Transportation 2408 results

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: SDOT goes public with newest traffic studies, will continue with plan to eliminate ‘right-turn pockets’

As the Fauntleroy Boulevard project gets closer to final design, many who are closely watching the process have asked for details of the newest traffic studies done by/for SDOT – since the project was on hold for a few years, and conditions changed in the meantime, new studies were ordered. The full report has just been linked to the project website, and we’ve uploaded it to Scribd so you can also see it, embedded, above (direct link to city-hosted PDF is here).

In short – SDOT says that the study’s results do NOT change its plan to eliminate the right-turn “pockets” at Avalon and Oregon. Right turns WILL still be allowed – but turns will have to be made from the outside through lane.

Meantime, if you don’t have time to read through the study report (31 pages) right now, here’s how the contractor summarizes its findings on page 28:

The proposed project will construct landscaped center medians, realigned intersections, improved street lighting, protected bike facilities and improved pedestrian facilities with defined sidewalks and new crossings of Fauntleroy Way SW.

DKS has completed a project traffic analysis of the existing, the year of opening, and the future 2044 project condition.  The following summarizes the main findings of analysis:

 The protected bike lanes are proposed to be one‐way on both sides of the corridor and therefore should have minimal impact on the signal operations as a bike signal phase will not be required.
  
 The year of opening conditions accounts for an 8% growth which includes planned development within the next two years in the area. Signal timing changes at intersections along Fauntleroy Way SW and 35th Avenue SW are required to accommodate this growth. The signal timing adjustments, in conjunction with turn restrictions, provide acceptable LOS D or better operations in the year of opening conditions. Certain intersections experience better operations in future conditions due to optimized signal timing.   

 The proposed additional marked crosswalks across Fauntleroy Way SW at SW Avalon Way and at SW Oregon Street are not recommended as they would require an additional signal phase for an exclusive pedestrian crossing, reducing the efficiency of the intersection operations by introducing additional pedestrian and vehicle delay at the individual intersections and to the corridor.  

 The Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard project is expected to allow for acceptable corridor operations through the year 2044.  This is due in large part to PSRC’s new 2040 regional travel demand model which projects little vehicle traffic growth along Fauntleroy Way SW, but a 25‐33% growth in transit trips on the SW Alaska Street/35th Avenue SW transit corridor.  Also, by 2040, both pedestrian and bicycle trips in this section of the City are expected to grow at approximately twice the rate of vehicle trips.    

 To ensure a conservative analysis, pedestrian volumes were assumed to double at the intersection of SW Alaska Street/Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard, while bicycle volumes were assumed to double along the corridor for the year of 2017. Through 2044, pedestrian volumes were assumed to double at every intersection and bicycle volumes were assumed to triple along the corridor.

Meantime, SDOT continues taking comments through the end of this month on whether to break the median at 37th SW – scroll to the middle of the project page to see how to send your thoughts. The city expects to finalize the design this summer and start construction earlier this year.

Previous WSB coverage can be browsed here.

FOLLOWUP: Roxbury sidewalk-and-more project starting soon, King County says

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(WSB photo from March 2016, looking east from west of 30th SW)

Back in February, we brought you first word of King County’s plan to build a sidewalk and replace road panels along the south side of SW Roxbury between 28th and 30th SW (right side of our file photo above). Today, the county is saying the work will start in “late May,” and will go like this:

·Work scheduled from late May-July, if weather cooperates

·Area is SW Roxbury Street between 28th Avenue SW and 30th Avenue SW

·One lane of road will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., each day

·Flaggers will direct two-way vehicle traffic

·Pedestrians will be detoured

·Roxhill Elementary bus loading areas will be moved to west edge of the school property

·Businesses along this section of SW Roxbury Street will remain open and access provided at all times. Access points will be provided for the gas station, the auto parts store/latte stand and auto repair shop.

Our February report has more details on that; the county also has sent out this mailer:

WEST SEATTLE REPAVING: Open houses set for Roxbury, Avalon/35th projects

SDOT is having open-house events in the next week and a half for both the Roxbury and Avalon/35th repaving projects (announced three weeks ago). If you live or work nearby, you might have received a mailer. In case you didn’t, here are the dates and times for these drop-in events:

ROXBURY REPAVING PROJECT OPEN HOUSE: Next Wednesday (May 17th), 5:30 pm-7 pm, Southwest Library (35th SW/SW Henderson). See the mailer here.

AVALON/35TH REPAVING PROJECT OPEN HOUSE: Tuesday, May 23rd, 5:30 pm-7 pm, Delridge Community Center (4501 Delridge Way SW). See the mailer here.

