From post-Viaduct buses to crime updates and beyond @ Southwest District Council

Toplines from tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting:

BUSES, POST-VIADUCT: Have you seen this map yet?

It was brought to the SWDC meeting by Chris Arkills from King County, who has been visiting local groups to explain what’s happening during and after the January closure. The yellow pathway is what buses from the south end will use during the closure; after that, the interim period “9 months to 1 year,” it’ll be the blue pathway; then the green signifies the “permanent south end pathway.”

The blue route will involve traveling on 99 to the “new exit” and then on to 1st; in the reverse, same thing, heading down Columbia to 1st, then onto 99 at Dearborn, and on to the bridge. There’s a commitment to build “the south part of Columbia first” in hopes of accelerating that. (Note that there’s a caveat that this could be subject to change once things happen and they see how it’s working, or not working.)

The bus-only lane on the bridge will be extended to 4th, in the meantime, Arkills noted, and there will be a bus-only exit lane on the 4th Ave. exit from the eastbound bridge, too. Some other details are still being hashed out.

As previously reported here, the West Seattle Water Taxi will have extra vessel and shuttle service during the 99 closure, as well as 200 parking spaces (during commute hours) at Pier 2, as well as vanpool parking at Don Armeni Boat Ramp, and extended street-parking hours near Seacrest. Bike parking will be added in the Seacrest area too.

UPDATES FROM THE SOUTHWEST PRECINCT: The precinct’s third watch commander, Lt. Tammy Floyd, said auto thefts and burglaries are on the way down, after being up earlier in the year. A “property emphasis” is planned, with two or three officers each shift specifically focused on property crime including “proactive work.” The precinct now has two Automated License Plate Reader cars and is working to make sure both are deployed at all times to help detect stolen cars.

Regarding the reports of “roving juveniles” causing trouble in the Westwood area, including between Chief Sealth International High School and the shopping area, Lt. Floyd said bicycle officers, CPT and ACT will also do some “focus projects” stepping things up there. The Community Police Team now has a new officer, Officer Nic Plemel, replacing John O’Neil, who’s moved to the South Precinct and awaiting promotion to sergeant. Another appointment to the team is pending. Police remind you to take care about deliveries (package/mail theft)with the shopping season revving up for the holidays.

Asked specifically about a pre-announced meeting topic, reporting missing people, Lt. Floyd explained Silver Alerts. They can be issued if the missing person is identified as a “vulnerable adult” who is:

-60 or older
-Unable to find their way back
-Has dementia

There also has to be ‘enough descriptive information’ to assist in safe recovery, such as photos, so people know more about who they’re looking for. SPD gets info via WSP because it goes into a national system.

DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS’ INVOLVEMENT ON LIGHT RAIL: We’ve covered Erin House‘s presentation before (at September’s Delridge District Council meeting). City elected officials asked the DoN to check in with neighborhood reps about what they’re hearing from Sound Transit regarding West Seattle to Ballard light rail. An ST consultant was present too in case any project- specific questions came up, and she recapped where the process stands – the three “end-to-end” Level 3 possibilities we reported on Tuesday, as unveiled Monday night. Meantime, SWDC member Cindi Barker from West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs suggested that the DoN go back and find lessons learned during the monorail-planning process, with regard to potential station areas. House said they’re reviewing light-rail station areas such as Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill.

SWDC member Ellen West from the Junction Neighborhood Organization said questions are already coming up about eminent domain. Deb Barker, SWDC member (who also happens to be on the light-rail project’s volunteer Stakeholder Advisory Group), said she has been researching that too. Sound Transit can’t officially negotiate until much later in the process but is working on an “interim communication” plan for addressing those questions sooner.

At the start of the meeting:

ANNOUNCEMENTS: JuNO has Sound Transit coming in for their November 19th meeting, along with SDOT and King County Metro discussing more about the Highway 99 transition. JuNO director Amanda Kirk, co-chair of SWDC, is meeting with Department of Neighborhoods director Andres Mantilla next week to see what DoN’s current philosophy is regarding district councils. … Cindi Barker suggested that West Seattle organizations/businesses/facilities take pains to be sure their publicly available meeting space is listed on the new city website Spacefinder. … She also recapped some of the results from last weekends

NEXT MEETING: SWDC meets first Wednesdays, so the next meeting will be at 6:30 pm Wednesday, December 5, upstairs at the Senior Center/Sisson Building.

22 Replies to "From post-Viaduct buses to crime updates and beyond @ Southwest District Council"

  • Sue T. November 7, 2018 (10:57 pm)

    Maybe I’m reading the map incorrectly or missing a story detail, but how are buses supposed to make the three-block climb of Madison Street from Alaskan Way to First Avenue ?  I mean, the intersection of First and Madison is now level with the viaduct’s lower traffic deck, and once the viaduct has been removed the intersection will be left sitting on top of the vertical drop between First Avenue and Post Avenue a block closer to the waterfront.

    • Paul November 8, 2018 (6:13 am)

      Buses will be using Columbia, not Madison. 

    • rpo November 8, 2018 (7:20 am)

      I’m not sure what you are referring to. The map doesn’t show buses using Madison, plus Madison already connects from Alaskan to 1st. 

  • CWS November 8, 2018 (8:21 am)

    Coming from West Seattle heading North on 99 where does traffic exit to get onto Alaskan Way? That part of the map is not on here.

    • KBear November 8, 2018 (9:28 am)

      CWS, information about the downtown exits from 99 has been widely available for YEARS, despite the fact that people refuse to believe they will exist. Check the project web site. You’ll find more maps there.

