Fewer Fauntleroy lanes? Updates from tonight’s “open house”

There’s your new word of the night: “Rechannelization.” That vocabulary enrichment is just one bit of a pile of new information we brought out of the SDOT open house at High Point Community Center tonight. The sign-in sheets indicate more than 120 people stopped in at some point tonight, almost three weeks after first word that “rechannelization” of Fauntleroy between Alaska and California – changing it to one lane each way, plus a center turn lane and a bike lane – was in the cards along with repaving. We visited tonight’s open house in the final hour, to get a good sense of how many people had shown up during the course of the night and what they were saying about the proposal; SDOT reps told us that they had quite the crowd even before the doors opened at 5:30 – read on for everything else we found out, about the proposed “rechannelization” and the repaving project, including enlightenment as to why the same potholes keep turning up in the same spots over and over again:

First, the easy part: New information about the repaving project.

To recap, we first reported October 15th that the mayor’s budget proposal included money to repave the stretch known, though not loved, as “Fauntle-Rut Way” — between Alaska and California. Then in the final stretch of budget crafting came word that the City Council had diverted some of the money to another project in the north end – but the mayor announced November 19th (WSB coverage here) that some repaving WOULD be done on Fauntleroy, and SDOT director Grace Crunican told us that day that her department just needs to figure out how much money it has and how far that money will go.

At tonight’s open house, a handout was available declaring May-October of next year as the time frame for the Fauntleroy Way repaving project, described in part: “This project will reconstruct the worst portions of the roadway between SW Alaska and California SW.”

SDOT’s Jessica Murphy explained exactly what that means: Whatever money they wind up with, they will start by tackling the center of the roadway – the part that seems to get the potholes over and over again, where your left wheels hit those ruts, no matter which way you’re going.

And we had never before heard why the road deteriorates in exactly that way, till she explained it tonight: Fauntleroy, like a few other West Seattle arterials (California among them), was built in thirds. One outside section, bare concrete, dates back to the late teens. The other outside section, concrete with some asphalt over it, was built about 10 years later. Then, at some point later, the middle – originally kept open for other uses (streetcars, typically) – was filled in with asphalt. So the center third of the roadway, about 18 feet wide, is the soft part. It will be completely rebuilt for the entire stretch, Murphy said, and whatever money they have after that, will determine what else they do. “It just wasn’t built to handle the traffic,” she concluded.

The handout distributed tonight includes a web address for project information on Fauntleroy repaving, but it’s not working yet – so we’ll publish an update when it is (and we’ll inquire tomorrow about how soon it’s likely to be up).

Now, on to the “rechannelization.” This information was distributed and discussed at a couple different “stations” at the open house. The busiest – throughout the event, we’re told – was the one manned by Eric Widstrand, the SDOT manager who talked with us for our second report on the fewer-lanes proposal:

That’s Widstrand in the background, second from left. His part of the project had an even-more-comprehensive handout, in FAQ mode; it isn’t available online yet so far as we can tell, so here are some excerpts:

Aren’t there too many cars on Fauntleroy for this to work?

The current average daily traffic on Fauntleroy is roughly 19,000 vehicles each day. National studies show that this level of traffic can be accommodated within the proposed 3-lane configuration.

How does SDOT know that reducing the number of lanes won’t decrease the capacity of the street? That doesn’t make sense.

We agree it seems odd, but we have rechannelized 15 streets over the past 30 years, without reducing capacity – a recent example is Stone Way in Fremont/Wallingford. The two-way left turn lane will allow left-turning vehicles to make their turn without blocking the through traffic, which increases efficiency.

What about safety?

Rechannelization has been shown to reduce rear-end collisions, side-swipe and angle collisions. These types of collisions are typical for Fauntleroy Way SW.

This handout also suggests SDOT may mark more crosswalks across Fauntleroy after “rechannelization,” will “adjust signal timing at California and Edmunds to keep vehicles moving on Fauntleroy,” and says the bike lane that would be added would run northbound — here’s the photo from the start of this report again:

Some people just weren’t buying it. “I GUARANTEE you’ll see a backup,” one attendee insisted to Widstrand. Another wanted to know how the situation would be monitored once the “rechannelization” is done; SDOT managers said it would take 3 to 6 months to realistically get a picture of how it’s working or not working, but in the meantime, they would review “public feedback” and watch the traffic flow firsthand “to see what the problems are.” Some potential problems were suggested by attendees in notes and dots they were invited to place on large maps laid out across several tables:

The timetable for this is a fast one – a final decision is to be made by the end of the month; SDOT managers say they will take the feedback from tonight’s open house and e-mail (walkandbike@seattle.gov), also from consultation with Metro regarding how “rechannelization” might affect the buses that run on that section of Fauntleroy, and finalize a recommendation – the final say is with SDOT director Grace Crunican (who lives in West Seattle).

Why such a fast timetable, we asked? It’s because the “rechannelization” is being bundled with the repaving, which goes to bid early next year.

46 Replies to "Fewer Fauntleroy lanes? Updates from tonight's "open house""

  • ivan December 2, 2008 (6:15 am)

    I attended the meeting for 90 minutes and spoke at length with Widstrand and with Peter Lagerwey, whom I had spoken with before by phone. I came away with the distinct impression that these people are going to ram this “rechannelization” down our throats whether anyone likes it or not, and that this meeting was just so they could say they solicited input.

    They all admit that this will slow traffic down. Look, I have been using Fauntleroy for 32 years now, and I DO NOT EXCEED THE SPEED LIMIT, OK? But there are people who drive 5-10 miles under the speed limit wherever they are and whatever the speed limit is. We have all been stuck behind them at one time or another. We need to get around them, as we can do now, just to be able to go 35.

    We are in a recession, folks. People need their jobs and they need to get to them on time. Not everyone is so fortunate as to get to to choose where they work these days, or to choose their hours,or their mode of transportation. You show up when the boss tells you to. How you get there is your problem, and if you don’t, there are dozens more to take your place.

    This “rechannelization” will slow traffic on Fauntleroy to a crawl when people need that passing lane the most. I am not talking about speeding here; I’m talking about just being able to drive 35.

    Buses will block traffic, especially articulated buses, which always stick their hind ends into the traffic lane. Emergency vehicles will have a tougher time getting to Harborview.

    I support almost any measure that would increase pedestrian safety, but not this one. I suggested that they could install more pedestrian-activated traffic signals along Fauntleroy, just so people could get across the street. Commuters might curse and swear, but few to none would run a red light. They have added several of these in the Lincoln Park and Gatewood areas already. I suggested this to Widstrand; his eyes kind of glazed over.

    The area that Fauntleroy serves is only going to increase in population, not decrease. It is just a matter of time until daily vehicle use exceeds 20,000, which appears to be some kind of benchmark for instituting these “road diets.” But Widstrand stated blithely “Oh, no, our figures indicate that traffic on Fauntleroy is actually decreasing.”

    At that point I knew the fix was in. Everything they told me was counterintuitive, and entirely contrary to my experience.

    The Seattle Department of Transportation has lost all credibility for this citizen. Its agenda (SDOT = Slow Down Our Traffic) is entirely political. West Seattle is not being well served by this administration.

  • SS December 2, 2008 (6:42 am)

    How can we fight this? This is already an extremely congested area with plenty of West Seattle traffic let alone ferry traffic. I travel this road every day and have for years. It is a major thoroughfare with critical metro bus routes as well. Today, traffic can move around the buses with the additional lane, what they are proposing doesn’t allow for that. This idea is just a waste of our money.

  • mar3c December 2, 2008 (7:03 am)

    if you don’t live along this four-lane stretch, then you have no idea why those of us who do really don’t care about anyone’s “inconvenience.”
    fauntleroy is dangerous for all modes of transportation.
    adding five minutes to your commute might cost you your job? give me a break.
    speeding jackasses cost local residents’ life and limb. put a price on that.

  • ivan December 2, 2008 (8:27 am)

    To mar3c:

    I was quite clear that I do not exceed the speed limit, nor do I condone exceeding it, and that I support and advocate for more pedestrian-operated red lights — and whatever safety features could be added, including stricter speed limit enforcement — that stop short of funneling two lanes into one.

    If I thought this “restriping” would add only five minutes to a commute, it would be no big deal. But when you combine it with the Viaduct replacement, whatever form that takes, it takes time from people’s lives that many of them could use more productively, despite your cavalier dismissals.

    For many people, it is much more than mere “convenience.” Chances are that Fauntleroy Way SW was an arterial before you were living there. You are not the only one who has a stake in this game.

  • Bring it on! December 2, 2008 (8:33 am)

    Ivan says that it is important to be able to pass a slow car to be able to travel 35 mph….. Boo hoo!
    I travel that roadway everyday too and MOST cars go between 40-45. We need to slow this down to make it safe for everyone.
    Emergency vehicles will be able to travel in the center turn lane and get to where they are going fast. The Harborview concern, again by Ivan is baloney.
    Whenever the ferry docks and for about 60 minutes in the evening there will be a slight slower and more sane commute for everyone, including the “citizen” of Vashon named Ivan.

