Washington State Ferries‘ planning process for the Fauntleroy terminal/dock replacement remains in the very early stages. Two of the three advisory groups for the project met last week, and another one meets tomorrow afternoon. We covered the first two meetings, which mostly reviewed the same material, then invited questions from advisory-group members. All meetings in this process continue to be held online. Here’s the slide deck, followed by highlights of what we saw/heard:
FAUNTLEROY-AREA TRAFFIC ISSUES: The Community Advisory Group, which met last Wednesday evening, first got an update from Heather Marx, director of SDOT‘s West Seattle Bridge program. This was in large part a followup to issues spotlighted by the Fauntleroy Community Association at its recent traffic-focused meeting (WSB coverage here). One issue had already been dealt with before the meeting – restriping of the holding lane along southbound Fauntleroy Way SW, including crosshatching along driveways.
Marx said SDOT also plans to install “no line-cutting” signs. On California SW between Fauntleroy Schoolhouse and Fauntleroy Church, “paint and post” curb bulbs will be installed to address crossing-safety concerns. Also planned: Sidewalk beveling in the Endolyne business-district area. Traffic-calming measures such as speed humps/cushions remain under consideration, pending consultation from Seattle Fire on how those would affect their response routes.
PURPOSE AND NEED STATEMENT: This key document for early planning is still being fine-tuned. The slide deck above includes the newest toplines. It was presented to both the Community Advisory Group members on Wednesday and Executive Advisory Group members (who include elected officials) on Thursday. Changes since the last meetings included dropping language about “reliable service” levels and specifying that all “concerns and values of all three communities” on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route should be addressed. When the CAG was asked for comments, they included requests to get more specific about sustainability/environmental issues, such as avoiding toxic runoff, and encouraging alternatives to single-occupancy-vehicle ferry use. The only comment of note at the EAG meeting was a concern about a mention of “purchasing property,” suggesting the future dock might be built outside its current footprint, but WSF staff noted that was not a foregone conclusion, just a reflection of the fact that option – or even a new location – hasn’t been ruled out at this early stage.
At the CAG meeting, there was also a discussion of the big picture – that this is meant to be a project that will last for 75 years, though there’s no way to know what usage will be like then, observed WSF’s terminal-engineering director David Sowers.
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL LINKAGES: This section of the early-planning process was explained as a federal requirement. WSF’s Maggie Buckley went through how the process will work over the next two years, as a precursor to the official environmental-study process. Ultimately, she said, it’s a tool for “efficiency in project delivery.”
WSF LEADER BRIEFING: The EAG – but not the CAG – heard from WSF’s leader, Patty Rubstello, who talked about the system’s recent service reductions, saying WSF is currently sailing with 11 vessels instead of 16, and that it had missed 341 sailings before switching to the reduced schedule, under which – as of meeting time – it had only missed eight.
WHAT’S NEXT: Criteria for screening potential alternatives will be developed; then, they’ll talk about alternatives. The current round of meetings ends with the Technical Advisory Group (mostly staffers from involved agencies) at 1 pm tomorrow; we’ll add the viewing link later today – the WSF website does not have it at the moment because of a WSDOT website redesign launched on Sunday. The Community Advisory Group meets again in December; the Executive Advisory Group (whose meeting was very short, less than 50 minutes) is not expected to be reconvened until next year.
ADDED MONDAY NIGHT: Here’s the direct link to the now-updated page where you can register to view the Tuesday 1 pm TAG meeting as well as the December 1st CAG meeting … One document we forgot to add to the coverage above might be of interest – it’s been provided to all the advisory groups: The latest log of public comments.