@ Southwest District Council: Terminal 5 comment deadline nears, as does an Admiral Way Safety Project update

Summer’s ending, and community/district councils are resuming their regular meeting schedules. That means our coverage is back in gear too. No substitute to being at your nearest community meeting yourself – but we’ll do our best to keep you up to date otherwise. Here’s what happened at last night’s Southwest District Council meeting (besides the two notes we’ve already published, regarding the Junction Plaza Park art project and Port of Seattle boat tour):

NEW ADMIRAL WAY SAFETY PROJECT PROPOSAL: SWDC co-chair David Whiting, president of the Admiral Neighborhood Association, announced that SDOT will be at next week’s ANA meeting with an update on revisions to the SW Admiral Way Safety Project, first outlined at ANA’s April meeting (WSB coverage here). While SDOT does plan a standalone meeting this month, Whiting said, this will be the first chance for the community to take a look at changes made (as SDOT director Scott Kubly hinted at in July) after vigorous community feedback earlier this year, as well as new parking/traffic studies by SDOT. ANA meets at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd SW & SW Lander), 7 pm Tuesday (September 8th).

TERMINAL 5 COMMENT DEADLINE TOMORROW: Friday’s the last day you can comment on the Port of Seattle‘s proposal for the shut-down-last-year cargo terminal on the east side of West Seattle, pointed out Jim Wojciechowski from the group of neighbors who put up the “Yes! Environmental Impact Statement” signs around the area.

(Port of Seattle graphic/photo)

“They’re not calling it an expansion, but it’s an expansion.” As we reported last month, a new comment period was opened because the city system lost a month’s worth of comments submitted via an online form.

Wojciechowski recapped that the port project would involve, among other things, thousands of pilings and 12 new cranes bigger than the ones you see now. He says Terminal 18 to the east on Harbor Island would be perfect for the big-ship handling, but the port is insistent on using Terminal 5. “What we’re asking them to do is do it right, but they’re giving no indication of any concessions to the neighborhood – they just are going to do what they want to do.”

When you read the SEPA Checklist, and you get to the “long-term effects,” he said, you see “unknown, unknown.” He suggested it’s a “game they’re playing” because they just want to get the permits for construction, and then they can “run free because they have a master use permit as a cargo terminal and can use the 1994 Environmental Impact Statement that says they’re a cargo terminal.” That alone was a 1200-page report, he noted, dropping a stack of papers on the table. But he says the analysis would be different now based on the larger ships – “three times as large as what you’re used to seeing down there.”

Also; “They’re going to dig 30,000 cubic yards out of the Duwamish – maybe they’re doing it right, maybe they’re not, but without an EIS, we’ll never know.” He explained how the port got to make its own “Determination of Non-Significance” – they issued a preliminary one, he said, but never a final one.

He says the Department of Planning and Development is the last gatekeeper between citizens and the Port on this one. “What they’re really doing is sequencing the permitting,” he said, contending it’s “disingenuous when they say they’ll look at it later.”

Concerns include what appears to be a plan without a provision for shore power – unless the eventual tenant requests it; the neighbors think that the shippers should be required to use it. Without shore power, the large ships will have a “vibration” that will “pierce” the nearby houses, Wojciechowski said. The 1994 EIS addressed engine noise contending that it wouldn’t even be noticed, and he said that’s not true – the background noise like the bridge goes away at night and the ship noise/vibration comes through.

Another neighbor pointed out that requiring ships to use shore power while in port would be a major move for the port’s claim to being green. Yet another neighbor interjected there should be an inventory of emission sources related to the port.

Traffic effects were also noted by Wojciechowski, saying that with such high-volume ships, “You can anticipate a lot of trucks coming in,” and that, he said, could worsen traffic. “When Terminal 5 reopens in 2019 with the ships – right now, there are no trucks coming out of there, and you are already jammed … what we’re trying to do is avoid coming back here in 2019 and saying, ‘What just happened?'” He also voiced concern that the Port could be trying to move more of its business to Terminal 5 and clear away some of the waterfront closer to downtown.

For comments, e-mail PRC@seattle.gov through Friday, “Terminal 5 Cargo Wharf Rehabilitation and Berth Deepening,” and note that you’re referring to project #3019071. (That’s also the number you can enter on this city lookup page to find documents related to the project, including comments that already have been received.)

Quick notes and updates:

NEW DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS DIRECTOR: Kathy Nyland sat in on the meeting, which was staffed by district coordinator Kerry Wade as usual.

OFFICER ELECTIONS AHEAD: Whiting says he’s willing to remain co-chair in 2016 if re-elected.

FAUNTLEROY FERRY TRAFFIC: Vicki Schmitz Block from the Fauntleroy Community Association mentioned the legislature restoring the police officer for the Fauntleroy ferry dock. And, she said, the service has already re-started, no waiting for new budget cycle at the start of next year.

DON ARMENI PARKING: Paul Hage, who’s tracking this (backstory here), said he visited the boat-ramp parking lot more than a dozen times recently on weekdays with an average of 12 trailers parked there each time, filling about a seventh of the 83 spaces. The highest was 19, the lowest 6, all on summer weekdays, he said.

AMATEUR RADIO TRAINING: Jim Edwards announced that the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club will have a class coming up, likely in mid-November.

WEST SEATTLE BIG BAND BENEFIT: Edwards, who represents the Senior Center on SWDC, also announced the upcoming West Seattle Big Band (which he directs) benefit for the center, 6 pm dinner, 7 pm music (Sinatra!), on September 18th. More info here.

The Southwest District Council meets first Wednesdays, 6:30 pm, at the Senior Center.

1 Reply to "@ Southwest District Council: Terminal 5 comment deadline nears, as does an Admiral Way Safety Project update"

  • Jeannie September 3, 2015 (11:51 pm)

    Hope everyone gives serious consideration to commenting on the Terminal 5 situation. WHY are the Port of Seattle and Dept. of Planning afraid of getting an Environmental Impact Statement?

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