  • Dan December 2, 2008 (8:40 am)

    I too attended the session and it was a sham ‘public comment’ meeting – they fully intend to proceed regardless of the number of ‘no’ comments received. If you want to raise a complaint urgently please email jan.drago@seattle.gov who is the Seattle City Council member responsible for transportation. I sent one last night. You can also email george.frost@seattle.gov who is the public outreach coordinator to lodge your complaints too.

    jessica.murphy@seattle.gov is the project manager for the paving aspect of this – you can contact her and she will forward too to the right parties. Do so immediately as this thing is being rubber stamped in about two weeks.

  • Delridge Resident December 2, 2008 (8:55 am)

    You guys are lucky, I wish they would slow the speed limit to 25 on Delridge too. The roads in West Seattle are dangerous there is no reason for speed limits to exceed 25mph when there are so many schools and parks in West Seattle. I have never seen any other city that has 35mph speed limits through school zones or near parks and community centers.
    35mph may have been a great speed limit 32 years ago but if you haven’t noticed West Seattle has grown a little over the last few decades and more people means more dangerous drivers. I will admit there are a few drivers that stay at the 35mph speed limit, but there are also many drivers that exceed the speed limit when they drive too. Do you want your kids crossing the street in front of people who are driving 40-45mph?
    I hope they do cram the “Rechannelization” down your throat and I hope they move on and change all the other 35mph speed limits in West Seattle too.

  • Stephanie December 2, 2008 (9:05 am)

    With a 25mph on Delridge or any other major street causes a huge congestion. Try sitting behind someone doing barely 30 on your way to the bridge and you want to scream. We just can’t have all roads be 25mph. You can take 25 and cram it down your throat!

  • Yo December 2, 2008 (9:07 am)

    Take 20,000 passenger cars. Say 40% of that traffic load runs from 6-9am and 4-7pm (i.e. 6 hours, or 25% of the day).

    20,000 passenger cars x 0.40 / 6 hours = 1,333 cars/hr.

    Now say 70% runs east in the morning and 70% west in the morning. (i.e. we are not going to divide in half).

    1,333 x 0.75 = 1000 cars/hr per peak lane (eastbound lane in morning, westbound lane in evening).

    If you google around, I believe the highest capacity (at crummy congested levels) of a two-way unlimited access road is 1600 cars/hr/lane (a road without a center turn lane; a center turn lane helps increase capacity a bit). So I’m guessing 1000/cars/lane should keep traffic moving just fine.

    So my rough numbers say things should be fine except only at rare instances. Of course, I made up my numbers, but they can’t be wildly off the mark but not necessarily near the mark either.

    Also, they could always re-stripe if needed (relatively soon, if traffic is bad. in the future to accommodate growth in traffic).

    ** This post wasn’t researched very well – FYI **

  • ivan December 2, 2008 (9:15 am)

    To Delridge Resident:

    I would like you to show me, please, one single school zone in this city that does not have a 20 mph speed limit, plainly marked, with flashing yellow lights.

    Argue for lower speed limits if you like, but please don’t make stuff up. It is illegal to drive 35 mph through a school zone, period, and people who do should have the book thrown at them.

    Fauntleroy is safe enough when people drive 35 and no higher, and maintain a safe braking distance.

  • Lindsey December 2, 2008 (9:28 am)

    What time of the day is this section of the road the most crowded? I live on this street, and I walk and drive it everyday. I’m just not seeing the kind of huge congestion that’s being talked about here. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, I’m just trying to educate myself about the issue.

  • SS December 2, 2008 (9:28 am)

    1. 25 mph is a ridiculous suggestion.
    2. kids should be crossing at cross walks that’s what they are for. if they aren’t then that’s the parents fault.
    3. people will just speed down residential streets to avoid the congestion… which do you want…
    4. made up numbers are made up numbers
    5. why not just remove the street parking along Fauntleroy, it causes just as many problems. people manuevering to try and park, people with doors ajar, unable to see beyond parked cars to turn on to fauntleroy, we could have the bike path all along the ol’ parking if that’s what is driving this proposal.

  • Allie December 2, 2008 (9:28 am)

    FYI: The web page for the project should be up some time today. I’m just waiting on final approval. I’ll ask about Eric’s FAQ as well. Thanks! Allie Gerlach – SDOT Web Manager

  • TFP December 2, 2008 (9:49 am)

    I am willing to give up 30 seconds of travel time for the increased safety of my fellow West Seattle residents and their children.

    The proposed change make sense to me, and seem like they may increase throughput on the street as drivers won’t have to contend with stopped cars making turns. It also gives drivers a little more room for error around the “s-curves”.

    Fauntleroy Way isn’t an expressway, and doesn’t need 4 lanes. Hopefully SDOT will stick with the expertise of their engineers and makes a safer street for West Seattle.

