West Seattle road-work update: 35th/Avalon bus stops

At Saturday’s Westwood Village Street Fair, someone who stopped by the WSB booth asked us what’s up with the seemingly endless work on the bus stops at 35th/Avalon – RapidRide-related work that’s been anything but rapid. Just so happens that SDOT‘s Marybeth Turner has provided this “progress report”:

After some unforeseen challenges that delayed work on the RapidRide bus stops at 35th Avenue SW and SW Avalon Way, the contractor has begun pouring the new sidewalk on the west side of the street, and hopes to reopen the sidewalk on the west side of the street by the end of the week of June 18.

In the interim, the temporary west-side sidewalk has been more clearly delineated to make it safer for pedestrians. The temporary sidewalk is also ADA-compliant with temporary ramps for wheelchairs to maneuver between the section of the sidewalk still open and the temporary sidewalk. In addition, a police officer will be present through the week of June 18 while construction activities are occurring to ensure safety and smooth the flow of traffic.

The big challenge has been on the east side of 35th, where a wooden utility pole was found to be rotted and in need of replacement, but only after the sidewalk had been torn up. It took a number of weeks to secure and place the replacement pole, but that is now done and construction activities have resumed. The contractor hopes to pour the sidewalk on the east side the week of June 18, and it should be reopened to pedestrians by the first week of July (hopefully sooner).

Both bus stops will be reopened as soon as the contractor has completed their piece of the work, although both will again be temporarily closed for several days later in the summer when the RapidRide shelters are put in place.

29 Replies to "West Seattle road-work update: 35th/Avalon bus stops"

  • Fire June 17, 2012 (7:26 am)

    “Unforseen challenges”? Whoever organized a plan for a bus stop replacement that involves making riders walk in the street (no stop or sidewalk where the bus lets off) for months should lose their job. Where is the accountability? This is a project that would have taken the average west Seattle homeowner two weekends to knock out. Only one if said homeowner picked up some beer to share with friends.

  • Bligs Mander June 17, 2012 (8:40 am)

    All Rapid Ride is, is a big marketing plan. Nothing else. The fact that they have inconvinenced drivers for weeks now just to make a new bus stop is insane. All for their marketing plan.

  • tk June 17, 2012 (9:02 am)

    Can someone explain the SDOT plan with these new bus stops? On 35th it looks as if there will be only 2 lanes by the bus stop, and when a bus loads/unloads it will now stop in rught hand traffic lane blocking all traffic instead of pulling over? If that’s the case, any car travelling north on 35th wanting to turn right on Avalon towards the bridge will have to wait behind the bus and traffic will be backed up until the bus loads/unloads?
    Also on Avalon coming up the hill from the bridge to WS, it looks like there will be only one lane, so ALL the traffic heading home in rush hour will be stopped completely behind any bus loading/unloading?
    Please tell me this is not the case!?!

  • Rob June 17, 2012 (9:14 am)

    I can’t believe the amount of work, and money we ALL have been paying for new BUS STOPS!!! Have you seen the concrete work that goes into the huge footprint for these tiny little red covered benches!?!? If this is not the biggest waste of money I can witness on a daily basis I don’t know what is. This city/State spends money on projects like we have an endless cash supply. I don’t want to hear another complaint about not having money for teachers, or the homeless or cops etc… when I see funds being thrown around on stupid things that this that I guess is vital for our survival.

  • Mike June 17, 2012 (9:38 am)

    All of the money they are spending on these fancy bus stops could have helped fund some of the portions of routes (in my case, the #21 and #125) that they are eliminating. I am a retiree and will have to walk 15 blocks to Roxbury to catch a bus. Guess what? I will be driving more, which is what I thought Metro and ST wanted to get us to stop doing. Did they REALLY need this Rapid Ride and the fancy busses and bus stops? And now stops are being spaced further apart, too, so everyone will have to walk farther.

  • jeff platt June 17, 2012 (9:40 am)

    whats so sad to me is how much they spent to slow down west seattle. this is rediculous these days. these streets have been here a really long time with very few problems and now some idiot who prob isnt even from here thinks changing our whole area is needed. the whole intersection at california and morgan is painfully stupid at rush hour. if more than 2 people are getting on or off the bus the whole intersection clogs and backs up for a block. so by the next bus theres still leftover clog before he even gets there. it is really bad at 5pm and i dont understand how someone could not see how moving the curb out would help anyone get anywhere faster.
    its bad enough they dont repave anything at all here. now they spend what little $ is left on speedbumps and bus stops.
    time to fire people!

  • IloveWestSeattle June 17, 2012 (9:52 am)

    “It took a number of weeks to secure and place the replacement pole.”
    Where, indeed, is the accountability?
    One more example of embarrassingly, sandalously poor stewardship at the Departments of Transportation.
    We could expect better results from Stan, Ollie, Mo, Larry and Curly.
    My stomach churns to think these incompetents are in charge of The Tunnel–an awful decision to begin with, compounded by mismanagement and inepitude.
    Let’s all hope no incredibly rare and hard-to-procure telephone poles are discovered to be needed for The Tunnel fiasco–such a development might push the completion date from 2030 to 2035.