SDOT announced both of these as happening “as soon as 2019” depending on various factors (as explored in our followup).

FOLLOWUP: ‘Vision Zero’ briefing touches on Harbor SW, 35th SW

May 12, 2017 5:09 pm
|    Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: ‘Vision Zero’ briefing touches on Harbor SW, 35th SW
 |   Safety | Transportation | West Seattle news

(Seattle Channel video from this morning’s committee meeting; Vision Zero briefing is first item, after public comment)

Earlier this week, we reported that a document prepared for the City Council Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting today included a bit of information we’d been seeking for a while – what’s up with 35th SW Phase 2.

We monitored the meeting via Seattle Channel to see what would be said. When SDOT’s Darby Watson presented the Vision Zero” program update this morning, she had two notes of West Seattle interest: One was about 35th – she said the report on Phase 1 (a precursor for Phase 2) is expected next month. So if you’re watching for what’s next on 35th, sounds like we’ll find out in June.

The other was about Harbor Avenue SW – Watson mentioned its speed limit would be cut from 35 to 30 mph “soon.” It’s been more than two years since Harbor and four other West Seattle arterials were announced in the original Vision Zero plan as destined for lower speed limits. As reported in our February 2015 coverage, SDOT said it expected to make all of those cuts by the end of 2015. But the timeline has lagged; Fauntleroy Way was lowered in February 2016, and Delridge in December 2016.

P.S. The Sustainability and Transportation Committee meets again next Tuesday with an agenda including a report on the first full year of the Move Seattle levy and a briefing about bicycle theft.

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: Potential light-rail-route conflict, and other questions asked at West Seattle Chamber of Commerce briefing


(WSB photo: West Seattle C of C CEO Lynn Dennis, left; SDOT’s Fauntleroy Boulevard project manager Norene Pen, right)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

No new information emerged about the Fauntleroy Boulevard project at today’s West Seattle Chamber of Commerce lunch briefing, but Q&A did bring some concerns into sharper focus – particularly, whether Sound Transit light rail might go along this route and lead to the project zone being torn up a second time.

The city team acknowledged that’s possible – but not a reason to put this safety-and-beautification project on ice. We also checked with ST later in the day regarding the current level of collaboration. But first:

Today’s briefing in the lower-level community room at The Kenney began with an extensive recap of the project’s backstory and where it stands, including a reminder that it wasn’t city-originated, but rather community-originated, with discussions dating back to the turn of the millennium. (If you’re just tuning in, its route will be along Fauntleroy Way, from Alaska to 35th.)

The briefing slide deck was basically the same as what was presented to the Fauntleroy Way Business and Neighborhood Association at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) on April 19th: Read More

WHAT’S NEXT FOR 35TH SW: Phase 2 later this year, says city report

We’ve been trying to get an update on Phase 2 of SDOT‘s 35th Avenue SW project, which has gone without a public update for 9 months now, since an “open house” last August and a followup walking tour. Today, we found an update in the Vision Zero progress report published as part of the agenda for the City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting Friday morning. The report includes summaries of several road-redesign projects around the city, including 35th, which was rechannelized south of SW Holly in fall 2015:

35th Ave SW

On 35th Ave SW, a 1.75 mile redesign and speed limit change has reduced collisions and speeds.

Left-turn collisions have been virtually eliminated. The street redesign has also allowed SDOT to mark new pedestrian crossings.

While we’ve successfully reduced speeds on this street, it took some tinkering with signal timing and public feedback to get operations dialed in.

After initial implementation, we nearly eliminated collision types like sideswipes and left turn crashes.

We did, however, see an increase in rear-end crashes, on Saturdays in particular (which is not uncommon with projects of this nature). We collected additional data and began tweaking signal timing on Saturdays. Since then, we’ve improved operations on 35th and rear-end crashes on the weekends are down by 72%.

To date, there have been zero serious or fatal collisions since redesigning the street.

We’ll release a before and after report in summer 2017 and our work on the northern segment of the corridor will begin in earnest shortly thereafter.

That’s the full text of what the new Vision Zero report says about 35th SW (you can find it on page 15 of the report). When the city held an open house last August, it had promised the next discussion of Phase 2 would be “early” this year.

PHOTOS: Riding to Alki Elementary on Bike to School Day 2017

Two “trains” of enthusiastic bike riders converged on Alki Elementary this morning for this year’s Bike to School Day. Actually, some riders used other human-powered forms of transportation:

The volunteer crossing guard at 59th SW and Alki SW was Alki parent Ken Harmell. Two groups gathered to ride to school this morning, one from Me-Kwa-Mooks, one from Anchor Park.

