West Seattle Transportation Coalition: What it’s already done, what’s next, and how you can merge into the action

That’s the new all-peninsula, all-transportation-modes logo unveiled last night by the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, designed by interim-board member Amanda Kay Helmick, who started the board meeting by lauding WSTC’s “tremendous amount of progress.”

Atop the list: Less than three months after forming, the group has endorsements representing 68.4 percent of the peninsula – almost to the 70 percent goal it had set for reaching by next May. (The endorsements stretch slightly off-peninsula too, with the South Park Neighborhood Association on the list.)

Also on the list: The WSTC’s November 18th rally regarding bus-cut concern, with not only the support of but participation by three local elected officials with influence in the coalition’s topic of focus.

And, something vital to any group: The creation of WSTC bylaws, which recap its roots as well as its rules.

Now the WSTC is getting ready for a pivotal January 14th event to which you are invited – and beyond that, for its first elections, with your involvement welcome too:

NEXT MONTH’S BIG EVENT: January 14 is the deadline WSTC set in this October letter to elected officials, inviting them to bring and outline their plans for West Seattle transportation solutions. It will be in the theater at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, and all are invited. They’ll be putting specific questions to the participating elected officials and their reps – simple questions with “no wiggle room” – no “yes” or “no” – questions requiring specific answers.

Some of the potential questions suggested by attendees at last night’s board meeting involve ways to get funding, whether it would be feasible to have a “moratorium on (parking-space-less) density” until transit funding stabilizes, or “calling density off” when growth targets in neighborhood plans are met. That led to a sidebar discussion about the city’s Growth Management Act and whether density increases without transit increases represents an “unfunded mandate,” among other things.

Another potential topic, a confluence of neighborhoods’/governments’ plans without knowing who is accountable for being sure those plans can work together.

What is heard and said at the January 14th meeting is expected to give rise to two followup meetings.

The coalition also had asked for regional leaders to send an “explicit plan for West Seattle, with milestones (for) enacting it” by yesterday. County Councilmember Joe McDermott, it was noted last night, is the only respondent so far.

The request has been acknowledged by others, according to WSTC, except for Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray, who, after four contact attempts, hasn’t been heard from aside from his Olympia staff pointed them to his transition staff.

BACK TO THOSE BYLAWS: If you’ve been longing for a few more details before considering involvement with WSTC, a few points of interest from the bylaws/credo:

*”Groups and people grant us their permission to speak on their behalf for transportation issues”

*”Positions, issues, etc., all derive from those endorsers in aggregate – the WSTC is an executor.”

*”WSTC covers ‘the big stuff,’ peninsula-wide or multi-neighborhood transportation issues”

If you’re not on the board, how do you become a member? “Anyone living or working in West Seattle,” can be considered a member if they’re interested. Those who attend at last one WSTC event a year have voting rights when it’s time to elect the board. (Again, it’s an “interim board” in charge for now, chosen from who showed up for organizational meetings. Here’s who’s on it.)

Elected board members will serve 2-year terms, and select their own officers for 1-year terms. All 11 board members must serve actively on committees. Board candidates “must declare in person not later than March.” Elections will be in May. You have until April to attend (and sign in) one WSTC event – the year for that, in the future, will be May to April. The newly seated board will start work in June and announce its officers for the ensuing year.

Though the group hasn’t even discussed fundraising, dues, or other monetary matters yet, the bylaws even note that “in the unlikely event (it) ever dissolves, any/all money (will be) split 50/50 between the West Seattle and White Center food banks.”

METRO: Helmick mentioned conferring with another area’s newly formed Transportation Coalition (for the new City Council District 2), talking about Metro’s looming proposed cuts and input about which routes are of the most value, and which cuts would affect which areas. It was pointed out that Metro’s decisionmaking criteria might not necessarily take everything into account – such as the fact that potential changes to Route 128 would “sever the connection between Morgan Junction and High Point” – so citizen comments need to point out such things.

Interim-board member Michael Taylor-Judd segued to some observations from last Tuesday’s Metro meeting in North Delridge, including the criteria that are being used for singling out routes for deletion or reduction, if necessary.

