Transportation 2475 results

WESTWOOD TRANSIT HUB: Long-requested lighting, sidewalk work to start within weeks, Metro says

(WSB file photo: ‘Wall of buses’ along Roxhill Park, across from Westwood Village)

Another “years in the making” project is about to get going. Even before the south side of SW Barton across from Westwood Village became a major transit hub, there was talk of more lighting – it’s mentioned in this WSB story from 2009. Four years later, the lack of lighting was still an issue when the then-new Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council led various government reps on a walking tour including the transit hub. In early 2015, Metro promised the lighting, and sidewalk improvements, would happen that year. Then the time-frame estimate shifted to mid-2016.

Now here we are in the second half of 2017 … and the work is apparently finally about to begin. Metro’s Paul Roybal responded to an inquiry from former WWRHAH leader Amanda Kay by saying, “Currently the construction work is scheduled to begin on August 28th, but subject to slight modifications (contractor is finishing up other work for Metro elsewhere, so the start date may be a few days later).” We subsequently checked with Metro spokesperson Scott Gutierrez about the planned scope of the work; he says it’s “to repair the sidewalk along the south side of SW Barton … and to add 4 pedestrian-scaled light fixtures to improve visibility and safety from the layover [area] to the existing RapidRide bus stop.”

ROAD WORK ALERT: 4th Ave. S. repaving starts next week

August 12, 2017 8:09 pm
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

In addition to the Admiral Way repaving alert we published on Friday, there’s one more that you might want to know about – outside West Seattle, but a major route for getting to/from downtown. SDOT says that the six-month repaving project for 4th Avenue South, between S. Spokane Street (the bridge) and S. Royal Brougham (stadium zone), starts Monday. Here’s what that means:

From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays beginning Monday, August 14, travelers can expect:

· Crews on 4th Ave S to be working from south to north beginning at S Spokane St and working north to S Royal Brougham Way.

· Work will be done during the week; however some night and weekend work is expected and will be communicated in advance.

· Intermittent lane closures around the work zone. 4th Ave S will otherwise remain open throughout construction.

· On-street parking will be temporarily removed in the active work zone.

· Rough pavement after grinding and steel plates on the roadway.

· Construction-related noise, dust, vibration, and asphalt odor. …

· King County Metro bus stops will be temporarily shifted around work zones. For information on changes to Metro routes, please (go here).

You can read the full announcement here. We’ll track this project in our weekday-morning traffic coverage, in the weeks/months ahead.

THE WINNERS: Four West Seattle/South Park projects get enough votes to share Your Voice, Your Choice dollars

Just announced by the Department of Neighborhoods – the results of the Your Voice, Your Choice voting on how to spend city grant money for park and street projects. In District 1 – West Seattle and South Park – these are the four winners:

Delridge: Crossing Improvements at Delridge Way SW & SW Oregon St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 477)

Westwood/Highland Park: Bus Stop Improvements at Delridge Way SW & SW Barton St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 470)

High Point: Walkway Improvements on SW Orchard St between Delridge Way SW & Sylvan Way SW (Cost: $80,081, Total Votes: 425)

South Park: Crossing Improvements on S Cloverdale St (Cost: $85,700, Total Votes: 396)

If you paid attention to the process, which started with suggestions and continued through voting on finalists, you might notice that adds up to more than the $285,000 maximum per district that the city had said was available. The online announcement explains:

To provide some context to the results above, with $2 million to spend on park and street improvements, we allotted a maximum of $285,000 per City Council District. After the top projects in each district were selected by voters, there was $233,019 remaining in the budget. These dollars were used to fund one additional project in the three districts with the highest voter participation (Districts 1, 2, and 5).

You can read more about the winning projects (and the other finalists) in the District 1 Voter’s Guide that was circulated while voting was under way in June.

FERRY ALERT UPDATE: 2 boats on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run until mid-evening

(WSF “live” view of Fauntleroy terminal loading zone)

3:01 PM: Washington State Ferries says the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route is down to 2 boats because the M/V Issaquah is having mechanical trouble. This is separate from the problem that canceled some M/V Kitsap runs this morning because of a crew shortage.