Thanks to Chris Nutter, who coordinated today’s event, for letting us know about it!

WEDNESDAY: Bike to School Day!

May 9, 2017 7:33 pm
|    Comments Off on WEDNESDAY: Bike to School Day!
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

File May 04, 10 19 03 PM
(2016 Bike to School Day photo by Don Brubeck)

If you haven’t already heard – tomorrow is Bike to School Day, as part of Bike Everywhere Month, so you’ll see more students on two wheels than usual. We know some schools are also planning special “bike trains,” and remember that elementaries start early, so you’ll see these “trains” in the 7 am vicinity.

P.S. What used to be called Bike to Work Day is now Bike Everywhere Day, and that’s coming up Friday, May 19th.

FERRY TRAFFIC ALERT: Fauntleroy tollbooth changes to be tested for four days next week

That two-page flyer explains a test that Washington State Ferries will conduct with tollbooth procedures at the Fauntleroy ferry dock next week – Monday, May 15th, through Thursday, May 18th. It’s the next step in the process we’ve been covering since January, when WSF chose a citizen task force to help come up with “quick wins” aimed at reducing traffic backups and other delays, especially headed outbound from Fauntleroy in the afternoons and evenings. When the task force finished its first round of meetings in late March – as reported here – those “quick wins” were announced as a two-part plan, changing tollbooth procedures so four vehicles could be processed each minute instead of three, and a big public-information campaign to make sure everyone knows what’s going on (including encouraging ferry users to buy advance tickets).

They also agreed that the proposed changes should be tested in May before potential official implementation in June. So that’s what will happen next week – as detailed on the flyer above. WSF spokesperson Brian Mannion tells WSB that “WSF’s internal implementation team (comprised of experienced terminal staff, vessel crew and supervisors on the route), will be on site all this week to discuss the changes with WSF workers, drivers and passengers” before the test project starts next Monday.

West Seattle Transportation Coalition asks whether One Center City has to have so many factors colliding

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Underscoring the interconnectedness of Seattle’s transportation network, looming changes downtown are stirring concerns and questions here on the other side of the bay. They re-emerged at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s most-recent monthly meeting.

The changes are being discussed under the umbrella title One Center City; we first wrote about it back in January, and then WSTC talked about it in February, agreeing to arrange for an official briefing, which is what happened last Thursday night.

It’s all about a variety of major downtown projects and changes converging, to increase demand on downtown streets, starting next year – including buses getting booted from the downtown transit tunnel to facilitate convention-center expansion. And WSTC members and attendees asked some pointed questions. Read More

POTHOLE PALOOZA: The postmortem


(Reader-texted photo from 35th/Othello last Thursday, final official day of SDOT’s ‘Pothole Palooza’)

It started loudly, and ended quietly. After commenter Bolo asked if SDOT‘s trumpeted Pothole Palooza had ended, we asked, and got the reply today.

Short version: Yes.

Longer, from SDOT spokesperson Sue Romero: “Our Pothole Palooza campaign has finished, although pothole-filling is always ongoing for our crews. During the 11-day campaign (April 17 to 27), crews filled about 8,400 potholes; in the 2-week period of the campaign that included Friday, April 28, crews had filled 8,700 potholes.” (No regional breakout.)

According to an SDOT video wrapping up Pothole Palooza, that’s close to half the number of potholes their crews fixed in the entirety of 2016 (19,074). SDOT workers got extra help from Seattle Parks workers during PP. And as Romero said, they’ll continue responding to pothole reports – you can file them online here (see the pothole-report map here), call 206-684-ROAD, and/or use the city’s Find It, Fix It app.

P.S. As for repaving instead of just pothole-filling – here’s our most-recent followup on the Roxbury and Avalon projects that are planned “as soon as 2019.”

Metro partnering with Diamond for new ‘park-and-ride’ spaces in West Seattle and elsewhere – but they’re not free

Metro announced today that it’s partnering with Diamond Parking to offer 250 pay-by-the-month “park-and-ride” spots at 12 locations around King County. Only four are in Seattle, and three of them are in West Seattle – the underground garage by Admiral Bartell Drugs (80 spaces, $39/month after one free month), by US Bank in The Junction (8 spaces, $76/month after one free month), and Jefferson Square (30 spaces, $91/month after one free month). From Metro’s announcement:

Metro provides service to 137 park-and-ride lots with more than 25,000 spaces in King County, but many are becoming overcrowded. Metro selected Diamond Parking Services through a competitive bid process to partner on a system that enables property owners to offer unused parking space for lease near bus routes and help meet growing demand.

