Transportation 2545 results

Better Metro bus service for Admiral/Alki? Councilmember Herbold’s request to SDOT

It’s been a hot discussion topic in WSB transit/transportation coverage for a long time – north West Seattle’s relative lack of Metro service compared to other areas. In her newest weekly update, Councilmember Lisa Herbold announced she is asking SDOT – via the letter embedded above – to find out what it would cost to fix that. (Though Metro is a county service, city dollars pay for some of the service.) If you haven’t seen it via e-mail or web, here’s her update:

As District 1 Councilmember, I regularly hear from residents of the Admiral and Alki neighborhoods about the lack of daytime and evening bus service to and from Downtown. Non-rush hour service on Bus Route 56, which connects Alki and Admiral to Downtown, was eliminated in 2012.

As a result, Admiral is the only Urban Village in Seattle without off-peak transit service to Downtown. It is also the only Urban Village not served by the Frequent Transit Network included in the Seattle Transit Master Plan. Urban Villages were adopted by Seattle in the 1994 Comprehensive Plan to direct growth to areas with enhanced services, so the lack of service is noteworthy, and unique. The lack of off-peak service to Downtown for an urban village also does not seem consistent with our approach to managing growth.

I have written a letter to SDOT Director Goran Sparrman, requesting that SDOT assess the costs associated with improving off-peak transit service on Route 56, and inform me of the City’s funding capacity to meet this need with Seattle Transportation Benefit District funds passed by Seattle voters in Proposition 1 in late 2014, which directly funds bus service in Seattle. You can see the letter here. While King County Metro operates bus service, since 2015, with the passage by Seattle voters of Proposition 1, Seattle funds additional bus service.

Background information is included below about how the Admiral Urban Village fits into the city’s transportation and growth plans.

After the State Legislature passed the Growth Management Act in 1990, to stop regional sprawl and direct growth into designated areas. The City of Seattle adopted the Urban Village Strategy in its passage of the 1994 Comprehensive Plan. By 1999, the City had completed passage of neighborhood plans throughout Seattle, to implement the state Growth Management Act, and to direct growth into areas with enhanced services to match the growth.

Seattle has six Urban Centers, six Hub Urban Villages and eighteen Residential Urban Villages. Of those 30 areas targeted for growth in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, only Admiral lacks off-peak transit service to Downtown.

Figures from the Seattle Transit Master Plan illustrate the unique status of the Admiral Urban Village. Figure 3-1 shows the City Capacity Transit Vision for High Capacity Transit Corridors. Figure 1-2 shows how these current and planned corridors align with the Urban Centers, Hub Urban Villages, and Residential Urban Villages adopted in Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan.

All of Seattle’s six Urban Centers and six Hub Urban Villages are included in a corridor—nearly all of which go to Downtown. In addition, 16 of Seattle’s 18 Residential Urban Villages are included in a corridor. The only ones that aren’t included in one of the transit corridors for RapidRide, Light Rail, Priority Bus Corridors, and the Streetcar are 1) Admiral and 2) South Park.

Figure 4-1 shows the status of the Frequent Transit Network as of March 2016; it notes a few areas on the map for “Priority Upgrade to Frequent,” including the Admiral Urban Village.

The Frequent Transit network included in the Transit Master Plan is designed to provide service every 15 minutes or better, 18-24 hours a day, seven days a week. This document shows bus routes that meet the frequent transit service level for land use purposes (SMC 23.84A.038), i.e. 15 minutes or less for at least 12 hours per day, 6 days a week, and transit headways of 30 minutes or less for at least 18 hours every day.

The current Frequent Transit Network using land use standards serves 29 of the 30 areas targeted for growth, but not Admiral.

Transportation Figure 5, from the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan, shows the Planned Frequent Transit Network, which includes SW Admiral Way through the Urban Village.

It appears that among Seattle’s 30 Urban Centers and Urban Villages, the Admiral Urban Village is one of only two not included the High Capacity Transit Network, and uniquely 1) is not served by the current Frequent Transit Network, and 2) has no off-peak bus service to Downtown. In addition, it saw a decrease in bus service to Downtown, with the 2012 elimination of off-peak service to Downtown on bus route 56. No buses leave for Downtown after 9 a.m., and return buses from Downtown operate only during evening rush hour.

Given the geographic distribution of jobs and work patterns, direct access to Downtown is important. Unless we are able to provide sufficient bus service to the Admiral Urban Village, it is less likely it will be able to accommodate its share of growth.

