Transportation – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:05:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SUNDAY: Ride for Major Taylor will bring hundreds of bicycle riders through Fauntleroy ferry dock Sun, 22 Apr 2018 03:32:24 +0000 groupshot

Those are some of the riders who took part in the Cascade Bicycle Club‘s Ride for Major Taylor two years ago, when it started at Chief Sealth International High School. This year’s ride is tomorrow, with its start and finish line at the bike playground in White Center’s Dick Thurnau Park. After riders head south to Tacoma and across the water to south Vashon Island, they’ll head up to north Vashon and the ferry to Fauntleroy, riding back from West Seattle to White Center – here’s the route map. Washington State Ferries issued this alert today:

On Sunday, April (corrected) 22nd, drivers should anticipate delays on the Point Defiance to Tahlequah and Vashon to Fauntleroy routes due to heavy bicycle traffic participating in the annual Major Taylor Bicycle Event. More than 300 bicyclists are expected, and vehicle capacity may be limited from 10:55 am to 12:35 pm departing Point Defiance and between 11:50 am and 2:45 pm from Vashon to Fauntleroy. Vehicles should allow extra time reaching the terminal and use caution approaching the terminals and when boarding.

If you’re interested in riding, online registration is over but you can sign up at the park in WC starting at 8 am – details are here. The ride raises money for the Major Taylor Project, the Cascade youth program named for bicycling champion Marshall “Major” Taylor, the first African-American to win an international sports title.

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Here’s your first look at 5 early ‘alternatives’ for West Seattle light rail, as unveiled at Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting Wed, 18 Apr 2018 04:31:29 +0000 (WSB photo from tonight’s meeting)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Here’s where the rubber meets the road – or the trains meet the rail – as the accelerated process of getting to a “preferred alternative” for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle/Ballard light-rail extensions moves forward.

ST has now refined the “themes” that emerged in early comments into early “alternatives” for routing/station locations that were shown, explained, and discussed at tonight’s Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting downtown. When the group meets again in a week, they’re expected to decide on the first-level recommendations they’ll forward to the Elected Leadership Group and Sound Transit Board.

Five “level 1 alternatives” were shown for the West Seattle segment – but a disclaimer, these are not the “finalists” necessarily. “Level 1” refers to which stage of the review process this is in, not their ranking. And a reminder – the SAG members are looking at the entirety of West Seattle to Ballard, and while we know the rest of the line is of interest to many here, especially SODO and Downtown, we are just focusing on the WS end. Here’s the full slide deck for everything covered in the meeting, including all the “level 1 alternatives” and the criteria used to rate them:

(Here it is in PDF on the ST site.) You’ll also see slides in which the criteria are explained, as well as each alternative’s ratings using those criteria – the darker the dot, the better. (We’ve broken the pairings down one by one below.)

Each segment review ended with a slide featuring its early alternatives, and other ideas, sorted into three categories – alternatives with more potential, alternatives with greater challenges, and not-practical suggestions (for example, as you’ll see below, for West Seattle, the latter included mentions of running light rail on the existing bridge and using a gondola for part of the route).

Each of the four segments was presented to the full group, followed by table discussions. Unlike last meeting, where each segment had its own table and SAG members rotated table to table, this time each table had about eight group members seated at it, and they stayed in their respective groups the whole night..

First: Sound Transit’s Stephen Mak went through the West Seattle segment. He showed the multi-line “concepts” from last meeting and how they were refined. And then, each of six alternatives and its ratings:

First (above), the original ST representative project and its main points – summarizing concerns and benefits (challenges included west end that’s not conducive to an eventual extension, difficult design/construction along Pigeon Point, neighborhood impacts beteen Avalon and Delridge, design/construction constraints through the Duwamish River area.

Second (above), “Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel” – improved transition at Junction end, going a little further south on 42nd, to extend south in future; two tunnels and underground stations in Junction and Avalon, would cross the Duwamish further south and “avoid major Port areas.” The two tunnels would present potential “cost issues,” but this alignment has fewer curves so “performs better” regarding “operational constraints.”

Third (above), “West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy” – this one would avoid Pigeon Point, but would have an “isolated station, near port property” on the Delridge end; would affect properties along Fauntleroy; would have its Junction station around 38th, also turning south for a better future extension alignment. Also “avoids sensitive natural areas” like Longfellow Creek. Concerns would include the Delridge and Junction stations being on periphery of land-use centers rather than in the heart of them. It would raise concerns with effects on port and business operations on Harbor Island.

