FIRST REPORT, 9:36 AM: As of just after 9 am, the SDOT-organized walking tour of the 35th SW Safety Project zone is under way. Above, project manager Jim Curtin, who started the tour with one assistant and three members of the public. At the outbound 35th/Avalon RapidRide, he explained that the section of 35th in that area is NOT proposed for rechannelization or other major changes. He was asked how the mixed-use development across the street will change conditions in that area:
Curtin mentioned, as has been reported here, that it includes a slopeside stairway to help connect the 35th/Avalon area (which is the gateway to West Seattle Stadium, WS Golf Course, and Camp Long) with the growing residential/business area to the west in The Triangle and The Junction. The transit stop, currently relocated to the south, will be “improved,” he said. Then after a few minutes, the group headed southbound, where we spotted them a few minutes later outside the stadium entrance:
You can catch up with the tour for a moment, an hour, whatever interests you. The stops and times are listed here, continuing until they reach 35th/Roxbury at noon. And if you don’t get to catch up with any of this – Curtin reiterated at the start that SDOT will come back to the community with the next version of the proposal, next month. You can send comments/observations/questions to him at email@example.com.
11:07 AM: We checked in on the walking tour again at 35th and Morgan, one spot where SDOT had said during the recent community meetings that they were still deciding what would be best to do to avoid significantly delaying traffic here:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 16, 2015
Curtin said the plan for this intersection so far includes “tweaking the signal phasing.” Nearby residents who joined in at this stop mentioned parking near the intersection that could be reviewed for removal.
P.S. We’ve been experimenting with the new Twitter-linked “live” app Periscope lately and went live at this stop for a few minutes – if you use Twitter, check it out (or, if you don’t want to use Twitter but do decide to use the Periscope app, just follow us there!).
12:22 PM: The tour concluded right on time – we stopped by to check in as they arrived at 35th and Roxbury:
Last stop for the 35th SW walking tour: At Roxbury. Talking about the sidewalks planned south of Rox. pic.twitter.com/9KucePqKxs
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 16, 2015
Curtin told the final few participants that “Option A” is looking the most promising, especially “south of Oregon,” and that the community meeting will likely be in mid-June.
The proposal to rechannelize much of 35th SW after years of safety concerns and reduce its speed limit to 30 mph is one of our area’s hottest transportation topics. Your next chance to take your questions directly to the city is on a walking tour tomorrow morning – and you don’t have to walk the whole distance; the city’s graphic, above, shows where they expect to be and when, both for tomorrow’s 35th SW tour and for next Wednesday night’s walking tour of SW Roxbury. In case you can’t read it, here’s the list for tomorrow:
9:00 am – 35th/Avalon
9:30 am – 35th/Dawson
9:45 am – 35th/Juneau
10:15 am – 35th/Morgan
10:45 am – 35th/Holden
11:15 am – 35th/Thistle
11:45 am – 35th/Barton
12:00 pm – 35th/Roxbury
Here’s the official project page with details of what the city’s considering. The design alternatives were unveiled at two meetings in March – our coverage is here and here. Meantime, the West Seattle resident who started a petition opposed to the rechannelization and speed-limit reduction, Bob Neel, sent us the final summary he has sent to SDOT’s project manager Jim Curtin – see it here.
One week after they stood on a Beacon Hill street corner with the mayor, announcing the revised Transportation Levy to Move Seattle, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and SDOT director Scott Kubly pitched it to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
They were the guest speakers at the Chamber’s monthly lunch meeting on Wednesday at The Kenney (WSB sponsor).
The conversation wandered around to non-levy transportation topics too.
Councilmember Rasmussen, who chairs the Council’s Transportation Committee, talked about the $930 million levy in general, noting the big addition for West Seattle – the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, currently funded only through design, is now in the levy. Kubly gave more of an overview of SDOT’s mission, especially its multimodal intent, and its view that the future has arrived, with the increasing use of carsharing (Car2Go) and ridesharing (Lyft, Uber) in the big picture as his department also factors in existing infrastructure and neighborhood needs.
