West Seattle, Washington
SDOT has reiterated that it expects to make a decision by month’s end – “in Q2” is how they’ve phrased it – on whether to build a two-way protected bicycle lane in an almost-half-mile section of the outer southbound lane of West Marginal Way, not far north of the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse. When this was reiterated at last week’s meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, what wasn’t mentioned was that the department had recently presented a new design for the lane. We learned about this while watching this week’s meeting of the Seattle Freight Advisory Board (SFAB), which opposes the plan. The new design was presented on June 4th, when SFAB and Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board members talked about West Marginal Way with SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe. After hearing about it, we asked SDOT for the meeting slides. Here is the updated design:
This one has more about the jersey barrier:
The full slide deck from the June 4th discussion restates SDOT’s contentions about the proposal, including that it will have a “negligible” effect on other vehicles’ travel times, noting that other sections of WMW north of the Longhouse have one southbound lane already. For more backstory on the proposal, see our coverage of the February online meeting about the plan, which – in a nod to the vigorous support/opposition it’s inspired – began with a “moment of meditation and reflection.”
WHAT’S NEXT: Regarding the decision timetable, here’s what an SDOT spokesperson told us this week: “We recognize that there (are) two weeks left in Quarter 2. We are working toward a thoughtful and broadly informed decision on this complex project. We hope to be able to inform community of that decision soon.”
Two Washington State Ferries notes:
PROPOSED FARE INCREASES: The Washington State Transportation Commission, which has the final say on fares and tolls, has just settled on a fare-increase proposal to circulate for public input. The proposal is the one that won most support during the recent WSF public meetings and survey, known as Alternative 1 – increasing fares by 2.5 percent twice, in October of this year and October of next year. Watch for your chance to comment before the final decision. The higher fares are intended to meet revenue goals set by the Legislature. (ADDED 12:38 PM: WSTC says you can comment via this page or via email at email@example.com.)
CANCELLATIONS: Announced by WSF:
Several late-night sailings to and from Southworth will be canceled due to needed terminal maintenance starting tonight through Thursday.
The following sailings are cancelled from Tuesday, June 15 through Thursday, June 17:
11:50 p.m. and 1:05 a.m. – Departing Fauntleroy to Southworth
12:35 a.m. – Departing Southworth to Fauntleroy
12:15 and 1:30 a.m. – Departing Vashon to Southworth
12:35 a.m. – Departing Southworth to Vashon
Friday afternoons bring the latest update on the Delridge Way repaving/utilities/more project preparing for RapidRide H Line. Today, there’s word of weekend work and more overnight work. First, the key points highlighted by the project team:
*SW Barton Pl intersection upgrades are nearly complete and the street will reopen soon
*The east side of the SW Henderson St and Delridge Way SW will be closed as early as Monday, June 14 for upgrades.
-This work will last approximately three weeks. I’ve also attached a detour map for this work to this email.
*Seattle Public Utilities will be demolishing areas throughout the corridor for underground water utility upgrades this weekend, June 12 – 13
*We are continuing to paint final lane markings along the corridor. Parking restrictions will be in place while this work occurs. As a reminder, we will be working overnight.
*Bus-stop upgrades continue at SW Myrtle St and SW Holly St at the site of the future RapidRide stations
*We are wrapping up electrical utility upgrades between SW Holden St and SW Thistle St
-We will begin restoring the street as early as June 21
The wait is over. Washington State Ferries says a third boat will return to the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route tomorrow. This is more than a month later than WSF’s original plan; in May, they announced that a vessel shortage would delay three-boat service at least a month. According to WSF’s announcement, “The Cathlamet will join the Sealth and the Kittitas on the route. Please note the third vessel will operate for 8 hours a day on weekends, not 16. Customers should check the online schedule for updated sailing times.”
Two guests headlined the latest West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting:
HOPELINK: When you think of transportation, does Hopelink come to mind? No? This service would like to change that. Hopelink’s Bebhinn Gilbert was the guest, explaining what Hopelink’s mobility-management service is and does. Here’s her slide deck:
Hopelink’s service area includes all of King County, and its goal is to try to help people navigate their transportation options, so that transportation is a resource, not an obstacle. Hopelink itself is both a provider and a coordinator – as explained here. Non-emergency medical transportation is one of their services, as is helping people better utilize the transportation options that are available from a variety of providers. One big emphasis right now: Helping people get to COVID-19 vaccine providers. If you need help with that, you can reach them via findaride.org or 425-943-6706.
