West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Know who your Community Police Team officer is?
Officers on the CPT handle issues that generally aren’t 911 emergency responses – but due to their persistence, may affect a neighborhood far more than a crime here and a crime there.. The CPT officer whose turf includes the Admiral District talked about several ongoing issues at the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s March meeting.
Officer Jon Flores first talked about the Mobile Precinct van that the Southwest Precinct has been deploying (we showed it to you when it arrived) – it’s “popping up” all around West Seattle and South Park, and precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis wants it to be for the entire area. “It has a deterring effect – when our kids see it, they don’t necessarily want to hang out around it,” so it’s spent some time by the Admiral Safeway, which has had some “issues.” And of course the Mobile Precinct will spend time on Alki as the weather warms – “it’s a way for us to have a presence without having three or four different patrol vehicles deployed in an area.” CPT Officer Clayton Powell is the “designated mobile-precinct officer” and you’re invited to introduce yourself if you see the van around.
CPT officers also have been working to have “more meaningful interactions with schools around the West Seattle area,” though CPT is not school-resource officers, Flores cautioned. “We want to get into all the schools – we’re not going to be there daily or even once a week but we’re making a more concerted effort to get out and meet the principals, the students, get into the classrooms,” as they recently did at Concord International in South Park, “to build positive relationships with our youth.”
The CPTs also work on issues with transients and homeless people. In Admiral, Flores said, the vacant ex-Life Care Center property at 47th/Admiral/Waite has had squatter trouble, so its owner Aegis Living has now signed up for the vacant-building trespass warning program – a new program like the trespass program that exists for businesses, “giving us the ability to deal with the many vacant properties we have around West Seattle and the city,” said Flores.
3:38 PM MONDAY: With some changes, the much-discussed Pronto bike-share buyout has just won Seattle City Council approval, 7-2, with West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold voting “no” (along with at-large Councilmember Tim Burgess). Herbold said, among other things, that she didn’t think it was wise for the city to buy equipment they wouldn’t likely want to keep. Among the amendments that passed was one by West Seattle-residing at-large Councilmember Lorena González, as noted and tweeted by Seattle Times reporter Daniel Beekman:
— Daniel Beekman (@DBeekman) March 14, 2016
So far, there is no definite plan to expand the bike-sharing program to the peninsula. We’ll add the summary and meeting video later when they’re available.
ADDED TUESDAY: Here’s the meeting video, as published on the Seattle Channel website today:
(Bus headed southbound on 26th SW, north of Roxbury; watch for the damaged pavement panels after it passes)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One of the side effects of Westwood Village becoming a de-facto transit center is something that residents just to the south say they’re living with day in and day out, night in and night out – buses rumbling by almost continuously, leaving behind damaged pavement and causing their homes to settle.
More than a dozen residents brought their concerns to last night’s meeting of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (as we tweeted during the meeting). WWRHAH’s transportation committee is headed by Chris Stripinis, who lives in the area, and has created a website with a clearinghouse of information about the problem, at westwoodbus.wordpress.com.
In his introduction on that site, Stripinis wrote:
Severe visible road damage – On Barton, 26th Ave. and Roxbury, concrete panels in bus lanes are misaligned, cracked and subsiding under the weight of the buses.
Shaking of homes – Residents of Roxbury, 26th Ave. and Barton have reported significant, earthquake-level shaking in their homes as buses pass by. A seismic sensor designed for monitoring earthquake activity has recorded earthquake-level shaking in one Roxbury Street home.
Pavement Condition Index (PCI) numbers – On Barton and 26th Ave., PCI numbers supplied by SDOT show markedly lower ratings for lanes used for bus travel.
Bus weight waiver – Transit buses are overweight for local roads but operate under federal and state waivers to allow them on surface streets not engineered to handle these loads.