Fourth (above), “Yancy Street/West Seattle Tunnel” – this one would have a “long tunnel,” after “pass(ing) over Nucor” with an elevated station near Avalon/Yancy, the combination of Delridge/Avalon. This one too would avoid Pigeon Point. The station consolidation would raise concerns of serving fewer people, not directly serving land-use centers. But it would have fewer neighborhood impacts.

Fifth (above), “Oregon Street/Alaska Junction”: It would use Oregon to 44th in The Junction, with the station on 44th, pointing southward for future potential extension. This one also avoids Pigeon Point. It would have “good transit integration” at Junction station, and overall performs “generally similar to the representative project.”

Sixth (above)“West Seattle Golf Course/Alaska Junction” – this one would scrap the Avalon station, and would include a “short tunnel with station under Alaska St.” It would affect the Golf course “which is a 4f resource, requires demonstrating no other prudent and feasible alternative.” 4f means the Federal Transit Administration “cannot approve the use of land from publicly owned parks” except in a couple circumstances

Now, here’s how they were ranked:

In summary, Oregon Street/Alaska Junction and West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy are considered to have “more potential,” with Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel straddling the “has potential” and “has challenges” categories, in part because two tunnels “might require third-party funding.” The Yancy Street/WS Tunnel and WS Golf Course/Junction alternatives are considered to have “greater challenges.”

You can see the non-WS segments’ alternatives and evaluations by reviewing the complete slide deck toward the top of this report

WEST SEATTLE SEGMENT DISCUSSION: After the West Seattle alternatives were reviewed, and discussed at the tables, concerns and observations were reported out by spokespeople for each table. The first group mentioned concerns about Nucor’s future, Longfellow Creek and vicinity environmental impacts, and how the port would be affected. The second group said they all agreed a tunnel “is very important” in The Junction area, in part because they want to avoid traffic conflict with existing street users. The third group said it had discussed the Junction terminal location being important for future planning, interest in effects on other public lands including Delridge Playfield, wanting more information on the Duwamish crossing potentially interacting with a Superfund site, and interest in interacting with existing transportation networks, including bus routes and walkshed. The fourth group added that they were interested in the golf-course route if it didn’t eliminate a station, and overall their group considers it vital to keep all three stations “as promised.” Putting a station north of Nucor would mean a “terrible” walkshed, they added.

SO NOW WHAT? Next week – 5-8 pm April 24th – the questions they are expected to answer:
-“Are there alternatives we can safely take off the table?”
-“Are there alternatives we can safely move forward?”
-Are there refinements that can be made to the alternatives?

SIDE NOTE – EVALUATION CRITERIA CHANGES: These are in the slide deck above, too. Toward the start of the meeting, ST exec Cathal Ridge ran through some verbiage changes here. A few of note, adding “station area” to land-use-plan consistency, and looking at local land-use policies as well as plans. Biggest changes were for the criteria regarding how to “preserve and promote a healthy environment,” adding “economy” as well as a list of “economic effects” to consider, including “freight movement and access on land and water” as well as, in environmental effects, “burden on historically undereserved populations.”

PROCESS RECAP: Ridge also showed the timeline “road map” again:

He noted that “right now we’re at the tail end of Level 1,” screening alternatives they hope to take into Level 2, which would involve the first round of technical analysis. The deadline for a “preferred alternative” continues to be “early 2019.”

Other quick notes:

EARLY SCOPING RECAPPED: As reported here Monday, the full report on the “early scoping” period comments is out. It was not extensively recapped or discussed tonight, though.

NEIGHBORHOOD FORUMS: These are official ST-convened events and they start next Saturday in the International District. West Seattle’s first one is 10 am-12:30 pm May 5th at the Masonic Center (4736 40th SW).

P.S. – OTHER LOCAL DISCUSSIONS: This was not mentioned at the SAG meeting, but we are noting in case you are interested that Sound Transit reps are scheduled to bring an update to the next Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting, 6:30 pm April 26th at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon).