As for the levy process, he recapped the input SDOT had gathered so far, particularly via the online survey – with 8,000 respondents – and hundreds of comments, while explaining they also looked forward to events like this one where they could hear from people face-to-face.
When Kubly invited questions, a few did address points in the levy – how much money is West Seattle-specific (no numbers beyond the $16 million or so for Fauntleroy Boulevard) and why some of the levy was going to what seemed like basic needs like crosswalk repainting (state tax-revenue constraints were cited). But more of the questioning was along the lines of long-running West Seattle transportation issues:
-The increasing perception of a parking crunch and its effect on businesses. Kubly said people need transportation options, and reiterated his view of the importance of car-sharing among other such options.
-The challenge of limited options for heading outbound from West Seattle, which drew some mutters of agreement. This led Kubly to mention the city advocating for making sure West Seattle would get something out of the next Sound Transit ballot measure (aka Sound Transit 3).
-Concern about the likely rechannelization of 35th SW, in the face of increasing neighborhood population. Kubly said SDOT expects that 35th will become safer and more efficient.
The question of cost arose, specifically the cost of the levy ($275/year for the owner of a $450,000 home) and last year’s voter-approved transit-funding measure ($60 more on car tabs starting this summer). One attendee observed that the latter is still leaving deficiencies in local bus service, including the Alki area.
So, Kubly was then asked, is SDOT working on further efficiencies, in general as well as in light of the levy? He cited one example, working with utilities to reduce the amount of street-digging-up that’s been going on.
And then a question he was asked at a previous West Seattle meeting – what happens if the levy doesn’t pass?
It would mean cutting SDOT’s budget, Kubly replied.
Next steps for the revised levy: It’s going through the City Council, which ultimately will vote on whether to send it to the ballot (a November vote is expected).
P.S. Regarding the 35th SW project – this Saturday morning is the walking tour, and SDOT’s project page has details on where you can catch up with it if you don’t want to go along for the entire three-hour tour.
Speaking of traffic … ready to see if it’s possible to experience less of it? You have a few more weeks to sign up for Metro’s “Communities In Motion” program:
Want to earn a free, ORCA card good for two weeks of unlimited travel and qualify for other prizes – in exchange for driving less? King County Metro is in the last few weeks of its “Communities in Motion” program in South Park, West Seattle and White Center and looking for people who want to trade daily driving for more biking, walking and busing.
Through June 6, people who live or work in those three areas can sign up online and help reduce traffic congestion and boost the health of their community. The Metro In Motion team will be at events in your neighborhood soon and are happy to visit work and community centers upon request. Visit us online kingcounty.gov/inmotion.
How it Works
Thanks to West Seattle Bike Connections president Don Brubeck for the photo of bicycle commuters waiting on the low bridge this morning, while, Don says, “an APL train barge” passed through. This Friday is Bike To Work Day, and Don says WSBC and DIY Bikes are hosting a bike-commute station under the bridge, “where the trails meet,” 6-9 am on Friday. From the Cascade Bicycle Club website, here’s a map of the “commute stations” planned all around the area (update: the White Center listing is apparently outdated, but the WS one definitely IS on):
P.S. One local improvement for walkers, runners, and bike riders open in time for B2W Day, the Delridge/Andover project – we tweeted a mention this morning while following up on the Pigeon Point fire:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 13, 2015
Seattle Bike Blog spotlighted it last week.
8:19 AM: The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth state-ferry run is back to three boats this morning. But it’s at lower-than-usual capacity; the once-retired Evergreen State has been added to partly make up for the Issaquah’s move to the Bainbridge Island run while M/V Tacoma is repaired after its Friday afternoon breakdown. The 3-boat schedule is here, noting that the run is now being handled by Cathlamet, Tillikum, and Evergreen State; we’ll update this story if anything else changes during the course of the day.
2:14 PM: We’re seeing the Fauntleroy Way ferry lane alongside Lincoln Park, and that reminds us to update this with WSF’s note that most runs are about half an hour later than scheduled time, so far.