  • JEM December 2, 2008 (10:05 am)

    I am not part of the “ferry traffic” but would like to say that the rest of Fauntleroy works just fine. It is such a nicer drive without worrying about being sideswiped by someone not staying in their lane. As for the California to the bridge section – maybe some people do keep it to 35 but then you are the slow poke holding everyone back because most drivers are going faster than that. It is not a freeway – it is actually a residential street. Like TFP says – I am willing to give up 30 seconds as well. If you are worried you will be late for work then get up earlier and plan your trip accordingly.

  • SS December 2, 2008 (10:19 am)

    People why are your kids randomly crossing a main thoroughfare… use a crosswalk. i’d support additional crosswalks but certainly not reducing lanes. We only have 2 main streets this end of WS. Reducing lanes is only going to create more situations where drivers are cruising thru your residential streets.

    Think big picture.

  • Sue December 2, 2008 (10:22 am)

    People, we’re talking a one mile stretch of road here (from Alaska to California); it’s not going to be the congestion nightmare that people are talking about. I live in this stretch and wholeheartedly support this change to one lane in each direction.
    The suggestion of removing street parking on Fauntleroy is ridiculous – this is a residential street, and not everyone has off-street parking. Maybe the people speeding on through should just pay attention when practically running over the people trying to get in and out of cars there.
    And the comment about the buses causing backups also won’t happen. The only buses that run on this stretch are the 54X (which are like 6 a day in each direction, rush hour only), and the Vashon buses (which are not articulated, and also aren’t very many). California has far more bus traffic (almost all articulated) and it’s only one lane in each direction. The bus stops are in the curb lane, and they pull over to pick up and discharge passengers, out of the way of traffic. Yes, they’ll have to pull back into the travel lane, but so will people pulling out of side streets, driveways, parking spots, etc. I really don’t see the big deal.

  • swensi December 2, 2008 (10:33 am)

    This will put a ton more traffic on side-streets. Unless the purpose of this lane reorganization is to push commuters off of arterials and into neighborhoods, I say it shouldn’t be done.

    Very poor planning on SDOT’s part.

  • James Roche December 2, 2008 (10:53 am)

    3 things:

    1) Citing the Stone Way project is not winning SDOT any fans of people who survived that mess. I lived in Green Lake and worked in Fremont at the time, and Stone Way was my route to work. SDOT proposed and implemented an excellent solution, but neglected to allocate space for parking. They then re-rechannelized the stretch and created a mess. Every day there’s a backup where drivers idle for 10-20 minutes just to get into Wallingford, and the only alternative, with 99 to the west and a neighborhood to the east, is to endanger pedestrians and families on side streets.

    2) Where is the bike study? SDOT has car numbers and promises that they know what’s going to happen when they stifle throughput, but there’s no numbers on how many cyclists will benefit from this. I seem like a jerk for bringing up this point, but it facilitates the next question which is:

    3) What’s wrong with 40th St. for cyclists? Why not take an unmistakably underutilized thoroughfare and purpose it for bikes? The notion of a grid pattern in a city always guarantees another road exactly one block away from the road you’re talking about, and 40th runs from Morgan to Alaskan without a diversion. Cars are going to hop on that road anyway, why not keep things safer for bikes and 40th St residents?

    I’m sorry. I ride bikes, I share the road when I’m driving, but the cyclists are dead wrong on this one. Since Mayor Nickels allocated money to the cycle-friendly program, there’s been a bloodlust for space on neighborhood thoroughfares. This one is demonstratively misplaced. If there wasn’t a ferry dumping 100 cars onto the street every hour, it would be a much different story. There are dozens of streets that are safer for bikes than the main road, this just doesn’t make sense.

  • ivan December 2, 2008 (11:00 am)

    “Residential street?” Hardly. Fauntleroy has always been an arterial, and a commuter arterial at that. The Fauntleroy ferry dock has been there since 1927, probably before anyone who reads this blog was born — and that dock isn’t going anywhere, folks.

    Calling Fauntleroy a “residential street” hardly makes it one. The notion that this “restriping” will add only “30 seconds” to people’s commute time simply beggars reality.

  • Michael Snyder December 2, 2008 (11:42 am)

    Just a couple questions:
    1. How much cheaper is it to put a bicycle on the ferry than a car?
    2. Has anyone surveyed ferry passengers to see how many car trips would be replaced with bicycle trips if there were a nice bike route to and from the ferry?

  • ivan December 2, 2008 (11:58 am)

    To Michael Snyder:

    The answer to your second question is “very few” because of the distances involved. There simply aren’t enough bicyclists to justify such a radical change.

    But if Metro was to put a “through bus” on every ferry, and passengers could board the bus on Vashon and not get off it until they got downtown, that would replace A LOT of car trips.

