West Seattle, Washington
Or progress toward progress, according to this city news release.
I’ve looked at the list of advisors and am reasonably pleased that all sides are – indeed – represented. My only concern is that this has all the makings of a (and here there is only one term and it’s not very family friendly so I’ll just begin it and leave the rest to your imagination) cluster-
Now, now, Chas… have a little hope.
The key item to notice here in the use of the phrase “moving people and goods” which is exactly what we want. This is a profound change happening in our state that changes the vision from moving vehicles to emphasizing mobility for both people and business. It’s not about roads vs. transit; it’s about efficiency. It will be interesting to see how this changes some of the studies coming out of the agencies.
I’d also be interested in the meeting dates. I’m presuming these will be open discussions and that interested parties can at least listen live and in person. As I said, I am hopeful (or hinted that I was) because I know a goodly number of the folks represented on the advisory board. Once again I’m dismayed that this is the first public notice of anything like this that we’ve heard about and it’s in the form of a “done deal.”
I’m comfortable enough knowing several of the advisory board members because I know they will reflect some degree of my interests and concerns. It’s not the advisory board that concerns me, it’s the thought process of the agencies involved.
More to the point, WSDOT builds and maintains roads; SDOT builds and maintains roads; KC DOT builds and maintains roads. All of these entities are, in fact, highway departments. This means these agencies don’t think about a pallet of wood getting across a dense and traffic-light-laden city – they think about creating a new “route” where that pallet (on a truck) can get from point A to B without disruptions.
Look at the new Atlantic St. overpass-surface 99 work which SDOT/WSDOT recently put together. It’s true, they will be able to move massive numbers of containers off ships and onto trains and trucks and directly into either the UP or BNSF tracks or I-90 or I-5 without so much as touching a surface street. This is the work presently underway at the south end of the Viaduct – the work which everyone agreed needed to be done.
Guess what? They did improve the bicycle and pedestrian environment in the adjacent area (the East Marginal side) by creating new sidewalk to replace broken old sidewalk (these are plans, now, it ain’t done yet) but they also added a new 5-way light which pedestrians and cyclists now have to negotiate and wait through. Under the present environment, cyclists and pedestrians have a pretty lousy environment but they can walk a straight line without being interrupted between Washington St. and Spokane St.
So, the latest WSDOT/SDOT infrastructure improvement does a lot for freight “mobility” but doesn’t do that much for pedestrian or bicycle mobility. I’m gauging my expectations on what I’ve seen from these agencies.
And, yes, I did comment in person, via email and on their website to both SDOT and WSDOT with regards to my opinion of their plans. Freight guys win big time. City dwellers, users of personal vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians – not so much.
I’m not doubting that whatever this new Governor-mandated team will come up won’t be super for freight. Will I still be able to visit my friends in Wedgwood in less than 30 minutes regularly, though? Or will I be able to easily move band gear from WS to Ballard in the same 20 to 25 minutes?
There are some very interesting questions this group will have to address. I’m all eyes and ears at this point.
But remember, the Green Line opens Saturday! We can always take that while the viaduct crumbles…
Oh, yeah. I forgot–our wonderful green Mayor Gridlock decided we should have a cute little 20 mph streetcar for South Lake Union, instead.
Sorry, comment time is over.