Transportation – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sun, 27 May 2018 03:31:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 SDOT behind-the-scenes, plus a greenway update, @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/sdot-behind-the-scenes-plus-a-greenway-update-west-seattle-transportation-coalition/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/sdot-behind-the-scenes-plus-a-greenway-update-west-seattle-transportation-coalition/#comments Fri, 25 May 2018 20:57:45 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=917606 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two guests from SDOT headlined the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s monthly meeting last night, and the first provided a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at the department’sis in transition mode,

The meeting was led by WSTC board member Deb Barker, in the absence of chair Michael Taylor-Judd and vice chair Marty Westerman.

SDOT LEADERSHIP: Genesee Adkins, chief of staff for acting SDOT director Goran Sparrman, spoke in his place – he had to be at the concurrent meeting of the Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee, given the recent disclosures about that levy going somewhat off the rails. She first reminded everyone that the mayor is looking for public input in the search for a permanent director (as noted here, including a survey you’re invited to answer). She said Sparrman had come out of retirement to help out with SDOT’s transition before and now after ex-director Scott Kubly and has been tasked with taking a hard look.”We want to be headed in an altered direction and have some good momentum when the new director comes.” Finding “someone to run a 1,000-person agency” is a big task, Adkins noted. She said that the agency is still getting to know Mayor Jenny Durkan, her style, her priorities, where she wants to push the envelope.

Right now, the department is taking an “internal view” and “can speak freely” about things that have not gone well, for an assessment that Adkins says should be done within a few weeks.

“It’ll be concrete and will have a lot of action steps.” It’ll go to the mayor first and then there’ll be “some kind of public release at some point.”

Speaking of Move Seattle, Adkins said they’ve been “working diligently” on assessing it. Last year, department staff and the Oversight Committee observed that something seemed awry – “how can we be checking off all the deliverables yet not drawing down the balance” at a comparable pace? That led to the discovery that they weren’t on track to meeting goals. For one, SDOT “rolled over a large chunk of money” from the preceding levy (Bridging the Gap) when Move Seattle (“almost three times the size” of its predecessor) began. For two, an assumption that MS would spend the same amount of money each year turned out to be wrong – a lot of planning and designing needed to be done. So they hired a consultant to audit the levy.

They’re now talking with advisory boards and others about where things stand. 23 of the levy’s programs “are looking good”; eight “need a harder look.” In particular, Adkins said, three – new sidewalk construction, bicycle facilities, and multimodal corridors – are going to have a gap. The sidewalk situation is being affected by the consent decree requiring construction of 1,250 curb ramps a year, she noted. Earlier in the week, they talked with the Transit Advisory Board about the multimodal situation (that would include new RapidRide corridors such as Delridge’s H Line), which they thought would reap “a tremendous amount of federal dollars.” The federal-funding process is taking much longer than it used to, she said. “The new administration has really shifted priorities … they’ve prioritized grants to rural areas … across the board.” So among other things, that has thrown schedules for such projects into some degree of chaos.

So right now, SDOT is “putting all our cards on the table,” trying to be honest about where things stand.

Another topic was the on-hold Fauntleroy Boulevard project. It is “obviously at 100 percent design,” Adkins said, and they’re hoping to hear more at month’s end about whether Sound Transit light rail is still pursuing a route that might conflict with it. Short term, in consultation with Councilmember Lisa Herbold, they’re “going to try to make some critical investments … to improve safety for all uses to buy us time until we know what Sound Transit is going to do. … what can we do on the surface, what can we do for pedestrians and bicyclists …” She continued, “The sliver of potential good news here is that Sound Transit may give us a renewed chance to (figure out) what makes sense.”

How will those short-term plans be released? “We’re just developing those right now,” Adkins said, working with Herbold’s office, and talking about what to do with the balance of the Fauntleroy Boulevard funding.

Might some of that go toward the Highland Park roundabout? Barker asked. “It could,” said Adkins, recapping what the Highland Park Action Committee heard Wednesday night – that SDOT is applying for another state grant, and doesn’t expect to hear until December.

Q&A included how SDOT is prioritizing curb-ramp locations, and the Magnolia Bridge situation (SDOT doesn’t have funding to replace the 90-year-old bridge, which is safe, but “not in good shape”). SDOT is looking at three alternatives. Also: An attendee wondered about SDOT’s plans for the Viaduct closure pre-tunnel opening. “It’s going to be a challenging stretch here,” acknowledged Adkins, who said they’re “negotiating with the state now about when that’s going to be – probably sometime in October.” They’ll be focused on incident management and encouraging commute alternatives. Asked if it could happen sooner, Adkins said the state is not likely to be ready – but they do hope this will happen before the weather turns, and the time changes, and so on.

“First Avenue will still be off-limits?” asked Redmond. “That’s all utility work,” noted Adkins, “mostly water main and a little sewer.” And since the related streetcar work is on hold TFN “until we get our house in order,” it’s expected to be done by October 1st.

