West Seattle, Washington
Should Metro be free when we have major snow, as was the case back in February? At least one King County Councilmember thinks so. Announced today:
Legislation is being filed this morning by King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles that would allow for free Metro transit during snow emergencies. The measure comes in response to a massive storm that devastated roads and highways across the region earlier this year.
“This past winter our region was hammered with one of the worst snow storms the region has seen,” said Kohl-Welles. “Cars skidded out of control or got stuck, pedestrians struggled to gain footing and slipped on sidewalks, and too many of our most vulnerable citizens were left stranded. Free Metro fares will keep people safe and is the right thing to do.”
Here’s the proposed legislation (PDF); we’re checking with our area’s King County Councilmember Joe McDermott to see what he thinks of the proposal.
SDOT plans to finally finish repaving Beach Drive SW between Me-Kwa-Mooks and Weather Watch Parks. You might recall that the stretch between Carroll and Genesee was originally announced for last year, but crews left after stopping a short distance south of Carroll. They told us at the time that the repaving would resume but didn’t say when. That was the last we heard of it until this notice today:
As the notice says, the work is scheduled – weather permitting – to start next Wednesday. (Here’s a map of the area.) Meantime, if that leaves you wondering about the removed-but-planned-for-replacement speed bumps (aka humps) further south on Beach Drive, SDOT anticipated that question and adds, “Also note that we are working to schedule construction on the Beach Drive speed hump replacement and will notify the community in advance.”
Four days after SDOT‘s Avalon/35th/Alaska repaving-and-rechannelization project launched work – starting on Avalon between Yancy and Genesee – we’ve just received the toplines of what’s next, including a bus-stop closure starting Monday and advance word of intersection work next weekend:
Overview of upcoming work for next week
What you should expect:
Lots of construction activity including jackhammering, removing the east portion of the roadway, large trucks, machines, noise, dust, and vibrations. We will coordinate with residents for driveway closures.
Uniformed police officers will typically be onsite
Typical weekday work hours from 7 AM – 5 PM. There will be some weekend and nighttime work.
We have heard that Seattle Public Utilities will be working to make some water service renewals along SW Avalon Way. They will coordinate directly with neighbors as their work is scheduled.
Buses are making in-lane stops. Please follow the safe passageways set up for your safety.
Starting Monday, April 22nd the northbound stop at Genesee will be temporarily closed.
Sign up for Metro’s Rider Alerts to stay up to date on stop relocations. If a stop is relocated or a bus is detoured, signs will also be posted along the corridor.
Traffic impacts and detours:
30th Ave SW will be temporarily closed for construction staging. You will not be able to access SW Avalon Way from 30th Ave SW.
Right turns only on SW Avalon Way. For the safety of people driving and our crews, we
are allowing right turns only throughout work zone B. People turning into their driveway will
need to turn right into their driveways and will not be permitted to turn across traffic.
No Parking signs throughout zone B, and into zones A and C to facilitate the traffic shift.
We will maintain one lane of traffic in each direction on SW Avalon Way between SW Genesee St and SW Yancy St
For people walking and biking along SW Avalon Way:
Bikers should use extreme caution on SW Avalon Way and consider traveling on alternative routes
Sidewalk and crosswalk detours. Please follow posted pedestrian detours when you see them.
Weekend work is scheduled for April 27 and 28 at the intersection of SW Avalon Way and the
east side of SW Genesee St.
We need to work across multiple lanes of traffic in the intersection to do water utility repairs along SW Avalon Way. People driving west on SW Genesee St will not be able to access SW Avalon Way. One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained on SW Avalon Way through the SW Genesee St intersection. We will maintain local access to driveways on SW Genesee St near the SW Avalon Way intersection.
SDOT is also requesting: “If you have a driveway on SW Avalon Way between SW Genesee St and SW Yancy St, please reach out to us with your address and best contact information.” … AvalonPaving@seattle.gov is the contact address (also for anyone with questions/concerns).
