PHOTOS: What happened on the first Fauntleroy Boulevard walking tour

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Even outside peak commute times, motorized-vehicle traffic roars and rumbles through The Triangle on Fauntleroy Way, along the route of the now-in-final-planning-stages Fauntleroy Boulevard project. This afternoon, that posed challenges for the “talk” part of the first of two SDOT-led Walk-and-Talk Tours through the project zone.

More than 40 people turned out in the semi-surprise sunshine to walk along most of the route, eastbound from 39th/Alaska to Fauntleroy/Avalon, with two crossings along the way. Introductory speakers included longtime resident and community advocate Sharonn Meeks (below, with project manager Norene Pen):

Meeks reiterated that the project “has been in play” for many years and said, “We’re here as a community … not as ‘I want it, I don’t want it’.”

Two groups formed; we went along with the one led by project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey, who recapped key points of the plan, including two travel lanes in each direction, and “consolidation of utilities” since the undergrounding requested by the community wasn’t part of the budget. Stops started with an explanation outside Trader Joe’s of how, since their current loading area will no longer exist, they’re going to load off 39th SW west of the store, with some in-lane loading in the middle of the night on Fauntleroy.

McCaffrey said TJ’s is “pretty happy” with what they worked out. Currently, they get two truck deliveries each night, one around 7 pm, one around 3 am. Next stop was the Parks-owned triangle by SW Oregon, where pedestrian improvements were the focus.

Discussion included the plan to change the overhead “fire signal” flashing lights to a full pedestrian-activated signal. Some questions included how that would be timed with the rest of the motorized-vehicle traffic flow on the road. Also noted at this stop, the plan to have “consistent, defined sidewalks” on both sides of Fauntleroy. Then came a chance – for those who haven’t experienced it – to see what it’s like crossing Fauntleroy in The Triangle. The amount of time allotted definitely wasn’t enough for ~20 people.

At the end of that crossing, outside Wardrobe Cleaners, tour participants got a look at the area that SDOT says will be turned into “green stormwater infrastructure.”

Someone pointed out a utility pole that seemed to be infringing on the pedestrian area. “We’re going to be moving a lot of utility poles,” McCaffrey acknowledged. Another question: How will the landscaped median areas be maintained? SDOT is accountable for right-of-way maintenance, but community group help would be great too, McCaffrey said. (Community groups actually have helped over the years – we’ve covered numerous cleanups in the Triangle/Gateway area – but their numbers have dwindled, among other challenges.) Project designer Mike Hendrix said they’re looking at “low maintenance” trees, too.

Outside the 4480 Fauntleroy Way building (Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee), questions included just how much of the parking lot was really city right-of-way.

With questions about how businesses would be helped to survive the year-long construction period – a major topic at the recent launch meeting of the Fauntleroy Way Association – the SDOT reps pointed to city Office of Economic Development reps who were present, and suggested talking with them at the end of the tour.

After that, we missed the final scheduled stop because of unrelated breaking news. But we caught back up with the end of the tour inside West Seattle Brewing (4515 Fauntleroy Way SW), where participants were invited to check out more informational boards, talk one-on-one with SDOT reps, and chow down on pizza that WS Brewing baked at its Alki location and brought up to the Triangle for the occasion.

Also there, Jill Anholt, just announced this week as winner of the public-art contract for the project zone:

Anholt said she doesn’t have a preconceived plan for the work – she’s waiting to see the stories that community members tell. (Here’s how to share yours.) We asked what she’s done in the area most recently; turns out she has work at the newly opened Sound Transit Angle Lake station.

The second and final walking tour – at least for this phase of the feedback process – is on Saturday morning (March 18th), 10:30 am-noon. Same route – meet outside LA Fitness at 39th/Alaska.

15 Replies to "PHOTOS: What happened on the first Fauntleroy Boulevard walking tour"

  • KT March 16, 2017 (5:15 pm)

    Any discussion of how you move thousands of cars thru this area at morning & evening commute during the year (if you believe in miracles) this project is supposed to take?  Would seem that would be a priority in the planning process not an afterthought.  

    • Azimuth March 16, 2017 (6:43 pm)

      The auto throughput will be fine as long as the lights are setup right (hopefully SDOT can figure that out…) and downstream traffic on the bridge is ok, which this project can’t address.

      i use this corridor daily in my car and I’m thrilled it is being improved. What would really butter my bread would be carrying the visual improvements further down towards the bridge. 

