FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: Walk-and-Talks this week; project artist; followups

A reminder, an update, and a followup, all related to the Fauntleroy Boulevard project:


WALK-AND-TALKS TOMORROW, SATURDAY: The two SDOT-hosted “Walk-and-Talk” tours announced last month are tomorrow and Saturday. On Thursday, it’s scheduled for noon-1:30 pm; Saturday, 10:30 am-noon, both starting outside LA Fitness at 39th SW/SW Alaska and continuing east to end at West Seattle Brewing, 4515 Fauntleroy Way SW. The plan, SDOT says, is to “share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback.”

PROJECT ARTIST ANNOUNCED: As with most such projects, this one will have public art, funded by the city’s 1% for Art program. SDOT announced this week that “a panel of community leaders, project staff and local artists selected Jill Anholt to develop the public art component.” The Vancouver, B.C.-based artist will be on tomorrow’s Walk-and-Talk tour. SDOT says she’ll be working with community suggestions:

Pick up a pre-paid postcard from a West Seattle Junction restaurant, coffee shop, or community center, fill in your West Seattle story, and mail it back to help inform the new art for Fauntleroy Way SW. You can also pick up a postcard at the Walk and Talks this week or fill out an online postcard on our project webpage.

According to the “call for art” from last year, the budget is $150,000.

ABOUT THE RIGHT-OF-WAY: As highlighted at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association (WSB coverage here), one concern for some businesses along the route is that they’ll be losing parking. The city says its plan is to build entirely in the “right of way.” So we followed up with SDOT (which wasn’t at the community group’s meeting) to ask about the public/private property delineation in the area. Project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey replied:

… in much of the project area, the sidewalk and street are poorly defined and people have become accustomed to using the public right-of-way for parking or loading. This means that people are sometimes driving and parking on the sidewalk. One of the main project goals is to organize the street to be more predictable and comfortable for all users. We achieve this, in part, by defining clear sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and vehicle lanes. Throughout the design process, we have been working with individual business owners to adjust our project designs for the right-of-way to accommodate their business operations; for example, by relocating loading zones and adjusting driveway placements.

The paved triangle just north of Wardrobe Cleaners is City-owned right-of-way. In the project design, this area will be converted into green stormwater infrastructure landscaping to help manage stormwater runoff. Based on our meetings with the owners of Wardrobe Cleaners, we have also incorporated into the design a “load zone driveway” in the right-of-way space between the new landscaping and the Wardrobe Cleaners’ building for customers to use for short-term loading.

At the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building, some of the area out front currently used as a parking lot is private property and some is public right-of-way. To access the parking area on private property, people drive their cars over the public sidewalk, and often inadvertently end up parking on the sidewalk/public right-of-way. We have been working with the property owner and business owners at this building to adjust the driveway placements in the design to maximize the amount of parking space on their private property. Even with these changes, the parking capacity in front of their building will be reduced from the mix of private and public space they’re accustomed to using for parking.

Even if right-of-way has been used in that way for a long time, McCaffrey says, “Washington State courts have held that property owned by governmental entities, including the City of Seattle, is not subject to adverse possession by private individuals or entities.” (Around residential property, for example, the “right of way” doesn’t end at the sidewalk.)

McCaffrey also addressed some concerns raised by Rudy’s Barbershop reps in relation to the recent meeting:

They noted that the design is based on out-of-date traffic data. Based on community feedback, we are in the process of conducting an additional traffic study on Fauntleroy to validate the findings of our original traffic study in 2012. We will share this data and any design adjustments it indicates with the community next month. Rudy’s Barbershop also raised concerns that the project does not add new pedestrian crossings. The project adds an additional crosswalk across Fauntleroy at 38th Ave SW. We have heard requests from the community for an additional crosswalk between SW Avalon Way and SW Oregon St. As we refine the design, we are examining the feasibility of adding an additional mid-block crosswalk in this area; as a part of our current traffic study, we are considering how this addition would affect safety and vehicle movements.

We’ve also asked about the status of the crosswalk that is supposed to be installed just west of the project zone, at 39th/Alaska/Fauntleroy, as part of the “public benefit package” for the alley vacation granted to The Whittaker (WSB sponsor) project, and are waiting to hear back from SDOT on that.

ADDED 1:52 PM: The reply on that: “The Whole Foods/Whittaker project design includes construction of a new crosswalk across SW Alaska St (crossing from the Whittaker to the Spruce, as you described). Based on our understanding of the Whittaker’s construction schedule, their project – including the new crosswalk – will be complete by the time we begin construction on the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, anticipated to begin in late 2017 or early 2018. If for some reason this crosswalk has not been installed by the time we are completing construction at that intersection, it is something that our project could build.”

21 Replies to "FAUNTLEROY BOULEVARD: Walk-and-Talks this week; project artist; followups"

  • KT March 15, 2017 (9:41 am)

    Is there anyone else bothered by the fact that a Canadian artist was selected or the “public art component”?  Guess Seattle artists don’t measure up.  And how about some input from local residents who will be living with this project and not “a panel of community leaders, project staff and local artists” making decisions.  

