New West Seattle water taxi Doc Maynard launches, starts sea trials

August 11, 2015 at 11:13 am | In King County Water Taxi, Transportation, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

If you ride the King County Water Taxi‘s West Seattle-to-downtown route, that’s the new vessel you’ll be on starting sometime this fall. M/V Doc Maynard is being built at All American Marine in Bellingham, as was the new Vashon Island Water Taxi M/V Sally Fox; the photos are from Doc Maynard’s launch into Bellingham Bay last week to start sea trials.

According to an online update from Water Taxi management, M/V Doc Maynard will arrive in Seattle in about a month. Here’s what the county says will happen after that:

After the Doc Maynard arrives in Seattle, the King County Marine Division will familiarize the crew with the vessel, conduct route-specific training, and go through U.S. Coast Guard safety drills. Following a dedication event, the Doc Maynard will be put into service on the Vashon route for up to four weeks while the Sally Fox returns to Bellingham to undergo warranty work. When the Sally Fox returns, the Doc Maynard will go into service on the West Seattle route, increasing the capacity and comfort of this service.

Federal grant money covered 80 percent of the nearly $12 million cost of the two new passenger ferries.

More water taxi news from the summer newsletter – ridership is up:

And the newsletter also notes that the county is continuing to look at possible expansion: “King County has asked the Marine Division and our consultant, KPFF Engineering, to look at future route opportunities on both Lake Washington and Puget Sound. A report of viable options is expected by year’s end.”

SW Roxbury and 35th SW updates: Timeline moved back; comment time for ‘environmental’ document covering both projects

August 5, 2015 at 1:43 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

Two updates on the upcoming SW Roxbury Safety Project, and one also involves the 35th SW project:

NEW START DATE FOR ROXBURY: The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council has learned from SDOT that the work will start next month instead of this month. WWRHAH transportation chair Chris Stripinis checked with project manager Jim Curtin, who says the new start date is September 14th, so SDOT can “mobilize for both Roxbury and 35th.” Curtin told WWRHAH that “a new kind of technology to remove the existing pavement markings that is less intrusive and much faster” will be used on both projects, hydro-blasting. He added, “We will also do most of the removal work at night and on the weekends to ensure that we do not disrupt classes at Roxhill and Holy Family.” This method is being used on Rainier Avenue right now. One more update from Curtin, forwarded by WWRHAH: “Also important to note is that the paving work between 17th and 18th on Roxbury will not occur before we restripe the roadway. We need to purchase some land from King County in order for us to construct ADA compliant ramps on the south side of Roxbury at 18th. We are in the process of obtaining the land now and this work will still move forward as soon as possible.”

DNS COMMENT TIME FOR ROXBURY AND 35TH: Getting ready to write about all that, we checked the SDOT project webpage for Roxbury, and discovered that a comment period is under way for part of the preparation process, a Determination of (Environmental) Non-Significance. This covers both the Roxbury and 35th SW projects. You can see the DNS document here; then go here (or scroll through the embedded version, above) to see the SDOT State Environmental Policy Act-mandated checklist used to generate it – that’s a very detailed document with some project information you might not have seen before. While the first document says comments will be taken through August 14th, the Roxbury webpage says August 21st is the deadline, and explains how to comment.

VIDEO: Fish-truck crash spawns new city plan for managing ‘traffic incidents’

August 3, 2015 at 8:37 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Before the next bridge-snarling crash – or a stall that takes hours to clear – city leaders vow to go the extra mile to work on how they deal with traffic trouble.

The promises were made in the middle of a midsummer Friday afternoon, with the Blue Angels roaring overhead – a time when many in all lines of work do their best to call it quits early and head out to revel; instead, media were summoned to SDOT‘s Traffic Management Center (and an adjacent conference room) to hear details of a consultant’s critique of the city’s traffic-incident-management (TIM) policies.

Or, relative lack of them, per this key conclusion of the report:

A lack of coordination among agencies in Seattle – including but not limited to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) – was immediately identified as a recurring problem in Seattle’s TIM response.

The report was ordered after the infamous tipped-fish-truck fiasco on southbound Highway 99 last March, a crash that took nine hours to clear, though no one was seriously hurt, and that caused chain-reaction backups around the city while turning the highway itself into a walkway for some.

(Reader photo texted during March 2015 fish-truck blockage on SB 99)
Throughout those nine hours, we featured as-it-happened coverage, and followed up the next day here; Councilmember Tom Rasmussen promised followup reports. By May, Mayor Ed Murray had ordered the review and recommendations that he and Rasmussen unveiled Friday.

Atop this report is our video of most of Friday’s briefing (we were a few minutes late so it starts as the mayor was wrapping up his introductory comments). Below is the report by consultants TransSafe Consulting and Sam Schwartz Engineering, whose proprietor Annette Sandberg, a former Washington State Patrol chief, presented a slide deck of highlights during the briefing – or browse the embedded version below:

Ahead – key points of what’s being recommended, and what happens now:

Click to read the rest of VIDEO: Fish-truck crash spawns new city plan for managing ‘traffic incidents’…

ROAD WORK ALERT: Paving ahead for parts of Alki SW (with semi-mystery cross-streets) and Beach Drive SW

July 31, 2015 at 7:29 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

Announced at day’s end by SDOT:

Seattle Department of Transportation crews will intermittently close lanes to restore pavement in two areas of West Seattle next week if the weather is favorable. Drivers should plan for congestion and consider alternate routes.

