West Seattle Blog... » Transportation http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 28 May 2015 18:54:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 METRO: How West Seattle service will change starting June 6th http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/metro-how-west-seattle-service-will-change-starting-june-6th/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/metro-how-west-seattle-service-will-change-starting-june-6th/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 19:19:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311559 With a week and a half until Metro‘s next “service change” – June 6th – a news release just circulated brings the reminder that service changes funded by voter-approved Seattle Prop 1 are starting to kick in. We went into the webpage listing the changes to pull out the following descriptions of what’s in store for West Seattle routes:

Service added, restored, or revised

RapidRide C Line
On weekdays, service frequency will improve in both directions to about every 8 minutes during the morning and afternoon peak periods. Midday service frequency will also improve to about every 12 minutes, and evening 15-minute service frequency will be extended until about 11:30 pm seven days per week. All Night Owl service will be maintained and scheduled so the times are the same every day.

On Saturday, service frequency will improve to about every 12 minutes in both directions.

Route 21
On Saturday evening, three northbound trips to downtown Seattle leaving Westwood Village at 6:07, 8:09 and 8:39 pm will be added.

Route 55
Three morning peak-period trips to downtown Seattle and three afternoon peak-period trips to the Admiral District will be added.

Route 60
On weekdays, four morning peak-period trips to Broadway and four southbound peak-period trips to Westwood Village will be added.

On Saturday and Sunday, one morning and eight evening northbound trips, and 10 evening southbound trips will be added.

Service frequency will improve to every 30-minutes and the span of service will be extended.

Route 120
On weekdays, three morning peak-period trips leaving from 15th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St in White Center to downtown Seattle will be added.

Route 125
On weekends, service frequency will improve to every 30 minutes between about 6:30 am and 6:30 pm.

City of Seattle funding will also help improve on-time reliability for the following routes (including, West Seattle-related): 21E, 37, 55, 56, 57, and the RapidRide C & D lines

Citywide, 110,000 hours of additional bus service are starting June 6th, while 113,000 more hours are scheduled to take effect at Metro’s next “service change” in September. As for the funding specified by Prop 1, the one-tenth-of-one-percent sales-tax increase is already in effect, and the $60 car-license fees take effect with registrations/renewals starting next month.

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VIDEO: Biggest turnout yet for annual Denny-Lincoln Bike Classic http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/video-biggest-turnout-yet-for-annual-denny-lincoln-bike-classic/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/video-biggest-turnout-yet-for-annual-denny-lincoln-bike-classic/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 18:23:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311293

If you saw a big group of bicycle riders this past hour or so in Westwood or Fauntleroy – this is probably who you saw: The Denny-Lincoln Bicycle Classic‘s almost 50 riders. Biggest group yet, the ride leaders announced as they gave everyone a big round of safety reminders before taking off from the path on the north side of Denny International Middle School (2601 SW Kenyon).

After heading out on the western path through the Denny-Sealth campus, they mustered on 26th SW, bound for SW Thistle. This, by the way, is the third annual Denny-Lincoln ride – so named because the destination is Lincoln Park, where the group planned a lunchtime barbecue.

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One more transportation note: Use Delridge? Take this survey http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/one-more-transportation-note-use-delridge-take-the-survey/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/one-more-transportation-note-use-delridge-take-the-survey/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 20:34:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311223 One more transportation-related item: If you live and/or work and/or drive, ride, walk, run along Delridge Way SW, you’re going to want to take this survey. It was mentioned in the announcement of a June 6th city-led workshop regarding three projects – the Delridge Multi-Modal Corridor Study, the Delridge Action Plan, and Delridge Longfellow Creek Basin Natural Drainage Systems Partnership. The workshop is planned for 9:30 am-noon June 6th (a Saturday) at Southwest Teen Life Center (2801 SW Thistle)

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VIDEO: Why the first Admiral Way Safety Project meeting won’t be the last after all http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/why-the-first-admiral-way-safety-project-meeting-wont-be-the-last-after-all/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/why-the-first-admiral-way-safety-project-meeting-wont-be-the-last-after-all/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 17:30:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311171

(Slide deck from last night’s meeting)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“Who can we contact to derail this program?”

That question was asked by one attendee at last night’s contentious meeting about the Admiral Way Safety Project, but could have come from almost anyone who spoke. We hadn’t planned to record the meeting on video but grabbed five minutes of public comment via phone; if you weren’t there, this is a taste of how it went:

This was the first standalone meeting about the project, and at one point during the meeting SDOT reps said it would be the only one – but before the meeting’s end, Admiral Neighborhood Association president David Whiting asked them to commit to another one, and they agreed.