    • WSB March 15, 2017 (10:12 am)

      The law that set up the 1 percent for art fund, if you click through to the information about it, stipulates only Washington, Oregon, or B.C. artists can apply.

  • GAnative March 15, 2017 (10:13 am)

    All I want is a “Don’t Block the Box” sign on Fauntleroy at Oregon.  And stripe the road so drivers on Fauntleroy can tell where the “box” is.

  • Stayfocused March 15, 2017 (1:39 pm)

    Please don’t let the barber shop and coffee stand dictate the design of this project. There have been a variety of businesses there over the years, they come and go- but the community at large and everyone who comes into west Seattle will use this boulevard, and it should work well for the masses. The focus is on moving people effectively, safely, pleasantly. No offense, Rudy’s- but it’s not about you. 

    • West Seattle since 1979 March 15, 2017 (3:09 pm)

      I can’t help but wonder, with all the new apartment buildings around, if people might want to walk to Rudy’s and the coffee shop instead of taking their cars, especially if they’re only a few blocks away.  Neighborhood places like this are great for walking to, and people are talking more now about walkable neighborhoods.  I remember growing up that my dad always walked to his favorite barbershop a couple blocks away, even though he had a car and could have driven.  

      Of course people will still drive to them, but it seems like it’d be important to make it easy for people who want to walk there to not have to squeeze past parked cars to get into the businesses.  

      • Andros. March 15, 2017 (6:29 pm)

        What about those of use that carpool and frequent these businesses. Where do we park?

        • West Seattle since 1979 March 15, 2017 (7:55 pm)

          Not on the sidewalk, please. Honestly, this part of West Seattle has been all about cars for so long. Can’t pedestrians at least have a little bone thrown to us? At least let us be able to cross streets safely and not have crosswalks blocked or cars ready to run into us; or have sidewalks blocked.

      • Jason March 16, 2017 (1:37 pm)

        There’s tons of free parking on the side streets that intersect with Fauntleroy, you just need to walk a half block to get your haircut or coffee.  Kind of like every other business district, you may not able to park directly in front on the arterial but you can use your feet.  I see extra cross walks being added so people can park on the south or north sides and cross conveniently.

    • Andros. March 15, 2017 (6:28 pm)

      Actually, those two businesses are very successful and should have an large say in what happens here. 

      And I personally think that shrinking roads is the wrong solution here overall

    • vincent March 16, 2017 (7:12 am)

      There buckets of free spaces 50 feet east of rudy’s in front of the lumber yard. Rudy’s has 4-6 usable spaces, and lot of people who block the sidewalk and illegally park.

  • old timer March 15, 2017 (4:06 pm)

    It might be nice to have a pedestrian crossover bridge.

    I’m sure the walk signals will not be instant-on.

    I see many pedestrians waiting for the long cycle at Alaska and Fauntleroy.

    I’d bet a lot of them would opt for stairs if they had a chance.

    • Chemist March 15, 2017 (8:16 pm)

      Pedestrian overpasses from level ground get really expensive and require a lot of space once you include ramps and stairs.

    • Jason March 16, 2017 (1:39 pm)

      This is a horrible idea and would be a colossal waste of money.  There are cross walks and paint in the plans.  Who can’t wait a minute to cross a moderately sized arterial. 

  • simpler solutions March 15, 2017 (11:40 pm)

    The improvements may be nice, but is it worth the years of traffic and closed business?   Aren’t there simpler solutions to creating pedestrian pathways and beautiful landscapes?   why is it all or nothing?

  • Steve March 16, 2017 (6:57 am)

    Seems to be a project that will result in more problems than solutions.  Can you imagine the traffic in the evening rush hour?  How far will it be backed up…all the way to the WS bridge? 


    Eliminating the right turn only lanes to SW Oregon and to SW Avalon will cause major gridlock.  We’ve seen what happens when SDOT moves from four lanes to two…23rd in the CD is a nightmare.  We’re going essentially from six lanes to four.  It’ll be a mess.


     While I love the greenery, the eastbound bike lane should be moved off the arterial  to SW Alaska then  left on SW 36th  to access Avalon. 

  • Mark March 16, 2017 (1:09 pm)

    SDoT is ignoring the traffic data that clearly shows maintaing the existing right turn channelization is flat out warranted, off the charts especially at Avalon  over 600 motorists in the am peak hour!

    SDoT claims to be data driven, this is BS.  They only use data when it provides them the answer they want.

  • West Seattle since 1979 March 16, 2017 (3:53 pm)

    I wonder if the trees are really necessary.  While trees are nice, I wonder if they might decrease visibility, and they certainly take up space that should be used for transportation.   Also it is troubling that this will take so long, as this is likely to hurt businesses, especially newer businesses.  

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