West Seattle, Washington
One month ago, SDOT told WSB that a traffic camera for busy West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way would be activated shortly. We checked the Travelers Map every day – no camera. So this week we finally asked SDOT whatever happened to it. Seems it was installed and sending images, but the icon hadn’t been added to the map. Now that’s fixed. There are actually two cameras visible by clicking on the map icon (we’ll of course be adding them both to our West Seattle Traffic Cameras page ASAP), but note that neither has video – just still images – to enable video cameras there, they have to upgrade to a fiber connection, which is under investigation. While we’re talking about SDOT’s map, they asked us to remind you about several useful but hidden features you can access by clicking the “map controls” bar on the left side:
You can use that area to add features to the map such as current travel times and any messages currently displayed on dynamic-message signboards along the roads – plus bridge openings and railroad crossings.
P.S. Next chance to hear from and talk with SDOT about bridge-traffic-related projects is 7 pm Wednesday (October 28th), when they’ll be at the online meeting of HPAC (the community council for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge). Connection information is on this page (scroll to Highland Park community check-in meeting).
SDOT is about to take the next step toward camera enforcement of West Seattle low-bridge restrictions – installing signs this weekend, warning that the cameras are on the way. Today’s announcement notes that warning tickets will start “as soon as” December 1st, with ticketing – carrying $75 fines – then starting around January 1st. Also from the announcement:
To date, in an effort to ensure traffic volumes do not impact emergency vehicle response times as we develop our automated enforcement system and policies, Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers have been ticketing or turning around people using the Low Bridge during AM and PM peak commute hours. Enforcement by SPD alone is temporary until we implement automated enforcement, but SPD Traffic or Patrol officers, as well as other localized police agencies may continue to identify, stop and enforce the sign restrictions as part of their normal duties.
And in case you’ve forgotten, here’s the current rules:
Who CAN use the Low Bridge
Transit vehicles (King County Metro buses and school buses)
People walking, rolling, using a scooter, or biking
People with placards (currently 160 distributed)
People driving personal vehicles at night (from 9 PM to 5 AM daily)
Who CANNOT use the Low Bridge
Ubers, Lyfts, or other ride-sharing vehicles
People driving personal vehicles, including motorcycles, during the day (from 5 AM to 9 PM daily)
The policies are always subject to change – the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force now has a low-bridge subcommittee to discuss possible changes.
Today we’re welcoming Seattle E-Bike as not only a returning WSB sponsor, but as the most recent addition to The Junction – the shop has moved to 4517 California SW. Here’s what the shop wants you to know:
Right now electric bikes are in short supply in Seattle, but Seattle E-Bike has a variety of bikes that are ready to go. The next time you’re in The Junction, you can stop in and look at the various types and styles. You can even take a 30-minute test ride.
Seattle E-Bike owner Brian Nordwall and manager Alex Dunn both live in West Seattle, and they believe an electric bike is one of the best means of commuting while the bridge is closed, not to mention a great way to get out of the house to explore the neighborhood. Whether you need to get downtown, go to the store, or deal with the hills and steep inclines around West Seattle, an electric bike can make for a much smoother and more comfortable outing. Now that the West Seattle Bridge closure is in its seventh month, you might still be looking for an alternative means of transportation, and now you don’t have to go far to find one.
Seattle E-Bike‘s new location also offers accessories and a service department to keep your e-bike in great condition. Seattle E-Bike is located at 4517 California SW; its fall hours are
Tuesdays-Fridays 10:30 am – 6 pm, Saturdays 10:30 am – 5 pm, closed Sundays/Mondays.
We thank Seattle E-Bike for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
West Seattle’s newest electric-vehicle fast-charging station is open – on 39th SW just south of West Seattle Bowl. Construction started six months ago but, like so many things, was slowed by the pandemic response. We’ve been following up with Seattle City Light to check on the progress, and got word today that the two-charger station is now open:
Details on the cost and how to use them are in this FAQ. Some fast facts are also part of its listing on the PlugShare map. This location was chosen a year and a half ago, after initial consideration of a site at Don Armeni Boat Ramp.