In Q&A, Gilbert was asked if the West Seattle Bridge closure has been an obstacle. She says they’ve worked with all the transportation providers to ensure that’s factored into any trip to or from West Seattle.
Speaking of the bridge …
SDOT UPDATE: West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Safety Project director Heather Marx recapped the recent announcement that a contractor has been chosen for both the high-bridge repairs and low-bridge work (WSB coverage here). She also recapped the status of low-bridge access authorization (same stats reported here).
In Q&A, Marx was asked if capacity restrictions were expected when the high bridge reopens next year. Answer: No. Another attendee asked for clarification on who’s getting low-bridge warnings and who’s getting citations. She said that the first time you’re caught crossing the low bridge without authorization, you get a warning; second violation and beyond, you get a citation with a $75 fine.
WSTC BOARD RECRUITING: One position remains open. Interested? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEXT MEETING: 6:30 pm June 24th, still online, with Washington State Ferries expected to send a guest.
The weekly update for the Delridge Way repaving/utilities project, preparing for RapidRide H Line, is in. Striping and related work will start next week in the areas where paving is complete – here’s the SDOT list of project focus areas for next week:
Final channelization and striping is scheduled to begin next week starting at SW Dakota St and moving south
-This work will happen overnight between 7 PM and 6 AM
-The trucks used to complete this work are large, and thus will require us to temporarily limit street parking in areas where work is taking place
-This work is anticipated to be completed in North Delridge in July
-Visit our final design website to get a refresher on what the project will look like once it is complete
Bus stop upgrades continue at SW Myrtle St, SW Holly St, and SW Thistle St
Duct bank work resumes between SW Holden St and SW Thistle St
-Electrical upgrades are nearly complete
-We will begin restoring the roadway as early as June 11
SW Barton Pl upgrades continue through the end of next week
-Once this work is complete, we will shift to the east side of Delridge Way SW and begin demolishing and upgrading the roadway
-SW Henderson St will be closed as a part of this work
-We will provide a new detour map in our update next week
See the full update by going here.
Ferry fares are going up – they have to, to keep up with the fare-generated funding required by state law. As discussed during last week’s Washington State Ferries community meetings, there are two alternatives. The state Transportation Commission makes the decision, not WSF, and the commission is now asking your opinion on the options:
Alternative 1: 2.5% increase applied to all fares on October 2021 and 2022
Raises passenger and vehicle fares 2.5% in October of each year.
This approach spreads the fare increase equally between vehicles and walk-on passengers.
Alternative 2: Passenger fares remain unchanged in 2021 but increase in October 2022, and vehicle fares increase in 2021 & 2022
Passenger fares do not increase in October 2021.
Vehicle fares increase 3.1% in October 2021.
In 2022, both passenger and vehicle fares increase 2.5% in October.
This approach continues to encourage walk-on passengers which continue to be significantly below pre-pandemic levels.
Go here to comment by June 10th. The commission will settle on one by early July, and the final decision is expected in October.
Just in, the weekly preview of what’s next for the Delridge repaving/utilities work in advance of RapidRide H Line‘s launch next year. Crews will be off Memorial Day. Here’s the highlight list after that:
Final channelization and lane striping is beginning!
*Trucks will complete this work at night over the course of the next month starting at SW Dakota St and moving south
*Parking restrictions will be in place as a result of this work
Overlay paving between the West Seattle High Bridge and SW Dakota St is complete
Intersection upgrades at SW Orchard St and Delridge Way SW are complete
Roadwork paving and electrical upgrades between SW Holden St and SW Thistle St continue
Intersection upgrades at SW Barton Pl and Delridge Way SW continue for several weeks
*SW Barton Pl and the 21st Ave SW slip lane from Delridge Way SW will remain closed during this work
Though SDOT had told us SW Thistle would reopen east of Delridge by now, that’s not happening: “The work has fallen behind and the east side of the roadway intersection remains closed. However, we still anticipate wrapping up this work soon – there are just a few outstanding tasks remaining.” As for other details – here’s the complete preview.
Want to hear firsthand from SDOT what’s up with the West Seattle Bridge, now that a contractor’s been chosen? They’re on the agenda for this month’s meeting of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, this Thursday (May 27th), 6:30 pm, online. Also scheduled: Representatives from Hopelink “to tell us about their transportation resources and initiatives,” per WSTC’s announcement. Everyone’s welcome and there’s time for Q&A, so bring that question you wish somebody would ask. Participate via videoconferencing by going here, or calling 253-215-8782 – for both, the meeting ID is 822 9306 9463 and the passcode is 547252. (Here’s our coverage of last month’s WSTC meeting.)
