West Seattle Blog... » Transportation http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 08:56:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 5 ‘most pressing transportation issues,’ as the West Seattle Transportation Coalition sees it, starting Year 2 http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/5-most-pressing-transportation-issues-as-the-west-seattle-transportation-coalition-sees-it-starting-year-2/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/5-most-pressing-transportation-issues-as-the-west-seattle-transportation-coalition-sees-it-starting-year-2/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 05:01:48 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287180 The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is about to start its second year. After one year of meetings, conversations, discussions, and outreach, WSTC has announced a list of “the five most pressing transportation issues for the West Seattle peninsula, which are within the power of the City of Seattle to directly address and resolve,” and sent a letter about them to city leaders.

First, the WSTC list:

#1

(WSB file screengrab of SDOT camera looking toward bridge’s offramp to 99)
Expand vehicle capacity from the West Seattle Bridge to SR-99.

#2

(Photo by Long B. Nguyen)
Develop a “West Seattle Peninsula” emergency relief plan.

#3

(WSB file photo of the sign that marked the former 4th Ave. onramp spot until 2008.)
Increase access to the westbound Spokane St. Viaduct from SODO.

#4

(City file photo of Lander tracks)
Complete the Lander Street Overpass.

#5

(December 2013: De-icer-slick, closed-to-traffic bridge; WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Immediate mitigation of traffic events to West Seattle peninsula chokepoints.

WSTC says it has sent a letter outlining “… these issues, possible resolutions, and (calls) for action …” to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, City Council President Tim Burgess, and City Council Transportation Committee Chair Tom Rasmussen. It asks for a response with the “plan of action” by January 9, 2015. You can read the letter on the WSTC website, or below:

Agree? Disagree? Get involved! The WSTC meets on second Tuesdays and invites all to its next meeting, October 14th, 6:30 pm, at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.

SIDE NOTE: This will also be a busy season on some of the problems for which WSTC and local neighborhood councils already have pushed for action – next launch is the 35th Avenue SW Road Safety Corridor project, with a community meeting October 22nd.

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Bus a no-show? Metro staff reductions leading to missed trips http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/bus-a-no-show-metro-staff-reductions-leading-to-missed-trips-here-and-there/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/bus-a-no-show-metro-staff-reductions-leading-to-missed-trips-here-and-there/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 04:45:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286725 None of the Metro routes scheduled for service cuts or deletions starting this Saturday are in this area. But you might have experienced some related, if temporary, effects of Metro getting ready for reductions. WSB reader Holly did: “I thought I’d pass this along since I wasn’t aware it was happening, until it happened to me. The 56 bus route from Admiral didn’t come last week and this is the response I got from Metro – basically that routes here and there are being canceled due to driver shortages.” Ahead, the reply Holly received after e-mailing a comment to Metro, and the results of our followup:

Holly filed a report last Friday and received a reply this past Monday from a customer-service rep:

Thank you for contacting Metro Transit’s Customer Information Office. We appreciate your use of public transportation and regret the circumstances that made it necessary for you to write us. Our research shows that the #56 due at California and Admiral at 8:01 AM was cancelled on September 19th due to a shortage of operators available to driver the route.

I want to assure you that Metro Transit values its customers and we strive to provide reliable service. However, despite best efforts, we find ourselves currently having to cancel some trips at each of our bases. The problem is an unprecedented shortage of available transit operators; the results of a hiring freeze due to budget concerns. Until our manpower shortages are resolved, there will be occasions where some trips may be cancelled. We will do everything possible to minimize cancellations.

Our Operations Base staff has been reminded of the need to be especially attentive in their daily planning and to not cancel first trips of the day or consecutive trips on the same route – - and never cancel the same trip on consecutive days! Hopefully, these actions will alleviate some of the problem described in your email. Our communications technology section is currently working with Transit Operations staff to implement a customer alerting program for cancelled trips. Their goal is to have a system in-place by the beginning of our Fall Service Change.

We didn’t recall hearing about the personnel shortage either, so we asked about it. Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer explained:

We’re a few days away from Sept. 27 service cuts and – without any layoffs – Metro has achieved operator staff reductions necessary for the unprecedented September service reductions.

Metro estimated it needed to reduce about 100 positions and stopped hiring part-time operators in May and full-time operators in June.

On May 30, there were 2,648 active operators. As of Sept. 19, there are 90 fewer operators: 2,558 active operators, of which 1,630 are full-time drivers and 928 are part-time drivers.

The goal was through attrition to establish the size of workforce needed for service levels after Sept. 27 service cuts.

The challenge of canceled trips is expected to rectify itself Sept. 27 when the amount of bus service is reduced.

A recent tally showed 115 canceled trips during the week of Sept. 13-19. Metro provides 12,000 daily trips. Metro works hard each day and fill needed route assignments as openings emerge, meeting its target of providing 99.9 percent of scheduled trips daily. The effort to provide electronic notifications of canceled trips is still in development.

Again, the routes to be cut/deleted starting this Saturday are all outside West Seattle.

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Miss the Fauntleroy (Way) Boulevard open house? Here’s what you missed, and what’s next http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-questions-about-fauntleroy-way-boulevard-project-go-ask/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-questions-about-fauntleroy-way-boulevard-project-go-ask/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 01:20:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286712

6:20 PM: As of 6 pm, midway through the two-hour SDOT open house for the Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard project, about 45 people had dropped by. You still have until 7 pm to go to the Senior Center of West Seattle and get a closer look at the newest renderings for how this project would change Fauntleroy Way between SW Alaska and 35th SW (they’re also now available on the official webpage), with project manager Thérèse Casper and others standing by to answer your questions, as well as several ways to comment (from sticky notes to computer terminals).

The project is on its way to 60 percent design; if the $500,000 that’s in the mayor’s budget for the remaining 40 percent is approved, that will proceed, and then the city has to figure out how to pay to build the project’s features.

7:02 PM: Here are the renderings that were up on boards around the room at the meeting:

This is the official updated project info-sheet:

Something to say? Say it sooner rather than later – here’s one way to do that. Casper says they’re continuing to meet with local businesses and organizations and have already met with some businesses multiple times, to go over points of concern.