FOLLOWUP: SDOT still investigating ‘anomalies’ after West Seattle’s ‘low bridge’ breaks down twice in 5 daysMay 8, 2015 at 2:30 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 7 Comments
(SDOT camera image from Thursday evening)
Last night, for the second time in five days, the West Seattle “low bridge” – aka the SW Spokane Street Swing Bridge – suffered a “malfunction” that left it off-limits to traffic, both surface and marine, for more than an hour and a half (WSB coverage here). We failed to follow up after the Sunday incident (WSB coverage here) but sent an inquiry to SDOT first thing today. The communications team obtained and forwarded this reply from Paul Roberts, SDOT’s Structural Operations and Maintenance Manager:
Last night the bridge operator prepared to open the bridge for marine vessels. Once the traffic control gates were deployed, an operational anomaly occurred. This caused the bridge’s systems to fully stop, a process that prevents unintentional public safety issues or unnecessary risk/damage to the bridge itself during a system anomaly. Anomalies can occur because of (but not limited to) power supply surges, sensor alignment, controller system conflicts or component failure.
Bridge technicians were immediately summoned to the bridge to assess the incident and regain operational control. Although the bridge technicians were able to return operational control to the bridge operator, the cause of the anomaly is still under review.
The bridge technicians will continue working on the problem to identify the cause and contributing factors, and to figure out how these types of anomalies can be minimized.
Our archives show two bridge breakdowns in the span of less than a month last summer – in July, a gate pin was blamed for an hour-plus bridge outage; in June, a computerized measurement device used during bridge “docking” was blamed for a two-hour-plus outage.
SIDE NOTE: The “low bridge” is the only option bicycle riders and walkers/runners have for crossing the Duwamish north of the 1st Avenue South Bridge (aside from a bus or the Water Taxi). It’s been in service since the early ’90s.
(WSB photo from this morning’s announcement event)
11:23 AM: We are on Beacon Hill, where Mayor Murray is announcing the revised transportation levy. The West Seattle headline: The Fauntleroy Boulevard project is now part of the levy. More to come.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 6, 2015
11:56 AM: Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen – longtime advocate of the Fauntleroy Boulevard project – and Mike O’Brien also spoke. Various notes: $35 million more for sidewalks in the revised levy (we’re looking for proposed locations). The total package to be funded is now up to $930 million – $30 million more than the first draft – but the city says that is not from an increase in the proposed tax level, but from additional revenue they expect will be generated as “assessed value of new construction” rises. Lander Street Overpass – touted as key for freight as well as for surface-level travel between West Seattle and SODO – is still in the package, and the Delridge corridor is shown on the highlights map, too. Rasmussen said the first council consideration of the revised levy will be on May 12th; a public hearing is planned June 2nd. More to come.
1:52 PM: If you’d like to see how the mayor framed this, here’s the news release. Meantime, we’ve added a few of our photos from the announcement event, and here are a few more notes. The amount of money allotted for the Neighborhood Street Fund also has increased. We’ve sent a followup question to CM Rasmussen’s office to ask whether the Fauntleroy Boulevard proposal that’s now in the levy is the with-undergrounded-utilities or without-undergrounded-utilities version, and will add the reply when we get it.
3:36 PM: CM Rasmussen says $16 million will be earmarked for Fauntleroy Boulevard. While that isn’t the full amount that would need for undergrounding, he says, they are working with Seattle City Light on “cost-sharing.” He also adds that he is “thrilled” that the project made it into the revised levy and says it’s evidence the mayor listened to community members, and him, who said they wanted it included. (It dominated the discussion during SDOT director Kubly’s visit to the Southwest District Council a month ago, for example.)
Perfect weather for Bike To School Day, and Alki Elementary students were joined by a special guest: Mayor Ed Murray, who lived in the area when he was a kid. He caught up with the “bike train” that left Anchor (Luna) Park. Once they got to school, some time to chat before classes began:
An awards ceremony also was planned for the student riders, to celebrate safety achievements such as “Most Visible Rider.” Bike To School Day is part of Bike Month, which also includes Bike To Work Day on May 15th, one week from Friday.