This weekend’s rain led to the postponement of the second planned SW Oregon closure at Delridge, as the road work paving the way for the RapidRide H Line continues, but so far the forecast suggests crews will be able to go ahead with the new date, this coming Friday-Sunday (October 16-18). Other key points for the project this week include:
*Completion of paving on Delridge between SW Genesee and SW Oregon
*Sidewalk pours starting on the east side of Delridge between Charlestown and Dakota
*Demolition and repaving continuing on the west side of Delridge between Edmunds and Hudson
*Roadway demolition starting on the west side of Delridge between Hudson and Puget
*Sidewalk closures and detours near SW Orchard with demolition lasting around a week and paving to follow
Utility/drainage work continues further south, including near SW Juneau, SW Brandon, and at SW Willow/SW Myrtle. And all of this is subject to weather delays. The latest bulletin on the plan is here. (P.S. If you missed our report on the 26th SW meeting, it’s here.)
Back on Tuesday, we published the Washington State Department of Transportation‘s alert about short closures this week and next for “temporary repairs” on the southbound side of the 1st Avenue South Bridge (which is actually two separate bridges, one in each direction). Tonight we have more information on what’s being fixed, and what “permanent repairs” will entail. WSDOT’s Tom Pearce explains here that “our crews noticed wear on the bearings of two piers during a regular inspection of the bridge. These bearings are critical as they allow the bridge deck to move up and down a little when traffic goes over the pier.”
Right now, for temporary repairs, Pearce writes, “During each closure, crews jack up the deck a little, put in shims – in this case a piece of metal to close the gap – to counter the settlement, then lower the deck onto the shims.” But that’ll only last a few months, so they’ll have to do permanent repairs next year: “In early 2021, we’ll have a contractor crew replace the worn bearings atop the piers. We’re still designing how this work will take place, so we don’t have all the details yet. Right now we’re looking at a project that will require us to close two of the four lanes, 24 hours a day, for about two weeks to replace cement and grout. This will eliminate the settlement on that side of the bridge. When one side is finished, it will take another roughly two weeks to do the same thing on the other side.” Again, this is the southbound side of the 1st Avenue South Bridge, not the northbound side (which is older and went through a recent project to replace some of its deck panels – for more background on both bridges, see our report from the start of that work). WSDOT says the southbound bridge “remains safe for travel.
(SDOT recording of Wednesday’s meeting)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Without grocery stores and other major services in Delridge, the area’s few east-west connections are lifelines.
But placing “diverters” at two spots along the 26th SW greenway would hamper residents’ access to two of those connections.
That’s a message SDOT heard repeatedly during Wednesday night’s meeting to explain, and hear opinions on, the revived proposal for installing the diverters, with two additional options – banning through traffic to make that section of 26th SW a “Stay Healthy Street,” or something else to be determined.
With rain in the forecast, SDOT says the next Delridge/Oregon closure is postponed – so Oregon west of Delridge will be open tomorrow and this weekend. Provided the weather is favorable, they’re planning to do the work the following Friday-Sunday, October 16-18, instead.
11:37 AM: Once expected to be done in early 2020, the Lander Street Bridge in SODO was estimated in summer to be on the road to a fall completion, and now that’s come true. SDOT announced today that it’s opening at 6 am tomorrow (Wednesday, October 7th). They’ve already had a small, non-public ribboncutting ceremony:
Though it’s in SODO, the $100 million bridge (formerly the Lander Street Overpass) has long been considered a West Seattle-relevant project, since the path between here and downtown goes through SODO for so many. It takes travelers up over busy railroad tracks that are used dozens of times a day, between 1st and 4th Aves. South. The project was proposed in the 2006 “Bridging the Gap” levy but stalled until, in 2015, the project was promised as part of then-Mayor Ed Murray‘s “Move Seattle” levy. Construction started in spring 2018.
4:13 PM: Metro says Route 50 will start using the new bridge tomorrow.
Three components to this week’s update on the Delridge road work paving the way for RapidRide H Line:
TREES SAVED: Two weeks ago, we reported on neighbors’ campaign to save the big trees outside Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, after the project team made a late-in-the-plan decision to remove them. SDOT told us that after neighborhood outcry, they were working on design revisions in hopes of saving them – and this week’s project bulletin says they succeeded:
This design change included a lane reduction for vehicles and reducing the size of the planted median. Additionally, we were able to extend the curb next to the trees even further than previously, which is better for tree health. We are not always able to preserve trees on project corridors and have already needed to remove other trees on Delridge Way SW. In all, we are replanting around 150 new trees on the corridor with only 6 planned removals.
TUESDAY UPDATE: Regarding the “lane reduction,” SDOT clarifies in response to our followup question that it’s a lane WIDTH reduction, not a removal of a lane.