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Questions about Arbor Heights sidewalk project, including 35th SW closure? Community meeting next week Tue, 17 Apr 2018 20:20:05 +0000

The map is from SDOT’s Ching Chan, who has been out going door to door and also e-mailed us to be sure everyone knows about a community meeting one week from tonight for the Arbor Heights sidewalk (and more) project along 35th SW between SW 100th and SW 106th. As we reported a month ago, it’s starting this spring – likely next month, Chan says, with completion projected by Labor Day. And SDOT now confirms the south end of the project, which includes drainage work, will close 35th SW between SW 104th and SW 106th for “up to four weeks.” Here’s the newest flyer/postcard. Get the details, and answers to your questions, at the community meeting 6-8 pm Tuesday, April 24th, at Arbor Heights Elementary (3701 SW 104th).

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‘In West Seattle, most of the comments suggested a tunnel …’ Sound Transit releases ‘early scoping’ report for light rail Mon, 16 Apr 2018 22:04:40 +0000 Three Sound Transit light-rail-planning updates this afternoon:

FULL ‘EARLY SCOPING’ REPORT RELEASED: Want to see Sound Transit‘s full summary of comments from the “early scoping” period for the West Seattle and Ballard extensions? There is it above, and here (PDF), all 226 pages of it. Here’s a paragraph from the opening summary:

In West Seattle, most of the comments suggested a tunnel from at least the western edge of the Delridge valley to the Alaska Junction (the intersection of California Avenue SW and SW Alaska Street), with an underground station within a few blocks of the junction. Several comments requested an alignment through the West Seattle Golf Course, while others requested alignments farther north. Many comments suggested removing the Avalon Station or consolidating it with the Alaska Junction Station in a more central location. Several other comments requested keeping the Avalon Station as an important bus transfer location. Most comments about the Delridge Station suggested moving it farther south. Many comments also requested consideration of future extensions to the south on Fauntleroy Way SW, 35th Avenue SW, or Delridge Way SW. Several others also called for providing service farther south to Westwood Village or White Center now, while others suggested just improving bus service if a tunnel could not be built.

Shortcuts, if you’re interested, include:
Page 191 – Photos of some comments written on easel displays at West Seattle open house on February 13th
Page 202 – Transcription of comments from West Seattle open house

The report also includes the feedback from a variety of groups with interests in various sections of the route, as well as government agencies (which start at page 62).

‘FIRST ALTERNATIVES’ TO BE SHOWN TO STAKEHOLDER ADVISORY GROUP: The next two Tuesdays (April 17 and 24) bring the next two meetings of the Stakeholder Advisory Group, and ST says they will be shown the first set of potential alternatives to the original “representative project” (draft routing). Both meetings are open to the public (there’s no spoken-comment period, though, just observation) and both are 5-8 pm at the Sound Transit Ruth Fisher Boardroom downtown, 401 S. Jackson.

HERBOLD LETTER: At this morning’s City Council briefing meeting, it was mentioned that City Councilmember Lisa Herbold was planning to circulate for her colleagues’ signatures a letter that would ask various city commissions and boards to provide feedback for the light-rail planning process. We’ve requested a copy of the letter but her office tells us that at the mayor’s request, they’re holding off on the letter for a week. So look for that next week.

(added) P.S. A reminder that the next major chance for feedback is at the first round of ST-convened “neighborhood forums” – one is in West Seattle, 10 am-12:30 pm Saturday, May 5th, Masonic Center, 40th/Edmunds.

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FOLLOWUP: SDOT says Beach Drive repaving will resume Mon, 16 Apr 2018 20:59:57 +0000

1:59 PM: We have finally heard back from SDOT about the incomplete repaving project on Beach Drive. A little over two weeks ago, we reported on the notices promising that work April 2nd-6th would include not just the repair of the bumpiest patch at Beach/Carroll, but also resurfacing between Andover and Douglas. But by the end of the week, as shown above, only the Beach/Carroll repairs had been done. We inquired with SDOT, and spokesperson Karen Westing has replied to explain, “Latest from our Maintenance Ops team is that bad weather prevented crews from completing the work on schedule but once this latest round of fronts clears, they will be out there to complete the project. They are working now on rescheduling.”

TUESDAY UPDATE: “No parking” signs are back up in the area, for today through Friday, though there’s no sign of work yet.