The proposal for SW Admiral Way between California SW and 63rd SW is intended to improve safety by adding a bicycle lane and narrowing vehicle lanes. That would require removal of about 200 street parking spaces, per SDOT’s calculations, on alternating sides of the street. While SDOT initially contended that the proposal would still preserve more than the number of spaces they found occupied during their research, what has drawn ire is the timing of that research: They took counts last December, not during the warm-weather months that fill Alki-area parking spaces for blocks around.

The way in which this proposal emerged also has drawn criticism.

Unlike other arterial projects on the drawing board now for West Seattle – 35th SW and SW Roxbury – this seemed to come out of almost nowhere. Those two projects followed longstanding community requests for help with dangerous corridors, as did the now-under-construction 47th/Admiral traffic signal, which is in the zone covered by this project. But the Admiral Way Safety Project emerged without much fanfare – first we heard of it was when an SDOT presentation turned up on the ANA agenda for April; this preview we published before that meeting included the first publicized details.

Even without much warning, that meeting had a larger turnout than most community councils usually draw (WSB coverage here). The next briefing was at this month’s Southwest District Council meeting (WSB coverage here), a group that doesn’t usually draw much of an audience (and doesn’t meet in a room with much space for one).

But last night brought a crowd. SDOT seemed braced for one, bringing reinforcements to join project manager Emily Ehlers, including her boss Sam Woods and Dawn Schellenberg of the SDOT communications team to try to set the stage for the meeting, as well as to try to keep it on topic and away from mode-vs.-mode anger. At the start, she asked who’d heard about the SDOT safety initiative Vision Zero. A few scattered hands went up. She offered a preface – “The value of someone’s life does not change depending on how they travel. … It’s not us vs. them.” – as well as background on traffic calming and on the Bicycle Master Plan, suggesting that current bicycle riders are mostly those who’ve done it for a long time, and that the city hopes changes like the one in this plan will make more people feel comfortable enough to ride.

Ehlers picked up with the project itself, along Admiral Way between 63rd SW and California SW. She started with stats on a speed study in February – 2 percent of the drivers on the corridor are going more than 40 mph.

She showed a bicycle count – keep in mind, there’s no bike lane now. At Stevens Street, the daily use averaged about 50, and at 48th, it averaged more than 60. “Uphill? Downhill?” somebody muttered. “I don’t believe it,” somebody else muttered. Ehlers said these were measured by devices, not visually.

She also showed the collision data for the stretch over three years – 48 collisions, all but three vehicle-vs.-vehicle, one in which a pedestrian was hit, two involving bicycles.

Then, the parking chart – and she acknowledged the seasonal variations that weren’t mentioned the first time around until someone asked “when was the study done?” and got the reply “December.” So, she said, they will study again in July. The measurements were at 6 am, noon, 6 pm, 10 pm, in the January study, with the available parking only one-third utilized.

The changes are what were announced previously – reduce lane width from an average of 12 to 10 feet, for one. That encourages slower speeds and narrows the crossing distance for pedestrians, Ehlers said. And she mentioned the 47th/Admiral signal project (which is all done except for the signal itself).

The map color-coding planned parking changes was shown – none at the west end, 58 spaces in the next stretch, 124 spaces in the stretch after that, and no change in the block before California, which also will not have a bike lane.

At this point, the project team mentioned that next steps would include the July parking study, and final design; implementation in fall, and evaluation next year. That’s when they said, at first, that no additional meeting was planned after the July parking study, but Schellenberg said that they would notify people when the study results are available online.

That’s when Q/A began, growing increasingly contentious as it went on.

First question: What about correcting behavior through means such as enforcement? Ehlers said, “Enforcement is a huge issue – it’s one prong of Vision Zero along with enforcement and education,” and invited comments on where enforcement would be helpful. Woods said “self-enforcement” is what they are aiming for. She said they can research SPD citations, but they don’t have that data currently.

Another attendee said upper Admiral is enforced more than lower Admiral.

“No pavement repair?” asked an attendee. Ehlers said they planned some spot repairs in the bicycle lanes because bicycles are sensitive. “Cars are too,” was the retort.

A man who said he had been measuring parking in recent weeks said his numbers are different from the city’s, and thought they might be counting the bridge, “where no one parks.” He said that from 57th west, occupancy at night seems to be closer to 85 percent. Ehlers clarified that the 33 percent occupancy was an average, including sections “where no one parks” and sections “where people park heavily.”