Interim-board member Kevin Broveleit talked about delving into past plans and the omission of West Seattle in Sound Transit’s plan. ST is reported to have had a relatively high number of West Seattle respondents to its recent “long-range-plan-update” survey, promoted by the WSTC and here on WSB, among other places.

FRIDAY’S 2 1/2-HOUR BLOCKAGE: Following up on the City Council Transportation Committee briefing earlier in the day regarding last week’s two big West Seattle-commute-crippling incidents (here’s our report), Helmick said that the city DOES have an “emergency response” plan. She was particularly outraged about the biggest shocker of this morning’s discussion – that the only person in the city’s Traffic Management Center while the Friday morning crash backed up 99 further and further was an intern. (And, as discussed at the meeting, an intern who hadn’t had experience staffing the center.)

“This is unacceptable on so many levels,” Helmick declared.

“It’s not a City Council issue, it’s an Executive issue,” noted Chas Redmond. “Peter Hahn [outgoing SDOT director] failed us on this.”

Some asked why WSDOT wasn’t accountable. (SDOT is accountable for managing the roadway, while WSDOT is accountable for its structure.)

Interim-board member Joe Szilagyi read from the letter that he drafted on behalf of the coalition and sent to various parties after Friday’s debacle. (See it here.)

“The main problem I’m seeing is that there’s a lot of, ‘we don’t have the money … to maintain safety and security of the citizens’,” Helmick observed.

Eventually, what ensued was a discussion of who’s in charge of the city during this time of transition between mayoral administrations. Interim-board member Tod Rodman contended nobody is and so he feels that nothing can be accomplished right now. Taylor-Judd countered by insisting that some things can be changed now – such as the stationing of tow trucks.

Mat McBride noted that he is a member of the city’s Disaster Management Committee and will inquire via that group.

FUTURE OUTREACH: Interim-board member Deb Barker talked about upcoming plans for tabling, with WSTC reps setting dates and times to be in locations in various West Seattle neighborhoods, to meet-and-greet with any interested community members who stop by.

WSTC ONLINE: The coalition’s website includes topical updates, so keep an eye on westseattletc.org, as well as on its Facebook page.

37 Replies to "West Seattle Transportation Coalition: What it's already done, what's next, and how you can merge into the action"

  • metrognome December 11, 2013 (1:38 pm)

    nice logo; too bad they didn’t include something about accessible transportation (e.g. a paratransit vehicle) or accessible sidewalks (e.g. a wheelchair logo next to the Bigfoot imprints.) It’s interesting that the motorcycle has the only depiction of a human.

  • J December 11, 2013 (1:56 pm)

    I’m excited. This map actually recognizes Arbor Heights. The walking kiosks found throughout West Seattle don’t even have us on the map (how was that even possible?) Now maybe we can address our pedestrian issues. I can hear it now already….”don’t give them sidewalks cause they voted against the initiative 60 years ago”. That was a different day and age and why wouldn’t you, as our neighbors, be supportive on anything that would improve the peninsula as a whole?
    City code states “within the city of Seattle all streets will have a clearly defined pedestrian area”. Where’s ours. I’m not saying put in sidewalks and curbs. I’m saying start getting some parking enforcement to AH and move some vehicles and other blockages (trees, bushes, fences) so we may walk safely throughout our neighborhood….NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET!

  • Diane December 11, 2013 (2:10 pm)

    @metrognome; good point; I also thought it would be good to include wheelchair; wonder if it’s too late to add to logo

  • Chas Redmond December 11, 2013 (3:02 pm)

    @J – the Feet First walking maps for West Seattle used existing Seattle City GIS data and Feet First was charged for copies of the various layers. The Arbor Heights portion of the GIS database would have cost Feet First twice again what the rest of the map’s GIS data cost and was – alas – not affordable through the funding Feet First had for the first map (Neighborhood Match) nor the funding they secured for the map update (which included generous support from the West Seattle YMCA). Yet one more way where the city extracts fees from its residents and citizens. That’s how it’s possible to omit Arbor Heights from a map in Seattle.

