West Seattle Blog... » Transportation http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 24 Nov 2015 23:47:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 FERRY ALERT: Fauntleroy route down one boat again http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/ferry-alert-fauntleroy-route-down-one-boat-again/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/ferry-alert-fauntleroy-route-down-one-boat-again/#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2015 19:04:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329652 Washington State Ferries sends word that it’s canceling some runs this hour on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route because M/V Cathlamet needs repairs, through at least the 11:55 trip from Fauntleroy. This boat was in the #3 spot, so check the schedule here for other times that might be affected. We’ll update when more info’s available.

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West Seattle land use: 2 parking tales from outside the lines http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/west-seattle-land-use-2-parking-tales-from-outside-the-lines/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/west-seattle-land-use-2-parking-tales-from-outside-the-lines/#comments Wed, 11 Nov 2015 04:03:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328637 From the land-use files, two items that involve parking, but not in the way it usually comes up:

TEAR DOWN A HOUSE TO CREATE A PARKING LOT? A West Seattle church is considering seeking a land-use permit to demolish a house and turn its 5,750-square-foot site into a parking lot. The early-stage filing is from the West Seattle ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 4001 44th SW, with a document explaining that its church/meeting hall is “very active” and causing parking congestion that has left neighbors “frustrated” that nearby streets are full of church-related parking on Sundays. “The church is anxious to mitigate the concerns of the neighborhood by creating on-site parking spaces,” says the pre-application document, which goes on to say that the church discovered a house next door is for sale (not publicly listed so far as we can find) and is interested in buying it to turn its site into 19 parking spaces for the church. The documents acknowledge that would require exceptions to city rules – aka “variances” – but also point out that the church has never met city requirements for the offstreet parking it was supposed to provide, and currently provides none. The formal application has not been filed yet but you can watch land use project #3022789.

SOUTH ADMIRAL BUILDING GETS PERMISSION TO HAVE NO OFFSTREET PARKING: This land-use item is sort of the flip side – a commercial building that doesn’t meet city rules for offstreet parking used to have some on a nearby site, but lost it, and sought formal confirmation that it doesn’t need to provide any. The decision for 3270 California SW was published in Monday’s Land Use Information Bulletin, and if anyone wants to appeal (here’s how), the deadline is November 23rd. The building houses several fitness businesses. Its owner used to have a covenant for eight spaces at 3239 California SW, but that site is now part of what was the Admiral East Apartments, now “Springline,” construction project. The city’s Land Use Code allows offstreet parking to be provided within an 800-foot radius; there is no longer any place that can happen, the city’s decision notes.

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FOLLOWUP: 30 mph still on the way for Delridge, Fauntleroy, Harbor, Olson/Roxbury http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-30-mph-still-on-the-way-for-delridge-fauntleroy-harbor-olsonroxbury/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-30-mph-still-on-the-way-for-delridge-fauntleroy-harbor-olsonroxbury/#comments Fri, 06 Nov 2015 21:00:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328368

Four West Seattle roads are still in line for a five-mph speed-limit reduction. That’s what we’ve learned since a reader calling himself “A Dad on Dangerous Delridgee-mailed us Thursday to wonder what happened to SDOT‘s plan to reduce the speed limit on 5 West Seattle arterials by year’s end. We wrote about it in mid-February, when SDOT released details of its Vision Zero plan. “Dad” CC’d various city officials, including Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who asked SDOT to respond, even before we started inquiring. SDOT’s Jim Curtin responded: “We will be reducing the speed limit from 35 mph to 30 mph (on Delridge Way) north of SW Orchard Street in December.” We then asked about the other roads on the list. Curtin’s reply: “35th was reduced to 30 between Roxbury and Holly in September. … Fauntleroy, Delridge, and Harbor will be reduced to 30 before the end of 2015. We’re designing additional countermeasures for the Olson Pl SW/Roxbury reduction to 30 mph. This will include radar speed signs for both Roxbury and Olson Place along with flashing beacons to add additional emphasis to our curve-warning signs (where we’ve had some trouble over the years as you know). Still aiming to implement in 2015.”