DIVERTERS OR STAY HEALTHY STREET? Another late-in-the-process change that drew neighborhood pushback, once revealed, was shelved – but is now back on the table: We reported on this two months ago – a plan for “diverters” at two intersections where the 26th SW greenway crosses, at Brandon and at Genesee. Here’s the flyer neighbors received over the summer:
SDOT told us at the time they had dropped the idea – but now it’s been revived, and SDOT is running a survey right now asking about it (with other alternatives), open through October 14th, and plans an online community meeting Wednesday (October 7th) at 6:30 pm. The survey goes into extensive detail about three options SDOT says are now being considered: #1, the previous diverter plan; #2, a “modified” diverter plan described as “for people driving, 26th Ave SW would be an exit-only street at the intersections of SW Brandon St and SW Genesee St.”; #3, turn 26th between Brandon and Genesee into a “no-through-vehicle-traffic” Stay Healthy Street. The survey link is here; the meeting link is here.
OTHER WORK AHEAD: As for what’s happening on the project right now – remember that SW Oregon is closed east of Delridge this weekend, and there’ll be another closure next Friday through Sunday (October 9-11). Also of note, this week crews will “begin demolishing the roadway between SW Hudson St and Puget Blvd SW on the west side.” The full list of planned work ahead is in this week’s bulletin here.
Two FYI’s primarily affecting bicycle riders, but of potential interest to all:
TRAIL WORK ON FRIDAY: Just received from SDOT:
Tomorrow, SDOT will be performing maintenance on the Alki Trail near the Chelan Café. Crews will be trimming trees and other vegetation that is encroaching the trail. Work will begin in the early morning and continue throughout the afternoon.
There will be minor impacts for people biking, walking, and rolling on the trail. Crews will need space on the trail to work, so the trail will be narrowed temporarily, which will slow the movement of pedestrians and bike traffic just west of the Chelan Café for about half a mile. There may also be a short, outside lane closure on SW Spokane St between Delridge Way and Harbor Ave SW to complete all the trimming.
As explained by SDOT, “The Safety Stop allows people biking to legally treat stop signs as yield signs when no other traffic is approaching and when they have slowed to a reasonable speed. Washington will be the fifth state to legalize these stops, joining Idaho, Delaware, Arkansas, and Oregon.” This covers e-bikes as well as non-electric bikes, but does NOT change the rules for scooters. SDOT’s explanation also notes:
For everyone’s safety, people biking must still fully stop at:
Stoplights, including stoplights in bike lanes
Stop signs on school buses
Stop signs at railroad crossings
The Safety Stop is supposed to reduce collisions, injuries, and driver confusion about right-of-way.
Part of the West Seattle Bridge update/discussion during City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s Town Hall earlier tonight was a recap of the 6 changes planned/proposed for West Marginal Way. SDOT announced tonight that a key part of those changes – restriping part of the West Marginal/Highland Park Way intersection, as shown below (from our Sept. 18th story) – will start this Sunday (October 4th).
Specifics on work hours and traffic impacts will be out before the weekend.
Two Washington State Ferries notes:
TWO WITH TUGS: Thanks to Maureen for the photo. That’s MV Spokane with tugs this morning, passing Alki. Don sent a similar photo of MV Tacoma going by with two tugs on Saturday. WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling confirms Spokane was headed to drydock at Vigor on Harbor Island today, while Tacoma was headed out after the same, sending this photo taken while work was under way:
Tacoma is back in service on the Bainbridge Island route today.
VASHON ISLAND DOCK WORK: If you use the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route, note that it will be affected this afternoon/evening by repair work:
(Today) WSF maintenance crews will be doing necessary repair work to components on one of the vehicle loading ramps at the Vashon dock. This work will begin after the 3:30 pm departure from Vashon and will require a closure of approximately 11 hours to complete. During this time, only one functioning loading slip will be available at Vashon, which will likely lead to vessel delays in the afternoon and evening. Updates will be provided as they become available.
If you’re awaiting a ferry, you can check its status via Vessel Watch.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Scooters have arrived.
Will they be a convenient transportation tool, a risk to riders and pedestrians, both, or neither? Hopes and concerns were at the heart of briefings during the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s September meeting, Thursday night online. The WSTC got a quick West Seattle Bridge update too.
Here’s what happened:
BRIDGE UPDATE: SDOT’s project lead Heather Marx presented this, with toplines similar to what the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force heard the day before (WSB coverage here). Stabilization work continues; the contractor is starting the process of attaching brackets that will be necessary for post-tensioning steel work. Marx and a Northwest Seaport Alliance (Seattle and Tacoma ports) delegation toured the top of bridge in pouring rain.
