WEEK AHEAD: City Council to consider transportation-levy changes, including Councilmember Saka’s proposal to restore 35th, Fauntleroy repaving plans

Tuesday morning, the City Council meets again as the Select Committee on the 2024 Transportation Levy, still working to finalize a package to send to voters this November. At this meeting, councilmembers will consider amendments to the mayor’s proposal. District 1 Councilmember Rob Saka, who chairs this committee as well as the regular Transportation Committee, has already announced his “chair’s amendment,” which would increase the levy’s cost by $100 million, to $1.55 billion; how it does that is detailed in this council-staff memo. Saka is now also proposing his own amendment that would restore the 35th SW and Fauntleroy Way repaving projects that were in the mayor’s draft levy proposal (which we reported here in April), then were scaled back or removed in the mayor’s final proposal (as we reported here in May).

Saka’s amendment would restore the full 35th SW Alaska-to-Morgan repaving project (much of 35th south of that was repaved last decade), and Fauntleroy Way repaving between 35th and Alaska “to keep roadway functional during light rail station construction.” We asked Councilmember Saka about this at Saturday’s Morgan Junction Community Festival; he said that while the mayor had made an “executive” decision to scale back 35th, community feedback led Saka to propose “legislatively” restoring it to the levy plan. He’ll need the support of a majority of his council colleagues, as is the case with the other amendments proposed – so far the agenda for Tuesday morning’s meeting also includes links to amendments from Councilmembers Tammy Morales, Sara Nelson, and Dan Strauss, plus a vice-chair’s amendment from Councilmember Joy Hollingsworth. The meeting includes a public-comment period (as do most council meetings); the agenda explains how to participate, either remotely or in-person at City Hall (you can also email the council any time – that info is here). This is the committee’s second-to-last scheduled meeting; they’re due to finalize the levy plan next month.

43 Replies to "WEEK AHEAD: City Council to consider transportation-levy changes, including Councilmember Saka's proposal to restore 35th, Fauntleroy repaving plans"

  • Aaron B June 16, 2024 (11:50 pm)

    How about a legislative amendment to keep people from driving 40 miles/hour down Fauntleroy Way? This is a major arterial, but it still has a 25 MPH speed limit, and crossing it is dangerous for an able-bodied adult, saying nothing of crossing it with a stroller or a dog, both of which I do regularly.Between Morgan Junction and the ferry, there are only either three or four places where traffic must yield to pedestrians. This is a ridiculous and dangerous situation for the folks who live around here, and I’m deeply disappointed in CM Saka for not paying attention to this issue.

    • Danimal June 17, 2024 (4:57 am)

      That road used to have a 35 mph speed limit, which is what it should still have. People drive accordingly. How about some pedestrian safety improvements like signaled or pedestrian activated warning light systems? That’s the solution in my mind. 25 is too slow. Also – I can’t count the number of times I’ve been trapped at 20-25 mph in that area, behind some citizen cop holding up a line of 20 or more cars out of spite. 

      • Bbron June 17, 2024 (1:13 pm)

        2 minutes 45 seconds is the difference in time when going 4 miles between traveling at 25 mph vs. 35 mph. 4 miles is the distance from the bridge to the ferry. there are 14 signaled intersections, and for every signal stopped at, more of your trip is spent accelerating to your traveling speed, so closer to reality there’s even less of a difference between travel times when going 25 mph vs. 35 mph. the fatality rate doubles between those speeds for a pedestrian hit. you’re really that inconvenienced to the point where you project a spiteful intention of someone going the speed limit all over a couple minutes sitting in your car? do drivers like their cars or not? they hate having to be in them where a difference of minutes boils their blood, but advocate for policies that will force them to driver more and more to get anywhere, dedicating more of their life to sitting in a car…

      • Sam June 17, 2024 (2:25 pm)

        Do you even hear yourself? Poor you getting stuck obeying the speed limit. Your opinion on what the speed limit should be is completely irrelevant.

        • Danimal June 17, 2024 (3:45 pm)

          No, it is not. We live in a democratic society where elected citizens represent a larger group of citizens, thereby making my opinion very relevant. As well as yours.

          • Jort June 24, 2024 (4:11 pm)

            Good. Lord. 

    • Seattlite June 17, 2024 (8:11 am)

      Enforcing the law, specifically speed limits, needs law enforcement.  SPD is not fully-staffed and as hard as it is trying to regain a fully-staffed, trained police officer force it is not happening.  Hence, speeding without consequences.  However, I did read on the WS Blog that more patrols are coming to the streets which gives one hope.

      • Hook June 17, 2024 (2:58 pm)

        Speed bumps and narrow lanes slow cars more cheaply and effectively than cops, and they work 24/7.

      • platypus June 18, 2024 (8:50 am)

        The police shouldnt have anything to do with it, except for the really bad offenders going 60. The street is too big, the design dictates high speed. Its a bad design and changing from four lanes to two north of morgan would solve it just like it did south of morgan.

    • walkerws June 17, 2024 (8:44 am)

      Fauntleroy needs traffic calming design measures yesterday. 

      • Bryan June 17, 2024 (3:24 pm)

        Relocating the ferry dock would remove TONS of traffic from Fauntleroy and many other WS streets

    • AllIntersections June 17, 2024 (9:32 am)

      Legally, all intersections are crosswalks that vehicles must yield at for pedestrians. While this is great in theory, in reality most drivers seems to have no idea this law exists and pedestrians frequently have to wait for a gap or risk being run down by a driver traveling 10-15mph over the posted speed limit. There needs to be enforcement, painted crosswalks, and better education for any change in pedestrian safety to happen. Unfortunately, in recent years, public safety has been pushed to the backburner in favor of political grandstanding, partisan bickering, and wealth favoritism. 

    • Fairmount June 17, 2024 (9:49 am)

      Has there really been an increase in accidents? Has there even been a decrease in accidents since lowering limits to 25mph on a thoroughfare? Speed limits should be enforced on residential streets but let everyone else keep moving. People drive slow enough in Seattle as it is. Go to any other state and it’s 80 on the highway standard. 35th should be at least 35mph preferably 40.

  • Derek June 17, 2024 (12:41 am)

    Fauntleroy needs a road diet bad. People just go way too fast on it.

  • K to the F June 17, 2024 (6:12 am)

    Can a condition of this also be to finish the simplifying of 35th down to two lanes + center from Morgan to Edmunds? It’s treated like a freeway when it’s a neighborhood and the lane reduction past Morgan has been studied and only increased travel times by a minute or two.

    • Bbron June 17, 2024 (10:43 am)

      protected bike lane(s) for both directions of travel the full length of 35th would be the dream

    • Jeepney June 17, 2024 (1:39 pm)

      Thankfully that probably won’t happen.  SDOT realized their folly after the initial road diet on 35th and scrapped plans to channelize the entire stretch.

      • WSB June 17, 2024 (2:16 pm)

        It’s been more than a few years since they paused those plans. If you read the actual verbiage (linked in story) this would put 35th between Morgan and Alaska back on a list of “corridors that will be evaluated for specific paving extents through a design process.” No further details currently but design often means redesign.

    • Longtime WS resident June 17, 2024 (3:53 pm)

      Do you even drive this stretch of roadway on 35th? It definitely adds way more time during the rush hour commute as well as makes it impossible for anyone turning onto 35th to be able to do so safely since there is so much traffic. It’s a major north to south thoroughfare and with higher density of people moving to west Seattle the past ten years it’s ridiculous that Delridge, California 35th and Fauntleroy have all been reduced in capacity.  

      • Sam June 19, 2024 (8:25 am)

        I am on that road daily (I live about a block off 35th/Graham and travel down 35th daily). There is absolutely no need for this to be a 4 lane road. South of 35th/Morgan is 2 + center and runs fine as well. Putting 35th on a road diet would dramatically improve safety and create better opportunities for safe walking, and lower street noise for the people who live directly on the street.

  • Josh June 17, 2024 (8:51 am)

    I’m really hopeful this goes through and leads to a re design of 35th and Fauntleroy that calms speeds and improves quality of life and safety for all, even those who really want to drive too fast.

    • Joe Z June 17, 2024 (3:03 pm)

      Saka’s plan seems to be to get a couple of quick band-aid repavements that he can point to at re-election time to argue that he did something. These don’t seem like they would be redesigns at all, just paving and striping as it currently is designed. Which would punt any pedestrian/bike improvements farther into the future. 

  • Tax Me More June 17, 2024 (10:42 am)

    Everyone constantly complains about the lack of affordable housing. Apartment rents are too high, property values are sky high, young people can’t afford to purchase a home … wah wah wah. 

    And then you vote & approve a $1.55B tax levy which will directly contribute to higher monthly housing costs.

    Either stop whining about the increasing costs of your apartment/mortgage payment or vote against the levy.

    • Arbor Heights Resident June 17, 2024 (11:38 am)

      We need transportation infrastructure though. Maybe if we could have income taxes this wouldn’t be an issue, but here we are…

      • Seattlite June 17, 2024 (12:46 pm)

        I hope you are just pulling our leg when you state:  “Maybe if we could have income taxes this wouldn’t be an issue, but here we are…”  WA State’s combined average sales tax is FOURTH highest in the Nation.  Seattle’s property taxes are ascending to new heights.  Voter-approved levies keep hiking up Seattle’s property taxes even though WA State’s Constitution caps the regular property tax rate at 1 percent.  When a city is run with great efficiency including a transparent budget, the need to raise taxes is less frequent.  Budgeting is key in running a household, company, city.   And, today, there is the pesky inflation that has raised the cost of food, clothing, shoes, gas, appliances, etc. 

        • Bbron June 17, 2024 (1:00 pm)

          you laid out all the issues that not having an income tax causes: high sales tax which is a tax that burdens primarily the less well off; and an increasing property tax. if you had an income tax which, like the federal income tax, which is progressive and would shift more of the tax burden on the working and well off. there’s been plenty of retired folks in these comments that are on fixed income where they’d be able to keep more of their income if instead of sales + property taxes we had an income tax. this is the incredibly sensible and straight-forward reasoning when people advocate for an income tax. it fixes the problems you state you are aware of.

        • walkerws June 17, 2024 (1:03 pm)

          All of these things are so high because our state is backwards in not having a progressive income tax. And while our property taxes rise, they are *incredibly* low compared to many states in the Northeast and South.

        • k June 17, 2024 (1:12 pm)

          Seattle’s property tax rate is pretty stable and has even gone down in a couple of recent years.  The problem with having a transparent budget, is that when you apply it to certain departments with huge budgets, but also huge political clout (yes, I’m taking about Public Safety) you’re told they cant do their jobs if you question how they spend money.  Transparency also generally requires a level of digging from local journalists, and they don’t have infinite time to check everything the city is doing (just how many consultants making just below the salary that triggers search requirements are friends of the mayor?  And what do they do exactly?  There are a LOT of them).  Until fiscal conservatives are willing to ask for real accountability from the city employees they’re supposed to champion in the name of conservatism, there will always be money going down the toilet, and lots of it.  Transparency is anathema to politics.

        • Arbor Heights Resident June 17, 2024 (2:15 pm)

          I’m not pulling your leg: property tax and sales tax suck, income tax is way better. Washington has the 49th most regressive tax system in the nation, only Florida is worse than us. A big part of that is our overreliance on property and sales taxes which hit the working class the hardest and raise the costs of housing and consumer goods respectively. I lived in Oregon for a number of years and their tax system is way better- they have a state income tax, but no sales taxes. It distributes the tax burden far better so there’s no need to make housing more expensive to fund fixing roads.

    • Jeff June 17, 2024 (2:50 pm)

      Voting for/against the levy is not related to the apartment costs. It’s not a binary at all.  If you want to complain, complain about capital gains and corporate taxes not being NEARLY enough. Need the taxes, but tax the rich, not poor.

  • snowskier June 17, 2024 (12:33 pm)

    Some basic repaving would be great along Fauntleroy, along with completing the bicycle network on streets that are not arterials.  I’m so tired of road diets that impede regular transportation in the name of a few cyclists.  Put the bikes on the side streets where a 20mph limit makes sense, letting cars/trucks/buses use a free flow of traffic on the arterials.

  • Exhausted June 17, 2024 (1:14 pm)

    I regularly vote against ANY levy because I’m sick and tired of property taxes going up and my salary staying the same. I hope this doesn’t pass so 35th north of Morgan at least stays 2 lanes in both directions because there’s nothing worse than being at the intersection of Morgan and 25th and seeing the LONG line of traffic sitting up the hill because it drops to one lane at the dumbest cross street on the peninsula and vice versa when at the intersection of Barton and SW 35th and you just see a circus train of cars to the water tower. All of that idling and stop and go is TERRIBLE for the environment, where are my bird people at now? There has to be some relief for drivers, this city will never be a mass transit beacon to celebrate, it isn’t designed that way. Can we all take the blinders off already, FFS. 

  • David Kerlick June 17, 2024 (2:09 pm)

    Is there any evidence that lowering the speed limit on arterials to 25?has reduced the number of accidents? “Vision Zero” has cheerleaders but I haven’t seen any evidence it’s been effective,

    • jedidiahperkins June 18, 2024 (11:29 am)

      I agree David. I fear making arterials the same speed as residential streets, and telling pedestrians they can walk across the street wherever they want on said arterials was probably not the best way to reduce these kinds of incidents. I always wonder what the outcome would have been if they had kept arterial speeds the same and installed more of those luminated or stoplight crosswalks. But I’m sure someone is just going to tell me to “slow the flock down.” :)

    • K June 19, 2024 (6:40 am)

      The intent of the reduction was to reduce deaths, because we apparently can’t stop drivers from hitting pedestrians (even at marked crosswalks).  So yes, when the drivers hit them going slower, fewer of them die.  When car drivers can figure how how to get where they’re going without hitting cyclists and pedestrians, we can talk about increasing the speed limit again, but drivers have shown they’re not responsible enough to go faster.

    • Sam June 19, 2024 (8:27 am)

      Reducing to 25mph doesn’t do much if you leave the roads designed in a way that everyone just drives 35mph anyway.

  • snowskier June 17, 2024 (4:03 pm)

    I’ll take some quick repaving on Fauntleroy close to the bridge.  The street surface is horrible.  SDOT missed a great opportunity to repave while the bridge was closed.  I’m not looking for anything major until light rail is fully defined, just basic street maintenance on a heavily traveled road.  Some smooth pavement that doesn’t rattle the suspension or risk grabbing bike tires would be just fine.

    • Jeff June 18, 2024 (2:00 pm)

      You do know concrete and asphalt was not being produced during that time. And that the road was still used since it wasn’t the bridge, right? No time is EVER convenient really. 

      • snowskier June 19, 2024 (9:12 am)

        Aside from the initial start of Covid, there was plenty of production during the 2 years of closure and streets were being repaved.  As for a more convenient time, yes the street wasn’t closed but the load was reduced from 100K+ vehicles a day to a mere drip.  It was the most convenient time ever and SDOT totally missed the boat on grinding and laying some new asphalt.  Instead they spent the time discussing an entirely new street design that was shelved pending further light rail plans.  All planning and discussion and no basic maintenance from SDOT.

  • ConcernedCitizen June 18, 2024 (11:40 pm)

    At rush hour most people disregard the speed limit and radar speed signs on 35th St. I constantly see the signs blinking 35, 40, and above. We need some more measures to slow down drivers; it’s a residential street not a highway.

  • Notgoingaway June 19, 2024 (7:44 am)

    Could it be because at rush hour people just want to get home from work but instead we have to sit through light after light on 35th, slog along at 25mph and then be SQUEEZED down to one lane for over half of it? It’s a residential street that was built with 4 lanes for a reason, to manage the flow of traffic and people but now the efforts to reduce it back down to 2 lanes makes NO SENSE as the population density only rises. The math doesn’t work here folks, ridership won’t increase with the number of routes the bus system DOESN’T have in WS so alas, the cars will keep coming and also with the hopeful program for people to afford electric vehicles cars will stay on the road and continue to drive at a speed that makes sense. 

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