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On today’s city-budget agenda: $ for part of the West Seattle Bridge Corridor ‘action report’ list http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/on-todays-city-budget-agenda-for-part-of-the-west-seattle-bridge-corridor-action-report-list/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/on-todays-city-budget-agenda-for-part-of-the-west-seattle-bridge-corridor-action-report-list/#comments Mon, 02 Nov 2015 18:27:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327929

(NOTE: Click “play” to see live feed when Council is meeting – budget hearing resumed just after 2 pm)
10:27 AM: The City Council‘s next round of budget-related discussions is set to start shortly (10:30 am) and today’s list of potential additions/changes to the original budget proposal includes transportation items. Among them, two related to the West Seattle Bridge Corridor “action report” made public in September.

The first item would specify $700,000 to be spent this way:

… The proposed budget action would allocate $200,000 for further analysis of physical and operational improvements in the Corridor. The following evaluations or studies would be conducted if the green sheet were included as part of the City’s 2016 Adopted Budget:

1. Evaluate the feasibility and benefit of installing center barrier sections so response vehicles can make U-turns to speed up response time.

2. Evaluate the feasibility and benefit of installing markings and signs to provide one designated emergency lane in each direction of the West Seattle Bridge upper roadways for use during emergencies.

3. Coordinate with WSDOT to determine the feasibility of traffic management modifications to improve eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct connections to south- and northbound I-5.

4. Evaluate Lower Spokane Street chokepoint relationships to determine if rail, truck and bridge opening blockages can be better coordinated to avoid cumulative impacts.

5. Evaluate better communications protocols for Port of Seattle cooperation with truck queue management and dispersal.

6. Evaluate the process and capability for providing data reports to the Washington State office of Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in order for FRA to enforce the maximum 20 minute blockage rule.

7. Initiate an SDOT/WSDOT Peer Review Team to review traffic operational and safety improvement opportunities on the West Seattle Bridge upper and lower roadways and make recommendations.

In addition to the feasibility studies, the green sheet would add $500,000 for installing ITS infrastructure to help communicate delays and wait times associated with train activity in the Corridor. This project would install ITS equipment including Bluetooth readers and dynamic message signs along the Corridor between Airport Way South and Port of Seattle Terminals 5 and 18 in order to collect and display real-time travel time information to trucks drivers and other motorists. Traffic signal system improvements at the intersection of Chelan Avenue Southwest and West Marginal Way Southwest could also be included in the project scope.

The second item, at unspecified cost, basically calls for a report on how the “action report” is being followed up on:

… This Statement of Legislative Intent requests the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) prepare a written progress report on the implementation of initiatives described in the West Seattle Bridge Corridor Whitepaper and Priority Investment List.

The report should describe the Executive’s planning and progress implementing the 2015 West Seattle Bridge Whitepaper and Priority Investment List (the Investment List) recommendations to the Transportation Committee or the appropriate Council committee. The report should be transmitted to the Council no later than March 31, 2016 and should include the following information:

1) A description of all anticipated 2016 SDOT maintenance and capital project activities planned for the West Seattle Bridge Corridor (the Corridor). The report should identify all planned Corridor project activities included in the Investment List and any planned Corridor project activities not included in the Investment List.

2) A comprehensive schedule review defining SDOT’s timing for implementing the Investment List’s recommendations including any multi-year initiatives or projects that may not have full funding.

3) Estimated total investment of City resources in both staff and funding to carry out Investment List recommendations in 2016 and beyond.

4) A description of the on-going metrics SDOT will use to measure the effectiveness of the recommended investments and a Corridor-wide assessment of traffic conditions for all modes in 2016.

See the full list of items to be discussed at today’s budget meeting – no votes, since this is “Round 1″ of the budget review – by going here; you can watch the meeting live via Seattle Channel, online (the “live” player is embedded above) or cable channel 21.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? To comment on anything in the budget process – which will continue until a final vote before Thanksgiving – click the “Send Us Budget Feedback” button on this page.

12:17 PM UPDATE: The West Seattle Bridge-related items hadn’t been reached yet when the council recessed for lunch, due back in session at 2 pm.