    • WSB June 17, 2012 (10:12 am)

      IloveWS – Just one note. RapidRide is a county project, with work like this being done in conjunction with the city; the tunnel is a state project, so if it’s any consolation, no, the people involved in this are NOT in charge of The Tunnel or anything related to Highway 99. – TR

  • West Seattle Since 1979 June 17, 2012 (9:59 am)

    I agree with Fire. It’s been 4 months now since they first removed the shelter on the east side of the street. They didn’t even start work right away. And it sounds like the actual shelters won’t be replaced for another couple months. Really frustrating.

  • Dan June 17, 2012 (10:02 am)

    “Fire”— you are absolutely correct, but this is standard procedure for government projects…overpaid, assigning way to many employees, red-tape and don’t forget they’re union workers involved so they require all their “necessary” breaks…and more. BTW, these Rapid-Ride stations are a HUGE waist of money. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the “old” bus stops, they tore them out and they build these fancy new ones…that jet out into the lane of travel, so if the road is one lane in either direction, all traffic has to come to a complete stop behind the bus, backing traffic up beyond kingdom come. Oh but wait, remember we already gave buses the right of way when they want to merge out into traffic!!! Now they have even more of the right of way. Now I do understand these stupid Rapid-Ride things were a Federal grant, but all that money still comes from taxpayers. The only thing I can see as any improvement to the newly designed bus stops is laying concrete where the bus will be coming to a stop. Over time a bus will cause ruts in asphault. Beyond that….clearly no safety issues are improvements as forcing the bus stop into the lane of travel, also creates the pedestrians to be closer to the traffic.

  • pilsner June 17, 2012 (10:27 am)

    I do not agree with fire or the other bashing comments. The average west seattle home owner cannot replace a telephone pole. Some of the money metro is spending is going right back to the public, in the form of contractors and parts suppliers. And if i remember correctly busses stopped at s bound 35 and avalon blocked a lane anyway, due to sloppy opperators. And if it does fully block lane now, it shouldnt add too much time. If you pay attention when your driving you can change lanes early like i do!!!

  • IloveWestSeattle June 17, 2012 (10:32 am)

    TR, thanks for the clarification. :)
    After reading some of these other posts on the topic of RapidRide, my stomach is churning even worse.
    From what I read here, RapidRide is making a horrible transportation situation even worse.
    Good thing I love West Seattle, based on these boondoggles, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ever leave it.

  • West Seattle Since 1979 June 17, 2012 (10:45 am)

    Rob, yes, especially since we had perfectly good bus shelters before.

  • West Seattle Since 1979 June 17, 2012 (10:56 am)

    I just hope these bus stops that inconvenience traffic aren’t going to stir up complaints about the so-called “war on cars” and fuel anger towards bus riders. Just remember, these “Rapid Ride ” routes probably aren’t going to be much faster, and as Mike mentioned above, some people are going to have to walk a lot farther since some runs are being eliminated and apparently some stops will be farther apart. Some people affected are probably going to start driving.

  • John Slyfield June 17, 2012 (11:12 am)

    Rapid ride works great on roads with four or more lanes like pacific highway answer international boulevard in south king county. The only problems are when the bus tries to merge back into traffic because drivers never yield like they are supposed to per state law. That may be why they are using bus bulbs in west Seattle which take up a traffic lane. at any rate its unfortunate that its taking so long to put in a stop.

  • LE June 17, 2012 (11:22 am)

    On the ther hand, when we had a rotten utility pole, it did take several months for it to be replaced. The long wait for pole replacement is very strange, certainly something that could be improved, but it is not unique to Rapid Ride.
    As far as traffic backing up behind the bus at stops, yes, that is intentionally part of the design. Features like that that are a designed part of making the ride the fastest way to get downtown.

  • West Seattle since 1979 June 17, 2012 (11:39 am)

    Another annoying thing: It sounds like they’ve opened a temporary walkway on the WEST side of the street–that’s great. But if you’re coming to the stop from the north and need to go downtown to work or wherever in the early morning, it’s almost impossible to cross 35th at Oregon or Snoqualmie to get to the east side to the stop. I know we shuold probably walk to Alaska to cross at the light, but that might be hard for some people. We can take a bus to 36th and Alaska to catch the downtown-bound bus there of course, but that all takes extra time and it’s really frustrating that we’ve had to do this for almost 4 months now! (They didn’t block off the sidewalk on the east side right after they took out the shelter, it took a week or two.)

  • cjboffoli June 17, 2012 (11:46 am)

    I have to say that I appreciate some of the new concrete pads they’ve poured on the sections of street where the busses stop. I was just noticing the other day a section of asphalt in the Triangle (at Alaska and Fauntleroy, across from Les Schwab Tires), that had been bumpy and depressed for years as a result of heavy busses stopping there, is now totally flat and smooth.

  • Mickymse June 17, 2012 (1:22 pm)

    They are doing more than just replacing the shelters (which will be re-used elsewhere). The shelters need wiring for new lighting and signs to tell you when the next bus is coming. And better concrete pads are being put in to lessen maintenance needs and increase durability of the streetscape in order to save $$ in the long-term.