Crews will close one lane at a time on Alki Avenue Southwest between Southwest Arkansas and Southwest Hampshire streets, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, from Tuesday, Aug. 4 until Thursday, Aug. 6.

Crews will also close one lane at a time on Beach Drive Southwest between Southwest Spokane Street and 61st Avenue Southwest, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, from Thursday, Aug. 6 until Friday, Aug. 7. Bus stops in this area will be temporarily relocated outside of the project site.

Traffic flaggers will direct street traffic at both locations. Pedestrians will not be affected by these closures.

These projects are part of the 2015 Arterial Major Maintenance program, which aims to maintain busy streets with strategic small-scale pavement repairs.

ABOUT THOSE ‘CROSS-STREETS’: If the Alki cross-streets don’t sound familiar – you’re not alone. As reported here following a similar notice last year (with much help from commenters), in the Alki area, SDOT uses names of cross-streets that were platted but never built. So unless the telltale “No Parking” signs are up already (we’ll check), our best guess is the 1200-1500 block vicinity (you’ll see Arkansas and Hampshire on this very old map).

West Seattle Bridge Corridor recommendations due in September

July 31, 2015 at 3:08 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(WSB photo: Rasmussen at podium, Mayor Murray and SDOT director Scott Kubly at right)
3:08 PM: Recommendations for improving traffic management along the West Seattle Bridge Corridor will be out in September. So said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen this afternoon during a briefing we covered downtown. Main topic of the briefing was a consultant’s new report critiquing Seattle traffic-incident management in general, following the disastrous Highway 99 fish-truck crash. We’ll have full details on the recommendations once back at HQ; for a preview, see what we tweeted during the briefing, which was followed up by a tour of the city Traffic Management Center on the 37th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown.

5:13 PM: A little more backstory – it was January when Rasmussen announced the West Seattle Bridge Corridor Task Force would be launched. That in turn was about four months after the West Seattle Transportation Coalition announced a list of priorities including a bigger-picture plan for dealing with bridge-related issues, and one month after Rasmussen assistant Evan Clifthorne told the WSTC about pursuit of a corridor designation for the WS Bridge.

VIDEO: SW Admiral Way Safety Project ‘changes’ in the works, SDOT director tells council Transportation Committee

July 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 40 Comments

(ADDED: Seattle Channel video of committee meeting – SDOT director’s report starts 1:44 in)

SDOT has “already started making some changes” to the SW Admiral Way Safety Project plan, director Scott Kubly just told Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and the rest of the City Council’s Transportation Committee.

Rasmussen had told us that a briefing would be part of today’s meeting; it happened during Kubly’s periodic “director’s report” presentation, which as usual addressed multiple issues, though only two were discussed before the committee, including this one. (See the full pre-submitted written version of his report above.)

Rasmussen expressed an overall concern about the public-input portion of projects like this – suggesting, as residents have said, that it would be better for agencies to come out and say, there’s an issue we want to address in your neighborhood, and ask for ideas on addressing it, rather than beginning the public-input process by showing up with a proposed plan that invariably draws a negative response, with some walkback invariably following.

Kubly’s response to that was to say that it could stretch out a process for so long that people would lose interest – and/or that an entirely different set of participants/stakeholders might turn up if a year or so elapsed between the start of the discussion and the presentation of a plan. He also pointed out that some projects, like this, are outgrowths of existing “modal plans” (in this case, the city’s Bicycle Master Plan).

But he did acknowledge that community input is leading to some changes already in the plan, which was first presented in April with changes to Admiral Way west of California SW including addition of a bicycle lane, other channelization changes, and removal of 200 on-street parking spaces. When SDOT said it had done parking studies in December to generate its contention that the parking wasn’t needed, community members’ jaws dropped, pointing out that peak parking season in the area is summertime because of Alki Beach Park usage. SDOT agreed to study the parking again in mid-summer; Kubly indicated that “data collection” is under way (as project manager Emily Ehlers had told WSB last week).

“Allow us to collect the data in July, see what that data suggests is the right solution for meeting all of our goals – predominantly safety, for all users,” implored Kubly, adding, “We’ve already started maing some changes based on what we’ve heard … We’ll add back a lot of the parking in the highest-demand areas but without sacrificing some of the safety improvements that we’re making – we’re going through an iterative process … we’ll go back to the public with some design modifications we’ve made,” including changes to where the bicycle lane would be buffered from parked cars and where it would be buffered from the travel lane. The written version of his report says the next public meeting might not happen until September.

