Transportation 2348 results

West Seattle Transportation Coalition: What SDOT says it’s hearing about Delridge RapidRide, midway through feedback time

(Newest Delridge RapidRide slide deck, as shown to WSTC)

The main topic of last night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting: The 2020 conversion of Metro Route 120 to the Delridge RapidRide H Line. The city is leading the planning right now because it’s a service enhancement using the extra tax dollars approved by Seattle voters.

DELRIDGE RAPIDRIDE H LINE: Dawn Schellenberg from SDOT came at what she called the “middle of the second comment period,” which ends on March 31st. She brought an updated slide deck with a few new slides (embedded above, and viewable here in PDF). First comment she got, toward the start, was from WSTC board member Mark Jacobs, who suggested the new line should serve the underutilized park-and-ride lot under the west end of the West Seattle Bridge. Then Kim Barnes from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council said the line should serve the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village, which is already densifying with redevelopment and facing HALA upzoning, as are all urban villages. What about having an H-A line and an H-B line, one of which loops through the WW-HP area? suggested WSTC board member Chas Redmond.

Bicycle safety is a concern. One attendee said neither of the two options currently being pitched by SDOT seems safe from a bicycle rider’s standpoint, especially the loss of a median, which motorized-vehicle drivers usually use to get safely around riders who are in general traffic lanes. Read More

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: Metro launches survey, hoping to simplify fare-paying

Metro has questions for you, in an online survey launched as they start a planning process in hopes of making “paying fares to ride the bus faster, easier, and simpler for everyone.” Here’s the announcement, which includes a link to the survey:

Metro and the six other regional transit agencies that represent the ORCA (One Regional Card for All) smart-card system have committed to looking at simplifying fares across all agencies as they prepare for improvements and modernization of the ORCA system. As part of that process, Metro is considering options that would allow for speedier boarding, improve safety for drivers, help increase ridership and further reduce barriers for vulnerable populations.

This month, Metro invites the public to provide direction on fare change options and longer-term work on fare-related issues by participating in an online questionnaire. In April, the public will have additional opportunities to provide feedback on fare change options via a second online survey and open houses.

The public can find the survey as well as sign up to receive updates via Metro’s fare review website.

Metro encourages all transit riders to participate, including youth, older adults, students, ORCA Lift riders, riders with disabilities, as well as schools, employers and community-based organizations. Metro also is contracting with community organizations to hear from harder-to-reach populations so their input is considered as Metro assesses options and develops programs to address affordability and access to transit. Feedback during the outreach process will be used to draft proposals. A final proposal will be submitted to the King County Council for consideration in June.

Metro also is convening an advisory group to consider various fare options and advise on additional work Metro needs to do to make transit and ORCA more accessible to people. The group, which will meet three times through May [next meeting April 4th], comprises employers, social service organizations, advocacy groups and others, and serves in an advisory role to provide input on fare options and longer-term programs. Meetings are open to the public for observation. Details are available on the project website.

We went through the survey to see if it included specific options under consideration. In the version we saw, it did not – you are asked an open-ended question at one point about what you think would make fare-paying simpler, and you’re also asked to set priorities for what you would want a changed fare-paying system to accomplish. The survey’s deadline is April 7th.

DELRIDGE RAPIDRIDE: City, county reps at West Seattle Transportation Coalition tomorrow

It’s prime feedback time for the plan to convert Metro Route 120 into the Delridge RapidRide H Line – and in case you haven’t already seen it in the calendar, tomorrow night is your next chance to hear and talk about it. City and county reps are due at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s March meeting, 6:30 pm Thursday at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW). Lots of questions, concerns, and ideas – as last week’s Delridge Neighborhood District Council discussion showed; though the conversion isn’t scheduled until 2020, key decisions are being made soon. (Here’s more backstory, including the options under consideration.)

SIDEWALKS ON THE WAY: 3 projects in West Seattle this year

Three stretches of West Seattle streets are due for new sidewalks this year, as shown on the map above, made public as Mayor Murray spotlighted the city’s updated Pedestrian Master Plan today.

*35th SW in Arbor Heights between 100th and 106th adds to the sidewalks built north of there 5 years ago

*Arbor Heights also will get a block of sidewalk along SW 104th between 35th and 36th, just east of AH Elementary

*In Delridge, sidewalks are on the way to SW Orchard between Myrtle and Dumar

Today’s full announcement says the mayor is sending the plan to City Council later this week. If you’d like to look into the future to see where future work might be focused, the “priority investment network” map for our area starts on page 60 of the full Pedestrian Master Plan.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: 2 tours past, 2 big decisions ahead


(Flashing fire signal at 38th SW that is planned for conversion into pedestrian-activated signal)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With both walking tours for the Fauntleroy Boulevard project over, big decisions are ahead for the project.

We covered both tours – Thursday afternoon (here’s our report) started in sunshine; this morning had an even bigger turnout – “impressive,” as one SDOT staffer deemed it –
despite starting in steady rain.