      • Andros. March 17, 2017 (7:38 am)

        They didn’t get in right on 35th Ave. it’s a slog now leaving W Seattle.  These people seriously don’t know what they are doing. The mayor appoints them…that’s who we need to replace first. 

        • WSB March 17, 2017 (8:12 am)

          That is not true – no one in this report is an appointee. The mayor hires directors of the departments that report to him; others, including the people who led the walking tour yesterday, are employees, not appointees, and may have joined the department long before his election three and a half years ago. As for the mayor, he is running for re-election this fall; here’s who else is in that race (and the two City Council positions on the ballot) so far.

        • ANN Schumann March 18, 2017 (10:03 am)

          I agree Andros.   We have yet to see the outcome of the mess that was created on Admiral way to Alki.   Why inconvenience thousands of cars for a few bikers that are strong enough to bike up Admiral way.  I have seen bikers go down at over 30+ miles an hour.  Now we have to wait for them as we try and turn into alleys and side streets.  Or heaven forbid they are going so fast they run into our cars.  If I am waiting twice as long now to turn onto Admiral or into my alley I can’t wait to see what happens in the summer.  Total Gridlock!!  I can’t wait for the election.   Ed Murray has hired 1267 new employees, done numerous studies for hundreds of thousands of dollars and still does what he wants even when the solutions recommend cost savings.  All I see is more property taxes and this senior can’t afford much more.

    • James Guest March 17, 2017 (9:33 am)

      How do you move all those cars?  

      The future is ride sharing, mass transit and options that have a smaller footprint (motorcycles, scooters, e-bikes, bikes, foot, etc.)

      Single occupancy cars will go the way of fountain pens, typewriters and horse driven carriages.

      • Andy guest March 17, 2017 (5:38 pm)

        You forgot to mention teleporters and flying cars. 

  • JHC March 16, 2017 (5:27 pm)

    I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I’m excited for the changes. I’ve seen so many people run the red light at the triangle because they don’t realize it’s there, and crossing the intersection in that entire area is practically impossible with the way people drive/don’t pay attention. 

    • hj March 16, 2017 (6:53 pm)

      I’m also excited. Even Lake City’s “entrance” is nicer than what we have now and that’s not something to aspire to. The city has done a pretty good job in being transparent about this and addressing business concerns. I’m not looking forward to the interval of construction but honestly if it’s something nice and not yet another daily lane closure due to an apartment building going up, I’ll take it.

    • James Guest March 17, 2017 (9:35 am)

      Agreed that intersection is poorly designed. Visibility of the traffic lights are poor. There… Are… Four… Lights!

  • CJ March 16, 2017 (9:16 pm)

    Is it true that during the year long boulevard construction project along Fauntleroy that traffic to/from the bridge will be rerouted via Alaska and 35th Ave Sw?

    • WSB March 16, 2017 (9:17 pm)

      They are considering at least two options – either keep traffic on Fauntleroy, which means a longer construction period, or reroute to Alaska.

  • Victoria March 17, 2017 (9:30 am)

    As we witnessed this last Tuesday, the right turn lane from Fauntleroy to Avalon was critical as  a safety valve when traffic backs up due to an accident on the bridge.  Under this proposal, the right turn lane will be removed.  I do think they need to keep this turn so traffic can be redirected to the lower bridge when the upper bridge is backed up. 

  • Keep WS Beautiful March 17, 2017 (11:36 am)

    “Another question: How will the landscaped median areas be maintained? SDOT is accountable for right-of-way maintenance, but community group help would be great too, McCaffrey said.”

    Our neighborhood’s experience with SDOT maintained landscaped medians on Admiral Way, which was put in place from the Admiral Way look-out to the Fairmont Ravine bridge, is that it look great every year they maintain it.  However, the once annual maintenance is far too infrequent to keep up the the growth of weeds and some years they don’t even get to it.  Since we cannot weed in the median without getting clipped by traffic as a neighborhood we cannot provide “community group help.”  SDOT needs to provide the maintenance when a lane of traffic needs to be closed to weed and maintain landscaped medians.

  • Sam-c March 17, 2017 (6:30 pm)

    So, if they divert to 35th/ alaska, etc, they’ll update the light timing, right?   I was on 35th, at the alaska light, today, during rush hour, heading south on 35th.    There were about 27ish cars stcked up at the light (in each of the 2 lanes).   The light was green for cars to proceed south for such a short amount of time that only about 7 cars made it thru in each of the 2 lanes. And speaking of lanes, there, they’re not going to reduce that section of 35th to 1 lane before they do the  fauntleroy project, right?!?!?

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