West Seattle, Washington
ORIGINAL ‘HAPPENING NOW’ REPORT, 11:30 AM: As promised, the Seattle Fire Department is welcoming visitors at Station 32 right now for the first time since the August move-in.
Until 1 pm, it’s the first open house for the newly rebuilt and expanded station in The Triangle at 3715 SW Alaska. More to come!
ADDED 2:11 PM: Since we already took you on a tour of the $18 million station, our added photos focus on who we saw there. Many potential future firefighters:
Eight more photos ahead: Read More
Shortly after West Seattle’s new Fire Station 32 was occupied two months ago, we requested a tour and showed you some of what’s inside. Not long after that, we confirmed that SFD planned an open house on November 4th – and now, it’s almost here! The department published an official reminder today, saying that Saturday’s 11 am-1 pm event will include your chance to “tour the new station, meet (your) local firefighters, explore children’s activities, and enjoy refreshments.” And the city’s Office of Arts and Culture says the artist who created “Station 32 1/2“ for FS32, Sean Orlando, will be there too. Everybody’s welcome; the station’s at 3715 SW Alaska.
Checking the West Seattle traffic cameras a short time ago, we noticed this:
That’s the Shell-station sign at Fauntleroy/Alaska. No injuries, apparently, because no Seattle Fire dispatch was logged, and no SDOT traffic alert. Then we received this ground-level photo from Brian Presser of TouchTech Systems:
Brian says a semitruck was involved in the collision too. As of right now, the live webcam shows the car is still there on the corner – so pedestrians beware, and north/east-bound drivers too, as eventually a tow truck will have to come take it away.
Your chance to buy/sell skis, snowboards, boots, clothing, and other winter accessories is just days away at the 2017 West Seattle Ski Swap, presented by Mountain to Sound Outfitters. It’s happening next door to M2SO at American Legion Post 160 (3618 SW Alaska). Here’s the schedule:
Sellers drop off items for sale:
Friday (October 13th) 3 pm-7 pm
Sale, day 1:
Saturday, 10 am-5 pm
Sale, day 2:
Sunday, 10 am-4 pm
Sellers pick up unsold items:
Sunday, 4:30-6 pm
If you’re interested in selling, register here.
See the full final design on SDOT’s website, and in a smaller version below:
From the SDOT announcement:
Throughout the design process, we’ve been committed to improving mobility on Fauntleroy Way SW for all users – people who walk, bike, and drive. The final design includes two lanes of traffic in each direction on Fauntleroy Way, as we have today, with new sidewalks and crosswalks, a protected bike lane, traffic signal revisions to improve flow, landscaping improvements and more. Read more about the final design on our webpage.
Based on technical analysis and input from the community, we have incorporated into the final design a 2-way left-turn break in the median near 37th Ave SW, while maintaining the traffic calming effects of the landscaped center median. You can read the full summary of public feedback about this design change here.
Construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project is currently anticipated to begin as soon as early 2018. This fall, we’ll begin pre-construction outreach, including sharing more information about traffic routing during construction.
This announcement went out one day after we asked SDOT specific questions about where the project stood, including the “traffic routing during construction” question – so apparently they have yet to decide whether to go with the longer construction schedule, which would involve keeping one lane open each way on Fauntleroy during the project, or the shorter schedule, which would involve making that stretch of Fauntleroy temporarily one way. The answers to our questions, which came in concurrently a short time ago along with this general announcement, also included the note from SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah that “We’re continuing to coordinate with Sound Transit on our collective project timelines.” That was also mentioned by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold in her weekly update last Friday.
This Welcoming Week (through Sunday, September 24th), the West Seattle YMCA will join Welcoming America, hundreds of YMCAs and other organizations nationwide in hosting free events to celebrate immigrants’ contributions to communities and bring together all residents in a spirit of unity. Welcoming Week activities are all free, open to the public and include a focus on cultural experiences.
“At the YMCA, we believe we are stronger when everyone in the community feels welcome and we can all work together for the common good,” said West Seattle YMCA Executive Director Shalimar Gonzales. “Welcoming Week is an opportunity for neighbors – both immigrants and U.S.-born residents – to connect, find common ground and celebrate our shared values – all for a better us.”
West Seattle Y’s Welcoming Week activities include:
Sept. 19, 9-10 am and 6:30-7:30 pm. Our Global Y: Presentation and Discussion. West Seattle staff member Austin Cassell will share his reflection on his recent trip to the Tijuana YMCA.