(UPDATED 10:19 AM THURSDAY with finalized Sound Transit graphics summarizing the SAG recommendations)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
When Sound Transit managers insisted it would be OK to mix and match elements of a potential West Seattle to Ballard light-rail plan, they might not have envisioned the level of mixing and matching that went on tonight at the first of four milestone meetings.
Members of the all-volunteer Stakeholder Advisory Group concluded their 14-meeting role in the planning process with a jumble of recommendations – and, for a few segments, non-recommendations. So if you were hoping to hear and see something simple like “they voted to recommend the (x) line,” sorry, it didn’t go that way.
First, here are the toplines as visually summarized at meeting’s end, one set if third-party funding was available to cover costs (tunneling) beyond what the ST3 taxes/fees collect, one set if not:
We’ll get clearer versions of those tomorrow (10:19 am, finalized graphics substtuted above – from this PDF), but at the meeting we could only grab quick pics as they went by. In case you found them hard to read, here are the basics of SAG feedback for the three West Seattle segments, east to west:
-Crossing the Duwamish River – support was for doing it south of the existing bridge, no matter what
-Getting to the Delridge station – study either what was originally called the purple (Pigeon Point tunnel) or blue alignment if third-party funding is available, the blue alignment if not, and in both cases, modifying blue with the southernmost Delridge station location
-In The Junction, the with-third-party funding option would be a tunneled station at 41st or 42nd; the without-extra-funding option would be a modified version of the elevated “representative alignment” (red) that could either end at Fauntleroy or at Jefferson Square, or saving money by tunneling but consolidating the Junction and Avalon stations.
In general, the orange (some called it yellow) line was completely cast aside. So was the notion of taking the Junction end any further west than 42nd. To elaborate on the above, here’s our video of the recap at meeting’s end, when those slides were shown:
Two hours of discussion led up to all that, and we have that on a separate clip, which we’ll add in the hours ahead, along with more on how the SAG got there. So check back for more of the story But first, what’s next:
-The Elected Leadership Group meets 9:30 am Friday, April 26, to make its recommendations, taking into account what the SAG said tonight as well as the 2,700 “scoping” comments received (here’s the PDF summary/”themes” report on those).
-The Sound Transit Board has the final say in May on what goes into environmental studies. The next major public-comment period won’t be until “late 2020.”
ADDED 3:33 AM THURSDAY: If you need a refresher on the aforementioned red vs. orange vs. blue routes, see pages 22-26 of the meeting deck (PDF).
Now, here’s our video of the discussion that led to the aforementioned recommendations (as well as those on other segments of the West Seattle to Ballard line):
That’s the traffic revision on Avalon at Genesee, as we saw it while driving through late this afternoon, on the second day since the year-plus Avalon/35th/Alaska repaving/rechannelization project started gearing up. We’ve also received an update from SDOT‘s project spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth:
After assessing the project corridor today, we will be staging our equipment at 30th Ave NE from SW Avalon Way to the nearest driveway. This location was chosen because it minimizes impacts of people traveling from SW Avalon Way to the Delridge neighborhood. Local Access and Driveway access on 30th Ave SW will be maintained via SW Yancy and SW Genesee streets. Crews will be storing equipment and materials for our work in Zone B at this location. We expect this closure to last up to 3 months.
Additionally, we have a no left turn in place for southbound SW Avalon Way at the SW Genesee St intersection. The no left turn is in place for safety of people driving due to the inability for a left-turn queue during construction as we begin work near the SW Genesee St intersection.
Zone B is the Genesee-to-Yancy section of Avalon where work will be done first; early next month, work will start on 35th between Avalon and Alaska. For more project details, including the rest of the phasing, see the preview we published last Friday.
