Transportation 3254 results

FOLLOWUP: Construction starts soon for 35th/Graham signal and second phase of West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway

Four and a half years after 35th/Graham was mentioned as the potential site of a new signal, it’s about to become reality. SDOT announced today that work will start this month on Phase 2 of the West Seattle Greenway, including the pedestrian/bicycle signal at 35th/Graham. This phase goes from High Point to The Junction, from SW Graham to SW Edmunds, using 38th SW, SW Findlay, and 42nd SW (as first discussed in 2017). The map shows both phases:

The work at 35th and Graham will start seven years after the second of two deaths there, separated by seven years – pedestrian James St. Clair in December 2013 and bicyclist Susanne Scaringi in September 2007.

FOLLOWUP: Two more days for West Seattle Junction ‘free’ parking lots

Some restriping work has already been done, and tomorrow, pay stations will be installed at the about-to-no-longer-be-free West Seattle Junction Association-operated parking lots. We first reported eight days ago that the change was on the way. At 12:01 am Friday, the lots are officially paid parking. So here’s what you need to know. First, here’s a map:

Medium blue marks the Junction lots that are changing from free to paid – off 44th SW just south of Oregon, off 42nd SW just south of Oregon, on the southeast corner of 44th and Alaska, and off 44th north of SW Edmunds. Dark blue marks lots that are already paid, but are not and have not been managed by WSJA.

Not shown on the map – parking that’s not affected and remains free – street parking as well as some parking spaces adjacent to businesses and marked for exclusive use of their customers, such as the spaces behind Chase Bank and Verity Credit Union (WSB sponsor), plus parts of some garages in the area. WSJA says the lots that are changing over include 228 spaces, a little less than a third of the 720 free and paid parking spaces throughout the business district.

From the WSJA FAQ on the parking change, here are the rates for the lots that are changing, not including taxes and credit-card fees (if any):

$2 for up to two hours
$4 for two to three hours
$6 for three to four hours
$10 for four to ten hours

The charges apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plans for an “early bird” special are on hold pending a review of the first few months of paid parking. (Some monthly parking is available – email info@wsjunction.org if you are interested in information on that.)

You will be able to pay via either the pay stations or via CallToPark. Citations for running overtime or not paying will cost $49, and vehicles with multiple tickets are subject to towing. The first week – January 15th through January 22nd – parkers that go overtime will get warning notices; citations start after that.

The change was inevitable. Backstory, as we explained in this report almost three years ago: The WSJA, a nonprofit Business Improvement Area organization, leases the lots from West Seattle Trusteed Properties, a consortium of local business/property owners. In addition to base rent, WSJA has to cover the cost of the property tax for the sites, which has risen sharply in recent years – tripling between 2016 and 2018 – as it’s all prime, developable land in the heart of one of Seattle’s “urban centers.” WSJA had tried various fundraising campaigns in recent years, but none provided a sizable-enough stream. This won’t cover all the costs either, but it’ll help.

Washington State Ferries says pandemic pushed ridership to lowest point in nearly a half-century

(WSB file photo, Fauntleroy WSF terminal)

As with other transit/transportation, Washington State Ferries has seen usage fall during the pandemic. Today WSF went public with its year-end report, showing just how much. Systemwide, 2020 ridership was down 41 percent from a year earlier. That includes 2020 becoming the first year ever – since WSF began operations in 1951 – that the system carried fewer passengers (6.4 million) than vehicles (7.6 million). The two routes serving downtown Seattle, from Bremerton and Bainbridge Island, saw the biggest drops. For Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth, WSF reports that total riders were down 39%, vehicles down 31% (of the three legs of the so-called Triangle Route, Fauntleroy-Southworth saw the biggest drops). The other route serving Vashon Island – Tahlequah-Point Defiance – was the route with the smallest drop. See the full 2020 report here. P.S. WSF says ridership has been rebounding, lately back to 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with vehicle usage at 70 percent of 2019 usage levels.