More than an hour and a half before Kubly’s appearance at meeting’s end, Admiral Way residents Jackie Ramels, Chris Thayer, and Brenda Gage spoke during the general-public-comment period that started the committee meeting. Thayer mentioned that Alki and Schmitz Park are both parks “with no dedicated off-street parking,” as even acknowledged by the city website. Gage mentioned that she and her three small children would have to cross Admiral Way if parking is removed in front of her house. She voiced a wish that “SDOT (would have been) more collaborative with us.” She also expressed gratitude for the 47th/Admiral light and crosswalks that opened recently, and mentioned that the group’s online petition is up to almost a thousand names. (Rasmussen also mentioned the signal/crosswalks before the meeting concluded – he and Kubly were there for its “completion celebration” two weeks ago, as reported here.)

When this meeting’s archived video is available online via the Seattle Channel, we’ll add it to this report. (NOTE: As of late night, it’s been added.)

Bigger ships but not bigger volume? Port of Seattle talks Terminal 5 at West Seattle Transportation Coalition

July 28, 2015 at 5:04 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 19 Comments

(UPDATED Tuesday night with added comment from Port of Seattle)

(Port of Seattle graphic with modernization-plan toplines, from 2014 slide deck)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Exactly one year to the day after the last cargo-ship call at Terminal 5, two Port of Seattle managers faced the West Seattle Transportation Coalition to answer questions about T-5′s future.

Among the more than 30 people in attendance were residents of East Admiral, neighbors of T-5, concerned about port-related issues with which they’ve long dealt.

One major question of the night: Why the port felt it does not need a new environmental-impact review for the upcoming modernization project. A related city comment period was coming to a close as the meeting was held, but it didn’t involve a full-fledged review.

Port managers contend one isn’t needed because T-5 won’t be handling more volume. That’s a contention the residents are challenging with an online petition, and a stack of formal comments (see their letters by going here and choosing the “documents” tab).

Click to read the rest of Bigger ships but not bigger volume? Port of Seattle talks Terminal 5 at West Seattle Transportation Coalition…

ALERT: ‘Noisy overnight work’ next week at Fauntleroy ferry dock

July 25, 2015 at 11:06 pm | In Fauntleroy, Transportation, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

Thanks to the Fauntleroy ferry dock neighbor who shared a notice that’s just been circulated in the area: “Noisy overnight work” is planned four nights next week, Monday through Thursday, 7:30 pm to 5:30 am, to fix pavement problems on the dock. (If you live nearby, you are probably aware of some work this past week – we don’t know yet if that was related.) See the notice here; it says in part, “Existing asphalt pavement around deck drains is failing, exposing underlying timber deck to rain water and potential rotting.” No WSF website alert about this yet.

Caught in a backup this morning? Might have been the pre-parade

July 25, 2015 at 10:19 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(The view from inside the West Seattle Hi-Yu float during the Saturday move)
Around 9 am, someone texted us wondering about backups on Admiral and Avalon, trying to get to the bridge. We checked – no crashes, no stalls, and by the time we headed out for a firsthand look, all looked normal.

(Added: Photo courtesy Joy, as floats including Hi-Yu passed through downtown)
The mystery was solved, indirectly, shortly thereafter, when we saw local broadcaster Brian Westbrook‘s tweet about floats for tonight’s Seafair Torchlight Parade arriving downtown. That jolted our memory about a comment in discussion of last Wednesday’s daily traffic report: Ex-Westwood Resident” mentioned that floats were stored at Terminal 5 this year and would be moving out Saturday morning, headed for the pre-parade Fan Fest at Seattle Center (noon-6 pm) and then, tonight, the parade. We failed to calendarize it for a later heads-up, or else we would have published an advisory (and photographed the floats! if you got a photo of them heading out, we’d love to see it – Meantime, as mentioned in our daily preview, the parade is tonight – lots of downtown road closures – followed by the Seafair Pirate Run, which will close the northbound Viaduct approximately 5:30-7:45 pm.

ADDED 5:04 PM: Thanks to Joy for sharing photos as the floats continued their journey northbound on 4th Avenue downtown after leaving West Seattle. The parade starts at 7:30 pm.

ADDED SUNDAY: Thanks to Thomas for sharing the view of the Saturday morning “parade” under the bridge from inside the Hi-Yu float!

Sound Transit light rail for West Seattle? Survey says …

July 23, 2015 at 9:28 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 21 Comments

Quick note from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting that just wrapped up in High Point: Co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick mentioned that Sound Transit has released results of its recent survey seeking input on prioritizing what might go into its next ballot measure, and she pointed out that a potential West Seattle light-rail route had received the most support in the survey. Here’s what we subsequently found online: You can see all the results here. (Or embedded below:)

From page 10: The potential route that had more supporters than any other, anywhere in the region, was an elevated line between West Seattle Junction and Downtown Seattle, with 5,198 votes. In second, light rail between Ballard and the U-District, with 4,751 votes. Sound Transit says 25,000 people took the survey, which we mentioned here several times before it closed two weeks ago. Next step for Sound Transit: Deciding what to include in the “ST 3″ ballot measure that’s expected to be sent to voters next year.