The route and the stops were the same – from outside LA Fitness at Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th to West Seattle Brewing at 4515 Fauntleroy Way. The fact the project is focused only on that stretch is a disappointment to one of today’s participants, René Commons from the Junction Neighborhood Organization, who lives near the 35th SW entrance to the West Seattle Bridge and had been lobbying for pedestrian and landscaping improvements extending that far – not currently in the 60-percent-designed plan to transform Fauntleroy Way through The Triangle:

2016_nov_fauntleroy60_planview

One of the decisions to be made about the entire stretch is what will happen during construction, which project spokesperson Kate Cole – who, like Thursday, led about half the participants on the tour, while her colleague Rachel McCaffrey led the other half – said is more likely to start in early 2018 than late 2017.

“It’s still early,” they stressed, repeatedly. And yet it’s not so early in the design phase, which got to 60 percent before the project was shelved in 2014 pending funding.

The full-route decision to be made involves detours during construction, which is expected to last at least a year. Right now, SDOT is mulling two options: Keep Fauntleroy open one lane each way, which could stretch construction out to 15 months, or keep it open to westbound traffic only, while eastbound traffic is detoured onto SW Alaska. Asked whether left turns would be allowed during construction, SDOT staff said yes. But limiting Fauntleroy to westbound traffic would be a challenge for businesses who have eastbound customers in the morning:

The other decision to be made is about the right-turn pockets currently proposed for elimination – onto SW Oregon on the westbound side, onto Avalon Way on the eastbound side:

With three years passing since the studies that led to the elimination decision, SDOT is doing new studies now, and McCaffrey says the results should arrive in about a month. When those studies for the 2014 design were done, project team member Peter DeBoldt said, they showed a “slight increase in congestion” with the removal of the turn pockets. But as tour participants pointed out, conditions in the area have changed – anyone who drives SW Oregon between California and Fauntleroy knows how much busier it’s become; the residential areas lining it have densified, with hundreds of apartments added by projects including Oregon 42 and Junction Flats, and townhouse/rowhouse projects replacing some of the single-family houses in the area.

So the traffic-study results will be awaited with interest; how those results will be communicated to you is still being decided, she said when we talked during the tour-end event at West Seattle Brewing.

And they’re still planning what they’ll do when the final design is complete, likely “early summer,” according to McCaffrey. (We of course will continue reporting on this, but she also suggested you join the project e-mail list.)

Right now, they’re also urging businesses to talk with the city Office of Economic Development, which had a rep at the end of the tour again today.

City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who was on today’s tour (photo above), had said during the recent Fauntleroy Way Association launch meeting that she wanted to see OED get more deeply involved. But so far, there’s been no talk of possible business compensation, as was eventually offered during the controversial 23rd Avenue project in the Central District/Capitol Hill area.

“We’ve learned from the 23rds of the world,” McCaffrey said today, as she had on Thursday.

If you’ve missed the general summary of the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, here’s how Cole summarized it at the start of today’s tour:

That’s SDOT project manager Norene Pen at left in the video, in which Councilmember Herbold also gave a quick explanation of why utilities are being “consolidated” rather than undergrounded in the project.

The two big decisions we mentioned above aren’t the only ones remaining – along the route, SDOT acknowledged the request for a break in the median in the 37th SW vicinity, and said they have to evaluate the “tradeoffs” that might generate. And they continued to clarify project points along the way today; someone asked about curb bulbs, and project manager Pen said they’ll be used on side streets to shorten crossing distance, not to narrow Fauntleroy, where the travel lanes will be “about the same” in width, another question was answered.

Other questions remain about how this plan will interface with and anticipate a future that is still in motion – with much of the surrounding area zoned for development much higher than what’s currently in place, even before potential HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, and with Sound Transit light rail due to come to West Seattle in less than a decade and a half, and station-location decisions to be made long before then.

HOW TO HAVE A SAY: To tell the project team what you think about the design, landscaping, and key questions such as which detour option to use during construction (or – do you have another suggestion?), scroll down the official project page to find a form. You’ll also want to look at the boards that were shown at tour’s end – here (PDF), or embedded below:

McCaffrey says they will also come out and speak with community groups by request – e-mail fauntleroyblvd@seattle.gov – as they did, for example, at last month’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting.

ANOTHER PROJECT LAUNCH: Chief Sealth High School Walkway Improvements

The Harbor/Spokane/Avalon project mentioned here on Thursday is one of two community-proposed West Seattle projects to get Neighborhood Street Fund money this year. Today, SDOT is launching the feedback process for the other one – now going by the title Chief Sealth High School Walkway Improvements, for a stretch of city right-of-way between the school and Westwood Village, east of Southwest Athletic Complex. Here’s the description of what’s being planned:

The project will improve connectivity, walkability, and safety for residents and students who currently use two unimproved and overgrown paths on 25th and 26th avenues SW, between SW Trenton and SW Cloverdale streets. Project elements include:

Two 10-foot wide asphalt walkways on 25th and 26th avenues SW running between SW Trenton St and the cul-de-sac to the north

Pedestrian lights along the two paths

Removal of overgrown vegetation and installation of new trees and plants where appropriate

Possible new plaza space at 25th Ave SW and SW Trenton St, either defined by paint or constructed with concrete

This is the first phase of outreach and we’d like to hear from you! Email us by April 9 to let us know:

What do you like about the design so far?