Sept. 20, 4:30-6 pm. Cooking Across Cultures. Stop in for a FREE community cooking demo where you’ll learn and taste how potatoes are prepared in three different countries: India, Korea, and Mexico. Chef Kim O’Donnel will lead an immersive culinary adventure by preparing aloo gobi (India), gamja jeon (Korea), and papas con rajas (Mexico).
Sept. 22, 6-7 pm. Film Screening of 8 Borders, 8 Days.
A single mother shows us the consequences of closing America’s doors to people fleeing war. With no answer to her application for resettlement in the US, a smuggler’s raft to Europe was the only way out. 8 Borders, 8 Days is a 60-minute documentary following their story.
Sept. 22, 5-6 pm. Afro-Cuban Dance with guest instructor Mark Lilly. Join us as we explore the traditions of the Yoruba people of Nigeria with instructor Mark Lilly. In this class you’ll learn the traditional Orisha dance movements. These dances came to the Americas during slave trade (Maafa) and are taught in the Afro-Cuban technique.
The West Seattle Y is in The Triangle, at 36th SW/SW Snoqualmie.
We promised to let you know when the Seattle Fire Department set the date for an open house at brand-new Station 32. It was still being worked out when we toured the new station last month – but now the date’s finalized – set your calendar for 11 am-1 pm on Saturday, November 4th. SFD’s official announcement won’t be until the date is a little closer, but they confirmed the date after a reader texted us (thanks!) to say they had heard about it while stopping by the station. The new $18 million station is at the same spot (37th/38th/Alaska) as the old one, but much larger, and now home to the area’s battalion chief as well as Engine 32, Ladder 11, and Medic 32.
The long-anticipated SW Alaska crosswalk on the west side of Fauntleroy Way is now open (lower half of the top photo). First word came in a short time ago from Matt, who also sent the photos:
Finally! They painted the stripes this morning and it was open by the afternoon. They also re-striped East across Fauntleroy.
The walk signal is about 15 seconds long and the turn arrow does remain red; however, I did observe one southbound car start to proceed through the right turn when the signal turned green for the other two lanes only to stop quickly when they saw a pedestrian crossing. I’d suggest caution when crossing here as it may take a while for people to get used to a crosswalk being here.
This crosswalk has been years in the making – though SDOT installed it, it was part of The Whittaker‘s (WSB sponsor) “public-benefit package,” required for its alley vacation; the crosswalk goes from The Whittaker’s northeast corner across SW Alaska to Spruce (LA Fitness + apartments). We’re told there’s still a little more work ahead at this intersection, so don’t expect to see it crew-less just yet.
It’s been a week and a half since local firefighters moved into the new Fire Station 32 in the West Seattle Triangle. You’ve likely seen its gleaming, glass-laden exterior at 38th/Alaska – now, take a look inside. We had a longstanding request in for a tour, and got it this past week, once the move-in was well-enough along for a visit.
The $18 million station opened 10 years after the date originally projected when voters passed the 2003 Fire Levy (we reported on the schedule changes in 2015). It is now officially the central fire station for this area – home to Ladder 11, Engine 32, and Medic 32, as it had been before, plus the area’s battalion-chief unit, Battalion 7, moved to Station 32, from Station 29 in North Admiral.
The new station has three floors plus a basement. Our tour began up top, in the kitchen/dining area, known in fire stations as “the beanery.”
This one opens onto a north-facing deck, which has a barbecue and a cornhole-game setup:
Exactly 16 months after demolition of the old Fire Station 32 began, the new three-story, four-bay station is about to open. Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kristin Tinsley tells WSB that firefighters will be moving in tomorrow. The new station will house Engine 32 and Ladder 11, which she says will be out of service until about 4 pm for the move, and Battalion 7 and Medic 32, which “will be on radio watch throughout the day until they are settled in.” E32 and L11 have been operating from a temporary station at the future city park site on 40th SW between SW Edmunds and Alaska, while M32 has been temporarily based at Station 37 in Sunrise Heights. The addition of B7 makes this the lead fire station for our entire area.
The new Station 32, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and budgeted at $18+ million, is opening 10 years after the original projection of a 2007 opening when it was funded by the 2003 Fire Levy, as we reported in 2015. It’s on the same site as the old one – on SW Alaska in The Triangle, between 37th SW and 38th SW.
