West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
This started, as many WSB stories do, with an e-mailed question:
Why is the new sidewalk along Fauntleroy Way SW, by Fairmount Playfield, half concrete and half asphalt?
The sidewalk was installed this summer, two years after the removal of trees that left the old one cracked and bumpy. This is an especially bad place for that since this is a school-bus pickup/dropoff zone for nearby Fairmount Park Elementary, in addition to its frontage along a popular park in a densifying area.
There’s no obvious explanation for the mid-sidewalk material switch. But we went over for a firsthand look and noticed that where the concrete ends, it has a stamp: MOVE SEATTLE.
That, you’ll recall, is the $930 million levy passed by voters last year.
When we asked SDOT about the two-tone sidewalk, we learned that it’s related to a much smaller number: $90,000 – less than one-hundredth of one percent of the levy amount.
SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah first answered our question “why is half the sidewalk concrete and half asphalt?” with this information: “SDOT was able to replace a portion of the sidewalk with concrete and use asphalt temporarily for the remaining section to keep within budget. SDOT is planning to replace the asphalt section with concrete next year.”
So – we asked in a followup – there wasn’t enough money to use concrete for the entire project?
That’s not exactly what “keep(ing) within budget” means in this case, Mah replied: “With the budgetary constraints facing projects, our goal is to minimize project costs as much as possible. This sometimes requires doing small projects in phases. The statewide bid limit law restricts SDOT crews to projects that cost approximately $90,000 or less per year. Otherwise the project has to be sent out to bid, which can raise the cost and extend the timeline to deliver the project. To stay within the bid limit, we split the project in two phases – one in 2016, the rest of it next year in 2017. The city is aware that there would be some cost savings and efficiencies if we could mobilize the crew and finish it all at the same time. However, we are bound by the state’s law concerning limits on crew-completed work.”
And now you know.
10:25 AM: We are at 49th and Admiral with about 20 residents and SDOT reps Dawn Schellenberg and Sam Woods for this morning’s first of two ‘Walk & Talk’ gatherings to talk about the upcoming Admiral Way Safety Project changes. No walking yet – all talking. (Added: Here’s our video of the first 14 minutes:)
The second session is supposed to start at the entrance to Schmitz Park on Admiral at 11:15. Main focus here: Pedestrian safety and what can be done to enhance it.
In general, those here are concerned about speeding. “This intersection is critical,” one person said.
10:42 AM: One group has gone on to Schmitz Park, while one that trailed, with Woods taking notes, is now at 53rd and Admiral, where Lander cuts off to Alki.
Woods is explaining that all three lanes here will narrow to 10 feet.
We are breaking off to move on with other events. SDOT says comments will be taken until September 2nd (contact info is at the end of their project webpage); restriping on Admiral will start a few weeks later.
Four weeks after SDOT went public with its final decision on changes for SW Admiral Way west of California, tomorrow’s the day for its two announced “Walk and Talks.” The announcement on the project webpage says the main goal of the walking tours is to talk about more possible “pedestrian improvements” for the street. The first one starts at 10 am Saturday on the south side of Admiral at 49th SW (map); the second one, 11:15 am Saturday, is set to start at the entrance to Schmitz Park at Admiral/Stevens (map). Last month’s announcement was more than a year after SDOT’s original plan was met with a multitude of concerns.
6:01 PM: That’s the plan for the 35th Avenue SW Corridor Safety Project walking tour that SDOT is leading tonight, with the times and places where you can meet up with the tour if you just want to go along for part of it. We’ll be covering it for the duration; updates to come.
6:08 PM: Above is the photo we took on arrival at 35th/Avalon; we now have four residents, two SDOT staffers. Not walking yet so this might run a bit behind the posted schedule.
6:30 PM: Now at Dawson. 11 residents. (Added – video of part of the conversation:)
Someone parked along 35th just north of here displaying an anti-rechannelization sign.
Dawson might get a signal to facilitate crossing – to and from popular city park Camp Long – and that could mean it would need to keep 4 vehicle lanes, SDOT says.