Do you have any concerns?

What would you like to see at the possible plaza area at 25th Ave SW and SW Trenton St?

How would you want to use this space?

What else would you like us to know about how you use this area?

What improvements would you like to see?

Do you have recommendations for how to keep people informed about the project?

Send your answers, and any other comments, to NSFChiefSealthWalkway@seattle.gov. The project is being designed this year, for construction next year. Here’s the SDOT document for the review of the original concept, estimated to cost $465,000; here’s our coverage of one of the meetings last year where pitches were made for this and other potential NSF projects in east West Seattle.

PHOTOS: What happened on the first Fauntleroy Boulevard walking tour

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Even outside peak commute times, motorized-vehicle traffic roars and rumbles through The Triangle on Fauntleroy Way, along the route of the now-in-final-planning-stages Fauntleroy Boulevard project. This afternoon, that posed challenges for the “talk” part of the first of two SDOT-led Walk-and-Talk Tours through the project zone.

More than 40 people turned out in the semi-surprise sunshine to walk along most of the route, eastbound from 39th/Alaska to Fauntleroy/Avalon, with two crossings along the way. Introductory speakers included longtime resident and community advocate Sharonn Meeks (below, with project manager Norene Pen):

Meeks reiterated that the project “has been in play” for many years and said, “We’re here as a community … not as ‘I want it, I don’t want it’.”

Two groups formed; we went along with the one led by project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey, who recapped key points of the plan, including two travel lanes in each direction, and “consolidation of utilities” since the undergrounding requested by the community wasn’t part of the budget. Stops started with an explanation outside Trader Joe’s of how, since their current loading area will no longer exist, they’re going to load off 39th SW west of the store, with some in-lane loading in the middle of the night on Fauntleroy.

McCaffrey said TJ’s is “pretty happy” with what they worked out. Currently, they get two truck deliveries each night, one around 7 pm, one around 3 am. Next stop was the Parks-owned triangle by SW Oregon, where pedestrian improvements were the focus.

Discussion included the plan to change the overhead “fire signal” flashing lights to a full pedestrian-activated signal. Some questions included how that would be timed with the rest of the motorized-vehicle traffic flow on the road. Also noted at this stop, the plan to have “consistent, defined sidewalks” on both sides of Fauntleroy. Then came a chance – for those who haven’t experienced it – to see what it’s like crossing Fauntleroy in The Triangle. The amount of time allotted definitely wasn’t enough for ~20 people.

At the end of that crossing, outside Wardrobe Cleaners, tour participants got a look at the area that SDOT says will be turned into “green stormwater infrastructure.”

Someone pointed out a utility pole that seemed to be infringing on the pedestrian area. “We’re going to be moving a lot of utility poles,” McCaffrey acknowledged. Another question: How will the landscaped median areas be maintained? SDOT is accountable for right-of-way maintenance, but community group help would be great too, McCaffrey said. (Community groups actually have helped over the years – we’ve covered numerous cleanups in the Triangle/Gateway area – but their numbers have dwindled, among other challenges.) Project designer Mike Hendrix said they’re looking at “low maintenance” trees, too.

Outside the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building (Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee), questions included just how much of the parking lot was really city right-of-way.

With questions about how businesses would be helped to survive the year-long construction period – a major topic at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association – the SDOT reps pointed to city Office of Economic Development reps who were present, and suggested talking with them at the end of the tour.

After that, we missed the final scheduled stop because of unrelated breaking news. But we caught back up with the end of the tour inside West Seattle Brewing (4515 Fauntleroy Way SW), where participants were invited to check out more informational boards, talk one-on-one with SDOT reps, and chow down on pizza that WS Brewing baked at its Alki location and brought up to the Triangle for the occasion.

Also there, Jill Anholt, just announced this week as winner of the public-art contract for the project zone:

Anholt said she doesn’t have a preconceived plan for the work – she’s waiting to see the stories that community members tell. (Here’s how to share yours.) We asked what she’s done in the area most recently; turns out she has work at the newly opened Sound Transit Angle Lake station.

The second and final walking tour – at least for this phase of the feedback process – is on Saturday morning (March 18th), 10:30 am-noon. Same route – meet outside LA Fitness at 39th/Alaska.