FOLLOWUP: 1st Avenue South Bridge work now expected to start in February

(File photo – southbound span is the one in the background)

Just last Wednesday, we checked in with WSDOT to ask about the schedule for the work that will close part of the southbound span of the 1st Avenue South Bridge (first reported here in October). Spokesperson Tom Pearce told us at the time that the hoped-for mid-January start seemed unlikely. Today, an update – they’re now hoping to start “in early February.” Here’s what WSDOT says you can expect when the work begins:

Our contract allows for up to 15 nights of work. At the start of the project we will need to close all lanes of southbound SR 99 between 10 pm and 5 am for one night so our contractor can set up their equipment. Travelers can expect about three weeks with the southbound bridge reduced to two lanes. We’ll also need a full overnight southbound closure at the end of the project to remove equipment.

As we reported last week, the contractor is Massana Construction of Gig Harbor. Today’s WSDOT update explains the work they’ll be doing on the 25-year-old southbound span, to “replace bearing pads (and) some steel repair and concrete bridge deck repairs.”

WEST SEATTLE LOW BRIDGE: One more reminder – camera ticketing starts Monday

(File photo)

In case you need one more reminder, tomorrow (Monday, January 11th) is the first day that the city is scheduled to start using automated cameras to enforce restrictions on the West Seattle low bridge between 5 am and 9 pm, seven days a week. Vehicles cqught on camera violating the rules will get a $75 ticket sent to the registered owner’s address. Here’s a refresher on the current rules (from SDOT‘s announcement two weeks ago):

Who Can Use the Low Bridge

-Emergency vehicles
-Transit vehicles (King County Metro buses and school buses)
-Freight vehicles
-People walking, rolling, using a scooter, or biking
-Employer shuttles
-Vanpools
-Pre-authorized vehicles*
-All Personal vehicles at night (from 9 pm to 5 am daily)

Who Cannot Use the Low Bridge

Taxis and ride-hail app vehicles like Uber and Lyft (from 5 am to 9 pm daily)
Personal vehicles, including motorcycles, during the day (from 5 am to 9 pm daily)

Regarding the “pre-authorized vehicles,” SDOT says:

Pre-authorized use is currently limited to select maritime/industrial vehicles proximate to Harbor Island, International Longshore and Warehouse Union vehicles, and West Seattle business vehicles. If you believe you are eligible for pre-authorized use based on the description above, please email us westseattlebridge@seattle.gov or call 206-400-7511.

SDOT had been working with West Seattle’s two major business organizations, the Junction Association and Chamber of Commerce, to determine who had access. Before the cameras, they had a limited number of placards they loaned out to members who had to make business trips across the river.

SDOT has said that the traffic patterns following the activation of camera enforcement will be studied to see if changes in low-bridge access policy are merited. The policy is one of the topics on the agenda for this Wednesday’s meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force (noon January 13th – watch here).

DELRIDGE PROJECT: This week’s major moves

(WSB photo, looking westward across Delridge at SW Thistle)

SDOT says this coming week will likely finally see some major work it’s been warning about for a while, as the repaving/utilities project preparing for the RapidRide H Line continues. Top of the list: The SW Thistle closure between Delridge and 20th; crews started working on the west side of Delridge/Thistle last week (as seen above) and are scheduled to move across the street as soon as tomorrow. That’s also the potential start date for the installation of vehicle-detecting looping at Delridge/Oregon. SDOT’s weekly bulletin says, “Traffic will be split around the planned roadway median during this work.” Other plans include paving at the bus stop on the west side of Delridge/SW Andover, the start of demolition between Puget Blvd SW and SW Brandon, the completion of paving between SW Willow and Croft Place SW, and the start of paving on the west side of Delridge between SW Henderson and 20th SW. See the full weekly preview by going here.