P.S. Main topic of tonight’s WSTC meeting was the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 modernization plan; full report coming up.

FERRY ALERT: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth returning to three-boat schedule by mid-morning Thursday

July 22, 2015 at 5:46 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

After three days on a 2-boat schedule because of repair work elsewhere in the system, Washington State Ferries says the “Triangle” route will be back to 3 boats tomorrow:

The Tillikum will rejoin the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route by mid-morning, Thursday, July 23. The route will return to the regular, three-boat schedule at that time. Thank you for your patience during the recent temporary downsizing of this route.

FOLLOWUP: Admiral Way Safety Project expects next parking study soon, updated plan in ‘late August’

July 20, 2015 at 4:06 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | Comments Off

If you’ve seen temporary traffic cameras up along west Admiral Way in the past week or so – yes, they’re related to the SDOT proposal for changes along the road between California and 63rd, including removal of 200 parking spaces and channelization changes. In our followup published last week featuring one of the meetings City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has had with local groups both pro and con, we mentioned we had questions out to SDOT. Today, we talked with project manager Emily Ehlers. She says they’re expecting the promised followup meeting with the community to be in “late August.”

Between now and then, they’re expecting two sets of data – one gathered by temporary cameras like the one you see above, five of which she says are in place, recording pedestrian activity in the project zone. That data, according to Ehlers, will help them decide if new crosswalks and flashing-beacon-type signage are needed. The other set of data will involve the next parking study, which she says has not started yet – you might recall that SDOT raised eyebrows by basing its first round of recommendations on parking-usage studies done in the winter, so, agreed to community demands to do a study in the summer too. She says they’re working with a consultant to get going on that and she expects it to happen soon. Ehlers added that they are receiving lots of community feedback and said that’s part of what they’re working with, too – so you have plenty of time to e-mail her at

UPDATE: New speed limit on Fairmount Avenue – 20 hours per mile? Signs quickly fixed

July 19, 2015 at 9:44 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 53 Comments

When SDOT announced the Vision Zero safety strategy earlier this year, the announcement included a map showing plans for several streets in the Admiral area to be slowed to 20 mph (see page 15). Some street painting pointing out the new maximum was done today – but, as you can see in the photo sent by Ramona, some of the new street markings came out backward – 20 HPM instead of 20 MPH. We went over to see for ourselves before reporting this, and indeed, two sets with “HPM” instead of “MPH” are on the northbound (downhill) side of Fairmount Avenue through the ravine, north of the bridge. Ramona noted that others are in the correct order, but as to why these two were left backward – or not even caught – we’ll be checking tomorrow with SDOT. (We asked Ramona if she was certain it was a city crew; she said her surveillance camera shows the truck was in the area from 12:43 pm to 1:33 pm today.)

MONDAY 12:52 PM UPDATE: While SDOT has yet to respond to our questions about this, Ramona let us know late this morning that crews were there to fix the mistakes; we subsequently traveled the length of Fairmount and confirmed that everything now reads MPH rather than HPM.

2:22 PM: Here’s the SDOT response, from spokesperson Rick Sheridan:

Over the weekend employees of the Seattle Department of Transportation applied roadway markings in eight locations to highlight neighborhood speed limits of 20 miles per hour. The employees incorrectly marked two locations. We are in the process of correcting these markings now and will complete the work by midday Monday. The department will reinforce with its markings crew members and supervisors the need for accuracy in completing this and other work.

FOLLOWUP: What’s next for SW Admiral Way Safety Project? Neighbors ask councilmember to get SDOT to work with them

July 16, 2015 at 3:22 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 21 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tonight’s Alki Community Council meeting tonight is scheduled to include an informational item about the Keep Alki Safe campaign opposing SDOT‘s planned changes to SW Admiral Way west of California SW.

With no date yet for SDOT’s next move, two months after the last meeting about the proposal, those with potential stakes in the proposal for lane-configuration changes on Admiral west of California are not just watching and waiting. At least two groups have met with City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. One of them invited us to sit in.

The Keep Alki Safe group is primarily from the blocks where SDOT proposes consolidating parking on one side while removing about 200 spaces, to “encourage slower speeds and reduce collisions, as well as add a buffered bike along most of the corridor.” The meeting to which we were invited was held in a living room last week, in the 5700 block, where some of the yards held the signs they had designed and printed to let passersby know what is going on.

As much as opposing the details of the city plan, their primary concern seemed to be that SDOT wasn’t working with or even communicating with them. The agency “is blowing us off,” one neighbor declared. They asked Rasmussen to help them get a chance to voice their concerns; he promised to do what he can.

But first – he listened.