YOUR THOUGHTS? Early concept for Harbor/Spokane/Avalon intersection improvements


(SDOT map showing “early concept” for project)

Ready to provide feedback as another West Seattle transportation project gets going? Here comes your chance for semi-early comments on the project officially known as Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St Intersection Improvements – covering the often-snarled area beneath and on both sides of the bridge. It affects SW Avalon Way, too, though that’s not mentioned in the title.

This is a community-proposed project that made it through the Neighborhood Street Fund process. We reported back in October that it was voted to receive funding; the cost is estimated at $352,000. It’s being designed this year and will be built/installed next year. Here’s the description from the project “fact sheet,” followed by the questions the project team is asking you to answer now:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will improve safety for people walking, biking and driving at the intersection of Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane Street in West Seattle. In 2016, the Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane Street Intersection project was one of 12 selected by the Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee to be funded through the SDOT’s Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) program. The NSF program funds projects requested by the community.

PROJECT ELEMENTS
■ Adding a signal to give people biking a protected crossing from the northeast to the southwest corner of the intersection
■ Adding a curb bulb to increase space to stand and visibility at the corner
■ Removing segments of a jersey barrier along the Alki Trail approaching Harbor Ave SW
■ Restriping the crosswalk
■ Trimming overgrown landscaping on the northeast corner
■ Adding bike ramps on SW Avalon Way
■ Painting a bike turn lane on SW Manning St

Maintaining transit and freight access to Harbor Ave SW and SW Avalon Way is a key element of the project.

Adding the protected bike signal will increase wait times at this intersection during some peak times of the day.

PROJECT BENEFITS
■ Increase visibility of and safety for people walking and biking across Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St
■ Clarify a bike-only turning movement at SW Manning St and SW Avalon Way

The project team is asking for your comments on the early concept – via e-mail, at NSFHarborandSpokane@seattle.gov. Their questions are:

*What do you like about the design concept presented on our website? Do you have any concerns?

*Do the project elements address any problems you have at this intersection?

*What is your experience at this intersection when you are walking? Biking? Driving?

*Do you have recommendations for how to keep people up to date about the project?

If you’re interested in the original concept for the project – here’s the SDOT document summarizing it (in far more detail), prepared for last fall’s review/decisionmaking process.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: Walk-and-Talks this week; project artist; followups

A reminder, an update, and a followup, all related to the Fauntleroy Boulevard project:

2016_nov_fauntleroy60_planview

WALK-AND-TALKS TOMORROW, SATURDAY: The two SDOT-hosted “Walk-and-Talk” tours announced last month are tomorrow and Saturday. On Thursday, it’s scheduled for noon-1:30 pm; Saturday, 10:30 am-noon, both starting outside LA Fitness at 39th SW/SW Alaska and continuing east to end at West Seattle Brewing, 4515 Fauntleroy Way SW. The plan, SDOT says, is to “share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback.”

PROJECT ARTIST ANNOUNCED: As with most such projects, this one will have public art, funded by the city’s 1% for Art program. SDOT announced this week that “a panel of community leaders, project staff and local artists selected Jill Anholt to develop the public art component.” The Vancouver, B.C.-based artist will be on tomorrow’s Walk-and-Talk tour. SDOT says she’ll be working with community suggestions:

Pick up a pre-paid postcard from a West Seattle Junction restaurant, coffee shop, or community center, fill in your West Seattle story, and mail it back to help inform the new art for Fauntleroy Way SW. You can also pick up a postcard at the Walk and Talks this week or fill out an online postcard on our project webpage.

According to the “call for art” from last year, the budget is $150,000.

ABOUT THE RIGHT-OF-WAY: As highlighted at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association (WSB coverage here), one concern for some businesses along the route is that they’ll be losing parking. The city says its plan is to build entirely in the “right of way.” So we followed up with SDOT (which wasn’t at the community group’s meeting) to ask about the public/private property delineation in the area. Project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey replied:

… in much of the project area, the sidewalk and street are poorly defined and people have become accustomed to using the public right-of-way for parking or loading. This means that people are sometimes driving and parking on the sidewalk. One of the main project goals is to organize the street to be more predictable and comfortable for all users. We achieve this, in part, by defining clear sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and vehicle lanes. Throughout the design process, we have been working with individual business owners to adjust our project designs for the right-of-way to accommodate their business operations; for example, by relocating loading zones and adjusting driveway placements.

The paved triangle just north of Wardrobe Cleaners is City-owned right-of-way. In the project design, this area will be converted into green stormwater infrastructure landscaping to help manage stormwater runoff. Based on our meetings with the owners of Wardrobe Cleaners, we have also incorporated into the design a “load zone driveway” in the right-of-way space between the new landscaping and the Wardrobe Cleaners’ building for customers to use for short-term loading.

At the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building, some of the area out front currently used as a parking lot is private property and some is public right-of-way. To access the parking area on private property, people drive their cars over the public sidewalk, and often inadvertently end up parking on the sidewalk/public right-of-way. We have been working with the property owner and business owners at this building to adjust the driveway placements in the design to maximize the amount of parking space on their private property. Even with these changes, the parking capacity in front of their building will be reduced from the mix of private and public space they’re accustomed to using for parking.

Even if right-of-way has been used in that way for a long time, McCaffrey says, “Washington State courts have held that property owned by governmental entities, including the City of Seattle, is not subject to adverse possession by private individuals or entities.” (Around residential property, for example, the “right of way” doesn’t end at the sidewalk.)

McCaffrey also addressed some concerns raised by Rudy’s Barbershop reps in relation to the recent meeting:

They noted that the design is based on out-of-date traffic data. Based on community feedback, we are in the process of conducting an additional traffic study on Fauntleroy to validate the findings of our original traffic study in 2012. We will share this data and any design adjustments it indicates with the community next month. Rudy’s Barbershop also raised concerns that the project does not add new pedestrian crossings. The project adds an additional crosswalk across Fauntleroy at 38th Ave SW. We have heard requests from the community for an additional crosswalk between SW Avalon Way and SW Oregon St. As we refine the design, we are examining the feasibility of adding an additional mid-block crosswalk in this area; as a part of our current traffic study, we are considering how this addition would affect safety and vehicle movements.

We’ve also asked about the status of the crosswalk that is supposed to be installed just west of the project zone, at 39th/Alaska/Fauntleroy, as part of the “public benefit package” for the alley vacation granted to The Whittaker (WSB sponsor) project, and are waiting to hear back from SDOT on that.

ADDED 1:52 PM: The reply on that: “The Whole Foods/Whittaker project design includes construction of a new crosswalk across SW Alaska St (crossing from the Whittaker to the Spruce, as you described). Based on our understanding of the Whittaker’s construction schedule, their project – including the new crosswalk – will be complete by the time we begin construction on the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, anticipated to begin in late 2017 or early 2018. If for some reason this crosswalk has not been installed by the time we are completing construction at that intersection, it is something that our project could build.”

DELRIDGE RAPIDRIDE DECISION: ‘Online open house’ for H Line asks you to choose between 2 options

Three weeks after we reported that the Delridge RapidRide plan is moving ahead – including a name, the H Line, and a later launch date (2020) – a new planning phase has just launched, with questions for you including one major decision between two options for how Delridge Way will be configured along the route.

It’s in the form of an “online open house” that starts here. The introduction confirms that what is currently Metro Route 120 will “become” the H Line. And you’ll want to click all the way through the “online open house” to get to the big decision – what you think about Option 1 (PDF here, embedded below) vs. Option 2 (PDF here, embedded below):

They’re summarized on this SDOT fact sheet as:

OPTION 1 focuses on improving bus speed and reliability in the corridor by adding bus only lanes, both all day and at peak times. A widened sidewalk would accommodate people who bike and walk along key sections of the corridor in addition to the neighborhood greenways, which run parallel to Delridge Way SW.

OPTION 2 would add bus-only lanes in the north section of the corridor between the West Seattle Bridge and SW Alaska St. It would also add about 3 miles of protected bike lanes along Delridge Way SW.

The “online open house” also includes this comparison (PDF here, embedded below) of what the cross-section of parts of Delridge would look like under the two proposed options:

After all that, as you continue through the “online open house,” you’ll get to a survey section. It doesn’t ask you immediately about your preference for the two options, but it does get there, so be sure to keep going. Then, you’ll reach this list of in-person outreach events coming up:

Visit us in person as we spend time out on the corridor the week of March 20. We hope to see you!

3/20 from 7 – 8 AM at the southwest corner of Delridge Way SW and SW Andover St
3/20 from 11 AM – 1 PM at bus stops along Delridge Way SW
3/21 from 7 – 9 AM at bus stops along Delridge Way SW
3/22 from 5 – 6 PM at 21st Ave SW and SW Dawson St along the neighborhood greenway east of Delridge Way SW
3/23 from 4:30 – 6:30 PM at bus stops along Delridge Way SW
3/24 from 8 – 10 AM on the east sidewalk at the intersection of Delridge Way SW and 17th Ave SW

(We’ll be adding those to the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, with reminders in our weekday-morning traffic coverage.) Even if you don’t have time to deal with this now – you’ve got two-plus weeks; the city says the “online open house” will be up and running through the end of the month.

P.S. If you’re concerned about the crumbling pavement on parts of Delridge Way – particularly the northern half – we recently asked SDOT about plans for repaving, and the reply was that it would be done in connection with the RapidRide project. How much, when, and where, we don’t know yet. You’ll see the state of the pavement mentioned in the “online open house.”