6:38 PM UPDATE: WSF says M/V Sealth will take the Issaquah’s place at mid-evening, but it’s still 2 boats until then:

The M/V Issaquah is out of service for the remainder of the day due to an issue with the clutch. This will cancel the following sailings:

Fauntleroy 7:10 pm and 8:15 pm
Vashon 6:35 pm and 7:45 pm
Southworth 6:15 pm

M/V Sealth will sail the remainder of the service day for the Issaquah beginning with the 8:45 pm departure from Vashon.

Please expect delays due to the service disruption on the route.

6:46 AM MONDAY: The Issaquah is repaired and back on the route, which has returned to full service, WSF says this morning.

ADMIRAL WAY: SDOT moving ahead with converting 59th/Admiral to all-way stop

(SDOT graphic for 59th/Alki all-way-stop conversion)

One month ago, SDOT announced its plans for pedestrian-related changes to intersections along the west stretch of Admiral Way. Today, another announcement: What was described in that late June announcement as a “tentative” plan to convert 59th/Admiral to an all-way stop is now an official plan:

The crossing improvement will be installed in 2 phases. Before the start of the 2017/2018 school year, we will install new signage and signal modifications to convert the intersection to an all-way stop. These changes will encourage slower vehicle speeds through the intersection.

We’ll evaluate the all-way stop over a few months, and if it’s performing well, we’ll install phase 2 improvements, which include decorative painted curb extensions, a relocation of the westbound bus stop, and a red flashing all-way stop beacon.

Most of the other intersections where SDOT plans changes will also have “decorative painted curb extensions”; SDOT asked in June for opinions on three potential designs, and says this one won:

The 59th/Admiral news and curb-extension pattern are in this mailer that SDOT says it has sent to nearby residents. Details of the other intersection changes that’ll be made later this year were in our June report and are on the project webpage. This is all a followup to the rechannelization of Admiral west of California SW last year.

VIDEO: Construction begins for temporary Water Taxi dock downtown

August 1, 2017 11:07 am
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 |   King County Water Taxi | Transportation | West Seattle news

That’s the first of nine piles, each up to 100 feet tall and 3 feet wide, that’ll be driven for the new temporary King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit foot-ferry dock on the north side of Washington State Ferries‘ main downtown terminal Colman Dock. The work is starting right now, and we’re at Colman Dock for a media briefing.

As reported here previously, the Water Taxi will suspend service for up to a week, starting next Monday (August 7th), so it can move operations to the temporary dock by the following Monday (August 14th). (Added: Here’s video of Water Taxi spokesperson Brent Champaco:)

The temporary dock is expected to be in use for up to a year and a half while the new passenger-only-ferry terminal is built on the south side of Colman Dock, in the same spot where the current one is. Colman Dock itself also will be renovated/rebuilt over the next five years.

In comments after previous reports, some have wondered why work is starting now, during the peak of summer; at today’s media briefing, it was reiterated that this is because today is the first day of the six-and-a-half month annual period to which in-water construction is limited, to protect salmon and other wildlife. If the full construction period isn’t utilized each year, the completion of the full Colman Dock project could be delayed. And here’s one reason why they need to get going – a section of an old piling with holes from gribbles:

So to recap: No Water Taxi for up to a week starting next Monday; once service resumes, the downtown dock will be in its new temporary location north of Colman Dock, by the waterfront fire station. (Side note: Kitsap Transit’s foot ferry is continuing service during the switch by using Pier 54, further north; Water Taxi reps explain their vessels are too big for that.) More photos/info to come.

@ West Seattle Transportation Coalition: Who’s responsible for dealing with port-truck trouble?

(2015 photo by Don Brubeck)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When port-bound trucks clog routes leading to shipping terminals, who’s ultimately accountable for clearing them, and preventing future problems?

That was part of what was explored in depth during port reps’ visit last night to the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, which also reviewed key points made by participants in its June workshop about light-rail routing.

First:

PORT TRUCKS: As they had done at this month’s Southwest District Council meeting, operations executive Zachary Thomas from the Northwest Seaport Alliance and Port of Seattle communicator Mick Shultz talked, and answered questions, about the truck traffic.