Metro Service prioritizes crowding, schedule reliability and service frequency. Proposition 1 noted that revenues would be used for these purposes, consistent with the Seattle Transit Master Plan and Metro’s Service Guidelines.

However, I believe we are missing an important element of equity in not considering how we can increase ridership in areas with low ridership and minimal options available to improve ridership. The lack of off-peak service to Downtown for an Urban Village also does not seem consistent with our approach to managing growth.

While King County Metro’s Service Guidelines target a minimum service level of at least every 60 minutes, even an exception for less frequent off-peak service would be an improvement.

If you would like to talk with Councilmember Herbold about this or anything else, her next “in-district office hours” event is Friday (February 23rd), 2-7 pm at South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave. S.).

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: See the open house maps/charts with draft height, cross-streets

If you went to the Sound Transit light rail open house in West Seattle this past Tuesday – or the one last night in Ballard – you probably saw the maps/charts that were laid out on tables for sticky-note comments. They were a different way of presenting information about the “representative alignment” – the “starting point” routes and elevation – and so we asked ST if we could get digital copies to share. Today, they’re online, and with one more open house – downtown next Tuesday (February 20th), 5:30-7:30 pm – you might want to take a look. The West Seattle one is embedded above (and visible in PDF here); the SODO one is here; downtown, here; Ballard, here.

Also shown at the open houses, the Google Earth flyover of the draft plan – animated, but without narration – and it’s now available as a video clip:

The project is currently in what’s officially called the “early scoping” phase and Sound Transit wants to hear all your comments – about the draft plan, anything you would rather see instead, and any potential effects you envision – noise, traffic, whatever. You can also make those comments via the “online open house,” which will remain open until March 5th – go to wsblink.participate.online.

What’s ahead at 59th/Admiral? SDOT rep @ Alki Community Council tomorrow

(59th/Admiral, December 2017)

Some changes made … some promised … some requested. There’s been a lot of back-and-forth about the intersection of 59th Avenue SW and Admiral Way SW in recent months. So what’s next? An SDOT representative is on the agenda for the Alki Community Council‘s meeting tomorrow night (7 pm Thursday, Alki UCC, 6115 SW Hinds), so if you’re interested, you might want to be there. The scheduling is a followup to discussion at last month’s ACC meeting.

Water Taxi fares rise on March 1st: Here’s what you’ll pay starting then

(WSB photo, July 2017)

A reminder from the King County Department of Transportation today – Water Taxi fares are going up March 1st. From the announcement:

For adults paying with ORCA, the one-way fare will be $5 per rider on the West Seattle route and $5.75 per rider on the Vashon Island route.

Adults paying with cash will pay $5.75 for West Seattle and $6.75 for Vashon Island.

Seniors and riders with disabilities will pay $2.50 for West Seattle and $3 for Vashon Island, a 25-cent increase over current fares.

Youth ORCA users and ORCA LIFT riders will now pay $3.75 a ride for West Seattle (25 cents more per ride) and $4.50 (50 cents more per ride) for Vashon Island. Children 5 years old and under can still ride the Water Taxi for free. To view all fare changes scheduled for March 1, visit our website and choose a route.

The fare policy was established when the Water Taxi operated under the King County Ferry District and was then adopted by King County. Fare increases have taken place every two years since 2012. Fare revenue helps King County meet fare box recovery targets and keep pace with rising costs to deliver safe, reliable and efficient Water Taxi service.

The King County Water Taxi continues to grow in popularity, providing riders with a congestion-free commute into downtown Seattle. In 2017, the Water Taxi carried nearly 600,000 riders combined on the West Seattle and Vashon Island routes. These two routes combined for more than 13,300 annual trip segments with over a 99-percent reliability rating.

Two more Water Taxi notes: The 5-day-a-week winter schedule runs through the end of March; and as noted in our morning commute coverage, remember that the Water Taxi will not be in service next Monday (Presidents Day).

ADDED 2:54 PM: We confirmed with KCDOT’s Brent Champaco that the spring/summer Water Taxi schedule really is starting on a Thursday (March 29th), different from years past. He explains that the date was chosen because it’s the Mariners’ home opener.

YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE: City gets 1,000 more park/street grant ideas; here’s how to help narrow down the list

For the second year, the city invited park/street grant ideas through what it calls “Your Voice, Your Choice” – and citywide, it’s just been announced, 1,000 new ideas came in, in addition to almost 400 ideas getting rolled over from last year. Next up, you’re invited to “project development” meetings to help narrow the list down (which is also being done right now through city staff’s feasibility reviewing). Here’s where and when the meetings are in District 1 (West Seattle/South Park):

February 26, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
South Seattle College, Chan Education Center, Rm 202 – 6000 16th Ave SW

February 27, 6 – 8 pm
South Park Community Center – 8319 8th Ave S

March 12, 10 am – 12 pm
Southwest Youth and Family Services – 4555 Delridge Way SW

March 14, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
West Seattle Branch Library – 2306 42nd Ave SW

March 26, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Southwest Branch Library – 9010 35th Ave SW

The “project development” process is explained here. After that, there’ll be a list you can vote on, so stay tuned for that in June-July. The citywide fund this year for all projects totals $3 million.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit’s first open house, report #1

6:45 PM: By our rough count, more than 150 people are already at the Sound Transit open house that’s on until 8:30 pm at the Masonic Hall in The Junction (4736 40th SW). What’s billed as a short presentation is about to begin, and then the commenting and one-on-one chats with ST staffers will continue.

ST staff stresses that written comments are what they’re looking for tonight (and in the rest of the “early scoping” period that continues through March 5th) so your comments can be part of the official record. You have several options for doing that here, including sticky notes on maps (photo above).

7:08 PM: The presentation is over, and it’s back to open-house mode. Other commenting options here include simply writing them on paper (photo above). Or, just gather all the info and ask all the questions you need to, and then get your comments in via e-mail or the “online open house” whenever you have time – the deadline in this round is March 5th. And if you didn’t get to this open house – the information (Ballard extension as well as West Seattle extension, since they are being planned concurrently) will also be presented, and comments accepted, at the next two open houses:

Ballard
Thursday, Feb. 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Leif Erikson Lodge, 2245 NW 57th Street

Downtown Seattle
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Union Station, 401 S. Jackson Street

Online ‘open house’: wsblink.participate.online

You can also comment by e-mail – wsblink@soundtransit.org – phone (206-903-7229) – and postal mail, c/o Lauren Swift, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle 98104

7:50 PM: Still here, just to observe how it’s flowed, and there are at least 40 people still here talking, commenting, etc. Among those we’ve seen here are local neighborhood and transportation advocates, including Deb Barker, who is on the Stakeholder Advisory Group for the project, and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who is on the Elected Leadership Group – comments like the ones made here tonight will be filtering up through those groups. We also talked briefly with “Avalon Tom,” whose unofficial renderings of the potential elevated track through West Seattle generated a lot of discussion on WSB last month (and beyond, including at the recent Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting, and we’ve seen some printouts being viewed here too). You still have time to get here, ask questions, take a look at maps and boards, and make comments – until 8:30. We’ll have a separate report recapping what happened here and what’s next.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Why NOW is the time to speak up, whatever you want to say – and how to do it

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you have something to say about West Seattle light rail – ANYTHING to say – say it now.

Or should we say, NOW. In capital letters. Shouted.

With the “online open house” that you can use for feedback starting today, and the in-person open house in West Seattle tomorrow, these next three-plus weeks are when your comments, suggestions and concerns matter most in the year-plus process of getting to a “preferred alignment” for the West Seattle line (and Ballard too).

Sound Transit reps have made that point at various meetings (we’ve covered them all) and made it again this morning with a media briefing at their HQ downtown.

So, we asked ST executive Cathal Ridge – who’s been leading all the briefings lately – this is the time to throw out anything and everything you want them to consider?

Yes, he affirmed. “We’re really trying to encourage people to throw out the ideas now and we will evaluate it now … rather than wait a year to bring them up in the environmental process because then we will have wasted a year .. that’s really why we’re making a superhuman push to get out there (and hear from) the public. People often don’t engage in a process until it’s much closer … (but) the only way to meet the timeline is to start the process now. … We want to have people weigh in on the ‘representative alignment’ and also on the purpose of the project – let us know what concerns them about the project, what excites them about the project.”

The “representative alignment,” if you’re just tuning in, is the draft plan that envisions extending light rail this way from a new second station in SODO, across the Duwamish River on a new elevated bridge, continuing, elevated, to The Junction with three West Seattle stations along the way. Here’s ST’s Chris Rule showing it with a Google Earth map at this morning’s briefing, as he’s done at other recent meetings:

When you provide feedback on that and anything else you want to comment on, Sound Transit stresses that this isn’t just about big-picture ideas/concerns. Even the sort of thing that otherwise might not come up until the environmental studies, such as construction or noise impacts – the more they hear now, the better the chances of speeding this thing up (and 2030 is already sped up from the original timeline).