A man who said he has one vehicle on the street, one in the garage, and rides his bicycle to work daily, said the best thing he sees about the project is the “narrower lanes … to slow down traffic. Whatever happens here, I hope narrower lanes will be part of it. … Right now it’s just too much of a speedway.” He and neighbors have had their cars hit by speeding vehicles.

Another attendee said “to me the data is useless if you don’t look at what’s happening down here between May and September.”

They’re going to, the SDOT team reiterated. “But you’re not going to share it in a group setting,” said an attendee. “Well, we’re hearing you might like that,” said Schellenberg.

Another attendee stood up to talk about the lack of parking for Alki Elementary and said no one from the school is here “because they’ve given up.” The “overflow parking” is “right in front of where I live,” she said. And, she pointed out, “this is a tourist area. … The whole atmosphere of our city changes (in summer) … strangers come from other cities, and they try to park here, and there’s nowhere to park. Where do they park? Admiral Way. On the 4th of July, we have to take a cab, because there’s no place to park. We’re talking about a street that’s not like the other streets you’re trying to change in the city.” That was followed by applause.

A man who said he lives on 57th says he has to park on Admiral. “There’s a parking overlay around here for good reason.” (Alki requires 1.5 spaces per unit for residential construction.)

A woman said that she can’t turn onto Admiral because it’s heavily parked, up to and even into an alley. She takes the bus to work, she noted.

Next to speak was Jackie Ramels (a former chair of the Alki Community Council), who said it’s hard “to sit here and hear you tell us how things are – I know how things are …” Last weekend during the West Seattle 5K, Ramels said, people were parking overlapping her driveway. “The future of our whole neighborhood and our way of life depend on the information you get in July … we hope you choose a really nice day” (for the July study).

Another attendee said, “My impression is that this plan will go forward.”

“We’re looking to see if we can accommodate your parking, add a new travel option, and have collisions go down on the street,” replied Schellenberg.

Next person pointed out that many of the streets in upper Alki back up onto greenbelts and there are no “other streets to park on.” He said traffic was slower “before they put the center turn lane in” years ago. He added that crosswalks are needed to help people like him – “I’m in my 60s” – at the very least.

The applause got more raucous.

“How long will the study be in July?”

“One weekday and one weekend day,” the SDOT team replied, saying cars will be counted by people.

A woman and man, each holding a baby, stood up to voice their concerns about parking removal on their side of Admiral Way. She started to cry as she spoke, saying she loves the idea of slowing down but “I’m scared to death to take (my children) across the street multiple times a day. (if parking is removed on the side where she lives) … We just heard about this meeting through a neighbor. Is this a votable issue? … I applaud you guys trying to make it safer but it scares me to death to think we’ll have to park across the street.”

The contentiousness ratcheted up from here.

“You should be note-taking,” someone admonished the SDOT team (one person was writing bulletpoints on paper on an easel, but no one appeared to be taking notes otherwise).

A man shouted that people should send their concerns to City Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

One man says “it’s up to each one of us to create our own safety. You can’t do it. I know from the engineering department you want to help – but you can’t design safety into everyone’s minds.”

Smattering of applause. “We’re not going to give up,” said an SDOT team member.

“All it takes is a little alcohol, or a drug, and a little roadway paint will not save anybody,” the man continued – he is the one at the start of our video clip. “I have to be here to tell you, you’re wrong. You insulted me by telling me my experience means I’m stupid.” (He explained he took umbrage to them having called regular bicyclists “fearless.”)

Then another attendee (also in our clip) said that the bicycle counts were wrong, saying that he works at home all day and has never seen more than a handful.

A woman said people won’t stop for a pedestrian island, they certainly won’t stop for a crosswalk. “I don’t see how this is going to work.” She thinks a crosswalk every block or two “would be great, but how you’re going to get the cars to see them …”

A man voiced concern about “all these condos being built …” – he seemed to be referring to apartment construction in the West Seattle Junction area – “they’re going to want to come to the beach.”

Schellenberg reiterated at that point that they are not looking to cut the speed limit beyond the posted speed, 30 mph.

David Whiting, president of the Admiral Neighborhood Association: “If the goal of Vision Zero is to reduce accidents, then why is the bicycle lane adjacent to traffic instead of buffered by (parking)?”