One man who joined here says there are far more families with kids in the area now and they need to be able to cross safely.
6:54 PM: At 35th/Juneau. The person with the protest sign walked over to join the group, expressing a concern about speed limits being too low. 5 mph won’t make a difference, she said. Actually, SDOT’s Jim Curtin said, it would. (Added: Video from this stop, including that exchange:)
7:10 PM: At Graham, where two people have been hit and killed in the past decade. This corner will get a big mixed-use development soon, so it will be much busier. Curtin says vehicles will enter and exit from Graham, not 35th. 8 people on the tour now, by the way. He also says this intersection will soon get temporary painted curb bulbs on the SW and SE corners.
7:25 PM: Tour crossed Morgan and is wrapping up – this is where ‘Phase 1’ begins, with the road becoming one lane each way just south of here. What happens along the stretch we just traveled will be decided in the months ahead.
One woman who has been along for most of the way says she understands the safety rationake but she and her husband find the rechannelized stretch frustrating. Signal timing is a clear problem, and Curtin acknowledges that, reiterating what he told us after last Thursday’s meeting – that the timings will be fixed.
Another concern – getting stopped behind the Route 21 buses and their frequent stops. One person wonders if there can be fewer stops. Someone else points out that not everyone can walk further – elders, people with disabilities, people with small children, etc.
7:39 PM: Tour officially over. We will be adding video clips from a couple of the stops once we are back at HQ.
7:58 PM: Talked at the end with Curtin and the other SDOT staffer on the tour, James Le. Curtin stressed that whatever you think about the possible changes along the way – detailed in the boards prepared for last Thursday’s meeting – “it’s not a done deal” and they’re continuing to review the hundreds of comments they’re receiving and have received (at least 110 at last Thursday’s meeting alone). Another community meeting will be planned before year’s end, and they plan to incorporate both feedback and data as they work on design for Phase 2 (north of Holly, south of Alaska).
Six months after we first reported on a long-requested traffic-calming plan for Fauntleroy’s Endolyne district, it’s about to become reality. We’ve confirmed with SDOT that installation work starts next week, likely on Wednesday – what you see in the photo above is part of the layout that’s been marked in the area to get ready for the work. As explained in the just-mailed flyer:
This project will change SW Brace Point Drive to a one-way, eastbound street, provide 7 new back-in angle parking spaces, enhance pedestrian crossings with three paint-and-post curb bulbs with plantings, and install on-street bicycle parking. This project will also restrict parking on a short segment of SW Wildwood Place to increase safety.
Construction is scheduled to last approximately one week with minimal impacts to residents, businesses, and travelers. Later this year, we will return to install 12 planter boxes in the new paint-and-post curb bulbs to help clearly define the pedestrian space.
For an even-more-detailed look at the plan, here’s the final design.
FIRST REPORT, 6:27 PM: Here are the boards/slides for SDOT‘s meeting tonight about Phase 2 of the 35th SW Road Safety Corridor Project. They start with stats that SDOT says prove “the roadway redesign is improving safety,” referring to the Roxbury to Holly rechannelization put into place last fall:
The slides continue on to what SDOT says is under consideration for Phase 2, including:
*Rechannelization between Edmunds and Juneau (one lane each way, center turn lane)
*Possible extension of rechannelization from Juneau to Graham
*Signal or turn restrictions/crossing at Juneau or Graham
*Crosswalk or signal at Dawson (a signal might require 4 traffic lanes, SDOT notes)
*Holly (north end of current rechannelization) to Graham, likely keeping “4 to 5 general-purpose lanes”
Whatever is decided for Phase 2 would not be put into place until next year, but some tweaks are planned in the meantime, including the crosswalk, with flashing beacons, at Kenyon, to be installed next month. More to come at the 7 pm meeting at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW).
7:02 PM: The meeting has just begun. Outside the front door to NHHPC, rechannelization opponents were handing out bumper stickers.
Inside the hallway, dozens of people were already gathered.