We also asked about the format for the open houses – tomorrow’s is 6:30-8:30 pm at the Masonic Hall in The Junction (4736 40th SW). If you can, get there toward the start, because there will be a presentation at about 6:45 pm. That’ll last about 15 minutes. They don’t expect to have a group Q&A after that – instead, Ridge said, lots of ST staffers will be there for you to ask questions one on one and to take your feedback.

Wondering what happens then? Good question. Feedback from the in-person and online open houses, plus a round of “neighborhood forums” in March, will be collected for an “early scoping report” that then goes to the Stakeholder Advisory Group – whose first meeting we covered last week. They will be involved in “screening,” and in turn providing their feedback to the Elected Leadership Group (whose first meeting we also covered). Then there’ll be second and third rounds of screening before the “preferred alternative” is settled on in spring 2019. Here’s the slate of how that all goes:

The final decision is in the hands of the Sound Transit board, but that’s after all those multiple rounds of feedback. Again – we have to say it again – NOW is the time to get everything out there on the table that you want to say, ask, etc., in the interest of acceleration. Ridge said that “a lot of the delay we’ve had in the past (on other light-rail projects) is when technical issues and stakeholder issues weren’t identified early on” so they have to retrace and redo some steps – “you think you know what you’re doing, and then you run into some kind of roadblock.”

So as distant as 2030 sounds, there’s a lot of deciding to be done right now, but this is the time to speak up.

HOW TO COMMENT: In-person open houses (you can go to the Ballard and downtown ones too – they’re all for the West Seattle to Ballard extensions, which are being planned in tandem though Ballard opens five years after WS):

West Seattle
Tuesday, Feb. 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Alki Masonic Center, 4736 40th Ave. SW Street

Ballard
Thursday, Feb. 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Leif Erikson Lodge, 2245 NW 57th Street

Downtown Seattle
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Union Station, 401 S. Jackson Street

Online ‘open house’: wsblink.participate.online

You can also comment by e-mail – wsblink@soundtransit.org – phone (206-903-7229) – and postal mail, c/o Lauren Swift, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle 98104

BACKGROUND INFO: Here’s how the project was outlined before the Sound Transit 3 vote in 2016, including some cost information; we’re asking for more and will add it when we get it.

FOLLOWUP: 2 Neighborhood Street Fund projects going out to bid

Almost a year and a half after they were chosen for funding, two Neighborhood Street Fund projects proposed by West Seattleites are going out to bid. A notice in today’s Daily Journal of Commerce announces that the city is seeking bids on a package of five NSF projects meant to improve walking and biking safety, two of which are in West Seattle – the Chief Sealth Walkway Improvements and the Harbor Ave. SW/SW Spokane St. Intersection Improvements Project. The notice says bids will be opened March 7th; we’ll be checking with SDOT on the anticipated construction schedule.

FOLLOWUP: New signage is up for side-by-side Highway 99 exits

(WSB photo taken this afternoon)

As promised, SDOT did indeed install new signs this weekend to replace the ones that had been missing a while just before the side-by-side West Seattle Bridge/Harbor Island exits on southbound Highway 99. The verbiage for the bridge-exit sign is a little simpler, compared to what was on the old sign, as shown below in a Google Maps image from 2014:

(The blurring in that image is Google’s, not ours.) As reported here two weeks ago, the previous signs had been removed due to windstorm damage, the city said, while noting one sign was planned for replacement anyway.

SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE: ‘Tentative agreement’ announced by First Student and Teamsters Local 174

(Friday morning photo sent by driver Al)

On Day 7 of the school-bus drivers’ strike, there’s word it may be over. Just in via e-mail, what’s described as a “a joint statement” from the drivers’ employer and union:

After meeting with a federal mediator, Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks and First Student Senior Director Kim Mingo released the following statement regarding transportation for Seattle Public Schools:

“We are pleased to announce that First Student and Teamsters Local 174 leadership have come to terms on a fully-recommended tentative agreement.

We are confident that this contract will be ratified by union membership. The vote will take place tomorrow, Saturday, February 10 at 10:00 AM. Upon ratification, yellow bus service will resume on Monday.

