By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Proposals for the north stretch of West Marginal Way SW are about to go under the public-feedback microscope.
They were briefly discussed as part of SDOT‘s presentation at Thursday’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, but they were the major news from the meeting, including an announcement of a February 18th “open house” and an upcoming mailer.
SDOT‘s been considering possibilities for West Marginal for some months – beyond the safety improvements near the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse, which are already locked in. One previously discussed idea, turning one northbound lane into a freight-only lane, is off the table, as we’ve reported before. So what this is all about is what’s going to happen to the southbound side, from the bridge to the Longhouse:
Here’s what’s being proposed – first, two options for what is being referred to as “Section 1”:
As that slide shows, Option 1 for Section 1 would be, keep it the way it is. Option 2 would turn the outside southbound lane into a 2-way protected bicycle lane:
For Section 2, doing nothing is not under consideration. Three options are, including continuing that potential 2-way protected bike lane all the way to the Longhouse:
Of note, West Seattle Bike Connections, which had been previously briefed on the options, is supporting the second one, rather than potentially extending a bike lane all the way to the Longhouse.
A primary argument for some kind of change on the southbound side is that it would be safer to be continuously one lane for the stretch south of the bridge, rather than the current conditions, where it goes from one lane to two lanes and then back again.
for further elaboration on the proposals, post-meeting, SDOT provided us with the mailer that will be sent to West Seattle households, promoting the February 18th online open house:
SDOT also has a survey open for West Marginal Way businesses. And from the WSTC presentation, here’s the timeline for decisionmaking:
In the meantime, SDOT is scheduled to present the options at this Wednesday’s meeting of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Board, 6 pm February 3rd, online – the agenda has information on how to participate/watch.
Here’s a quick look at what else happened at the WSTC meeting:
WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE UPDATES: The West Marginal updates were part of a wide-ranging bridge-related update that largely recapped what we have covered in recent meetings, especially this month’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting. No high-bridge update, said SDOT’s Sara Zora, but they expect to get the 30 percent design plan for repairs in early February.
SDOT’s Trevor Partap opened with the bridge data presented at the Community Task Force meeting, comparing how all three area cross-Duwamish bridges were doing. Zora also talked about Reconnect West Seattle‘s achievements so far. One note: In March, Metro will add some hours to three West Seattle routes – 50, 60, and 128. They’ll be planning for more additions in September. SDOT is also working on a Travel Options Portal – this RFP is seeking a consultant to help with that.
Regarding low-bridge enforcement, no citation/traffic data disclosed yet. On-call health-care providers are the next group they’re working on adding access for. They also had a reminder of what we reported earlier this week – that the southbound 1st Avenue South Bridge repair work is now expected to start in early March. Though the project is approved at up to 15 days, Partap said WSDOT is working on shortening that. Back to the Low Bridge – they’re not expecting to “add new user groups” for a few months, Zora said. They’re being “quite conservative” with traffic allotments for the bridge, looking ahead to Terminal 5 opening to freight, and wanting to save capacity for that. As for the idea of opening the low bridge to on-call health-care workers, they’re sending out a survey soon in hopes of figuring out how many people that would affect.
SOUND TRANSIT: ST reps recapped where things stand – next big milestone, release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in the middle of this year (to be followed by the full EIS and routing/station-site decisions in 2023).
The ‘guiding principles” survey results are at seattle.gov/lightrail. ST, meantime, offers you the chance to catch up via the current “online open house.” You can find out more about where things stand as well as reviewing the alternatives that are being studied for both the routes and station location/types. Follow every mouseover and arrow … you can dive deeply into every part of the proposal. (WSTC board member Deb Barker pointed out the graphics use “old base maps” – on Fauntleroy, for example, The Whittaker is not shown).
ST’s Cathal Ridge took over to talk about the ‘realignment’ decision-making process, stressing that it’s not affecting projects that are in construction – just early-stage projects like ours. We’ve featured these numbers recently – West Seattle to downtown, for example, has seen a 73 percent cost estimate increase. He also mentioned the recently released information comparing the revised costs with the projected costs of West Seattle tunnel alternatives. The cost numbers are now being reviewed by a consultant – as discussed at the ST board meeting earlier in the day,
As for the overall realignment process, ST’s Matt Shelden handled that part of the presentation. “We’re seeing pressures in both the cost and the revenue side.” Overall, they’re foreseeing an $11.5 billion gap between now and 2041.
They have three ways to close it – get more money, cut costs, or lengthen the timelines.
They hope to be asking your opinion in March or so; final decisions are due by midsummer.
In Q&A, ST was urged to involve more people in the station development, and to educate the community on what the EIS will be about so they can provide informed comment.
GET INVOLVED: Speaking of involvement, WSTC welcomes more community participation – February 25th is the next meeting, 6:30 pm online.
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