The City Council’s Transportation Committee – chaired by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – just got briefed by SDOT staff on the Pigeon Point road closure/detour/parking-restriction situation, and how the “unpleasant surprise” factor might be avoided in a future situation. Rasmussen, of course, was very familiar with the details, because he responded to neighbors’ requests for help and visited Pigeon Point (photo left) the weekend before the 23rd SW homebuilding-related closure took effect on Feb. 22. This discussion happened during the “SDOT director’s report” section of this morning’s committee meeting – acting SDOT chief Peter Hahn yielded the floor to SDOT’s Eric Widstrand, whose recap included this official map showing the originally proposed detours (etc.) and the revised version. The map also clearly shows what Hahn acknowledged was unusual about this situation – a road closure in one area, with major impacts on people living blocks away. Widstrand acknowledged that the main heads-up for the public was the original detour sign that some interpreted to say Delridge was closing, as first reported here on Feb. 10. (One clarification: Widstrand told the committee that developer Jon Riser had “notified” WSB, but we did NOT get any sort of “notification” from him or the city before the Delridge sign went up, though he did participate in a site discussion, quickly answered our request for comment, and was lauded for working with neighbors once he heard their concerns.) The mea culpa boiled down to: In most closures like this, apparently it’s OK to leave the notification to the developer – SDOT issues permits for thousands of closures every year. But an unusual situation like this should raise a red flag, and, Widstrand said, could be grounds for a community open house a month before closures/changes kick in. Rasmussen noted that could have saved a lot of time and trouble here, explaining that though Metro apparently didn’t consider the optimal reroute because of a tree in the way, neighbors told him that if they’d been brought into advance discussions, they could have explained that the neighbor who owns the tree would be happy to have it trimmed.
West Seattle, Washington