2:58 PM: They’ve just reached the West Seattle Bridge Corridor items now. (a moment later) Both went by without discussion, aside from a bit of context from Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

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Light rail here? Next stops on the timeline explored at West Seattle Transportation Coalition’s last 2015 meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/light-rail-here-next-stops-on-the-timeline-explored-at-west-seattle-transportation-coalitions-last-2015-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/light-rail-here-next-stops-on-the-timeline-explored-at-west-seattle-transportation-coalitions-last-2015-meeting/#comments Mon, 02 Nov 2015 07:57:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326859 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Will West Seattle light rail make it into the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure next year?

And if it does, which configuration will be on the list – a hop across the bay that ends in The Junction, or something longer?

The next touchstone discussion for Sound Transit‘s future plan is now only one month away, and the West Seattle Transportation Coalition wants to ensure that peninsula residents are heard loud and clear. So that was the centerpiece topic of the most-recent WSTC meeting, which featured a briefing by two ST planners, senior transportation planner Val Batey and planning/development manager Karen Kitsis.

West Seattle possibilities are already on the “candidate projects list” for ST3, but that does not guarantee inclusion. Here’s the list:

(If the embedded version above doesn’t work for you, here it is as a PDF.)

Batey explained the timeline:

ST staff is now assembling “technical information” for the candidate projects, to present to the ST board (members listed here; the chair is County Executive and West Seattleite Dow Constantine) at a workshop on December 4th. A “draft system plan” is expected by the end of February; after a subsequent round of “public outreach from mid-March to early May” – open houses, online survey, other public comments – the plan would be finalized by mid-June. What the planners hear at the board workshop in December will be key input for the “draft system plan.”

Batey and Kitsis showed the list of priorities that ST is using as the plan’s foundation, including “logical next steps,” socioeconomic equity, connecting “the region’s designated centers,” completing “the spine” of the system, multimodal access, integration with other transit operators and systems, as well as promotion of transit-supportive land use and transit-oriented development.

Looking at the candidate-projects list, one thing to keep in mind: “It’s not all light rail – there’s a lot of light rail that we’re looking at but we’re also looking at bus rapid transit, and one of the biggest projects we’re looking at is extending (that) all the way from Lynnwood to Burien, using I-405 primarily.” As for their own bus system: “Once we get a sense of what the ST3 system is going to look like, then we’ll look at where we need to put in Sound Transit express-bus service.” (Currently, ST Route 560 is the only one serving West Seattle.)

WSTC board member Michael Taylor-Judd wondered if the process was inclusive enough for the public, who might decide what to support if they had more information about costs and other aspects of the many options. Batey said the draft plan will have all that “for the public to respond to.”

Board member Marty Westerman wondered whether ST should be focused more on connecting to some of the systems that are already in operation, such as Seattle’s city-run streetcars. Batey replied that ST’s mission is more “to provide faster, higher-capacity transit to the region” and so they are evaluating on factors including ridership, cost, reliability – “how long would it take to get to (a certain place)” – along with the core priorities mentioned above.

Kitsis noted that the draft plan will also include some “vehicle miles traveled” information for those who wonder how many cars a certain route might take off the roads.

Joe Szilagyi wondered whether ST was looking at using an existing bridge to West Seattle or building a new one, since, for example, the potential Delridge route seemed likely to be a mix of elevated and at-grade. The ST reps said it would be a new bridge, but they don’t have specifics because at this stage, it’s all “a conceptual design … If it becomes a Sound Transit 3 project, then we get to do the design and decide how we’re going to make it work.” Some of it might even go underground.

Board membre Deb Barker, pointing out that Sound Transit has tunneled successfully more than a few times, wondered about the cost specifics on that. Batey’s reply: “We’re looking at designated centers, since the city has decided it wants ‘urban centers’ … then when we start to look at costs of real estate, we take a wide swath through the corridor look at (potential) station areas.” Kitsis added that “a lot of areas do have several options, like picking a station and what kind of development would happen around it …” so they would be looking at zoning, at what land in the area might be “underutilized and underdeveloped,” etc.