    That move alone would get more people out of their cars and those cars off of Fauntleroy Way than anything else, but it would have to include preferential loading for buses — whereby buses would be the first let on the ferry and the first let off.

    If Metro were to do this and commit to keeping it going, I’d reassess my position on restriping. As things stand now, I remain opposed.

  • Leann December 2, 2008 (12:16 pm)

    My concern for the West Seattle residents is that this traffic alteration will not accommodate the traffic surges that come from the ferry traffic.

    Of 19,000 vehicles, the ferry traffic is about 2.22% of the volume of traffic. Did the national studies include the ferry traffic surging pattern?

    The Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal is a transportation chokepoint. Based on maximum boat capacity and the Vashon/Southworth ferry schedule during commute times, 100 vehicles need to be off-loaded and another 100 vehicles loaded every 27 (average) minutes.

    If traffic surges can’t be cleared every 27 minutes, a greater number of vehicles will remain in the area for a longer period of time. This will increase exposure to unsafe situations, traffic noise, and pollutants for West Seattle residents. From my perspective, ferry loading pattern will alter, making the ferry wait longer which takes up precious residential parking space.

    WSF reported an expected increase in ridership. I have seen numbers of up to 30% increase. I could not find bike ridership numbers. However, since the gas prices, I have noted more scooters and motorcycles on the ferry.

    — my 2 cents

  • James Roche December 2, 2008 (12:19 pm)

    Just talked to the Eric Wilstrand from SDOT…

    The bottom line is: This project is happening. His quote is that nothing short of a technical blocking factor will change plans on this. Fauntleroy Way is going to change, and none of the information from the hearings, again, short of the emergence of issues related to the technical implementation of the plan, will interrupt the plan.

    Eric did say that he’d get back to me on when they will have information for the community on the SDOT website. Currently, a search for “Fauntleroy” on their site yields nothing related to this project.

  • JW December 2, 2008 (12:21 pm)

    Fauntleroy sure looks like a residential street. There are residences on both sides.

    I drive on Fauntleroy and I also cross it as a pedestrian, especially when I want to go to the public library on the other side of it. You know, trying to enjoy the amenities of this great city we live in (libraries, sidewalks, walkable neighborhoods).

    I couldn’t support this project more. Anyone who carps about adding 30 seconds of driving time to their commute needs to park it, get out, and try to cross Fauntleroy on foot at, say, Raymond, ideally around 5pm. It’s at best scary and at worst life-threatening.

    Oh, there’s a crosswalk one should go several blocks out of their way to take? Why is pedestrians’ time less precious than drivers’ time?

  • WSB December 2, 2008 (12:33 pm)

    Note that Allie from SDOT posted a comment above that she hoped to take the webpage live soon. I will post separately as soon as that happens – I have the URL from the handout that was provided last night, and even though it’s still 404ing I’ll put it here in case you want to keep checking yourself too:

  • swensi December 2, 2008 (12:38 pm)

    JW – A few things for you to consider:
    Fauntleroy is an “arterial”, with a speed limit of 35mph (higher than the Admiral Way hill climb). It is meant for, and works quite successfully as, a high-volume vehicle thoroughfare. 42nd Ave, for example, is a “residential street” with a speed limit of 20mph.
    Anyone who thinks this will add only 30 seconds of drive-time to their commute is delusional. Really.
    If you’re concerned about pedestrians, JR, you will be quite unhappy with the hundreds of cars you’ll have to avoid that will be using true “residential” streets once this lane revision is made.
    It’s sad that this is a done deal. SDOT is showing true lack of foresight and neighborhood concern.

  • Aaron December 2, 2008 (12:55 pm)

    Think about the population growth that is about to occur in WS, with all of these new condos and apartments springing up.

    With a proper, safer infrastructure for cyclists and peds, we will be better prepared to deal with growth and encourage alternative forms of transport. With less cars on the road, those that do need to drive will have less congestion.

    It’s symbiotic, not us vs. them. 3 people (2 peds, one cyclist) have already died on 35th in the 6 years I’ve lived here. These are residential streets first, arterials second.

  • ss December 2, 2008 (1:50 pm)

    Aaron – I’m sorry but have to repeat what swensi said : Fauntleroy is an “arterial”, with a speed limit of 35mph (higher than the Admiral Way hill climb). It is meant for, and works quite successfully as, a high-volume vehicle thoroughfare. 42nd Ave, for example, is a “residential street” with a speed limit of 20mph.

  • Correction December 2, 2008 (2:20 pm)

    All city streets are 25 mph speedlimits unless otherwise marked, not 20 mph.

  • swensi December 2, 2008 (2:35 pm)

    Yes, 25mph not 20mph. My bad. Doesn’t change the arterial situation.