That’s the Seattle Channel video of this morning’s City Council Transportation Committee meeting, which included several items of interest. One was a briefing on the city’s ongoing study of development impact fees. Staffers from several departments participated. One reminded the councilmembers that impact fees are meant to raise “new capital for new needs created by new construction,” and that the areas in which they could be applied are “transportation, parks, schools, and fire … necessitated by new development and reasonably benefiting new development.” One example of what money from impact fees couldn’t be used to cover: Filling potholes. No vote, let alone decision, on the issue, but the studies continue.
Then came the discussion of the “after-action report” about the 9-hour Highway 99 closure last month because of an overturned truck full of fish. We published the first version of the report when it was circulated two weeks ago; today’s discussion, which included Seattle Police Deputy Chief Carmen Best and SDOT director Scott Kubly, brought a few more things to light. For one, the two departments use different traffic management systems that prioritize incidents in slightly different ways – and if not for that, different decisions might have been made as on-scene crews struggled with getting the truck out of the roadway. It was also pointed out that an insurance-company rep was on the scene relatively quickly, and that the rep was advocating for saving the $750,000 truckload of fish (“whitefish, not salmon, for the record,” it was pointed out today), which ultimately did not happen. Kubly said this would lead to some further refinements such as possibly positioning certain types of response equipment in certain areas of the city, and creating a tiered system to prioritize incidents depending upon a road/highways’ importance.
When presenting his written report, featured here last Friday, Kubly didn’t say much about the West Seattle components – except a reiteration of the walking tour times (35th SW 9 am-noon on May 16th, SW Roxbury 5:30-7:30 pm on May 20th) – but did discuss how outreach on the draft transportation levy is going, with a new draft to be presented to the mayor this week. He said the in-person traditional community meetings hadn’t drawn many, and described those drawn by those meetings as “disproportionately white, male, older,” but said 5,000 responses had come in to the online survey. Last week’s online meeting, he said, had 30 participants.
One week from today, it’s May 1st, the start of Seattle Bike Month (which includes Bike To Work Day on May 15th). If you’re curious what it’s like to commute by bike from West Seattle – or to add it to your transportation options some other way – Monday night (April 27th) at Delridge Branch Library, it’s your chance to find out more. West Seattle Bike Connections is hosting a workshop, 6-7:30 pm. No charge, and no registration required – just show up, 5423 Delridge Way SW.
Revised Transportation Levy goes to mayor Wednesday, per SDOT report that also outlines Admiral bike-lane status & moreApril 24, 2015 at 3:56 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 1 Comment
A revised version of the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle will go to the mayor next Wednesday, according to the report prepared for SDOT director Scott Kubly‘s City Council Transportation Committee briefing a day earlier. The report adds, “Outreach metrics to date include 4,700 survey respondents and over 1,500 people talked to in person through meetings, briefings, and outreach at events like farmers markets.” And in fact, SDOT is scheduled to be at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market again this Sunday (10 am-2 pm, 44th/Alaska), if you have something to say. (Or take the survey ASAP!)
Kubly’s report also includes these notes of West Seattle relevance:
*35th Avenue SW Road Safety Corridor Project: “Final recommendations for 35th will be presented to the community in late May/early June”
*SW Roxbury Street Road Safety Corridor Project: “Staff hosted a lightly attended drop-in session on April 16 … Implementation scheduled to occur starting August 17″
*In a grid laying out upcoming paving work around the city, the only West Seattle spots on the list are two curb-ramp sites on Alki Avenue, scheduled for early May: 1500 and 1700 blocks.
The most detailed West Seattle-related section of the report:
SW Admiral Way (California Ave SW to 63rd Ave SW)
*SDOT staff attended the Admiral Neighborhood Association (ANA) /West Seattle Bike Connections meeting on April 14th
*Plan will accommodate existing maximum on-street parking occupancy
*The community briefing was very well attended and set record ANA attendance.