FOLLOWUP: Alki Point’s future as a Stay Healthy/Keep Moving Street dependent on ‘outreach’

When – and how – will SDOT decide whether the no-through-traffic Keep Moving/Stay Healthy Street around Alki Point will be permanent?

The plan got only a vague mention during Wednesday night’s briefing on the citywide SHS program for the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Boards, and SDOT didn’t clarify it further on followup.

It was early May when the city announced the north end of Beach Drive, along Constellation Park, would get the designation. A few days later, the west end of Alki Avenue SW was added. In a usage-comparison chart shown at Wednesday’s meeting, the Beach Drive/Alki Avenue stretch was the most used, the two other West Seattle stretches – High Point/Sunrise Heights and Highland Park/Puget Ridge – among the least:

The two non-coastal West Seattle Stay Healthy Streets’ futures are not final yet either – SDOT’s SHS program leader Summer Jawson told the boards that the city has 26 miles of Stay Healthy Streets now and will make “up to 20” of those miles permanent by summertime. So, she said, “community engagement” is ahead both for those streets and Beach Drive/Alki Avenue SW. as well as the others round the city.

She shared results from last year’s SHS online survey, including how respondents said they use the streets:

Results, Jawson said, also indicated the confusion over when it’s OK to drive on a SHS or KMS, given the “street closed” signage. So what next? Jawson said they’re working “to make sure we’ve got (SHS) in the right place moving into a post-pandemic situation” – for example, with more students returning to in-person learning, how will they deal with streets that school buses need to access? In general, here’s how they’re going to decide what becomes permanent:

The Alki Point stretch, however, is something of a special case, the SDOT reps said. “We’re going to talk more about Alki Point,” which is shown as a neighborhood greenway ‘eventually” in the Bicycle Master Plan, they said (though it’s not on the “implementation plan” running through 2024), so that might be one option for its future – keeping it a KMS and making it a greenway. They said “community-based design” is the next step, with other options including keeping it the way it is now, or splitting the street with a one-way vehicle-traffic lane and a walking/riding/rolling lane. “We’ll look at a couple different alternatives.”

The day after the meeting, we asked SDOT to elaborate on the timeline and process for the Alki Point decision, seeking more specifics – would the “outreach” entail a meeting? a survey? or? Spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg, who had also been at the boards’ meeting, would only say, “We are working on possible street concepts and developing the outreach scope,” and that the “outreach” would start in the first quarter – sometime before the end of March.

ONLINE: Your next chance to learn about West Seattle’s 20th-century streetcars

(Seattle Municipal Archives photo of what’s described as the Highland Park-Burien line’s Hillside Station – possibly in Riverview – 1915)

Even as our transportation future remains in flux, there are lessons to be learned from our past. Historic Seattle offers you a chance to learn about West Seattle’s streetcar history a century ago, in a free online event two weeks from today (11 am Saturday, January 23rd). Here’s the announcement:

Join us for an exploration of West Seattle’s streetcar history from 1916 to 1940 with Mike Bergman. This virtual lecture will cover the construction of the streetcar system and the many ways in which it influenced West Seattle’s development and growth in the first half of the 20th century.

From an early age, Mike Bergman was interested in Seattle’s transportation history – especially the city’s bridges, railroads, and public transit systems. Mike joined a transit consulting firm shortly after graduating from UW, followed by tenures at, both, King County Metro and Sound Transit. Following his retirement in 2016, Mike has maintained a strong interest in local transit and transportation history. He is a volunteer at the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive (PNRA) and has organized PNRA’s large collection of material on the Seattle Municipal Railway. He is the president of the Tacoma Chapter- National Railway Historical Society, and regularly contributes articles of local historical interest to The Trainsheet, the chapter’s monthly newsletter.

Although the event is free, registration is required. More information, including the registration link, is here.