The panels over which the buses travel on 26th, as seen in our video clip above, look like this:
Last night, the problem was discussed with both Metro and SDOT reps in the room:
Before we get to the second of two big transportation topics from last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (the first one, a Roxbury rechannelization report card, is here) – one issue that came up during the discussion, of interest to people all over West Seattle (and likely elsewhere in the city): Those road patches left behind after construction crews dig up part of a street to get to utility connections.
The subject came up while Westwood residents were expressing frustrations about pavement damage since transit service has increased in the area. One asked why the city allows “the backfilling … with (non-concrete material)” such as asphalt or rocks.
SDOT pavement engineer Benjamin Hansen was there and gave a frank reply saying he’s frustrated too: “Historically the way utility cuts have been restored .. a pipe crew, from a utility, will come out – a building has a number of connections, and the folks doing the pipe work have a certain skill set. Working with concrete or hot-mix asphalt is another skill set. So what happens is that they do that work and then they have this cold-mix asphalt that doesn’t take much work to handle, and they put it over the top as a temporary surface, and the idea is that after everyone has done their connections in that area, in that neighborhood, a paving crew with expertise will sweep through and restore those areas, and that’s the most efficient way …”
He said that may change: “We’re working at SDOT right now trying to remake some of the rules about how that’s done, to get away from, especially on the arterial streets, the number of temporary cuts we have, to shorten the time of restoration that a utility (is given) to do that work. Right now that temporary patch is allowed to stay in place up to a year. And there’s no way it can hold up to heavy loading, like on a bus route, for (that long).”
Hansen added that he is hoping to see some sort of synergy that could bring the pavement crew out closer to when the construction crew is done, so they don’t have to go through a second round of disconnections, shutoffs, reconnections to make the permanent fix. We will be checking in with SDOT soon to find out more about the potential rule changes.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two major transportation-related topics at tonight’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting, too big for one story, so we’re tackling them separately.
In this first report: A SW Roxbury Safety Project report card, six months after changes including the rechannelization of its western mile-plus, to one travel lane each way plus a center turn lane, presented with information about what’s yet to come.
Jim Curtin, SDOT’s project manager for Roxbury (and the concurrent 35th SW changes), brought new stats, half a year after preps for the restriping began, along with an update on what’s next.
As Curtin explained tonight, “It was an effort to improve safety, and it all came up because this neighborhood council sent a thoughtful letter asking us to take a look at the corridor … as anyone in the neighborhood knows, walking along Roxbury was not a fun thing. We had two lanes in each direction; if you had a vehicle of any substantial size in that curb lane, they were going 30 to 40 mph literally inches away from you as a pedestrian. We took a look at the data and found out there was a high injury rate – that’s something we don’t like to see; the speed data showed an egregious speeding problem; we have two schools, Holy Family at 20th SW and Roxhill Elementary at 30th SW … As somebody who lives in Arbor Heights, I drop the kids off at day care every morning and (see these roads). … Wider streets encourage faster speeds.”
They reviewed, as he reminded everyone, the entire corridor from 35th to Olson. “Most of the changes have been on the western end of the corridor, but we’re gearing up to do some things further east” – not further rechannelization, he said, because the eastern part has too much volume for that, “one of the busiest streets in West Seattle.”
Here’s the latest data (with a formal report to come in September, along with recommendations):
SPEEDING: Down “significantly,” Curtin said.
At 20th SW (Holy Family), the 85th-percentile speed pre-rechannelization, was 37.5 mph – 7.5 mph over posted speed limit. Since the rechannelization, the 85th-percentile speeds have dropped by 3.7 mph, just a bit under 10 percent reduction.
At 30th SW (Roxhill Elementary), a “big drop in speeds” – pre-project, 85th percentile was 41.3 mph, 11.3 mph over posted speed limit; post-project, 34 mph – a 7.3 mph (17 percent) reduction in speed.
CRASHES: At 26th/Roxbury, which is still being evaluated for possible changes such as turn signals, there were 17 collisions in the 3-year period pre-rechannelization; post-project, zero, Curtin said: “We’re thinking that’s a good change at this point.”