From the “you asked, so we asked” file – those new black-plastic-covered signs in Arbor Heights are for the upcoming speed humps/cushion installations, and we’ve found the plan is for more than originally announced. When we first reported on them after a reader tip last month, SDOT‘s map showed them within a few blocks of Arbor Heights Elementary and Westside School (WSB sponsor). But now the plan has gone behind that map – three added on SW 106th “in the long block between 39th Ave SW and 35th Ave SW” (above), and two planned for Marine View Drive (below):
SDOT says the Marine View Drive speed humps are meant “to improve safety along the [bridge] detour route as part of the Reconnect West Seattle program.” All the signs will be uncovered when the speed humps/cushions are installed soon.
After a pandemic year-plus largely devoid of ceremonial events, they’re starting to rev up again. Today at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center, elected officials and transportation directors gathered for a “groundbreaking” photo op as preparation work for the RapidRide H Line expands to construction of its 51 stations. The actual bus-line launch is currently set for fall 2022, reaffirmed Metro general manager Terry White:
Once Route 120 is converted into the H Line, White noted, it’ll mean every-7-minute service during peak hours, both ways between South Lake Union and Burien. The mayor of the latter city was among those participating today:
That’s Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta elbow-bumping King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. Matta said improvements (and Transit Oriented Development planning) are getting under way for Ambaum Boulevard as part of the preparations. Here in West Seattle, the Delridge Way road work that started almost a year ago is on schedule to wrap up this fall, said SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe. The most enthusiastic participant was Aaron Garcia, who’s with the White Center Community Development Association (and is also a Highline Public Schools board member):
— White Center Now (@whitecenternow) May 18, 2021
King County Executive Dow Constantine said the 120 is the sixth-busiest in the entire Metro system (which is now making 85 percent of the daily bus trips made pre-pandemic, he added). The RapidRide concept goes back to his predecessor, Ron Sims, he recalled, and while the system is planned through “the first third of the alphabet … there are plenty of letters to go.” If the H Line indeed launches in September 2022, that’ll be exactly a decade after the launch of West Seattle’s first RapidRide route, the C Line.
Another annual event is returning after skipping last year – Bike Everywhere Day (formerly “Bike to Work Day”) is next Friday, May 21st, and West Seattle Bike Connections plans a “commute station” on the path beneath the West Seattle Bridge for the first time since pre-pandemic. They’ll be there with partner groups/agencies between 6 am and 9 am, as detailed in our calendar listing, with bike checks, simple repairs, and info on riding routes. If you’re out riding – or walking! – that morning, stop by.
As home to one of the two Washington State Ferries terminals that are within Seattle city limits, West Seattle has a sizable stake in the system’s plans and operations. This week WSF announced plans for two online community meetings later this month:
Ferry riders, commuters and terminal neighbors are invited to attend one of two upcoming Washington State Ferries virtual public meetings to hear updates and ask questions about the ferry system.
“We learn so much from our community engagement efforts,” said Patty Rubstello, head of Washington State Ferries. “I’m excited that we’re able to offer our spring community meetings virtually this year and hope that even more people are able to join in the conversation.”
The meetings will take place at 11 a.m., Tuesday, May 25, and 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 26.
WSF staff will give a brief presentation on service updates, proposed tariff changes and the agency’s continued response to COVID-19. Participants will be able to ask questions and provide comments during the meeting. Both meetings will cover the same material and are designed to give participants the option to join the meeting that best fits their schedule.
Members of the public can participate in the meeting from a laptop, desktop or mobile device, but advanced registration is required to participate.
Registration for the virtual meetings:
· Register online for the 11 a.m. meeting on Tuesday, May 25, at: bit.ly/WSFSpringMeeting1
· Register online for the 6 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, May 26, at: bit.ly/WSFSpringMeeting2
These public meetings are held in coordination with the Ferry Advisory Committees. WSF will also hold a special meeting for members of all 13 FACs at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, to discuss their role in advising WSF on customer service and schedules. Members of the public are invited to attend and can register by going to: bit.ly/SpringFACMeeting2021.
One big topic for West Seattle – ongoing planning for the Fauntleroy terminal replacement; the next meetings for that project are expected this summer.