The Park & Ride Partnership Project is funded with a grant from the Federal Highway Administration. This first-of-its-kind public/private partnership is designed to expand park-and-ride options by making use of excess parking adjacent to businesses, apartments and retailers. It helps Metro meet demand without the expense and time required to build or acquire new public facilities.

“This is the first time a transit agency has partnered with a network of private parking lot owners for transit customer use,” said Daniel Rowe, a Metro transportation planner and manager of the pilot project. ”It is one of many innovative and cost-efficient strategies that Metro is exploring to help the public connect to transit.”

Starting June 1, 250 spaces will be available to lease at 12 locations in King County. View this online map for locations and connecting bus routes. More locations are expected to be added as Diamond Parking, which manages the lots and customer transactions, continues recruiting property owners.

The announcement explains how it works:

Go to Parkbytransit.com to view available locations and prices. Customers who sign up will be mailed a monthly permit to hang in their car. The permit guarantees a spot in a designated area; individual spaces will not be assigned.

Diamond Parking will establish prices based on market rates for each location. The first month is offered free. Permits range from $32 to $173, compared to an average of $300 for monthly parking in downtown Seattle.

Properties were selected by Diamond in coordination with Metro. To be eligible for the project, properties must be near frequent transit routes that serve major employment centers such as downtown Seattle, have 10 or more available stalls between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., have safe walking conditions, and be within walking distance of bus stops. Diamond Parking enforces the parking rules.

Metro does not collect any revenue from the permit sales, but will benefit by gaining new riders on bus service.

In addition to the Park & Ride Partnership, Metro leases park-and-ride spaces on available properties near transit hubs (provided at no cost to transit riders) and launched a Carpool Parking Permit program in February that allows drivers with two or more regular transit riders (average of three days of ridership per week) to park in reserved spaces for free at six area park-and-rides.

Questions? This FAQ might answer them.

P.S. West Seattle has two three free park-and-ride lots – under the west end of the West Seattle Bridge along Spokane Street, near Olson/Myers, and (added) by Holy Family Church (20th/Roxbury).

FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD PROJECT: To break or not to break? Your thoughts sought on median options

In our coverage of the latest meeting about the Fauntleroy Way Boulevard Project, we noted that SDOT would soon be seeking feedback about two options for the main median – either with a break for traffic at 37th SW:

Or without:

Those graphics are now on the project page, along with a spot for you to quickly and easily tell SDOT which you would prefer – go here and scroll down. They’re accepting comments on this through May 31st.

Meantime, the project – involving Fauntleroy Way SW in The Triangle, between 35th SW and SW Alaska – is approaching the 90 percent design milestone. And project spokesperson Kate Cole tells WSB that the newest detailed traffic-study data should be available within a week or so – we asked her about it after the topic came up at last Thursday’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (our full report will be up tonight).

P.S. Fauntleroy Boulevard is the subject of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s next lunch meeting on May 11th – more info here.

MAY DAY: What you need to know about what’s planned, and unplanned, in Seattle on Monday, so far

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(WSB photo of police awaiting protesters under east end of West Seattle Bridge, May Day 2016)

Lots of alerts have been circulating for the past few days about how May Day protests and marches might affect downtown and the surrounding areas tomorrow.

Nothing is specifically planned in West Seattle – but last year, you might recall, we picked up coverage in the evening as one group of demonstrators got close to the east end of the bridge – police kept them from actually getting onto the bridge.

So we’ll be monitoring everything closely throughout the day..

TWO MARCHES WITH PERMITS: A small demonstration is planned to start around 8:45 am downtown, south from 2nd and University; a much-larger march is expected from Judkins Park to Seattle Center starting at 1 pm. More details on both are in this SDOT alert.

METRO’S PLAN: Read it here. Bottom line: “All bus service that travels near or through the downtown Seattle area might be subject to delays during and after Monday afternoon’s events. Bus riders are advised to plan ahead for longer trips, revise travel plans if necessary and allow plenty of travel time.”

THE WILD CARD(S): Demonstrations that haven’t applied for permits can’t be predicted. And last year can’t be used as much of a comparison since May Day was on a Sunday. But a websearch for May Day 2017 in Seattle brings up mentions of an 11 am “March on Amazon” from Westlake Park plus two 6 pm rally/marches – one from Judkins Park, one from/at Westlake Park. We’ll add anything more we find.

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE TRAFFIC: Newest recommendations for better ‘management’

It started in 2014 with the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s list of priorities. In January 2015, when then-City Councilmember (and West Seattle resident) Tom Rasmussen chaired the council’s Transportation Committee, he announced a West Seattle Bridge Corridor Management Task Force; in September 2015, he presented a “whitepaper” with recommendations.