How are Sound Transit and SDOT coordinating? asked Barker (who is also a member of the West Seattle/Ballard light-rail Stakeholder Advisory Group). Adkins said it’s challenging from the city’s point of view because ST wants to “narrow the scope” as it goes forward. “We have to really have our act together and get it right.” On the good side, interim director Sparrman had been Bellevue’s transportation director and so has experience in figuring out how the city and agency can “co-own” this collaboration – so the city’s approach is being re-shaped, to be both “collaborative and aggressive” – or at least, “not passive.” Now there’s a new Sound Transit division inside SDOT, for example.

Another question, from West Seattle High School senior WSTC board member Sam Cleary, was about project funding such as levies. Adkins deflected that into an observation that Mayor Durkan is data-driven. There could be other ways to fund for example mobility improvements -such as congestion pricing, which the mayor has asked be studied. (They just put out a call for bids on that study a few weeks ago, Adkins said. She also said Sparrman attended a congestion-pricing seminar in Vancouver last week.)

WEST SEATTLE NEIGHBORHOOD GREENWAY: Summer Jawson from SDOT brought an update, noting that this greenway starts construction this summer, since they have accelerated the south end – speed humps, some paving improvements, some sidewalk improvements, curb ramps at two intersections. By the end of this month, they’ll be at 60 percent on Phase 2, from High Point to The Junction. Community feedback shaped it – “everybody really really wanted to go to The Junction” – Jawson explained. For Phase 3, she said, the Bicycle Advisory Board offered some feedback on additional walking and biking connections – so now they’re working on the North Admiral Connection (as we’ve reported previously). “What we’re looking at is how to get from 42nd and Edmunds to North Admiral.” 42nd is the only non-arterial involved in The Junction at that spot – “but it’s not a typical greenway route – it’s going to be an urban village enhanced street.” It carries a lot of traffic including when California is closed for the West Seattle Farmers’ Market. She explained that for example, the angled parking by Holy Rosary would have to be replaced by parallel parking under one option. An attendee thought that was a bad idea. Jawson said they’re still looking for comments on route preferences – this survey appears to still be open, but Jawson said it’s supposed to be closed, so if you have comments, send them to westseattlegreenway@seattle.gov.

Asked how they survey traffic, Jawson said they use the double tubing, which measures both volume and speed, and she said they survey at different times of year, while they’re aware they can’t capture “all the dynamics.” She said SDOT hopes to be back out in West Seattle in July/August to talk about “what we heard.” Barker invited her to return to WSTC for an update then.

BOARD ELECTIONS: One potential candidate, Kate Wells, was present at the meeting. She’s a multi-modal mom of 2. “I like to really imagine the future and plan for future needs and sustainability as opposed to the ways of getting around right now.” Board elections will be held next month.

WHAT’S NEXT: WSTC only takes off August, so otherwise, you’re invited to fourth Thursdays next month, in July, and in fall and beyond, 6:30 pm, at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW).

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Highway 99 tunnel tolls: Your chance to comment – online now, and in person @ West Seattle meeting soon http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/highway-99-tunnel-tolls-your-chance-to-comment-online-now-and-in-person-west-seattle-meeting-soon/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/highway-99-tunnel-tolls-your-chance-to-comment-online-now-and-in-person-west-seattle-meeting-soon/#comments Tue, 22 May 2018 21:40:17 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=917420 (WSDOT photo, looking north at southbound – upper – tunnel deck, earlier this month)

The Highway 99 tunnel, you’ve no doubt heard here and elsewhere, could open as soon as this fall. One last thing remains to be decided: The toll(s). Now, it’s time for public comment. Received this afternoon from the Washington State Transportation Commission:

The public process of setting toll rates for the State Route 99 tunnel is starting and the Washington State Transportation Commission is seeking public comment on toll rate options under consideration. Interested persons can provide comments to the commission at upcoming public meetings in Seattle or they can provide comments electronically starting today, Tuesday, May 22.

The commission has spent more than a year studying and assessing all aspects of tolling the SR 99 tunnel, including various toll rate levels, possible toll exemptions, estimated traffic diversion to city streets, and effects of tolling on freight movement. Based upon this analysis, the commission has developed three possible toll rate options, on which it now wants the public to weigh in.

The Legislature made the decision to toll the tunnel in 2012 (RCW 47.56.862). The commission is charged with making sure tolls generate enough revenue to cover specific costs as required under the law, including toll operations, maintenance, and debt payments associated with the construction of the tunnel. In 2018, the Legislature directed that initial toll rates will not cover future repair and replacement costs, such as for the roadway and ventilation systems for the SR 99 tunnel. Proposed future toll rate increases would need to be re-evaluated if the Legislature determines these costs should be covered by toll revenue.

Toll Rate Options

The three toll rate options currently under consideration would be in effect from when tolling begins in 2019 through at least June 2020:

Option A:

Toll rates range from $1.50 – $2.25 during peak travel times and $1 overnight.
The midday toll rate is $1.25.

There are four different toll rates over six time periods on weekdays.
Beginning in July 2022, toll rates increase 3 percent, every three years for all days of the week.