Before we get to the new week, it’s time for an update on the Delridge project paving the way for RapidRide H Line to launch next year. Key points of the week ahead, summarized by SDOT‘s project team, include another try at the twice-postponed work that will close SW Oregon east of Delridge:
We are now planning to start this work the weekend of October 2 – 5, with the closure beginning early Friday morning and lasting up until early Monday morning before morning traffic begins. The work is planned to continue the following weekend of October 9 – 12 with the same work schedule.
Beginning next week, crews will also be working on upgrading some curb ramps at 26th Ave SW and SW Brandon St. There won’t be any closures as a result of this work, but there will be flaggers directing traffic through the intersection. As with a lot of work happening in the corridor right now, this work is weather-dependent and subject to change.
… Beginning next week, we will begin demolishing the roadway between SW Hudson St and Puget Blvd SW on the west side
▪ We will pour concrete in early October once demolition has been completed. This work is weather-dependent and subject to change. …
… Through the end of next week, we will continue paving the sidewalks on the west side of the street between SW Thistle St and SW Trenton St
▪ Select driveways will need to be closed for up to 3 days as a part of this work. Properties will be notified in advance.
▪ This work is weather-dependent and the dates may change
▪ Later this fall, we will move to the east side of the street to complete similar work …
You can sign up for text alerts on the project – usually just one or two a week … by texting DELRIDGE to 33222.
Also from West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s weekly update, new information on options SDOT is considering for the future of what’s currently a “Keep Moving Street” on both sides of Alki Point. Three weeks ago, SDOT announced those sections of Beach Drive and Alki Avenue would keep their no-through-traffic status at least until King County moved to Stage 3 of COVID-19 recovery. Nearby residents have been collecting petition signatures in support of making it permanent, as Herbold notes in her update, saying she “support(s) the continued efforts of constituents advocating for a permanent Stay Healthy Street.” She says she contacted SDOT with questions about the status and in reply, the department told her five options are under consideration:
1. Return to previous street operation
2. Convert to a neighborhood greenway, changes would include:
-Stop signs at intersecting streets will be added where they currently operate as neighborhood yield intersections (64th Ave SW, Point Pl SW, 64th Pl SW, 64th Ave SW)
-Additional traffic calming so that spacing of speed humps and raised crosswalks is approximately every 300 feet
-Approximately 3-4 speed humps or speed cushions would be added.
-Connectivity to the citywide bicycle network would be enhanced through the addition of sharrow pavement markings and wayfinding signs.
3. Upgrade to a permanent Stay Healthy Street, changes would include:
-All of the neighborhood greenway enhancements listed above
-Street Closed and Stay Healthy Street signs at every intersection with durable materials
4. Upgrade neighborhood greenway with additional space for walking adjacent to beachside curb.
-All of the neighborhood greenway enhancements listed above
-Removal of parking and delineation (tuff curb and post) of additional space for walking adjacent to the existing sidewalk adjacent to the beach
-Increased space for walking would be adjacent to park beach only, not continuous where buildings are between roadway and beach.
5. Convert street to operate as one-way northbound for vehicles, providing shared walking and biking space adjacent to beachside sidewalk
-Delineation of a continuous shared walking and biking space adjacent to the existing beachside curb (8’ to 15’ wide)
-Continuous shared walking and biking space would connect from the existing Alki Trail to the end of the Alki Point Keep Moving Street.
-Adjustment of the roadway to operate as one way northbound for vehicles, preserving parking primarily adjacent to east/south curbs.
Herbold says SDOT assured her the street’s status wouldn’t change “until the community engagement process concludes and there is a final determination regarding a permanent configuration.” There’s no elaboration on exactly what the “community engagement process” entails, but the Stay Healthy/Keep Moving Streets project webpage has a contact email: StayHealthyStreets@seattle.gov.
The rain’s not done yet, so SDOT has again postponed plans for its contractor to close SW Oregon at Delridge (south of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center). We asked late today if the closure – which had been scheduled to start Friday morning – was on or off, and the project team replied, “Our team has just determined that the forecast this weekend is looking too wet to fully complete this work. We will have one crew working this weekend on some other items, but SW Oregon St will remain open during this time.” We’re publishing weekly project updates, so we should know soon about a new date.