As a whole, 17th to 35th SW on Roxbury, grand total of two collisions in the six months post-rechannelization, both “property damage only” crashes – zero injuries, zero serious injuries, zero fatalities. Curtin’s assessment: “We are certainly liking where those numbers are taking us.”
TRAFFIC VOLUMES: Steady, almost exactly what they were before, 475 per hour is the busiest it gets.
TRAVEL TIMES: Interns are doing what they call “floating car surveys” on all the SDOT rechannelization projects, “driving the corridor during peak hours with a passenger with a stopwatch, recording times.” So far, Curtin said, travel times are basically unchanged, with a maximum delay of 23 seconds over pre-project travel times: “Very little change or impact to vehicular traffic out there.”
FEEDBACK: After Curtin finished, two participants brought up issues such as having to wait a long time to back out of driveways or to merge into traffic. “The floating tally doesn’t include that,” one man suggested. What’s the likelihood of changes at 26th/Roxbury? Curtin was asked. It’s functioning well now, he said, but “I think we can take a look at it” – looking at, for example, lengthening the north-south “green time” on 26th. Some other questions led to Curtin wondering if possibly a “signal loop” in the pavement had failed, so he said they’ll take a look.
City Councilmember Lisa Herbold arrived during the briefing and asked about the analysis Curtin mentioned for fall, as well as the feedback on 35th SW. Can citizens help define how it’s analyzed? she said, urging a “partnership” between SDOT and the community. “That’s how this project got started in the first place,” Curtin pointed out.
One attendee noted, in support of the changes, that people who “can no longer speed” certainly are experiencing a slower commute, so “their opinion might not be as valid. … I’m just amazed at 6:20 in the morning at how many people are ready to, like, shoot me for going the speed limit.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR ROXBURY CORRIDOR: SDOT is up to 90 percent design for the new stretch of sidewalk coming to the south side of the street, east of 30th SW; a bit of it is in the city, but mostly in King County. They’ll take it out to bid in April and then build “400 linear feet of sidewalk,” which will “complete the sidewalk network” in the area (which has already seen new sidewalks as part of the Safe Routes to School program).
Also: Look for two new radar speed signs between 4th and 12th SW; they’ve made some modifications at the crash-prone 8th SW intersection, Curtin said, and they’re working to reduce the speed limit to 30 mph there.
At Olson and Roxbury, where Roxbury curves into Olson Place, SDOT will “fully signalize the crosswalk at that intersection” this year.
They’ll be rebuilding the sidewalk and improving barriers at Myers Way and Olson Place – ramps and other pedestrian improvements in the works.
And, looking back to the west a ways, “we’re still working on pavement and ramps in the section where the pavement is the worst” at 17th and 18th, in tandem with King County, because it’s “mostly theirs,” plus a City Light vault.
“Otherwise, I’m totally open to everyone’s comments and suggestions,” said Curtin. (You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org – and in addition to a Roxbury report this fall, you can also watch for news about the northern section of 35th SW in the months ahead.)
What about the slickness on the Roxbury/Olson hill area? asked a motorcycle rider. Another SDOT rep present said they thought they had it solved by tracing it to a particular model of Metro bus that seemed to be causing an “oil issue” at various spots around the city, but it’s not completely corrected, he acknowledged, so there may be something else in play.
SPEAKING OF BUSES: Report #2 will focus on the discussion of a problem that residents of 26th SW south of Westwood Village have been experiencing since RapidRide and other changes transformed the area into a major transit center without a significant amount of planning – damaged pavement and curbs, and settling/sinking houses.
Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, co-chaired by Amanda Kay Helmick and Eric Iwamoto, now meets on first Mondays, 6:15 pm, at Southwest Library.