Some have been put into place.

Last year, the council got a progress report, and asked SDOT to study four possibilities for addressing congestion factors, as noted in the last paragraph of District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s update here.

Now, the results of that request are out, in the form of SDOT’s “West Seattle Bridge Corridor Congestion Management Study,” made public by Councilmember Herbold. (If you can’t read it in the embedded version above, here it is in PDF.)

It addresses goals for the upper bridge and lower roadway – not just the low bridge, but the entirety of lower Spokane Street all the way east to Airport Way.

For the upper bridge, the goal is to reduce crashes, improve responding times when they do occur, and “improve operations capability on alternate routes.” The report says 50 crashes happen each year, on average, on the upper bridge.

For the lower corridor, the goal is to “manage a roadway that experiences frequent and unpredictable disruptions as the ‘normal’ operating condition,” and managing truck queues on Spokane St. The report notes averages of five 12-minute low-bridge openings each day. The report notes the “federal mandate” for maritime traffic to maintain priority and does not recommend “restricted opening hours” for the bridge. (However, the recommended Duwamish Waterway User Group might discuss voluntary limits, the report says.)

Also noted: A daily average of 67 train crossings between 1st and 4th on Spokane. And it acknowledges the low bridge/roadway as “the only pedestrian and bicycle train connection” between West Seattle and SODO, with connections to downtown.

The recommendations, in descending order of their estimated costs:

*Enhance alternative routes (to change traffic flow during incidents) via ITS – $6.6 million
*Smart traffic signals and ITS for Spokane St. – $6 million
*Active Traffic Management System on the high bridge – $5.4 million
*Construct Refuge Pullouts – $2.5 million for one, $5 million for two
*Swing Bridge Delay Information System – $950,000
*24/7 traffic-operations center for SDOT to get information out – $875,000
*Rail Crossing Delay Information System – $600,000
*Raised pavement/striping – $250,000
*Establish Duwamish Waterway User Group ($0)
*Terminal 5 Queue Management System and Port/City agreement to ban truck backups on Spokane St. ($0)

The Active Traffic Management System would include “overhead signs capable of posting advisory speeds, variable speed limits, and warning messages approaching backups or queues at targeted locations. … This would be similar to the system installed on I-5.”

Refuge Pullouts would be spots where responders could “push disabled vehicles or vehicles involved in collisions … to restore traffic in the corridor.”

The Swing Bridge Delay Information System and Rail Crossing Delay Information System would involve adding cameras and messaging signs that would include countdowns for how much longer conditions might last.

Not recommended: “Median gates” that could be used to facilitate U-turns on the high bridge if a serious incident led to a blockage. They wouldn’t improve response times or safety. Also not recommended, striping a “fire lane” on the high bridge; this is a longrunning practice in New York City but those researching for the West Seattle Bridge Corridor Report were told they weren’t a good idea for various reasons.

The study includes an extensive discussion of what might happen when “modernized” Terminal 5 reopens, regarding truck backups. We’ll take a look at that in a separate report. Meantime, Councilmember Herbold says that regarding the suggested actions, “I’ll be looking for ways to work with SDOT to implement these recommendations.”

VIDEO: Sound Transit gets going on West Seattle light rail, and the rest of its expansion plan

Five months after voters passed Sound Transit 3 – a $54 billion package including a promise of light rail to West Seattle by 2030 – agency leaders declared today that they are “pushing the ‘go’ button” on that and other parts of the system expansion. We went downtown this afternoon for a media briefing preceding the Sound Transit board‘s afternoon meeting at which the draft System Expansion Implementation Plan was officially unveiled.

The speakers in our video of the 21-minute briefing were, in order, ST board chair Dave Somers (Snohomish County Executive), CEO Peter Rogoff, and board vice chairs Marilyn Strickland (Tacoma Mayor) and John Marchione (Redmond Mayor).

Though much of what they said involved generalities about the overall plan, we did get some specifics, particularly as they discussed the importance of “collaboration” with the jurisdictions in which they’ll be building. So, we asked, what kind of collaboration is required with/in the city of Seattle? Rogoff offered one example: A single environmental review for West Seattle to Ballard – even though the two segments will not be completed together; Ballard has a five-years-longer timetable (and will require a new tunnel through downtown). Toward that end, ST has already issued a Request For Qualifications for a key role in the West Seattle to Ballard planning – described in the news release accompanying the briefing as “a consultant (who) later this year will support kicking off planning for light rail between West Seattle, Downtown Seattle, and Ballard.” That solicitation is summarized here; bids are due May 17th.