Thanks to Erika Lindsay with the city’s Office of Arts and Culture for news that “Engine 32 1/2” has been installed at the new Fire Station 32 in The Triangle. She included photos of the installation, which as you can see required a crane.
Sean Orlando of Engineered Artworks is the artist. Engine 32 1/2 is described as:
… a large-scale fabricated steel version of a wooden toy fire truck. Inspired by historic fire trucks of the late 1920s and 1930s … modeled after the original Engine 32 that Captain Steve Sanislo operated out of this station for many years … a 1924 Seagrave Apparatus … a custom designed and fabricated idealized version of a real vintage fire truck built to ½ scale with a toy-maker’s detailed aesthetic … endowing it with a sense of play, whimsy and imagination. The ladders of “Engine 32 ½” will extend, stretch and come alive behind the apparatus, organically and impossibly creeping up the outer wall of the firehouse. The extension of the ladders behind the truck represents the speed and urgency of the Fire Fighter’s mission. The overall shape of the ladders will emulate a chaotic abstract flame.
Capt. Sanislo is of course the namesake of the elementary school on Puget Ridge. But the truck has even more of a local backstory – inspired by toy trucks made by a man living near FS 32, as detailed on Orlando’s website.
The artist is quoted as saying, “This particular work of art represents an internal discovery and connection between the primal emotions and memory within children of all ages, as well as adults. By creating a piece that spans the generations, “Engine 32 ½” will act as a catalyst to bridge the gap between the adolescent child and the inner child of the adult.”
No date yet for when SFD will move into the new station (which was built on the site where the old one was demolished, at SW Alaska and 37th SW), according to our most-recent check with the department. Construction began with demolition more than 14 months ago. The call for artists originally went out in 2013.
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.
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:
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).
The outdoor obstacle course is a classic feature of Healthy Kids Day at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor), but this time – the first HKD since the Y’s expansion – you’ll find new fun too, especially indoors!
That’s the “make your own trail mix” area to help kids have fun learning about healthy snacks. Also new this year – executive director Shalimar Gonzales!
You’ll find family-oriented businesses and organizations on site too – like Second Gear Sports (WSB sponsor), whose proprietors Mark Bremen and Ellen Bremen are there:
Here’s the list we published earlier this week showing the schedule, and list of activities, for what’s happening until 1 pm. The Y’s at 36th SW/SW Snoqualmie in The Triangle.
Another look ahead to one of this weekend’s big events: Healthy Kids Day at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) on Saturday. All welcome, membership not required, and it is an action-packed three hours, 10 am-1 pm, with so much to do. Here’s some of what, and who, you’ll find:
11:30 Y Staff Cha Cha Slide
12:30 WS Performing Arts
Make and Take Arts and Crafts
Make and Take Snack
Passport Prize Pickup
My ID Club
Outside Play Ground
Y Summer Camp Booth
Bead Bracelets (Preschool)
Second Gear Sports
School of Rock
Lil’ Bug Studio
Seattle Public Library
Seattle Public Schools
The West Seattle/Fauntleroy Y’s new executive director Shalimar Gonzales advises getting there early – free T-shirts and helmets are while supplies last (they have 100 of each). But everything else is free too, 10 am-1 pm Saturday, first one since the Y’s expansion was completed – 36th SW/SW Snoqualmie in The Triangle.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Though no one said it aloud, an undercurrent of “can’t SDOT just scrap this?” seemed to be running through the Q/A at the latest community meeting about the Fauntleroy (Way) Boulevard project, held last night in the new meeting room at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor).
If not, one attendee said, at least “compromise” would be appreciated.
By meeting’s end, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold had spoken up to remind people that SDOT didn’t initiate the project – community members did, many years ago (1999, as the city reps’ slide deck pointed out) – and that the final phase of design is a “negotiation.”
The timeline reminder rankled some, who suggested that in booming West Seattle, the time for a boulevard along the last almost-half-mile to the West Seattle Bridge is long past.
But before the discussion, SDOT presented some new information, including a few tweaks to the 60 percent design, a few highlights from the newest traffic studies, and a couple potential changes along the way.