Before opening the doors, SDOT’s project manager Jim Curtin stuck his head out to explain the format – strictly open house, no presentation. When he mentioned that the information would include an update on Phase 1, somebody said loudly, “Sucks!” and laughter rippled around the crowd. When he said, “We want your feedback,” someone else was heard to say, “Do you really?” (Added – our video of Curtin’s announcement)
Yet another voice wondered aloud whether SDOT director Scott Kubly was present. (Doesn’t appear to be.) Boards from the document atop this story are on easels around the room, and there are a few tables set up for different forms of feedback.
We’re sitting near a staffer who is explaining the greenway concept (set for 2019 construction).
More to come.
7:20 PM: The room is getting crowded. People are writing down comments to put in a box by the front of the room, and there are other feedback opportunities, including a table at the center of the room. It’s a little loud in here for effective Q/A, and somebody approaching the comment box just verbally commented to that effect. One man was heard standing at the greenway table nearby, demanding to know who he could vote against in the next election. We haven’t looked at the sign-in sheets for an estimate but we would guess at least 100 people have circulated through so far.
7:30 PM: We’re going to circulate and listen in, since it’s mostly just a dull roar where we currently are sitting. Also looking for a copy of the survey/comment form that people are filling out; one voice nearby suggests a reason for supporting safety improvements is “Because I’d like not to die.”
7:41 PM: Pending discovery of a PDF somewhere, here’s a photo of the “Phase 1 Comment Sheet”:
The crowd has thinned. Maybe 50 in here right now. The lights have gone on, finally. Nobody at the greenway table at the moment. Might be our chance to ask a few questions. West Seattle has two greenways already – one through North Delridge, one in Puget Ridge/Highland Park – and this one is supposed to be mostly parallel to 35th, but not scheduled for construction for at least three years.
8:10 PM: We’ve just roamed the room a bit to listen in. The board with the major Phase 2 proposals – another possible stretch of rechannelization, possible signals/crossings – is on the northeast end of the room. There, an SDOT employee cheerily corrected one man who asked about “the road diet” by saying, “It’s NOT a road diet.”
“Hey, I’m FOR the road diet,” replied the attendee (not in photo above). A woman standing at the other end of the board says she supported what’s been done so far. Down now to about 35 people; we’re taking a quick look at the sign-in sheets to see if that gives any sort of an attendance count (keeping in mind that not everyone will take the time to, or want to, sign in).
8:25 PM: The biggest crowd remains around project manager Jim Curtin, who is next to the board with the collision data from Phase I – the official full evaluation of the first year is due out in October, according to the project timeline. He’s listening to concerns including intersections where it’s become tougher to turn.
Meantime, even with far fewer people in the room, it’s still loud. If you prefer a quieter venue for questions/concerns, the “walking tour” planned for next Tuesday – 6 pm-7:30 pm August 9th, starting at 35th/Avalon and heading south – might be of interest. SDOT did this before Phase I and there was little turnout, meaning those who did drop in at various spots had no trouble engaging the SDOT reps in conversation.
8:32 PM: One woman leaving the room told the SDOT staffer at the check-in table, “Thanks for listening to all our gripes!” Staffer’s reply: “That’s what we’re here for.” We’re not quite down to 1-to-1 ratio SDOT to general public, but getting there. Quiet enough now that we can hear Curtin’s voice from around the room, reiterating what’s in the new documents, that travel times have not increased by much and that transit times have improved. Yes, but, one man says, he lives in The Arroyos and the 21X experiences delays. Curtin, who has said often publicly that he lives in Arbor Heights and uses 35th in multiple modes, says he rides the 21X too and can vouch for that. The attendee suggested Metro should have been here along with SDOT.
8:45 PM: Still a handful of people here. The greenway-table SDOT staffer is talking with a woman about Arbor Heights’ sidewalk shortage. We have a few questions to ask once this is about to wrap, and we’ll add the answers after we get them.
9:40 PM: After the last few attendees trickled out just past 9, we spent a while talking with project manager Curtin. First, we brought up the point made in comments, about comparing the crash and injury/death stats from the not-quite-a-year post-Phase 1 to the ten years ahead of time. He agreed that the real tale will be in the official report this fall, when they will use a 3-year period for comparison, and will “lay out everything we have.”