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Ferry update: WSF down one boat, trying to catch up, on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/ferry-update-wsf-down-one-boat-trying-to-catch-up-on-fauntleroy-vashon-southworth-route/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/ferry-update-wsf-down-one-boat-trying-to-catch-up-on-fauntleroy-vashon-southworth-route/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 04:15:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286403 M/V Tillikum remains out of service on Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route, explained only as “due to operational constraints.” In the newest update, WSF says it’s adding more sailings on M/V Evergreen State to try to catch up. This all comes on the eve of WSF’s fall schedule taking effect tomorrow; no word yet on whether they’ll be back to 3 boats by then.

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What’s along ‘Fauntleroy Boulevard’? Highlights of JuNO’s briefing, before you get a look at next Tuesday’s community open house http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/whats-along-fauntleroy-boulevard-highlights-of-junos-briefing-before-you-get-a-look-at-next-tuesdays-community-open-house/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/whats-along-fauntleroy-boulevard-highlights-of-junos-briefing-before-you-get-a-look-at-next-tuesdays-community-open-house/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 03:43:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286280

It’s been six years in the making, but the “Fauntleroy Boulevard” plan is still in the “early design” phase – which is why, if you are interested in the future of Fauntleroy Way between the bridge and SW Alaska, you’re going to want to go to next Tuesday’s community meeting.

SDOT’s Fauntleroy Boulevard Project manager Therese Casper and consultant Mike Hendrix (from Perteet) came to this week’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting for one last community-council-level briefing before that meeting, which, by the way, will be in open-house format, so don’t worry if you can’t get there right when it starts at 5 pm – drop in for a look at the plans any time before 7 pm.

We’ve written about it before – going back to 2008 – and Casper noted that its origins go back even further, to the West Seattle Junction Plan of 1999, and now the Bicycle Master Plan‘s goals have been folded in, designating this as an area for protected bicycle lanes, as well as the “community needs” in the Triangle Streetscape Plan, and enhancement of Fauntleroy Way’s role as a gateway to West Seattle.

The Fauntleroy Boulevard plan has reached 30 percent design, and has funding through 60 percent design. The city budget process that kicks into high gear next week, with Mayor Murray presenting his proposal on Monday afternoon, will determine what happens next – will there be money to finish the design and build the project?

Its typical cross-section is the same one we first showed in July: 6′ sidewalks, 6′ protected bike lanes (asphalt), landscape strip, outside lanes of roadway maintained at 12′ (to facilitate freight needs), 10′ travel lane inside, then middle turn lane OR planted median. You can see it and the block-by-block concept on this info-sheet, also from July:

Here’s the latest on some key points – with many more details promised at next Tuesday’s open house:

*Casper told JuNO that they had just received approval for trees in the median island. The space for that will not come from existing travel lanes but some street parking will be removed, Casper said. There’s a water main down the middle, about 17 feet underground, and the type of trees that’ll be approved will take that into consideration.

*The “free right turn” at Oregon will be removed.

*Median midway through Trader Joe’s to 38th.

*At every intersection they will realign, to tee up, minimize crossings for pedestrians at side streets and increase safety

*At 38th, a fire-station signal – will be converted into a pedestrian signal

*Median island between 38th and Oregon

*Another median island between Oregon all the way up to Avalon

*At intersections of 37th, will again “T-up” those intersections – the protected bike lane connects to Avalon and will connect to future greenway on 36th – sidewalks and raised median up to 35th

*Avalon will become fully signalized

*The Whittaker‘s commitment to a crossing of Alaska between its corner (where the former gas station is now) and Spruce’s corner will be part of shortening the distance that pedestrians will have to cross, Casper said. She says they’re working with Spruce – though pointing out, it’s already got a permit to build what it’s buiding – to try to change the configuration.

In addition to briefing community groups, Casper said, they’ve been talking to businesses all summer, with some “expressing a lot of concern about some of the driveways we’re eliminating as well as the medians, affecting the flow.” They’ll continue to meet with some businesses, “with some, we’re on our third meeting,” says Casper.

They expect to reach 60 percent design next month.

“Is anything going up that would be ‘welcome to West Seattle’?” asked one attendee. Not in the plans, was the reply.

Again, the open house with full details on the Fauntleroy Boulevard’s project is next Tuesday (September 23rd), 5-7 pm, at the Senior Center of West Seattle – drop in whenever you can. Since the project is still in “early design,” this is the time to comment.

P.S. The JuNO meeting this past Tuesday included one other major agenda item, a discussion of the Junction-area “walkshed,” with two Seattle Planning Commissioners who are both West Seattleites. We’re writing that separately; look for it here this weekend.

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TUNNEL TOUR: Follow along on an 8-flight descent into what’s already been dug http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/tunnel-tour-follow-along-on-an-8-flight-descent-into-whats-already-been-dug/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/tunnel-tour-follow-along-on-an-8-flight-descent-into-whats-already-been-dug/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:42:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286178 (EDITOR’S NOTE: Even if you agree with the advocacy group that has declared the Highway 99 tunnel a “boondoggle,” nine months after its boring machine stalled, you might be interested in a look at what’s already been done and what’s continuing to progress even before the upcoming repairs. WSDOT invited media to tour the site Thursday, and photojournalist Christopher Boffoli went on behalf of WSB. Here are his photos and narrative of how it went.

Photos, video, and story by Christopher Boffoli
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

The meeting point for our tour was an entrance at the end of South King Street just under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. After being issued safety clothes (hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, and reflective vests) we were greeted by Chris Dixon, Project Manager for Seattle Tunnel Partners, who led our group of about 7 or 8 journalists over to one of the engineering and orientation trailers.

This was a small meeting room with a lot of colorful schematics and cross-section geologic diagrams on the walls:

Dixon explained that – while the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) is idle – work is advancing at both the north end of the site (where a cut and cover tunnel is being prepared in the area where the TBM will eventually emerge) and the south end of the site, near the stadiums, where the future roadways are being prepared.

There is also a great deal of activity inside the existing tunnel itself. On a whiteboard Dixon drew a cross-section of the tunnel and explained how crews are busy installing structures called corbels along the tunnel floor:

These concrete structures are essentially footings that will bear the weight of the straight interior tunnel walls and the concrete road decks (southbound traffic above and northbound traffic below) that vehicles will drive over.