The meeting was originally announced as the second gathering of the Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association (whose first meeting six weeks ago was covered here), with the Junction Neighborhood Organization joining in as co-host, and SDOT sending a raft of reps. Here’s how it unfolded:
One month ago today, we published our report on the launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association, formed out of concerns related to the years-in-the-works, in-final-design-phase Fauntleroy Boulevard project. The group has just announced its second meeting, 7:30 pm Wednesday, April 19th, with a list of current/continuing questions and concerns:
The Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association will host this meeting to discuss the current status of the Fauntleroy Way Boulevard project. Our aim is to leave this meeting with a clearer understanding of the project with respect to the following Association interests:
– Traffic studies. Per SDOT, a new traffic study was ordered. Our requests for an update have gone unanswered, to date.
– Current design completion. We were informed the design is now at 90%, but have not received updates from the SDOT mailing list, from SDOT directly, or how any traffic study may have impacted design updates.
– Treed medians vs. left turn lanes. SDOT indicated that they were re-examining additional access along Fauntleroy Way in place of planned treed medians, but we have received no update, to date.
– Addition of crosswalks. Much of the justification for this project relates to pedestrian safety, but no additional crosswalks are planned. At our last meeting with SDOT, we were told this was being examined, but we have received no update, to date.
– Loading zones and temporary parking. Will there be any spaces along the street that allow for short-term parking, e.g. 3-minute loading and unloading.
– Construction worker parking. Given the squeeze on existing parking in the area, will workers be made to park outside the area of affected business to allow greater access by our patrons?
– Communication of the project to the neighborhood. What is SDOT’s plan for communicating traffic plans to the West Seattle community? Businesses would like some say in the way this is communicated to help keep our doors open.
– Signage for businesses during construction. We’ve been advised by OED that this is normally not planned for. Given the extended duration of this project, we would like to reach a compromise.
– Pedestrian access. Will pedestrians have access to the length of Fauntleroy Way throughout construction?
– Mitigation. We have been advised by OED that the only mitigating assistance the City will provide to impacted businesses will be in the form of access to construction updates and influence on project phasing and planning. We seek more clarity around this so that we can plan ahead to work together.
– Traffic re-routing plan. We would like any update available on the planned traffic re-routing during construction. Per the note on mitigation, our strong preference would be to keep traffic moving in both directions along Fauntleroy Way for the length of the project.
– 23rd Project. What has SDOT/the City learned from the 23rd Ave project that will positively impact the Fauntleroy Way project?
Please contact us with any questions or concerns:
Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association email@example.com
The April 19th meeting will be in the Rotary Room at the West Seattle YMCA (36th/Snoqualmie; WSB sponsor).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With both walking tours for the Fauntleroy Boulevard project over, big decisions are ahead for the project.
We covered both tours – Thursday afternoon (here’s our report) started in sunshine; this morning had an even bigger turnout – “impressive,” as one SDOT staffer deemed it –
despite starting in steady rain.
The route and the stops were the same – from outside LA Fitness at Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th to West Seattle Brewing at 4515 Fauntleroy Way. The fact the project is focused only on that stretch is a disappointment to one of today’s participants, René Commons from the Junction Neighborhood Organization, who lives near the 35th SW entrance to the West Seattle Bridge and had been lobbying for pedestrian and landscaping improvements extending that far – not currently in the 60-percent-designed plan to transform Fauntleroy Way through The Triangle:
One of the decisions to be made about the entire stretch is what will happen during construction, which project spokesperson Kate Cole – who, like Thursday, led about half the participants on the tour, while her colleague Rachel McCaffrey led the other half – said is more likely to start in early 2018 than late 2017.
“It’s still early,” they stressed, repeatedly. And yet it’s not so early in the design phase, which got to 60 percent before the project was shelved in 2014 pending funding.
The full-route decision to be made involves detours during construction, which is expected to last at least a year. Right now, SDOT is mulling two options: Keep Fauntleroy open one lane each way, which could stretch construction out to 15 months, or keep it open to westbound traffic only, while eastbound traffic is detoured onto SW Alaska. Asked whether left turns would be allowed during construction, SDOT staff said yes. But limiting Fauntleroy to westbound traffic would be a challenge for businesses who have eastbound customers in the morning:
The other decision to be made is about the right-turn pockets currently proposed for elimination – onto SW Oregon on the westbound side, onto Avalon Way on the eastbound side:
With three years passing since the studies that led to the elimination decision, SDOT is doing new studies now, and McCaffrey says the results should arrive in about a month. When those studies for the 2014 design were done, project team member Peter DeBoldt said, they showed a “slight increase in congestion” with the removal of the turn pockets. But as tour participants pointed out, conditions in the area have changed – anyone who drives SW Oregon between California and Fauntleroy knows how much busier it’s become; the residential areas lining it have densified, with hundreds of apartments added by projects including Oregon 42 and Junction Flats, and townhouse/rowhouse projects replacing some of the single-family houses in the area.