Option B:

Toll rates range from $1.50 – $2.25 during peak travel times and $1 overnight.
The midday toll rate is $1.

There are four different toll rates over eight time periods on weekdays.
Beginning in July 2020, there will be annual toll rate increases of 3.5 percent for five years that will apply to the weekday rates only.

Option C:

Toll rates range from $1.50 – $2.25 during peak travel times and $1 overnight.
The midday toll rate is $1.25.

There are five different toll rates over seven time periods on weekdays.
There are no toll rate increases during first five years of tolling. Then there are three toll rate increases of five percent each, taking place in July of 2024, 2029, and 2034, for all days of the week.

Public Comment Opportunities

The commission will hold public input meetings in early June in Seattle to gather comments on the three toll-rate options under consideration. The meetings are as follows:

· Monday, June 4
4 – 5 p.m.: Open house on tunnel project and tolling
5 – 6:30 p.m.: Public input meeting on tolling options
Seattle Public Library, Washington Mutual Foundation Room
1000 4th Ave., Seattle

· Tuesday, June 5
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.: Open house on tunnel project and tolling
6:30 – 8 p.m.: Public input meeting on tolling options
High Point Community Center, Multipurpose Room
6920 34th Ave. SW

· Wednesday, June 6
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.: Open house on tunnel project and tolling
6:30 – 8 p.m.: Public input meeting on tolling options
Phinney Center, Blue Building, Room #7
6532 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle

More information on the tolling options under consideration, and additional ways the public can comment, can be found on the commission’s web site under “pending actions” at: wstc.wa.gov. The Transportation Commission is taking public comment on these tolling options until July 17. An official proposal will be announced in mid-July 2018, followed by an additional public comment period before toll rates are finalized in fall 2018.

Here’s the direct link to the page with feedback options – scroll down. The “commission feedback form” link doesn’t appear to be working properly at the moment, so we’re sending a note to report that.

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Will Highland Park’s roundabout ever be funded? SDOT update Wednesday http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/will-highland-parks-roundabout-ever-be-funded-sdot-update-wednesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/will-highland-parks-roundabout-ever-be-funded-sdot-update-wednesday/#comments Tue, 22 May 2018 18:39:02 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=917405

(Early design concept for proposed Highland Park Way roundabout)

Tomorrow night, the Highland Park Action Committee gets an update on the long-in-the-works roundabout proposed for Highland Park Way and SW Holden. SDOT’s James Le is expected to be at the meeting with the newest information. After last month’s meeting, HPAC chair Charlie Omana learned from SDOT that SDOT has been “performing a survey of existing site conditions which should be completed within the next month. Once the survey is complete, project design can proceed, and SDOT intends to engage the public with multiple opportunities for feedback.” But, he added, only $200,000 of the project’s estimated $2.5 million cost has been committed. SDOT says it’s applied for a grant from the WSDOT City Safety Program but won’t hear until later this year. (It’s been half a year since the project was turned down for a different WSDOT grant.) Omana says, “After 5 years of working on this project in its current capacity, to have only $200k committed is disappointing. HPAC is concerned about the effects that increasing construction costs will have on the feasibility of this project over time. … HPAC will continue pushing to bring this project to fruition sooner rather than later.” And that includes Wednesday night’s discussion (7 pm at Highland Park Improvement Club, 1116 SW Holden).

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What do you want to see in SDOT’s new boss? Plus, hear from its interim boss in West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/what-do-you-want-to-see-in-sdots-new-boss-plus-hear-from-its-interim-boss-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/what-do-you-want-to-see-in-sdots-new-boss-plus-hear-from-its-interim-boss-in-west-seattle/#comments Mon, 21 May 2018 20:33:14 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=917343 With so much reporting on, and talking about, transportation matters here on SDOT, we thought this announcement from the mayor’s office might interest you:

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today the City of Seattle has launched a new national search and public input process for a permanent director of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). Interim Director of SDOT Goran Sparrman will continue to serve in the role through the end of August 2018.

Beginning today, the public can now submit their input on their transportation priorities and what they would like to see in the next SDOT Director by clicking here. The City will engage a national search firm in June and launch a review committee to evaluate applicants and provide a recommendation on finalists.

“As the Interim Director, Goran has worked tirelessly to deliver on our transportation priorities with the utmost accountability and transparency,” said Mayor Durkan. “For decades, our region has been playing catch-up on its transportation needs. As more public and private mega projects lead to serious traffic disruptions downtown, the next few years will be critical for creating more safe, efficient and well-connected transportation choices that make it easier and safer for residents to get around on foot, by bike and via mass transit for decades to come.”

“With a number of significant projects in the pipeline, our next SDOT leader must be ready to deliver on investments and protect taxpayer dollars. Our residents and businesses expect our officials to make progress and deliver results, and this administration will continue to be accountable to the people we serve,” concluded Durkan.

It’s been five months already since word that Scott Kubly had left the SDOT director job after 3 1/2 years.

Meantime, acting SDOT director Sparrman will be the guest at this Thursday’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW).