  • Jacob December 2, 2008 (2:49 pm)

    – West Seattle and Vashon populations are expected to boom in the upcoming decade. While SDOT statistics suggest the proposed restriping could handle current traffic volumes, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of room for future growth.

    – Fauntleroy is an arterial and used heavily by commuters. People live on Aurora too, but that doesn’t really make it a “residential street.” For traffic volumes to remain low on truly residential streets, West Seattle does need some Arterials to handle commuter traffic and help people get wherever they need to go quickly and efficiently.

    – I question the need for cycling lanes. I’ve ridden along/drove on this strip for over 20 years and I seldom see cyclists. I’m sure this is partially a product of cyclists avoiding skinny lanes, poor pavement, and fast passing cars, but I have no reason to believe that dedicated cycle lanes would get much use.

  • J December 2, 2008 (7:22 pm)

    I guess ivan and I don’t drive on the same Fauntleroy: I can count on one hand the times I’ve been slowed by someone driving less than the speed limit. But at least daily, I have someone (ivan, probably) breathing down my neck while I’m going the speed limit.

    ivan, maybe your speedometer needs checking. (Mine always agrees with those electronic speed-checking signs, so I think it’s okay.)

  • ivan December 2, 2008 (7:26 pm)

    So does mine pal.

  • Dan December 2, 2008 (7:37 pm)

    Faunterloy is clearly and explicitly defined as an arterial by the Seattle Dept of Transportation and by city ordinance standards. The SDOT people at the meeting last night explicitly confirmed that it is defined as the “highest” level arterial. California for example is a secondary arterial.

  • Dawson December 2, 2008 (8:33 pm)

    I cycle into work and ride my bike a lot. I don’t think it’s an ‘us vs them’ mentality to give folks that drive a motorized vehicle a route that doesn’t involve dealing with bicycles. I know I look for routes to avoid major arterials to keep an issue from happening (I’ve had some close calls). I notice a lot more bicycle commuters pedaling up California than I do up Fauntleroy. The fact is the weather in Seattle is not like San Diego, and as a result folks are going to drive their cars to get places. Doesn’t make them bad and I don’t blame them. Their time is worth something to them. The bike lobby does need take its blinders off on some of the master plan aspects for the city, and SDOT really needs to get out and ride these ‘proposed’ routes a few times on a bike to see if they make sense.

  • mar3c December 2, 2008 (9:05 pm)

    jacob: aurora is a bad comparison. it’s a state highway. nonetheless, it is annoying to its neighbors, so i guess you prove the point of all of us who live near fauntleroy who approve of the rechannelization: who wants to live by a highway? which is exactly how we see it. and hear it. and try to cross it.
    then there’s the fact that a lot of the worst abusers on fauntleroy really *are* racing. (or are just plain stoopid.) i hear it all the time. why give them the option?
    then riddle me this: why is fauntleroy way from morgan junction to the dock perfectly serviceable for car traffic – ferry surges or not – but somehow the reduction of lanes from edmunds to morgan junction will be catastrophic?
    if what the naysayers say is true, then traffic just southwest of morgan junction would be a disaster.
    as far as commuters cutting off fauntleroy on side streets: half of the streets don’t go through. and we’re lobbying for speed bumps on the ones that do.
    yeah, yeah, i know: “good luck with the gub’mint.”

  • mar3c December 2, 2008 (9:41 pm)

    “If I thought this “restriping” would add only five minutes to a commute, it would be no big deal. But when you combine it with the Viaduct replacement, whatever form that takes, it takes time from people’s lives that many of them could use more productively, despite your cavalier dismissals.”
    1. like i said, how much time does it take from the people who get t-boned or run over in crosswalks along fauntleroy?
    2. what happens outside of fauntleroy *stays* outside of fauntleroy. just kidding, kind of. but (a) i’ll bet there are some regrets about that “no” vote for the monorail now, huh? foresight sucks! (b) never mind the viaduct; see sdot’s web site about the spokane street viaduct replacement if you’re *really* concerned about delays. it still has nothing to do with fauntleroy.
    3. even if sdot was just fixing the deficient road structure – which leads to the potholes that everyone abhors so much – you would be inconvenienced from may-september, 2009. or have your business disrupted. or whatever. so let’s keep our powder dry. if it’s an unmitigated disaster, i’ll help you put it back the way it was.
    “For many people, it is much more than mere “convenience.” Chances are that Fauntleroy Way SW was an arterial before you were living there. You are not the only one who has a stake in this game.”
    i fail to see how freight (what little there is along the stretch in question) would be hurt. beyond that, who has a bigger stake than the people who live along fauntleroy?
    to those who are paralyzed with fear about being stuck behind a metro, i point to eastlake avenue east. same configuration, only much narrower than fauntleroy. (i.e. here in w.seattle there is more room for buses to exit traffic at bus stops.) it carries *way* more volume; it has electric buses; it has that goofy trolley; and it has a drawbridge at one end and the mercer mess at the other.