He said that by the time the TBM resumes its digging, they expect to have 450 feet of the tunnel’s interior complete. Dixon said that this work was originally set to happen later but that they have reconfigured the schedule while work is underway to repair the TBM.

We were joined by Matt Preedy, Deputy Program Administrator, WSDOT (and a West Seattle resident).

All of the journalists were issued numbered brass tags which were recorded on a ledger and that we pinned to our vests. As we left the engineering trailer and entered the site, there were a number of large boards with numbered dots painted on them. Dixon and Preedy went to the boards and attached their own brass tags to them.

They didn’t take the time to explain, but those ‘pit tags’ (also called check tags) are a system employed for hundreds of years to keep track of who is working inside a mine, or in this case, a tunnel. One of the first things we saw (at ground level) were piles of curved, pre-cast concrete panels that are arranged in place behind the TBM.

Bolted together into rings, they form the very strong, outer tunnel walls. Their tight-fitting gaskets are designed to keep ground water at bay.

There are ten panels in each ring and there are to be 1,450 rings in the complete tunnel.

We walked out over a concrete gantry from which we could look down on the launch pit below. To the south were the almost completed roadways that someday would carry traffic in and out of the SR-99 tunnel:

Turning around, we could see the entirety of the launch pit and the tunnel entrance at the end of it.

We descended about eight flights of steep, metal stairs to the floor of the site.

Behind us (to the south) was a completed section of cut-and-cover tunnel, with its neat, square walls, unlike the circular structure of the bored tunnel that we were about to tour.

Construction material (mostly rebar) was everywhere:

Along the sides of the pit, workers were busy covering the walls with Spray-Crete, a light, liquid form of cement.

To our right we could see the below-ground part of what we were told would become the South Operation Building. Water also seemed to be ubiquitous, seeping in all over the walls of the site.

Dixon said that, though some of it might be from nearby Elliott Bay, most of it was fresh groundwater.

We descended a ladder to an even lower section of the launch pit, level with the bottom of the tunnel.

Walking inside the tunnel at last, we could see large red concrete forms and workers installing structural re-bar along the bottom sides of the tunnel.

This is the corbel work we were told about.

Beyond the equipment and activity near the entrance of the tunnel, it was only when you walked a bit further into the tunnel that could you appreciate the impressive size of the space.

It was here that you could also appreciate the intricate puzzle of curved concrete panels.

Overhead was a large yellow ventilation shaft that brings fresh air into the deepest part of the tunnel and that can be reversed in an emergency to pull smoke from a fire out of the tunnel. Also above was part of the long conveyor belt on which tailings and slurry are removed to awaiting barges. Dixon explained that, as the TBM advances, sections of conveyor belt are added.

By the end of the project, the belt will be as long as the tunnel itself.

Outside in the open pit we had seen piles of coiled belt sections waiting to be installed in the future.

The first part of the TBM you see is the white-painted, rear superstructure of the
300 foot long trailing section.

Massive wheels support the entire machine, which includes all of the systems of wires and pipes for power and to pump chemicals and grout towards the face of the TBM. As you move forward, you encounter the system that receives the curved panel sections, picks them up, orients them to the proper position and location for installation when they are needed.

Moving forward still, you approach the section of the TBM that is behind the cutting face.

Everything there seems covered with some form of water or mud. There are hazards to footing and low clearances, making it a challenge to decide if you should watch your head or where you step. Everything was lit with fluorescent tubes, giving it a bright – if slightly green – cast. As we arrived to the most recently-installed ring of curved concrete sections, at the very bottom, Dixon and Preedy showed us the enormous pistons that the TBM uses to push against the edge of the course of concrete rings to advance itself forward.

As politicized as the bored tunnel has been and continues to be in Seattle, I must say that standing in the bowels of the machine, it is difficult not to be in awe of the scale and size of the complex machinery, the intricate tapestry of conduits, hoses, pistons, motors, fittings and beams – the sheer audacity of the technology involved in pushing through the earth blindly at 100 feet below sea level.

It is a level of technological complexity that I have only before seen when watching a Ridley Scott film set inside of a spaceship. It did not seem like a place that a group of human beings should be standing. And it was even more incomprehensible that people had designed and built it.

We climbed narrow staircases through a maze of passageways to see where the muddy tailings from the cutting face begin their journey out of the tunnel.

On another level we visited the control room with the screens and consoles from which workers can manage and monitor all aspects of the TBM when it is in operation.

Dixon explained that the numbers we saw on the primary displays indicated just over two bars of pressure (regular atmospheric pressure is one bar; most commercial espresso makers operate at 10-15 bars of pressure). Even though the TBM was not running he said that the instruments generally don’t read much more than that. He added that – when in operation – the cutting face of the TBM isn’t even all that loud, though Preedy added that all of the motors that power the conveyor belts for the removal of tailings do make the back of the machine very noisy.

Though the TBM was idle, Dixon said that workers are kept busy “exercising” and maintaining many of the parts of the machine that might atrophy or otherwise fall into disrepair if left sitting for a long time. It wasn’t uncomfortably warm inside the heart of the machine, though Dixon said that when the TBM is in operation it does get quite hot down there as the heat of friction is transferred through the cutting face to the surrounding spaces. Heat played into what went wrong, and what’s being fixed, he explained:

Adjacent to the control room – still inside the heart of the TBM structure – was a break room that, with coffee maker, microwave oven, long lunch tables, etc. would look at home in any factory. It was hard to believe it was at the center of an incredibly complex machine deep underground.

Nearby we saw a collection of cutting heads, each weighing 1500 pounds, that could be attached to an overhead rail for transport to the front of the cutting face for replacement. Various cutting heads are used, depending on the soil conditions.

The “rippers” we saw are best suited for the type of loose glacial soils that are expected in this section of the project.

At the very front of the TBM we could see the large blue motors that individually power each of the cutting heads.

On the same level we could see the central drive shaft, painted light green. And to the sides were large pressure vessels through which men and equipment could safely transition to the pressurized area on the other side of the cutting face, if needed.

With our tour complete we walked back through the various stairways and passages, back down to the tunnel floor at the rear of the TBM’s trailing gear, and out the way we came.