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ROAD-WORK ALERT: Lane closures on SW Barton starting tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/road-work-alert-lane-closures-on-sw-barton-starting-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/road-work-alert-lane-closures-on-sw-barton-starting-tomorrow/#respond Fri, 18 May 2018 22:57:07 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=917068 Just in from SDOT:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that lane closures on SW Barton St between 29th Ave SW and 30th Ave SW begin Saturday, May 19 through Wednesday, May 23. The closures are for concrete panel repairs on SW Barton St. This project is weather dependent. SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is being completed.

What travelers can expect:

*SW Barton will have one lane of alternating traffic open during construction hours (8:30 am to 6:00 pm)
*Police Officers will be staged at 29th Ave SW and 30th Ave SW to direct traffic
*Sidewalk access will remain open
*One lane in each direction of SW Barton will be open for vehicle traffic after construction hours
*Possible travel delays through construction area during work hours

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PHOTOS: West Seattle Bike Connections and friends under the bridge for Bike Everywhere Day 2018 http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/photos-west-seattle-bike-connections-and-friends-under-the-bridge-for-bike-everywhere-day-2018/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/photos-west-seattle-bike-connections-and-friends-under-the-bridge-for-bike-everywhere-day-2018/#comments Fri, 18 May 2018 22:30:19 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=917061

Thanks to Don Brubeck for photos from West Seattle Bike Connections‘ under-the-bridge station this morning to celebrate Bike Everywhere Day (broadened a few years back from Bike to Work Day). Above,
Don explains, Paul Dieter and Sonia Honeydew were “checking the serial number on a bike to help the rider register it on BikeIndex.org. That is a database for theft recovery – free, Seattle-based nationwide non-profit registry of bikes. We were ‘vaccinating’ bikes, thus the lab coat.” New at the station this year, Verity Credit Union (WSB sponsor), opening soon in The Junction, promoting loans for bicycle purchases,especially e-bikes:

Those who stopped also enjoyed “coffee from Uptown Espresso (Delridge), teas from Choice Organic Teas in Georgetown, hydration drinks from Nuun, homemade cookies and fruit from our volunteers, and lots of bike information especially on the Delridge corridor,” plus assistance from Alki Bike and Board (WSB sponsor), Don adds.

(Thanks again to Don for the pics – we appreciate event-coverage contributions at westseattleblog@gmail.com!)

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AVALON REPAVING/RECHANNELIZATION: See where the SDOT plan’s going, one year later http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/avalon-repaving-rechannelization-see-where-the-sdot-plans-going-one-year-later/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/avalon-repaving-rechannelization-see-where-the-sdot-plans-going-one-year-later/#comments Fri, 18 May 2018 18:02:57 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916714

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

SDOT has unveiled its new in-progress plan for the SW Avalon Way repaving/rechannelization project, one year after it first came to light.

This time last year, SDOT had a community meeting after announcing it would repave/rechannelize Avalon plus a few blocks of 35th “after the Fauntleroy Boulevard project.”

Though Fauntleroy Boulevard is on hold pending Sound Transit light-rail decisions, SDOT confirmed this week that the Avalon/35th plan is moving ahead, and the project zone has expanded a bit. We met with two key members of the project team, project manager Bill Clark and communicator Dan Anderson, to get the rundown on what’s now in the plan.

Before we go any further – take note that SDOT does plan an “open house” community meeting, and a mailer; the former is set for June 5th in The Triangle, the latter will be on its way to project-area mailboxes soon (see it here now).

The project now calls for repaving the entirety of Avalon, from where it begins at Fauntleroy, to where it ends at Spokane. Plus, along with the stretch of 35th between Avalon and Alaska that’s to be repaved (and in some spots rebuilt), the repaving also will extend a block onto Alaska west of 35th.

As for the rechannelization, you can see the cross-sections above, and aerial views below – major points on Avalon remain the elimination of the center turn lane and the addition of protected bicycle lanes. And some street parking spaces will be eliminated. Anderson says, “We couldn’t find (a configuration) that did not remove any parking.” He says that in addition to their discussions with Luna Park businesses, Councilmember Lisa Herbold met with SDOT and asked what they could do to come up with a compromise. So here’s a change: You might recall that originally, street parking was going to be removed stretching uphill toward Yancy; now, that area will be an extension of the transit lane, 6-10 am weekdays, but will be open to parking the rest of the time. A dozen spaces will be removed on the west side of Avalon, starting along the retaining wall just south of SW Spokane, and in front of some of the Luna Park businesses.

This, Anderson explained, is to make room for the protected bicycle lane and also to improve visibility from the side streets. They’ve done studies, he says, and the peak parking utilization – the only time things might get crunchy – is 11 am Saturdays. Meantime, the public parking between The Shack and Luna Park Café – which, he points out, is public right-of-way, the SW Orleans “street end,” not private property – will not be changed. Here are aerial views of the rechannelization:

The sometimes-confusing connection to SW Manning isn’t changing, either. (If you’re still confused, no, motorized vehicles cannot turn left from there.) They will be working with businesses on how this all affects loading zones.