Thomas explained again about how the shifting alliances in the shipping business had led to the “additional volume (for) some terminals” and less for others. The “general shift of volume from Tacoma to Seattle” led to a 40 percent increase in volume at Terminal 18 on the east side of Harbor Island at one point this spring, Thomas said, noting that similar changes were happening around the world at the same time, “massive changes” that meant “for the first two to four weeks of the new alliance(s) … the vessels were just all over the place.” (Terminal 46, further north, didn’t see any change, though.)

At the time of that volume increase, “you would have seen a lot of trucks, no doubt about it.” The terminal operator, SSA, did take action in response to what was going on, Thomas said – though not enough to prevent backups. So that led to some grilling on who could have and should have done more.

Read More

WEST SEATTLE ROAD WORK: 35th SW repairs this week, Alki-area paving next

8:23 PM: Thanks to @MetPatrick22 for the photo and word that 35th SW near SW Webster* is getting some spot-paving repairs this week. No advisories from SDOT, so we checked in with spokesperson Sue Romero – who explained that “spot repairs” do not usually generate advance alerts – and asked about any other smaller paving projects coming up. She mentioned these:

Paving Beach Dr. SW between SW Andover St. & SW Charlestown St., August 1-2 & August 8-9, 9 am-4 pm

Paving 63rd Ave SW between Alki Ave SW & SW Admiral Wy, August 3rd & August 10th, 9 am-4 pm

The 35th SW spot repaving plan was noted here twice last month, most recently in an update last month from City Councilmember Lisa Herbold.

8:54 PM: Right after we published this, Chas Redmond mentioned the repaving in the waning moments of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, also noting that it had been done near SW Thistle. So after the meeting, we drove 35th to see exactly what’s been repaved: Northbound lane, Cloverdale to Thistle, and Holden to Othello.

THURSDAY: Port-truck backups and more @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition

(2016 screengrab from traffic camera near port)

The ongoing issue of how, where, and when semitrucks queue up for Port of Seattle terminals is at the center of the agenda for tomorrow (Thursday) night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting. WSTC will hear from and talk with Zachary Thomas, director of the Operations Service Center for the Northwest Seaport Alliance (the Seattle/Tacoma port partnership). WSTC, which is an all-volunteer community group, also will talk about last month’s workshop looking ahead to West Seattle light-rail routing (WSB coverage here). All are welcome; the meeting’s at 6:30 pm Thursday at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW)

FOLLOWUP: Ferry-fare increases OK’d by state Transportation Commission, with changes

(Live WSDOT camera view of Fauntleroy ferry dock)

Earlier this month, we published word that the state Transportation Commission was taking comments on proposed increases in state-ferry fares. Today, commissioners took their final vote – with a few changes. From the announcement:

After hearing from ferry riders during local community meetings, reviewing hundreds of emails, and gathering input from key stakeholder groups, the Washington State Transportation Commission took final action today (Wednesday, July 26) on ferry fare increases that will be implemented over the next two years. The commission made changes to its original proposal in response to public input, which resulted in benefits to passengers and bicyclists.

The commission is required to ensure ferry fares generate $381 million in operating revenue between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2019, as required in the recently passed two-year state transportation budget for Washington State Ferry operations. The commission’s fare proposal accomplished that but increases to passenger fares and bicycles with trailers generated the most concern from the public. In response to those concerns, the commission reduced the passenger fare increase in 2017 from 2.5 percent, to 2.1 percent. It also applied a fare increase to bikes towing a kayak or canoe; this does not change the fare for bicyclists towing other types of trailers.

The final ferry fare adjustments adopted by the commission will take effect as follows:

October 1, 2017

2.9 percent fare increase for small and standard sized vehicles

0.8 percent to 1.8 percent fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer), depending on vehicle size

2.1 percent fare increase for passengers

Passengers who bring bicycles towing kayaks or canoes will pay the motorcycle/ stowage fare. All other bicyclists towing items other than a kayak or canoe would continue to pay the same fare as today (bicycle surcharge plus the passenger fare).