The palms of my light-colored gloves – which had honestly seemed like overkill at the start of the tour – had somehow become darkened.

After we had climbed the fairly treacherous ladders and countless treads of metal stairways, we were led back to the engineering and orientation trailers where, one by one, we turned in our numbered brass tags and were signed out of the ledger.

What happens next in the repair process? Here’s the latest update on the project website. For more on the project’s status, here’s what our partners at The Seattle Times published post-tour.

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Port possibilities, crosswalk concerns @ Delridge District Council http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/port-possibilities-crosswalk-concerns-delridge-district-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/port-possibilities-crosswalk-concerns-delridge-district-council/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 22:15:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286092

(Terminal 5, photographed earlier this week by Don Brubeck)
A triple bill of transportation-related guests at last night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting – Seattle Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire, City Councilmember (chairing its Transportation Committee) Tom Rasmussen, and just-confirmed SDOT director Scott Kubly, who, in his third West Seattle appearance in two weeks, heard about safety concerns outside two local schools.

First: With the expanse of closed-and-idle Terminal 5 in the line of sight for thousands of West Seattleites daily, its future was a major topic for Commissioner Gregoire.

Almost two months have passed since the last ship called at Terminal 5, and even if you’ve missed our coverage of why it closed – in short, for modernization – you can’t miss the stark sight of what’s not there. Back in June, the port explained the work that needs to be done so that it can handle the mega-ships that are coming online, some capable of carrying 18,000 containers.

Bigger ships mean fewer port calls, Gregoire noted, and that is heating up competition for those calls, up and down the West Coast, from Prince Rupert, B.C., to Long Beach, California. It means that despite the historic rivalry between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, they have to work together, she said, to keep business in the Puget Sound region. Tacoma, for example, is now home to some of the work that had been at Terminal 5, pre-closure. Collaboration between the ports benefits the entire region, she stressed.

But even with Terminal 5 modernizing and reopening – the port is targeting 2018 – and drawing the mega-ships’ business, the amount of freight here still would not be expected to pass historic highs, having peaked almost a decade ago. However, the terminal has factors in its favor for the future, such as rail access, which, Gregoire observed, takes trucks off the roads. On the other hand, the work to be done is several-fold, including a newly approved study about possibly deepening the channels, both the west waterway alongside T-5, and the east waterway.

Besides T-5, Gregoire heard about local brainstorming regarding what to do with T-5 before it reopens. While she was noncommittal, she expressed willingness to meet with the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (whose meeting last week included a citizen-led discussion) and other local groups to hear ideas, noting that ideally, the site will generate some revenue, somehow, during its out-of-commission years.

(P.S. Your next currently scheduled chance to hear from a Port Commissioner in West Seattle is October 9th, when Stephanie Bowman speaks at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly lunch – details here.)

Next: SDOT director Scott Kubly‘s third Q/A stop with West Seattle community groups, following the Southwest District Council on September 3rd (WSB coverage here) and the WS Transportation Coalition on September 9th (WSB coverage here).

In addition to general Q/A, Kubly heard about the ongoing concerns about Delridge Way pedestrian safety outside the Boren Building, now home to Arbor Heights Elementary for two years as well as K-5 (future K-8) STEM, permanently. Kubly was told that they need a midblock crosswalk (as originally pitched by the community) rather than what’s now been changed by the city into a crosswalk at Graham, which means the equivalent of two football fields of extra distance to be covered to get into the front doors. (We reported on the Boren Building community’s concerns and requests six months ago.) Though the city had voiced concerns about a midblock crossing, STEM parent Kathleen Voss presented Kubly with a long, printed list of citations showing that midblock crossings are acceptable in school zones. Kubly said he hadn’t been to the site yet but would look into the situation.

Finally: Councilmember Rasmussen’s discussion with the DNDC was highlighted by his pitch for Transportation Benefit District Prop 1 on the November ballot, the sales tax/car-tab fee to raise money to “buy back” some of Metro‘s planned cuts; he also was thanked for working on the issue of potentially requiring “impact fees” for development (here’s our report from last week).

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets on third Wednesdays at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 7 pm.

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As-it-happened coverage: Metro Transit budget briefing downtown; cuts beyond next spring now pushed back to 2016 http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-metro-transit-budget-briefing-downtown/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-metro-transit-budget-briefing-downtown/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:02:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285990

(WSB photo of Dively & Desmond, substituted for originally posted Twitter image)
10:02 AM: We’re at King County’s King Street Center, where Metro Transit general manager Kevin Desmond and the county’s budget boss Dwight Dively are briefing the media on what County Executive Dow Constantine will propose for Metro in his budget, due out next Monday. Since Metro is of special interest to our transportation-challenged peninsula, we’re here to report the toplines live.

First, from the news release handed out:

*Beyond the September 2014 (no West Seattle routes involved) and February 2015 (that plan announced two weeks ago includes, for West Seattle, deleting Route 22 and changing the 21, 116X, and 125) cuts, 80,000 hours in cuts (half the March number) are suggested for March 2016 – so much in play, they aren’t saying which routes that might affect.

Dively says they’re creating budget efficiencies through health-care costs, saving $3 million for transit over the next two years. Also, diesel prices have gone down. Sales tax, though, he describes as “volatile” – and the forecast they’re using now came out in August, and isn’t much different than what they had in March.

Desmond is recapping some of the steps Metro has taken in recent years and insisting “We have not stopped for a second trying to find ways to keep service on the road, to stretch our dollars further, whether from our expense budget … or capital budget … We don’t want to cut service. Our mission is to transport people every single day …”

Here’s what he says has changed, leading to savings that in turn mean fewer cuts:

*Buying 40 fewer buses, saving $40 million in capital budget
*Negotiated better prices on buses they are buying, saving $50 million (also capital program)
*Job injuries/worker comp claims/lawsuit claims – saving $13 million
*Vehicle maintenance “process improvement” – $2 million
*Reducing service means fewer drivers, $3 million less spending, 335 jobs lost at Metro over next 2 years
*Fuel conversion saving $1 million
*Paratransit costs, “most expensive product that Metro operates” (Access service), $7 million savings
*Full list in news release

So bottom line, 400,000 service hours to be cut, instead of once-forecast 550,000. But Desmond says they know that’ll still be painful. First 151,000 hours kick in September 21st.