It’s time! The city has opened voting on proposed Neighborhood Street Fund projects. Through May 5th, you can use this ballot to vote for five projects you’d like to get funded. Assuming you want to vote in West Seattle/South Park District 1 (you can choose a different district on the ballot if you prefer), here are your choices – we’ve linked them to the full-proposal PDFs as also linked on the ballot:
*Trenton Street Improvements
*West Seattle Bridge Trail Connections
*Admiral Junction Pedestrian Crossing Improvements
*Sylvan Way Low-Cost Sidewalks
*Pedestrian Crossings in The Junction
*SW Holden Street Improvements
*Sylvan Way SW Improvements
*Highland Park Way Improvements
*Marine View Drive SW Guard Rail
*Delridge Pedestrian Crossings
*Westwood Transit Center Improvements
*Longfellow Creek Safety Improvements
*Crosswalk at 26th and Cambridge
*SW Brandon Street Sidewalks
Voting is open to anyone age 11 and up who lives, works, goes to school, worships, receives services, volunteers, or is part of a program in the City of Seattle.
The ballot’s also available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Somali, all linked here. If you’d rather not vote online, you can also do it at Seattle Public Library branches, or at a pop-up voting event – nearest one will be April 24, 3-6 pm, at Roxbury Safeway (which is, oddly, outside city limits, but not by much – 9620 28th SW). Results of this vote will go to the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee for final decisionmaking.
The photo is from SDOT‘s Avalon project team, with this urgent alert:
Last week we placed “no parking signs” up along SW Avalon Way but this morning we noticed many cars were still parked along the west side of SW and a few still parked along the east side of SW Avalon Way. Unfortunately, we will need to tow cars that are parked within the work zone if they are not moved before noon today so we can begin our work.
As we reported again Friday with this in-depth preview, work on the year-long repaving/rechannelization is starting today.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The newest “no parking” signs along part of Avalon, south/west of the Luna Park business district, are the first sign of what’s about to begin – SDOT‘s Avalon/35th/Alaska project.
The $14.5 million project’s been in the planning stages for more than two years, when it was announced as a “repaving” project but also revealed to include reconfiguration of much of the road. Over the next year-plus, work will be done in phases on the entire length of Avalon – from the West Seattle Bridge to Fauntleroy Way – as well as three blocks of 35th SW between Avalon and Alaska, and one block of SW Alaska west of 35th. Here’s the detailed rechannelization plan:
(It’s also visible here in PDF.)
We’ve been following the planning process all along, but with work starting next week, it’s time for a closeup look at what you’ll see happening with SDOT’s biggest West Seattle project in a while, so we went downtown to SDOT offices in the Seattle Municipal Tower to talk with key members of the project team – Adonis Ducksworth and Bill Clark.
As previously noted, the project area is broken into zones. As announced last week, work will begin in Zone B, along Avalon between Yancy and Genesee.
In two and a half weeks, the Elected Leadership Group created for Sound Transit West Seattle/Ballard light-rail planning will meet to make its recommendation of which routing/station-location alternatives should go into environmental study.
They have a lot of feedback to consider. And as we reported here, one West Seattleite on the ELG, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, expressed concern that the ELG and the Stakeholder Advisory Group wouldn’t get enough time to consider it all – the timetable said they would get a summary of the recent “scoping” comments just two days before their recommendation meeting on April. She reiterated her request for more time in this letter with her scoping comments:
She asked that both groups get at least a week’s lead time between receiving scoping-comment information and their next meetings. And now we’ve learned that will happen – Sound Transit intends to send the scoping comments to both groups today (Wednesday), which is exactly a week before the SAG meets and 16 days before the ELG meets. We had asked ST just yesterday about the status of the request for more time and were told, “Staff is working hard to turn around these comments as quickly as they can.” We’ll inquire tomorrow how and how soon they’ll be available once sent to the ELG and SAG.
Meantime, community groups are continuing their advocacy. Another of the West Seattleites on the ELG, County Councilmember Joe McDermott – who is also on the ST Board – recently walked part of the potential route – from the Avalon station vicinity to the easternmost Junction station – with members of the East Alaska Junction Neighborhood Coalition. We were along for most of the tour:
In case you didn’t get this via a text alert or see it elsewhere: Metro has an online survey under way, asking you to agree/disagree with statements in categories including: Availability (including “The bus service is usually reliable”), accessibility (such as “It is easy to move around inside the bus”), information (“It is easy to get up to the minute information on when my bus will arrive”), time (“The bus gets me to my destination in good time”), customer care (“Staff are helpful”), comfort (“The bus is clean”), security, environmental impact, and more. It’s described as for everyone even if you seldom use the bus. If you have a few minutes to spare, go here.