The agreement provides an expanded benefits package and comprehensive health care coverage for our Seattle Public Schools yellow bus drivers and families. We feel strongly that this deal meets the goals set by all parties in these negotiations.

First Student labor negotiators and Local 174 leaders have maintained open lines of communication throughout this process. Though this tentative agreement took longer than we had hoped, what brings us all together is our shared commitment to provide safe and reliable transportation for Seattle Public Schools students and families.”

No further details – we’ll add anything more we find out. The same statement is published on Local 174’s website.

DONE EARLY: Fauntleroy/Wildwood intersection has reopened

2:23 PM: The project that was supposed to close the Fauntleroy/Wildwood intersection for two weeks is done in less than one. The intersection is open again, and crews are removing the no-parking signs on the SW Trenton detour route. No official alert updates yet; we’ll update when that happens. The work involved replacing concrete road panels, plus a curb ramp.

4:48 PM: Metro has since sent a rider alert via text and tweet that it has resumed its regular route in the area.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Here’s what happened at Stakeholder Advisory Group’s first session

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

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Your first official, Sound Transit-convened way to have a say on West Seattle light rail is now four days away.

But first – another of the two groups that are also meant to represent you in the process has just had its first meeting, last night at Union Station downtown.

What’s formally known as the Stakeholder Advisory Group for the West Seattle-Ballard Link Extensions spent two and a half hours together for introductions, presentations, declarations, and questions.

The full list (as approved/appointed by the Elected Leadership Group), made public the previous day, includes these six who live and/or work in West Seattle:
Deb Barker (who is a board member with West Seattle Transportation Coalition as well as president of the Morgan Community Association)
Willard Brown (executive with the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association)
Hamilton Gardiner (West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, not in attendance)
Brian King (introduced himself as a Delridge resident and daily bicyclist)
Greg Nickels (Admiral resident best known as Seattle’s 51st mayor)
Walter Reese (executive at the Nucor steel mill in West Seattle)

“This is a moment that’s been years if not decades in the making,” opened Sound Transit’s Don Billen. Next to him were Elected Leadership Group co-chairs County Council President Joe McDermott (a West Seattleite) and City Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

Read More

FOLLOWUP: Installation planned this weekend for new SB 99 West Seattle Bridge/Harbor Island exit signs

Two weeks ago, we published a report on SDOT‘s promise to replace the signs that have been missing for quite some time on southbound Highway 99 just before the side-by-side exits for the westbound West Seattle Bridge and Harbor Island. SDOT now has set the dates for installation. Here’s the announcement:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that SDOT crews will reduce the number of southbound SR 99 travel lanes on Saturday February 10, and Sunday, February 11 to replace overhead signs directing travelers on southbound SR 99 to West Seattle and Harbor Island.

This work will reduce the number of southbound travel lanes to create work zones for crews just north of the West Seattle and Harbor Island exits starting Saturday morning and continuing through Sunday afternoon. Please use extra caution during this time as lane closures will alternate depending on the location of signs being replaced. SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is being completed.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Tonight SW District Council, tomorrow Planning Commission & Stakeholders Group, whose full roster is out

Even before we get to next week’s first open house for the Sound Transit West Seattle-Ballard light-rail extension, it will be part of three meetings tonight and tomorrow.

TONIGHT: Added to the Southwest District Council agenda (6:30 pm, Sisson Building/Senior Center, 4217 SW Oregon), the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s presentation on what’s known so far about the “representative alignment” (here’s our coverage of the presentation at last week’s JuNO meeting).

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: The Seattle Planning Commission will be briefed on, and will discuss, the “representative alignment” for the West Seattle-Ballard extension during its 3-5:30 pm meeting in the Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall (600 4th Ave.). Here’s the draft agenda.

THURSDAY EVENING: 5-8 pm in the board room at Union Station (401 S. Jackson), it’s the first meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Group that Sound Transit is convening, with members appointed by the Elected Leadership Group. Its mission is explained here. The full list of appointees was made public moments ago; we’ve been awaiting it since hearing earlier today from Deb Barker of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition that she will be a member of the group. Here’s the full roster:

• Abigail Doerr, Transportation Choices Coalition
• Andres Arjona, Community Representative – Ballard
• Becky Asencio, Seattle Public Schools
• Deb Barker, Community Representative – West Seattle
• Brian King, Community Representative – West Seattle
• Bryce Yadon, Futurewise
• Colleen Echohawk, Chief Seattle Club
• Dave Gering, Manufacturing Industrial Council
• Erin Goodman, SODO Business Improvement Area
• Ginny Gilder, Force 10 Hoops/Seattle Storm
• Greg Nickels, Former Mayor of Seattle
• Hamilton Gardiner, West Seattle Chamber of Commerce
• Jon Scholes, Downtown Seattle Association
• Julia Park, Community Representative – Ballard
• Katie Garrow, Martin Luther King Labor Council
• Larry Yok, Community Representative – Chinatown/ID
• Maiko Winkler-Chin, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation & Development Authority
• Mark Nagle, Expedia
• Mike Stewart, Ballard Alliance
• Paul Lambros, Plymouth Housing
• Peter Schrappen, Northwest Marine Trade Association
• Robert Cardona, Community Representative – Uptown
• Ron Sevart, Space Needle
• Savitha Reddy Pathi, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
• Scott Rusch, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
• Steve Lewis, Alliance for People with disAbilities
• Walter Reese, Nucor Steel
• Warren Aakervik, Community Representative – Freight
• Willard Brown, Delridge Neighborhood Development Association

All three of the meetings we’ve mentioned above are open to the public.

SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE: Day 5 on Wednesday; union asks district to fine First Student

(Tuesday morning photo courtesy of striking driver Al)

Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 7) will be the fifth day of the strike against First Student, which is contracted to provide yellow-bus service for Seattle Public Schools. Some drivers continue to cross the picket lines, and some local families are getting district notifications that their routes will be served – the district said in its Monday night update that about 70 of the almost 400 drivers had gone to work that day. Today, the drivers’ union Teamsters Local 174 published a call for the district to fine First Student, pointing to the text of a letter it said a district official sent the bus company three months ago, warning that it faced a fine of up to $1.2 million a day.

We asked district spokesperson Kim Schmanke about the contract; she confirmed that it “requires uninterrupted service, with liquidated damages as an option for the district,” which she added “is continuing to track and calculate” those potential damages, and “will address collection of those damages in conjunction with legal counsel as this situation unfolds.” (If you’re interested in contract details, here’s what went to the School Board for approval a year ago.)

ADDED 11:02 PM: One more note – the teachers’ union, the Seattle Education Association, plans a show of support for the striking drivers on Wednesday, after classes end for the day (Wednesdays have been early-release days all year), and are planning to wear red as part of it.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: See what the city has scheduled for West Seattle in next 5 years

Often, city projects that seem to appear out of the blue were actually in the works for years, contained in voluminous city Master Plans. So we thought you might be interested in a plan that was presented to a City Council committee this afternoon – the Implementation Plan for the recently updated Pedestrian Master Plan. It contains lists of specific evaluations and projects planned for specific intersections and streets around the city, so we broke out what’s on the lists for West Seattle, and when (for the full citywide lists, see the document, embedded above or here in PDF):

UNSIGNALIZED CROSSINGS & CROSSING EVALUATIONS

*2019
35th Ave SW & SW Graham St – New Signal
SW Roxbury St & 32nd Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
SW Roxbury St & 28th Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
SW Roxbury St & 23rd Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
SW Roxbury St & 21st Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
35th Ave SW & SW Snoqualmie St – Evaluate for Signal
29th Ave SW & SW Barton St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
62nd Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
Delridge Way SW & SW Webster St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

*2020
California Ave SW & SW Brandon St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
24th Ave SW & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
28th Ave SW & SW Thistle St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
23rd Ave SW & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
Delridge Way SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
26th Ave SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
8th Ave SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

*2021
Olson Pl SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Signal
18th Ave SW & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
21st Ave SW Turn Road & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
60th Ave SW & Alki Ave SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
9th Ave SW & SW Cloverdale St = Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
Garlough Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
16th Ave SW & SW Orchard St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
48th Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
9th Ave SW & SW Trenton St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

*2022
3rd Ave SW & Olson Pl SW – Evaluate for Signal
California Ave SW & SW Findlay St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
25th Ave SW & SW Barton St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
10th Ave SW & SW Henderson St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
51st Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

ARTERIAL SIDEWALKS

*2018
35th Ave SW between SW 100th St and SW 106th St – 6 blocks

NON-ARTERIAL SIDEWALKS

*2018
SW Orchard St between SW Myrtle St and Dumar Way SW – half-block

*2019
24th Ave SW between SW Thistle St and SW Barton St – 4 blocks

STAIRS/WALKWAYS

*2021
SW Edmunds St between Cottage Pl SW and 23rd Ave SW – stairs

*2022
SW Kenyon St between Delridge Way SW and 24th Ave SW – walkway

The implementation plan also mentions the new RapidRide corridors around the city – including the scheduled-for-2020 H Line on Delridge – as providing “potential crossing improvements and curb ramps,” and mentions Delridge, Fauntleroy, and 35th SW as “Vision Zero corridors.” No specifics on what’s next for 35th SW, which is running behind previously announced timelines for Phase 1 updates and Phase 2 plans. As for the Implementation Plan itself, SDOT says it will be updated each year. Committee members voted in favor of the resolution that formally adopts this plan, though that doesn’t mean everything in it will become reality – scheduling, funding, and other details would be separate.