  • TB December 2, 2008 (10:48 pm)

    I attended the Open House last evening. Yes, it seems SDOT has made a decision to “rechannelize” Fauntleroy as the written language was very clear on that. “We are rechannelinzing…” Wow – a swift decision in Seattle. I only hope when the problems this creates arise they can “rechannalize” as swiftly (at tax payer expense.) I applaud wanting to improve saftey: reducing car speed to closer to the 35 mph limit from current 40 mph average of “most” of the cars; increasing pedestrian safety for crossing and adding room for bicycles. Adding a pedestrian activated cross walk at Graham or Raymond could help. Removing some parking to add turn lanes could also help accomplish some of these goals. Removing parking from one or both sides of the street could accomplish all of these while keeping two lanes in each direction. Note: there were less than 100 parked cars total (both sides) on that stretch over the last week during morning and even commute hours. Adding restricted parking to non-commute hours could work as well to free up space to keep two lanes each direction wth turn lanes, bike lane and/or sharrows added. I recognize this won’t be popular with those 100 folks who park on both sides of the arterial, but Fauntleroy is an arterial and off street parking is a priviledge not a right.

    NOTHING in the presentation materials mentioned impact on travel time. Is that not important for traffic planners? Does SDOT not know the impact? If not, shame. If they do, why not publish it? Might it seem like bad news? If it is bad news and they withhold it, then shame again. Doing the math: if this change adds only 2 minutes each way during communte hours, then that is 20 minutes a week or 30 plus hours a year (factoring in some vacation.) Multiply that by 10,000 cars (for ease of math and assuming 55% of traffic is peak hours) that is 300,000 hours a year. You can see the absurdity of imnpact on time of trying to change a four lane arterial into two lane street if it adds only a couple miutes to commute times. Couple this with the increased travel times to downtown on the horizon around the Alaska Way Viaduct replacement options and you could easy hit 1,000,000 (1 million hours) a year lost to poor traffic planning for commuters from West Seattle. That says something to the quality of life and lost time from families. Why was commute time not a value in this equation? Is that not important to SDOT? Not all people can ride the bus or bicycle. Like it or not we need to share the same surface streets and commute times are a value – it is part of why many of us choose West Seattle as home. Does Fauntleroy have to be all things to all: commuters, pedestrians, bicylists and parked cars. Maybe somebody has to give – should it be the 19,000 cars? I think not.

    Another analogy was made by some at the Open House that rechannilizing this stretch will make it a nice drive like the stretch by Lincoln Park. Eric from SDOT did not have exact numbers on how many of the 19,000 cars using this stretch also use the stretch by Lincoln Park, but it seems from the rough numbers he did have that at least a third come into the “channel” at California. To compare the “nice drive” by Lincoln Park of 12,00 vehicles daily to what this will create for 19,000 vehicles at Fairmount Park is spurious at best given the difference in volume.

    There are other issues with the one lane each way with turn lane rechannelization: It would seem to make it nearly impossible to cross Fauntleroy from the east side to the west side on side streets like Raymond, Juneau and Dawson. Thus, nearby residents will suffer from the inability to cross Fauntleroy. (Try crossing Fauntleroy at Othello with only 12,000 cars on that stretch)

    Lastly, those who use Fauntleory to go from Gatewood to the Alaska junction due to the slow flow on California will either take residential streets or simply opt to not drive to the Junction and shop (I love to walk it or bike it, but don’t always have the time.) Will it be that it will eventually be more convenient for West Seattlites south of Morgan Street to get to South Center do shopping and give the business support and tax revenue elsewhere. I hope not.

    As I see it, the positive in this “rechannelization” is that the decision is being made swiftly. I would hate to have to vote five times due to poor leadership. May corrections to the problems this creates be made as swiftly.

  • Jacob December 2, 2008 (11:19 pm)

    No matter how they decide to paint the lanes Fauntleroy needs to be repaved asap. I’m a motorcyclist and the inside lanes at Juneau, particularly southbound, are exceptionally unsafe.

    I can appreciate the fact SDOT is moving fast on this project, I just don’t agree with the way they are proceeding.

  • A bike guy December 3, 2008 (8:14 pm)

    I question why this Ivan guy is so passionate against this. I don’t hear any compelling facts behind his arguments. SDOT has years of data and engineering behind their decisions. They have public safety and complete streets in mind. Ivan offers speculation and fear tactics. All I hear from the residents is support – they live there and they know the safety problems.