WSTC co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick told the ST reps that the group is “very intimately involved in looking BEYOND what you guys are looking at,” such as the concept of Sound Transit possibly being a “spine for West Seattle,” for example, elevated along 35th SW, “coming down the actual middle of West Seattle.”

The “looking beyond” idea came up next from Barker, who asked if ST is talking with the Port of Seattle, given that it’s about to embark on the Terminal 5 Modernization Project environmental-impact statement. Batey said the port has asked to talk with ST about freight movement and how that would factor into their plans.”

Then the big question: If West Seattle light rail makes it into ST3, and if the measure is approved, what year might it be built?

Kitsis said that “depends on the financial plan … (we) don’t want to speculate on when a specific area would see service.” But part of the analysis will be “how many projects could be shovel-ready.” It was also pointed out that projects from Sound Transit’s previous ballot measure “are coming in under budget,” probably considering “it was approved during the height of the Great Recession.”

Q/A continued, some of it more comment/concern than question, such as Szilagyi expressing the importance of ensuring that transit stops “are not just dead ground” as some seem to be in the city’s south end as compared to areas such as Capitol Hill.

Pete Spalding wondered whether light rail from West Seattle would go directly downtown, or require connections/transfers in the SODO area. The reply: “We’re looking at this going into downtown.”

Helmick stressed the importance of West Seattleites being heard: “We were promised the monorail, we didn’t get it, we had tremendous growth (planned) around the idea we were going to get the monorail, which we didn’t.”

“We’ll take your feedback (back),” promised Kitsis, adding, “The most important thing is to let your elected (officials) know.”

That means, in particular, the ones on the Sound Transit Board – chaired, as mentioned above, by Executive Constantine, and also including West Seattle’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott,

Once the Q/A with Batey and Kitsis wrapped up, WSTC members talked about their own next steps and observations. One observed ruefully that at the seemingly glacial pace of local light-rail projects, this round might be more for their kids and grandkids than for themselves. Helmick took note of the list more prominently featuring Ballard options in the “candidate projects list” than West Seattle options. She expressed doubt that West Seattle would and could get anything more in ST3 than light rail to The Junction.

“So if we get one station by 2031 – that’s not worth it,” Redmond opined.

He wasn’t alone in that opinion. WSTC members agreed they need to strategize how to campaign for more – and how to mobilize West Seattleites to be part of that, to speak out for getting light rail to a particular location by a particular year. Board members talked about possibly offering an online petition or another way for West Seattleites to visibly show their support, en masse. And nobody disputed the exhortation that “we need to push now” to be sure West Seattle isn’t passed over.

A week and a half after the October 22nd WSTC meeting, no campaign has launched yet, but you can make your opinions known directly – contact information for ST board members is linked to the page where they’re listed. The 10 am December 4th workshop is at Union Station downtown, open to the public.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition won’t meet in November or December, but watch for word of their January meeting.

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FERRY ALERT UPDATE: M/V Issaquah returning to service http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/ferry-alert-update-mv-issaquah-returning-to-service/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/ferry-alert-update-mv-issaquah-returning-to-service/#comments Tue, 27 Oct 2015 20:11:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327292 The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route will be back to its regular capacity as of mid-afternoon – Washington State Ferries says M/V Issaquah is repaired and will be back in service as of 2:20 this afternoon. It’s been out of service for two days following its latest breakdown.

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FERRY ALERT UPDATE: Smaller M/V Salish replaces Issaquah on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/ferry-alert-biggest-boat-on-fauntleroy-route-down-again/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/ferry-alert-biggest-boat-on-fauntleroy-route-down-again/#comments Sun, 25 Oct 2015 22:15:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327121 3:15 PM: More trouble today for M/V Issaquah, the largest of the ferries regularly assigned to the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. It’s out of the mix for repairs again, leaving the older, smaller, slower M/V Evergreen State and Tillikum, and canceling some runs. Watch the ferry bulletins page for updates.