Bergman gave a similar presentation back in August for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

LIGHT RAIL: West Seattle-Ballard project will cost a lot more than expected, Sound Transit board committee told

Even as Sound Transit figures out how to deal with a revenue shortfall, it’s warning that future projects such as West Seattle to Ballard light rail will cost a lot more than originally expected. The ST Board’s Executive Committee was told today about what board chair Kent Keel described as “unprecedented cost increases”: Among them, the cost estimate for the West Seattle-Ballard light-rail extension have risen by more than 50 percent – it’s now estimated to cost more than $12 billion, up from $7 billion when the ST3 ballot measure went to voters. The numbers were part of a presentation to the committee about revised estimates for multiple projects. Here’s the slide deck:

The West Seattle-Ballard project overall is becoming “more complex,” ST’s Don Billen told the board; his part of the presentation starts 49 minutes into the meeting video. (You can read the accompanying memo to the board here.) These are still rough estimates, since the project remains relatively early in the planning process, but the increase is attributed mostly to the increased cost of property acquisition – since development has continued on the potentially needed parcels – and construction.

As an example of the former, the presentation cited the potential need for right-of-way on the Fauntleroy/Alaska corner, including the site of the two-building Legacy Partners project that’s now under construction, if that site were chosen for the Junction station (sites further west drew more attention during the public-comment process). The cost of that site, if needed, was previously estimated at $76 million – and now estimated at $252 million. (Board member Dow Constantine, the West Seattle-residing King County Executive, inferred underground development may look more attractive as a result of numbers like that.)

“While these numbers are sobering, they’re not catastrophic,” said CEO Peter Rogoff, promising that ST is still committed to all the projects. But overall, the increased cost estimate for West Seattle-Ballard (which includes a new downtown tunnel) and other ST projects is so dramatic that ST plans to hire a consultant for an “independent cost review” to be complete before April – as ST continues its “realignment” process, to decide how projects’ schedules will have to change because of the funding gap. (The West Seattle completion date already has been pushed back one year to 2031.) Board members are expected to get a closer look at the “affordability gap” when they meet for a workshop on realignment two weeks from today (January 21st). In the meantime, ST is still working on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the West Seattle-Ballard project, due out later this year.

FOLLOWUP: No dates yet for 1st Avenue South Bridge lane closures

As we first reported in October, the southbound 1st Avenue South Bridge is due for some repairs that will mean lane closures. We’ve been getting some questions about whether WSDOT has set the date yet, since it had been discussed as likely to happen “in early 2021.” Now that it’s early 2021, we checked back today with WSDOT spokesperson Tom Pearce. He tells WSB, “We are still working with our contractor to set a start date. A mid-January start is in doubt.” The contractor is Massana Construction of Gig Harbor, which won the contract with a $380,000 bid.

WEDNESDAY: West Seattle SkyLink @ District 1 Community Network

You’re invited to the District 1 Community Network‘s first meeting of 2021, 7 pm tomorrow (Wednesday, January 6th) online. The coalition of community advocates usually focuses on a variety of priorities, but this agenda also includes one presentation, the recently relaunched gondola-transit concept West Seattle SkyLink. We talked recently with its supporters, who believe gondolas could get people across the Duwamish River more cheaply and simply than light rail, especially with Sound Transit facing funding shortfalls and schedule realignment. If you’re interested in attending, connection and call-in information is in our calendar listing.

After years of rising taxes, West Seattle Junction’s free-parking lots will soon be free no more

(WSB photo: 44th/Oregon lot)

For years, we’ve been reporting on the West Seattle Junction Association‘s struggle to keep the “free parking” lots free, despite the ever-rising property-tax bills – the lots are assessed as potentially developable land. They’ve tried fundraisers and other tactics to hold off the inevitable – but now, the “free-parking lot” era is about to end. Here’s the WSJA announcement we received this afternoon:

For more than 30 years, the West Seattle Junction merchants have paid for the ‘free’ parking lots in the heart of West Seattle. A benefit that has been shared with the community will be turning a new chapter in the parking-lot book in 2021.

