BULLETIN: Fauntleroy Boulevard project ‘on hold’

(WSB file photo – 38th/Fauntleroy, in the zone set for the now-on-hold project)

FIRST REPORT, 3:53 PM: Tonight, as we’ve been reporting, the Junction Neighborhood Organization has a Fauntleroy Boulevard project update on the agenda. This afternoon, we’ve learned it will be a MAJOR update: The project is on hold, because of concerns that have long been raised by some community members – including that it might conflict with Sound Transit‘s light-rail plan, leading to the same stretch of busy roadway being torn up twice. Just posted to the project webpage:

We’re putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold.

… Based on community input and continued coordination with Sound Transit, we are putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold. This decision responds to community concerns about prolonged construction and effective use of taxpayer dollars.

Sound Transit’s current proposed route for the voter-approved West Seattle Light Rail Extension includes an elevated rail line on Fauntleroy Way. If built after the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, there is the possibility that Fauntleroy improvements would need to be removed and potentially rebuilt.

During our recent design outreach, we heard community concerns about dealing with major construction twice in such a short amount of time. The community also asked whether constructing the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project now, and potentially having elements of the project removed later, would be an effective use of public dollars. Our decision to put construction on hold will help to ensure that SDOT’s and Sound Transit’s plans for this stretch of Fauntleroy Way don’t conflict. We recognize West Seattle has multiple paving and transit priorities, and we will reallocate Fauntleroy Boulevard Project funds to address the community’s needs.

Sound Transit is still in the early stages of their design for light rail to West Seattle, and they anticipate choosing a preferred alignment by mid-2019. Last month, the City announced plans to work closely with Sound Transit over the next 18 months to identify a preferred route for the light rail tracks and stations to the West Seattle Junction.

The Fauntleroy Boulevard plan stemmed from a community-generated proposal dating back to the turn of the millennium. It proposed a rechannelization of Fauntleroy Way SW between SW Alaska and 35th SW, adding safety and multi-modal features, and stretches of landscaped median. It was idle for some years (concepts were explored in 2010) and then “re-activated” in 2016, with the final design announced last year. But as the Sound Transit West Seattle to Ballard planning phase ramped up recently, so did the questions and concerns about why millions would be spent on this stretch only to potentially see it torn up again a few years later (it’s in the draft alignment, and ST hopes to start construction as soon as 2025).

ADDED 6:09 PM: We asked City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for comment. Her reply:

We’re working to insure that if Sound Transit builds the representative alignment then Sound Transit will be responsible for rebuilding to project-level standards if they dig up the same portion of the street. If Sound Transit, on the other hand, chooses a different alignment and we move forward with the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project and SDOT determines that there are increased costs as a result of cost escalation due to the delay, then we’ll work to see that Sound Transit picks up those extra costs. Sound Transit won’t make final alignment decisions until late 2019, so in the meantime, we need to be working to prepare for a possible reallocation of levy dollars, based on what we have heard and will hear from the community about West Seattle’s transportation priorities. We don’t want to wait on Sound Transit to keep delivering levy improvements in West Seattle.

49 Replies to "BULLETIN: Fauntleroy Boulevard project 'on hold'"

  • old timer January 31, 2018 (4:14 pm)

    Well, that’s a bit of good news.

  • Triangle Resident January 31, 2018 (4:14 pm)

    Well for those of you that are working towards a tunnel rather than elevated, you just lost half of your argument by not doing these improvements in this location now.  Not only that but there is now no opportunity to transfer the C bus line alignment to Fauntleroy, ( an arterial built for this) from Alaska Street ( a residential neighborhood) street.  I’ve seen the surveyors twice in the last week mapping the elevated line headed from Delridge to our stadium/golf course.  Another 10 plus years added before any improvements in our community.

    • Jort January 31, 2018 (4:45 pm)

      The same people who want a tunnel also want to preserve West Seattle’s density at its current low levels.

      I am certain that both the city and Sound Transit will be happy to build a tunnel to the West Seattle junction if we have the same level of density as the other locations with tunnels, such as the University District and Capitol Hill. 

      Time to make a choice: you can’t have both a tunnel and a semi-suburban housing plan. Pick one.

      • Gwed February 11, 2018 (5:26 pm)


  • Dakota Resident January 31, 2018 (4:31 pm)

    Sad that no improvements will be made in the short term. In the meantime I’ll be fighting to keep that poorly designed light rail system from ruining our lovely streets. Aren’t there any Plan B’s or C’s? That is what design is about. Figuring out what the problem actually is. Not just settling on the first idea, which for all of Seattle right now is light rail.

