From T-5 to traffic @ Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

When the Terminal 5 modernization project starts construction next month, Pigeon Point is one of the neighborhoods that will have a front-row view.

So it was one of three major topics when the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council met this week at Pathfinder K-8.

TERMINAL 5 BERTH MODERNIZATION PROJECT: Before a project recap from the Port of Seattle/Northwest Seaport Alliance, they reminded the PPNC of the pre-construction open house June 22nd at Jack Block Park, 9:30-11:30 am (first noted here a week ago).

Q&A was interspersed with briefing points.

First question was about shore power. No, ships will not be required to plug in. They hope they’ll choose to, “when they have the capability.” They now expect more than 50 percent of the arriving cargo vessels will be shore-power-capable, up from the original 30 percent projection. They are also looking at policies for making it available at other terminals.

What about light pollution? One row of T-5 lights has to be “adjusted significantly,” was the reply. They added that work already has been done to keep the lights aimed down.

Back to the air pollution issue – one attendee complained of black smoke from ships. The requirement for low-sulfur fuel is spreading through the industry with new regulations taking effect next year, the port team noted.

What is the port doing to help orcas? One way: Habitat restoration, with another 16-acre restoration site at Terminal 117 on the Duwamish River awaiting approval. Also: They’re participating in a group of interested people/agencies, starting next month, with noise being one of the big issues and how to reduce it.

Construction starts next month, now that a contractor is on board. 90 percent of pile-driving will happen August through February. The contractor will be allowed to do it Mondays-Saturdays. Two “make-up Sundays” are possible too.

Dredging is likely at the end of the major work, 2022-2023.

New cranes are due in January 2021; Matson, which recently moved to T-5 and has weekly calls, will be there through March 2021. The first international vessel is due to call at T-5 April 2021.

The new quieter backup alarms are not in use yet, they noted. That led to a recap of permit conditions worked out with a lot of community input, including noise (they’re working on a noise-monitoring plan with the tenant right now and a railroad “quiet zone” that will be in place once train traffic “reaches a certain level” – it’ll be in place from T-5 to the Duwamish railroad bridge and will be built by BNSF), air quality, traffic, and stormwater. Be aware that engineers will still have the option of using train horns, and that many other noisy users in the area – and other rail lines – will not be part of the “quiet zone.”

Also explained: The traffic-mitigation plan. Closing the fifth leg of the Chelan/etc. intersection might be done sooner rather than later – that would shorten the waiting time at the 5-way signal. Other signal improvements are planned on the Spokane Street corridor, from Harbor to East Marginal. Access for nearby businesses will be improved. The tenant will have a Gate Management Plan that will include infrastructure improvements.

It was noted that import loads will be stacked up to five containers high, empties up to six high.

POLICE UPDATE: SW Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis and Community Police Team Officer Ken Mazzuca were in attendance. The captain listed priorities including:

*Property-crime reduction
*Drug crime

Saturating the area and targeted enforcement are what they use to address the big problems. Getting information out – and in. Keep calling. If they don’t hear about it, they don’t know, and they won’t be able to target everything from patterns to anomalies “to get really surgical.”

Overall, West Seattle is down 13 percent crime-wise from last year. Going into the summer months, no guarantee that’ll continue, but they’re hopeful.

He mentioned the “swing gate” that is now in place at Don Armeni Boat Ramp “so my officers can go in and shut that down” if there’s trouble. They have used that as a base for officers to issue a lot of citations, he said. When SPD gets aggressive there, word spreads.

After Capt. Davis wrapped up his comments, PPNC’s Pete Spalding reiterated that calling 911 is vital. He also mentioned that the micro-policing plans for Pigeon Point and other neighborhoods are getting updated, so feedback is vital. Also: Night Out registration is open, he added (as noted here earlier in the day)

SDOT AND TRAFFIC WOES: Spalding also talked about increasing driver problems on Pigeon Point as the neighborhood densifies. There was a particularly notable incident in which a fire truck couldn’t make it through the southbound side of 21st SW south of Andover recently. Some parking restrictions had been requested for SDOT to look into, so the department’s Venu Nemani came to the PPNC meeting.

He explained that for parking restrictions to be implemented, the neighborhood has to file a petition with signatures from residents in the area – 60 percent approval. Intersections don’t require approval, though, he noted. The spot where 21st goes both ways at the top of Andover could be considered an intersection, with parking not allowed within 30 feet.

One attendee wondered about limiting parking during the hours that school buses bound for Pathfinder K-8 use 21st and Genesee. SDOT can take a look at that, Nemani said. Even without residences on the south side of Genesee by the school, would residents’ approval be required? He wasn’t sure.

He also noted that neighborhood grants might help with traffic-calming projects.

“I’m a mobile traffic-calming program,” declared one attendee, who said he relentlessly drives the speed limit.

Much discussion focused on the 21st split south of Andover. Nemani said he would have engineers look at it. And there was concern about the right-angle turn at 21st/Charlestown, with a suggestion that something as simple as paint could help. That would not require a petition either, he said, and it could happen as soon as “two to four weeks.”

At Genesee/20th, people are parking in the crosswalk, and that needs to be better marked, another attendee said. Nemani reminded them that it’s a crosswalk regardless of whether it’s marked as such. He noted that signs are now in more of a “graphical format” rather than “no parking north/south” of here, for easier comprehension.

WHAT’S NEXT: Pigeon Point will have what’s usually West Seattle’s biggest Night Out party on August 6th.

3 Replies to "From T-5 to traffic @ Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council"

  • John June 13, 2019 (7:59 pm)

    The school bus traffic needs to follow the old bus route that travels up the wider  less restricted  20th Ave SW. Specific Pigeon Pointers will be disappointed no matter what  route the busses follow, but it would make sense to formalize it along the wider, less steep 20th Ave for safety’s sake alone.With a long time interest in Pigeon Hill, I ponder how this unique brew of a community will respond to new challenges?   

  • Concerned citizen June 13, 2019 (8:00 pm)

    Anyone know if the pile driving is going to follow normal noise ordinance guidelines?

    • Jim June 13, 2019 (10:19 pm)

      They are required to follow them and have agreed to follow them.  Whether they will is anybody’s guess at this point.  And will the City enforce their own rules this time around?

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