10:15 AM: Now he gets to the Seattle transit-money ballot measure in November. “If the Seattle measure passes, the February service changes will automatically be deferred until June 2015 to allow Metro and the city time to enter into service contracts – all of the cuts would be deferred, not just the Seattle cuts.” He says they still look forward to adding service sometime. August ridership figures show a 3 percent increase, and, says Desmond: “At the same time we are reducing the system, what we really should be doing is growing.” He acknowledges overcrowded buses around the county, unreliable buses because of traffic – “We need to solve these problems and this budget doesn’t allow us to do that.” He says the system is 900,000 hours short of what might help fix that.

Now Q/A – what about the transit workers who rejected wage freezes, how does that figure into this? Desmond says the situation now goes to binding arbitration. If the transit workers had accepted the freezes, that would have saved $8 million – equal to 80,000 hours of service cuts. “We do not expect to get an arbitration decision until the second quarter of next year,” Desmond said. Otherwise, the budget currently incorporates the “basic cost-of-living increase” for those and other workers.

Next question, “How do you respond to those who say you’re using scare tactics to get people to approve a tax increase?” Desmond points to the fact “we’ve been talking about this for six years. … We’ve not been hiding this from anybody through that entire six-year period.” (Editor’s note: Here’s a 2008 mention on WSB.) He talks about committees and task forces that have been going through the system and how it works, “totally out in the open” over those years. “We were the only transit system in this state in 2011 … that convinced the state Legislature to give us another tool to keep service on the road.” Though they’ve figured out how to save 150,000 hours in cuts, he says 400,000 hours worth are still painful, and “six years of kicking the can down the road in terms of stopgap measures and one-time savings … we’ve got to put a stop to that. … We don’t want to continue to lurch back and forth with the public.” He says they’re still at risk of having to keep cutting if the economy has a downturn at this point.

Desmond says they’re hoping that they can get to the point where they can “look at making some improvements” in Seattle lines that are currently overcrowded. Should downtown businesses chip in with head taxes or in other ways? Desmond says he doesn’t want to “get into that” but that there are already ways that the business community is helping, including pre-paid fare products. Dively also points out that head taxes are a city-only tool – not available to counties, in our state – and it’s up to the city to figure out how it wants to raise money. Desmond, then, turns back a question meant to elicit a “why should Seattle voters approve the ballot measure?” answer. He just mentions that the area is growing and transit should be growing, not contracting.

10:29 AM: Desmond mentions SDOT’s new director Scott Kubly, saying that Kubly is “really excited” about finding ways to improve the right of way for buses so they don’t get stuck in traffic and therefore delayed as often.

We ask about fare increases – Desmond points out the one scheduled for March of next year, and beyond that, he says that it would likely be a dialogue with the county council since the executive is not proposing another fare increase before 2018. He mentions the oft-cited stat that Metro’s basic fare will have doubled since 2008, when next year’s increase kicks in (at the same time a new low-income fare takes effect). “We always have to be thinking hard and struggling to find the right pricepoint …” appealing to “discretionary” riders as well as those who have no alternative.

10:35 AM: Briefing over – full complement of regional media was here too. If you want to read the full news release, it’s here.

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Scott Kubly confirmed as SDOT director, due back in West Seattle at Wednesday’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/scott-kubly-confirmed-as-sdot-director-due-back-in-west-seattle-at-wednesdays-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/scott-kubly-confirmed-as-sdot-director-due-back-in-west-seattle-at-wednesdays-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-meeting/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:02:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285802 Scott Kubly has just been officially confirmed as the new Seattle Department of Transportation director. He’s made two official West Seattle appearances already, both covered here – last week’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (link includes our video) and the September 3rd Southwest District Council meeting. If you have a question or suggestion for Kubly, you have one more near-future chance in West Seattle: He’s scheduled to be at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting this Wednesday (September 17, 7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center at 4408 Delridge Way SW).

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Traffic alert: Paving on East Marginal Way, north of the bridge, next week http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/traffic-alert-paving-on-east-marginal-way-north-of-the-bridge-next-week/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/traffic-alert-paving-on-east-marginal-way-north-of-the-bridge-next-week/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 23:00:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285462 A much-used West Seattle-downtown route, particularly for bicycle riders, is set for paving work next week, according to this announcement from SDOT:

Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation will pave in the 3100 block of East Marginal Way South [map] on Wednesday, Sept. 17 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Thursday, Sept. 18 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting.

On Wednesday, bicycles may use the designated bike lane. On Thursday bicyclists may ride on the sidewalk, being cautious of pedestrians and giving pedestrians the right of way. For information on bus service, look for Rider Alert notices at bus stops.

This is an area where a deadly bicycle/truck collision last year led to city promises of safety improvements.

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New leader announced for Washington State Ferries: Lynne Griffith http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/new-leader-announced-for-washington-state-ferries-lynne-griffith/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/new-leader-announced-for-washington-state-ferries-lynne-griffith/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:55:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285123 A new leader for the state ferry system is on the way: Lynne Griffith, currently CEO of Pierce Transit, a job she had held for eight years and had previously said she would leave at year’s end. Griffith’s appointment was announced this morning by state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. The official news release notes that Griffith will be the first woman to serve in the role of Assistant Secretary for WSDOT’s Washington State Ferries division, and that she has more than 35 years of experience in the transportation industry. The previous assistant secretary, David Moseley, resigned six months ago after six years. Griffith starts next month. (Photo courtesy WSF)

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West Seattle Transportation Coalition gets ‘prioritization’ promise from new SDOT director Scott Kubly; also hears about citizen’s T-5 idea, November ballot measures http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-transportation-coalition-gets-prioritization-promise-from-new-sdot-director-scott-kubly-also-hears-about-citizens-t-5-idea-november-ballot-measures/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-transportation-coalition-gets-prioritization-promise-from-new-sdot-director-scott-kubly-also-hears-about-citizens-t-5-idea-november-ballot-measures/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 04:06:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285065 (ADDED WEDNESDAY AM: Our video of SDOT director Scott Kubly’s hour-long Q/A)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

For the second time in a week, SDOT’s new director (confirmation pending) Scott Kubly was in West Seattle to answer questions – this time, from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition.