Overall, ST3 will quintuple the size of the transit network, and Rogoff said they are figuring out everything they can do to facilitate and accelerate it – such as co-locating project teams who might otherwise have been spread out between multiple buildings.

FOLLOWUP: SDOT answers questions about Roxbury and Avalon paving plans


Back on Monday night, we reported that SDOT had suddenly announced it was starting outreach for paving projects on SW Roxbury and SW Avalon that could start “as early as 2019.” We promised a followup, after sending some questions back to the SDOT spokesperson Dan Anderson, who sent the announcement, and here’s what we’ve found out: First, we asked why Roxbury and Avalon (with a few blocks of 35th SW immediately south) were next up, as opposed to, say, 35th and/or Delridge.

The factors SDOT considers when prioritizing paving are:

*street condition

*cost and cost effectiveness of treatment (weighing preservation opportunities against street reconstruction)

*traffic volume (including transit, freight, pedestrian and bicycle)

*grants and other leveraged funding opportunities

*utility coordination and grouping locations for efficiency

*citizen complaints and claims

*equity and geographic balance across the city

A focus of the Move Seattle Levy paving plan is transit. SW Avalon Way is a critical link for high-capacity transit to SW Spokane St and the West Seattle Bridge ramps. On SW Avalon Way, we’re considering reconstructing the portion of the street where the buses operate and resurfacing the remainder, which sees mainly light vehicle traffic. That makes the project attractive from a cost effectiveness standpoint. SW Roxbury St is a busy east-west link for residents in the south part of West Seattle. It is also a critical part of the Westwood Village transit hub routing.

We also asked specifically about the condition of the road in the two areas now planned for repaving “as early as 2019”:

SW Roxbury St is in very poor condition and it ranks at the bottom of major arterials in West Seattle along with 35th Ave SW and Delridge Way SW. SW Avalon Way’s condition is poor, but the rehabilitation is very attractive from a benefit/cost standpoint. With the projects we’re launching now, we’re working to improve SW Roxbury St, SW Avalon Way, and the highest-traffic segment of 35th Ave SW.

A key principal of pavement management is applying the right treatment at the right time, and taking advantage of opportunities to preserve existing pavements, which costs far less (4-7x), rather than allowing streets to deteriorate to a condition level where they need to be reconstructed.

Our Move Seattle Levy paving plan is a balance of preservation, where we extend the life of existing streets with overlays, seals, or panel replacements, and reconstruction of critical corridors. A good example can be seen in SDOT’s 2017 paving plan. We’ll be reconstructing the north end of 3rd Ave downtown in concrete to support the heavy bus traffic there. Meanwhile, on 4th Ave S between S Spokane St and Royal Brougham Way S, we’ll extend the life of the existing pavement structure by removing the old layers of asphalt and resurfacing with new asphalt.

With a long backlog of needs and limited funds, we have to make difficult choices about which streets get paved. We understand that some might feel that 35th Ave SW, Delridge Way SW, or another street should be paved before SW Avalon Way or SW Roxbury St. Those of us who work daily on paving wish there was more funding for paving and wish we could start work tomorrow on every street with a paving need. A large city like Seattle has a lot of competing priorities for limited funding.

Roxbury was originally projected for 2021. So it might be moved up two years. We asked what factors/conditions will determine if it does get moved up.

We have a 9-year paving budget and project list that corresponds to the Levy to Move Seattle funding period. Individual project costs are estimated up-front based on planning-level details and won’t be truly known until contracts are bid and the projects are closed after construction ends. Major projects are bid on and built by private contractors under City oversight. A significant variable in how many projects we can build and when is what contractors will bid. If bids are favorable, we may be able to do more. If not, less. Being a 9-year timeframe, there’s more uncertainty in out years than this year about how much construction costs will fluctuate. There are also unknowns in any major construction project that add to budget after groundbreaking.

Depending on these factors, we may have the right amount of budget for 2019 to pave SW Roxbury St. If not, it would be paved later than 2019.

This project, being a full reconstruction of the street in concrete, will be more expensive and complex than a partial asphalt grind and overlay project like SW Avalon Way. That’s why we’re saying SW Roxbury St is pending funding availability and we’re not for SW Avalon Way.

While we’re talking money – we asked about the cost of these projects. Anderson said Roxbury is estimated at $13.1 million, Avalon at $7.1 million, and the three blocks of 35th south of it at $4.8 million.

So, we asked, what about Delridge? Is any repaving scheduled for the north section (the south half was repaved back in 2013), especially relating to the Route 120 conversion to RapidRide in 2020?