*Community feedback was mixed:
—-Most of the controversy was about the loss of half the on-street parking between 57th and 60th Ave SW and the number of vehicle run-off collisions with parked cars
—-Some people also expressed support for the project because it will provide a safer, calmer connection between Alki and the California Ave SW business district
—-SDOT staff will repeat the parking occupancy study when the weather is nice to better capture Alki Beach spillover parking
—-SDOT staff will brief the SW District Council on May 6
—-SDOT staff will host a community open house on May 21
—-Installation planned for August 2015
You can see Kubly’s report in its entirety here (PDF). The presentation is scheduled toward the end of the City Council Transportation Committee meeting at 9:30 am next Tuesday (April 28) and will be live on Seattle Channel (online or on cable).
Washington State Ferries says the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route is back to three boats now that the Issaquah is repaired. As noted in today’s traffic/transit watch, it’s been out of service since midday.
Traffic trouble and green spaces top the toplines from this month’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting.
(WSB photo from March)
GREEN SPACES: The push to keep the surplus substations (including Brace Point, above) and some other city-owned properties as open, green spaces continues. From what’s now the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, FCA’s Marty Westerman said he and SGSC’s Mary Fleck will be outside Fauntleroy’s The Original Bakery on Sunday morning at 10 am for at least an hour to gather petition signatures, urging the city not to sell off these pieces of public land.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
ADMIRAL WAY SAFETY PROJECT: This was the marquee presentation of the night, led by SDOT’s Emily Ehlers. A few hours earlier, we had published a preview with information and maps the city had sent – see that here. Much more information was contained in the slide deck that was presented during the meeting – you can scroll through it atop this story.
What was said, and asked:
While sending a reminder about tomorrow’s “open house” drop-in info session about the SW Roxbury plan announced last week, SDOT also announced walking tours in May, for the 35th SW project updated last month as well as for Roxbury. Here’s the lineup:
*Tomorrow (3-4:30 pm), Roxbury project open house @ Southwest Library (35th/Henderson)
*May 16th (9 am-noon), 35th SW walking tour (details/meeting place TBA)
*May 20th (evening), Roxbury walking tour (details/meeting place TBA)
Along with our coverage links above, here are SDOT’s project pages:
The DPD/SDOT study of the city’s parking policies – and recommendations for if/how to change them – just hit the inbox. Above, read the report. That’s what we’re still doing, and we’ll add toplines shortly. You can also go ahead (after the jump, if you’re reading this from the home page) and read the official news release sent with it:
Click to read the rest of ‘We can’t rely on the parking strategies of the 1950s,’ says mayor as city’s parking study arrives…
In last Friday’s report on the online petition launched by opponents of two key components of the city’s under-development 35th SW safety plan, we mentioned the plan itself had started taking shape in the wake of a very different petition. That petition circulated early last year and was closed after more than 600 signatures and city leaders’ promise of safety improvements, in response to requests that traced back at least six years, to fall 2007.
Today, supporters of the changes SDOT is pursuing – a speed-limit reduction to 30 mph and some form of rechannelization – have reopened the petition from early 2014. Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections sent the announcement from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways:
If you are FOR safety on 35th Avenue SW, please sign this PRO-safety petition. You may have seen a petition circulating to STOP the safety improvements planned for “I-35″. There are several hundred signers who may be deceived by the petition claims that 35th is safe as is, and speed is needed, or actually saves time. It is hard to believe that they would be more willing to risk their neighbors’ lives rather than lose a few seconds of car travel time due to 5 mph lower speed limit; a signal at Graham; a greenway on 34th; pedestrian safety islands; a left-turn lane to avoid rear-ending and left-hook car crashes.
If you are FOR Safety, please sign this PRO-safety petition, signed by over 600 concerned neighbors in 2014, and re-opened now.