Among other things, Kubly said that one of the best ways his department can serve this area and others is to be clear about prioritization – what it can do, what it can’t do.

The 2 1/2-hour meeting ranged across a wide variety of other topics as well, including the two transportation-related measures on the November ballot, and a citizen proposal for the currently idle Terminal 5 site.

First, Kubly: After a brief introduction, he said that at any Department of Transportation, “safety’s going to be the first priority,” yet there have been five fatalities in the first three weeks he’s been on the job. “Where I come from is … wanting to protect the most vulnerable users of the transportation system. … I also think the city is growing tremendously quickly … it reminds me a lot of DC in that regard, similar sizes, similar growth rates.” Growth means the opportunity for more-walkable communities, he said, “but not without challenges … it stresses the transportation system, so what we need to do is .. how to make our transportation system work more efficiently.”

That means “giving people choices in how they get around the city.” People who walk to work, for example, have been shown in research to be the happiest people, Kubly said, but when in a car, he said, people somehow feel safe behaving aggressively, and he feels that’s because they don’t have a choice, so if they have a choice, they’ll feel happier. But he also recognizes that “most people are at one time or another going to have to drive someplace … it’s very rare that you can do everything (without driving).”

DC, he said, has more people but fewer cars than it used to have, he points out. And he talks again about options, enabling people to, for example, perhaps have one car instead of two. Regarding why people get frustrated with government services: “A lot of it comes down to choice.”

You can change your cell-phone carrier if you’re unhappy, but you can’t change your government without (physically) moving, he elaborated.

He described his new boss Mayor Ed Murray as “forward-thinking on transportation” and says that “mode wars” regarding transportation are not helpful – he hopes people can get beyond “us versus them.”

First question was from Diane Vincent, who said that signal prioritization for buses doesn’t seem to be happening, even two years after RapidRide was implemented. The answer wound up coming from Chris Arkills, a frequent WSTC attendee, and transportation adviser to King County Executive Dow Constantine. He said, “Most of them work well,” but invited Vincent to report whichever ones didn’t seem to be working so they can look into it.

Next, Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair Mat McBride brought up communication challenges and wondered if SDOT would look into something more organized. Kubly said he would.

Another question led him to talk about “distracted movement” – people seeming to be distracted all the time, looking at their phones, etc. He mentioned a recent visit to North Delridge and suddenly taking note of a semi full of steel in the Nucor area – a semi “that wasn’t looking for me … If I hadn’t looked up from my phone, I probably would have been run over. Whose fault would it have been? Me for not looking up? Him for not looking for me? … In the end, we all need to … move defensively, be responsible for ourselves, and assume we have to be responsible for other people.” That led him to mention that features that try to make the road safer might not look at first glance like they make sense, but ultimately work as part of the big safety picture.

WSTC member Deb Barker from the Morgan Community Association first good-naturedly reminded Kubly that his previous city Chicago doesn’t have the same hills Seattle does. She then brought up the 35th SW safety project (scheduled to get officially kicked off at a meeting in October) and asked about getting it extended further south, into Arbor Heights, as far south as 106th. That might be a funding challenge, he suggested. Barker also wondered about making a better channel for transit where the West Seattle Bridge moves to northbound 99.

Next question was about the report that the City Council hadn’t committed to fully funding the Bicycle Master Plan in the years ahead: So how is SDOT going to go about making the plan’s safety features happen?

Kubly replied by saying Mayor Murray pointed out that there are “all sorts of different needs out there,” including sidewalks, which don’t exist in about a third of the city. It’s vital to figure out how the city is going to pay to get those needs met, and that conversation will be held over the next year, he said, while also mentioning that the city can consider “some quick things to do right now” – perhaps things that can be done while paving is happening on a street, for example.

Co-chair Helmick then mentioned SW Roxbury, which also has a safety project in the works, and hopes that it will get a closer look in terms of what it’s slated for in the Bicycle Master Plan.

Next, Taylor-Judd mentioned the West Seattle Bridge. “We’ve been repeatedly bringing up concerns that we feel like there’s not a clear plan for how the city handles crisis situations that affect access to that vital corridor … we’re looking at maybe four, five incidents this year that have shut down access to the bridge one way or another, affecting tens of thousands of people … That’s something that we see as a priority, being really clear, what is the clear chain of command (for decisionmaking in an emergency) …” Kubly said he had just met with Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole today to talk about transportation matters and plans to meet again soon, with monthly meetings in the works. He said O’Toole is “amazing,” and he mentioned that he is acutely aware of the June 10th incident that shut down the entire Highway 99 corridor.

He says things are changing – this morning he got a 4 am text about the southbound Battery Street Tunnel crash that affected a lane on SB 99, and that led to a news release being issued, etc. (Here’s the tweet that was part of it – we were still on duty and retweeted it:)


Helmick mentioned shortly afterward that West Seattle is “100,000 strong and we get angry fast.”

Road hazards and deficiencies were mentioned; Kubly asked what’s used to report problems, and the Find It Fix It app was mentioned. He went on to observe that often streets are cut up for utility work, among other things, and if there is a problem, make sure SDOT knows about it.

Brought up next: Making sure that Avalon is made more safe for bicyclists, especially in connection with the Fauntleroy Boulevard project.

After that: WSTC board member Marty Westerman from the Fauntleroy Community Association said they’re hoping to invite Kubly to an upcoming meeting. Then he voiced concerns, including support for the full West Seattle Bridge bus lane that Barker had suggested, beyond the partial lane that exists now and leaves buses eventually in a bottleneck during times of heavy traffic.

Coordination between departments came up; in addition to SPD, Kubly said he’s setting up monthly meetings with other departments’ leadership.

Board member Marci Carpenter mentioned the deficiencies in traffic studies done for some major projects – 3210 California, for example, was done when school was out, and so, she felt, the report did not fully address the conditions that would be created.

Helmick then launches the topic of the Westwood/Roxhill Park transit hub. “When they dumped the buses there, they did nothing to upgrade facilities,” she began. “Many more things need to be done … so I’m wondering about the conversation between Metro and SDOT regarding (that hub).” She listed challenges including the roads that are rattled by buses they aren’t designed to handle.