Seen off West Seattle: Testing begins for Washington State Ferries’ new Chimacum

Couple people (including Nate Hamilton, who shared the photo) wondered if the ferry under tow in Elliott Bay today was in trouble. We checked MarineTraffic.com for the ID, and learned it’s the new state ferry M/V Chimacum – NOT in trouble, just getting tested. Washington State Ferries spokesperson Ian Sterling confirmed that Chimacum is out on testing runs starting today. We reported last September on its christening at Vigor on Harbor Island; the ferry’s construction was finished there, after its superstructure was built at, and transported from, Nichols Brothers on Whidbey Island. Sterling says the Chimacum is expected to go into service on the Seattle-Bremerton run in late spring/early summer.

P.S. Other ferry news today … WSF announced the sale of the M/V Evergreen State.

Metro’s March 11 service change to add West Seattle trips, change schedules

Metro has officially announced details of its March 11 service change. Here’s what’s happening with West Seattle routes:

RAPIDRIDE C LINE, ADDED TRIPS: Here’s what Metro is adding:

On weekdays, a new RapidRide C Line trip to downtown Seattle leaving 26th Ave SW & SW Barton St will be added. Existing trip times will be adjusted to provide trips arriving in downtown Seattle every 5-8 minutes between approximately 8:45 AM and 9:25 AM.

Also, a new weekday RapidRide C Line trip to Westwood Village leaving Valley St & Fairview Ave N will be added. Existing trip times will be adjusted to provide trips departing South Lake Union every 8-9 minutes between 5:45 PM and 6:16 PM.

ROUTE 21 EXPRESS, ADDED TRIP: “A new Route 21E trip to Arbor Heights leaving 1st Ave & Blanchard St at 6:35 PM will be added.”

WEST SEATTLE ROUTES ‘WITH SCHEDULE CHANGES TO ADDRESS RELIABILITY‘: We haven’t found the specific schedule changes yet and are following up with Metro, but in the meantime, the West Seattle runs listed here include 21E, 22, 37, 55, 57, 60, 119E, 128. (Added: Full system-wide list is in Metro’s news release.)

Teal timetables will be available “in coming days,” Metro says, and you can explore schedule changes online now by using the Trip Planner with dates March 11th and later.

@ West Seattle Transportation Coalition: Fauntleroy Boulevard Q&A; One Center City

2016_nov_fauntleroy60_planview

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Now that the Fauntleroy Boulevard project is funded and approaching construction, it’s getting even-closer public scrutiny, and that brought a briefing and Q&A at last night’s meeting of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, which has talked about it many times before.

Close to 30 people were there, including an SDOT delegation led by Fauntleroy Boulevard project manager Norene Pen and project communication lead Rachel McCaffrey, who launched the briefing with background:

The project area is .4 miles long, and the concept dates back to 1999 discussions. Part of the project involves the Bicycle Master Plan‘s designation in 2014 of Fauntleroy Way for a protected bike lane. Outreach to adjacent property owners, and discussions, started in 2014-2015. Early ’15 is when the project was “put on hold” for lack of funding; then it was added to the Move Seattle levy, approved by voters in November 2015. She said they’re aware that the partial design that’s just been “re-initiated” is two years old and they are assessing current conditions to be sure it still works, as they then finalize design and move toward starting construction “late 2017 or early 2018.”

The project’s 3 main goals: Read More

SPRING ROAD WORK: SW Roxbury sidewalks, road-panel replacement

IMG_2171
(WSB photo from March 2016, looking east from west of 30th SW; future-sidewalk zone is at right, eastward from 76 station)

In our report on last week’s Roxhill Elementary PTSA tour of EC Hughes Elementary, we mentioned that principal Tarra Patrick told the group that the school would be affected by upcoming work to install sidewalks on the other side of Roxbury. And we promised details. We’ve reported these plans before, but not a specific timeline or other details; thanks to Brent Champaco of King County Road Services, here’s what we’ve found out:

The project is going out to bid next month and work is expected to start in May. Along with building the new sidewalks along the south side of SW Roxbury between 28th SW and 30th SW, “approximately 10 concrete roadway panels” will be replaced adjacent to the sidewalks, according to Champaco, and since that will require shifting traffic on Roxbury, the Roxhill school-bus zone on the north side of the street will have to be moved. The county started talking with Roxhill and the school district last year, discussing two options; the district, Champaco says, prefers to have the bus zone relocated to 30th SW in front of the school. So that will mean signage changes to restrict parent pickup/dropoff in that area, as well as pedestrian signage changes.

The project is expected to take up to two months, but Champaco says traffic won’t be shifted on Roxbury for the entire duration: “Once the concrete panel work is completed, traffic can use existing lanes. The contractor will be permitted to close a lane and shift traffic between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Between 6:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and between 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., all lanes must be open.” There’s enough width to keep 2-way traffic moving, he says.

Since the sidewalk and road-panel work is adjacent to businesses, we asked how they’ll be affected/accessible:

During the design phase, King County Road Services and Property Services staff worked closely with the owner of the 76 gas station; the landowners of the parcels housing the Roxbury Auto Parts store, Mocha Mojo coffee stand, and Eric’s Import & Domestic Auto Services; and the owner Roxbury Auto Parts store to resolve parking impacts and secure easements and right-of-way.