  • RedHeadsRule June 17, 2012 (1:37 pm)

    We have to cover the deplorable 21 bus issues. The average wait time is about 1hr and 10 minutes. Buses never show, rude drivers, loads of passengers waiting in the rain, wheelchair users backed-up so bad they have to wait for another bus – it’s been awful.

  • RedHeadsRule June 17, 2012 (1:38 pm)

    Ever since Rapid Ride moved into WS, our route has been utterly mishandled.

  • waterworld June 17, 2012 (1:58 pm)

    RapidRide won’t be up and running in WS until this fall, and until then, I don’t think the benefits (if there are in fact benefits) will be apparent. Bus riders in the the north end who already have RapidRide lines up and running report that their average commute times are reduced by 20% or more.

    Those bus bulbs that stick out into the street do save time for the buses. On average, each bus bulb shaves 8 seconds of the amount of time bus is at the stop (no pulling out of traffic and then waiting for a driver to let the bus merge back in). There are other changes designed to reduce the amount of time the bus is at each stop, such as level-entry (no steps up into the bus) and electronic fare systems (no waiting while riders paying their fares when they get on or off the bus.) Some of the other changes that reduce travel time on RapidRide lines are dedicated bus lanes (where the streets are wide enough) and signal priority systems that give the bus a head start when the light turns green.

    Obviously, bub bulbs, signal priority and dedicated bus lanes don’t benefit drivers in cars. That’s the point, though — reducing bus travel times in part at the expense of people driving cars.

  • West Seattle since 1979 June 17, 2012 (2:20 pm)

    I realize they’re doing more than replacing the shelters. I still say it should take less than 4+ months. We don’t even know how long it’ll end up taking, because the shelters aren’t supposed to be in place until later in the summer.

  • LAP June 17, 2012 (6:23 pm)

    I am trying to keep a good attitude about the change and hope it will lead to a faster commute and eliminate my need to drive to the area of 35th and Avalon to catch a bus. Because we don’t have a safe Park n Ride lot – daily commuters are doing the best they can with our make-shift parking situation. That being said, the destruction and construction on the east side of the street has been a joke, and the safety of passengers has been compromised for months. I emailed a few months ago and got that same phone pole story. I watched the new pole lay on the sidewalk for nearly a week before being installed. I am sure this is because one crew takes the old pole out and a different one installs the new one. The construction company doing the paving, etc is well-known and very experienced and should be doing a better, faster job. I notice that other stops are ripped up and repaved fairly quickly. Frustration reigns….but I will reserve comments about the new route until it is up and running and we’ve had time so see if it can really shave commute time and move people in an efficient manner.

  • kgdlg June 17, 2012 (6:40 pm)

    I am a housing developer. On my last job I had to pay overtime to get City Light to move telephone poles AFTER they said they would do it. Yup, that’s right, extra money to get someone there to do it late. So 4 months is totally not surprising to me because of this pole. Just because this is a County project doesn’t mean anyone at the City cares about its timeline. Or about you, the taxpayer.

  • themightyrabbit June 17, 2012 (11:52 pm)

    just wait until the new bus route is activated in October. If it’s anything like the debacle that the B route between Redmond and Bellevue is that I ride daily during the ‘rainy’ season, it’ll continue to disappoint. Every 10 mins during peak? Not quite. Still facing some serious problems there. Let’s all hope I’m not right and the 54 replacement actually does abide by the service level promised. The buses are much better than the older ones…don’t get me wrong. But the service levels are below par. Thank gosh for alternative options.

  • West Seattle since 1979 June 18, 2012 (7:22 am)

    The walkway on the west side of the street doesn’t seem to be up yet. I saw people walking in the road. Maybe later today?

  • ArborHeightsRes June 18, 2012 (1:44 pm)

    I agree with Mike 100%, it is senseless to spend such “precious” Metro resources to rebuild dozens of perfectly good bus stops (can someone explain why a simple replacement sign that says “Rapid Ride” wouldn’t have been sufficient??) but somehow can’t afford to run the short loop through Arbor Heights anymore??? My closest stop is two blocks now,which will soon be over a mile. I genuinely believe that the service cut was a foregone conclusion, and their request for ‘rider input’ was purely for show, so they can continue to say they ‘value the community’s feedback’ while doing whatever they like. Can’t wait for the next 25 cent fare hike for my trouble. Thanks Metro, you’ve forced yet another rider to get behind the wheel! Is it just me, or do other AH residents feel like we ALWAYS get the shaft from the city and King Co.? My neighbor’s house burned to the ground last year because our hydrants don’t work reliably. Still waiting on those sidewalks the city promised 60 years ago when we were added to the City’s tax roll, I mean “annexed”…

  • AnotherArborHeightsRes June 19, 2012 (6:37 pm)

    I’m with you ArborHeightsRes. I went to meetings, filled out surveys, sent emails, etc. and we still got our service cut. Many of the new bus stops are designed so buses don’t have to pull out of/into traffic. What about the traffic jams that will cause, not to mention accidents from people trying to pass the bus anyway? We’re supposed to get new water mains by the end of the year. I’m not holding my breath…

Sorry, comment time is over.