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WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Tree blocking SW Juneau stairway Mon, 16 Apr 2018 19:47:11 +0000 (WSB photo)

With all the recent rain, the National Weather Service has a region-wide alert up about landslide risk – and here’s a reminder that the same conditions are perilous for trees, too. The one in our photo is blocking the SW Juneau stairway between Delridge and Puget Ridge [map], on the hillside just east of Louisa Boren STEM K-8, to/from 21st SW. We talked with an SDOT crew that was just about to leave after assessing the situation, and they told us it won’t be cleared today, because they don’t have a tree crew available.

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Seen @ first of two West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway drop-ins Sat, 14 Apr 2018 18:30:59 +0000 (WSB photos)

Until noon, you can drop by Uptown Espresso in The Junction to talk with SDOT about the next phase of planning for the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway, which, as we’ve been reporting, is now planned to extend all the way to North Admiral. The boards set up on easels include more specifics of what they’re looking at, including even the intersection right here in front of the coffee shop:

There are also details of another block proposed for some rechannelization, this one on the north side of The Junction, by Holy Rosary:

If you can’t make it to this morning’s drop-in session for feedback and info, there’s another one on Thursday (April 19th), 4:15-5:45 pm, at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, 2306 42nd SW. And you can provide info via a new online survey, here – that includes some of the routing and rechannelization options we’re seeing on the boards here at the meeting.

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Drop-in meeting Saturday morning, survey open now for West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway extension to North Admiral Sat, 14 Apr 2018 02:18:46 +0000

Two weeks ago, we reported on the plan to build the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway all the way into North Admiral, instead of having its north end at The Junction. The city also announced two drop-in meetings for feedback, and plans for a survey. The first of those meetings is tomorrow morning – and the survey is open now. You can answer it here, and/or stop by Uptown Espresso at California/Edmunds/Erskine, 10:30-noon on Saturday. Meantime, from an update sent by SDOT, more information about the greenway plan:

Our final route for the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway reflects many of the needs we heard from the community to connect people with schools, parks, local businesses, and the greater transportation network. The new neighborhood greenway will bring affordable, active transportation options for all ages and abilities.

Below are several community priorities we incorporated into our final design:

*Design the pedestrian safety islands so they’re wider to give people adequate space for their bikes

*Time the new traffic signal at 35th Ave SW and SW Graham St with the rest of the 35th Ave SW traffic signals to reduce corridor-wide delay as much as possible
*Upgrade access to the existing signals for people walking and biking at
30th Ave SW and SW Barton St
30th Ave SW and SW Roxbury St

*Install traffic calming near Our Lady of Guadalupe School

*Minimize any on-street parking loss

*Reduce gravel on the sidewalk and street along SW Kenyon St

*Enhance traffic calming on 30th Ave SW and SW Thistle St

We’ve been able to incorporate all these elements into our work plan. Thank you for sharing such helpful insights.

Phase 1 Construction
The first phase of construction for the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway will begin later this spring and is expected to continue through 2018. This phase of construction, which begins at SW Roxbury St and ends at SW Graham St, allows us to open a large section of the Greenway an entire year earlier than expected!

During phase 1 construction you should expect temporary detours, parking changes, and crossing closures so that we can install greenway pieces such as pedestrian safety islands and new crosswalks at intersections. We’ll be in constant communication throughout construction to ensure we coordinate with residents and businesses directly affected by specific projects.

We recognize that construction is an inconvenience and appreciate your patience and communication as we begin creating the West Seattle Greenway for you and your neighbors to enjoy.

Schedule …

Construction is broken up into three phases. This will enable us to start installing greenway improvements earlier than expected. We are excited to help people get to important community locations like Roxhill park by walking and biking in 2018, a full year earlier than anticipated.
The three phases are highlighted below:

Phase 1: SW Roxbury to SW Graham St on 30th Ave
Construction starting in spring 2018

Phase 2: SW Graham to SW Edmunds St
Construction as soon as fall 2019

North Admiral Connection: SW Edmunds St to SW College St
Outreach & planning beginning spring 2018
Construction as soon as 2020-2022

This will be West Seattle’s third greenway, after North Delridge and Highland Park/South Delridge. You can find more project information here. And if you can’t get to tomorrow morning’s drop-in discussion, the second one is Thursday (April 19th), 4:15-5:45 pm, at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, 2306 42nd SW.

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E-bikes on the Duwamish Trail? Seattle Parks Board considering ‘pilot project’ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 23:00:06 +0000

(Riders on West Duwamish Trail, photo from 2015)

Should people on electric bicycles be allowed to join other riders, walkers, and runners on Seattle’s “multi-use trails”? Tomorrow night, the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners will get a briefing that could be the first step toward a pilot program this summer on five of them – including the Duwamish Trail in West Seattle.