October 1, 2018

2.5 percent fare increase for small and standard sized vehicles

No fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer)

2.1 percent fare increase for passengers

School Group passengers fare will increase from $1 per group for a one-way trip to $5 per group for a one-way trip

New bike-share program Spin launches in Seattle – but not here, yet

Thanks to ScottA for pointing out, in a comment below this morning’s traffic coverage, that the newest bike-share company to serve Seattle just launched today. (Here’s coverage on Seattle Bike Blog.) Unlike the previous one, this one does not have fixed stations, and is not operating with public dollars. Like the previous one, though, it’s not serving West Seattle – for starters – although some of its bikes theoretically could wind up here (unless specifically prohibited – check the rules if and when you try it). The service is called Spin. We e-mailed to ask if any of their bicycles would be placed on this side of the bay, and Head of Operations Matt Whiffen replied:

The city of Seattle put forth a few specific regulations as to how many bikes can be put out per company and when. Basically, it’s 500 the first month, another 500 the second month, an add’l 1,000 the third month, and TBD after that. We’re not quite to the point of expanding to West Seattle, but it’s on the short list!

Matt also expressed interest in “what parts of West Seattle would be best suited for what we do.” We suggested he talk to local bicycling advocates such as West Seattle Bike Connections, if they haven’t already. Meantime, another stationless bikeshare service, LimeBike, is launching in Seattle this week too, as SBB reports, but its test-ride-location list suggests it’s not addressing this side of the city yet either.

WEST SEATTLE WEEKEND SCENE: 2017 Mini-STP ride

July 16, 2017 9:02 pm
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

When Don Brubeck from West Seattle Bike Connections stopped by the Summer Fest Info Booth to say hi today, we asked how this morning’s 5th annual Mini-STP bike ride had gone. He reported it was a success, and later sent photographic proof.

With the photos, Don sent this summary: “We had 34 participants, ages 2 into their 70’s, who made it from SW Seattle Street to SW Portland Street, and back to Summer Fest. Riders included a few on their first group ride, and onw for her first ride on city streets. Everybody finished in good spirits!”

Those streets are close to being bookends on the California Avenue SW straightaway. The ride’s name is a nod to the Seattle to Portland city-to-city ride that also happened this weekend.

‘Is the new procedure working? Bluntly, we don’t know yet’: Letter from ferries’ Triangle Task Force

Almost four weeks into the procedural changes that Washington State Ferries hopes will alleviate backups on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route, the volunteer task force overseeing them says it’s too soon to tell if they’re working. They’ve written an open letter to ferry riders:

The new procedures (explained here) were implemented on June 19th. The task force met again earlier this week, starting with an hour of observation at the Fauntleroy dock during the pm commute.

FOLLOWUP: Start date set for Water Taxi service interruption during August dock move


(From Water Taxi website: Rendering showing interior of new passenger-ferry terminal, expected to open in late 2018)

One month ago, we received and published an alert saying that King County Water Taxi service – both West Seattle and Vashon – would be interrupted in August so the downtown dock could be moved when Colman Dock‘s remodeling project revved up.

At the time, the start date was TBA, and the length was described as up to 10 days. Late last night, Water Taxi spokesperson Brent Champaco sent word that the start date is now set: August 7th is the first day of the service suspension, which will last “up to a week.” During that time, the downtown terminal will be moved from the south side of Colman Dock to the north side. It’s expected to remain there into fall of next year, while the new passenger-only ferry terminal is built at Pier 50, for both the Water Taxi and the new Kitsap Fast Ferries service.

As also mentioned in the June announcement, the Water Taxi schedule will change when service resumes from the temporary terminal (see the revised schedule here).

One more note: Water Taxi shuttle-bus routes 773 and 775 will continue running during the August boat-service suspension, the county says.

FERRY ALERT: 2 boats for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth

July 9, 2017 5:49 pm
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

5:49 PM: The Issaquah is having mechanical trouble, so the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route is down to two boats TFN.

6:56 PM: Still no third boat. The current schedules are on the WSF alert page.