The next big road project in West Seattle is about to start, and SDOT has just sent new information on exactly where it will get going with the first phase of repaving and rechannelizing SW Avalon Way, with three blocks of 35th and one block of Alaska as part of the project too. Here are the new details from SDOT:
Construction is scheduled to begin as soon as April 15 in Zone B – on SW Avalon Way from SW Genesee St to SW Yancy St. The decision to begin work in Zone B was made after SDOT consulted businesses along SW Avalon Way about what phasing would have the least impact on their summer schedules and business operations.
Work in Zone B will include:
-Paving the street
-New protected bike lanes
-Installing a new RapidRide transit island
-Closing 30th Ave SW at SW Avalon Way to prevent cut-through driving
-Applying a skid-resistant surface treatment on SW Genesee St
-New curb ramps
What you should expect when construction begins between SW Genesee St and SW Yancy St:
-You will see construction crews mobilize into the area to begin staging and setting up traffic control
-Traffic will be shifted down to 1 lane in each direction
-Parking will be fully restricted along the street
-There will be intermittent closures of SW Genesee St and SW Yancy St
-The beginning of noise, dust, large trucks and machines operating, and an overall construction presence and experience
As soon as early May, construction is also anticipated to begin along 35th Ave SW between SW Alaska St and SW Avalon Way (Zone E). We will provide more information on what to expect as the schedule for this work is confirmed as well as the schedule for work in additional zones is confirmed.
In order to minimize impacts during construction, we will be:
-Putting out “Businesses are Open” signs along the corridor
-Designating load zones for deliveries and pick ups
-Sending frequent email listserv updates to the community; sign up on SDOT’s website
Businesses along the corridor can also reach out to the Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) Small Business Development Program for assistance with construction impacts. Please reach out to AJ Cari, the OED’s Construction Impacts Advocate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 206-684-0133 for additional help and information on how the OED can help you prepare for construction.
Washington State Ferries wants to be sure you know that the Fauntleroy-Vashon run is getting heavier traffic this afternoon because of a service outage on the south end of Vashon. The Tahlequah-Point Defiance run has been shut down since the M/V Chetzemoka went out of service with a generator problem. No ETA yet for its return.
Last week, we brought you word of the plan to close a quarter-mile of 4th SW south of Roxbury for a month of work, starting today. But this morning, the county sends word it’s been delayed:
We’re following up for details of the “utility conflict.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two days remain until Sound Transit closes the “scoping” period – the last round of official public comment before a decision on which light rail routing/station locations to send into environmental study.
The West Seattle-to-Ballard project’s Elected Leadership Group met Friday for a bonus briefing/discussion on the Delridge and Chinatown/International District station options. This is the group that will meet in four weeks to decide on what to recommend to the Sound Transit Board, which has the final say on everything from what to study to what to build.
And members expressed concern on Friday that it’s a rush to the finish line – with Stakeholder Advisory Group members (all community volunteers) scheduled to make their recommendation to the ELG two days after getting an outline of “themes” from the scoping comments, and the ELG itself getting a full report on those comments two days before its own decision is due. Here’s the timeline:
More on the time concerns ahead. First:
You might recall that back in 2017, SDOT said Roxbury repaving between 15th SW and 35th SW “might” move up to this year, two years sooner than the original 2021 plan. Not only did that not happen, now there’s another indication the project is on indefinite hold. This document attached to a City Council committee agenda item next Tuesday (Bicycle Master Plan implementation) lists statuses on a variety of projects, including Roxbury repaving. Page 37 says Roxbury is delayed until “after the levy” – an apparent reference to the Levy to Move Seattle, which runs through 2024. The levy’s revised work plan, published just last fall, had listed Roxbury as a 2019-2024 project (see page 6). West Seattle does have two other major repaving projects in the not-too-distant future – Avalon/35th/Alaska, starting next month, and north Delridge Way, starting next year.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It was a multimodal edition of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s just-adjourned monthly meeting tonight, tackling bike share and light rail.