  • Joe Szilagyi December 11, 2013 (3:48 pm)

    @J — sidewalks, in particular for Arbor Heights, is something we’ll be taking on in the Westwood/Roxhll/Arbor Heights Community Council in 2014. Here in our Facebook group, we’re conducting a survey on what we should focus on next.
    Currently, the lack of sidewalks in Arbor Heights and the complete darkness in some parts of the neighborhood at night are leading–when you see neighbors routinely walking at night with MINING LAMPS on, something is wrong.
    This is the link to the survey on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WWRHAH/permalink/429110920548561/
    You can also always drop feedback to us at contact@wwrhah.org or just swing by our meetings at 615pm, 1st Tuesday of every month, upstairs at the SW Branch of the Library on 35th Ave SW.

  • gotb December 11, 2013 (4:05 pm)

    “… whether it would be feasible to have a “moratorium on density” until transit funding stabilizes, or “calling density off” when growth targets in neighborhood plans are met.”

    It is very upsetting that the NIMBYs are already trying to turn what started as a pro-transit organization into an anti-development organization.

  • chris December 11, 2013 (4:06 pm)

    yes, buy all means let’s redesign the whole logo and be sure to include a recumbent bicycle, a skateboard, a kayak, and a horse.

  • McBride December 11, 2013 (4:43 pm)

    Pro-transportation, not (just) transit.
    Pro or anti development has never been so much as a topic. The WSTC has identified that development without transportation infrastructure (particularly development with the express assumption that adequate transit is available) is a problem that needs to be addressed. This has been clear from the very beginning.
    To assert this group is NIMBY in some way is neither fair nor accurate. (Not to mention an overused slander to describe anyone who is active in the community and does not share your opinion). However, if you feel that way, the WSTC is universally inclusive, please consider what contribution you can make.

  • Jack December 11, 2013 (4:53 pm)

    Don’t forget unicycles! Why must we be oppressed by this multi-wheel-ism!

  • miws December 11, 2013 (5:44 pm)

    yes, buy all means let’s redesign the whole logo and be sure to include a recumbent bicycle, a skateboard, a kayak, and a horse.


    Ummmm…..including a depiction of a wheelchair, in addition to all of the modes already depicted, would cover the various modes of mobility that are in common use, and need to be taken into consideration when dealing in the planning and maintenance of infrastructure.


    Roads need to be designed and maintained to be safe for autos, buses, motorcycles, a bicycles. Sidewalks need to be designed and maintained for people on foot, and people using wheelchairs and other personal mobility aids to be able to navigate in a safe and unobstructed manner.

    Depicting a….

    Recumbent bicycle: would be redundant; a bicycle is already depicted.

    Skateboard: although I’ve heard of some people saying they use skateboards as a mode of transportation to some extent, skateboards are generally used for recreation.

    Kayak: a boat is already depicted.

    Horse: I’m not sure that riding horseback is even legal in Seattle, save for SPD’s Mounted Patrol.



  • Joe Szilagyi December 11, 2013 (6:13 pm)

    In regards to the NIMBY claim, it’s a funny claim to say the WSTC has somehow been co-opted by NIMBYs about development. Of the board, it’s roughly (and I’m guessing) about 1/3 pro-development, 1/3 neutral/agnostic, and 1/3 that is cautionary but not opposed. Since there is nine of us on the interim board you can work out the math on that. I myself am one of the pro-development side.
    From everything I’ve seen about people that debate these things (sometimes into the ground) on places like Sightline, Cross Cut, and the Seattle Transit Blog, there are basically four givens:
    #1: People are coming. Seattle’s population WILL NOT stop growing and there is no realistic, legal, practical, political, or reality-based way to stop this. We’re a major job, industrial, commercial, and recreational center. Blame Amazon. Blame biotech. Blame Microsoft. Blame Nirvana. Blame Boeing. You can lay blame on this back four generations.
    #2: 45% or so of the people that debate this stuff are in the “build density and transit will follow” camp, from what I can tell.
    #3: 45% of so the people that debate this stuff are in the “build transit and density will follow” camp, from what I can tell.
    #4: 10% of so seem to be of the “just do it all now and get it over with” camp. I’m basically in this camp, myself, for what it’s worth but again–I’m only one cog in the growing WSTC machine, by design.
    No “NIMBY” bloc is going to be able to take over the WSTC because we designed it so no “bloc” can take it over in our by-laws (and if we missed some weird loophole, as long I’m myself involved I will fight to close that loophole no matter what!). Our only positions are the ones the majority give us. So, yes, we’ll likely ask of the elected officials a question that has the supposed hallmarks of the anti-development “NIMBY” crowd, because such moratoriums are a strategic weapon. If those licenses get halted even 30 days, what happens? The developers and builders will explode on Olympia to demand transit funding to get things done NOW… in theory. We’ll also be asking lots of “how and when are you going to expand transit and transportation” questions.
    I personally think it would be foolish for us to leave any viable weapon by the wayside.