10:30 PM: Not fixed yet, according to another update just in from WSF:

The M/V Issaquah is currently out of service for necessary repairs until further notice due to an issue with the main engine and clutch. The Issaquah is the #3 boat beginning 7/10, please see the schedules below for affected sailings. Expect delays as the route is operating with the M/V Sealth and M/V Cathlamet in service.

Fauntleroy/Vashon

Fauntleroy/Southworth

Southworth/Vashon

Higher ferry fares? State seeking comment on increases proposed for this fall and next

The state Transportation Commission is considering a proposal to increase ferry fares, and looking for public comment. Here’s a summary of the proposal:

October 1, 2017:

2.9 percent fare increase for small and standard sized vehicles
0.8 percent to 1.8 percent fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer), depending on vehicle size
2.5 percent fare increase for passengers
Passengers who bring bicycles with trailers will see an increase as they begin paying the motorcycle/driver (stowage) rate instead of the combined passenger fare with bicycle surcharge

October 1, 2018

2.5 percent fare increase for small and standard sized vehicles
No fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer)
2.1 percent fare increase for passengers
School Group passengers fare will increase from $1 per group for a one-way trip to $5 per group for a one-way trip

The comment period includes three upcoming meetings – the closest one will be on Vashon Island, 6-8 pm Monday, July 17th, at the Vashon High School cafeteria (9600 SW 204th). The commission is expected to vote at its July 26th meeting.

WEST SEATTLE ROAD WOES: More 35th SW repaving might be moved up to 2019, SDOT tells Councilmember Herbold

June 30, 2017 4:19 pm
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 |   Safety | Transportation | West Seattle news


(WSB photo: City crew on 35th near Webster this past March)

Bit by bit, 35th SW seems to be moving closer to earlier repaving. You’ll recall that originally, SDOT’s plan had it penciled in for 2023. Then came news in April that the Avalon repaving project would include three bus-battered blocks of 35th, between Avalon and Alaska. After that, we learned earlier this month that some spot repaving is planned on south 35th SW. Today, Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s weekly update includes word that the rest of the south section of 35th SW might be moved up to 2019 – and includes word of exactly which sections will be involved in the spot repaving:

You may recall that, in April, I sent SDOT Director Kubly a letter requesting that SDOT expedite the schedule for re-paving 35th Avenue SW, currently not planned until 2023 in SDOT’s 2016-2024 pavement plan.

This week I received a reply from SDOT. In response to hearing not only from me, but many of you as well, they have indicated they have scheduled the rebuild of 35th from Alaska to Avalon for 2019 (in conjunction with Avalon re-paving project). This segment of 35th carries the highest bus traffic. They also indicated they are considering moving forward, from 2023 to 2019, the re-paving work on the Roxbury to Morgan segment of 35th.

In addition, they are planning on spot repairs in 2017 for the northbound travel lanes from Cloverdale to Thistle, Holden to Austin, and Othello to Webster.

After sending the letter, I further asked about a question several constituents have asked about whether the lane reduction from Roxbury to Holly had resulted in a differential weight distribution than the road was originally designed for, thus possibly leading to greater degradation of the road.

SDOT replied that this has been an issue with some lane reductions in Seattle, but they didn’t believe it was much of a factor on 35th, except perhaps in some places. They noted that southbound, the lane reduction had shifted traffic onto concrete, which is structurally more robust. Northbound, there may be some accelerated deterioration in spots that they proposed to mitigate with spot repairs in 2017, as noted above.

I appreciate SDOT’s responsiveness to the requests of my office as well as District 1 constituents in this matter.

Her update also includes the entire text of SDOT’s letter to her, which includes some numbers on the repaving costs, plus a warning that moving up 35th would “require us to eliminate other Move Seattle [levy] paving projects throughout the City.” You can read it on her website.

P.S. As we reported June 19th, 35th SW Phase 2 is still on the drawing board, with Phase 1 analysis due to go public in a few weeks.

EAST MARGINAL WAY: What SDOT says it heard from ‘online open house’

Though this transportation project is just outside West Seattle, it’s a vital route for many who live here, particularly bicyclists headed to and from downtown. So we’re sharing the newest update from the SDOT’s East Marginal Way project, following up on their “online open house” this spring:

For the north segment (S Atlantic St to S Spokane St) we heard a preference for a westside multi-use path to accommodate simplistic bicycle travel. We also heard that some people favor a 2-way protected bike lane on the east side of the road to avoid Port driveways, and to separate people biking and people walking. A smaller number of people expressed support for enhancing existing conditions (with a bike lane on both sides of the road).