Second, we clarified that the stretch which might be rechannelized next is very much in flux – if SDOT decides new signals/crossings at Dawson and/or Graham are warranted (and this is tied into the greenway planning, so there would be a cutover to The Junction), that could reduce how much of the roadway would be eligible for lane reductions. But Curtin stressed that road redesign is vital to reduce speeding on the stretch north of Morgan.
Third, we asked what could and would be done to address some of the concerns brought up over and over again, especially people having difficulty making turns, either onto or off 35th, because there’s no break in the one-lane-each-way traffic. He said there WILL be changes in signal timing and he expects that will make a major difference – they will use a timing scheme they had in place before Phase 1 – and he promised it will happen before year’s end.
The last major point – he stressed that they are proceeding more slowly with this phase, that what was on the boards you see above (and/or saw at the meeting) are “concepts,” with more discussions coming up at the August 9th walking tour, at a community meeting before year’s end, and another one early in 2017.
We have some photos to add, before the night’s out.
More road work you need to know about: Lower Spokane St., just east of the “low bridge,” is in for some major work starting soon. From the official project page.
Starting in early August, SDOT will repave and make other improvements along SW Spokane St from SW Klickitat St to East Marginal Way S. We expect the work will take approximately three months to complete.
Repave street surface
Add new pedestrian crossing (with pedestrian push button signal request) on the West Seattle Bridge Trail (west side of the intersection of SW Spokane St & Klickitat Ave SW/11th Ave SW)
Build new and upgraded curb bulbs and curb ramps
Replace 2 active railroad crossings
Remove an abandoned railroad crossing
Construct raised crosswalk on the north side of the 900 block of SW Spokane St, creating a speed bump to slow people driving as they cross the paths of people walking or biking on the West Seattle Bridge Trail
Repair sections of sidewalk and trail where tree roots have badly cracked the surface.
The project coordinator tells WSB that as of right now, this is scheduled to start on August 8th – one week from Monday.
As we’ve been reporting for more than three weeks, the next community open-house meeting about the 35th Avenue SW Corridor Safety Project – what’s been done so far, and what’s planned for Phase 2, north of SW Morgan – is coming up on August 4th. First we reported the date; then additional information from SDOT Blog; and then yet more information from the mailer that was sent to a wide area of West Seattle (including news of an August 9th walking tour planned in addition to next Thursday’s meeting) and our subsequent exchange with the project manager.
Tonight, our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold mentions the upcoming 35th SW discussions in her periodic e-mail update (read it in full here), including what she’s heard from residents and what she’s asking SDOT to do:
… SDOT has indicated they will be doing a 1-year review of the project later this year (scheduled for October), similar to this one done for a rechannelization street project in North Seattle on NE 75th.
I have heard a variety of concerns about the impacts of the project, including from people who live on side streets near signals who have struggled to merge onto 35thduring rush hour, or even get out of their driveway onto the street, and rush hour travel times.
I’ve asked SDOT to expand the parameters of what they study in the 1-year review. The NE 75th study mostly looked at speed, collisions, and traffic volumes. SDOT indicated they could ask for feedback to inform the study as they do outreach for Phase 2; I’d like any decision about whether to revisit the project, or alter plans moving forward, be informed by community suggestions about what to include in this study, to ensure it assesses the full range of impacts. So, what additional impacts do you think SDOT should study? …
One way you can answer her question: Stop by during Councilmember Herbold’s next in-district office hours, tomorrow (Friday) at Southwest Neighborhood Service Center (2801 SW Thistle), noon-7 pm.
After more than a year, SDOT has just gone public with what it’s decided to do on SW Admiral Way, between Admiral Junction and Alki. Here’s the full text of the e-mailed announcement, including plans for “walk-and-talk” meetings on August 20th:
We’ve spent the last few months incorporating feedback into a street design that will reduce speeding and crashes and preserve parking where it’s in high demand.