“We live in a world where the definition of transportation has changed since the 1970s. People have the power to get around West Seattle in different ways,” says Lora Radford, West Seattle Junction Association Executive Director.

In partnership with Diamond Parking, who has been working with the Junction since 1997, the merchant-funded parking spaces will be upgraded to pay parking on January 15th, 2021.

The change comes at a time where the Junction has been shouldering the full cost of rapidly increasing taxes that have become unsustainable. 100% of the Junction’s portion of the revenue from the paid parking will be applied to the tax burden, lessening the amount due, but by no means paying for the entire obligation.

The idea of maintaining free parking in an urban village like the Junction (the last in the City of Seattle), is no surprise for the residents. In early 2019 the Junction conducted a community survey (through a grant), that underscored the sentiment free parking was an anomaly in a rapidly growing city.

Especially in this time, the Junction has asked the community to include the support of small business in their daily lives. The request for West Seattleites to pay a modest $2 to $3 per hour (the cost of a greeting card, cup of coffee, or craft beer) to preserve the economic vibrancy of their downtown should be a simple request.

“For many, experiencing the downtown of West Seattle will become easier,” continues Radford. “The ability to find parking each time you visit the Junction will increase dramatically with the movement into paid parking. Gone will be the days of cars parked in the lots for hours at a time.”

The experiences of West Seattleites are a true reflection of who they are and what they care about, and visiting the Junction is one of the most vivid examples of normalcy in a far-from-normal world. For some, a trip to the West Seattle Junction is, in itself, the only and best destination. People can feel the heartbeat of some of the best small businesses through a perfectly scooped ice cream, to the bite of a tangy piece of pizza, or through quirky items found at local independent shops. They can reflect on collections of cultural significance through the murals or take a stroll under the flower baskets heavy with summer blooms.

Luckily for them, the Junction can continue to offer an avenue to attract those uniquely Northwest experiences in West Seattle.

The Junction strongly believes in the continued community benefit provided to West Seattle residents. We believe the West Seattle Junction is the core of West Seattle where neighbors come together to meet which promotes community openness and sense of place. The wellbeing of West Seattle will continue through the ease of parking close to the very heart of our community through a new and modern version of history.

As explained in this WSB story almost three years ago, the Junction Association doesn’t own the lots, but its lease with the owners, West Seattle Trusteed Properties, leaves WSJA on the hook for the taxes, in addition to the rent. The lots include 228 spaces that have allowed customers up to 3 free hours.

ADDED 6:47 PM: To clarify a couple points raised in comment discussion – this involves only the four lots managed by WSJA – off 42nd south of Oregon, off the east side of 44th just south of Oregon, on the southeast corner of 44th/Alaska, and off the east side of 44th just north of Edmunds. Street parking is managed by the city, which has reviewed the Junction area twice in the past 12 years and concluded both times (2009 coverage here, 2018 coverage here) that metered/pay-station street parking was unnecessary, though an RPZ was added in 2019.

STAY HEALTHY STREETS: Next briefing this Wednesday

(WSB photo, December)

The creation of no-through-traffic Stay Healthy Streets was a hot topic here on WSB in 2020, taking two spots on our list of the year’s 10 most-commented stories. West Seattle has three stretches – one in High Point/Sunrise Heights (map), one in Highland Park/Puget Ridge (map), and one around Alki Point (map), technically a “Keep Moving Street” because much of it is adjacent to a park. That stretch’s future is to be determined this year; if you’re interested, the next major city briefing is coming up Wednesday (January 6th). It’s a joint meeting of the city Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Boards, online at 6 pm; the “Stay Healthy Streets” briefing is expected to start around 6:30 pm. The meeting includes public-comment periods at the beginning and end, as you can see on the agenda, which includes information on how to attend via videoconferencing or phone.