Starting this month, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meets on a new night – first Monday of the month. So that means Monday (March 7th) is its next meeting, and it’s your chance to hear from, and ask questions of, SDOT and Metro reps. Co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick just sent this note with agenda highlights including that part of the discussion:
Seattle Department of Transportation and Metro Transit: Bus Loop pavement conditions are causing rapid deterioration of the streets, houses on the loop are experiencing sizable shaking. We will also be discussing the Roxbury re-channel project. We will get an update on the addition of lighting at the bus hub as well and the addition of an Adaptive Street project at the Barton and Longfellow Creek crosswalk.
The meeting starts at 6:15 pm Monday, upstairs at Southwest Library, 35th SW and SW Henderson.
That’s the northbound school-zone beacon on Fauntleroy Way by Gatewood Elementary, and it hasn’t been working for the past few days. Several people mentioned it to us (206-293-6302 – text/call any time!) because, while the beacon wasn’t flashing, the school-zone speed cam associated with it WAS photographing passing cars.
This morning, after yet another report, we went over for a photo and also checked with SDOT to be sure that the problem was on their radar (so to speak) and to ask whether drivers would indeed be ticketed. Here’s the reply from spokesperson Norm Mah:
SDOT is aware of the situation and working to resolve the issue. Though the camera is still taking photos, no citations will be issued while the beacons are offline.
Community members are welcome to contact SDOT if there are SZSC [school-zone speed camera] related issues regarding the operation of existing beacons, contact email@example.com or 206-684-7583.
This is one of three school zones in West Seattle with fixed speed cameras. All three – and other school zones that just have beacons, without cameras – are shown on the map you’ll find on this city webpage.
FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: SDOT says the beacons are working again as of this morning.
Six years ago, the issue of Metro bus-driver safety was raised here when a 56-year-old Alki woman was attacked while on the job as a driver in Tukwila. (Her teenage attacker was arrested and convicted.) Metro has since installed cameras in almost half its buses, and says the number of driver assaults is down by more than half since 2008 – 77 last year – but now after another high-profile attack (yesterday in Auburn), County Executive Dow Constantine is calling for more cameras. He announced this afternoon that he “will request funding in the supplemental budget to install cameras in 80 percent of Metro’s bus fleet by early 2019 and 100 percent by early 2021.” More details here.
It’s time for your comments on part of the soon-to-start West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) expansion project – one that isn’t part of the building itself. This announcement from the Y explains:
As part of the West Seattle YMCA’s upcoming Expansion and Renovation project, the Y is coordinating the process for the proposed Triangle Festival Street designation on SW Snoqualmie between 36th & 37th Ave SW.
The idea for a community festival street came out of the city’s 2009 – 2011 Triangle Planning Committee. The Y Board decided to incorporate the concept in our expansion planning by shifting the Y’s entrance to SW Snoqualmie and incorporating some key improvements in the right of way, access and utilities.
The Festival Street designation allows closure for community events throughout the year (most will be in summer, on weekends or evenings). All adjacent landowners have given their support to the proposal.
Most of the time, this will be a regular street with cars driving, bikes, parking, and pedestrians on sidewalks. When active, the Triangle Festival Street could host outdoor concerts, dances, games, festivals and other community events.
A public presentation with opportunity for questions and public comment will be held at the Southwest District Council meeting on March 2nd, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center, 4217 SW Oregon St. As part of the designation process, the SWDC could vote on the proposal two weeks after the presentation, which then would go to the SDOT director.
You can review more detailed information and submit online comments at OurNewY.org until March 18th.
Sound Transit light rail for West Seattle has momentum – even a mention from the mayor in his State of the City speech. But first, Sound Transit has to make big decisions for its ST3 ballot measure, including what route to pursue to get to this side of the bay, and beyond.
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition wants to make a recommendation with wide local support, so in addition to its “call to action” meeting last month, it launched a survey last week – and is circulating one last call for you to get in on it, if you haven’t already. As WSTC co-founder Joe Szilagyi puts it, “Sound Transit’s Board is making a decision in the next few months on what sort of train solution West Seattle is getting — so we need YOUR feedback to tell us where you stand, with this 5-10 minute survey!”
The survey closes Friday; answer the questions here as soon as you can.