Across the street from there, if you are riding a bicycle downhill, “we’re going to build a ramp and jump onto a wider sidewalk that will become a multi-use path,” Anderson adds.

That side of the street also will see some tree removal, and the non-Rapid Ride bus stop will be moved closer to the bridge. As for crossing at Spokane/Harbor/Avalon, they’re synergizing/coordinating with the Neighborhood Street Fund project that’s planned to make safety improvements.

Speaking of crossing – the crosswalk by Luna Park Café, removed a decade ago, is not going to be brought back. The project team says the street is just too wide at that spot, plus it’s close to the existing signalized Spokane crosswalk.

Back to the paving aspect of the project, a few other notes from our briefing: The SW Genesee hill stretching east from Avalon will get special treatment so vehicles have a little more traction. The section of 35th that’s involved south of Avalon will be reconstructed, not just rebuilt. This has a lot to do with last year’s water break:

(WSB photo, December 2017)

Clark explained, “It’s a mess” because the water flowed under the street, toward the stadium, “blew out a lot of sediment …it’s still wet under there.”

With that work, the cumulative timeline for the project could stretch beyond a year, SDOT says, because their optimal work season is the April to October window. But they don’t have a timeline yet, aside from knowing that the work won’t start sooner than April 2019, and that it has to be complete by fall 2020, which is when what Clark calls “another big one” – work related to the Delridge RapidRide conversion – will be in progress.

While they’re working on that segment of 35th, they’re also planning on pedestrian-crossing islands at the stadium entrance – no marked crosswalk, but “refuge” to make it safer for the people who invariably cross there. And the sidewalk between SW Oregon and SW Snoqualmie will be replaced.

They’re “studying” the 35th/Avalon intersection for possible safety improvements. And since the Avalon repaving will now stretch all the way to Fauntleroy, “we’re looking at that too.”

You’ve no doubt got questions. SDOT hopes to see you at the June 5th open house so you can get answers – 5:30-7:30 pm at American Legion Post 160, 3618 SW Alaska.

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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Elected Leadership Group agrees to advance ‘Pigeon Ridge,’ ‘Oregon Street’ concepts to next level http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/west-seattle-light-rail-elected-leadership-group-agrees-to-advance-pigeon-ridge-oregon-street-concepts-to-next-level/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/west-seattle-light-rail-elected-leadership-group-agrees-to-advance-pigeon-ridge-oregon-street-concepts-to-next-level/#comments Fri, 18 May 2018 04:40:02 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916970

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When the Sound Transit board meets in a week, it’ll hear that the Elected Leadership Group for the West Seattle/Ballard light-rail extensions pretty much agrees with the Stakeholder Advisory Group on which alternatives should stay in the running.

That’s the upshot of the ELG’s two-hour meeting downtown this afternoon, its first one since the planning process ramped up in January. As declared at the start, its goal was to recommend which alternatives should move forward to what ST calls Level 2 of review, and for West Seattle, those remain the “Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel” and “Oregon Street/Alaska Junction” alternatives.

ELG co-chair King County Councilmember Joe McDermott opened the meeting. ST CEO Peter Rogoff spoke next, lauding the “progress” on the project and reminding everyone that the ST board is to “meet in this room …. less than one year from now” to make a preferred-alternative recommendation.

From among the ELG members, only Mayor Jenny Durkan was not in attendance; the six City Councilmembers were – Sally Bagshaw, Lorena González (who recused herself from discussion of the West Seattle route because it might go right by property she owns in The Junction), Bruce Harrell, Lisa Herbold, Rob Johnson, and (by phone) Mike O’Brien – along with King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman, and ST board chair Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers.

ST executive Cathal Ridge presented a refresher of the timelines, all the way from identifying a preferred alternative early next year for formal environmental study, to launching West Seattle light rail in 2030, Ballard light rail in 2035. And he went over the Stakeholder Advisory Group’s recommendations from last month (WSB coverage here), along with what preceded it. Here’s the slide deck for today’s meeting:

He gave a short version of the evaluation criteria and then launched into the five West Seattle “concepts” that were evaluated. He summarized neighborhood-forum feedback (as you can see on page 20 of the slide deck) including “a lot of support for tunneling” and “a lot of support for moving the Delridge station south.” (He did not explicitly mention that the neighborhood forum for West Seattle, on May 5th, was held after the Stakeholder Advisory Group had made its recommendations April 24th on what should advance and what should not. The forum summaries were added to the ST website this afternoon.)

After the brief review of the West Seattle concepts and the stakeholders’ recommendations, facilitator Diane Adams invited ELG members to comment.

Councilmember McDermott said he’d like to have more information – costs, visualizations, transit-oriented development – and is hopeful that will be provided later in the process. His priorities include a north/south orientation for the Junction station, three stations for West Seattle, seeing the Delridge station south of Andover, seeing both elevated/tunnel options, and protecting Longfellow Creek, which he says might be forced into a pipe under some scenario. He said he feels the SAG recommendations meet those.

