West Seattle, Washington
One local veterans’ group got a pre-Veterans Day gift from volunteers today – themselves veterans. Their assignment: Some much-needed interior work at West Seattle VFW Post 2713’s hall in The Triangle. Leading them, Linh Thai from The Mission Continues:
Help for the much-used-but-aged hall brought a big smile to Post 2713 Commander Steve Strand:
Post 2713 celebrated its centennial last year.
The West Seattle High School girls’ soccer team has one more chance to keep their stellar season going. After a 5-0 loss to Roosevelt last night, they play tomorrow for Metro League 4th place.
Their opponent tomorrow is Holy Names, who the Wildcats beat a week ago.
Winner of tomorrow’s match (5 pm Thursday at Southwest Athletic Complex) plays Saturday in a so-called “pigtail” match with either Mercer Island or Bellevue for one last spot at state.
If you travel on 35th SW near Camp Long, you have likely noticed that the long-awaited traffic signal appears almost ready to go. We asked SDOT for an update on its status; the reply, “We’re currently working on signal cabinet installation and expect to it to be operational in about three weeks.” More than a year and a half has passed since SDOT announced the signal as part of “Phase 2” on 35th SW.
6:46 PM: Avoid Fauntleroy/Edmunds for a while – police are detouring traffic on NB Fauntleroy because of that collision between a motorcycle rider and car driver. The rider is injured and being taken to Harborview. Apparently his injuries are not life-threatening, though, as police tell us the Traffic Collision Investigation detectives are not being called in. They’re awaiting a tow truck before the scene can be cleared.
7:35 PM: The scene is clear. We’re checking with SFD for condition information.
8:56 PM: SFD says the 28-year-old rider was in serious condition when transported, and that a 29-year-old woman also suffered minor injuries in the crash.
3:45 PM: Just in from King County Elections, the second count of results from last night’s election. In the City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) race, Lisa Herbold is still narrowly leading Phil Tavel, 10,047 votes to 9,337 votes – 51.65% to 48.0%.
4:05 PM: Note that there are still many ballots to count. In District 1, today’s count added 1,709 ballots to last night’s total (go here to see the first night results). More than 12,000 D-1 ballots remain. And KC Elections says “bigger results drops” – counts – are coming over the next two days. Meantime, nothing changed in the other council races; the only other district with fewer than 1,000 votes separating the candidates is District 7, and it’s very close – Jim Pugel now has a 20-vote lead over Andrew Lewis, down from 203 last night.
4:54 PM: To answer a question in comments, what’s linked above are just the King County numbers – so if you are looking for the statewide initiatives, you have to go to the Secretary of State website. The latest on I-976 is here, still passing with 55% approval; the latest on R-88 is here, still narrowly being rejected. Here’s our earlier followup on local leaders’ plans to challenge 976 in court.
The project to convert Metro Route 120 into the RapidRide H Line includes, as we’ve long been reporting, changes for Delridge Way – including repaving and rechannelization. The design has just hit another milestone – the 90 percent stage, according to SDOT’s project spokesperson Dan Anderson. You can preview the road changes in these PDF documents – channelization here, types of paving here. (Both require extensive zooming for detail.) Below, you can see a list that Anderson describes as “changes we’ve included in the new design based on what we heard”:
Extended the northbound bus-only lanes two blocks farther south. The 24/7 bus lane now goes from the West Seattle Bridge to SW Alaska St. There is a 6-9 AM peak only bus lane that extends south from SW Alaska St to SW Hudson St.
Moved the southbound RapidRide station at SW Holden St from the northeast to the southeast side of the intesection
Added a half-mile of new drainage improvements to reduce flooding in and near the intersections of SW Sylvan St and SW Myrtle St
Added leading pedestrian intervals at traffic signals to give people walking a head start crossing the street
Added additional new streetlights for increased safety
Integrated transit priority signals at major intersections to improve bus speed and reliability
Updated the 26th Ave SW Neighborhood Greenway by adding speed humps, street painting, and vegetation clearing
Added wayfinding signs with directions to neighborhood greenways and popular destinations
Added standard neighborhood-greenway signs along 26th Ave SW with connections to SW Andover St, SW Hudson St, SW Findlay St, SW Juneau St, SW Holden St, and SW Henderson St
Added wider curb ramps at SW Andover St for people biking and walking, thanks to community members’ Neighborhood Street Fund proposal
Added a “no right on red” restriction sign for traffic turning from westbound SW Andover St onto northbound Delridge Way SW to reduce conflicts between people biking and driving
Included real-time arrival reader boards at RapidRide stations
Increased the amount of flower beds and trees planted in street medians to increase canopy and greenery
Added a protected left-turn lane for people traveling south turning into Youngstown Cultural Arts Center
Added a northbound left turn pocket at the intersection of SW Holden St
Added a walk/bike flashing beacon and marked crosswalks across Delridge Way SW at SW Hudson St
Added a walk/bike traffic signal at SW Findlay St to stop traffic when activated
Added curb bulbs and a marked crosswalk across Delridge Way SW on the north side of the SW Edmunds St intersection
Added drainage improvements at the intersections of SW Findlay St and SW Brandon St
Maintained the Route 60 and Route 128 bus stop in front of the 7-Eleven
Preserved large oak trees near SW Barton St and SW Henderson St
Widened sidewalks by power poles near 21st Ave SW to be wheelchair-accessible and Americans with Disability Act-compliant
When the project website is updated – by day’s end, Anderson says – they expect also to list other suggested changes that either were ruled out or are still being considered. The road project is expected to start next year; the RapidRide H Line launch is expected in fall 2021.