Woods replied that “doing a parking-buffered bike lane would (mean) restricting parking at every driveway, at every intersection.”

Whiting said he wanted SDOT to commit to not implementing any changes without another public meeting, after the next round of research. That drew major applause. He mentioned his group, “we’d host you, logistics are not a problem, or the SW District Council” (which he co-chairs) – “there’s enough concern about this process.”

And with that, Schellenberg said OK, they would commit to another public meeting.

Next person: “If your goal is to slow traffic to accommodate bikes, and you hope there will be more in the future to reduce car trips – I like the idea of eliminating the center turn lane along the stretch. That will slow speeds.”

Another man who said he works on an ambulance crew all day said he thought the whole impetus for this was wrong in the first place – basically, that they were trying to fix what wasn’t broken.

Then a man declared that the studies SDOT said it did in December and April “are completely flawed.” The project team quickly said they would vowed to redo the bicycle count in June, as well as redoing the parking study in July. “You are public servants and you work for us,” he continued, and said he was not happy with the project team’s giggling/laughter during the meeting.

And then:

“Who can we contact to derail this program? Tell us now, who can we write to to derail the program? You’re here to placate us.”

“Dori Monson,” someone says.

Ehlers said they can e-mail her.

One woman spoke up to support the proposal at that point, saying that, “she’s looking forward to the narrower lanes and I’m looking forward to the project.”

A man said that they’ve been asking for more pedestrian enhancements at 49th. He then graciously suggested applause for Schellenberg having “run the meeting well.”

Then a woman asked to speak. “There are only three ways to get to Alki” – and this is one of them. “This is our main thoroughfare. It’s not like any other street. That has to be taken into consideration.”

She then wondered about the genesis of this proposal – what led to it in the first place?

Schellenberg said she thought it primarily was inspired by the Bicycle Master Plan, which she had mentioned in her meeting preface.

“So – it’s all for bicyclists?” someone asked.

At that, the meeting wrapped up, with at least a third of the attendees staying to talk with each other and with the SDOT staffers.

WHAT’S NEXT? As noted above, SDOT committed to another public meeting after the July parking study. We will continue to follow up to find out when they intend to do that study.

HOW TO COMMENT: emily.ehlers@seattle.gov – and there’s more contact info on the project page (where you’ll also find the “boards” shown last night, as well as the slide deck we embedded above).

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HAPPENING NOW: Walk the SW Roxbury project zone with SDOT http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/happening-now-walk-the-sw-roxbury-project-zone-with-sdot/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/happening-now-walk-the-sw-roxbury-project-zone-with-sdot/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 00:30:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311063 5:30 PM: For the next 2 1/4 hours, SDOT’s project team will walk the SW Roxbury project zone – as was done with 35th SW last Saturday – with anyone who shows up to ask questions, voice concerns, or just look and listen. Here’s the schedule:

5:30 pm – 4th/Roxbury
5:50 pm – 8th/Roxbury
6:15 pm – Delridge/16th/Roxbury
6:45 pm – 26th/Roxbury
7:15 pm – 30th/Roxbury
7:45 pm – 35th/Roxbury

You can join anywhere along the way. We’re off to see what happens as it starts, and we’ll be back with an update.

6:03 PM: We met up with SDOT’s James Le at the 8th/Roxbury meetup point. He was alone. He told us one person did show up at the 4th/Roxbury starting point – but not to talk about the Roxbury project; that person wanted to know what was the leading option so far for 35th. (Project manager Jim Curtin had said during Saturday’s walking tour there that Option A was “looking good. Curtin is scheduled to join the Roxbury tour around 17th/Roxbury, about 15 minutes from now, said Le.)

10:03 PM: Here’s a photo from 30th/Roxbury, where we checked back on the tour. By that point, Curtin told us, they’d tallied about a dozen participants along the way, including those at this stop:

From left, Eric Iwamoto of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (and co-chair of the Southwest District Council), Chris Stripinis, who is the transportation point person for WWRHAH, Richard Miller from the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council and West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, Le and Curtin from SDOT. Work on the project is expected to start in mid-August.

