That’s our video of SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe‘s return trip to the West Seattle Transportation Coalition at their September meeting. He was brand-new to the job when he last appeared before the WSTC five months ago (WSB coverage here). Since then, he and his family have chosen West Seattle to put down their local roots. And, as he moved on to the hot topic of the night – EB bridge backups blamed on the return of the NB 99 bus lane – he said he’s a bus rider too, most days.
We reported on his comments regarding the bus-lane situation in this WSB story on Friday.
As noted in that coverage, he is aware of the problem (acknowledging that it’s “serious”), has experienced it firsthand, but is hoping to find a solution that won’t involve removing the lane. (An SDOT spokesperson told us a short time ago that what’s being looked at is this: “We’ve been considering whether a slight adjustment to the start of the bus lane in order to give people in cars a little more time to merge out of that lane might help alleviate this issue . We’re still considering this and there’s not a specific timeline.”)
He also talked about the SDOT budget, on which he and his staff briefed the City Council on Friday (the day after the WSTC meeting) – here’s video:
In general, he reminded the group, that this is more of an update budget – the second year of a two-year budget adopted last year.
One West Seattle item of note: The Highland Park Way improvements to be funded by the “Mercer Megablock” sale: “To be clear, the funding would NOT be sufficient for a roundabout- but it does fund a signal that would improve the safety issues we’ve seen.”
Is there still a possibility of a roundabout? Well, maybe, said Zimbabwe, but he said SDOT believes the intersection’s grade does not lend itself to one being implemented safely.
Bottom line, he pretty much ruled out the roundabout.
Other budget points: The Delridge repaving project accompanying RapidRide H Line conversion starting next spring is funded. Plus: “The other thing that will come starting next year, Phase 2 of the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway” including installation of the 35th/Graham signal next year.
“We’ve made some real progress” in the Duwamish Longhouse safe-crossing situation (also a topic during Zimbabwe’s first WSTC appearance). “We’ve developed a plan – it would involve another traffic signal and removing a lane on SB Marginal Way so we’re working on how to fund that and keep it moving forward.” Hopefully some striping this fall, he added.
The Avalon/35th project is “making good progress” aside from issues related to the water main installation. The final paving happened the preceding two nights, with a bit more work to go in spring. Big progress on the 35th rebuild – you’ll note that’s heavy-duty foot-thick concrete, Zimbabwe pointed out.
When will a final Fauntleroy Boulevard decision be in? Though the final decision on Sound Transit light-rail routing isn’t until 2022, they should have some idea sooner, Zimbabwe said.
Earlier in the meeting, another SDOT staffer talked about what’s in the works on SW Barton by Westwood Village, beyond the curb extension recently installed. We’re still working to get some additional details from SDOT to finish that story and hope to publish it tomorrow.
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition meets fourth Thursdays most months – next meeting, October 24, 6:30 pm, at Neighborhood House High Point.