From the proposal, as detailed in this document prepared for the Parks Board:

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) proposes a pilot project to allow Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles on five of the multi-use trails we manage: Burke-Gilman Trail, Elliott Bay Trail, Mountains to Sound Trail, Melrose Connector Trail, and Duwamish Trail. These trails were chosen due to the width of the trails, the commuting connections they provide, and their ability to safely accommodate e-bikes. The pilot would include a speed limit of 15 mph on these trails, although there will be areas where riders need to reduce speed, for all users and an education campaign in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Seattle has changed significantly since 1995, when Seattle Parks and Recreation passed a Bicycle Use policy (060-P 7.11.1) that banned all motorized vehicles on multiuse trails. The population has risen dramatically over the last 28 years (150,000 more people), bicycle use has increased on streets and trails (up 100% since 1985), electric bike technology has advanced, and there is now access to a number of bike share programs including e-bikes.

The Parks schedule for the pilot program starts with tomorrow night’s briefing, followed by a public hearing when the board meets again on April 26th, and potentially a vote on May 10th. The briefing document adds, “The goal is to have regulations in place for e-bikes on Seattle Parks and Recreation multi-use trails by Memorial Day to prepare for the busy summer biking season.” This is how the pilot project would work:

During the pilot year, Seattle Parks and Recreation will collect data in the following ways: bike counters, field observations and on-site surveys, stakeholder focus groups, and public feedback through an online survey, emails and correspondence. This information will help us understand use patterns, safety concerns, and pilot outcomes. Following the collection of this data, Seattle Parks and Recreation will evaluate potential options and provide a policy recommendation to the Board of Park Commissioners.

That would happen in summer of 2019. But first – tomorrow’s briefing is during the board’s 6:30 pm meeting at Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.), open to the public. Here’s the agenda.

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From past test to future schedule @ Washington State Ferries’ Triangle Task Force Sun, 08 Apr 2018 23:59:22 +0000 (WSB photo from February, approaching Fauntleroy)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tomorrow night, six weeks of pavement and pathway work will start at the Fauntleroy ferry dock, aimed at keeping it viable until its scheduled replacement in about seven years.

That’s part of what the Washington State Ferries Triangle Improvement Task Force members heard about at their most recent meeting – projects in the near and distant future.

We’ve already published details of the dock work. So now, here’s what else was talked about at the task force meeting:

WSF is still working on the challenge that originally led to the task force’s creation – improving efficiency at the Fauntleroy terminal. Part of the meeting was spent reviewing results of a two-week experiment last month. You can see the results in the slide deck used for the meeting:

The test focused on the pm-commute period on weekdays during the weeks of March 12th and March 19th, breaking out pre-ticketed vehicles. In WSF’s view, the experimental procedures didn’t “meet the potential for improvement.” They included frequent changes to the illuminated signage at the tollbooths, and that, WSF said, led to confusion in loading. What did work: Communication between team members at the dock.

That’s what Task Force member Gary Dawson of Fauntleroy said he noticed, in observing the test: “The thing that really impressed me was watching the team work together – that includes the officer.” Team members would even be looking for the officer’s location by accessing the dock/vicinity cameras on their phones. Dawson said that was a reminder that the period without an officer at the dock because of a funding cut did not work well at all.

Another task-force member from Fauntleroy, Mardi Clements, said the experiment was “not working on so many levels.” She thought more public information about it – before, during – might have helped.

Kari Ulatoski from Vashon also saw a need for more information (the experiment was implemented relatively quietly) but was impressed by the collaboration. The pm commute time still has big challenges – she said she has stopped trying to use the 4:05 pm ferry because the wait is invariably an hour.

Kathleen Stephanick of Fauntleroy pointed out that social-media channels that have often been full of grousing about the ferry backups had “people … raving” about the experiment.

And there were other suggestions that advance announcements about changes would be helpful.

Tim O’Mahony, representing Southworth, observed the experiment for two days; on one, he said, he counted almost 100 vehicles headed to Southworth before one going to Vashon (WSF has said the Kitsap use is growing dramatically). He thinks the answer to the challenges will lie with the schedule changes.