9:09 PM: Just in from Washington State Ferries:
The #2 Kittitas is tying up at Vashon due to lack of Coast Guard qualified crew. #1 Issaquah will make an unscheduled stop to pick up Fauntleroy traffic. (updated 9:40 pm) #2 Kittitas will plan to resume service tomorrow for a late 05:20 a.m. Vashon to Fauntleroy sailing tomorrow morning. The #1 vessel schedule will be the only schedule running tomorrow morning on 5/12/21, until the late 05:20 a.m. Vashon to Fauntleroy sailing resumes the two-boat schedule.
The route was supposed to be on a 3-boat schedule as of Sunday but a vessel shortage has pushed that back at least a month.
WEDNESDAY MORNING: The Kittitas is back in service and the route is back to two boats.
The state Transportation Commission, which has jurisdiction over state-highway tolls (including the Highway 99 tunnel) and ferry fares, has a special meeting tomorrow to talk about increases/changes. Here’s the announcement:
The Washington State Transportation Commission is holding a special meeting to begin its process to increase toll rates on some tolled facilities and to adjust Washington State Ferry fares, based upon the final transportation budget passed by the Legislature in the 2021 session.
The special meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, May 11. Due to limitations on the size of gatherings in response to COVID-19, this meeting will be conducted virtually using Zoom Webinar. People interested in attending can register on the commission’s website. The meeting will be broadcast live on TVW at tvw.org.
In the final 2021-2023 Transportation Budget, the Legislature provided funding to relieve the financial pressure on tolled facilities resulting from reduced traffic volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission had recently discussed the possibility of raising some tolls as soon as July 1 of this year. With the funding provided by the Legislature, the commission has additional time to go through its regular rate setting and public outreach process, moving the effective date for potential rate increases to Oct. 1, 2021.
During its meeting, the commission will receive financial updates for Washington State Ferries, as well as the State Route 99 tunnel, the SR 520 bridge, and the SR 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Discussions will focus on various toll rate scenarios and approaches to generating the needed toll revenues to cover legally required costs. Those costs include debt payments, toll operations, and maintenance and preservation of the tolled facilities. The commission will also determine its schedule and process for adjusting the toll rates, including opportunities for the public to comment on the options under consideration. The commission will discuss its schedule and process for adjusting ferry fares at its May 18 meeting. The commission is expected to release its proposed ferry fare increases during its June 15 meeting and proposed toll rate increases at its July 20 meeting.
The meeting agenda is here. Public comments/questions will be accepted during the meeting via an onscreen Q&A option for Zoom attendees.
Today’s the final day of a survey that Metro has announced as part of international research. The introduction explains:
Fifteen transit agencies from around the world, including King County Metro, are conducting a customer survey at the same time. These agencies will compare the results of the surveys to learn from each other and work towards giving you even better transit service.
We would like to hear your thoughts about the bus service King County Metro provides for you. For example, are the buses usually on time? Is it easy to get information about the bus services, is it convenient paying a fare? Are the buses clean, comfortable and well-driven?
They’re not just looking to hear from frequent transit riders, but occasional riders too.
Washington State Ferries had been planning to launch spring/summer three-boat service on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run tomorrow … but a major boat out of service elsewhere in the system has led to a cascading effect of changed plans. M/V Wenatchee is out of service for several months because of the April engine fire, WSF says, and so, according to its announcement, “Losing one of our largest ferries combined with continued pandemic-related crewing shortages for quarantines and vaccinations has forced WSF to make difficult decisions affecting service on (several) routes when peak-season schedules begin on Sunday, May 9.” That includes holding off until at least June 7th for three-boat Triangle Route service. WSF also notes that the 90-vehicle M/V Sealth will join the route from May 13th until at least June 27th, since M/V Issaquah will be moving to the Seattle-Bainbridge run.
SDOT has opened applications for more categories of new low-bridge access authorization. They were all announced earlier this month; applications first opened for one added category, people undergoing life-saving medical treatments, and SDOT had already approved 27 as of a week ago. The new applications are for less-urgent categories, so applications received by May 15th will be reviewed for potential authorization starting June 1st. From the SDOT announcement:
The following user groups can now apply for access to drive on the low bridge:
*On-call medical workers (only for traveling to and from an on-call work shift; employer verification required)
*West Seattle-based restaurants and retail businesses (limited to urgent trips to pick-up equipment or supplies)
*Rideshare vehicles (vans, shuttles or official carpools with a state-issued rideshare license plate. This does not include Uber and Lyft)
And as already announced:
*People traveling to and from lifesaving medical treatments (authorization from your medical provider required) via West Seattle; includes driving to treatments via the Fauntleroy Ferry.