ADDED TUESDAY NIGHT: Seattle Channel video from today’s meeting:

TRAFFIC ALERT: SDOT crew to work on 6 West Seattle traffic signals tomorrow

Just in from SDOT:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that work is being done at six intersections in West Seattle to install new traffic control components so that they are compatible with the latest traffic control operating system. The new equipment will allow improved system operations and updated pedestrian crossing times. This work is a part of collaboration with community feedback over pedestrian crossing times along SW Admiral Way and California Way SW. Work is scheduled for Tuesday, February 6.

What to expect:

Revised signal operation timings and updated pedestrian crossing cycle length during a.m. peak, p.m. peak, and off-peak hours. The locations are as follows:

41st Ave SW and SW Admiral Way
42nd Ave SW and SW Admiral Way
California Ave SW and SW Admiral Way
California Ave SW and SW Lander St
California Ave SW and SW Stevens St
California Ave SW and SW Hanford St

SCHOOL-BUS DRIVER STRIKE: Picketing begins

(Added: Picket-line photo from South Park, sent by Al)

The strike by hundreds of First Student drivers, whose company provides school-bus service for Seattle Public Schools, has begun. Their union Teamsters Local 174 reports that drivers are picketing at the First Student bus yards in South Park and Lake City as of about an hour ago. As announced earlier this week, this is NOT a one-day walkout like the November strike – this is an “until there’s an agreement” strike. But school IS open and the families of students who would usually take the bus are expected to make arrangements to get their kids to school; the district’s answers to other questions can be found here.

FOLLOWUP: How Metro plans to reroute C Line, Route 116 buses during road closure south of Fauntleroy ferry dock

That sign is on the corner of Fauntleroy and Trenton, which is now confirmed as part of the reroute for buses once SDOT starts its two weeks of work – announced Monday – closing the intersection of Fauntleroy/Wildwood, just south of the ferry terminal. Metro has now finalized the reroute plan for the C Line and Route 116 buses, and has published it here (PDF). The project replacing some of the road panels and adding a curb ramp is scheduled to start next Monday, lasting up to two weeks.

BULLETIN: Fauntleroy Boulevard project ‘on hold’


(WSB file photo – 38th/Fauntleroy, in the zone set for the now-on-hold project)

FIRST REPORT, 3:53 PM: Tonight, as we’ve been reporting, the Junction Neighborhood Organization has a Fauntleroy Boulevard project update on the agenda. This afternoon, we’ve learned it will be a MAJOR update: The project is on hold, because of concerns that have long been raised by some community members – including that it might conflict with Sound Transit‘s light-rail plan, leading to the same stretch of busy roadway being torn up twice. Just posted to the project webpage:

We’re putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold.

… Based on community input and continued coordination with Sound Transit, we are putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold. This decision responds to community concerns about prolonged construction and effective use of taxpayer dollars.

Sound Transit’s current proposed route for the voter-approved West Seattle Light Rail Extension includes an elevated rail line on Fauntleroy Way. If built after the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, there is the possibility that Fauntleroy improvements would need to be removed and potentially rebuilt.

During our recent design outreach, we heard community concerns about dealing with major construction twice in such a short amount of time. The community also asked whether constructing the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project now, and potentially having elements of the project removed later, would be an effective use of public dollars. Our decision to put construction on hold will help to ensure that SDOT’s and Sound Transit’s plans for this stretch of Fauntleroy Way don’t conflict. We recognize West Seattle has multiple paving and transit priorities, and we will reallocate Fauntleroy Boulevard Project funds to address the community’s needs.

Sound Transit is still in the early stages of their design for light rail to West Seattle, and they anticipate choosing a preferred alignment by mid-2019. Last month, the City announced plans to work closely with Sound Transit over the next 18 months to identify a preferred route for the light rail tracks and stations to the West Seattle Junction.