BACKSTORY: Some project overview is in this report from earlier this year, when the City Council got a briefing at the 30 percent design milestone; we also took a close-up look at that stage here. As noted then, some of the north-end repaving is constrained by the fact that Sound Transit light rail is scheduled for construction in less than a decade. The south half-or-so of Delridge Way will not be repaved because it already got new pavement in 2013.
2:20 PM: Thanks to Mike for the photos and word of a tower-replacement project under way by Myrtle Reservoir in Gatewood.
Mike says a city rep on scene “told me they’re replacing the current radio tower (used for public safety agencies, police, fire, and also Metro) with a more rigid tower that will be the same height.”
The city tells us this is a Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network project. The PSERN website explains that “PSERN is jointly owned by the City of Seattle, King County, Eastside Public Safety Communications Agency, and Valley Communications Center” and notes that funding to upgrade it comes from a ballot measure approved by voters in 2015. The tower site, if you are not familiar with that part of West Seattle, is at the highest elevation in city limits. We are pursuing a little more information about this and will add anything more we find out.
6:11 PM: Work’s not done yet, but here’s how it looked before sunset (new tower at left):
Statewide Initiative 976 – rolling back taxes on car licenses – is passing by a double-digit margin. What might that mean to transit? Two statements are out today – first one, with a map, from King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s office:
King County Executive Dow Constantine outlined possible consequences of I-976, the $30 car-tab initiative that failed in King County but passed statewide in the Nov. 5 election.
King County does not collect vehicle license fees or motor vehicle excise taxes, which would be repealed under I-976. However, the state of Washington, Sound Transit and 13 King County cities including Seattle use these sources to fund mobility projects, impacting Metro operations.
The Washington Office of Financial Management estimates that the State would lose approximately $1.9 billion in revenues over the next six years (2020-2025). This includes $1.5 billion from the Multimodal Account, nearly half of which is programed for transit across the state.
If the state Legislature decided to make across-the-board reductions in the Multimodal Account due to I-976 passage, it could result in over $100 million in cuts to Metro services between 2020 and 2025. These cuts could include:
$22.8 million in cuts to the Regional Mobility Grant Program awards for nine Metro projects, including RapidRide expansion, speed and reliability projects, access to transit, transit integration, and reduction in service on the Route 101 in Renton.
Burien, Kent, Tukwila, and Seattle would see cuts of $29.2 million in grants for RapidRide investments, access, to transit, and speed and reliability improvements.
$12.2 million in cuts to the Access paratransit program.
Other cuts to programs that provide bus passes to high school students, and incentives to small businesses and non-profits to provide ORCA Passes to employees would also be included.
The City of Seattle Transportation Benefit District approved by voters in 2014 implemented a 0.1 percent sales tax increase and an $60 annual vehicle license fee, generating more than $45 million annually for transit service expansion and low-income transportation equity.
I-976 would cut TBD funding by approximately $36 million, resulting in the loss of 175,000 Metro bus service hours on 74 routes in Seattle, Burien, Shoreline, Skyway, Tukwila, and White Center. The cuts would go into effect at the bi-annual Metro service change in March.
Executive Constantine has asked the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to prepare a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of I-976.
“The passage of I-976 underscores the ongoing need for comprehensive state tax reform, but for in the short term we must clean up another mess that Tim Eyman has created for our state, our region, and our economy. There will be many discussions in the weeks and months ahead to determine how to overcome the loss of safety and mobility caused by this irresponsible initiative, but the impact of I-976 to transportation is – in a word – devastating,” said Executive Constantine.