Speaking of those … that’s another focal point for the task force this year. The route schedule is expected to change next year for the first time in a very long time, and task-force members are vetting proposals. At the meeting, with WSF senior planning manager Ray Deardorf leading the discussion, a “possible weekday-morning schedule concept” was floated, with a new 3:50 am Southworth departure, a 4:35 am Southworth departure (15 minutes later than the current one), a 6:15 am direct run from Southworth to Fauntleroy, a 7:40 am Southworth departure (15 minutes later than the current one), and a new 8:10 am direct run from Southworth to Fauntleroy, followed by 8:30 am Vashon to Fauntleroy.

For afternoon concepts, they’re looking at a new Fauntleroy multi-destination sailing at 4:45, a new Southworth to Fauntleroy direct sailing at 5 pm, and reversing the single- and multi-destination sailings at 7:15 and 7:30 pm. “The whole dynamics of the traffic patterns are changing,” Deardorf reiterated. And the densification of West Seattle, with the resulting traffic increases, is of note, too. No decisions were made at the meeting – this is all still in the run-up stage.

The task force also heard from WSF’s John Vezina, who had quick updates including the plans for UW researchers to study Fauntleroy dock operations – he will be meeting later this month with the professor and class who will be working on it.

And the WSF Long-Range Plan, another major focus for the task force, is moving forward. An “online open house” for it will open on Tuesday (April 10th) and remain open through May 24th (check, and a series of in-person meetings will start soon too. The one set for Fauntleroy is on May 17th (6-8 pm at Fauntleroy Church, 9140 California SW, which is where the task force meets), and WSF hopes that task-force members will be able to be at the meetings – their next meeting, in fact, will immediately precede the one in Fauntleroy, 4:30-6 pm May 17th. They’re geared toward helping WSF “identify priorities and considerations” for the plan. No formal presentation is planned – it’ll be a drop-in meeting.

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NIGHTTIME WORK ALERT: Washington State Ferries confirms Fauntleroy dock project will start Monday Thu, 05 Apr 2018 21:05:26 +0000

That’s the notice Washington State Ferries is circulating this afternoon to homes and businesses near the Fauntleroy ferry terminal (you can also see it here). It’s a confirmation that work to repave the dock and approach will start Monday night, as was tentatively scheduled when we published this report a week ago. The work will be done Monday-Thursday nights for the next month and a half or so, 7 pm-4 am, and WSF warns that it’ll be noisy. As promised, they’ll have a hotline during the project, answered around the clock, 206-402-8070. This round of repaving is expected to last until an even-bigger project, dock replacement, in about seven years.

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VIDEO: ‘Congestion pricing’ tolls on Seattle roads? Just part of Mayor Durkan’s announcement Wed, 04 Apr 2018 21:48:38 +0000

(Raw Seattle Channel video of mayor’s announcement on Queen Anne this morning)

“Congestion pricing” – tolls on city roads – is getting all the buzz from the mayor’s announcement today about what she wants to do to fight climate change. But that’s only part of the announcement. Here’s the news release from the mayor’s office:

Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced new bold actions in Seattle to reduce carbon pollution from our transportation and building sectors and make Seattle a national leader in fighting climate change. As part of Seattle’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, this set of short-term and long-term actions provides a roadmap for our City to act in the absence of federal leadership, particularly on leading contributors of greenhouse gases: transportation and buildings.

“Seattle can lead the world by taking bold action to reduce our carbon footprint while protecting our communities from the worst impacts of climate change. We are already seeing these impacts – from wildfires that choke our air to extreme rain events flooding our streets – and they are being disproportionately felt most in communities that are already disadvantaged,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our actions to reduce emissions from transportation and buildings will help create a healthier and more just city, with a stronger economy.”

Two-thirds of Seattle’s climate emissions result from road transportation. While Seattle is leading to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips, this strategy identifies actions that will reduce the climate and air pollution from Seattle’s cars and trucks by using Seattle City Light’s carbon-neutral electricity, including:

Improving mobility through congestion pricing in the upcoming years. At the conclusion of a new SDOT-led study, the City will develop a strategy over the next few years to address congestion and transportation emissions through pricing, coupled with investments in expanded transit and electrification in underserved communities.

Electric vehicle readiness ordinance for new construction. Mayor Durkan will transmit legislation requiring the inclusion of electric vehicle infrastructure in new construction or renovation that includes parking.