The Fauntleroy Boulevard plan stemmed from a community-generated proposal dating back to the turn of the millennium. It proposed a rechannelization of Fauntleroy Way SW between SW Alaska and 35th SW, adding safety and multi-modal features, and stretches of landscaped median. It was idle for some years (concepts were explored in 2010) and then “re-activated” in 2016, with the final design announced last year. But as the Sound Transit West Seattle to Ballard planning phase ramped up recently, so did the questions and concerns about why millions would be spent on this stretch only to potentially see it torn up again a few years later (it’s in the draft alignment, and ST hopes to start construction as soon as 2025).

ADDED 6:09 PM: We asked City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for comment. Her reply:

We’re working to insure that if Sound Transit builds the representative alignment then Sound Transit will be responsible for rebuilding to project-level standards if they dig up the same portion of the street. If Sound Transit, on the other hand, chooses a different alignment and we move forward with the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project and SDOT determines that there are increased costs as a result of cost escalation due to the delay, then we’ll work to see that Sound Transit picks up those extra costs. Sound Transit won’t make final alignment decisions until late 2019, so in the meantime, we need to be working to prepare for a possible reallocation of levy dollars, based on what we have heard and will hear from the community about West Seattle’s transportation priorities. We don’t want to wait on Sound Transit to keep delivering levy improvements in West Seattle.

First Student school-bus drivers going on strike starting Thursday

Announced tonight by Seattle Public Schools – bus drivers for First Student, with which the district contracts for yellow-bus service, are going on strike starting Thursday. SPS has no classes tomorrow because of the “day between semesters,” but school will be back in session Thursday regardless of transportation status. The drivers’ union, Teamsters Local 174, calls it an “unfair labor practice strike” and adds:

The drivers have been in ongoing negotiations with First Student over healthcare and retirement benefits since last summer. They participated in a one-day Unfair Labor Practice strike on November 29 after their employer unilaterally implemented an inferior healthcare plan that had not been negotiated with the Teamsters. This strike received a great deal of support from the Seattle community. Since then, First Student has not resolved any of the Unfair Labor Practices they had previously committed, including the unilateral implementation of the substandard healthcare plan.

The district has posted answers to frequently asked questions on this page. The union, meantime, says it will have “active picket lines” outside First Student bus yards in South Park and Lake City.

STAIRWAY WORK: Fauntleroy/Director closed for SDOT project; see which West Seattle stairways are next

12:24 PM: Discovered this morning that the stairway at SW Director Street/upper Fauntleroy Way, between the Fauntleroy fish-ladder viewpoint and northbound RapidRide C Line stop, is closed for SDOT work. Further research turned up this map, which reveals it’s one of four city-owned stairways on the list scheduled for work this year, along with:

-SW Hill St between 42nd Ave SW & California Ave SW
-SW Holly St & Beveridge Pl SW to 46th Ave SW
-California Ave SW & SW Willow St

We’re checking with SDOT to see how long the work is expected to last, and which West Seattle stairway project will be next up.

3:33 PM: SDOT’s Greg Funk has replied with the info:

-SW Director “just started” and could reopen February 19th if all goes well
-California/Willow is expected to start February 26th, “substantial completion” March 16th
-Hill/42nd is expected to start April 30th, “substantial completion” June 8th
-Holly/46th is expected to start June 11th, “substantial completion August 17th

“Substantial completion” means “stairway will have temporary handrail and (will be) opened to the public until our rail fabricators finish the install of new rail.”

Two other stairway projects will be in “design options” mode this year – SW Thistle (east of Lincoln Park) and Bonair SW.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit’s first official ‘open house’ set for February 13th

January 29, 2018 9:40 am
|    Comments Off on WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Sound Transit’s first official ‘open house’ set for February 13th
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

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

The date is finalized for the next step in planning for the West Seattle (to Ballard) Sound Transit light-rail line: The first West Seattle in-person meeting, “open house” format, is set for 6:30-8:30 pm Tuesday, February 13th, at the Masonic Hall (4736 40th SW). ST also will launch an “online open house” the day before the meeting. If you’re still catching up on why you need to get involved now for a service not scheduled to start until 2030 – here’s our most-recent coverage, from the first meeting of one of two advisory groups, the Elected Leadership Group. We also just got time/location details on the first meeting of the other group, the Stakeholder Advisory Group5-8 pm February 8th at the Union Station boardroom (401 S. Jackson).

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