We heard during public engagement that people are driving too fast along SW Admiral Way, crashing into parked cars, and residents are afraid to cross the street. In fact, one mother choked up at our first public meeting at the thought of walking her children across SW Admiral Way.
When we started the project data showed there had been 71 vehicle crashes, two bike crashes and one pedestrian crash between 2011 and 2014. From January 2015 through May 2016 an additional 34 crashes have occurred. This statistic shows that crashes along Admiral Way SW have increased by nearly 28% in the past 1 ½ years. The neighborhood has people who’ve lived here for decades, new families, and visitors enjoying Alki Beach. Each person deserves safe travel whether walking, biking or driving.
After sharing a few designs with the neighborhood, studying on-street parking occupancy during the summer, and talking with community members, (the map above shows) what will be installed.
You may be wondering how the new design improves safety. We have proven success throughout the city that narrower travel lanes reduce the speeds people drive and the number of crashes.
We are also adding buffered bike lanes. Adding buffered bike lanes makes the street operate more predictably by giving everyone a space; and makes biking more comfortable, which can encourage more people to give it a try.
Here is how your input was included:
· Parking study. We conducted an on-street parking study during the month of August. Study times were 5-7AM, 1-3PM and 5-7PM on a sunny Saturday and Tuesday. The study confirmed what you told us. Parking spaces on the west end of the street with convenient access to Alki Beach are in high demand.
· Center turn lane. At our first public (meeting) you suggested we remove the center turn lane rather than impact on-street parking, so we did in the high-demand parking area.
· Left turn access at 57th and 59th Avenues SW. At the second public meeting, you requested left turn access to help reduce the risk of being rear-ended. We’ve included the access. To make room for them, about nine on-street parking spaces will be removed on the south side.
· Crosswalk at 61st Ave SW. We asked if you would like a new crosswalk in this location and one is included in the project.
Here is what we were not able to include and why:
· All-way stop at 59th Ave SW. You suggested we change the pedestrian activated signal at this location to an all-way stop. Unfortunately, studies showed that an all-way stop at this location did not meet guidelines. However, we have agreed to look at it again in the future.
Finally, we heard you want improved pedestrian crossings and supplied information on where. We’ll conduct a second round of outreach on August 20 in the form of “Walk and Talks” to gather site-specific input and talk about low-cost opportunities (visit web site for more details). The Walk and Talks will build off of comments collected through the first phase of outreach. Any improvements identified would be installed as a second phase of construction.
Our project web site at seattle.gov/transportation/swadmiralwaysafetyproject.htm has information on the walk and talk; and a flier with similar information will be mailed early August. Construction information will be shared as soon as available. However, work to restripe the street is expected to be completed before October 2016.
BACKSTORY: The first version of the plan was unveiled in April 2015 at an Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting. Ten months have passed since the second and final community meeting held by SDOT – which wasn’t planned until community members demanded it.
Datapoint regarding one assertion in the city news release: The “mother who choked up at (the) first public meeting at the thought of walking her children across Admiral Way” was reacting to what the city was proposing at the time, removing parking on the side of the street where her family lives, as noted in our coverage of that meeting.
Just in case you see either of these and wonder – thanks to tips, we’ve already checked them out:
RAPIDRIDE SHELTER AT FAUNTLEROY/ALASKA: Christine Deppe from West Seattle Office Junction (WSB sponsor) sent the photo and wondered about the removal of the shelter next to Les Schwab:
Metro’s Jeff Switzer responded to our inquiry: “The small shelter was removed today and will be upgraded to a larger shelter, to be installed tomorrow (Friday, July 22nd).
BROKEN GLASS AT 45TH/ADMIRAL: Al sent the photo:
Since we were already asking about the Triangle shelter mentioned above, we asked about this too. Switzer says, “Thanks for the heads-up. Staff are submitting a work order to repair the glass at that shelter.”
If you’re interested in the next phase of the 35th Avenue SW Safety Project and that August 4th meeting we’ve been telling you about – check your US Postal Service mail closely when you get home (etc.). Ours today brought a mailer that includes even more details than were on the SDOT Blog preview we featured last Friday night, the website information we featured. We subsequently just found this PDF of the mailer linked from the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway project page, but not (yet) the 35th Avenue SW project page.