“We and the City of Seattle share a set a principles with which we will approach mobility reductions. These principles include: minimizing impacts to vulnerable populations, especially those with low-incomes and people of color; maintaining the 10- and 15-minute service frequency whenever possible; and minimizing overcrowding.
There are also on-going conversations about the possible use of one-time funding as a bridge until the Legislature acts or a replacement revenue package is presented to voters. To be clear, using capital funds for operations – funds that should go to buying buses and building bases – is not good policy. If we spend it on operations, it is gone for good.
Our state’s tax system is inefficient, unfair, volatile, inadequate, and bad for business. Local governments have few tools at their disposal to provide all of the infrastructure and services on which successful communities and a thriving economy depend. Today, our economy is generating unprecedented prosperity, while at the same time governments are forced to cobble together a transit and road systems from antiquated, inadequate and unpopular funding sources. We can and must do better.
We in King County – where Sound Transit 3 was overwhelmingly approved and I-976 was overwhelmingly defeated – we are going to keep pushing ahead, building a transportation system and economy that gives every person access to a better future.”
With a light-rail extension to West Seattle planned as a result of voter-approved ST3, this statement from Sound Transit Board chair John Marchione might be of interest:
“At the next meeting of the full Sound Transit Board on Nov. 21 we will begin the process of responding to I-976. The Board will hear presentations from the agency’s finance staff as well as our general counsel. The Board will consider Sound Transit’s obligations to taxpayers who want their motor vehicle excise taxes reduced, as well as how to realize voters’ earlier direction to dramatically expand high capacity transit throughout the Puget Sound region.”
The board meetings are always open to the public and start with a comment period – this one will be at 1:30 pm November 21st at the ST boardroom, 401 S. Jackson.
4:41 PM: The city is also working on a court challenge to I-976; Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes plan an announcement tomorrow. From the media advisory:
If fully implemented, I-976 would force the City of Seattle to cut more than 100,000 bus hours. In addition, the City of Seattle would lose funding for ORCA Opportunity, Mayor Durkan’s program to provide free bus access for 15,000 Seattle High School students and 1,500 low-income residents. I-976 also would cut funding for most of City of Seattle’s pothole repair, neighborhood safety measures like stairways and traffic circles and significantly impact street repaving, crosswalks and street cleaning budgets.
After another round of vetting, the City Council continues working toward finalizing a revised budget for next year. This morning, they’re looking at the latest round of potential changes – what’s called the “chair’s initial balancing package,” a formal proposal by Budget Commmittee chair Sally Bagshaw that emerged from the past round of proposals and counterproposals. One West Seattle-specific note from the list of dozens of proposed changes:
WEST MARGINAL WAY SAFETY PROJECT: Though the initial budget proposal from SDOT did not contain money for the safety project that the Duwamish Tribe and community advocates are supporting, District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold proposed $750,000 for getting the project designed and planned, with other funding to be found later. The “balancing package” still has that item – but it’s down to $500,000.
Again, this is singled out because it would be a change to the mayor’s proposal; another major West Seattle transportation item, money for the Highland Park Way Safety Project, has so far not been altered. If you have an opinion on anything in the budget, email@example.com – they’ll be finalizing a plan later this month.
Highlights for the hours ahead:
VFW RENOVATIONS: A volunteer effort with The Mission Continues, the Seahawks, and others is happening inside the VFW Post 2713 hall in The Triangle, now through 2 pm. You’re welcome to join in. (3601 SW Alaska)
DANCE TIME WITH LAUREN PETRIE: Dancing at the Senior Center of West Seattle with live music by Lauren Petrie. $5 members/$7 nonmembers. No-host bar. (4217 SW Oregon)
FREE GROUP RUN: The weather’s still dry! Celebrate by running with West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), 6:15 pm. (2743 California SW)
SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL’S FUTURE: Will the group continue meeting? If you want to be part of the discussion, be there 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building. (4217 SW Oregon)
JIM PAGE: Singer-songwriter performs at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
THE LOOSE HEELS: Kick up your heels with this country band, 8 pm at Parliament Tavern. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
Before we get to highlights and news for today/tonight, a Veterans Day weekend event: Keith Hughes, commander of American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle, has sent the annual invitation: A free spaghetti dinner for all veterans and their families, presented by Post 160 and the West Seattle Eagles, 5:30-7 pm Saturday (November 9th).
Post 160 is at 3618 SW Alaska.
6:58 AM: Good morning! No incidents or alerts in our area right now.
TUNNEL TOLLING: This is your third-to-last toll-free Highway 99 tunnel day – tolling starts 5 am Saturday.
PRE-TOLLING CLOSURE: The NB tunnel will be closed 10 pm Friday to 8 am Saturday.