SDOT continues accepting comments about the proposed alternatives, which are outlined in the slide deck below:
The alternatives were presented in two meetings last month, both of which we covered – March 10th here, and March 12th here – as well as at the March 26th West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting. SDOT said it would return to the community with final recommendations in June and is still accepting direct comments – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you didn’t already get this via the Metro alert system:
As part of an independent international survey effort by transit agencies serving 11 cities around the world, Metro is inviting customers to tell us their thoughts about the bus service we provide.
The 11 transit agencies will compare the results of their surveys in order to learn from one another and work toward providing even better service.
Why did it take 9 hours to move one truck off Highway 99? Newest report has explanations, recommendations, revelationsApril 10, 2015 at 9:51 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 19 Comments
Remember the truck-on-its-side incident that closed southbound Highway 99 for nine hours last month (WSB coverage here), leading to domino-effect backups around the city and trapping drivers/riders on the Alaskan Way Viaduct?
(March 24 photo courtesy Chi Krneta)
The city went public today with its first version of an “after-action report” looking at the intricacies of why it took so long and what could change before the next one:
(Note the fine print at the bottom of the cover page, saying “The City of Seattle will be utilizing an external consultant to fully investigate this incident …”)
Reading through the report, you’ll note it includes a more detailed timeline than was released shortly after the incident.
(March 24th photo, included in report)
Part of what that reveals: Nobody contacted Seattle Tunnel Partners, whose equipment-laden worksite was yards away, until 6:30 pm, four hours after the crash. Within ten minutes of that contact, STP offered equipment to help clear the wrecked truck. But no STP equipment was used until almost 9:30 pm, when the tunnel contractor’s “Sky Jacks” were used to unload part of the truck trailer’s load of fish so it could be moved. (By the way, the report identifies the fish as cod, not salmon as we were told the day it happened, worth “$450,000 to $750,000.)
The report goes into a list of what needs to happen by June 30th – as “SPD and SDOT will expeditiously develop protocols that prioritize incident response decision making on arterial streets” – and that list gives hints as to what didn’t work so well during the March 24th response, including:
… Ensure that City personnel have requisite expertise to make sophisticated on-scene assessments or have access to necessary external expertise. For example, if onscene personnel had access to on-scene engineer, more critical information and analysis could have been incorporated into the decision-making process.
…(Be aware of w)hat other resources (equipment, personnel, or private sector relationships) could be brought to bear on incident management. For example, would prior agreements and protocols have made STPs loan of Skyjacks to unload the trailer easier and quicker? If prior agreements were in place with the Port of Seattle or other private loading companies, could additional heavy equipment been utilized?
f. Ensure that current communications systems are adequate to ensure accurate and timely responses to incidents. For example, was there a delay in the arrival of heavy class tow-truck?
“Engineering problem” was in fact how SPD spokesperson Sgt. Sean Whitcomb described it in a conversation with WSB the day after the crash (included in our followup report). He also said at that time that a citation would likely be issued; the report released today says, in fact, “The operator would later be cited by SPD for exceeding reasonable speed.”
An online petition was part of the community campaign to get the city to make safety improvements on 35th SW.
More than a year later, another online petition is asking the city not to reduce the speed limit or rechannelize 35th – both of which are key parts of the “design alternatives” announced in two March meetings (which begin on page 22 below):
We covered both meetings – March 10th here, and March 12th here – as well as the March 26th West Seattle Transportation Coalition briefing. It all traces back to an announcement by Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tom Rasmussen more than a year earlier.
Neel says it goes too far. In feedback to SDOT, he wrote:
35th has been the major West Seattle arterial since West Seattle was platted! Everyone else who depends on it to help them get outta town don’t want it choked with “safety” improvements that, plain and simple, aren’t needed. Your own data shows that there isn’t much of a problem here, except for some concerns for pedestrian crosswalks toward the north end. So go fix that — don’t mess up the whole transportation system to ‘fix’ a problem that doesn’t exist. …
We like 35th just the way it is, but are also open to changes that will improve our throughput while maintaining proper regard for safety. And by this I mean the efficiency of the driver, not the road. I really don’t care how many vehicles per unit time you can accommodate (the road’s efficiency). I only care about the transportation efficiency — covering the maximum distance in the least amount of time. That’s the true measure of productivity: maximizing desired outcome(s) with the fewest resources.