Click to read the rest of FOLLOWUP: What’s next for SW Admiral Way Safety Project? Neighbors ask councilmember to get SDOT to work with them…

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: What SDOT announced for 35th SW: Two-phase plan, starting with rechannelization this year between Roxbury and Willow

July 15, 2015 at 6:03 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 92 Comments

(Video of entire meeting, unedited, added 2:58 am Thursday)

FIRST REPORT, 6:03 PM: At 7 pm, SDOT leaders and Mayor Murray will be at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center to announce the plan for 35th Avenue SW. According to the slide deck that’s already live online, here’s what they’ll announce:

It’s a two-phase plan, rechannelizing 35th this fall between Roxbury and Willow, with one lane each way and a center turn lane. The features of the first-phase Roxbury-to-Willow plan are shown and described as:

* More space for parking
• One lane in each direction
• Center turn lane
• Bus and turn lanes (BAT) at Barton, Thistle, Holden and Webster
• 30 mph speed limit
• Signal optimization
• Channelization improvements on SW Barton Street
• No changes on approaches to SW Roxbury Street

Then after an evaluation period, and “project information sessions” next spring, rechannelization between Morgan and Edmunds is planned for summer of next year. The slide deck also says no rechannelizing would be planned on 35th north of Edmunds, and that “repaving and new curb ramps” would be planned if the “Move Seattle” transportation levy passes.

Again, this is all according to the slide deck just posted on the project page in advance of the meeting (which is what SDOT usually does) – also posted is a public-comment log regarding the project; come to the 7 pm meeting (or tomorrow’s 6 pm edition at Southwest Library) for full details plus Q/A – we’ll be updating live.

7:11 PM: After a brief introduction from project manager Jim Curtin, SDOT director Scott Kubly spoke briefly. Even before mentioning details of the plan, someone from the audience called out that they wanted to ask questions immediately.

(Some of the 60+ people at the meeting)
Kubly asked them to wait until some others had spoken. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen then took the microphone, mentioning how many years this has been in the works.

Mayor Murray then speaks, saying they’re trying to find a balance between doing what needs to be done, and listening to everyone.

He refers to a stat you will see in the presentation deck – calling 35th SW the fourth-most-dangerous street in the city. “You’ve got my attention, trying to address these issues,” he says, also talking about having been hit by a car himself.

7:22 PM: Curtin is now presenting the slide deck, same one you see above. There’s a lot of backstory, much of which has been reviewed in the public meetings already held in relation to 35th. It includes a recap of the Vision Zero plan. Man in the front row looks at stats on screen and asks how many of the deaths on city streets are because of drunk driving; Curtin says, in a given year, anywhere from a third to half. Subsequent slides include “recent speed studies” – the average speed has come down a bit in recent years from 42 mph on average (7 mph above the speed limit). A bit of point/counterpoint breaks out in the crowd on that topic (if you’re not here, you’ll hear it in our video later, as we are recording the meeting). Curtin mentions 15 pedestrians have been hit on 35th in the past few years; a woman interjects, “How many were in crosswalks?” Shortly thereafter, Curtin mentions the five deaths on 35th in the past decade (actually in less than nine years).

New traffic data shows that vehicle volume has gone up a bit in the past two years – from 16,500 at Roxbury in 2013 to 16,37 now, 24,600 in 2013 at Alaska to 24,631 now. As Curtin starts to go through this, someone starts to ask questions, and Councilmember Rasmussen comes back to the front of the room (he and others including Mayor Murray went to the back after their initial remarks) to ask people to please wait for the Q/A period so everyone could hear the presentation. That’s greeted with applause.

Next, pedestrian volumes – they counted 15 locations at peak and midday periods; 313 in the morning, 239 at noontime, 561 at PM peak.

Showing again the stats – 1,065 total collisions in the past decade, 412 injuries, 5 fatalities – Curtin says, “if this were a disease, we’d be clamoring that something be done about it.” Four of the five fatalities in the past 10 years were pedestrians or bicyclists, says Curtin, while also noting: “These are your neighbors.” Most-common type of crashes, rear-end, followed by angles, followed by left turns, followed by parked cars, followed by sideswipes. (Again, you can see all this in the slide deck embedded and linked above.) The collision rate, acknowledges Curtin, is slightly below the citywide rate. But for deaths, he says, it’s higher.

7:39 PM: The Seattle Neighborhood Greenways-initiated safety petition, launched after the death of pedestrian James St. Clair in 2013, has just been presented to the mayor here in the room. Now Curtin has brought up proprietors of The Westy and Locol, after saying the business owners in the 35th/Kenyon node had made a compelling case for safety improvements. (Not that many years ago, the city removed a crosswalk there.)

JP from The Westy said, “I don’t want to see somebody die there.” After complimenting them on enlivening the corridor, Curtin gets closer to unveiling the plan.

7:49 PM: He finally brings out the Roxbury-to-Willow first-phase rechannelization plan. No gasps, no boos, in case you were wondering. No reaction in general; people continue to listen. He says signals will be optimized along the entire corridor. Note that the speed limit will drop to 30 mph only as far north as Willow, this year. The Roxbury/35th intersection “functions really well,” so that is not being changed. Then in 2016, “We are going to evaluate what we do this year … we are going to launch a neighborhood greenway study (too).” He mentions the big new development planned at 35th/Graham (vicinity of two of the deaths in the past nine years) and that it will be starting next year. “There are a few unknowns on the north end of the corridor that we need to wait until 2016 to see what’s happening there.” SW Morgan will be rechannelized, he mentions, calling it “a longstanding request from the community,” saying it will get “the Barton treatment.”