So the traffic-study results will be awaited with interest; how those results will be communicated to you is still being decided, she said when we talked during the tour-end event at West Seattle Brewing.
And they’re still planning what they’ll do when the final design is complete, likely “early summer,” according to McCaffrey. (We of course will continue reporting on this, but she also suggested you join the project e-mail list.)
Right now, they’re also urging businesses to talk with the city Office of Economic Development, which had a rep at the end of the tour again today.
City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who was on today’s tour (photo above), had said during the recent Fauntleroy Way Association launch meeting that she wanted to see OED get more deeply involved. But so far, there’s been no talk of possible business compensation, as was eventually offered during the controversial 23rd Avenue project in the Central District/Capitol Hill area.
“We’ve learned from the 23rds of the world,” McCaffrey said today, as she had on Thursday.
If you’ve missed the general summary of the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, here’s how Cole summarized it at the start of today’s tour:
That’s SDOT project manager Norene Pen at left in the video, in which Councilmember Herbold also gave a quick explanation of why utilities are being “consolidated” rather than undergrounded in the project.
The two big decisions we mentioned above aren’t the only ones remaining – along the route, SDOT acknowledged the request for a break in the median in the 37th SW vicinity, and said they have to evaluate the “tradeoffs” that might generate. And they continued to clarify project points along the way today; someone asked about curb bulbs, and project manager Pen said they’ll be used on side streets to shorten crossing distance, not to narrow Fauntleroy, where the travel lanes will be “about the same” in width, another question was answered.
Other questions remain about how this plan will interface with and anticipate a future that is still in motion – with much of the surrounding area zoned for development much higher than what’s currently in place, even before potential HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, and with Sound Transit light rail due to come to West Seattle in less than a decade and a half, and station-location decisions to be made long before then.
HOW TO HAVE A SAY: To tell the project team what you think about the design, landscaping, and key questions such as which detour option to use during construction (or – do you have another suggestion?), scroll down the official project page to find a form. You’ll also want to look at the boards that were shown at tour’s end – here (PDF), or embedded below:
McCaffrey says they will also come out and speak with community groups by request – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org – as they did, for example, at last month’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Even outside peak commute times, motorized-vehicle traffic roars and rumbles through The Triangle on Fauntleroy Way, along the route of the now-in-final-planning-stages Fauntleroy Boulevard project. This afternoon, that posed challenges for the “talk” part of the first of two SDOT-led Walk-and-Talk Tours through the project zone.
More than 40 people turned out in the semi-surprise sunshine to walk along most of the route, eastbound from 39th/Alaska to Fauntleroy/Avalon, with two crossings along the way. Introductory speakers included longtime resident and community advocate Sharonn Meeks (below, with project manager Norene Pen):
Meeks reiterated that the project “has been in play” for many years and said, “We’re here as a community … not as ‘I want it, I don’t want it’.”
Two groups formed; we went along with the one led by project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey, who recapped key points of the plan, including two travel lanes in each direction, and “consolidation of utilities” since the undergrounding requested by the community wasn’t part of the budget. Stops started with an explanation outside Trader Joe’s of how, since their current loading area will no longer exist, they’re going to load off 39th SW west of the store, with some in-lane loading in the middle of the night on Fauntleroy.
McCaffrey said TJ’s is “pretty happy” with what they worked out. Currently, they get two truck deliveries each night, one around 7 pm, one around 3 am. Next stop was the Parks-owned triangle by SW Oregon, where pedestrian improvements were the focus.
Discussion included the plan to change the overhead “fire signal” flashing lights to a full pedestrian-activated signal. Some questions included how that would be timed with the rest of the motorized-vehicle traffic flow on the road. Also noted at this stop, the plan to have “consistent, defined sidewalks” on both sides of Fauntleroy. Then came a chance – for those who haven’t experienced it – to see what it’s like crossing Fauntleroy in The Triangle. The amount of time allotted definitely wasn’t enough for ~20 people.