Based on that feedback, we are doing further analysis of the 2 options that received the most support: the westside multi-use path and the eastside 2-way protected bike lane. The 3 options can be viewed in the online open house materials.

From the survey, we also learned that the top 3 improvement priorities for the south segment (S Spokane St to S Michigan St) are a multi-use path for those who walk and bike between S Spokane St and Diagonal Ave S, pedestrian crossing and safety, and sidewalk conditions. We also heard a desire for more improvements, outside of those being proposed in this project, for people walking and biking in the South Segment.

Common themes emerged from community comments:

*Physical separation of bikes and vehicles is a priority for safety
*South segment needs better options for people walking and biking
*North segment bike route should have minimal driveway crossings
*Improve signal timing for bikes
*A continuous option for a bike route is preferable
*Near-term improvements are needed

… We will be back in touch later this summer with a project update, including a preferred option for the north segment and the scope of improvements for people walking and biking in the south segment.

FOLLOWUP: SDOT goes public with details of changes at 6 Admiral Way intersections


(The three proposed painted-curb-extension designs SDOT wants you to vote on)

Two months ago, SDOT told the Alki Community Council (WSB coverage here) that more changes were coming to the western stretch of SW Admiral Way — specifically, to crossings at six intersections.

At the time of the April briefing, details weren’t finalized. Now, they are – and perhaps the biggest one is that 59th/Admiral will be converted – tentatively – to an all-way stop. Here’s the update SDOT sent us today (also note that it includes a “poll” seeking your vote on the design for painted curb extensions – the three options above):

Following the SW Admiral Way restriping completed in late 2016, we’re improving pedestrian crossings at 6 intersections along the corridor this year:


 49th Ave SW


 SW Lander St (at 53rd Ave SW)


 SW Stevens St


 59th Ave SW


 61st Ave SW


 63rd Ave SW

These improvements are intended to provide a safer and more comfortable pedestrian environment along SW Admiral Way and were informed by feedback from the community. The crossing treatments work to:

 Shorten crossing distances

 Reduce speeds of turning vehicles

 Improve access to key destinations throughout the corridor, including schools, transit, and parks

We’re aiming to have all 6 improvements completed by the end of 2017, with the crossing at 59th Ave SW on a slightly faster timeline. This crossing will be implemented in two phases. Before the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, our crews will install new signage and signal changes to convert the intersection to an all-way stop. After a couple of months, we’ll evaluate the all-way stop. If it’s performing well, we’ll install phase 2 improvements, which include curb extensions and a red flashing all-way stop beacon.

Five of the six projects will also feature decorative painted areas, and we’re asking community members to weigh in on their preferred design. We’ve added a poll to our project website for community members to vote for their favorite option.

Questions or comments? Dawn Schellenberg at dawn.schellenberg@seattle.gov or (206) 684-5189.

FOLLOWUP: SDOT moves Thistle stairway work to next year, and other updates

Late last year, we reported on SDOT‘s plan to replace the SW Thistle stairway in Upper Fauntleroy. At the time, the work was expected to be done this year. Now, project manager Greg Funk says it won’t happen before next year:

We’re now planning to replace this stairway in 2018. We had originally scheduled this stairway replacement to happen this year, but our engineering cost estimates came in too high for our maintenance crews to construct (the steep hillside and narrow right of way add to the project scope). This means we need to go through a formal design and bidding process. We are also going to look at the possibility of rehabbing the existing stairway rather than doing a full tearout and replacement.

Two other updates – first, a survey:

Our 2018 stairway survey is now live. This map shows the stairways we’ve prioritized for improvements in 2018. The survey closes on July 10, 2017 and we will use the input to inform design and better communicate with the stairway neighbors during construction.