    • newnative November 8, 2018 (9:29 am)

      Not only is it on the map but it’s spelled out in the narrative, “The blue route will involve traveling on 99 to the “new exit” and then on to 1st; in the reverse, same thing, heading down Columbia to 1st, then onto 99 at Dearborn, and on to the bridge. “

    • Michael Taylor-Judd November 8, 2018 (9:46 am)

      The end-goal is routing along the “Permanent” green line on the map. Buses traveling northbound on SR 99 will exit near the Stadiums at approximately Dearborn, where the current plan is to have a transit-only lane next to the regular vehicle lane. Buses would then continue north  along the new Alaskan Way and onto the map you see above.

  • J November 8, 2018 (9:56 am)

    I feel like the bus commutes are going to be so much longer without the viaduct. Also, the climb up columbia street is such a mess. It takes the 120 like 10 minutes to drive three blocks on Columbia to turn left on 3rd. 

    • newnative November 8, 2018 (11:20 am)

      How could you possibly know that? Columbia is currently a one-way street going from 3rd Ave to the Viaduct.

    • KM November 8, 2018 (2:11 pm)

      Are you thinking of Seneca, as currently designed?

    • Peter November 8, 2018 (3:54 pm)

      The reason for the regular backup on Seneca approaching third is that there is always a cop at the stop on Seneca blocking buses and pedestrians to give priority to single occupant vehicles entering a parking garage. Thanks SPD!

  • Chris November 8, 2018 (12:09 pm)

    I believe J is talking about Seneca. I ride the 125 and it was recently rerouted onto Seneca when coming into downtown. I don’t know why they changed the route (I have a couple unresponded to emails in to Metro), but buses do indeed take forever to get up to Third.  

  • Chris Hoffman November 8, 2018 (12:24 pm)

    I believe J is referring to Seneca. I ride the 125 and can attest to the long delays getting from the Viaduct to Third coming into downtown. I have a couple of as yet unresponded to emails to Metro to ask them why they rerouted the 125 from turning left on First. I am guessing it’s not convenient for the majority of 125 riders; I know it’s not for me because it adds travel time and results in buses being late almost every morning.

  • Common Sense November 8, 2018 (1:14 pm)

    Will the bus only lane changes on the bridge to 4th Ave be temporary or permanent?  Hopefully, only temporary, as traffic already backs up to where the Harbor Island traffic merges, and eliminating the ability for vehicles not travelling to I-5 or Beacon Hill to avoid the bottleneck is imperative.  Somehow, though, these things take on lives of their own and I could see SDOT making it permanent.

    • WSB November 8, 2018 (1:34 pm)

      4th is not the permanent pathway so there would be no reason for a permanent bus lane.

  • dcn November 8, 2018 (1:47 pm)

    If the new bus only exit onto the 4th ramp extends all the way onto northbound 4th ave S, that route to downtown will not be usable for car drivers. I say this because currently, with 2 lanes exiting to N-bound 4th, the exit already backs up, occasionally all the way up to the Spokane St Viaduct. Lately, I sometimes have to wait 2 or 3 light cycles to get off the ramp and onto N-bound 4th. If cars are limited to one lane, that will clog the viaduct with cars trying to get off at 4th. And cars will sit through more than just 2 or 3 light cycles trying to exit. If they manage to squeeze 3 lanes to N-bound onto this ramp, then it might not be so bad.Similarly, the one thing that relieves congestion at the end of the east-bound WS Bridge right now is the opening of the bus-only lane to all cars once you get past the exit to 99. If that becomes a bus only lane all the way to the 4th Ave exit, then drivers trying to get to I-5 S-bound or Beacon Hill will be stuck with all the people trying to get off at 4th Ave S. The 2 lanes left to cars on the Spokane St Viaduct in this location will become a complete bottleneck during the morning commute. And before anyone says that it’s time to start riding the bus instead of driving, I commute to Mercer Island, and busing to my workplace would take 2 transfers and at least 2 hours each way. It currently takes me 35-40 minutes driving up 4th to I-90 from my house in Westwood. And I commute with a child, so biking is not an option either, even if I had the will to do that. While I understand the efforts to prioritize bus routes, city and county transportation planners need to take into account that people who are not able to take the bus also need viable options to get to downtown and beyond. 

  • dcn November 8, 2018 (2:20 pm)

    I’ll add to my above comment (not yet posted), that the bottleneck would be even if no new cars that take 99 now divert to 1st or 4th while the connections to downtown via 99 are being built. I’ve read that those connections won’t be open until at least March. If significant numbers of people switch to 1st and 4th ave exits, then the exit to 1st Ave S will back up into the bus lane, and 4th Ave S exit will be impossible for cars. The lane that currently goes to I-5 S and Beacon Hill will become a parking lot for cars trying to get off at 4th. I really can’t envision this working, although I am not a traffic engineer.And what about all the cars and trucks that come up from the lower bridge? They need to use that right lane that is proposed to be a bus only lane to merge into the lanes headed for I-5. Or to get off at 1st or 4th. I hope the people who are doing the planning spend some time during the morning commute to watch traffic flow. 

  • RDS November 8, 2018 (5:09 pm)

    Is there a way to get one of the maps?

  • anonyme November 9, 2018 (7:14 am)

    I don’t see the railroad tracks on this map.  During one of the many, previous re-routes of Route 21, there were frequent delays of up to 30 minutes while traffic (buses included) waited for trains.  Can’t tell if these routes involve crossing tracks…

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