    • Jort January 31, 2018 (4:43 pm)

      Light rail, and rail in general, have proven to be effective transportation methods in cities big and small, hilly and flat, cold and hot, dry and wet, rich and poor, dense and suburban — all around the entire planet that we call Earth.

      Seattle will not be the first city in the world where light rail “doesn’t work for us.”

      Also, an overwhelming majority of your neighbors voted to enact Sound Transit 3. The vote has been held, and you lost. Move on.

    • Edward January 31, 2018 (9:54 pm)

      The light rail has been fantastic.  I live in Columbia City and it’s a breeze to SeaTac Downtown the stadiums and Capitol Hill.  Fast Easy cheap.  

  • Jort January 31, 2018 (4:41 pm)

    The Seattle Process strikes again! Why not wait another decade to save lives and prevent injuries? 

    Gosh, maybe we shouldn’t have even built I-5 since we’ve had to repave it a few times since the 1960s. Too confusing! Too many conflicts! Let’s just give up. Let’s just not build anything. Let’s just keep letting people get injured, and continue to have the gateway to West Seattle look like a piece of dumpster-fire Aurora Ave. garbage.

    In summary, I’m glad that the feelings of car drivers won’t be too seriously hurt for the next few years.

    • KM January 31, 2018 (5:02 pm)

      Though I know this wasn’t the point you were making, getting rid of I-5 would be awesome.

      • Jort January 31, 2018 (6:51 pm)

        Oh, I agree! It would be awesome to wipe I-5 off the map between Tukwila and Everett and reclaim that land to make a better city!

    • Desertrat January 31, 2018 (6:12 pm)

      I’m still using my Commodore 64, waiting for that next great computer before I make a move.

    • Someone other than yourself January 31, 2018 (6:57 pm)

      According to the map in this article, http://old.seattletimes.com/flatpages/local/pedestrianandbicyclecollisionsinseattle.html      

      there was only one accident involving pedestrians on Fauntleroy between 2007 and 2014.    Lots of more dangerous roads  (See Avalon)

      I get that you don’t want to live on Aurora and want a proper “gateway”.   Sorry.

      Lets take time it takes and get it right.   

  • R January 31, 2018 (4:55 pm)

    Installation of the LED flashing crosswalk indicators and painting some sections of crosswalk over the roadway would be a smart and cost effective move to address people’s safety concerns.

    The ‘weed holder’ aka ‘divider’ aka ‘beautiful West Seattle entrance’ can wait. It truly makes no sense to do this twice. Re-allocate the project money to fix all of the potholes and road heaves everywhere else in WS.

  • KM January 31, 2018 (4:58 pm)

    I’m personally disappointed, but hopefully others who were opposed due to the possibility of it being torn up twice will be relieved! I received email update from SDOT and though it would make many happy.

    I hope SDOT can jump this project to the front of the line once light rail design is finalized in 2019. In other words, when ST decides to tunnel, they can push forward with the current proposed rechannelization of Fauntleroy immediately ;-) 

    • WS Guy January 31, 2018 (5:39 pm)

      Agree fully.  Let’s commit to a tunnel option and then restart this project. 

  • Mark Schletty January 31, 2018 (5:17 pm)

    Yeeaaaa!!!! Finally one rational decision by SDOT. Maybe Kubly being gone is starting to help. 

  • Roddy January 31, 2018 (5:32 pm)

    Smart move…for once.

  • JayDee January 31, 2018 (5:41 pm)

    If it saves the Oregon right-turn lane for a little while longer, I am all for it.  The Admiral road diet and the the light at 47th has made Admiral worse, not better. Removing the Oregon RT option will back traffic up onto the bridge even more than it does now, IMHO (which then causes drivers to bail to Admiral and TL on California, which….)

    • Jort January 31, 2018 (6:14 pm)

      When you say that things on Admiral are “worse,” do you mean that it’s a BAD a thing that the road is slower and safer for all road users?

      Or do mean that it’s worse because drivers might have to wait an additional 20 seconds longer while driving? 

      The road is safer, and that is something all citizens should celebrate and embrace. We do not need to prioritize vehicle speeds at the expense of our community’s safety. 

    • Jon Wright January 31, 2018 (6:24 pm)

      The lights at 35th and Avalon already throttle traffic on Fauntleroy. I doubt losing the turn pocket from Fauntleroy to Oregon is going to affect the backup east of 35th.