Every round of wet weather seems to reveal – and/or deepen – another round of potholes.
After one recent storm, C. Johnston had had it with a nearby pothole. With the help of the grandkids, the scenes in the photos above and below emerged (in an alley – nobody was playing in the street!), and CJ sent us the photos. They seemed appropriate for illustrating a reminder about how to report potholes to the city.
This city-generated map is where to start. You can configure it to show pending requests, for example (blue dots). Right this moment, we’re not seeing any in West Seattle, unless we’re not zooming in closely enough. We DO see dozens of potholes come up as filled in the past 90 days, if you check the box that brings them into view (green dots). Here’s a screengrab of one cross-section:
The map doesn’t have a “live” embeddable option but on the city website, click any of those green dots, and you’ll get details on the right side of the map – when it was reported, when it was filled. Some dots represent more than one pothole.
To report one that you know is open right now but not showing on the map, use this form – or call 206-684-ROAD, and press “1.”
In our coverage of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s recent “call to action” meeting about Sound Transit light rail for West Seattle, we mentioned the group planned to put together a survey/poll with questions they hoped would be answered by as many West Seattleites as possible.
It’s ready now. First, WSTC explains it:
In November 2016, we will be asked to vote on “Sound Transit 3,” also called “ST3”. This vote will help shape the future of light rail to the peninsula. On December 4th, 2015, Sound Transit presented various options to the Sound Transit Board. In response, the WSTC sent (this) letter to the Sound Transit Board, the Mayor and City Council.
On January 28th, 2016, the WSTC held a Call to Action to gauge peninsula residents’ reactions to ST proposed ST3 expansion plans. West Seattle Blog coverage of the meeting can be found here.
The WSTC would like YOUR feedback on a survey to help us refine the position we should advocate for. We will be submitting the feedback to Sound Transit’s Board and other elected officials that govern Sound Transit.
Here’s the survey link: Answer the questions here. There’s some urgency, as ST will decide on its plan this spring, asking voters to approve paying for it in a ballot measure this November.
That sign along southbound Fauntleroy Way just south of Edmunds is one of the new signs SDOT has put up in the past few hours between SW Alaska and SW Morgan, along with radar-equipped speed-checking trailers like this one:
And with that, the speed limit on Fauntleroy between The Triangle and Morgan Junction is now uniformly 30 mph, down from 35. SDOT had announced yesterday that the signage changes were planned for today; the trailers were in place this morning, the signs followed this afternoon. It’s been almost exactly a year since the city announced speed-limit reductions for arterials including this stretch of Fauntleroy; some are still pending.
Four weeks ago, SDOT told us that Fauntleroy Way was likely less than a month away from the speed-limit cut first announced a year ago. And today, it’s official: SDOT crews will be out tomorrow placing signage to change the speed limit to 30 mph “for a 1.25 mile stretch of Fauntleroy Way SW between SW Alaska Street and California Avenue SW. The speed limit currently increases to 35 mph in this segment despite the presence of parks and schools adjacent to the corridor. This change will create a consistent 30 mph speed limit for the entire Fauntleroy corridor.”
As SDOT told us last month, today’s announcement reiterates that most drivers already travel “slower than existing 35 mph speed limit on this section of Fauntleroy so this should not be a significant change for people that drive this roadway often. However, the speed limit change will help reduce the likelihood and severity of collisions. This is especially true for vulnerable users like pedestrians since lower speeds significantly reduce the survivability of crashes.” In addition to new 30-mph signage, SDOT says it will deploy its Speed Watch Trailer along this stretch of Fauntleroy, which was repaved and rechannelized back in 2009.
Other West Seattle arterials, as announced last year, are in line for the 30-mph limit; SDOT told us last month that Delridge also would get a “fog line” when its turn comes up.
(January 2012 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
The re-replacement of more than 600 earthquake-safety cushions under the west end of the West Seattle Bridge could start as soon as late March.
That update today from a spokesperson for SDOT‘s Fauntleroy Expressway Bearing Pad Replacement Project.