  • Diane December 11, 2013 (6:33 pm)

    thank you Mike; very well said

  • gotb December 11, 2013 (6:36 pm)

    McBride, you’re right, that was rude and I apologize. But a moratorium on development wouldn’t move more people, which is what we really need, and it has serious property rights issues.

  • patt December 11, 2013 (6:54 pm)

    “METRO:potential changes to Route 128 would “sever the connection between Morgan Junction and High Point””

    “on the change metro maps ”

    The 128 would bypasses most of 35th. So there seems to be no direct route from SE of California /Alaska to North West Seattle Admiral or Alki.

    Also looks like route 50 no longer connects to The C/A Junction and total bypasses Morgan Junction and ANY the Junctions on California Ave.

    Will be difficult for anyone on the East side of WS to get to the West side of SW

    #50 is no longer on this new change list but it is still on the metro change map. Is it off all together or would it take place later in the year?

  • JanS December 11, 2013 (7:16 pm)

    Hey, Mike, no fair posting something intelligent


  • metrognome December 11, 2013 (7:50 pm)

    I forgot to mention — the logo should include a massive, gold-plated dollar sign … or two.
    Just to be clear, I support WSRC’s goals. And, federal regulations specify the *minimum* amount of accessibility that is required for public transportation as well as pedestrian infrastructure. However, it is up to the local jurisdictions to design and integrate the accessibility components so that they are functional and useable.
    It is also up to the locals to interpret the implicit nature of the laws and decide when to go beyond the minimums, esp. when more than one entity is involved. Prime example: when Metro converted the 54 to Rapid Ride, a number of stops along Fauntleroy were closed. However, there was no effort by the city, which is responsible for the sidewalks, or Metro to ensure that there was an ‘accessible path of travel’ on both sides of the street. I know from personal experience that it is impossible for a wheelchair user to navigate between RR stops due to overgrown sidewalks and lack of curb ramps.
    While this effort is not explicitly required under federal law, it is implicitly required and a lawsuit would likely be successful. Same holds true for the city’s ‘no parking required for certain developments near frequent public transit;’ the lack of requirement for an accessible path of travel would likely be construed as discriminatory.

  • Joe Szilagyi December 11, 2013 (10:03 pm)

    Metrognome, could you please send an email to info@westseattletc.org when convenient? We’d like to talk to you.

  • McBride December 11, 2013 (10:07 pm)

    No sweat, we’re cool.
    The context (which in fairness I could have added), was the discussion that there is a WAC or RCW (we’re researching, apologies for not citing) that ties growth targets to minimum transit standards. Within that frame of reference, requiring accountability to that law is where the conversation was heading.
    In the even larger context, consider it brainstorming. It would need to run through several filters (long, arduous, debate heavy filters) before it would be accepted as an action. The effort would trouble me, if not for the fact that three months in, this team is really producing (he said, suggesting that there’s still time to get in on the ground floor and be legendary).

  • CW December 11, 2013 (10:19 pm)

    Murray should think twice about ignoring West Seattle. West Seattle is the reason he is mayor. Look up the voting results by neighborhood. West Seattle decides who is mayor of this city. Give us a plan Mr. Murray or you will be the next link in a growing chain of one term mayors for this city.

  • Mike December 11, 2013 (10:35 pm)

    metrognome brings up an interesting point about the no parking development. They are not being very accessible for those with mobility needs of a specialized van. How many units are even being built with doorways wide enough for a wheel chair?
    Anyhow, other than that I like the idea of a group collaborating to come up with actual solutions to transportation needs. Adding a wheel chair to the logo might not work as some think it would. Wheel chairs are used to symbolize a wide swath of disabilities, most not related to mobility using an actual wheel chair. Got a walker, have a motorized scooter with an oxygen tank…you get a wheel chair symbol pass for your car. It’s symbolic of disability, not transportation.