    Ivan and others talk about the lack of bikes on this stretch of Fauntleroy. And how few Vahonites would take advantage of biking because the “distances are too far”. Spoken like someone who probably hasn’t ridden a bike in well.. a long time. This is a “build it and they will come” situation folks. Bikers are inconvenienced by having to ride out of the way to get to their destination. Many ride around Alki to avoid this mess. 4 miles farther. In case you’re wondering, that takes more than 5 minutes. As a cyclist who has survived this gauntlet for almost every day the past 8 years, I’ve spoken to many people who would consider riding if it were safer.

    All these suggestions on what to do with the bikes seem to come from those who have no experience. SDOT’s Pete Lagerway is an internationally known urban cycling expert. What are your qualifications? Does Ivan know more about traffic engineering than people like Eric Widstrand who has made it his career?

    Speculation, fear of change, worrying that you might become a little inconvenienced on occasion. Cmon folks, safety is more important. Lets trust that SDOT has the best interests of safety and mobility for all not just cars.

  • A multi-modal guy December 4, 2008 (2:43 am)

    Yo “bike guy”

    Ivan cares because he lives in West Seattle, and has for a long long time. He’s sat through years and years of the exact same SDOT bullsh*t and lies that have rationalized unfettered growth even as they have constricted infrastructure, and he and everyone else who has been paying attention knows damn well that they were lying a few months ago when they swore up and down that they hadn’t made their minds up about this plan and they were waiting for public input before they really decided.

    Bottom line – on a street with close to 20k cars per day that serves a ferry route that generates serious peak hour demand, it’s ludicrous to reduce the capacity by 25% to facilitate the movement of 1% of 1% of users who use bikes in the hope that you’ll double that to 2% of 1%. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    Every penny SDOT spends studying/spinning/justifying/imposing nonsense like this will be enshrined in their failure to actually fix streets or add new sidewalks in the rest of the City. Having followed their “work” for decades, they have about the same level of credibility with me that GW Bush does – which is to say, none.

    By the way – this is the same SDOT that has been removing crosswalks citywide in an effort to limit the City’s liability for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, right?

    I’d say your trust is misplaced.

  • A bike guy December 4, 2008 (8:52 pm)

    Yo multi-modal guy

    It’s funny how people get that “feel-good” from concepts like multi modal and sustainability until it threatens their own special interests. The re-channel is not just for bikes. It is primarily for driver safety (look at the accident reports mr. traffic engineer), and secondarily for non-motorized safety – bikes & peds. I suspect you’re as qualified to make judgments on traffic engineering as I am to give you a lobotomy. If it doesn’t suit your special interests, waa waa waa. Who cares if it’s for the better of the community, right?

    I don’t care how long you’ve lived in W Sea. Some day you should go to another city and compare the condition of their roads to ours. If you knew anything about SDOT you’d know that just about in their leadership has worked there for less than a few years, so don’t give us your years of BS & lies rant.

    And tell me about the cross walks that are being removed? Are they the ones that were recently moved to Fauntleroy? Maybe a few have been removed to your inconvenience hence SDOT is a bunch of lying idiots. waa waa waa.

    Try something different if you don’t like sitting in traffic multi-modal guy. The world is not here for your convenience.

  • Miranda December 8, 2008 (12:23 am)

    I am in favor of the rechanneling of Fauntleroy. I want to have a turning lane so my car turn left onto Juneau without gettin rear-ended.
    A turning lane so everyone there can walk across Fauntleroy with a safe haven in the center would be marvelous.

    A bike lane would allow us one more safer bike route to the market, bank, post office, and shopping. Beautiful!

    Thanks SDOT for getting this done!

  • Kingsley S Hall Jr. December 17, 2008 (1:25 am)

    I married a now deceased West Seattle High Graduate, We lived there several years. Owned duplexes there at Calif. & 35th. Our son went to grade & WS High there and lives there now. So although I now live in Elma, WA West Seattle is one of my home towns. I note your concerns re; effect of a ten year construction period for replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct on West Seattle’s Transportation systems & infrastructure That being said I beg you to consider the information on the attached web site. Note the Seattle media blackout of this info where the Portland Oregonian & Spoksman Review (Spokane, WA) both gave over half the front page. The Governor was going to tear down the viaduct immediately but it’s possible she decided to call for the yes/no yes/no vote after reading the info in attached web. If anyone agrees please advise the Governor’s Office soon as possible because the two options left tha she is alledgedly considering are unacceptable unless something else in place first. Search with Google on “Floating Bridges” and note those in the world of this size built in ten months. Thanks for looking.

    Merry Xmas to West Seattle Friends

  • Kingsley S Hall Jr. December 17, 2008 (1:34 am)

    I don’t see the web site url so maybe I should have inserted it thus for copy and paste


    Thanks again for everybodys time

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