comments Off on Lynne Griffith retiring from Washington State Ferries leadership
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

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(October WSB photo by Patrick Sand)

Just announced by Washington State Ferries – Assistant Secretary Lynne Griffith, who has led the system for two years, is retiring. Our photo above is from her appearance at the triangle-route problem-solving meeting in Fauntleroy back in October. Here’s the announcement we just received:

Lynne Griffith joined the Washington State Department of Transportation as assistant secretary for the ferries division in September 2014. Today, she announced that she will retire from public service at the end of January. Ferries division Chief of Staff Elizabeth Kosa, who has served alongside Griffith, will act as Washington State Ferries’ leader while the department finalizes its next steps.

During Griffith’s time at the helm of the nation’s largest ferry system, missed sailings due to lack of crew dropped nearly 70 percent over the previous 26-month period. She also secured funding for a fourth 144-car Olympic Class ferry, the Suquamish, and built a new high-performing management team from the ground up.

“Lynne has brought profound change to an organization which is a treasured icon of our great state of Washington,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Her dedication is an inspiration to the hard-working people of Washington State Ferries, and she has my heartfelt thanks for a job well done. I hope she enjoys a much-deserved retirement,” Inslee added.

WSDOT Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar echoed the governor and said, “The ferries division has made real progress in coming together as an organization. We are on the right course, going in the right direction thanks to Lynne, her management team, and the employees who make sure we sail safely each and every day.”

Griffith postponed retirement to serve as assistant secretary just over two years ago. “I had no idea how much I would come to love the work and the amazing people who make sure thousands of passengers reach their destinations safely every day.” Griffith told employees, “I am incredibly proud to have been your shipmate and will continue to feel a sense of pride whenever I see one of our vessels sailing the Sound. I hope you share that feeling with me. You have much to be proud of.”

Griffith intends to move to the East Coast to be closer to her sister, two sons and four grandsons.

Griffith is the first woman to hold the position of Assistant Secretary in charge of WSF.

LAST CALL: Take the Delridge RapidRide survey that’s also about road reconfiguration

As first reported here three weeks ago, SDOT is circulating the “Delridge RapidRide Expansion Survey.” It’s set to close tomorrow (Monday). But it’s not only about buses – you’re asked for your thoughts on Delridge, featuring the graphics below, showing its current configuration:

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orchardtoholden

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The survey wants you to prioritize transportation options on each of those Delridge Way sections – including transit, walking, biking, and/or parking. It’s meant to look ahead to the RR route expected on Delridge within the next few years; the survey intro says, “Delridge Way SW is one of the corridors on which we’d like to make bus service better. We also have an opportunity to make it safer and more comfortable for people walking, biking, driving, and delivering goods.” If you haven’t already taken the survey, go here ASAP.

ALSO AT WEDNESDAY OPEN HOUSE: Newly ‘re-initiated’ Fauntleroy Boulevard plan

The list of what the city plans to show/answer questions about/take comments about at next Wednesday’s “open house” in The Junction just keeps getting longer.

After the city announced it’s expanding the December 7th event to two locations because of capacity concerns, we started collecting more information about topics beyond the biggest one, the “Mandatory Housing Affordability” rezoning we’ve been reporting on extensively lately. Here’s more on one of the newly revealed topics: The Fauntleroy Boulevard project.

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(Cross-section from city project page)

When the mayor went public with his budget proposal in September, we reported that it included money to build this long-in-the-works project on Fauntleroy Way between the end of the bridge at 35th SW and the start of The Junction at SW Alaska, as also promised by the Move Seattle levy. Now that the budget has been finalized, SDOT has announced the “re-initiation” of the project, intended to “improve mobility and make the area more comfortable for people walking, biking, and driving on Fauntleroy Way SW, in addition to enhancing Fauntleroy as a gateway entrance to West Seattle.”

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SDOT says the design is at 60 percent – see that plan as a PDF here – and likely to be finished next fall, with construction starting “in late 2017.” They promise “project materials” at Wednesday’s open house (5:30-7:30 pm at both Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery and Uptown Espresso, kitty-corner from each other at California/Edmunds). And project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey says SDOT plans “our own community briefings and other events specific to the project in 2017 in order to answer questions and share updates about the design.”

FOLLOWUP: Metro expects Junction shelter-removal decision in ‘weeks’

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(WSB photo from October; shelters proposed for removal are the two on the right)

Last Friday was the deadline set by Metro for comments on the proposal to remove the two westernmost bus shelters on the south side of SW Alaska, east of 44th SW. It originated as part of a “problem-solving plan” promised by Metro and Transit Police (who are part of the King County Sheriff’s Office) reps following a walking tour/outdoor meeting in early October that also included reps from Seattle Police, the city Department of Human Services, the West Seattle Junction Association, and the WS Chamber of Commerce, as well as some local merchants.

Metro subsequently announced, via posted paper notices, that the two shelters, considered a draw for loitering and drinking, would be removed in mid-November; a subsequent uproar led them to “pause” the plan and take comments through November 18th. Now that the deadline has passed, we checked today with Metro to see what’s next; spokesperson Jeff Switzer replied, “We’re reviewing the comments that we received and will make a decision in coming weeks.”

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