If you didn’t make it to this month’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting – here’s the next best thing: We recorded both of the briefings that comprised most of the meeting.
The first speaker, city Office of the Waterfront deputy director Angela Brady, brought an update on the downtown waterfront district, stretching from the stadium district to Bell Street Pier. Key points:
-The seawall replacement is done.
-The Highway 99 tunnel is open.
-Viaduct demolition continues.
-Building the new (surface) Alaskan Way is key, as is building the new post-Viaduct-ramp Columbia St. to connect transit. The new park promenade will be under construction soon.
-Construction is under way on the southern half of Pier 62/63.
-WSDOT is building a new Railroad Way diagonal to get from the stadium zone to the waterfront.
-Elliott and Western, formerly exit and entrance streets for The Viaduct, will remain one-way.
The new Alaskan Way should be open by late 2021; the “promenade” will be built after that. Questions? The waterfront-construction website might have the answers.
Next up, two of the three legislators who represent the 34th District (which includes West Seattle, White Center, Vashon/Maury Islands, and a bit beyond):
This was a very casual briefing, more of a conversation. A few points:
Sen. Joe Nguyen said the work’s not over even though the session is. They’re working on a new budget now.
The Sound Transit light-rail “preferred alternatives” board vote had happened hours before the WSTC meeting (last Thursday, May 23rd), so that was one of the first topics. Nguyen said he supports the tunnel option and will be participating in brainstorming how to pay for it.
The new transportation budget includes a $1.25 million request for funding the Highland Park Way roundabout; WSTC chair Michael Taylor-Judd pointed out that the Highland Park Action Committee had learned one night earlier (WSB coverage here) that the estimated cost had jumped dramatically to $7.3 million.
He also touched on ferry funding, saying not only is that going toward new vessels, but also toward electrification. And the controversy over bus-lane/block-the-box enforcement cameras came up too.In all, transportation funding for 34th District projects totaled close to $300 million, Nguyen said.
Taylor-Judd wondered if the state could help mediate with BNSF Railway on matters including the safety proposal for crossing West Marginal Way SW at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse; SDOT said dealing with BNSF was a problem impeding that project.
Rep. Eileen Cody noted that one chronic problem for the Duwamish Tribe is its lack of recognition.
An attendee brought up housing issues including the city’s proposed rule changes regarding “backyard cottages” and voiced concern that increased coverage of lots would mean less room for trees. Sen. Nguyen said it should be seen through the lens of the need for more affordable housing. Several other topics came up, though no revelations or surprises; watch the video for the full Q&A.
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition meets fourth Thursdays most months, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW).