Delridge RapidRide, ‘low bridge’ among hot topics at West Seattle Bridge Corridor ‘action report’ meeting

Will Metro Route 120 be improved or damaged if it’s turned into a RapidRide line? That was arguably the biggest topic of Monday night’s meeting on the West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor “action report.” The meeting at the Sisson Building in The Junction followed up on the report’s September debut, which in turn fulfills a promise made by City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen in his final year of office, and responds to a push from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition in its priority-setting.

The “action report” includes 27 possibilities envisioned to improve getting around in the corridor. You can read through them here:

On Monday night, SDOT’s Bill LaBorde presented them to the light turnout, fewer than a dozen people, who as a result had time to ask questions as the presentation went by. Big questions about transforming Route 120 – a short-term priority (see page 8) – included whether stops would be consolidated as with other RapidRide routes – Route 54/55 to the C Line, for example. Also: Would the stops include curb bulbs, like the ones in Morgan Junction that lead to backups. And, with the narrowness of Delridge in some spots, will the big RapidRide buses really work? LaBorde said most of the project’s $43 million cost would go to street improvements; he believed bulbs would be studied carefully before any implementation, and he didn’t envision much stop consolidation beyond what already has happened on Delridge.

Another big topic: Low-bridge openings during commute times, and the city repeatedly getting turned down in its requests to find ways to at least limit them. The city is continuing to talk to the U.S. Coast Guard, said LaBorde, while pointing out that some sailings are tide-dependent and the tides are when they are. The city is looking at operational efficiencies for bridge openings, though, including ways the bridge itself might be able to get the job done more quickly. A study would be needed, he said.

Speaking of the low bridge, the five-way intersection at Spokane/Marginal at its west end, and the one at the bottom of the eastern Admiral Way hill, both came up. The former is in the action plan, the latter is not. And to the east, the need for the Lander Street Overcrossing – still on the drawing board, years after it was expected to be built – was stressed.

Along with the plan’s potential projects, Councilmember Rasmussen pointed out the city’s traffic-incident-management changes, forced by the fish-truck-crash debacle, and intended to ensure that traffic blockages in corridors like this one are dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

Some of the “action plan” items are tied to the Move Seattle levy on the November 3rd ballot. What happens if the levy is rejected? Rasmussen was asked. At the very least, he said, the projects would be sequenced in a slower rollout – if you want improvements, he said, there has to be money for them.

P.S. For an update on #26 on the list – possible light rail for this area via the future Sound Transit 3 ballot measure – come to the WSTC’s meeting tomorrow night (Thursday), 6:30 pm, at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way).

10 Replies to "Delridge RapidRide, 'low bridge' among hot topics at West Seattle Bridge Corridor 'action report' meeting"

  • Delridge Mom October 22, 2015 (8:24 am)

    Rapid ride on delridge would be amazing. I hope they’ll continue it all the way up to south lake union.

  • Lindsey October 22, 2015 (10:03 am)

    Delridge Mom – this fellow Delridge mom agrees with you! The 120 moves fairly fast but it would be great for the 80-some people on each bus to not be bogged down by the line of primarily single-occupancy vehicles on Delridge Way. You’d get downtown in ten minutes.

  • AmandaKH October 22, 2015 (10:09 am)

    As long as they plan for a local service option Delridge Mom!

  • Ricky October 22, 2015 (11:38 am)

    “will the big RapidRide buses really work?”

    The RapidRide buses are the exact same size as the buses already in use on the 120. If they work now, they’ll work in the future.

    My bigger question is whether the 120 will be split in half.
    Upgrading a line to RapidRide costs money. If Move Seattle passes, the city will have that money. But the bigger question is if Burien and King County (White Center) can scrounge up the money to upgrade their half of the 120 to a RapidRide line.

    If they can’t afford it, I have a feeling we could end up with a RapidRide Line on Delridge between Downtown and Westwood Village and a truncated 120 on Delridge between Westwood Village and Burien.

  • sam-c October 22, 2015 (11:40 am)

    I think the bus lane on Delridge, from Oregon to Andover, works really well and is really effective. When the cars get backed up on Delridge, the bus gets to just fly on by. They spent a lot of money doing that. Why would they do bus bulbs if the bus lane seems to be a better solution? (Will there be a turn lane you can use in the event that the bus is stopped for an extended period, like using the ADA access lift on the bus?) Seems like the bus bulbs caused a lot of problems over there on California near Morgan. The 120 already seems like a Rapid Ride almost, you can sit and watch three 120’s drive by before your 125 finally comes.

  • urn42 October 22, 2015 (12:41 pm)

    My hope is that if they do that, they can figure out a better way to get the bus across the water. Avalon was good on paper, but execution leaves a lot to be desired. During the morning commute, I frequently see a line of cars sitting in the “bus only” lane waiting to turn right, and busses using the regular lane to go around them. It seems SDOT didn’t have a plan that allowed for through traffic and turning traffic to coexist.

  • sam-c October 22, 2015 (1:33 pm)

    I think the difference between Avalon and Delridge is that on Avalon, you have to turn off of it to get to the WS bridge (use of the bus lane to turn, right?) but on Delridge, the bus lane feeds directly onto the bridge, so in most cases, the only reason for cars to get in the bus lane is after Andover, the only point where you CAN get in the bus lane (during certain hours) (unless you are not headed to the bridge and turn off Delridge to get somewhere else, but there usually aren’t lines of cars trying to turn OFF Delridge anywhere.

  • MOVE! Seattle PLEASE! October 22, 2015 (10:05 pm)

    $43 million for Delridge Rapid Ride from Prop 1? Wasn’t Delridge just improved?
    How could $43 million improve bus service on Delridge? Seems like urn42 has the best idea – figure out a better way to get the bus and the rest of us across the water.

  • RayK October 26, 2015 (10:50 am)

    The Move Seattle (MS) levy revenue is not intended to increase Metro service hours in any corridor. In the attached project list, above, Project 13 titled “Delridge Way Rapid Ride transit ride improvements” doesn’t explicitly promise a complete RapidRide route, it implies that service which includes the branding (coach signage, stop shelter design, and off-line fare collection at the stops) and it implies more frequent buses yet it’s now nearly at C-line frequency at best (8 min during extended AM peak periods).
    MS may provide only capital projects including implementing bus lanes (paint and concrete) and RapidRide brand / style bus shelters with offline fare collection machines. Yet, $43M for these upgrades? Show us more details, Mayor Murray.
    Note that any claims of future upgrades to operational service are subject to voters’ renewal of last year’s transit Prop 1 sales tax increase in five years.

  • RayK October 26, 2015 (10:58 am)

    I agree with “MOVE! Seattle PLEASE!” (above) to focus $43M on the bottlenecks between West Seattle and downtown for more consistent trip times in the morning. That bottleneck is primarily at the WS Bridge offramp to NB Rt99 and must be coordinated with WSDOT which owns the ramp. I’m sure voters — certainly commuters — on this side of our bridge would be eager to support tax revenues for Seattle’s fair share of the cost to add a bus lane for that chokepoint. The ENTIRE $43M could be a fair share IF the ranchers in our legislature would allow us to our spend money to fix a problem shared with WSDOT.

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