Green Fleet Action Plan update. Already a national leader in building a clean energy fleet, the city will update the Green Fleet Action Plan to phase out the use of fossil fuels in all fleet vehicles.

Ride share and taxi fleet electrification. The City will work with stakeholders to develop recommendations for electrifying all rideshare vehicles and taxis in Seattle. …

After transportation, building energy is the second largest source of climate emissions, which is why Mayor Durkan has introduced two bills to unlock more energy efficient buildings:

Creating the City’s Most Sustainable Buildings. Announced by Mayor Durkan in her first State of the City, this pilot will offer additional height and floor space incentives for up to 20 major renovations in urban centers for significant upgrades in energy and water use, stormwater management, and better transportation efficiency based on the standards to create carbon neutral buildings.

Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaS). Expand City Light’s successful, first in the nation, pay-for-performance energy efficiency pilot program to eliminate barriers that keep building owners from investing in deep energy efficiency upgrades. …

With many buildings and homes still using fossil fuels as a primary energy source for heating and cooling, the new actions that address building energy use include:

Oil to heat-pump conversion. Develop a funding strategy to accelerate the transition of 18,000 homes from heating with oil to an electric heat pump, including financing the switch for low-income residents.

Extending and expanding municipal building energy efficiency program through 2025. Currently on track in meeting the 20 percent by 2020 goal, Mayor Durkan will nearly double the funding through 2025, aiming to cut energy use and carbon emissions nearly 40 percent in our buildings. …

Finally, as part of the City’s ongoing commitment to leading by example, the strategy calls for City departments to assess the GHG emissions and cost impact of City plans, policies, and major investments. The Office of Sustainability & Environment will be responsible for tracking the progress of these climate initiatives and reporting back to City Council.

The ellipses above mark three spots where we omitted non-mayoral quotes for length. The full news release, including those quotes, is here. You can also see even more details in this PDF that is linked in the release (elaboration on congestion pricing, for example, is on page 14):

SIDE NOTE: The congestion-pricing study was mentioned here while the council was going through the budget process last fall, specifically in relation to whether it might help with diversion once the Highway 99 tunnel opens. The only other mention of the phrase in our past coverage was 10 years ago, also during discussion of the post-Alaskan Way Viaduct future.

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THE 35TH AVENUE SW DECISION: No more rechannelization planned. Here’s what SDOT will do instead. Tue, 03 Apr 2018 03:05:03 +0000 (WSB photos. Above, 35th/Dawson)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The final decision is in regarding what SDOT plans to do about 35th SW north of Morgan. Actually, first, what it won’t do: No further rechannelization, though that doesn’t mean it’s off the table forever.

The Phase 2 plan is going out via e-mail and web updates soon, probably next week, as SDOT had told us when we checked back two weeks ago. Then we got first word of the final plans during a briefing at SDOT headquarters downtown today, along with toplines on how Phase 1 has been doing.

First, some backstory. The project to improve safety on 35th SW was announced in February 2014, after five deaths in seven years on what some called “I-35.” In fall 2015, two miles of 35th SW were rechannelized between Roxbury and Willow.

SDOT’s Jim Curtin says that was the longest rechannelization SDOT has ever done. It is part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative – working toward zero traffic-related deaths and zero major injuries.

And since the south-end rechannelization (and speed-limit reduction, to 30 mph), he says, 35th SW has reached that goal.

The last person killed on 35th SW was James St. Clair, hit by a driver while crossing at Graham in December 2013, two months before the safety project was announced. And while the stretch was averaging 3 major-injury crashes a year before the project, it’s had zero since then. Five pedestrians were getting hit in an average year before the project; two since then.

Crashes overall are close to the same rate – 40 per year before, 38 per year now. Before and after, rear-enders were and are the most-common type. But, Curtin says, the addition of a left-turn lane in the rechannelization has “nearly eliminated” left-turn crashes.

Also: “Speeding has decreased substantially,” and traffic volumes are up (for those wondering if 35th has lost vehicles to side streets) – 19,000+ per day at 35th/Roxbury, from 16,000 before the project. Yes, they studied side streets, Curtin says, and while they saw some volume increases immediately after the rechannelization, that’s dropped and “clearly people are back to 35th in droves.”

One of his favorite stats is next: Bus travel times have stayed the same or decreased.