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Highway 99 tunnel machine damage ‘more extensive’ than expected, WSDOT tells City Council http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/happening-now-highway-99-tunnel-machine-damage-more-extensive-than-expected-city-council-told-during-briefing/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/happening-now-highway-99-tunnel-machine-damage-more-extensive-than-expected-city-council-told-during-briefing/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 17:35:42 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310775

(ADDED 12:11 PM: WSDOT slide deck as presented to City Council this morning)

10:35 AM: The damage to the Highway 99 tunneling machine is “more extensive” than expected, but not more extensive than they were expecting to fix. That’s how it was just announced by WSDOT’s Todd Trepanier during the scheduled periodic Highway 99/tunnel project briefing for the City Council. For as long as the briefing continues, we’ve embedded it above (click the “play” button to access the live Seattle Channel stream). Trepanier specifically mentions machine sealing that’s been “stripped away.” Trepanier says Seattle Tunnel Partners hasn’t said what caused it, and doesn’t have to, under terms of the design/build contract, but councilmembers are pressing the point.

10:42 AM: First among them is Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who wants to know the schedule and says he’s nervous every day the Alaskan Way Viaduct stays open. Trepanier says that the contractor has told them they’ll have a revised schedule next month. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen asks if there’s some deadline for this to get going again; Trepanier says they want the contractor to “take the time that (they) need” but adds on followup that the contract does include deadlines with monetary consequences. Those deadline dates are not close, though, Trepanier says. He tries to move along but O’Brien asks again, do they have any idea what went wrong? Trepanier replies no, that’s between the contractor and the machine’s manufacturer. He continues showing images of the damage (no slide deck provided yet). “If everything is going wrong like this right now, how do we know (it’s OK) before it gets back in the ground (and resumes tunneling)?” asks Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.

Next, it’s on to a report about ground settlement in the area. One report has reached the conclusion that the drawdown of an aquifer by the “dewatering” for the access pit caused November’s settlement. But that has stabilized, Trepanier goes on to say. “That type of settlement is no longer going to continue,” they believe. In all, he adds, three reports related to the settlement are out – and they don’t all agree with each other regarding other points. One specific area, he adds, is believed to be an area “where there’s always been a problem” predating the dewatering.

11:03 AM: Trepanier is showing charts with details of which engineering firm says what. This part of the briefing has lasted much longer than the one about the specific damage has been found in the tunnel machine. After a few minutes of details, he recaps that they disagree with the city over what’s to blame for the Pioneer Square water main that needs to be replaced – “it’s always been a problem” in their view, before the tunnel-project dewatering. He also says that they haven’t found noteworthy structural damage in the area. He also says the aquifer related to the dewatering should eventually have a “rebound effect … when the pump shutoff takes place.”

11:21 AM: WSDOT moves on to an update on what other work is being done while the tunnel machine is being fixed. On this side, the South Operations Building is taking shape, he notes. And WSDOT is writing its response to the city’s evaluation of the Viaduct, Trepanier adds.

11:29 AM: Briefing is over. We’re taking down the live-video window; we’re expecting the slide deck from WSDOT in a bit and will add that when it’s available.

11:43 AM: WSDOT has published its own summary, here.

12:11 PM: And now we’ve received the slide deck, and added it atop this story.

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AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: SDOT-led walking tour of 35th SW http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/happening-now-sdot-led-walking-tour-of-35th-sw/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/happening-now-sdot-led-walking-tour-of-35th-sw/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 16:36:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310531

FIRST REPORT, 9:36 AM: As of just after 9 am, the SDOT-organized walking tour of the 35th SW Safety Project zone is under way. Above, project manager Jim Curtin, who started the tour with one assistant and three members of the public. At the outbound 35th/Avalon RapidRide, he explained that the section of 35th in that area is NOT proposed for rechannelization or other major changes. He was asked how the mixed-use development across the street will change conditions in that area:

Curtin mentioned, as has been reported here, that it includes a slopeside stairway to help connect the 35th/Avalon area (which is the gateway to West Seattle Stadium, WS Golf Course, and Camp Long) with the growing residential/business area to the west in The Triangle and The Junction. The transit stop, currently relocated to the south, will be “improved,” he said. Then after a few minutes, the group headed southbound, where we spotted them a few minutes later outside the stadium entrance:

You can catch up with the tour for a moment, an hour, whatever interests you. The stops and times are listed here, continuing until they reach 35th/Roxbury at noon. And if you don’t get to catch up with any of this – Curtin reiterated at the start that SDOT will come back to the community with the next version of the proposal, next month. You can send comments/observations/questions to him at jim.curtin@seattle.gov.

11:07 AM: We checked in on the walking tour again at 35th and Morgan, one spot where SDOT had said during the recent community meetings that they were still deciding what would be best to do to avoid significantly delaying traffic here:


Curtin said the plan for this intersection so far includes “tweaking the signal phasing.” Nearby residents who joined in at this stop mentioned parking near the intersection that could be reviewed for removal.