We recognize there are paving needs on Delridge Way SW and are conducting a pavement assessment this summer. We’ll use the report and preferred RapidRide concept to identity paving priorities along the street that are also financially feasible.

That was it for our Q/A, for now. As mentioned in our first report, SDOT says it’ll have community meetings about both the Roxbury and Avalon projects in the next month or so. In the meantime, there’s an online survey about Avalon, here, and one promised soon for Roxbury.

WEST SEATTLE REPAVING: City says it might move Roxbury up to 2019, as it kicks off outreach for 2 projects including Avalon

In our recent reports on West Seattle roads in need of repaving, and the ensuing comments, 35th SW and Delridge Way SW dominated the discussion. Tonight, we received SDOT e-mail announcing the start of “outreach” for two other repaving projects, including “fact sheets” with maps for each.

One is SW Roxbury between 15th SW and 35th SW – originally in the city plans for 2021, but now described as “as soon as 2019”:

The other is SW Avalon Way and three blocks of 35th, still on the list for 2019:

We’ve already mentioned Avalon, when the repaving plan was noted on a map related to the upcoming Harbor/Spokane/Avalon/Manning Improvements project. But news of a potentially earlier timetable for Roxbury repaving is somewhat out of the blue. Tonight’s e-mail from SDOT communicator Dan Anderson says a postcard about Avalon has been sent, and one for Roxbury “is coming soon.” Avalon also has an online survey, and each project, says Anderson, will have “a public event” in the next month or so.

We have a lot of followup questions and couldn’t ask them tonight since all this arrived fairly late. But we wanted to get this info out for starters, and we’ll be following up tomorrow. In the meantime, Anderson also mentioned e-mail addresses you can use for questions or comments:

avalonpaving@seattle.gov
roxburypaving@seattle.gov

FERRY FIXES: Getting ready for future ‘quick wins,’ during a backed-up Friday in Fauntleroy

Another Friday afternoon/evening backup for drivers headed to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal. (One texter told us the line was past the Lincoln Park gas station by quarter past 3.) This time, though, it had official observers:

Washington State Ferries sent this explanatory announcement earlier in the afternoon:

Beginning at 3:00 pm (today), a team of WSF staff members will be at Fauntleroy terminal to observe traffic conditions and collect baseline data. Today’s traffic and data observation is the beginning of WSF’s internal process to help implement a series of “quick win” recommendations created by the Triangle Improvement Task Force citizen advisory group. The task force’s recommendations aim to speed up vehicle processing through the tollbooth. WSF and the task force aim to launch a pilot program this spring and roll out final changes in time for start of the summer schedule (June 25, 2017).

We’ve been reporting on that process, most recently last month, when the advisory group wrapped up the first phase of its meetings (background from WSF is here).

Since the meeting we covered, WSF has published the official report on how it plans to make the “quick wins” happen – see it here (PDF) and embedded below:

None of those changes have been made yet – today’s “observation” was a preparatory step, so the hours-long backup this afternoon/evening was the result of current procedures that have yet to be changed. We’ll continue to cover this, including updates when WSF decides how and when to start the “pilot” program.

Metro bus stop in West Seattle to be shared by Microsoft shuttle starting Monday


(Click to see full-size PDF map)

Just found out about this via a Metro transit alert today: A citywide “pilot project” to have private shuttle buses share some Metro stops will include one stop in West Seattle, at California/Spokane (see the map above), starting next Monday. Here’s what the city says about it on the webpage linked in the text alert:

The City of Seattle and King County Metro are collaborating with Seattle Children’s Hospital and Microsoft to conduct a six-month pilot that will allow these participating organizations’ employer-provided shuttles to temporarily share a select set of public transit stops with King County Metro buses.

This pilot was carefully developed over the last two years. The pilot project will test the feasibility of allowing employer-provided shuttles to use public transit stops while minimizing impacts to public transit operations.

This pilot will be evaluated by Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro representatives using a set of agreed-upon performance metrics and evaluation criteria. Should the pilot be deemed successful, it may be expanded to include additional local employers with workforce shuttle systems as well as more public transit stops.

The pilot will launch April 24. The map on this page shows the 11 public transit stops designated by King County Metro and approved by SDOT where employer-provided shuttles will be allowed to stop. Participating employers will pay a permit fee to use the stops. Special signage will designate each stop as a shuttle location. We will monitor and assess operational issues, which will help determine the potential long-term viability of a permanent program.