  • Diane December 12, 2013 (12:08 am)

    a wheelchair is both, symbol for disabled, and a mode of transport

  • dsa December 12, 2013 (1:39 am)

    I might as well rant a little. A wheelchair is most definitely ground transportation. If an able bodied person uses gammma’s handicap placard for a quick trip and blocks me from parking in the HC slot. I cannot park. I have to have room on the side of the van for getting in and out. I’ve been trapped out when someone actually parked on the crosshatch marks, not a lot of fun.

    So it was uplifting to see wheelchairs being considered here.

  • Diane December 12, 2013 (3:31 am)

    CW, where do you get that Murray is “ignoring West Seattle”? he grew up here; he’s very engaged with West Seattle; he was here tonight visiting with us at the 34th Democrats holiday party; how about giving the guy a chance; he hasn’t even taken office yet

  • East Coast Cynic December 12, 2013 (7:01 am)

    Diane, did Mayor-elect Murray have anything to say about our transportation issues and what he had in mind to address them?????

  • miws December 12, 2013 (8:01 am)

    Mike, this comment is in response to your paragraph that ended with this:

    It’s symbolic of disability, not transportation.

    By expanding on what was rattling around in my head, as I made this comment above:

    Sidewalks need to be designed and maintained for people on foot, and people using wheelchairs and other personal mobility aids to be able to navigate in a safe and unobstructed manner.


    What I was thinking, but did not include in the interest of keeping that comment concise, is that with all of the potential obstructions and hazards that people with mobility issues face, consideration needs to be taken to avoid them.


    There are currently so many issues with sidewalks that are in ill repair with cracks, buckles from trees uprooting them, and age; many sidewalks around the city are likely upwards of 80 years old.


    Add in the fact that many sidewalks, even in high pedestrian traffic areas are narrow, perhaps affected by building codes, and/or street development of old. Then even on an otherwise reasonably adequate width of sidewalk, there are sidewalk cafes, “A”-boards for adjacent businesses; both beneficial to our small businesses, and keeping them in business, and then any myriad of newspaper boxes, etc.


    As much as I’d personally like to see freely, easily, and safely accessible sidewalks for all that use them, in whichever manner they use, repairing/replacing existing sidewalks would be cost prohibitive, especially when some parts of West Seattle are largely without any to begin with . *Waves at Arbor Heights* Plus, widening sidewalks in some instances, there would be no other choice but to expand them into current streets, taking away parking/loading, and/or traffic lanes.


    But, I think what can be done, is to take that into consideration in new developments; keep implementing setbacks, not only for aesthetics, and preventing turning streets into canyons, but to have adequate room for the sidewalk cafes, “A”-boards, etc, while still allowing the sidewalk to provide their most basic, and, IMHO, most important function; safe usage by those that they are intended to serve; people, whether they be fully able-bodied, or reliant on some type of mobility device.


    So, I think depicting a wheelchair on the sign is a good idea, and would hopefully act as a reminder to all involved, that the issues of mobility-challenged folks needs to be taken into consideration, when planning transportation issues.



  • sam-c December 12, 2013 (11:13 am)

    if anyone is keeping track, arbor heights is not the only area that lacks sidewalks. Puget ridge.

    I’ve run across others too, windy roads along some of those slopes down to Alki, but maybe they don’t want sidewalks.

  • chris December 12, 2013 (11:28 am)

    Of course the issues around mobility for all are important but it’s simply not possible (or necessary) to capture all issue in a logo. It tends to water things down a bit and dilute the power of the logo.

  • Mat December 12, 2013 (12:52 pm)

    I’m jazzed to see this coming together so well. Good work neighbors!