3:39 PM: WSF just announced they’ll get back to three-boat service soon with M/V Salish replacing the Issaquah – its vehicle capacity is half the Issaquah’s, though.

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FOLLOWUP: 35th SW signal timing still a work in progress http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-35th-sw-signal-timing-still-a-work-in-progress/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-35th-sw-signal-timing-still-a-work-in-progress/#comments Sat, 24 Oct 2015 02:12:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326938

(:15 of Instagram video looking north on 35th toward Trenton, recorded 6:20 pm tonight)
More than a month after SDOT rechannelized 35th SW south of Upper Morgan, work on the full plan finalized in July is “essentially done,” project manager Jim Curtin tells WSB. We checked in with him today because the topic came up at last night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, with a short discussion of the signal timing in the rechannelization zone. Curtin says they are “still doing some fine tuning of the signal timing,” adding, “We actually had a signal malfunction at Trenton a few weeks ago, which threw us off schedule a bit. We have a temporary fix in place with a permanent repair scheduled to be completed in the next few days. We will continue to tweak the signal timing until it’s ‘dialed in’.” He says there’s one other issue remaining: “We’re also having some trouble getting a few folks to comply with the new parking restrictions for the short segment of BAT lane at Holden. We’ll make another attempt to reach these folks on Monday morning. We’ve knocked on doors and sent three letters to no avail. This time we’ll leave a note on their windshield.” Curtin says he is out on 35th daily – as he has noted publicly many times, he lives in Arbor Heights – and that a new round of data has been ordered, so that SDOT can “provide another update before the end of the year.”

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Metro trip cancellations: Bus system still needs to hire more drivers to handle ‘enormous spike of work’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/metro-trip-cancellations-bus-system-still-needs-to-hire-more-drivers-to-handle-enormous-spike-of-work/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/metro-trip-cancellations-bus-system-still-needs-to-hire-more-drivers-to-handle-enormous-spike-of-work/#comments Fri, 23 Oct 2015 04:22:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=325323

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Metro hopes its hiring spree will take care of the trip-cancellation problem by the end of this month.

While the bus system has stressed that only a small percentage of trips get canceled – they know it’s a big problem when it’s your trip. And when Metro started tweeting cancellation alerts – while acknowledging that it doesn’t get to send alerts about all the cancellations – it seemed three north West Seattle runs were affected more often than others – routes 55, 56, 57. Three trips from two of those routes were announced as canceled again this morning:

Those weren’t the only Metro trip cancellations tweeted/texted today – there were four others that were NOT on West Seattle routes:

Whichever routes they happen to, the concept of canceling a bus trip seems incomprehensible – you print a timetable, you run buses, you assign drivers, the service goes on, right? So we asked Metro exactly how a trip cancellation happens.

For an expanded, in-person version of the answer, we were shown around the two Metro “bases” at 6th and Royal Brougham one recent weekday afternoon. That’s where the buses are parked and where the drivers are scheduled, assigned, and dispatched. This building houses two of Metro’s seven bases, home to most West Seattle routes, with a few exceptions – for example, Routes 128 and 50 go from the South Base, Route 120 from Atlantic.

It’s where we learned phrases such as “piece of work.” Not what it meant in oldtime slang.

And we heard a lot of numbers.

Example: 1,052 daily trips out of 11,000 system-wide touch West Seattle.

The drivers for those trips are assigned by dispatchers who work in front of screens in what resemble big reception windows (top photo) – inside the 6th/Royal Brougham building, each of the two bases has its own dispatch window. While we watched and observed, we were pointed to a group of drivers waiting in a small lounge-like area down the hall, to see what might come open. Announcements were made from time to time.

In scheduling, some part-time drivers might get a “piece of work” that is very short – the minimum amount of time for which they can be paid, two and a half hours. And that’s where a cancellation might come in. A certain trip on a certain route might be part of that small “piece of work,” and if not everything can be covered, the shortest “piece of work” is what will end up going uncovered.

“What’s usually canceled is the smallest piece of the smallest part time route,” says Sandy Sander (photo above), who is superintendent of Central Base operations.