In case you’ve missed the mentions in our daily traffic (etc.) watch, King County Metro wants to be sure you’re aware that they’ll resume collecting fares on Water Taxis and buses one week from today (Thursday, October 1st). The WT reminder is here; Metro’s reminder is here. Both have implemented health/safety measures – the Water Taxi will have shielded fare-collection carts like this:
Both services suspended fares six months ago because of the pandemic.
Thanks to commenter Flo for the tip – Lime‘s e-scooters have arrived in West Seattle. We’ve been watching Alki and The Junction for sightings since last Wednesday, when Lime became the first of three scooter-share companies to deploy theirs as part of Seattle’s “pilot” program. This morning we saw several on Alki, the ones above in front of Outer Space Seattle (WSB sponsor) and a couple more between there and Seacrest. Lime told WSB they plan to deploy “a handful” here for starters, with more in the weeks ahead. Also getting the city’s go-ahead are Wheels (seated scooters) and LINK. Each of the three companies will have permission for up to 500 scooters citywide for starters, eventually up to 2,000 each “if things go well,” according to SDOT‘s announcement, which has more details on how the program is supposed to work.
A bumpy stretch at the east end of the SW Roxbury corridor is about to be repaved, as announced in SDOT‘s weekly West Seattle Bridge-related update:
On the weekends of September 26-27 and October 10-11 (weather-permitting), our crews will be repaving a section of
Olson Pl SW and 1st Ave S at the intersection with Myers Way S.
Olson Pl SW will be repaved at the intersection, and the southbound lane of 1st Ave S will be repaved just north of the intersection.
Expect traffic impacts the weekends of Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 10-11 for this work. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction during paving. Work will start in the early morning hours to open the travel lanes back up in the early afternoon both days. A noise variance will be issued to complete the paving.
1st Ave S has become a heavily trafficked corridor as part of the detour route for the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure. While there is additional pavement along 1st Ave S in need of repair, our crews are prioritizing this stretch of the roadway that is in particularly bad shape to make sure we’re off the detour route in the early afternoon. We will continue to monitor the pavement along the detour route to determine where repaving and repair is needed.
That’s the full Reconnect West Seattle “implementation plan” from SDOT. Got questions? Wednesday, join HPAC – the all-volunteer community coalition for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge – in a conversation about what RWS will bring, and other upcoming projects. Beyond that, HPAC plans to “discuss how we want to work with the City to mitigate traffic impacts going forward” and will get a “preliminary introduction to the Home Zone concept – steps that will be taken to keep our area safe, walkable and connected during the WS Bridge reroute traffic.” The meeting is online at 7 pm Wednesday; teleconference/phone information is on HPAC’s website.
P.S. HPAC’s Executive Committee has openings, including chair, with longtime leader Gunner Scott having just stepped down after five years of service. Be at Wednesday’s meeting to talk about that too.
Today, as mentioned this morning, brought Metro‘s September “service change.” This time next year, the service change will bring the launch of RapidRide H Line, replacing Route 120. In the meantime, the extensive project to prepare for it continues. Here are the highlights of the week ahead:
*SW Oregon closure at Delridge – now scheduled for the next two weekends, Friday morning until Monday morning, September 25-28 and October 2-5, weather permitting. Delridge will remain open to north-south traffic. If you would usually use SW Oregon to get to/from Delridge, SW Andover will be the detour.
*Pipe work near SW Brandon – This has several more weeks to go, but SDOT says night work is complete. Next week will include pipe connections, so if your home/business is near there, watch for notification of water shutoffs.
*Paving will continue on the east side of Delridge in the project’s Zone A (north). Next week, this will focus on the section between SW Genesee and SW Dakota.
*Demolition on the west side of Delridge between SW Edmunds and SW Hudson will start as soon as Wednesday (September 23).
See the project’s full weekly bulletin here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Since the West Seattle Bridge’s sudden closure almost half a year ago, West Marginal Way SW has become one of the most-traveled, and most-griped-about, streets in West Seattle: SDOT‘s latest stats show its volume has tripled, from 9,000+ vehicles a day to 27,000+. It’s the major route to the main alternate bridge, the state-operated 1st Avenue South Bridge, and beset with backups.
While the entirety of West Marginal was not part of the Reconnect West Seattle traffic-mitigation plan, it made an appearance in parts of that newly released plan, and SDOT has been promising a standalone package of West Marginal changes; we’ve been asking about it for weeks.
Today, it’s going public. We got a first look at the 6-point plan in an online meeting with SDOT’s West Seattle Bridge project leader Heather Marx and communications director Michael Harold.