(NOTE: Click “play” to see live feed when Council is meeting – budget hearing resumed just after 2 pm)
10:27 AM: The City Council‘s next round of budget-related discussions is set to start shortly (10:30 am) and today’s list of potential additions/changes to the original budget proposal includes transportation items. Among them, two related to the West Seattle Bridge Corridor “action report” made public in September.
The first item would specify $700,000 to be spent this way:
… The proposed budget action would allocate $200,000 for further analysis of physical and operational improvements in the Corridor. The following evaluations or studies would be conducted if the green sheet were included as part of the City’s 2016 Adopted Budget:
1. Evaluate the feasibility and benefit of installing center barrier sections so response vehicles can make U-turns to speed up response time.
2. Evaluate the feasibility and benefit of installing markings and signs to provide one designated emergency lane in each direction of the West Seattle Bridge upper roadways for use during emergencies.
3. Coordinate with WSDOT to determine the feasibility of traffic management modifications to improve eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct connections to south- and northbound I-5.
4. Evaluate Lower Spokane Street chokepoint relationships to determine if rail, truck and bridge opening blockages can be better coordinated to avoid cumulative impacts.
5. Evaluate better communications protocols for Port of Seattle cooperation with truck queue management and dispersal.
6. Evaluate the process and capability for providing data reports to the Washington State office of Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in order for FRA to enforce the maximum 20 minute blockage rule.
7. Initiate an SDOT/WSDOT Peer Review Team to review traffic operational and safety improvement opportunities on the West Seattle Bridge upper and lower roadways and make recommendations.
In addition to the feasibility studies, the green sheet would add $500,000 for installing ITS infrastructure to help communicate delays and wait times associated with train activity in the Corridor. This project would install ITS equipment including Bluetooth readers and dynamic message signs along the Corridor between Airport Way South and Port of Seattle Terminals 5 and 18 in order to collect and display real-time travel time information to trucks drivers and other motorists. Traffic signal system improvements at the intersection of Chelan Avenue Southwest and West Marginal Way Southwest could also be included in the project scope.
The second item, at unspecified cost, basically calls for a report on how the “action report” is being followed up on:
… This Statement of Legislative Intent requests the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) prepare a written progress report on the implementation of initiatives described in the West Seattle Bridge Corridor Whitepaper and Priority Investment List.
The report should describe the Executive’s planning and progress implementing the 2015 West Seattle Bridge Whitepaper and Priority Investment List (the Investment List) recommendations to the Transportation Committee or the appropriate Council committee. The report should be transmitted to the Council no later than March 31, 2016 and should include the following information:
1) A description of all anticipated 2016 SDOT maintenance and capital project activities planned for the West Seattle Bridge Corridor (the Corridor). The report should identify all planned Corridor project activities included in the Investment List and any planned Corridor project activities not included in the Investment List.
2) A comprehensive schedule review defining SDOT’s timing for implementing the Investment List’s recommendations including any multi-year initiatives or projects that may not have full funding.
3) Estimated total investment of City resources in both staff and funding to carry out Investment List recommendations in 2016 and beyond.
4) A description of the on-going metrics SDOT will use to measure the effectiveness of the recommended investments and a Corridor-wide assessment of traffic conditions for all modes in 2016.
See the full list of items to be discussed at today’s budget meeting – no votes, since this is “Round 1” of the budget review – by going here; you can watch the meeting live via Seattle Channel, online (the “live” player is embedded above) or cable channel 21.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? To comment on anything in the budget process – which will continue until a final vote before Thanksgiving – click the “Send Us Budget Feedback” button on this page.
12:17 PM UPDATE: The West Seattle Bridge-related items hadn’t been reached yet when the council recessed for lunch, due back in session at 2 pm.
2:58 PM: They’ve just reached the West Seattle Bridge Corridor items now. (a moment later) Both went by without discussion, aside from a bit of context from Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.