County Executive Constantine said he also feels three stations are important. He remains “very concerned” about elevated rail in The Junction and also thinks a further-south Delridge station is “intrigu(ing).” He doesn’t see taking anything further off the table.

Councilmember Herbold said that she hopes there’s a way to get some early visualizations, and she also would like more information about walksheds. Seamless multimodal integration, especially buses, is important to her. She said mixing and matching components could be helpful – perhaps, for example, appending the more-south Delridge station idea to the representative alignment. And overall, she said she’s “largely in alignment” with the SAG recommendations, adding she’d like a little more time to find out about reducing the impacts of possible park-property use, wondering if there’s a way to mitigate federal concern over that.

Commissioner Bowman said she had some concerns to raise as the sole port rep – especially impacts to Terminal 5 and Terminal 18 on Harbor Island. “It’s not just critical- the assets of the Port of Seattle are not city or regional assets – they are state assets.” She says that they’re in “negotiations with some of our international shipping lines” regarding T-5 (which needs a new tenant before modernization work). She’s OK with ST’s original “representative alignment” and thinks perhaps it might be combined with the “golf course option.” In summary: The alignment needs to go south of Spokane Street, she said, period.

ST board chair Somers noted that decisions made for one part of the system can affect other parts, and that needs to be kept in mind, so he will be “arguing for some control” as things go along. Otherwise, he had no specific WS comments.

Before the discussion moved on from West Seattle, Herbold added words of thanks for the way ST has conducted the community-engagement process so far. Bowman invited her fellow electeds to come to the Port and see how it works.

Later in the meeting, the key WS discussion points were summarized on one made-on-the-fly slide as:

With that – they moved on to the SODO segment. The SAG recommendations were moved forward for that segment, too (see them on page 29 of the slide deck).

Then for the downtown segment, the First Hill issue came up, the subject of most of the public comment toward the meeting’s start, with people . Councilmember Bagshaw wondered if ST’s assessment that First Hill was inconsistent with what voters approved really meant it couldn’t be considered. ST’s Ridge allowed that the ELG does have the discretion to recommend something to the ST Board. CEO Rogoff said that they probably should have a lawyer comment on that. And so counsel came forward, saying that there is a “legal requirement to construct it as identified to the voters.” He said the question is whether it was identified in the plan, and whether cost and ridership was identified so that it would have been clear to the voters that it was part of the plan.

So, was it? asked Councilmember González. Bottom line, no, said Ridge – it serves a different urban village, for example. Councilmember Johnson then wondered if that was really the casualty of “an unfortunate decision” made decades ago. “At this point I feel the answers from the technical team support taking First Hill off the table but I’m open to discussion.” McDermott said he isn’t ready “to lose this opportunity.” Somers said basically, he is. Bagshaw said she has mixed feelings. Councilmember González too. Bowman says she’s with McDermott and would like more information. Rogoff says moving things to Level 2 takes a lot of staff time and asks group members “to be rigorous in the down-selecting process.” Ultimately, First Hill was taken off the list, but there will be a note to address the ridership concerns somehow, somewhere.

On to Interbay/Ballard: Bagshaw says that she has heard people strongly support a tunnel. Johnson notes that this group carried forward more options than any other group. Somers says he has serious doubts about funding for a tunnel. Ultimately, they removed one off the SAG-advanced list- “west of BNSF/20th/tunnel” – and moved the others on to Level 2.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR ST: Today’s results will be presented to the ST board one week from today (1:30 pm May 24th). The Stakeholder Advisory Group meets again on May 30th; the Elected Leadership Group is expected to reconvene in July.

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE COMMUNITY: The Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council has a light-rail discussion with ST reps scheduled for its June 11th meeting (7 pm at Pathfinder K-8).

SIDE NOTE: The public comment period included perennially profane gadfly Alex Tsimerman (currently banned from Seattle Council meetings), who didn’t stop at the one-minute limit and subsequently walked out with King County Sheriff’s Deputies who had wasted no time in walking up to the public-comment podium as he railed on. (He returned shortly afterward.) Other commenters included a Delridge resident who identified himself as Max and spoke in support of retaining the draft plan for three stations in West Seattle, and against the route that would go through the West Seattle Golf Course and Delridge Community Center Park. “I encourage everyone to go there …it’s the beating heart and soul of the Delridge community.” He said he felt parks would be ever-more important as Delridge continues to redevelop and densify. ]]

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HAPPENING NOW: What do you see in Washington State Ferries’ future? Long-Range Plan open house http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/happening-now-what-do-you-see-in-washington-state-ferries-future-long-range-plan-open-house/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/happening-now-what-do-you-see-in-washington-state-ferries-future-long-range-plan-open-house/#respond Fri, 18 May 2018 01:35:31 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916989

What should Washington State Ferries be planning for between now and 2040? As you’ll see at the open house now under way at Fauntleroy Church, the system already has some idea … but wants to hear yours too.