You can answer that survey by going here – note that it includes three West Seattle stairways, two in the north, one in the south. And we have one other update:

Update on SW Holly St & Beveridge Pl SW: This stairway was scheduled for replacement last year; however, there were concerns about the project, so we have decided to re-hab this stairway and put it on our list of stairways that we will keep for historic purposes. We will reset the existing stairway and upgrade the wood rail to standard steel rail. We may have time to complete this work in 2017, if not 2018.

FOLLOWUP: City crew fills hole at ‘crumbling cul-de-sac’

Just yesterday, we reported on the case of the “crumbling cul-de-sac,” with pavement problems at SW Portland Court including a hole that neighbors said they’d been trying to get filled for three years. They sent a note to a list including City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and WSB on Wednesday; Thursday morning, we stopped by to talk with them and get a look; later Thursday, the councilmember referred their case to SDOT director Scott Kubly. Then this morning, a crew showed up to fill the hole, neighbors Brian and Andy (who shared the top photo) report. (Don’t know if it was the same crew, but we also saw SDOT workers filling a hole on California SW in south Morgan Junction this morning.)

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Talking light-rail routing with West Seattle Transportation Coalition

6:17 PM: If you haven’t headed out for the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s light-rail-routing workshop at The Hall at Fauntleroy (9140 California SW) – you’re not too late. While the official start time was 6 pm, people are still milling about at tables with maps, talking about possibilities. Very informal – just drop in; there’ll be a presentation at some point, but otherwise, it’s not a major “sit down and listen” type event, definitely meant to be interactive. The goal: Gather community thoughts about station siting, routing, etc., before Sound Transit officially launches its work on the West Seattle project this fall – 13 years before the service is scheduled to start. Sound Transit reps are here, by the way, if you have questions for them, but this is a community-led meeting, so they’re here to observe and support rather than to present. We’ll be updating as the night goes.

6:25 PM: WSTC chair Michael Taylor-Judd has given the workshop intro, reminding people that this is a community group, not the ultimate decisionmakers. He’s one of two speakers before everybody will head to breakout tables to talk about routing and stations – the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure proposed three West Seattle lines for the 2030 spur from SODO. Here’s a ST document that WSTC provided, from 2016, showing “representational alignment” – sort of a draft version of where the stations might be:

There’s one table per station, as well as one for “the kitchen sink,” any related issues you want to bring up. He says WSTC will “collect and collate” notes made on maps at the tables, as well as whatever people write on paper comment forms that are available here. It’ll be provided to Sound Transit and SDOT as well as used for guidance in what WSTC does in the months and years ahead.

Taylor-Judd says Metro is represented here too, as the Sound Transit West Seattle line will affect future bus routes/service, too. He wraps his introduction by noting that WSTC is a volunteer community group (launched almost four years ago, originally the WS Transit Coalition) that doesn’t collect dues, so he’s circulating a basket if anyone wants to contribute (totally voluntary) toward the costs of renting this room and related expenses.

6:33 PM: He’s followed by former Transportation Coalition board member Tom Linde, who’s giving a sort of Light Rail 101 presentation – not what it is so much as how it’s planned.

This early stage of the West Seattle planning is “generating options,” e.g. the “representational alignment” shown in the embedded document above (or see it here, PDF). “Somewhere along the line there’ll be a preferred alignment generated by Sound Transit,” Linde continues. Options include at grade (surface), elevated, subway (underground), and Linde is detailing the pros/cons of each. (Since light rail has to cross the Duwamish, a separate bridge is expected, so far.)

After an explanation of those three routing possibilities, Linde walked through “what we know now” – the “representational alignment” (very early-stage) – likely an elevated station at the north end of Delridge, with the train continuing down Delridge, turning toward Genesee, up and across Avalon, then bending toward Fauntleroy, with an elevated station somewhere around 35th/Avalon; the train would continue along Fauntleroy, turning westward onto Alaska, and ending with an elevated station in The Junction. And he’s advising people to head on over to the tables and think about the challenges and opportunities: “As you ponder what (it) would look like – it’s a substantial change to our environment, if it ends up as something elevated or at grade – it will affect the functionality of West Seattle for 100 years.” He exhorts everyone to “build your own argument for your idea” and then head over.