First – the two-wheeled transportation.
FREE-FLOATING BIKE SHARE: WSTC has been working for a while to arrange a “conversation about free-floating bike share,” chair Michael Taylor-Judd noted. This one included overviews from reps of both services that are currently operating in West Seattle, as well as some pointed questions.
First to speak: Jump senior operations manager Kian Mousavi. He went through some backstory. Though Uber owns Jump now, it began independently, launching in Buffalo, NY in 2013, taking on this name in 2017, and selling to Uber in 2018. In Sacramento, Jump has more rides than Uber.
As for why Jump is dockless – unlike Seattle’s previous bikeshare Pronto – “convenient for the user … you’re way more likely to find a bike within a five-minute walk.” Ending rides at intended destinations, rather than at docks, allows the company to learn more about how their bikes are being used.
A choppy start to the West Seattle Water Taxi‘s 7-day-a-week schedule – the 3:45 pm departure from downtown is being skipped because, per the county alert:
Due to a mechanical issue with the Doc Maynard, the 3:45 departure from West Seattle has been cancelled while the crew takes the vessel to the King County maintenance facility and brings the Spirit of Kingston into service beginning with the 4:05 departure from Pier 52.
The substitution could be problematic later since the Mariners’ home opener could mean bigger usage, and SoK is a smaller boat. We’re checking.
With less than a week remaining for “scoping” comments on Sound Transit’s West Seattle light rail, the newest developments:
ELECTED LEADERSHIP GROUP TOMORROW: The slide deck is available for tomorrow’s 9 am-noon meeting of the Elected Leadership Group, which next month will make its routing/station-location environmental-study recommendations. The meeting is centered around station locations – particularly Delridge – and the West Seattle material in this deck starts on page 56 (some of it was reviewed at the Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting we covered last week). This, for example, is from page 84 of tomorrow’s 99-slide deck:
The Friday ELG meeting will include a public-comment period – the agenda says Delridge station comment will be accepted starting at 10:30 am. The meeting will be at the ST board room on the south end of downtown, 401 S. Jackson. (Added: See this comment if the “agenda” link still isn’t working.)
CHAMBER BACKS TUNNELING: Various local organizations are working to finalize their official comments before the “scoping” period ends Tuesday. The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has gone public with theirs:
The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce (WSCC) is committed to promoting sustainable economic growth of a diverse, viable business community. One of the biggest challenges to achieving this goal is our present transportation infrastructure. To support the future viability of the business community on the West Seattle peninsula, the WSCC has 3 main objectives by which any light rail proposal should be assessed:
Does the solution improve the quality of life for residents ( i.e. customers and business owners) who live and work in and around the proposed alignments and station locations?
Does the solution improve the movement of people and commerce?
Does the solution minimize the disruption to economic activity during and after construction as well as provide suitable mitigation measures?
The WSCC continues to have grave concerns about the present alignments that appear to moving forward for further study in the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. The WSCC would like to put forward the following concerns and comments from our business community here in West Seattle:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Back in November 2017, the Junction Neighborhood Organization hosted a briefing with Sound Transit, at which a top ST manager promised “an interesting year and a half” ahead.
That year and a half is almost over; May is when the ST Board will decide which routing/station locations for West Seattle light rail will go into environmental studies. But as another JuNO briefing with ST showed last night, some local residents are just starting to sit up and take notice, especially since multiple locations are now in play for the Junction station.
An upstairs meeting room at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction filled to overflow capacity for last night’s briefing and Q&A. ST’s Leda Chahim reassured them that “this is a really good time to be engaging,” though the “scoping period” for public comment ends one week from today.
First – here’s the slide deck Chahim and other ST reps used to recap where things stand.