Here’s how it begins:
35th Ave SW Road Safety Corridor
In 2015, we redesigned the southern segment of 35th Ave SW to reduce speeding, collisions, and injuries, and enhance conditions for everyone that uses the street. Phase 2 of this project begins later this year and continues into 2017 to address safety and mobility issues in the northern segment.
Join us on Thurs., Aug. 4, when we will share preliminary data from Phase 1 and draft plans for Phase 2. We want to hear about your observations and experiences along the corridor.
The project team will also host a walking tour of 35th Ave SW on Tues., Aug. 9. For more information, visit our website.
West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway
We’re studying routes for a new north-south neighborhood greenway parallel to 35th Ave SW. The new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway will prioritize people walking an biking on residential streets.
At the meeting, we can share traffic data, and you can help us learn where people want to walk and bike in the neighborhood, and what barriers stand in their way. Neighborhood greenways are safer, calmer streets for you, your family, and neighbors. For more information, visit our website.
That website indicates the greenway isn’t slated for construction until 2019. Meantime, we asked SDOT about the starting time/place for the aforementioned walking tour, since that’s not on the website yet, project manager Jim Curtin says it’ll start at 6 pm August 9th on the east side of 35th at Avalon and will proceed to end at 35th/Holly at 7:30 pm; you’ll be able to join/leave along the way if you can’t make the entire walk. We also asked him about the distribution of the mail flyer – some complained last year that they didn’t receive a mailing; we received this one despite being at least half a mile west of 35th. His reply: “The flyer went out to a rather large swath of the neighborhood from the Junction/Avalon corridor on the north to the city limits on the south and from the Puget Sound waterfront to Delridge.”
Been waiting to see what’s next for 35th SW? A week and a half ago, we reported that SDOT had updated its website for the 35th Avenue SW Safety Project to announce an August 4th meeting for information on the next phase of the project (north of SW Morgan). We expected more details would emerge shortly thereafter. Finally, they have – published on the SDOT Blog:
We’re hosting a public meeting for our continued work with the 35th Ave SW Safety Corridor and new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway planning.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW).
In 2015, we redesigned 35th Ave SW to reduce speeding, collisions, and injuries as part of our Vision Zero plan to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. We have some early data to share at the meeting and want to hear your observations and experiences along the corridor.
We’re also studying routes for a new north-south neighborhood greenway parallel to 35th Ave SW. The new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway will prioritize people walking and biking on residential streets.
At the meeting, we will share traffic data and you can help us find out where people want to walk and bike in the neighborhood, as well as what barriers stand in their way. Neighborhood greenways mean safer, calmer streets for you and your family.
We’re pairing our outreach and engagement for these two projects – the safety corridor and neighborhood greenway – to get the people who live, work, and travel in West Seattle comprehensive information.
Please join us at the open house and learn how we plan to improve the safety for everyone.
Open House on the 35th Avenue SW Road Safety Corridor Project
Thursday, August 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
6400 Sylvan Way SW, Room 207
Project manager Jim Curtin had told us back in xx that the next phase of 35th SW was being tied to the greenway work. Meantime, still no media notification about this meeting, so hat tip to Michael Taylor-Judd of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition for spotting the SDOT Blog link and posting it tonight on the District 1 discussion page.
Two more overnight closures of the west end of the West Seattle Bridge have just been announced. SDOT says the Fauntleroy Expressway will be closed the nights of Wednesday and Thursday (July 20-21), 9 pm-5 am. All 674 earthquake-safety cushions have been re-replaced; now crews need to apply epoxy “to ensure the pads are providing thorough cushioning.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Light rail is coming to West Seattle.”