And even with that, they have policies – “we’re not going to cancel the same route two trips in a row, no first or last trips (of the day, on a route) can be canceled, no school trips.”

Since the addition (or restoration) of service paid for by last year’s Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1, she says, “we’ve gone through an enormous spike of work” – so they’ve been going through two dozen new driver candidates every two weeks. There’s attrition in that number, and every two dozen will result in about 18 new hires. (You can get a hint at the hiring challenge by looking at Metro’s fall employee newsletter online:

Already this year (through August) we’ve hired 322 transit operators and more than 300 people for other positions, which meant processing over 1,990 transit operator applications and more than 6,325 applications for other Transit positions. We’ve also promoted 58 employees into new positions.

How long does it take a part-timer to get promoted to full time, if that’s what they want?

“Typically two or three years, but currently, 9 months.” And while you might expect it would be the other way around, the part-timer works the same route every day, while drivers with seniority get to choose.

A driver can work up to 16 hours and then has to have at least eight hours off. Extra work might be assigned on the fly as the dispatchers toil to keep everything filled – a driver might be out finishing up their originally scheduled shift, Sander explains, and on the way in, when a dispatcher finds out they have a spot to fill, they’ll contact the driver and ask “can you become the X route?”

Sander told us, “We’ve gone through a period where it’s like a snowstorm every day” – crazy scheduling and juggling. And until they hire enough people, some trips will be canceled. (Interested in working for Metro? Find out more here.)

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Highway 99 tunnel-machine update: Projected restart date now Christmas Eve-Eve http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/highway-99-tunnel-machine-update-projected-restart-date-now-christmas-eve-eve/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/highway-99-tunnel-machine-update-projected-restart-date-now-christmas-eve-eve/#comments Thu, 22 Oct 2015 21:15:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326832 Tunnel update just in from WSDOT: The newest monthly construction schedule from its contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, has slid another month. If this one holds, the tunnel machine will resume work on December 23rd, and if all goes well, the tunnel would open in April 2018. Read WSDOT’s update in full – including what’s happening near the access pit along the Viaduct – by going here.

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Delridge RapidRide, ‘low bridge’ among hot topics at West Seattle Bridge Corridor ‘action report’ meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/delridge-rapidride-low-bridge-among-hot-topics-at-west-seattle-bridge-corridor-action-report-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/delridge-rapidride-low-bridge-among-hot-topics-at-west-seattle-bridge-corridor-action-report-meeting/#comments Thu, 22 Oct 2015 05:52:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326747 Will Metro Route 120 be improved or damaged if it’s turned into a RapidRide line? That was arguably the biggest topic of Monday night’s meeting on the West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor “action report.” The meeting at the Sisson Building in The Junction followed up on the report’s September debut, which in turn fulfills a promise made by City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen in his final year of office, and responds to a push from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition in its priority-setting.

The “action report” includes 27 possibilities envisioned to improve getting around in the corridor. You can read through them here:

On Monday night, SDOT’s Bill LaBorde presented them to the light turnout, fewer than a dozen people, who as a result had time to ask questions as the presentation went by. Big questions about transforming Route 120 – a short-term priority (see page 8) – included whether stops would be consolidated as with other RapidRide routes – Route 54/55 to the C Line, for example. Also: Would the stops include curb bulbs, like the ones in Morgan Junction that lead to backups. And, with the narrowness of Delridge in some spots, will the big RapidRide buses really work? LaBorde said most of the project’s $43 million cost would go to street improvements; he believed bulbs would be studied carefully before any implementation, and he didn’t envision much stop consolidation beyond what already has happened on Delridge.

Another big topic: Low-bridge openings during commute times, and the city repeatedly getting turned down in its requests to find ways to at least limit them. The city is continuing to talk to the U.S. Coast Guard, said LaBorde, while pointing out that some sailings are tide-dependent and the tides are when they are. The city is looking at operational efficiencies for bridge openings, though, including ways the bridge itself might be able to get the job done more quickly. A study would be needed, he said.