At the end of that crossing, outside Wardrobe Cleaners, tour participants got a look at the area that SDOT says will be turned into “green stormwater infrastructure.”
Someone pointed out a utility pole that seemed to be infringing on the pedestrian area. “We’re going to be moving a lot of utility poles,” McCaffrey acknowledged. Another question: How will the landscaped median areas be maintained? SDOT is accountable for right-of-way maintenance, but community group help would be great too, McCaffrey said. (Community groups actually have helped over the years – we’ve covered numerous cleanups in the Triangle/Gateway area – but their numbers have dwindled, among other challenges.) Project designer Mike Hendrix said they’re looking at “low maintenance” trees, too.
Outside the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building (Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee), questions included just how much of the parking lot was really city right-of-way.
With questions about how businesses would be helped to survive the year-long construction period – a major topic at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association – the SDOT reps pointed to city Office of Economic Development reps who were present, and suggested talking with them at the end of the tour.
After that, we missed the final scheduled stop because of unrelated breaking news. But we caught back up with the end of the tour inside West Seattle Brewing (4515 Fauntleroy Way SW), where participants were invited to check out more informational boards, talk one-on-one with SDOT reps, and chow down on pizza that WS Brewing baked at its Alki location and brought up to the Triangle for the occasion.
Also there, Jill Anholt, just announced this week as winner of the public-art contract for the project zone:
Anholt said she doesn’t have a preconceived plan for the work – she’s waiting to see the stories that community members tell. (Here’s how to share yours.) We asked what she’s done in the area most recently; turns out she has work at the newly opened Sound Transit Angle Lake station.
The second and final walking tour – at least for this phase of the feedback process – is on Saturday morning (March 18th), 10:30 am-noon. Same route – meet outside LA Fitness at 39th/Alaska.
From the “in case you were wondering too” file: Noticing that the new Fire Station 32 in The Triangle looks to be fairly far along in construction, we requested a progress report. It’s been 11 months since construction began in earnest with demolition of the old FS 32 at the same site. SFD spokesperson Kellie Randall tells WSB, “Construction is currently scheduled to end in late May. SFD is scheduled to take ownership and reoccupy the station in July. The project is currently under budget.”
As we reported in 2015, the new station will open 10 years later than originally promised in the levy approved by voters in 2003. Because of the last major component of the delay – caused by the re-bidding of the project – most of the Station 32 crew has been in a temporary setup at the future park site on 40th SW since 2015, long before construction began, except for Medic 32, which moved temporarily to Station 37 in Sunrise Heights.
A reminder, an update, and a followup, all related to the Fauntleroy Boulevard project:
WALK-AND-TALKS TOMORROW, SATURDAY: The two SDOT-hosted “Walk-and-Talk” tours announced last month are tomorrow and Saturday. On Thursday, it’s scheduled for noon-1:30 pm; Saturday, 10:30 am-noon, both starting outside LA Fitness at 39th SW/SW Alaska and continuing east to end at West Seattle Brewing, 4515 Fauntleroy Way SW. The plan, SDOT says, is to “share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback.”
PROJECT ARTIST ANNOUNCED: As with most such projects, this one will have public art, funded by the city’s 1% for Art program. SDOT announced this week that “a panel of community leaders, project staff and local artists selected Jill Anholt to develop the public art component.” The Vancouver, B.C.-based artist will be on tomorrow’s Walk-and-Talk tour. SDOT says she’ll be working with community suggestions:
Pick up a pre-paid postcard from a West Seattle Junction restaurant, coffee shop, or community center, fill in your West Seattle story, and mail it back to help inform the new art for Fauntleroy Way SW. You can also pick up a postcard at the Walk and Talks this week or fill out an online postcard on our project webpage.
According to the “call for art” from last year, the budget is $150,000.
ABOUT THE RIGHT-OF-WAY: As highlighted at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association (WSB coverage here), one concern for some businesses along the route is that they’ll be losing parking. The city says its plan is to build entirely in the “right of way.” So we followed up with SDOT (which wasn’t at the community group’s meeting) to ask about the public/private property delineation in the area. Project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey replied:
… in much of the project area, the sidewalk and street are poorly defined and people have become accustomed to using the public right-of-way for parking or loading. This means that people are sometimes driving and parking on the sidewalk. One of the main project goals is to organize the street to be more predictable and comfortable for all users. We achieve this, in part, by defining clear sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and vehicle lanes. Throughout the design process, we have been working with individual business owners to adjust our project designs for the right-of-way to accommodate their business operations; for example, by relocating loading zones and adjusting driveway placements.