That’s how King County Executive and Sound Transit board chair Dow Constantine opened his speech to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce Thursday afternoon – his second pitch in the area in less than 24 hours for the transit megameasure known as ST3. He proclaimed it even more jubilantly in his first one, talking to the 34th District Democrats Wednesday night, as you can see and hear in our video:
Shortly after Constantine’s speech, the 34th DDs endorsed ST3 (as reported here earlier). His appearance before the Chamber – which did not involve an endorsement vote – was longer, and more educational; Constantine called it the “transit planner” or “nerd” version of the speech, rather than the “campaign” or “stemwinder” version.
The vote is still three-plus months away; ballots for the August primary hadn’t even arrived yet as he stood before the two local groups talking about ST3, which won’t be decided until November. But with an 11-digit price tag, this is no ordinary ballot measure. And supporters are pulling out the stops to avoid what happened with Sound Transit 2, a defeat, rewrite, and revote.
Beware of that hazard on the 1st Avenue S. Bridge! That’s the warning from Aaron Goss, proprietor of Aaron’s Bicycle Repair in White Center, who sent the photo along with a CC on this note:
Please fix this IMMEDIATELY!!!!!! (see attached photo)
Someone is going to get killed. This cannot wait another day!
The metal strip that covers the gap has been bent and jammed down in the gap.
Aaron got a reply at day’s end from SDOT – pointing out only that the bridge belongs to WSDOT and saying they would forward the concern.
Thanks to Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections for sharing that photo from the south end of today’s Mini-STP ride (Seattle Street in North Admiral to Portland Street in Gatewood and then on to West Seattle Summer Fest in The Junction). WSBC says 35 people of all ages joined in the ride, and that the Portland neighbors kindly offered them Otter Pops again this year! This is the fourth year they’ve made the trip on Summer Fest weekend (first one was in 2013). The name is a tribute to the STP (Seattle to Portland) megaride, which is happening next weekend, with thousands of riders taking one or two days to get between the two cities.
(Map from July 2015 slide deck about 35th SW plan)
The long-promised meeting about what’s next for 35th Avenue SW has finally been set by SDOT. We’ve been checking the project webpage for word of the next community meeting, and today it’s been updated. So if you are interested in what’s happened with the 35th SW changes so far, and what’s ahead, get it in your calendar now – here’s the date and place:
7-9 pm Thursday, August 4th
Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW)
That’s the same place SDOT held meetings a year ago to announce Phase 1 of the rechannelization (“road diet”) plan for 35th, south of Morgan. At the time, SDOT project manager Jim Curtin said plans for north of Morgan would be discussed this year; when we most recently checked in with him a month ago, he expected the first meeting would be set for the middle of this month, but it’s been clear that plan slid again. He told WSB then that the discussion of Phase 2 would be in tandem with early discussions of the next neighborhood greenway in West Seattle, but right now the webpage just says the August 4th meeting will be “to learn more about our plans to further enhance safety on 35th Avenue SW.” More to come.
If you’ve noticed that sign on 16th SW near SW Myrtle – as did Alan, who sent us the photo – no, it’s NOT foreshadowing a future school-zone speed camera. Not a fixed installation, anyway. We checked with SDOT, whose spokesperson Sue Romero replied, “The 7000 block of 16th Ave SW is a pre-existing site for SPD to use mobile photo enforcement cameras to enforce the school zone speed limit. While there are no plans for near-term enforcement work, as a pre-existing site it needs proper signage for any future speed enforcement by SPD. The original sign is missing and this new sign is merely a replacement.” As far as we can tell from consulting both Google Street View and memory, the previous sign did not mention photo enforcement. The “mobile” version of that, by the way, was inaugurated in 2008 in West Seattle near Gatewood Elementary – where there are now fixed cameras (the other fixed cameras in WS are on Roxbury by Roxhill Elementary and Holy Family School, and on Delridge by Louisa Boren STEM K-8). The speed van also works on 35th SW near Our Lady of Guadalupe, where you’ve probably noticed signs similar to this one, though there’s no permanent camera installation.