Speaking of the low bridge, the five-way intersection at Spokane/Marginal at its west end, and the one at the bottom of the eastern Admiral Way hill, both came up. The former is in the action plan, the latter is not. And to the east, the need for the Lander Street Overcrossing – still on the drawing board, years after it was expected to be built – was stressed.

Along with the plan’s potential projects, Councilmember Rasmussen pointed out the city’s traffic-incident-management changes, forced by the fish-truck-crash debacle, and intended to ensure that traffic blockages in corridors like this one are dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

Some of the “action plan” items are tied to the Move Seattle levy on the November 3rd ballot. What happens if the levy is rejected? Rasmussen was asked. At the very least, he said, the projects would be sequenced in a slower rollout – if you want improvements, he said, there has to be money for them.

P.S. For an update on #26 on the list – possible light rail for this area via the future Sound Transit 3 ballot measure – come to the WSTC’s meeting tomorrow night (Thursday), 6:30 pm, at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way).

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See which West Seattle streets are in city’s just-approved ‘heavy haul network’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/see-which-west-seattle-streets-are-in-citys-just-approved-heavy-haul-network/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/see-which-west-seattle-streets-are-in-citys-just-approved-heavy-haul-network/#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2015 23:48:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326521

(Click the image to see the map as a full-size PDF)
That’s the map of the “heavy-haul network” approved by Seattle City Councilmembers today – a year and a half after the idea started circulating in a big way. This city news release explains:

Mayor Ed Murray praised the Seattle City Council for passing legislation establishing a heavy haul network of city streets in Seattle. The network will allow heavier cargo containers to be transported between the Port of Seattle, industrial businesses and rail yards.

“Seattle is an international gateway and trade supports our strong and diverse economy,” said Mayor Murray. “A heavy haul corridor will help freight move more safely and efficiently through our industrial center. I applaud the Council for approving a plan that will support thousands of trade-dependent jobs and businesses in Seattle, around the region, and across the country.”

The measure provides a framework to repair and build roadways within the network, calls for semi-annual safety inspections of heavy haul trucks, and aligns weight regulations with the state and other municipalities across the country. The proposal will also eliminate citations from the State Patrol to truck drivers for carrying overweight loads.

The proposed corridor will allow the Port to be more competitive with other West Coast ports, which have similar heavy haul networks.

“The Northwest Seaport Alliance thanks the Seattle City Council for its approval of a heavy haul network that will make us a more competitive international gateway and improve the livelihood of truck drivers,” said Port of Seattle Commission Co-President Courtney Gregoire. “Seattle’s heavy haul network, like others in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Tacoma, will allow freight to move more safely and efficiently through our North Harbor.”

The Port of Seattle is contributing $250,000 toward start-up and implementation costs for 2016 and 2017. To offset the anticipated impacts of allowing heavier trucks, the Port will contribute between $10 million and $20 million over the next 20 years towards roadway repair and reconstruction within the network.

Commercial drivers will be required to purchase a $200 annual permit for transporting loads up to 98,000 pounds. The fees collected from the permits will be used to administer the program, including a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer.

As the map shows, the new “network” includes the “low bridge” and West Marginal Way SW.

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FOLLOWUP: Nine months after grant approval, Morgan Junction sidewalk repair about to begin http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-nine-months-after-grant-approval-morgan-junction-sidewalk-repair-about-to-begin/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-nine-months-after-grant-approval-morgan-junction-sidewalk-repair-about-to-begin/#comments Wed, 14 Oct 2015 18:06:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=325878

We first told you back in January that a Neighborhood Park and Street Fund application for sidewalk repair in Morgan Junction had been approved – and now, the work is finally about to begin.

Morgan Community Association president Deb Barker tells WSB that the group has word from SDOT that work is about to start on the project – “long-needed sidewalk repair at the SW intersection of California Ave SW and Fauntleroy Way SW alongside three properties. Ginnie Hance, who manages the Ivy Court Apartments, was concerned about the hazardous sidewalk condition caused in part by tree roots, and submitted the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund application in 2014.” That’s a fund open to community applications for projects like this. SDOT says the work will start “as soon as October 20th,” but is weather-dependent. Once it starts, it’ll take three to four weeks, which means it should be finished by Thanksgiving; SDOT is working now on putting together flyers to send around – once we get a copy, we’ll publish it as an update.