The paved triangle just north of Wardrobe Cleaners is City-owned right-of-way. In the project design, this area will be converted into green stormwater infrastructure landscaping to help manage stormwater runoff. Based on our meetings with the owners of Wardrobe Cleaners, we have also incorporated into the design a “load zone driveway” in the right-of-way space between the new landscaping and the Wardrobe Cleaners’ building for customers to use for short-term loading.
At the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building, some of the area out front currently used as a parking lot is private property and some is public right-of-way. To access the parking area on private property, people drive their cars over the public sidewalk, and often inadvertently end up parking on the sidewalk/public right-of-way. We have been working with the property owner and business owners at this building to adjust the driveway placements in the design to maximize the amount of parking space on their private property. Even with these changes, the parking capacity in front of their building will be reduced from the mix of private and public space they’re accustomed to using for parking.
Even if right-of-way has been used in that way for a long time, McCaffrey says, “Washington State courts have held that property owned by governmental entities, including the City of Seattle, is not subject to adverse possession by private individuals or entities.” (Around residential property, for example, the “right of way” doesn’t end at the sidewalk.)
McCaffrey also addressed some concerns raised by Rudy’s Barbershop reps in relation to the recent meeting:
They noted that the design is based on out-of-date traffic data. Based on community feedback, we are in the process of conducting an additional traffic study on Fauntleroy to validate the findings of our original traffic study in 2012. We will share this data and any design adjustments it indicates with the community next month. Rudy’s Barbershop also raised concerns that the project does not add new pedestrian crossings. The project adds an additional crosswalk across Fauntleroy at 38th Ave SW. We have heard requests from the community for an additional crosswalk between SW Avalon Way and SW Oregon St. As we refine the design, we are examining the feasibility of adding an additional mid-block crosswalk in this area; as a part of our current traffic study, we are considering how this addition would affect safety and vehicle movements.
We’ve also asked about the status of the crosswalk that is supposed to be installed just west of the project zone, at 39th/Alaska/Fauntleroy, as part of the “public benefit package” for the alley vacation granted to The Whittaker (WSB sponsor) project, and are waiting to hear back from SDOT on that.
ADDED 1:52 PM: The reply on that: “The Whole Foods/Whittaker project design includes construction of a new crosswalk across SW Alaska St (crossing from the Whittaker to the Spruce, as you described). Based on our understanding of the Whittaker’s construction schedule, their project – including the new crosswalk – will be complete by the time we begin construction on the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, anticipated to begin in late 2017 or early 2018. If for some reason this crosswalk has not been installed by the time we are completing construction at that intersection, it is something that our project could build.”
While the official notices are not yet out, the city has penciled in a date for the Southwest Design Review Board‘s next look at two local projects of note. Both are now on the SWDRB calendar for Thursday, April 20th:
4754 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: This Triangle project on the site of a former pawn shop (and the parking lot to its north) is proposed for 108 apartments, 10 live-work units, and 107 offstreet-parking spaces. The review set for 6:30 pm on April 20th is the second and potentially final one for this project; here’s our report on the first one last August.
4220 SW 100TH: This Arbor Heights project proposing 9 three-story live-work units and 8 offstreet-parking spaces on the site of a former church is set for the 8 pm spot on April 20th. After the board took its first look at the project in January (WSB coverage here), it ordered a second round of Early Design Guidance – the stage in which size/shape comprise much of the discussion – so that’s what’ll be happening.
The “design packets” for these reviews – both happening at the Senior Center of West Seattle, the SWDRB’s regular venue in recent years – aren’t out yet; we’ll publish followups when they are.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Some Triangle-area businesses are worried that the Fauntleroy Boulevard project has too much in common with the 23rd Avenue project on the other side of Elliott Bay.
That was one of the concerns voiced during the launch meeting for the new Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association.
Not only did last Wednesday’s meeting draw about two dozen business reps and residents, it also drew the former City Councilmember who long advocated for the project – Tom Rasmussen – and the current City Councilmember who is somewhat shepherding it now – Lisa Herbold. (Both are West Seattleites.)
First, a bit of backstory in case you aren’t caught up on the recent “re-activation” of the project: Read More