New leader for Washington State Ferries

Of note since West Seattle is home to one of Seattle’s two Washington State Ferries terminals: WSF is getting a new leader. Washington State Department of Transportation announced leadership changes today, put into motion by the impending retirement of Deputy Transportation Secretary Keith Metcalf. He will be succeeded by Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton, who has led WSF since 2017. She in turn will be succeeded by Patty Rubstello (2019 WSB photo at left), who has been Assistant Secretary of Urban Mobility and Access. The announcement says Rubstello “created and led the Office of Urban Mobility & Access, which brings together tolling, regional transit coordination, and the management of mobility divisions to enhance operational and planning coordination in the greater Puget Sound area,” adding that she “has experience in design, construction, planning and traffic operations, and in 2015 served as the agency’s assistant secretary for Tolling.” The job moves start in January. Read the full announcement here.

UPDATE: West Seattle low-bridge camera ticketing starts January 11th

(WSB photo)

3:01 PM: The date is set for the city to start using the new enforcement cameras on the West Seattle low bridge: Monday, January 11th – just under two weeks away.

Starting that day, SDOT says, unauthorized low-bridge use will put you at risk of a $75 ticket. No grace period needed because this isn’t a new enforcement activity, it’s supplementary to traffic police having staked out the low bridge off and on in the nine months since the high bridge’s closure led to low-bridge restrictions.

The cameras were installed earlier this month. The city’s ability to use them for this traces back to a state-law change passed last Legislative session and then City Council authorization in September.

The low-bridge rules are recapped in SDOT’s announcement of the camera-activation date:

The rules for which vehicles may use the Low Bridge are not changing:

• The only vehicles authorized to use the Low Bridge from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. are emergency vehicles, buses, employer shuttles, vanpools, freight, and certain pre-authorized vehicles. See the Low Bridge webpage for a complete list.

• People riding a bike, scooter, bus, or walking may continue using the Low Bridge any time.

• All other vehicles (including personal cars, motorcycles, taxis, and ride-hailing app vehicles like Uber and Lyft) may not use the Low Bridge from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will be sent a $75 citation.

• Everyone may drive on the Low Bridge overnight from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. No citations will be issued during these times.

The list of authorized “West Seattle business vehicles” has been made in collaboration with the West Seattle Junction Association and Chamber of Commerce. SDOT’s announcement also notes that low-bridge rules might keep evolving: “SDOT will be monitoring Low Bridge traffic volumes in early 2021 after the new enforcement system is turned on. If traffic data shows us that there is room to expand access, we will work with the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force to recommend a balanced approach for Low Bridge access.”

ADDED 5:44 PM: The SDOT Blog post about today’s announcement introduces a slogan for all this: “Don’t Go Low.”

DELRIDGE ROAD WORK: What’s planned for the last week of the year

SDOT says its contractor will return full crews to the Delridge Way repaving/utilities project next week, after holiday and COVID-safety breaks. They plan to work Monday through Thursday, taking New Year’s Day off. Here are the key points:

Continued demolition and paving on Delridge Way SW (east side)

The remaining paving in Zone A has been scheduled to the week of December 28 in the following areas:
Puget Blvd SW and SW Brandon St
SW Brandon St to SW Findlay St
SW Brandon St intersection

Demolition between SW Croft Pl and SW Myrtle St to begin as early as December 28
Paving is scheduled to begin the week of January 4

Demolition beginning on the east side of Delridge Way SW between SW Trenton St and SW Henderson St now scheduled to begin the week of December 28
Paving to begin as early as January 11

Sidewalk demolition on the west side of Delridge Way SW between SW Cloverdale St and SW Trenton St beginning as early as December 30
We will begin demolishing the sidewalks in this area to install and upgrade electrical utilities on the east side of Delridge Way SW
This work will last for at least two weeks and will include intermittent driveway impacts

The full preview for next week is here.