  • TJ January 31, 2018 (5:41 pm)

    Wow, local government actually making a wise decision! Glad this has been shelved. Fauntleroy is a major artery into West Seattle and a beautification project that will just slow people down is not warranted. And news flash on a tunnel..there is not remotely the funds for that in ST3. You can bet on it that there won’t be enough money for a elevated line once they figure out how to get it across the river. And while some tout “safety” as a justification for the Fauntleroy project (really a cover to push anti-car agenda), I think accident data on that stretch would say it is a very safe road. Time to “move on”

  • Wseattleite January 31, 2018 (5:53 pm)

    Two projects “in such a short amount of time”. 2018-2025. I guess it’s all relative. Government beaurocracy in Seattle is astounding. These people have zero mandate to actually do anything. Please. Keep moving papers around, and letting the tax payers support what amounts to nothing.  Awesome.   Oh, and that extra financial burden for nothing does not help your so called concern for affordable housing and a livable City for all. 

  • Don Brubeck January 31, 2018 (6:04 pm)

    What a sad decision. We’ll have to wait another 10 years minimum for safety for people walking, riding bikes, and who might take a bus instead of drive to this increasingly dense area if walking was made safe and comfortable.  The slip lane right turn at Oregon is dangerous to people walking and does nothing to prevent the backups on Fauntleroy that are already part of every day’s traffic. Car traffic and bus delays will only get worse without the Fauntleroy Boulevard improvements.

  • chemist January 31, 2018 (6:07 pm)

    Any word on 35th phase 2 and before-and-after phase 1 data?

    I think the last peep was in October

    • WSB January 31, 2018 (6:33 pm)

      While en route to the JuNO meeting that is about to start, I was thinking it’s time to check on that yet again. Sometimes one big announcement precedes and/or portends another.

  • MJ January 31, 2018 (6:24 pm)

    Don the FB project does not enhance street capacity, it reduces capacity.

    As a bike rider what would be greatly appreciated is getting rid of the pot holes in this section of street.

  • TreeHouse January 31, 2018 (6:30 pm)

    I’m disappointed. Maybe they can use the funds to rechannel 35th Ave North of Morgan?

    It is one of the most dangerous streets in all of Seattle. The 35th Ave SW corridor has had the 4th highest amount of traffic fatalities in the past 10 years. It would be a great project for the vision zero initiative. 

  • JayDee January 31, 2018 (7:24 pm)

    Admiral is actually unsafer. I get off the 56 on the way home and wait to cross by foot at 57th. But the slug of cars released by the light at 47th makes for a steady stream of cars…ditto the uphill drivers coming up from 59th. Prior to the 47th light there was a total of one fatality linked to cell phone distraction by the driver and a pedestrian (who may have not been distracted) from what I recall. Period. It wasn’t unsafe, but it was scary and the pedestrians reacted with caution. No bicyclists were affected by the degrade–If anything they are worse off due to narrower lanes. Increasing density in Alki (we all see it) is degrading Admiral all by it’s lonesome.

    People are driving up the hill faster in response as I see people pushing 40 as I wait for the bus.

  • KT January 31, 2018 (8:10 pm)

    Is she saying that if Sound Transit will pay to rip up and repair if  SDOT originally goes ahead?  Because it sounds it to me and that is crazy.  We’re gonna pay and then have everything we pay for ripped up and that’s OK because someone else will fix it?How long will the nightmare go on?  

    We’re working to insure that if Sound Transit builds the representative alignment then Sound Transit will be responsible for rebuilding to project-level standards if they dig up the same portion of the street.

  • Aaron January 31, 2018 (8:31 pm)

    This sounds like a reasonable decision. I for one am constantly irritated when a street finally gets paved, then what seems like a week later a spot gets dug up then repaired poorly! It seems insane to me that this was happening in a MUCH larger scale on Fauntleroy. 

    How about reallocating that paving money to rebuild Delridge south from Genesee? The light rail won’t mess up anything there!  Fauntleroy has been more recently paved, and Delridge is REALLY BAD! The re-channelization and all the poorly managed street cuts have made it almost a 4WD trail at points…

    • KM January 31, 2018 (9:00 pm)

      I think they already have this funded already via the Rapid Ride project?

    • WSB January 31, 2018 (9:10 pm)

      Repaving of that section of Delridge has been mentioned as a likely part of the work to prepare for the Route 120 to RapidRide H Line conversion.

  • Jethro Marx January 31, 2018 (8:54 pm)

    Fauntleroy is fine; I want a new bridge, from Interbay to the Tip. A suspension bridge high enough for most ships could be built for a couple hundred Prontos. You could even put a bike lane on it.

  • Jesus January 31, 2018 (9:00 pm)

    So 12 plus years for these improvements. This city is ridiculous. 

  • Gatewood January 31, 2018 (9:25 pm)

    Seattle  process strikes again. Incredibly short-sighted. Just like the people who didn’t vote for mass transit in the 70’s. Selfish & short-sighted.