The specific objections – and potential counterproposals – are all in the text of the petition, which you can see here. The city says it will present the final plan in June; in the meantime, comments are being taken by project manager Jim Curtin at email@example.com.
Another transportation note: SDOT is trying to make sure you can’t say you weren’t asked for your thoughts on the draft 9-year, $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle before it’s shaped into a final November ballot measure by the mayor and council. It circulated a reminder tonight about ways you can have a say:
RIGHT NOW: Online survey – take it here
IN PERSON, IN WEST SEATTLE: SDOT director Scott Kubly will be at next Wednesday’s Delridge District Council meeting, 7 pm April 15th at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center; SDOT reps will be at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market on April 19 and 26, 10 am-2 pm at 44th/Alaska
ONLINE MEETING: Can’t get out to an in-person meeting? SDOT’s trying an online meeting at 6 pm April 20th (sign up right now, here)
Thanks to Carolyn for the heads-up on this: From Seacrest east/southeastward, a sizable stretch of parking on the water side of Harbor Avenue SW (she estimated 25 spaces) will be off-limits tomorrow, 10:30 am-7 pm. The “no parking” signs were up when we went by this afternoon to verify; they list an unnamed “production shoot.” The Water Taxi is of course served by free shuttle buses as well as Metro Route 37; get the bus schedule via a tab on this page.
Instead of a standalone meeting, SDOT is coming to tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council to announce the plan for making SW Roxbury safer, after 223 crashes left 112 people hurt just in the past three years.
At two meetings last year – which we covered, on July 31st and on August 4th – SDOT rolled out a proposal including rechannelization between 17th and 35th and a mix of changes east of there. One more round of community consultation, focused on Roxbury businesses, was due to follow that.
Tomorrow’s meeting is at 6:15 pm at the Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson); the Roxbury presentation is set for 6:30; all are welcome.
After we reported Friday night on SDOT‘s plan to use goats to clear weeds/brush from the SW Holden stairway between 20th and Delridge, our area’s best-known stairway users/advocates pointed out two things: For one, this isn’t the only stairway that needs TLC, note Jake and Cathy Jaramillo, the West Seattleites who wrote “Seattle Stairway Walks.” For two, a stairway plan is missing in the draft Transportation Levy to Move Seattle. With a city survey about the levy open right now, they say it’s an opportunity to fix that:
An Open Letter To Our Stairway Friends:
The mayor’s proposed Transportation Levy has a lot of things going for it, but it completely misses one of Seattle’s most important everyday modes of transportation: our stairway network.
West Seattle is particularly blessed with numerous stairways that play an important role in the everyday life of our community. Some of them are sadly deteriorating, and all of them need ongoing TLC!
Seattle possesses a historic built legacy of more than 650 publicly accessible stairways. Many of them are more than one hundred years old, yet even today they still connect our citizens to transit, parks and everyday neighborhood businesses.
Stairways provide scenic byways in the city for exploration and outdoor exercise. They’re a “third place” for neighbors to meet casually. In short, our stairway network remains incredibly relevant to our city’s function and quality of life.
Back in 2011 the city’s budget for stairway maintenance was only about $1.1 million. This inadequate level of funding shows, despite the hard work done by SDOT rehab and replacement crews (see picture below).
Roughly forty percent of this amount will be lost when the current Bridging the Gap levy expires, leaving a yawning gap in the funds needed to keep up our stairway network.
We’re appealing for concerned residents to do two simple things, right away:
1) Please take a moment to give your feedback to Mayor Murray and the city, using the brief SDOT online survey, at moveseattlesurvey.com.
There’s a key juncture where the survey asks: “Are there other transportation investments you feel should be a top priority for funding through this levy?” Adding a quick note here, such as “To make walking easier and safer, the levy must add specific funding for our deteriorating public stairways” can go a long way to putting stairways on the city’s radar – provided enough of us speak up.