ROAD WORK: Delridge project plan for this week

Weather permitting, the Delridge repaving/utility project is scheduled for Monday-Thursday work this week. Here are key points from the weekly preview:

Side-street closures on the east side of Delridge Way SW during demolition and paving

Currently closed (timing is weather dependent and may change):
SW Edmunds St (local access only)
SW Brandon St (closed into early next year)
SW Willow St (closed through the end of the year)

Closing soon (timing is weather dependent and subject to change)
SW Myrtle St (closed when SW Willow St reopens, as early as December 28)
SW Thistle St (closing in early 2021)

Driveways on the east side of Delridge Way SW between SW Alaska St and SW Hudson St to be reopened this week

Temporary street closure at SW Thistle St between Delridge Way SW and 20th Ave SW beginning as early as January 4

Roadway and sidewalk demolition and paving starting soon in Zone C
Roadway demolition is scheduled to begin on the east side of Delridge Way SW between SW Trenton St and SW Henderson St as early as December 21 with paving to follow in the new year

Sidewalk demolition between SW Cloverdale St and SW Trenton St to begin as early as December 23

The full list of what’s next is here. Though the RapidRide H Line launch is now delayed until 2022, SDOT says the road work remains on schedule for completion in 2021.

About those bus-stop bags on Alki

We took that photo along Alki Avenue SW after a reader tip that those yellow bags had appeared on multiple bus stops that served Route 37, suspended since March. Do they represent a permanent shroud for the route? We asked Metro. Spokesperson Jeff Switzer says sign-covering started last weekend and is part of a bigger project:

Countywide, we have 7,800 bus stops. Beginning with the September service change we planned a several-fold approach for handling stop level information for suspended routes.

*At suspended stops with bus stop information holders, we have replaced the stop schedule strips with a suspended route information strip.

*At large information kiosks with suspended routes, we have installed a large information strip with suspended route information.

*At suspended stops without information holders, but with more than one route, but only one suspended route, we have installed a decal on the post indicating one or more routes at this stop are suspended (this work is about 85% complete.

*At suspended route stops serving only one route, we have begun covering the flag with a “suspended” cover. Facilities crews began to install them over the past weekend. As of Tuesday morning 200 have been installed out of about 800 planned locations. The work will be ongoing.

While we realize most customers were able to figure out their route was suspended using other tools and information between March and September 2020, we decided to take this additional step to inform customers under the assumption that we potentially would see rider demand grow back over time.

So if you see these at other stops solely serving suspended routes, that’s why. The suspended routes’ ultimate future has yet to be determined. (Here’s a September recap of which routes countywide remain shelved.)

Here’s why Metro has sent so many canceled-trip alerts today

(WSB file photo)

If you are subscribed to Metro alerts, and/or follow Metro on Twitter, you probably noticed a dramatic uptick in the number of trip alerts today – 80 via Twitter, for example, from throughout the service area, including some on West Seattle-serving routes such as the 120, 131, 128, and C Line. So we asked Metro what happened. Here’s the reply from spokesperson Jeff Switzer:

We saw a higher number of canceled trips today due to operator availability, which reflects more drivers who are out on leave. This can be due to sick calls or caring for family members or as a precaution.

Our backup drivers are filling trips as usual and some drivers also filled in when they completed their regular driving assignment. For trips we couldn’t fill in time and had to cancel, we are now sending more transit alerts and tweets than we did in the past (which used to focus on less frequent routes) to better notify riders so they can consider using alternative trips.

We are monitoring the situation and folks are doing all they can to provide service each day. We schedule nearly 11,000 bus trips per weekday across King County and staff in a way that aims to deliver well more than 99% of them, and we apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate riders’ patience.

If you’re not already signed up for Metro alerts, you can do that here.

P.S. This isn’t a real-time tool, but Metro launched a new data dashboard with lots of other info today.