P.S. We’ve been experimenting with the new Twitter-linked “live” app Periscope lately and went live at this stop for a few minutes – if you use Twitter, check it out (or, if you don’t want to use Twitter but do decide to use the Periscope app, just follow us there!).

12:22 PM: The tour concluded right on time – we stopped by to check in as they arrived at 35th and Roxbury:


Curtin told the final few participants that “Option A” is looking the most promising, especially “south of Oregon,” and that the community meeting will likely be in mid-June.

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‘WALK & TALK’: 35th SW Safety Project zone tomorrow, SW Roxbury next Wednesday http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/walk-talk-35th-sw-safety-project-zone-tomorrow-sw-roxbury-next-wednesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/walk-talk-35th-sw-safety-project-zone-tomorrow-sw-roxbury-next-wednesday/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 23:25:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310457

The proposal to rechannelize much of 35th SW after years of safety concerns and reduce its speed limit to 30 mph is one of our area’s hottest transportation topics. Your next chance to take your questions directly to the city is on a walking tour tomorrow morning – and you don’t have to walk the whole distance; the city’s graphic, above, shows where they expect to be and when, both for tomorrow’s 35th SW tour and for next Wednesday night’s walking tour of SW Roxbury. In case you can’t read it, here’s the list for tomorrow:

9:00 am – 35th/Avalon
9:30 am – 35th/Dawson
9:45 am – 35th/Juneau
10:15 am – 35th/Morgan
10:45 am – 35th/Holden
11:15 am – 35th/Thistle
11:45 am – 35th/Barton
12:00 pm – 35th/Roxbury

Here’s the official project page with details of what the city’s considering. The design alternatives were unveiled at two meetings in March – our coverage is here and here. Meantime, the West Seattle resident who started a petition opposed to the rechannelization and speed-limit reduction, Bob Neel, sent us the final summary he has sent to SDOT’s project manager Jim Curtinsee it here.

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West Seattle Chamber hears transportation-levy pitch, asks non-levy questions too http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-chamber-hears-transportation-levy-pitch-asks-non-levy-questions-too/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-chamber-hears-transportation-levy-pitch-asks-non-levy-questions-too/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 09:04:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310270

(WSB photo)

One week after they stood on a Beacon Hill street corner with the mayor, announcing the revised Transportation Levy to Move Seattle, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and SDOT director Scott Kubly pitched it to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

They were the guest speakers at the Chamber’s monthly lunch meeting on Wednesday at The Kenney (WSB sponsor).

The conversation wandered around to non-levy transportation topics too.

Councilmember Rasmussen, who chairs the Council’s Transportation Committee, talked about the $930 million levy in general, noting the big addition for West Seattle – the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, currently funded only through design, is now in the levy. Kubly gave more of an overview of SDOT’s mission, especially its multimodal intent, and its view that the future has arrived, with the increasing use of carsharing (Car2Go) and ridesharing (Lyft, Uber) in the big picture as his department also factors in existing infrastructure and neighborhood needs.

As for the levy process, he recapped the input SDOT had gathered so far, particularly via the online survey – with 8,000 respondents – and hundreds of comments, while explaining they also looked forward to events like this one where they could hear from people face-to-face.

When Kubly invited questions, a few did address points in the levy – how much money is West Seattle-specific (no numbers beyond the $16 million or so for Fauntleroy Boulevard) and why some of the levy was going to what seemed like basic needs like crosswalk repainting (state tax-revenue constraints were cited). But more of the questioning was along the lines of long-running West Seattle transportation issues:

-The increasing perception of a parking crunch and its effect on businesses. Kubly said people need transportation options, and reiterated his view of the importance of car-sharing among other such options.

-The challenge of limited options for heading outbound from West Seattle, which drew some mutters of agreement. This led Kubly to mention the city advocating for making sure West Seattle would get something out of the next Sound Transit ballot measure (aka Sound Transit 3).

-Concern about the likely rechannelization of 35th SW, in the face of increasing neighborhood population. Kubly said SDOT expects that 35th will become safer and more efficient.

The question of cost arose, specifically the cost of the levy ($275/year for the owner of a $450,000 home) and last year’s voter-approved transit-funding measure ($60 more on car tabs starting this summer). One attendee observed that the latter is still leaving deficiencies in local bus service, including the Alki area.