Kubly said Rasmussen pointed it out during their recent West Seattle tour and that it’s something he will “take a look at. … A lot of stuff has come up tonight and I would be (remiss) to say everything can be fixed, but it’s a matter of prioritization … being transparent and honest,” saying what SDOT can do and what it can’t do. “There are things we can do. Striping crosswalks, for example, is cheap.”

Rodman told Kubly to ask his staff to be “more proactive … (so you don’t need) Amanda to come to you to point out a problem.”

His appearance could probably have gone on for another hour but the meeting was already running long and one other item was on the agenda:

TERMINAL 5 PROPOSAL: In a discussion that has some of its roots in a WSB comments discussion, community member Tom Linde explained “A (Modest) Mobility Proposal.” The setup: “The peninsula has an ingress/egress issue … Metro is underfunded and likely to continue to underserve our community …Sound Transit Light Rail is at best 15 years out … ” His proposal: Could T-5 in its transition period be “used as a multimodal transit hub for West Seattle”? And that really does mean multimodal – all the way to the Water Taxi perhaps arriving and leaving from the north end (with other water shuttles too). It could make sense regarding expediency and cost savings, Linde said, and wouldn’t get in the way of future Link light rail, or the port’s eventual modernization plans. “In the end of the day, it’s a chunk of property, but might be more effectively used” than the way it’s being used now (including outright idleness while the port revs up its modernization plan). Linde suggested it could involve a “true Bus Rapid Transit system” with elevated ramps tying into the downtown network; it could be “the hub Metro station,” fed by shuttle buses as well as direct bus runs.

He acknowledged “the big ‘ifs’,” including the various agencies that would be involved, and other logistic points.

Chas Redmond asked the big question – so how can this be advanced? He saw “a positive reason” to work with the Port on the idea.

Taylor-Judd said his interest was piqued by portions of the area that could be used at least for park-and-ride now, for example – even if the grand vision would be difficult to implement, parts of it could become reality.

Arkills mentioned past challenges with development of that area and the Port’s past attempts, including the fact that it had been a landfill, which might even get in the way of building a park-and-ride there. He agreed that this is an underused parcel of land but cautioned that doing something with it might not be so easy.

“Nothing ever is,” countered Helmick.

Arkills also noted that the county, for example, doesn’t have any money to put into something like this, so a creative funding solution would have to be found.

Ultimately, the question was, what becomes of this idea now that it’s been aired? Linde said he didn’t care about keeping ownership of it, but just wanted to get it out there. This, all agreed, was a start. Helmick said she’d like to see an organized subgroup take it on. Taylor-Judd agreed that finding a way to hash it out would be good.

Finally, a port rep who came to the meeting after hearing about this informal discussion talked about the stage the process is in toward modernizing T-5. $5 million has been allotted; the full project would be “probably a couple hundred million,” he said, but they hope to have it reopen in 2018, “so that’s not so far away.” He said toward Linde, “I don’t want to say your idea is not compatible with that.” He expressed some openness toward talking with the community about ways to help get people around.

So how will that be funded? asked Barker. “Couple possible ways,” said the port rep. For one, they might reach an agreement with an entity – shipping line or stevedore – signing a long-term lease, and then the Port goes out with bonds or other borrowing to finance the improvements, which are repaid from revenue from the terminal.

‘YES ON SEATTLE TRANSIT’: WSTC members heard from Abigail Doerr from the Transportation Benefit District Proposition (see the text here) “to preserve the transit system we need in our city,” specifically Seattle Metro routes “that are slated to be reduced in February 2015.” It’s the same funding package that was rejected countywide (though a majority of Seattle voters approved it) last year – a sales-tax increase plus car-tab fee; if approved, it would last for six years, she said. “It’s a measure that’s intended to be a fix for now … not the ideal situation for how we want to be funding our transit .. but it allows us a great opportunity to have a conversation with statewide legislators, other communities,” and others, regarding a “stable funding source” for transportation.

Up to $2 million of the money raised would be spent on a “low-income accessibility program,” she pointed out; up to $3 million would go toward a “regional partnership fund,” which could involve other government entities buying back part of their cut routes. And there would be a rebate toward the car-tab fee for low-income vehicle owners. “We want to be moving forward on transit, not backward – we want to keep our buses running,” she added. Many details remain to be worked out, including which other governments, if any, would join in the regional partnership, she said, in response to questions.

King County – which runs the bus system – is officially neutral on the measure, noted Arkills.

WSTC member Marci Carpenter proposed that the coalition endorse the ballot measure. A few voices rose in dissent/concern, including McBride, who pointed out that WSTC represents various community groups, and shouldn’t endorse something without consulting those constituent groups. WSTC co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick said she felt they had time to do that, since the vote isn’t until November. Member Michael Taylor-Judd from North Delridge Neighborhood Council noted that other alternative funding sources had been suggested before the ballot measure was finalized. (The WSTC, you might recall, took a poll on which sources people might prefer to see used.)

A vote was taken; board members deadlocked 3-3 on whether to endorse, and decide to take it up again later in the meeting. When that happened, Taylor-Judd moved to have WSTC members contact their respective organizations to see if they do or don’t support endorsing the measure. It was decided that he and Carpenter would draft a letter that would be taken to those reps for their consideration.

MONORAIL PROPOSAL: Former West Seattleite Libby Carr was an addition to the agenda. She is campaign chair for the monorail measure that will also be on this November’s Seattle ballot. (See the text of the measure here.) She mentioned the city’s multiple previous votes on a monorail, and noted, “Some people feel ‘It’s ten years later, we’re still sitting in traffic, how’s that working for us, maybe it’s time to revisit this.”

COMMUNITY NEWS/UPDATES: Co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick brought up tomorrow’s special City Council Transportation Committee meeting about impact fees (reported here earlier today), noon at City Hall. WSTC member Deb Barker mentions the July briefing about the Fauntleroy Boulevard project (updated here) and the first meeting, two weeks ago, of the West Seattle Land Use Committee (WSB coverage here). Delridge District Council chair McBride, who was part of that meeting, pointed out that such groups “gain validity with participation,” urging everyone to be at the next one. He added that his group will be hosting Kubly, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, and Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire as a “transportation trifecta” on Wednesday, September 17th, 7 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

Continuing the updates, Taylor-Judd from North Delridge mentioned new “speed humps” on a route between ND and High Point, and the neighborhood-policing plan that NDNC is working on with Seattle Police. He also mentioned bumping into Rasmussen in North Delridge recently as the councilmember was preparing to meet with Kubly for a briefing about the neighborhood.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition meets on second Tuesdays, 6:30 pm, at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.