We first reported last month that the re-replacement is finally about to get under way, a year later than first announced, and two years after the city revealed the new cushions installed in 2012 would need to be replaced because of a design-process problem.
Since this work is expected to require dozens of bridge closures – mostly late at night – we had asked last month how SDOT would take into account the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure for the tunneling project that at the time was also expected in March. Since the tunneling’s been on hold again for three weeks now, SDOT says today:
We have been hoping to get a firm (or relatively firm) range of dates for the likely AWV closure. However, the Governor’s directive to stop any additional drilling until he is satisfied with the answers provided to him about the sinkhole leaves the closure schedule very much in the air.
Given this situation, along with our belief that our project’s nighttime closures will generally add no more than a couple of minutes of travel time for detoured motorists, we are going to move ahead. We expect to begin construction sometime between late March and mid-April (and hope to have a firmer schedule in hand from the contractor by the end of February).
While we’d prefer to not have our weeknight closures of the Expressway overlap with the AWV closure, we don’t believe there is enough of a linkage between the two to cause us to delay the project.
A briefing is planned at next month’s Southwest District Council meeting (6:30 pm Wednesday, March 3rd, Sisson Building), and SDOT says it would be happy to meet with any other interested groups. The city has reiterated that the bridge is safe; tougher cushions extend its lifespan.
That photo tweeted by @jrush78 shows a sign up in The Junction, as Metro gets ready for its March changes – in particular, breaking RapidRide C away from D, and sending C to South Lake Union. We mentioned the plan back in December. Today, Metro issued a reminder of its March 26 systemwide changes, including RapidRide, as detailed here. For a summary of the other changes around the system, go here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition issued a “call for action,” and the call was answered.
Its January meeting focused primarily on sorting out what people here want to see in Sound Transit‘s upcoming ST3 ballot measure – with the “candidate projects” being reviewed for a draft plan that’s expected in March, followed by a final plan in June and a regional vote in November.
They’re planning to organize the feedback – and collect even more soon, via an online poll.
After gathering that feedback, the meeting took one side trip, into an update on the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, and another call for opinions.
But first, about light rail:
Jim Unland‘s online petition for repaving a half-mile of Beach Drive south of 61st SW (reported here Sunday) brought out word that part of the road IS on the city’s list for repaving this year – between SW Orleans and SW Andover (map), ending just north of where we took the top photo. After hearing about it from Jim, we confirmed it with SDOT late Wednesday, while also asking which if any other sections of West Seattle roadway are on this year’s paving list. Spokesperson Norm Mah replied with these:
*SW 106th between 35th and Marine View Drive (eastbound)
*2100 block SW Roxbury – “spot panel replacement”
*26th SW between Roxbury and Cambridge – “spot panel replacement”
Also this year, SW Spokane is due for repaving just east of West Seattle, from East Marginal Way to the “low bridge.”
Looking further into the distance, sections of Avalon, 35th, and Roxbury are planned for repaving over the next eight years, as shown on this map:
Back to Beach Drive – we didn’t get a timetable in our reply, but Jim said SDOT’s acting program manager Sue Byers told him, sometime this summer.
That section of Beach Drive by Weather Watch Park and La Rustica is one of the inspirations behind a petition that’s being circulated by Jim Unland. He’s seeking signatures to ask the city to repave the half-mile stretch between 61st SW and SW Genesee (map). He explains, “This section of roadway has received numerous ‘pothole repairs’ but the condition of this stretch of Beach Dr. SW has deteriorated to the point that spot repairs are no longer sufficient. This roadway is frequently used by bicycle riders and the condition of the road poses many hazards to the them and liability to the City of Seattle.”
Unland says that petition signatures are set up to cc District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold and at-large Councilmembers Lorena González and Tim Burgess as well as SDOT’s paving manager Sue Byers. You can sign electronically by going here.