  • Diane December 12, 2013 (1:24 pm)

    @East Coast Cynic; I attended dozens of Mayor/candidate debates and a few meet-Murray-house-parties (aka, fundraisers) where I was able to talk to him one/one and ask questions; Murray has said a LOT about transportation, which he knows is VERY high priority, along with #1 priority of downtown safety; he grew up in WS, and told me that transit was much better here in the 60’s when there were far fewer people; he gets it; of all the candidates who ran for Mayor, Ed is most in touch with our neighborhood, and I expect him to advocate strongly for us
    re last night; I talked to him very briefly; it was a party with 100 people who wanted to talk to him; he went around the room and introduced himself to every single person; he agreed with me again, that safety downtown is #1 priority; my biggest concern is the 3rd/Pike hellish crime ridden bus stop; aside from all the other impacts to transit that most are well aware, if people stop feeling safe to ride the bus (without some kid getting on at 3rd/Pike and riding into WS to put a gun to rider’s heads), then more people will get back in their cars and add to traffic; I was very glad to see yesterday that he’s appointed a Deputy in charge of Transit and Transportation

  • Diane December 12, 2013 (1:40 pm)

    @chris; I think you just made our point about including wheelchair; disabled are mostly ignored/invisible, considered less important; the mission of this Coalition is to be all inclusive; I would argue the opposite of your statement, that it dilutes the power of the logo to NOT include wheelchair
    @metrognome; thank you for your insights/expertise; please join the WSTC; your knowledge of these issues are invaluable

  • Diane December 12, 2013 (1:56 pm)

    I absolutely LOVE this logo, having 1st seen it just a couple days ago; I do hope the WSTC will take into consideration some of the community member’s concerns before going to print; the more I look at it, the feet, bike, scooter icons represent modes of transport for mostly youngish (<60) able-bodied; since I am now a “senior” and less able-bodied, my awareness of these issues has been enlightened a bit; how about placing a wheelchair icon at top right, next to the feet?

  • sgg December 12, 2013 (3:04 pm)

    I agree with acknowledging Arbor Heights in the mix here. It was a serious oversight to not include these in the West Seattle kiosks, I don’t really care what the excuse is. GIS data is usually available for free anyway.

    I used to live in Arbor Heights for 5 years and love what a mellow neighborhood it is, but it gets completely ignored in the city budget for things like transportation. And don’t forget the crazy cuts to transit.

  • Peter December 12, 2013 (4:14 pm)

    Regarding an above comment about overgrown sidewalks, it is the responsibility of property owners to keep sidewalks clear. The city requires seven feet of clearance above the sidewalk from edge to edge. Do call the city about overgrown sidewalks: the city won’t clear it, but they will contact the offending property owner, which should motivate them to trim back their vegetation. Overgrown sidewalks really are a problem in Seattle.

  • Don Brubeck December 12, 2013 (7:49 pm)

    West Seattle Transportation Coalition: Would like to see you earn those bike and feet symbols, instead of just appropriating them. How about giving support to City Council for the Seattle Bike Master Plan Update? How about supporting bike and pedestrian funding as proposed by the Washington House version of the Transportation Bill, and not just bus transit? We need all three, but your efforts so far are exclusively for bus transit.

  • AmandaKH December 12, 2013 (8:37 pm)

    Hi Don: We are really excited to start incorporating the Bike Master Plan into our overall plan for transportation in West Seattle. We support all efforts of West Seattleites to advocate for transportation improvements. We hope to see a comprehensive transportation plan for the whole Peninsula get put in front of the City in the future. Our efforts now have been concentrated in the Bus world as the Peninsula is facing a 27% reduction in service starting June 2014 if the funding cannot be found soon. We recently submitted a letter of support to Sound Transit to start a study for West Seattle light rail options. With our January meeting asking the State, County and City specific transportation related questions, we will be able to start the work of the West Seattle Master Transportation Improvement Plan (WSMTIP). We hope to work with WS Bike Connections in 2014 to incorporate your awesome work into the WSMTIP. The $12B transportation bill is something that we all need to be fighting against/for to make sure that all modes of transportation are treated equally. More hands make light work, so to speak.
    Amanda Kay Helmick

  • Ray Krueger December 19, 2013 (11:21 am)

    Regarding the broken sidewalks, the city may have a program to repair segments with 2″ or more between the pavement breaks. They may also prioritize repairs near schools and where persons with disabilities live. Does anyone know who might take calls with the complaint? Maybe the pothole hotline (which works well; doesn’t do sidewalks and knows who would).

    • WSB December 19, 2013 (11:23 am)

      206-684-ROAD is the SDOT hotline for right-of-way issues – roads, sidewalks, etc.

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