It’s a low-key event – no presentation, just a chance to learn about the long-range-plan creation process, talk, leave written comments (from sticky notes to formal comment forms) if you’re interested:

The open house is on until 8 pm, at 9140 California SW. If you can’t get here, you can also see the same info-boards, and share your thoughts, via the online open house that’s continuing for one more week, through May 24th. The long-range plan has to be complete and ready to present to the Legislature by New Year’s Day.

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2 EVENTS FOR 2-WHEELERS: Bike Everywhere Day tomorrow; Alki bike parade Sunday http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/2-events-for-2-wheelers-bike-everywhere-day-tomorrow-alki-bike-parade-sunday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/2-events-for-2-wheelers-bike-everywhere-day-tomorrow-alki-bike-parade-sunday/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 20:10:12 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916958 Two West Seattle events of note for bicyclists in the next two days:

(Reader photo from last year’s Bike Everywhere Day station)

FRIDAY: Tomorrow is Bike Everywhere Day,” and once again, a “celebration station” is planned beneath the West Seattle Bridge during the morning commute, 6-9 am. The announcement:

West Seattle Bike Connections again hosts a Bike Everywhere Day cycling station at the west end of the Spokane Low Bridge on Friday, May 18, from 6 to 9 AM. Alki Bike & Board will provide simple, on-the-spot bike repairs. Homemade baked goods, beverages and information on bicycling routes and planned improvements will be available, and local biking enthusiasts will be on hand to answer questions about bike commuting, recreational cycling and other biking issues. Please stop on your way out of West Seattle!

(WSB file photo from Alki bicycle parade)

SUNDAY: It’s the 6th annual Costumed Bike Parade on Alki Avenue SW, a fun tradition that local resident and rider Guy Olson has continued to organize even though the city stopped its “car-free day”/Summer Streets events years ago. Just bring your bike and costume to 63rd and Alki in time for the 2 pm parade on Sunday, and get ready to ride eastbound along the beach. (Here’s the rest of the lineup for Guy’s “Alki Daze” festivities, which start Friday night.)

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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: On eve of Elected Leadership Group’s meeting, two local orgs out with where they stand http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/west-seattle-light-rail-on-eve-of-elected-leadership-groups-meeting-two-local-orgs-out-with/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/west-seattle-light-rail-on-eve-of-elected-leadership-groups-meeting-two-local-orgs-out-with/#comments Thu, 17 May 2018 04:16:04 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916911 Tomorrow afternoon, the Elected Leadership Group for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle/Ballard light-rail project meets for the second time, 4+ months after its first meeting. On the eve of that meeting, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and West Seattle Transportation Coalition have both gone public with where they stand right now. The Chamber’s letter to decisionmakers is just one page – you can read it here. It urges “in depth” study of what ST calls the “Pigeon Ridge” alternative, which would include two tunnels. Meantime, the WSTC comments run five pages – read them here – and address all five of the “concepts” shown so far, as well as the original “representative alignment.” WSTC suggests that the Oregon Street and Yancy concepts be dropped from further consideration and also lays out concerns about the process so far. The public is welcome at tomorrow’s meeting – 2-4 pm at the ST board room, 401 S. Jackson.

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WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Big meeting this week; new set of unofficial renderings http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/west-seattle-light-rail-big-meeting-this-week-new-set-of-unofficial-renderings/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/west-seattle-light-rail-big-meeting-this-week-new-set-of-unofficial-renderings/#comments Tue, 15 May 2018 20:39:14 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916767 Two developments as planning continues for West Seattle’s planned 2030 light-rail extension:

ELECTED LEADERSHIP GROUP MEETS THIS WEEK: For only the second time since the kickoff of the intensive one-year-plus planning process to come up with a “preferred alternative,” Sound Transit is convening the Elected Leadership Group for the West Seattle/Ballard lines. They meet 2-4 pm this Thursday, May 17th, at ST’s downtown board room (401 S. Jackson). The meeting will include a public-comment period. (Here’s our coverage of the ELG’s first meeting back in January.)

(3:32 PM UPDATE: Since we published this, ST has added the Thursday meeting’s agenda and slide deck to its website. One page of interest in the slide deck – page 20, feedback highlights from the May 5th “neighborhood forum” in West Seattle.)

MORE UNOFFICIAL RENDERINGS FROM ‘AVALON TOM’: Though five “concepts” emerged for the West Seattle end of the line (as shown here a month ago), ST’s public visualizations of them haven’t gone any further than flat lines. So “Avalon Tom” offers unofficial visualizations for anyone interested in seeing what the “concepts” might look like. Backstory: He is a West Seattle resident who generated lots of discussion four months ago by producing renderings based on ST’s original “representative alignment.” Now he’s generated a raft of new renderings that show what the 5 West Seattle concepts MIGHT look like. He has multiple renderings for each one – we’ve just pulled one from each set, and you can click through to see the others (or just skip ahead to his special webpage):

First, the “Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel” alternative:

Next, the “West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy” alternative:

The “Yancy Street/West Seattle Tunnel” alternative:

The “Oregon Street/Alaska Junction” alternative:

And the “West Seattle Golf Course/Alaska Junction” alternative:

Again, click the links to any/all of the pages “Avalon Tom” has for the “alternatives” and you will see multiple renderings – we just chose one from each. At its most recent meeting, the project’s Stakeholder Advisory Group (which meets again May 30th) recommended only continuing consideration of the “Pigeon Ridge” and “Oregon Street” concepts (WSB coverage here), but that’s by no means a binding recommendation – the Elected Leadership Group is to take it under advisement.