WSDOT posted that miscellaneous tunneling-machine-operations-in-progress video this afternoon to go along with the news that the machine is out of the “access pit” and “is now tunneling in Seattle soil after breaking through the access pit wall late Wednesday. Seattle Tunnel Partners has mined 73 feet and installed 12 concrete tunnel rings since Bertha first moved forward in the pit on Dec. 22. More mining is scheduled to occur this week. Now approaching South Main Street, near Pier 48, Bertha is digging well below the area’s notorious fill soil. The top of the machine is approximately 80 feet below the surface in a mixture of glacially compacted material.” That’s from the newest WSDOT update, which you can read in its entirety here. WSDOT also has set up a new tunnel-machine-tracking page. If all goes well from here, they’re still heading toward a March closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct “for about two weeks” while tunneling under the structure. Speaking of The Viaduct, WSDOT adds that crews are starting to take apart the big red crane that’s been alongside it during the tunneling-machine-repair process.
(WSB photo looking north on Delridge near Myrtle – existing ‘fog line’ is toward the left)
Though SDOT reaffirmed two months ago that its planned speed-limit cuts for three more West Seattle arterials would happen before the end of 2015 as planned, they didn’t happen. They’re still on the way, says SDOT’s Jim Curtin, but one of them – Delridge Way north of Orchard – will come with something extra: Fog lines. This news came in another round of correspondence with the concerned citizen whose questions sparked our November followup, “A Dad On Dangerous Delridge.” Curtin’s first reply to ADODD this week:
In an effort to achieve the lower speeds we seek on Delridge, we will be adding a fog line (aka edge line) to narrow the existing travel lanes on the street. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has a good website dedicated to lane widths here. Some sections of Delridge already have an edge line but most areas do not. Several locations, including the area just south of the Boren Building (home to two schools), have wide swaths of roadway with little to no organization or structure. The edge line will change that and help us reduce vehicle speeds on the corridor. This work is weather-dependent so we’ll need some dry weather before we can install the new pavement markings. We are hoping to make this change in the first quarter of 2016 during a dry stretch. A public communications effort will accompany these changes to help raise awareness of the speed limit change.
After seeing that via a CC in ADODD’s correspondence, we followed up with Curtin, first to ask if there’s a specified width for the resulting, narrowed traffic lanes: “Travel lanes will be 11 to 12 feet wide depending on the location to match the existing edge lines on the corridor. The roadway channelization will look very similar to the existing conditions on Delridge between Croft Pl SW and SW Myrtle Street.” (That’s where we took the photo atop this story.) He added that “the edge line will be applied to both sides of the street. Bike lanes are not planned through this low cost effort.” No existing markings will be changed, according to Curtin, just “essentially filling in the gaps in the channelization so we will not make changes to existing pavement markings.”
Our last question: What about the other arterials set for speed-limit reduction? Curtin replied: “Fauntleroy between Alaska and California will occur first – likely within the next month or so. The speed limit is already 30 mph along most of Fauntleroy but the speed limit jumps up to 35 in this section (which contains mainly residential land uses, Fairmount Park Elementary, and a park). Speed studies show that drivers are already traveling well below the existing 35 mph speed limit on this section of Fauntleroy. We intend to recalibrate the radar speed sign at SW Brandon Street and change the existing speed limit signs. As you know, the design of the roadway was significantly changed in 2009.” The 30 mph speed limit for more arterials was first announced last February.
A reader e-mailed tonight to share this safety alert for bicycle commuters:
This morning at 9:00 a.m., there was black ice on the bike path just north of the Spokane St. Bridge on Harbor Island. It was 40 degrees, but this area is probably in shade all day this time of year. A group of cyclists spread bark to improve traction. We could see skid marks where it appeared other cyclists had spilled.
Consider walking your bike through this section. It is only 50 feet or so.
Earlier, we had received one report that a bicycle rider was injured just before 9 am at a location logged by Seattle Fire as 1002 SW Spokane. We didn’t get word until long after the call closed, and could only confirm with SFD that one person suffered “minor injuries.”