New signage for ‘Stay Healthy Streets’

Though their future has not been finalized, the no-through-traffic “Stay Healthy Streets” around our area and the rest of the city are getting new signage. Where they intersect with busy streets – like SW Webster at 16th SW, shown in our photo – it’s full-sized barricades, while less-busy spots will get barrel-top signs. The new signage is explained here, along with an update on the program’s status, indicating final decisions on where to make SHS permanent aren’t expected until next year. The West Seattle SHS stretches are mapped here and here; the Alki Point/Constellation Park stretch remains designated a “Keep Moving Street” and the city says those are “temporarily closed to thru-traffic, likely until parking lots start opening up again in Phase 3 of the Safe Start Plan.” A major update on the program is anticipated at next month’s Bicycle Advisory Board meeting.

FERRY ALERT UPDATE: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth gets fill-in boat after M/V Issaquah problems

December 12, 2020 1:00 pm
|    Comments Off on FERRY ALERT UPDATE: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth gets fill-in boat after M/V Issaquah problems
 |   Fauntleroy | Transportation | West Seattle news

1 PM: Washington State Ferries says M/V Issaquah needs emergency repairs, so it’s going out of service, leaving M/V Kittitas the lone boat on the route for now. WSF’s alert says: “The 1:10 p.m. from Southworth, the 1:30 p.m. from Vashon, and the 2:00 p.m. from Fauntleroy are cancelled.”

2:57 PM: The M/V Sealth is replacing the Issaquah (which was experiencing “oil pressure alarms”), but it has less capacity, and WSF says #2 sailings might be delayed by half an hour.

DELRIDGE ROAD WORK: Construction to resume next week after COVID pause

Separate from this morning’s news that the RapidRide H Line launch is again being pushed back, there’s word that SDOT’s contractor paused road work this week because of a virus outbreak:

Out of an abundance of caution and with the utmost concern for the safety of the crew and community members, our contractor on the Delridge Way SW construction project voluntarily suspended work this week after learning of an increase in COVID-19 by people scheduled to report to the jobsite. Work is expected to resume next week after further testing, quarantining, and reporting to the City is complete.

This work suspension is not expected to impact the overall project schedule at this time. We have already begun working with individual residences to address access issues. Solid waste collections will resume on individual residence’s next service day, and all extra solid waste will be collected at that time. We are aware of the impacts this pause has had on sidewalk, side street and driveway closures along the corridor. Thank you for your patience as we work to safely resume construction.

So far, SDOT projects the restart is likely to happen on Monday. Here’s the weekly update of what’s now scheduled for the week ahead.

Delridge’s RapidRide H Line launch delayed for the third time

(Screengrab from newly updated H Line website)

Another West Seattle transportation-project delay has just been announced. First, as we reported earlier this week, it was an extra year added to the schedule for Sound Transit light rail; today, King County Metro has sent word that the RapidRide H Line won’t launch until 2022, instead of the previously planned 2021. This is actually the third delay – the conversion of Route 120 was originally projected for 2019, then that was pushed to 2020, then to 2021, and now to 2022. Here’s how Metro explains the latest delay:

The revision in the service launch schedule is due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had on reaching 100% project design. The RapidRide program also was impacted by King County Metro’s budget revenue shortfall and the difficult decision was made to suspend some RapidRide lines at this time. RapidRide H Line remains a priority to Metro and will be fully funded.

As drivers, riders, and pedestrians are well aware, an extensive road-rebuilding/repaving and utility-upgrade project is under way along much of Delridge Way to prepare for the H Line. We’re checking with SDOT – which is leading that part of the project – to see how this will affect that schedule.

ADDED: From SDOT’s project spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth: “Major construction for SDOT’s portion of the Delridge Way SW – RapidRide H Line project is still scheduled to be completed in 2021. We are committed to upgrading the roadway, sidewalks and utilities on Delridge Way SW and we want to limit the duration of construction impacts to the community to the extent possible. King County Metro’s service launch revision does not impact our delivery timeline and we will continue working as quickly and safely as possible.”