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Know all your transportation alternatives? Forum on Saturday will probably show you something new http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/know-all-your-transportation-alternatives-forum-on-saturday-will-probably-show-you-something-new/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/know-all-your-transportation-alternatives-forum-on-saturday-will-probably-show-you-something-new/#respond Tue, 15 May 2018 19:58:37 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916773 Last fall, we covered a forum on transportation alternatives, presented by the West Seattle Transportation Coalition and packed with information about options. It was so informative, WSTC decided to present another one – and they’re reminding you that it’s coming up this Saturday (May 19th):

This public forum on transportation alternatives is intended to help seniors and people with disabilities learn more about mobility options other than driving. If you or anyone you know is driving less—or even no longer able to drive at all—this forum will explain the resources that are available to help. This should be a very informative afternoon with lots of interesting guest speakers. We are counting on you to spread the word to folks who might not otherwise hear about this event!

It’s happening 1:30-3:30 pm Saturday at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon).

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ROAD-WORK ALERTS: Two closures ahead – 18th/Myrtle, 35th/104th http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/road-work-alerts-two-closures-ahead-18th-myrtle-35th-104th/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/road-work-alerts-two-closures-ahead-18th-myrtle-35th-104th/#comments Sat, 12 May 2018 02:20:22 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916439 Two SDOT updates on local projects bring news of closures ahead:

18TH/MYRTLE: On Puget Ridge, the project near Sanislo Elementary continues, with an unanticipated closure in a week:

This week, our crews continued work at SW Orchard St, 18th Ave SW, and SW Myrtle St. We worked with Seattle Public Utilities to relocate a fire hydrant and worked with Seattle City Light to relocate light poles along SW Orchard St. We were also able to pour concrete to complete more sidewalks and curb corners. Our crews worked on adjusting driveway thresholds along SW Orchard St.

During our earlier excavation work, we discovered the roadbed under the intersection of SW Myrtle St and 18th Ave SW was in worse shape than we had expected. Because of this unforeseen circumstance, our crews will have to completely demolish and reconstruct the intersection. We are scheduled to do this work on Saturday, May 19 – this work will require full closure of the intersection of SW Myrtle St and 18th Ave SW. Our crews will begin work as early as 7:00 am as we hope to complete this work by Sunday morning to minimize impact to school related traffic. Detours will be in place during this work. The newly paved intersection will have a smaller traffic circle footprint to widen the street around it and allow for larger vehicles more space for turning movements.

Then later this month, the start date is set for the long-planned closure for drainage work related to the Arbor Heights sidewalk project:

35TH/104TH: SDOT also sent an update about the Arbor Heights sidewalk project:

We will be starting construction work on 35th Ave SW between SW 100th St and SW 106th St on the week of May 21. Our crews may begin moving construction equipment into the area and begin preparation work as early as late next week. We will begin full closure of 35th Ave SW between SW 104th St and SW 106th St on Tuesday, May 29. This closure will last through mid to late June for our crews to replace the stormwater drainage and detention system underground. Detours and reroutes for access to Arbor Heights Elementary and Westside School have identified. A map will be available and included in next week’s update.

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BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY: How it went for Boren STEM K-8, Alki Elementary http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/bike-to-school-day-how-it-went-for-boren-stem-k-8-alki-elementary/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/bike-to-school-day-how-it-went-for-boren-stem-k-8-alki-elementary/#comments Thu, 10 May 2018 00:42:33 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=916198 The weather for Bike to School Day was even better than expected! First report is from Louisa Boren STEM K-8 – thanks to Joe Laubach:

The first-ever Louisa Boren STEM K-8 Bike Train was a great success! May 9, 2018 is bike to school day and STEM students, parents, staff, and even neighbors pedaled their way to school. The turnout was better than planners expected. Over 20 students participated, in addition to many parents and two teachers. Also joining the ride was Rachel Osias, Youth Programs Manager for Cascade Bicycle Club.

The bike train route included several blocks along the 26th Ave SW Greenway and a segment of the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail. Pedaling has its rewards – in addition to some treats along the way, each participating student was awarded a card redeemable for a free dessert at Menchie’s. The event was planned by STEM parents Joe and Marlo Laubach with help and support from the PTA and other parents. A huge thanks to everyone who participated in this fun and healthy event.

Meantime, we also had previewed Alki Elementary‘s Bike to School Day plan and included a photo in today’s morning traffic/transit report. Here’s one of their bike trains headed in from Alki Avenue:

The Alki events were coordinated by Chris Nutter. We spotted West Seattle Bike ConnectionsDon Brubeck along for the ride, too.

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