He reiterates that no changes are proposed, this year OR next, for the busiest part of 35th, north of Edmunds. And he mentions plans for increased enforcement, which does draw applause. He’s summarizing: “We know this will improve safety” and brings up stats of other rechannelizations again, including Fauntleroy Way SW. “You didn’t change the speed limit,” an attendee calls out. Curtin acknowledges that, while going on to note that Fauntleroy has 31 percent fewer collisions now, has dropped the percentage of 10 mph+ speeders by 13 percent, and that volume change is up a third of a percent.

“If things are going well in the spring, we’ll look at implementing phase two next year,” Curtin summarizes, and now it’s on to Q/A.

8 PM: First question – “Monday, the mayor came out with his housing plan. All of 35th has been upzoned from single-family residences … Today I drove 35th … You’re predicating on everyone doing 30 mph … You’re going to have people doing 20 mph … that’s going to screw up your delays,” which SDOT says will max out at 2.5 minutes. The mayor came back to front of the room as soon as his name was mentioned, but the questioner has rambled on to say, “You’re increasing the population of West Seattle, increasing density, I don’t know how you’re going to make room for all the cars that people are going to own.” Applause follows. “There’s no correlation between increasing population and increasing traffic volumes,” Curtin says, and laughter breaks out. Now the mayor speaks. He says that only multifamily zones are being upzoned, “with an additional floor … Let’s deal with facts. Also, that’s my proposal. The council deals with (it from here).”

Curtin elaborates that though population is going up, traffic volume is going down. Next, Bob Neel, who started a petition against 35th SW rechannelization, says his petition had 916 signatures and the “pro-safety … and who’s against safety?” petition had 864.

He now asks for a show of hands about who signed which petition. (Both were on

Next questioner says he was pessimistic pre-meeting but is “OK” with what he’s seen so far. But he also goes on to say he used to be an avid bicycle rider and he is concerned about more bicycle facilities than riders in Seattle. Curtin points out that this design does NOT include bicycle facilities.

(L-R, neighborhood advocates Mat McBride, Amanda Kay Helmick, Joe Szilagyi)

After him, Mat McBride, chair of the Delridge District Council, says most of the critics of projects like these are speaking from fear and uncertainty – and the fears haven’t come true. “I want to thank you all in dealing with the problems of what we have today, and not with the fear of what might happen.” Applause follows.

Q/A continues. A woman says she has lived on 35th for 41 years, “I’ve seen a lot of changes – some of them I don’t like.” She goes on to say that she is concerned about “crappy” pavement, particularly at Barton and Holden.

Another exchange involves someone trying to blame pedestrians and bicycle riders who “break the rules” for injuries/deaths. Drivers break the rules too, Curtin interjects, and while he agrees everyone needs to follow the rules, he notes that drivers breaking the rules have far higher consequences in causing injuries/deaths because of what they’re driving.

What about emergency vehicles getting around? one attendee asks. City traffic engineer Dongho Chang fields that question and says among other things the vehicles can use the center turn lane and also can trigger signals to change.

Another 35th SW resident talks about problems she’s seen over the years; she wonders why the “speed detector” at Brandon/35th “was removed,” saying there’s a speed problem near her home and can the detector come back? It is coming back, Curtin says; that draws applause.

Kenyon, Dawson, Brandon, Juneau are places where people want new crosswalks, Curtin says shortly thereafter, in response to an inquiry about improving crossing safety. He mentions the new flashing-beacon signs at California/Dakota and on Holden and says they seem to be helping and might be an option.

Next person says he’s excited about the turn lane and about “parking expansion.”

(We’ve lost some of the back and forth here but it’ll be in our video.) In response to another question, Chang takes the mike and says people are adaptive, and that a reduction in collisions is “huge. … Long term for us, what we want to do in the corridor, is have people get through safely …” He addresses the population increase and traffic decrease, with “transit … carrying the bulk of our growth.” Chang adds, “we’re going to be watching (the 35th) corridor every day. You live here. You know how things are functioning. Let us know. We can make changes very quickly.” An attendee asks, why not keep the 35 mph speed limit? Chang refers to the stats about the survivability of what speed people are hit at. “I now understand the consequences of each decision … We’ll do followup studies and make sure the corridor is functioning.”

Curtin, moving toward wrapping up, says San Francisco is “moving toward this treatment for one of its busiest corridors, 45,000 vehicles daily.” Someone calls out, “They have mass transit.” Curtin says that 35th *has* mass transit, noting that he travels it daily (he’s an Arbor Heights resident).

8:45 PM: The presentation is over; dozens are still here to ask questions in small groups or one on one. We’re going to go try to get a clarification or two ourselves, and will add anything more we find out. Meantime, if you missed this, there’s another presentation at 6 pm tomorrow (Thursday) at Southwest Library – bring your questions/concerns there – and/or e-mail project manager any time.