So, Kubly was then asked, is SDOT working on further efficiencies, in general as well as in light of the levy? He cited one example, working with utilities to reduce the amount of street-digging-up that’s been going on.

And then a question he was asked at a previous West Seattle meeting – what happens if the levy doesn’t pass?

It would mean cutting SDOT’s budget, Kubly replied.

Next steps for the revised levy: It’s going through the City Council, which ultimately will vote on whether to send it to the ballot (a November vote is expected).

P.S. Regarding the 35th SW project – this Saturday morning is the walking tour, and SDOT’s project page has details on where you can catch up with it if you don’t want to go along for the entire three-hour tour.

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‘Communities In Motion’: Shake up your transportation routine http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/communities-in-motion-shake-up-your-transportation-habits/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/communities-in-motion-shake-up-your-transportation-habits/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 23:24:35 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310239 Speaking of traffic … ready to see if it’s possible to experience less of it? You have a few more weeks to sign up for Metro’s “Communities In Motion” program:

Want to earn a free, ORCA card good for two weeks of unlimited travel and qualify for other prizes – in exchange for driving less? King County Metro is in the last few weeks of its “Communities in Motion” program in South Park, West Seattle and White Center and looking for people who want to trade daily driving for more biking, walking and busing.

Through June 6, people who live or work in those three areas can sign up online and help reduce traffic congestion and boost the health of their community. The Metro In Motion team will be at events in your neighborhood soon and are happy to visit work and community centers upon request. Visit us online kingcounty.gov/inmotion.

How it Works

People aged 16 or older who live, work or attend school in the communities of South Park, West Seattle or White Center, and have at least one car in your household are eligible to participate in Communities in Motion. To participate, go to kingcounty.gov/inmotion and select your neighborhood, then follow these steps.

Take the Pledge: agree to shift two or more round trips per week from drive alone to another option.

Choose your resources and rewards: request resources that will help you with your new transit, carpool, bike and walking trips, including an ORCA card good for two weeks of unlimited travel, transit schedules, bike maps, pedometers and more.

Log your trips and earn rewards: once you’ve pledged, log your trips online to be eligible for weekly prize drawings. Winners will receive a Safeway gift card valued at $50.

Tell us about your experience: take our follow up survey once the program has ended to be eligible for a gift card drawing.

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Bike To Work Day on Friday: ‘Commute station’ under the bridge http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/bike-to-work-day-on-friday-with-commute-station-under-the-bridge/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/bike-to-work-day-on-friday-with-commute-station-under-the-bridge/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 16:54:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310202

Thanks to West Seattle Bike Connections president Don Brubeck for the photo of bicycle commuters waiting on the low bridge this morning, while, Don says, “an APL train barge” passed through. This Friday is Bike To Work Day, and Don says WSBC and DIY Bikes are hosting a bike-commute station under the bridge, “where the trails meet,” 6-9 am on Friday. From the Cascade Bicycle Club website, here’s a map of the “commute stations” planned all around the area (update: the White Center listing is apparently outdated, but the WS one definitely IS on):

P.S. One local improvement for walkers, runners, and bike riders open in time for B2W Day, the Delridge/Andover project – we tweeted a mention this morning while following up on the Pigeon Point fire:


Seattle Bike Blog spotlighted it last week.

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FERRY UPDATE: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth back to 3 boats http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/ferry-update-fauntleroy-vashon-southworth-back-to-3-boats/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/ferry-update-fauntleroy-vashon-southworth-back-to-3-boats/#comments Sat, 09 May 2015 15:19:00 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309689 8:19 AM: The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth state-ferry run is back to three boats this morning. But it’s at lower-than-usual capacity; the once-retired Evergreen State has been added to partly make up for the Issaquah’s move to the Bainbridge Island run while M/V Tacoma is repaired after its Friday afternoon breakdown. The 3-boat schedule is here, noting that the run is now being handled by Cathlamet, Tillikum, and Evergreen State; we’ll update this story if anything else changes during the course of the day.

2:14 PM: We’re seeing the Fauntleroy Way ferry lane alongside Lincoln Park, and that reminds us to update this with WSF’s note that most runs are about half an hour later than scheduled time, so far.