P.S. SDOT director Kubly is also scheduled at next Wednesday’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, 7 pm September 17th at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW).

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Citizen idea for closed, empty Terminal 5 on Tuesday’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition agenda, along with new SDOT director http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/citizen-idea-for-closed-empty-terminal-5-on-tuesdays-west-seattle-transportation-coalition-agenda-along-with-new-sdot-director/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/citizen-idea-for-closed-empty-terminal-5-on-tuesdays-west-seattle-transportation-coalition-agenda-along-with-new-sdot-director/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 05:39:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284742

This West Seattle view, tweeted today, shows a stark look at what so many continue to notice, especially driving westbound on the high bridge – the emptiness of the port’s Terminal 5, now in its second month of closure. It’s a discussion topic on next Tuesday night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition agenda. But in case you’ve missed the backstory:

*In June, the Port Commission approved closure as the first step toward “modernization”
*The final ship, for now, called at T-5 in late July
*Commissioners voted last month to sell T-5′s cranes, too small for the ships they want to expand it to handle

The commission still has steps to take before its modernization plan would be fully in gear – not the least of which would be, deciding how to pay for its likely nine-digit price. So in the meantime, interested citizens have unofficially suggested alternative futures for the site. One is on the agenda for the West Seattle Transportation Coalition’s meeting next Tuesday, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, 6400 Sylvan Way, everyone welcome. The agenda also includes Q/A with new SDOT director Scott Kubly, who spoke with the Southwest District Council earlier this week, as covered here.

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1 West Seattle ‘deletion’ in newest Metro bus-cut plan – with a caveat http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/1-west-seattle-deletion-in-newest-metro-bus-cut-plan-with-a-caveat/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/1-west-seattle-deletion-in-newest-metro-bus-cut-plan-with-a-caveat/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 06:46:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284434 Metro‘s next round of proposed cuts went public this evening, a list of proposals to kick in next February. But they come with a big caveat – if Seattle voters pass the mayor’s transit-funding proposal in November, the February cuts would be postponed until June, and might not happen at all.

First: Here’s the official announcement, with this list-at-a-glance:

As you can see, a few West Seattle cuts are on the list: Route 22, already a shadow of its former self (it once went all the way downtown and is now just a circulator), would be deleted. Part of its service area would keep transit via a change in Route 125, whose proposed revised map looks like this:

Cuts/changes would be also be in store for Route 21, which would be reduced from 15-minute intervals on weekday middays and Saturdays to 30-minute intervals, and for Route 116X, which serves West Seattle on its way to/from the Vashon ferry, cutting three trips a day.

Metro/county reps who talked with WSB via phone conference tonight, after the release of this plan, say the full list of cuts proposed for February equals roughly half what was originally set to be cut through September of next year. And they point out that the West Seattle proposals reflect changes made after public comment on earlier proposals – for example, Route 50 is being left alone.

But passage of the transit money measure in November wouldn’t guarantee cancellation of these cuts – the city and county could work out a different set of buybacks, for example, maybe even involving changes to be made this month (not involving West Seattle routes). And they don’t know what would be needed in terms of belt-tightening after February cuts – that would be worked out in the county’s September 2015 budgeting.

For now, these proposals are expected to go to the County Council within the next two weeks, so that action would be finalized before the council’s focus turns to the budgeting process. Something to say about this new plan? West Seattle’s County Councilmember is Joe McDermott, whose contact info is here; he’s also the council’s current budget chair.

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West Seattle Labor Day 2014: Here’s helpful holiday info http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-labor-day-2014-heres-helpful-holiday-info/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-labor-day-2014-heres-helpful-holiday-info/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:30:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284238

(Photo by ‘Hammerin’ Man,’ shared via the WSB Flickr group)
Happy Labor Day! Just a few notes about the holiday …

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT/TRANSPORTATION INFO
Since many people are off work today, we’re not publishing the usual daily traffic/transit roundup. You can see area traffic cams and get info (including a link to the city map with travel times) on the WSB West Seattle Traffic page.

*Metro Transit is on a Sunday schedule
*West Seattle Water Taxi is on a Sunday schedule
*Sound Transit buses are on a Sunday schedule
*Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route will be on a weekend schedule

TRASH/RECYCLING PICKUP: If you are a Monday customer, SPU says it’s a normal pickup day.

SEATTLE PARKS: Here’s the citywide Parks lineup for what’s open/closed. Including:

LAST DAY FOR WADING POOL/SPRAYPARK: It’s the final day of the season for the last wading pool in operation, Lincoln Park, and for Highland Park Spraypark. Both are scheduled to be open 11 am-8 pm today. (If you go to the spraypark, you can explore astronomy too!) **9:46 am update: It’s not wading-pool weather, so the pools won’t open, and are done for the season, the city says, but adds that the sprayparks WILL open today.**

THIRD-TO-LAST DAY FOR COLMAN POOL: West Seattle’s outdoor pool, on the shore in Lincoln Park, ends its daily operations after today, with just one encore, the post-season September 6-7 weekend. So if you’ve been meaning to get to Colman, here’s the schedule.

LIBRARIES: It’s a systemwide closure day for the Seattle Public Library.

‘PARKING HOLIDAY’: Though West Seattle has no pay stations/meters on city streets, in the neighborhoods that do, this is a “parking holiday” – no charge.

BUSINESSES OPEN TODAY: Though we didn’t put out a general call for info, several businesses did take the time to message us with word they’re open (thank you!):

*Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor) – Open 7 am-6 pm
*The Bridge – Open for brunch, 9 am-2 pm “with both of our patios open” (and then open with regular menu until usual close)
*Pizzeria 22 and Quadrato – Both open regular hours
*Avalon Glassworks – Open 10 am-6 pm

EVENT CALENDAR: Quiet for the holiday, but you’re welcome to take a minute and browse ahead.

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