9:29 PM: A question came up in comments about crosswalks. Post-meeting, we talked with Chang, who said that crosswalks will follow rechannelization – they’re not installing anything more on the four-lane road, but after assessing how the three-lane version is going, he says they might wind up installing “many” crosswalks.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday updates & advance alerts

July 14, 2015 at 6:03 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 4 Comments

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning! We start, as we do most days, with transportation-related information:

TONIGHT – 47th/ADMIRAL/WAITE SIGNAL ‘COMPLETION CEREMONY’: As mentioned here last week, the Admiral Neighborhood Association and SDOT are hosting a 6:30 pm event to commemorate the completion of the 47th/Admiral/Waite traffic signal, which has been in operation for almost a week.

TOMORROW – 35TH SW PLAN: After years of concerns followed by months of controversy, what has the city decided to do with 35th SW? 7 pm Wednesday at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW) is the first of two presentations.

SATURDAY – WEST SEATTLE GRAND PARADE & FLOAT DODGER 5K: We’re reminding you all week that the West Seattle Grand Parade is Saturday (July 18th), preceded by the Float Dodger 5K, and California SW will be closed from Lander to Edmunds that day until early afternoon while it’s all under way -watch for transit info later this week, and watch for parking restrictions on the streets to which Metro will be diverting traffic – parade organizers tell us Metro will be diverting earlier than usual, so the parking restrictions will start earlier (6 am).

Meantime, we’re on traffic watch; if you see a problem affecting West Seattle through/outbound traffic/transportation, but it’s not reported here yet, we appreciate tips when they can be made safely/legally (if you’re riding, or if you’ve arrived where you’re going) – 206-293-6302, text or voice – thanks!

5:30 PM: See comments for two alerts – a stall on the southbound Viaduct, and backed-up traffic on southbound Fauntleroy north of the ferry dock. Thanks for sharing the info!

Eligible for ORCA LIFT? Get it at West Seattle Summer Fest

July 10, 2015 at 10:59 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

If you’re eligible for ORCA LIFT, the new discounted transit pass for lower-income transit riders, you can sign up at West Seattle Summer Fest this weekend – but you’ll have to bring the appropriate documentation, so that’s the reason for this separate heads-up. Metro’s in a bright green tent on the west side of the California/Alaska intersection. Go to for full details on how the program works.

How do you use Delridge Way? What works? What doesn’t? Show and tell the city ASAP!

July 10, 2015 at 10:44 am | In Delridge, Transportation, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

If you walk, drive, or ride on Delridge Way SW … if you live and/or work on Delridge Way SW or nearby … SDOT wants to hear from you as part of its Multimodal Corridor Program, and time’s running out for its online survey and interactive mapping tool. Here’s the request:

Tell us and show us:

* How do you currently use this street?

* What works?

* What are your ideas for future improvements?

For more information on this program and to find links to both the online survey and interactive mapping tool, go here.

You have until July 18th to join in on this.

FOLLOWUP: 47th/Admiral/Waite traffic signal activated

July 8, 2015 at 7:29 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

New Admiral/47th signal is activated, quietly … #westseattle

A video posted by West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) on

Verified on our way back from a meeting in Upper Alki – the new 47th/Admiral/Waite signal is in operation, with street-level “signal revision” signs to catch your attention if the light itself doesn’t do that first. As reported here last night, the “completion celebration” is scheduled for 6:30 pm next Tuesday, July 14th.

47th/Admiral/Waite signal & crosswalks: Celebration next week

July 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

(June photo by Dave Brewer)
SDOT has announced a “short completion celebration” one week from tonight – 6:30 pm Tuesday, July 14th – for the traffic signal and crosswalks installed at 47th/Admiral/Waite. City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and SDOT director Scott Kubly will join the Admiral Neighborhood Association on the southwest corner of the intersection, by Alki Mail and Dispatch. The announcement from SDOT also includes the final update on the project itself:

Power was wired to the signal equipment last week and this week, crews are:

· Removing the existing flashing beacon and old stop signs

· Installing new signage, including “No parking” and “No right turn on red”

· Testing and activating the signals (during signal activation, a uniformed police officer will be on site to direct traffic during this work)

Thank you for your patience during construction.

It’s been four months since work began – as predicted in SDOT’s pre-construction announcement – and a little over two years since the City Council overruled then-Mayor Mike McGinn and proposed full funding for the signal.