Parking on the auto parts store property, including the “coffee shack” will be modified to provide a one-way loop for the “coffee shack” and a one-way loop for the auto parts store. The parking lot revisions were reviewed and approved by King County’s Department of Permitting and Environmental Services. The number of parking spaces following the project completion will equal or exceed existing parking spaces.

The 76 gas station will have one 30-foot wide driveway and one 35-foot wide driveways to SW Roxbury Street (thereby consolidating access to two points of ingress/egress). The auto parts store will have a 25-foot wide driveway entering the loop in front of the store and a 28-foot wide exit driveway. A 32-foot wide driveway will provide entrance/exit to the “coffee stand” and parking at the back of the auto parts store. Finally, a 30-foot wide driveway will provide access to the auto repair shop.

Access to each of these businesses will be provided continuously throughout construction. No other businesses (such as the casino, Shell gas station or Safeway) are expected to be impacted by the work.

This is all part of the Roxbury Corridor Project; our most recent update was almost a year ago. While researching this, we also checked in with SDOT’s Jim Curtin, who added, “SDOT is also surveying Roxbury for our upcoming paving project. The project is still a few years out but we are looking for ways to expedite the project.”

THE H LINE: Delridge RapidRide gets a name, and a later opening date

The RapidRide line through Delridge is now projected to open in 2020 – one year later than suggested as recently as a few months ago. And it’s been officially declared the H Line. That’s according to new information on the SDOT website (hat-tip Seattle Transit Blog, which says this was presented downtown last night at a Seattle Transit Advisory Board meeting), including this list of the names and start dates for all the currently envisioned expansion routes:

Also posted by SDOT, this detailed report on the expansion routes and what’s next – you’ll find the H Line on page 24 and 25:

We’ll be checking with SDOT to see when the next community discussion/presentation about the H Line is planned. West Seattle’s first RapidRide route, the C Line, launched service in September 2012.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: Two ‘Walk-and-Talks’ announced for March

2016_nov_fauntleroy60_planview

6:48 PM: The Fauntleroy Boulevard project through The Triangle is suddenly a hot topic, and tonight we have word of two more chances for you to find out more about it. Along with the West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting tomorrow night (Thursday, February 23rd, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center) and the new Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association‘s meeting a week from tonight (Wednesday, March 1st, 7:30 pm at Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee), SDOT just announced two “Walk-and-Talk” tours along the route.

Project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey says, “These walking tours will be an opportunity for us to share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback. We’ll include light refreshments from Fauntleroy businesses along the way.” She says it’s “the same tour on two different dates: Thursday, March 16, from 12-1:30 PM, and Saturday, March 18, from 10:30 AM-12 PM. The tours will begin outside of LA Fitness, at 3900 SW Alaska St, and end at West Seattle Brewing Co., at 4415 Fauntleroy Way SW.” Also, watch your postal mail for a postcard about this (see it here) – she says it’s being sent to a “swath” of the area (we have a followup question out asking exactly where said “swath” is).

ADDED 11:57 AM: We have the reply to that: “We mailed the postcard to approximately 8,560 addresses roughly in the boundaries of SW Charlestown St, 45th Ave SW, SW Juneau, and 26th Ave SW. We’ll also announce the event via our email newsletter, which has about 300 subscribers.”

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: New business/resident association forms to elevate concerns, sets March 1st meeting

2016_nov_fauntleroy60_planview
(SDOT’s 60% design – click for larger view)

Over the weekend, we mentioned the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s plan for a briefing/discussion this Thursday about the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, and much discussion ensued. Today, news of another meeting: The newly formed Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association has just invited nearby businesses and residents to its first community meeting, 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 1st, in the Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee building (4480 Fauntleroy Way). See the flyer here as a PDF, or embedded below:

The Fauntleroy Boulevard plan has been under discussion for almost a decade, but had no funding until the mayor added it to the Move Seattle levy in May 2015.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: West Seattle Transportation Coalition update Thursday

2016_nov_fauntleroy60_planview

The concept of transforming Fauntleroy Way SW into a “boulevard” through The Triangle (between 35th and Alaska) has been kicking around for many years. But now there’s money in the city budget and construction could start before year’s end, as announced last fall. We’ve shown general concepts many times … the renderings above and below are the newest ones SDOT has made public, from the “60% design” phase:

crosssection
(Cross-section from city project page)

So what about the details, such as how access will change for businesses and side-road users, for example? This Thursday is your chance to hear firsthand, and to ask questions, as an SDOT rep from the project will be featured at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s monthly meeting. “WSTC has been expressing concerns (about the plan) since 2013 – within West Seattle, and with successive (project) teams, SDOT management, the mayor, and City Council,” says WSTC co-chair Martin Westerman. “Concerns include, but are not limited to, issues around project design and cost, and coordination between successive (project) teams and SDOT-Move Seattle, Seattle City Light, Sound Transit, and West Seattle stakeholders.” The meeting starts at 6:30 pm Thursday (February 23rd) at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW). Westerman also notes, “All are welcome — from community associations, interest groups, businesses, and members of the public.”