  • WS Taxpayer January 31, 2018 (9:37 pm)

    I think this IS responsible use of Taxpayer dollars.  

    1. We are experiencing rapid increase in density that would significantly worsen during the construction and after the reduction in lanes.  

    2.  There exists safe alternatives for bikes on 36th and Alaska… reducing the main route when safe alternatives exist is counter productive.

    3.  Paving, improved crosswalks and better light timing would be beneficial.

    4.  Allowing the planning for light rail to take place prior to the construction makes logical sense.

  • MJ January 31, 2018 (9:44 pm)

    WS Taxpayer well stated!

  • gxnx January 31, 2018 (10:14 pm)

    We need to put a toll on the WS bridge!!

    $20 each way and $40 peak time.

  • Chuck January 31, 2018 (11:44 pm)

    Prudent decision. Was actually shocked by it, frankly. 

  • Craig February 1, 2018 (5:55 am)

    Wow.   What a shame.  I’m moving to a safer, pedestrian  friendly neighborhood before I get taken out by a selfish single occupancy driver. 

  • MrB February 1, 2018 (7:08 am)

    Insanity.  Now I understand why our roads and infrastructure are in such terrible condition.  Perhaps more insane is the chorus of lemmings lauding this decision.  Let’s continue to do nothing as the solution to everything.  Insanity.  

  • Gene February 1, 2018 (8:03 am)

    MRB- yeah- all those single occupancy vehicles – folks just trying to get to work, school, doctors appointments- who drive – (maybe because the bus can’t get to where they need to go- ?)this evil SOB’s!


  • 98126res February 2, 2018 (8:23 am)

    Would love investment to just work on cleaning up and landscaping the highway as it comes up into West Seattle.  And minimally disrupt traffic in doing so.  Would be so nice.

  • bolo February 2, 2018 (10:10 am)

    How about at least minimally maintaining what is there now? Maybe one level above “pothole rangers?” (The pothole rangers are hard workers, but that technology does not really address the problems.)

  • Kathy February 2, 2018 (6:05 pm)

    I am 67 years old. Does this mean I have to wait until I am 85 to safely bike to the businesses on Fauntleroy? I have only been waiting 8 years already.  It is not “anti-car”  to want to have bicycle access to these businesses, although standing on this stretch and watching a lot of the driver behavior is enough to make you “anti-driver”.  Speeding is rampant and you would have to be suicidal to take the lane on a bike, especially on the curves.  Crossing at Oregon either on foot or on a bike is downright scary. Currently I do my shopping in this area with a bicycle and lightweight trailer by riding on the sidewalk, even though at least one of the street crossings doesn’t even have a curb cut. In case you hadn’t noticed, the sidewalks are filling up with pedestrians due to increased population and businesses in the Junction/Triangle area and there really isn’t room on them for people walking and biking to share safely. 

    I kind of like the idea (proposed during the construction phase) of having one way traffic on Alaska and the other way on Fauntleroy between the Bridge and the Triangle. This would provide more room in the right of way for all road users and not just cars.  At any rate, some type of traffic calming on this stretch is long overdue. You say there haven’t  been many pedestrians or cyclists killed on this stretch?  Could that be because people just stay away from these businesses because it is obviously too dangerous and too hard to get to them, or they opt to become part of the car traffic problem instead?

    • Craig February 3, 2018 (8:40 am)

      great comment.   Lets hope CM Herbold is listening.

  • Maris February 3, 2018 (12:54 pm)

    I have been looking forward to the Fauntleroy improvements aver since I first learned of the project.

    But this makes sense. If we had built this several years ago it would be one thing, but to spend the funds now only to have it ripped up again makes little sense. The traffic disruptions would last twice as long. maybe the cost of the Fauntleroy project can be offset somewhat by Light Rail construction funding.

    Perhaps when the final Light Rail alignment is settled on and designed, the road work could be started with the changes caused by the future rail columns.

    Its really too bad because this should have been built by now, but better to get it done right the first time.

    • Kathy February 3, 2018 (2:23 pm)

      Then scale it down for now to include the bare minimum of safety improvements for people walking and biking. During the “open house” walk it was documented that there are tripping hazards, cars parking on the sidewalks,  dangerous crossings and missing curb cuts on  this stretch of Fauntleroy. These deficiencies violate  Americans with Disabilities Act. Zero bicycle infrastructure (other than some sharrows in the car lanes which should not exist on a road with four or more lanes) mean people who use their bikes for mobility because walking is painful cannot do so safely.

Sorry, comment time is over.