The application is available here, in these languages: English, Spanish, Korean, Somali, Chinese (Traditional), Vietnamese, Oromo, and Khmer. Questions/problems? Call 206-400-7511 or email WestSeattleBridge@seattle.gov. SDOT also notes, “Access does not begin immediately after receiving confirmation because license-plate information must be processed into the photo enforcement system.”
Progress reports comprised most of this month’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting:
BRIDGE UPDATES: Heather Marx, director of the West Seattle Bridge Safety Program, led the briefing. The schedule hasn’t changed – construction of repairs starting by year’s end, completion by “mid-2022.” As we reported a week and a half ago, they’re reviewing six applicants for the project, “and hope to have a decision we fan announce in May.” The next official schedule/budget update should be in “early July,” Marx added, Monitoring is still going well.
It’s been a while since SDOT updated the status of the Alki Point “Keep Moving Street” – Beach Drive between 63rd and Alki, and Alki Avenue between 63rd and Beach – so we asked earlier this week about a timetable for a decision on its future. Today, the answer: SDOT says that “Alki Point will remain a Keep Moving Street in its current form until spring 2022 or until we secure funding for permanent changes on the street.” That funding would be “for designing and building permanent changes on the street based on community input.” SDOT promises “more outreach to hear from more voices, learn what the community thinks of this Keep Moving Street as it is today, and understand what people want the street to look like in the future.” That “outreach” is promised in the weeks ahead; back in January, they promised outreach before the end of last month. The streets’ no-through-traffic status has been in place for almost a year. Nearby residents say it’s helped eliminate the recurring problems they had with driver gatherings on the Constellation Park side.
With a week of sunshine ahead, road work will be in high gear. That includes the Delridge repaving/utilities project preparing for next year’s launch of the RapidRide H Line. SDOT‘s weekly update on the work ahead (and beyond) includes these key points:
*Later this month, we’ll demolish and upgrade the intersection at SW Orchard St and Delridge Way SW in phases. We’re working to finalize the details of this work and will provide an update and detour map next week.
*Bus stop upgrades continue throughout the corridor. King County Metro will notify riders of all bus stop changes and relocations via their rider alert system.
*Roadway upgrades on SW Hudson St between Delridge Way SW and 25th Ave SW are scheduled to begin the week of April 19
*Intersection upgrades at Sylvan Way SW will be completed soon. This intersection will be reopened before the upgrades at SW Orchard St begin.
*Potholing for duct bank work will resume next week on Delridge Way SW
*Most of the utility work will occur in the roadway, with some trenching through driveways as needed. Residents may experience intermittent access restrictions when we are working near them
*Roadway, sidewalk, and curb ramp demolition on the west side of Delridge Way SW near SW Thistle St to begin next week
Of note, SW Cloverdale has reopened at Delridge. The full preview for the week ahead is here
We reported back in January on West Seattle SkyLink, the rebranded campaign to advocate for gondola transit crossing the Duwamish River instead of light rail. Now the group promoting the idea has scheduled four more community presentations and started a crowdfunding campaign for their ongoing outreach. They’re hoping to persuade Sound Transit to conduct a “detailed engineering study” of the gondola option, which they contend could be built faster and cheaper than light rail. Right now, light rail to West Seattle is scheduled to open in 2031, but as we’ve reported, ST is in the midst of a “realignment” process that could push that date back further. If you’re interested in hearing more about the West Seattle SkyLink concept, here are the dates, times, and registration links for the upcoming presentations:
WMW/HIGHLAND PARK WAY INTERSECTION: SDOT’s Trevor Partap announced the plan you see above for more rechannelization and signal changes at the busy West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way intersection. They will also be upgrading the communications technology so they’ll be better able to monitor the traffic flow and change the signal timing remotely if necessary. These improvements will remain even after the bridge reopens. They’re working on design right now, with construction in the second half of the year.
And the Task Force got updates on two other areas of West Marginal:
FURTHER NORTH ON WMW: In addition to the ongoing plan for a temporary crossing signal near the Duwamish Longhouse, which will be installed in “late summer/fall,” some sidewalk work in the area will start soon. That is separate from the not-yet-decided issue of the Duwamish River Trail connection, which may or may not result in a protected bicycle lane replacing the southbound curb lane. Latest on that is that SDOT is still “finalizing data analysis” and was scheduled to take walking tours this week with members of the Seattle Freight Advisory Board, which opposes the proposal. “We have been hearing a lot” on all sides, SDOT says. The decision is now expected by the “end of this quarter.” If you haven’t commented yet, WestSeattleBridge@seattle.gov is the address.