Another car-sharing service just added part of West Seattle to its territory. Three years after Car2Go expanded into this area, BMW-owned ReachNow has added north West Seattle. Here’s the map of what’s now part of the service’s “home area”:
(See the full Seattle-wide map here, as a PDF.) The company says it’s added 150 four-door MINI Clubman cars to its Seattle fleet, which now numbers 520, also including “the all-wheel-drive BMW 3 Series, the electric BMW i3, and the MINI Hardtop two- and four-door.” Along with ReachNow and Car2Go – which has 750 Smarts in the city – West Seattle also is served by Zipcar, which recently added one-way trips to its offerings.
1:35 PM: Above, you see a live feed (evening update: archived version substituted) from the Sound Transit Board of Directors meeting that just started downtown. During this meeting, the board is expected to finalize the ST3 ballot measure that, among other things, includes a plan for light rail to West Seattle by 2030. See the agenda here. The ST3 resolution, calling for the plan to go to voters on November 8th, is here, with the financial-component resolution here, and the draft of plan details (including who gets what, when) is here. (Other docs are linked from the agenda page.)
2:07 PM: The public-comment period is continuing. The board has heard so far from a variety of speakers, expressing both support – from suburban and Seattle speakers – and opposition, including reps of a newly formed coalition under the banner “No ST3.”
2:32 PM: After about an hour, public comment is over, and the board will hear from the “expert review panel” that took a look at the “methodologies and key assumptions that (have been used to prepare) the plan.” You can read their memo here. From that memo, this might be of interest to those who would like to see a tunnel toward the end of the proposed line to West Seattle, rather than elevated:
For example, several stakeholder groups or jurisdictions have already expressed
interest in supporting construction of a tunnel in alignments where a tunnel is not being
proposed. Staff responded that such a major change in the project scope resulting in increased
costs would likely require additional funding from other public or private sources, beyond what
is available through the ST3 funding package. The Panel suggests that the plan should make it
clear that it is likely “outside” funding would be necessary to support major alignment changes.
This would help set expectations regarding future discussions about alternatives. This suggestion
could be particularly useful in light of the fact that the proposed ST3 plan includes provisional
projects. We assume that additional ST3 funding for a tunnel that is not included in the current
plan would be at the expense of identified provisional projects.
2:58 PM: In case you’re just coming in now – the board is handling other business before getting to ST3 (as with many public meetings, there’s some separation between the public-comment period at the beginning and the actual agenda item about which most spoke).
3:02 PM: And almost as soon as we made note of that – then the board arrived at the ST3 agenda items.
4:03 PM: The board members are making their final round of speeches before the official vote.
4:08 PM: “We have a plan,” declares board chair County Executive Dow Constantine after a unanimous vote in favor of the plan. Next, the vote to send it to the November ballot.
4:20 PM: More from Constantine: “It’s expensive, but it’ll never be cheaper … so we must move forward to November … the hardest work is yet to come” – the work of convincing voters around the region to approve it. A moment later, the final, unanimous, voice vote sending it to the November 8th ballot.
9:02 AM: We hadn’t mentioned this yet because it looked for a while like the problems had been solved, but now Washington State Ferries has announced more cancellations on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run – on a day when traffic was already expected to be heavy, not just for usual weekend increases, but because it’s graduation day at Vashon Island High School. WSF cited shorthandedness as the reason for cancelling runs from Vashon and Fauntleroy last hour; check here for the latest.
10:10 AM: As noted in comments, looks like the route is back to the usual capacity now, but even before this, WSF was advising early arrivals today.
Years in the making, the city’s “Seattle 2035” comprehensive-plan update is moving toward finalization. With transportation being one of West Seattle’s hottest issues, you might be interested in that specific section of Seattle 2035, which gets a briefing at the City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee next Tuesday (June 21st) at 2 pm. The map above, setting a goal of 35% single-occupancy-vehicle trips for our area, is in both of the following documents linked to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting:
The documents go into added detail about the focus on “mode share” – moving the same number of people with fewer vehicles – and other parts of the transportation philosophy in the proposed plan. Following up on this briefing, and in advance of others before committees handling topics that correlate to other parts of the plan (the dates are all in the slide deck linked above), a public hearing on the overall Seattle 2035 plan is set for June 27th, 6 pm, at City Hall – full details here, including how to comment on the plan via e-mail before then.