P.S. MoCA’s next quarterly meeting is just a week away; it’s at 7 pm next Wednesday (October 21st), at The Kenney (WSB sponsor).

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FOLLOWUP: How are 35th SW and SW Roxbury doing, post-rechannelization? SDOT goes public with first stats http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-how-are-35th-sw-and-sw-roxbury-doing-post-rechannelization-sdot-goes-public-with-first-stats/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-how-are-35th-sw-and-sw-roxbury-doing-post-rechannelization-sdot-goes-public-with-first-stats/#comments Tue, 13 Oct 2015 20:40:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=325872

(Photo from SDOT Blog)

Have you traveled on 35th SW and/or SW Roxbury since the recent rechannelizations (and other changes)? SDOT has just published its first report on the aftermath – see it on the SDOT Blog website, now that the work is mostly done. An excerpt:

… The project team has been monitoring the revised segments of 35th Avenue SW and SW Roxbury Street on a daily basis. We’ve also collected data in an effort to obtain preliminary insights into the effects of the recent changes.

To date, we’ve seen no change in volumes on 35th Avenue SW or SW Roxbury Street. Daily traffic volumes on these streets remain within the same range as pre-project volumes. During our public outreach process, some people commented that they were concerned about drivers diverting to nearby residential streets after the channelization changes. We’ve received no reports of diversions from residents and our volume data does not indicate diversions to residential streets. However, we will continue to keep an eye on this issue moving forward.

Our first look at vehicle speeds on 35th Avenue SW is encouraging. The street once commonly referred to as “I-35” in the neighborhood no longer sees the majority of drivers pushing speeds up to 40 miles per hour. Instead, most drivers now travel around 34 to 35 miles per hour. This is a significant improvement but we’d like to see drivers traveling at lower speeds which are closer to the new posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour. We will expand our speed data collection efforts in October and November and hope to see lower speeds as drivers adjust to the new conditions.

There’s no doubt that these corridors feel different than they used to, especially during the afternoon commute when traffic volumes are highest. With just one general purpose travel lane in each direction, vehicle queueing at signalized intersections is more substantial during the afternoon/evening commute period. However, longer signal cycles effectively mitigate the queues and vehicles are able to clear intersections in just one green phase. Occasionally, emergency response vehicles such as police and fire will preempt signals at SW Holden Street, so it can take up to two signal cycles to clear the intersection when traffic volumes are high.

Again, the corridor feels different but vehicle and transit travel times have been minimally impacted. During community outreach, we mentioned that traffic modeling projected delays on 35th Avenue SW of one-to-two minutes with a maximum delay of 2.5 minutes during the afternoon rush hour. Our travel time data, based on driving the 35th corridor dozens of times during peak hours, show that our models were a bit conservative:

The data tables are in the full post on the city website – with car and bus travel times – as are ways to get your feedback to the city.

P.S. If you missed the backstory on the 35th and Roxbury projects – check the links and slide decks in this story we published while the road work was under way.

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What would you do to fix West Seattle Bridge traffic? Come talk about it October 19th http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/what-would-you-do-to-fix-west-seattle-bridge-traffic-come-talk-about-it-october-19th/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/what-would-you-do-to-fix-west-seattle-bridge-traffic-come-talk-about-it-october-19th/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2015 01:12:57 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324369

(WSB file photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Just announced: A special meeting about the West Seattle Bridge Corridor – not just about what’s in that new city “action plan” first reported here a week ago, but also about what you think should be done to fix its often-snarled state. We just found out about this from the office of City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who’s hosting the meeting; they’ve scheduled it with three weeks’ advance notice so you have time to make plans to be there if you’re interested. The basics: 6:30 pm Monday, October 19th, at the Sisson Building (home of the Senior Center of West Seattle), southeast corner of SW Oregon and California SW. If you missed the report and its 27 possibilities for improving the flow in what the city is now calling the West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor, follow the link above, or take a look at the “white paper”:

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