In Q/A, someone brings up the Fauntleroy Boulevard project – “doesn’t make sense … to spend $14, $15 million and then tear it up again.” (That’s been brought up multiple times at discussions of light rail and of the Fauntleroy project, like this one last month at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce meeting.) At that point, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold says she has been trying for more than a month to get that question answered; she was told the mayor and ST had a meeting today and she is hoping for an answer soon.

6:58 PM: Q&A continues. Marci Carpenter, a West Seattleite who’s on the city’s Transit Advisory Board, has just come forward to say she’s here to listen and observe tonight. The board meets 6 pm 4th Wednesdays at City Hall. Linde fields one last question – what do stations look and sound like? announcements? noise? – he said he spent hours at the Angle Lake ST station in recent weeks and the trains are quiet, “surprisingly pleasant experience.” Just after 7 pm, everyone is off to breakout tables; we will circulate to listen in. (About 50 people are here.)

7:42 PM: Seen at the tables:

What’s immediately above is a representation of what elevated track heading through The Junction might be like. Meantime, here’s our short walkthrough of the table zone:

Soon, everyone will regroup to “report out” on highlights from the tables.

8:05 PM: Those reports begin. WSTC’s Deb Barker was at the Junction station table. “A lot of talk about undergrounding,” she said. “The other themes that were voiced were a proposal for the above-ground seems to be ruining/impacting different things that you might not have thought out before – shadows, driving under these structures in a very tight area …”

WSTC’s Larry Wymer spoke for the 35th/Avalon table. He said there were many concerns about the coordination of the Fauntleroy Boulevard project and the possibility that light rail will go down Fauntleroy, more Sound Transit/SDOT coordination, “maybe push off the Fauntleroy improvement project until we have a better handle on that.” An elevated station like Angle Lake could be 400 feet long, Sound Transit says, they noted. Also: Maybe look at using part of the golf course, or at least tunneling beneath that area. And: This is a major entrance/exit to/from West Seattle- what will the construction timing be like and how will access be handled? Someone also wondered if the Alki Lumber site might be appropriate for a station.

The Delridge table was represented by Josh, who said people are concerned about “crossing over neighborhoods and houses, and if we can minimize that at all, it’s great.” They also talked about going over the golf course, and they wondered why it diverges from the existing bridge and why an established path isn’t what would be followed. Also, if a new bridge is to be built over the Duwamish, what about building it sooner and opening it to bus rapid transit even before light rail is ready?

Speaking for the “bird’s-eye view” table, Peter said concerns included the siting of the Avalon station where homes are now, the possibility that the track would be 150 feet in the air, and what about consolidating three stations into two stations and dropping the Avalon plan? Maybe a future station could be by West Seattle Stadium. And people were asking what happens south of The Junction.

Finally, the “kitchen sink” table: WSTC vice chair Marty Westerman said “there’s a lot of concern about construction, where are commuters going to park … During construction, there’s concern about using Alaska for bike and vehicle traffic … Second concern, eminent domain or homeowners being priced out … Third, this is the wrong technology, it will be obsolete in relatively short order … and, a lot of concern about why don’t the agencies responsible for planning work together?”

NEXT STEPS: WSTC will aggregate the comments “into some kind of functional format,” said Linde. It’ll go to Sound Transit, to Metro, to City Councilmember Herbold. And at 8:17 pm, the event concluded.

8 MORE DAYS TO VOTE: Which 3 local park/street projects should get city grant money?

June 22, 2017 4:58 pm
|    Comments Off on 8 MORE DAYS TO VOTE: Which 3 local park/street projects should get city grant money?
 |   Transportation | West Seattle news | West Seattle parks

Nine West Seattle/South Park projects to choose from, and eight days left to vote in Your Voice, Your Choice:

As shown in our June 3rd start-of-voting story, that’s the guide spotlighting the local projects. Three will be chosen in each district (ours is 1), so vote for your three favorites. As explained in this reminder on the city website, you can vote online (ages 13 and up) by going here, or on a paper ballot (ages 11 and up) available at city libraries and community centers. The voting deadline is June 30th; the projects were proposed by local residents – more than 200 suggestions in our district alone.

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