Please feel free to contact us to share your thoughts: 206-256-5100 or sharedstoppilot@seattle.gov

Microsoft’s Connector bus service already has at least three stops in West Seattle, according to online schedules and maps, but apparently none are also Metro stops. We noted the service’s West Seattle debut way back in 2008.

VIDEO: More SW Admiral Way changes in the works, SDOT tells Alki Community Council

Six months after SDOT rechannelized most of SW Admiral Way west of California SW, more changes are on the way. A briefing from SDOT transportation planner David Burgesser was part of last night’s Alki Community Council meeting – we recorded it on video, as you can see and hear above. There’s actually not much to see — no slide deck, because SDOT says it’s all being designed right now, but they’re planning “crossing improvements” at six intersections along Admiral:

-49th SW
-SW Lander (at 53rd SW)
-SW Stevens
-59th SW
-61st SW
-63rd SW

Some of the improvements will be “painted curb bulbs” to narrow the crossing distance for pedestrians, possibly decorative with a “beach theme,” said SDOT’s Burgesser. But one intersection might be in line for a major change – he said that the five-way intersection at 59th SW/Admiral is being studied for conversion to an all-way stop. Right now, it has a pedestrian-activated signal; that would be converted to flashing red during a study period, Burgesser said.

One thing they’re not going to do: Make changes at 57th SW. That was explained in an e-mail from SDOT’s Dawn Schellenberg:

We also heard support and concern for adding a crosswalk at 57th Ave SW. One suggestion was to shift the bus stops east closer to Schmitz Park. Generally, folks agreed sight distances for crossing Admiral were better at this location; and it would have less impact to on-street parking. We met with King County Metro staff onsite to discuss the change. Because the bridge was not built to withstand the weight of buses stopping there, we looked at shifting the stop west away from the bridge. Unfortunately, the sight distances are not good for their drivers. Therefore, at this time we’re holding on any changes at 57th Ave SW.

Her e-mail added, “We also committed to evaluating speeds and crashes about one year after the street was restriped. Evaluation will happen over the summer/fall timeframe. We look forward to reviewing and sharing the data; and learning how the street is functioning and if any additional tweaks are needed.”

As noted on the project page, and reiterated by Burgesser at last night’s meeting, the next round of changes will be made before year’s end, and will be brought to the community once the designing’s done.

METRO BUS FARES: New survey, asking you about 2 options for ‘simpler’ fares

Last month, we reported on Metro‘s first survey seeking opinions on how to – whether to – simplify fares. Now, Metro has come up with two options – and a new survey asking what you think about them – for adult fares (no changes are being considered for youth, senior, disabled, ORCA LIFT, or Access):

Our current adult fare structure includes extra charges for travel during weekday peak commute hours (6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.) and for trips that cross a zone boundary during those peak hours. Riders can pay $2.50, $2.75 or $3.25, depending on when and how far they travel.

We’re considering two options for making adult fares simpler:

Option 1: A single $2.75 fare for travel any time, any distance

Option 2: A $3 peak-period fare and a $2.50 off-peak fare, with no extra charge for two-zone travel

And you have two ways to tell Metro which you would prefer – answering an online survey by May 5th, or participating in a downtown meeting on April 25th or an online meeting on April 27th. Go here (scroll to the bottom) to see how to do any or all of the above.

FIXING THE LIGHTS: West Seattle Bridge closures ahead

Next step in fixing the malfunctioning streetlights on the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, aka the Fauntleroy Expressway: Overnight closures, starting May 1st. Here’s the announcement just in from SDOT:

The Seattle Department of Transportation is advising travelers that there will be overnight closures of the Fauntleroy Expressway beginning on May 1 for up to three weeks for streetlight maintenance.

From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly, beginning on Monday, May 1 through May 4, travelers can expect the following:

·The Expressway will be closed to westbound traffic, west of Delridge Way.

·The Expressway will close at 9 p.m. and reopen at 5 a.m. the next morning. If any Mariners baseball home games reach an expected attendance of 20,000 or more during this time, the Expressway closure will be delayed until 11 p.m.

·Westbound traffic will exit the Expressway at the Delridge Way off-ramp and will follow the marked detour.

·On some evenings, a single traffic lane may close at 8 p.m. for preliminary work in advance of streetlight maintenance.

·This work may be extended into the week of May 7 – 14, if necessary, until the work is completed.

When work in the westbound lanes is completed, maintenance for eastbound lanes will begin at the Expressway entrance at Fauntleroy Way SW and continue to the Delridge Way on-ramp. These closures will begin at 9 p.m. and will reopen to traffic by 5 a.m. the next morning.

For as long as the work continues, we’ll include reminders in our morning traffic coverage.

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