2) Please forward this message to your own networks, to get others to amplify your voice!
See you on the stairs,
Jake and Cathy Jaramillo
Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods
While stairways were mentioned when Mayor Murray announced his overall transportation vision in early March, they did not get a specific shoutout when the draft levy to fund part of that plan was made public a few weeks later.
6:18 PM: We’re in the commons at >West Seattle High School tonight, for the first official West Seattle meeting on the “Transportation Levy to Move Seattle,” proposed as a successor to the expiring Bridging The Gap levy. The presentation is scheduled to start around 6:30, so you have time to get here if you’re interested; until then, people are circulating around info-boards, writing sticky notes with ideas and comments, etc. You can even set up your idea of an ideal road:
More to come.
6:39 PM: After a 4-minute introductory video, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen stepped to the microphone.
He says the council will have “our own meetings and public hearings” after the mayor sends them his final proposed levy. Estimating about 40 people here. Rasmussen hands the microphone to SDOT director Scott Kubly, who says they want to hear what’s “missing” in the levy, “anything you’d like to see less of, anything you’d like to see more of.” He says city staffers are here to circulate to ask people if they have questions or comments, and he talks about the boards around the room.
Kubly mentions that the mayor announced the “Move Seattle” overview before the draft levy. He then describes this as a “renewal” though it’s $900 million over 9 years compared to BTG’s $365 million in the same period. The slide deck behind him notes that “safe, affordable, interconnected, vibrant” are the values around which this is organized. Toward the first value, he mentions the new “Vision Zero” plan, which among other things will cut speed limits on many streets, including some of West Seattle’s arterials (shoutout from Kubly to 35th and Roxbury – the plan for the latter will be unveiled at next Tuesday’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting). Toward the second value, he mentions road maintenance – it’s cheaper to fix it than to rebuild it, so this plans to “maintain and modernize 250 lane miles” of arterials. For “interconnected,” he mentions better connections to light rail (none of which is in West Seattle yet), and “we’re going to make it a lot easier to walk and bike in the city.” And under “vibrant,” there’s a promise of improving “mobility for freight and delivery vehicles,” and investment in Neighborhood Street Fund projects.
Here he brings up the Lander Street Overpass, mentioning coal and oil trains on the rise, and the need to get buses up over those tracks in SODO, plus South Park drainage improvements in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities.
Now before sending people off to look at the boards and write down comments and notes, he says they’ll also be having coffees around the city. Here’s the timeline:
*End of May – Mayor submits proposal to Council
*’Possible City Council action’ from mid-July to mid-August
*Send measure to King County in August, for November ballot
6:55 PM: This has broken back up into an open house after word that a mural artist is standing by on the side of the room. If people have questions, Kubly says, they can talk to him one on one, or anybody else around the room. There was no call for general Q/A while attendees remained seated as an audience, but this is supposed to continue until 8 pm if you’re interested in stopping by with something to say and/or ask. We’re going to circulate and see what people are asking/saying.
9:22 PM: Photos added above and below. We spotted three City Council District 1 candidates at the meeting:
From left, Tom Koch, Amanda Kay Helmick, Chas Redmond. Taking a look at the sticky-notes and other written comments left on boards and the future mural, we noted the prevalence of requests for light rail, and even a wistful wish for a monorail:
Missed tonight? Bring comments and questions to tomorrow night’s Southwest District Council meeting (6:30 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle, Wednesday, April 1st). And remember the online survey.
(From left, WSTC’s Joe Szilagyi & Amanda Kay Helmick, SDOT’s Scott Kubly & Jim Curtin)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition stuck with its agenda tonight, hearing from and talking with SDOT leaders about the proposed Move Seattle levy and two safety projects – Vision Zero citywide and 35th SW locally – instead of digressing into a discussion of Tuesday’s 9-hour Highway 99 blockage.
Co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick said WSTC would be writing out its concerns/questions for SDOT to consider regarding the incident. Otherwise, here’s how the meeting unfolded:
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