(WSB photo from January)
3:02 PM: The West Seattle Water Taxi‘s seven-day-a-week schedule starts Thursday, and that means the end of the 2-boat service that started just before the Alaskan Way Viaduct permanently closed. You can preview the spring/summer schedule here. Key points, as the county reminds us, are that the Water Taxi will:
*Be in service seven days a week from Pier 50 downtown to West Seattle
*Include late evening sailings every Friday and Saturday
*Depart downtown Seattle as late as 10:45 p.m. during Seattle Mariners, Sounders and Seahawks night home games
Thursday is in fact the Mariners‘ home opener, though the game starts at 4:10 pm, so the Water Taxi’s not likely to have to run that late.
ADDED TUESDAY NIGHT: Turns out TODAY was the final day of 2-boat service – see this service advisory for Wednesday.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
What routing and station locations will be deemed “preferred” for West Seattle light rail? Key decision deadlines are headed this way fast.
With Sound Transit soon to decide what will be the focus of environmental studies, you have nine days left to comment as part of the “scoping” period. Here’s what’s happening as the April 2nd deadline nears:
JUNO MEETING TONIGHT – The Junction Neighborhood Organization is focusing its meeting on light-rail routing, 6:30 pm tonight (Monday) at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon). This is one place for you to have a say, along with the online open house.
EAST ALASKA JUNCTION NEIGHBORHOOD COALITION: We reported on this new group two weeks ago. Sunday, you might have seen their table at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market:
They’re advocating for tunneling into The Junction and, in particular, opposing the “orange” elevated routing (their materials call it the “yellow” line), not only because it could take out an entire residential neighborhood but also, they say, because it would predetermine how light rail would expand south – taking out even more homes. Go here to see the flyer they have been circulating, as well as their proposed alternative.
ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT DISPLACEMENT: Youngstown-area residents continue voicing their concerns about the southernmost option for the Delridge station; we reported in January on a special meeting they had with ST. They invited Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman on a walking tour of their neighborhood this past Thursday:
That’s Bowman at left above with Dennis Noland, a longtime area property owner who’s been leading the neighbors in advocacy against the Youngstown-area station location. She’s a member of the Elected Leadership Group, which will make a routing/stations recommendation next month to the ST board.
The ELG also meets this Friday (March 29th), scheduled to talk about the Delridge and Chinatown-ID stations, 9 am-noon at the ST board room downtown (401 S. Jackson). That’s where the Stakeholder Advisory Group (which had a member along on the Youngstown tour too, Deb Barker) met this past Thursday night – here’s how that went:
A reminder today from Washington State Ferries, for people who use the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route:
Starting in ONE WEEK, the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route will be operating on a brand new weekday and adjusted weekend schedule! Be sure to make your plans by picking up a green Spring 2019 sailing schedule or going online (here).
Meantime, the Triangle Route will be back to the regular three-boat schedule tomorrow.
2;59 PM: Arrived at the High Point Play Area renovation dedication and found out it was even more of a party than announced! Along with the play area’s grand opening, 34th SW is closed between Myrtle and Willow for a mini-street party, with music, refreshments, and info-booth:
That’s in honor of the area being part of the in-progress West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway. And it’s why SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe was part of the dedication along with interim Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams and even Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Until 4 pm, you can stop by and enjoy the festivities – including a chance to vote on paint patterns for part of the street adjacent to the play area.
8:59 PM: As promised, more photos – including a couple more views of the new play area:
It’s larger than the one it replaced – here are the main points, from the project page:
This play area improvement project relocates the existing play area to the south open lawn area providing ADA access and increased safety by making the play area more visible from the street. The new play area size increases from 1,280 sf to 5,260 sf and upgrades it to our standard size for a community center. The new play equipment features swings, slides and many climbable features. The park features a rolling hill with net climber, and an overhead climbing structure. In addition to the play elements the project incorporates two new seating areas, one adjacent to the play area and another in the location of the old play area. … The location of the old play area will be restored to an informal open lawn as requested by the community.
Zimbabwe noted that this is one of six parks that the greenway will eventually connect to. Another number was cited by Williams: 94 percent of the city has a park within 10 minutes’ walking distance.
The mayor, meantime, declared it to be another reason “Seattle is thriving” despite its “challenges”:
The celebration featured steel-drum sounds by Jah Breeze:
The play area renovation cost $700,000.