West Seattle Summer Fest 2015: Metro bus reroutes – see them here

July 7, 2015 at 12:55 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle festivals, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

In the information booth at West Seattle Summer Fest (where you’ll find us again this year), a perennially popular question is: Where do I catch my bus? Metro has just published this year’s reroutes, in effect from 5 pm Thursday (July 9th) through late Sunday night (July 12th). We’re linking them all below, in case you want to get familiar with them in advance:

RapidRide C Line Summer Fest reroute – here
Route 22 Summer Fest reroute – here
Route 37 Summer Fest reroute – here
Route 50 Summer Fest reroute – here
Route 55 Summer Fest reroute – here
Route 57 Summer Fest reroute – here
Route 128 Summer Fest reroute – here
Route 773 (Water Taxi shuttle) Summer Fest reroute – here

SDOT’s 35th SW plan: Two more chances to hear about it; Mayor Murray expected at first meeting

July 7, 2015 at 10:46 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(WSB photo: 35th SW, looking south from SW Holden)
FIRST REPORT, 10:46 AM: Last Friday, after we published the announcement of the July 15th meeting at which SDOT will unveil its plan for 35th SW, commenters pointed out at least three other notable West Seattle events scheduled for that night. If you were already going to one of those other events but also want to hear the 35th SW details, good news – one more meeting and another info opportunity have just been announced. So here’s the full list of SDOT’s three planned events:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Neighborhood House – Room 207
6400 Sylvan Way SW

Thursday, July 16, 2015
6:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Southwest Branch Seattle Public Library
9010 35th Avenue SW

Tuesday, August 4
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Night Out – High Point
Central Commons

SDOT presented “design alternatives” for 35th in March; during the lightly attended walking tour in May (WSB coverage here), project manager Jim Curtin said “Option A” was shaping up as the most promising one for most of the project zone.

ADDED 11:56 AM: We e-mailed SDOT to ask if the three events would have different focuses – short answer, no, but spokesperson Marybeth Turner did add this: Mayor Ed Murray is expected at the July 15th meeting.

Survey updates: WSTC ‘Move Seattle’ results; ST3 nudge

July 6, 2015 at 11:02 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Two quick notes about transportation surveys:

WEST SEATTLE TRANPORTATION COALITION ‘MOVE SEATTLE’ SURVEY RESULTS: WSTC has just announced the results of its latest survey, asking people’s thoughts about the city’s “Move Seattle” transportation levy that’s headed for the November ballot. WSTC says it received 476 responses – see the results, pie charts and all, by going here.

LIGHT RAIL TO WEST SEATTLE? OR? SOUND TRANSIT 3 SURVEY NUDGE: As mentioned here again last Wednesday, time is running out for the Sound Transit survey that represents your best chance right now to let ST know you want light rail to West Seattle – or, if you don’t, to otherwise express what you’d like to see on the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure next year. Go here, ASAP, because ST says the poll ends in two days.

FOLLOWUP: July 15th meeting set for SDOT’s 35th SW plan

July 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

That’s the postcard the city is about to send to residents on and around 35th SW, announcing Wednesday, July 15th, as the date for the meeting at which SDOT will present its plan for 35th SW. The news come from project manager Jim Curtin, who had said, when we checked in two weeks ago, that the city expected to have a plan by mid-July. The meeting is set for 7-9 pm July 15th at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way). If you’re just catching up with the 35th SW Safety Project, there’s backstory on the city’s webpage (which Curtin tells WSB will be updated next week to add the new meeting date).

Also in the state budget: Traffic-control help returns to Fauntleroy ferry dock

July 2, 2015 at 12:14 pm | In Fauntleroy, Transportation, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

The new state budget will restore funding for traffic control at the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal, according to City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. Ever since budget cuts did away with the help four years ago, it’s been a sore spot for terminal users, neighborhood residents, and people who travel through the busy terminal zone just south of Lincoln Park – more than 5,100 vehicles a day, in addition to hundreds of people on foot and on bikes. The new “transportation package” brings back $496,000 for use of off-duty law enforcers to “manage the loading and off-loading of ferry commuters,” according to Rasmussen’s announcement, which you can read in full ahead:

Click to read the rest of Also in the state budget: Traffic-control help returns to Fauntleroy ferry dock…

Sound Transit light rail for West Seattle? Next steps for ‘ST3′ – including one you can take right now

July 1, 2015 at 9:51 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 45 Comments

Will West Seattle get light rail if Sound Transit‘s next ballot measure passes? That’s not certain yet but the ballot measure itself is closer to reality because of the transportation package that finally made its way through the Legislature. In an announcement today, ST leaders including board chair King County Executive Dow Constantine said they’re proceeding with the measure known as ST3 for short, because legislators gave them the full potential funding authority they were seeking. That’s described in the announcement as:

*Property tax of up to 25 cents for each $1,000 of assessed valuation ($75 annually for a $300,000 house). …

*Sales tax of up to an additional 0.5 percent ($.50 on a $100 purchase).

*Motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) of up to 0.8 percent of vehicle value ($80 annually on a $10,000 vehicle).

Again, that’s just the taxing authority that Sound Transit will be given. The Legislature’s decision itself does not guarantee you’ll be taxed that way – it’s up to ST to ask voters and get their approval. The ST announcement says “ST3″ will take shape over the next year. If you want to speak up for West Seattle light rail or anything else in particular and have not yet taken the ST survey – go here to do it now – it’s only live for another week. Same survey we mentioned a month ago, so if you took it then, you’re covered.

(Back in Olympia, the transportation package itself still has a few more hurdles to clear, according to the Associated Press’s report from Olympia, and its own inherent costs – unrelated to the Sound Transit component – are calling for a gas-tax increase.)

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