And as for car travel times, Curtin says it’s played out the way they said it would pre-project – “maximum delay, about 1 minute, 20 seconds.” He says this was measured in “hundreds of runs on the corridor” with one person driving, one person recording. In some stretches, it’s faster, as they have continued to work to refine the signal cycles.

You’ll see more about these stats in the SDOT mailer and web updates soon. But these are the toplines. And now, what work is planned:

To recap what we wrote above, “We’re not rechannelizing the northern section at this time. That doesn’t mean we’ll never rechannelize it,” Curtin says.

You’ve probably already heard about the new signal planned at 35th and Graham, as part of the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway project (which itself has meetings coming up). Here’s the design made public last fall:

That will be “prioritized for walking and biking,” according to Curtin, and should be even more helpful once the Upton Flats project on the northeast corner opens.

Further north, a “full traffic signal” will be added at 35th and Dawson, the intersection that includes the entrance to Camp Long. This, Curtin says, has long been requested by the community – he says that in his 11 years with SDOT, it’s likely the longest-running unfilled request. Pavement at the intersection will be repaired, too, “all the way to the Camp Long gates,” and new curb ramps will be installed.

That’s it for new signals. Some have asked for one at 35th/Juneau, Curtin acknowledges, but says that didn’t qualify for one – so they are going to do some other things, primarily, turn restrictions: Whether you are eastbound or westbound at Juneau, you will only be able to turn right. This intersection also will get pavement repairs and new curb ramps.

Then, dipping back into the Phase 1 zone, pavement repairs and curb ramps also are planned at 35th/Kenyon, which had its crosswalk restored last year, a decade after it was removed, and now has flashing pedestrian-activated beacons, too.

And continuing south, a longstanding request will be fulfilled at 35th/Barton: Left-turn signals in all directions.


So when will this all happen?

Construction is expected this fall – but what gets done first depends on the contractor; this is all expected to go out to bid next month, and sequencing details are likely to be available around July. The 35th/Graham light will be part of the greenway work expected in 2019.

And then, Curtin says, there’ll be a Phase 3. They’re looking at a “greenway spur” along a relatively short stretch of 36th SW, likely in 2022 or 2023, and residents will hear from SDOT long before that. They’ll also be looking at “traffic calming” on 34th between Findlay and Raymond, measuring the effects of the Juneau turn restrictions.

So since Curtin cautioned that they weren’t saying they would “never” consider further rechannelization, what would the criteria be for any future review? Installing the new signals and seeing what happens will be big, along with measuring the volumes on 35th.

If you have questions about all this, watch for a project e-mail address once the details are postal-mailed and posted online. There is NOT going to be a community meeting about all this, Curtin says; much of this was foreshadowed at the “Phase 2 possibilities” meeting a year and a half ago.

P.S. As for enforcement – Curtin says SPD has been out on 35th lately and will continue to be.

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ROAD-WORK ALERT: Repaving next week for bumpiest Beach Drive stretch Sun, 01 Apr 2018 04:31:16 +0000

Two years ago, we reported on a resident’s petition drive to get a particularly bumpy stretch of Beach Drive repaved. Part of the road was repaved last summer – but it stopped just north of the particularly treacherous section near Weather Watch Park/La Rustica. Tonight, driving that stretch just before sunset, we spotted the telltale signs of impending road work – “no parking” signs – and pulled over to check the notice: It was this SDOT flyer announcing the road is scheduled for repaving next week, between SW Andover and Douglas [map]:

Sometimes SDOT sends out media alerts about spot-paving projects like this, sometimes they don’t – this time, they didn’t, so we always appreciate tips ( or text 206-293-6302) if you see signs like these and/or get flyers/postcards announcing upcoming road work – which invariably affects more than just the immediate neighbors who get such notices. We’ll track this project next week in our regular traffic coverage.

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CHANGES AHEAD: Washington State Ferries’ spring schedule starts Sunday Sun, 01 Apr 2018 02:07:43 +0000 (M/V Sealth, photographed from Upper Fauntleroy in February)

Reminder for ferry users – tomorrow (Sunday, April 1st) brings the spring schedule for Washington State Ferries. On the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run, that means it’s back to “spring service levels, including the addition of a 3rd vessel on weekends and different schedules for Saturday and Sunday,” as noted on the WSF website. Until they take effect in the morning, those schedules are linked here.

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