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FOLLOWUP: SDOT still investigating ‘anomalies’ after West Seattle’s ‘low bridge’ breaks down twice in 5 days http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/followup-sdot-still-investigating-anomalies-that-put-west-seattles-low-bridge-out-of-commission-twice-in-5-days/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/followup-sdot-still-investigating-anomalies-that-put-west-seattles-low-bridge-out-of-commission-twice-in-5-days/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 21:30:00 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309627

(SDOT camera image from Thursday evening)
Last night, for the second time in five days, the West Seattle “low bridge” – aka the SW Spokane Street Swing Bridge – suffered a “malfunction” that left it off-limits to traffic, both surface and marine, for more than an hour and a half (WSB coverage here). We failed to follow up after the Sunday incident (WSB coverage here) but sent an inquiry to SDOT first thing today. The communications team obtained and forwarded this reply from Paul Roberts, SDOT’s Structural Operations and Maintenance Manager:

Last night the bridge operator prepared to open the bridge for marine vessels. Once the traffic control gates were deployed, an operational anomaly occurred. This caused the bridge’s systems to fully stop, a process that prevents unintentional public safety issues or unnecessary risk/damage to the bridge itself during a system anomaly. Anomalies can occur because of (but not limited to) power supply surges, sensor alignment, controller system conflicts or component failure.

Bridge technicians were immediately summoned to the bridge to assess the incident and regain operational control. Although the bridge technicians were able to return operational control to the bridge operator, the cause of the anomaly is still under review.

The bridge technicians will continue working on the problem to identify the cause and contributing factors, and to figure out how these types of anomalies can be minimized.

Our archives show two bridge breakdowns in the span of less than a month last summer – in July, a gate pin was blamed for an hour-plus bridge outage; in June, a computerized measurement device used during bridge “docking” was blamed for a two-hour-plus outage.

SIDE NOTE: The “low bridge” is the only option bicycle riders and walkers/runners have for crossing the Duwamish north of the 1st Avenue South Bridge (aside from a bus or the Water Taxi). It’s been in service since the early ’90s.

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UPDATE: Fauntleroy Boulevard project part of revised transportation levy http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/fauntleroy-boulevard-project-part-of-revised-transportation-levy/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/fauntleroy-boulevard-project-part-of-revised-transportation-levy/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 18:23:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309349

(WSB photo from this morning’s announcement event)
11:23 AM: We are on Beacon Hill, where Mayor Murray is announcing the revised transportation levy. The West Seattle headline: The Fauntleroy Boulevard project is now part of the levy. More to come.


11:56 AM: Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen – longtime advocate of the Fauntleroy Boulevard project – and Mike O’Brien also spoke. Various notes: $35 million more for sidewalks in the revised levy (we’re looking for proposed locations). The total package to be funded is now up to $930 million – $30 million more than the first draft – but the city says that is not from an increase in the proposed tax level, but from additional revenue they expect will be generated as “assessed value of new construction” rises. Lander Street Overpass – touted as key for freight as well as for surface-level travel between West Seattle and SODO – is still in the package, and the Delridge corridor is shown on the highlights map, too. Rasmussen said the first council consideration of the revised levy will be on May 12th; a public hearing is planned June 2nd. More to come.

1:52 PM: If you’d like to see how the mayor framed this, here’s the news release. Meantime, we’ve added a few of our photos from the announcement event, and here are a few more notes. The amount of money allotted for the Neighborhood Street Fund also has increased. We’ve sent a followup question to CM Rasmussen’s office to ask whether the Fauntleroy Boulevard proposal that’s now in the levy is the with-undergrounded-utilities or without-undergrounded-utilities version, and will add the reply when we get it.

3:36 PM: CM Rasmussen says $16 million will be earmarked for Fauntleroy Boulevard. While that isn’t the full amount that would need for undergrounding, he says, they are working with Seattle City Light on “cost-sharing.” He also adds that he is “thrilled” that the project made it into the revised levy and says it’s evidence the mayor listened to community members, and him, who said they wanted it included. (It dominated the discussion during SDOT director Kubly’s visit to the Southwest District Council a month ago, for example.)

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Alki Elementary students’ Bike To School Day ride with the mayor http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/alki-elementary-students-bike-to-school-day-ride-with-the-mayor/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/alki-elementary-students-bike-to-school-day-ride-with-the-mayor/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 16:40:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309324

Perfect weather for Bike To School Day, and Alki Elementary students were joined by a special guest: Mayor Ed Murray, who lived in the area when he was a kid. He caught up with the “bike train” that left Anchor (Luna) Park. Once they got to school, some time to chat before classes began:

An awards ceremony also was planned for the student riders, to celebrate safety achievements such as “Most Visible Rider.” Bike To School Day is part of Bike Month, which also includes Bike To Work Day on May 15th, one week from Friday.

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