HIGHLAND PARK WAY UPDATE: Reopened!

(TOPLINE: After a 2 1/2-day closure to clear slide debris, Highland Park Way is open again as of just after 5:30 tonight)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 2:52 PM: Our photo taken a short time ago shows some slide cleanup still under way on Highland Park Way, and now there’s word from SDOT spokesperson Sue Romero that it will NOT be open before the PM commute after all:

Highland Park Way SW remains closed due to slides and is expected to reopen this evening.

SDOT completed removal of the remaining debris earlier today. SCL is installing a new power pole. SDOT crews will then install ecology blocks to buttress the hillside.

This work is expected to last into the PM commute. Please continue to use detours.

The hill between Holden and West Marginal Way has been closed since the sliding happened around 5 am Wednesday (here’s our original report; here’s a Thursday report with a closer look at just how much slid).

5:39 PM: Kelly tells us it’s open. We are en route.

5:47 PM: Just drove the hill – yes, it’s open again, all lanes. And Metro says Route 131 is back to its regular route.

ADDED 6:48 PM: A couple of postscripts. First, we asked SDOT this afternoon if they had determined any cause other than the heavy rain – a commenter had noted earlier, for example, that WSDOT had blamed one of its recent freewayside slides on a drain problem. But SDOT spokesperson Romero checked and said, no other factors were involved here. Meantime, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – who lives in Highland Park and was among those whose travel was affected by the closure – wrote about the slide in her latest e-mail-list update, which went out this afternoon. After an update on the cleanup, she added:

… I’ve asked SDOT what kind of assessment they’ll be doing about the long-term safety of this area from future slides, and what improvements we can expect after the cleanup.

I thank King County Metro for their quick rerouting of Route 131 to accommodate bus riders in the area (myself included). The incident highlights for me – once again – the need for an emphasis upon improvements on Highland Park Way. So many people (from all over West Seattle) use this corridor to get off the peninsula. What might have once been a little-known egress is not any longer.

The Highland Park Action Committee has long been an advocate for improvements to the Holden and Highland Park intersection to slow down and make traffic flow more efficient. The focus of those efforts has been on the design and development of an arterial roundabout. SDOT agrees that improvements to this corridor are warranted. It is not funded at this time. I have inquired with SDOT about the funding estimate for the design portion alone to see if I can help identify some funding to give the project some momentum.

Though the focus of the community has been on the roundabout, I am inquiring with SDOT whether they’ve considered lane separation as an improvement. Many people I know who are familiar with this road drive in the outermost lanes and avoid the opposite direction inner lanes because of the driving practices of people less familiar with the route, or practices of those who are familiar but speed hazardously nonetheless.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s the plan for adding to Metro late-night bus service

Last October, we reported on a survey asking your opinion on proposed additions to late-night Metro bus service in Seattle. Today, the plan was officially announced, and the West Seattle components are the same ones in the draft plan from last fall:

*Additional late-night service at about 2 a.m. on Route 120 serving Delridge, White Center and Burien

*Hourly all-night service on the RapidRide C, D, and E Lines, which currently operate all night but with less than hourly frequencies

The full list of additions to late-night bus service in Seattle would cost about $730,000, with two-thirds coming from the city via the voter-approved Transportation Benefit District. If the County Council gives its final approval, the changes would take effect in September.

FERRY ALERT UPDATE: Sealth back in service on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route

February 2, 2017 4:10 pm
|    Comments Off on FERRY ALERT UPDATE: Sealth back in service on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route
 |   Fauntleroy | Transportation | West Seattle news

4:10 PM: The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route of Washington State Ferries is back to reduced capacity again because of a boat breakdown. M/V Sealth is having steering troubles and is out of service for repairs TFN. Updates and schedule alerts are here; you can monitor boat status via Vessel Watch here.

4:50 PM: Via e-mail, WSF says there’s now a two-hour wait at Fauntleroy.

6:46 PM: WSF says the Sealth is now back in service.

FIXING FERRIES: Triangle Task Force takes off

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At one point during last night’s inaugural meeting of the new Washington State Ferries Triangle Improvement Task Force, its nine volunteer members were reminded why they were there:

One of the WSF staffers painted a verbal picture of the longrunning frustration with trouble on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth (aka Triangle) route peaked on hot summer days, in idling cars, backed-up traffic, with people furious over delays in getting home to their families, even as part-empty boats departed in an effort to catch up to the schedule.

In contrast, the new citizens advisory committee convened in the quiet, comfortable confines of the Fauntleroy Church Fellowship Hall, with four WSF employees and a handful of onlookers.

The pressure was palpable, though – they have two months to come up with “quick wins” along the road to fixing the route. Read More

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