Transportation 3462 results

Need help getting around? SDOT announces ‘Ride Now’

People who are 65 and older and/or living with disabilities have a new transportation option this spring, announced today by the city:

SDOT has launched a new pilot program called Ride Now to provide free and discounted rides to transit stations and other nearby destinations that can be difficult to reach by transit only – specifically for older adults (65+) and people with disabilities and their caregivers. The goal of the program is to provide more accessible, convenient, and affordable transportation options for these community members. The pilot program will be active during the months of April and May 2022.

Eligible community members can request six $20 paper or digital vouchers per month to use for rides from Yellow Cab, Uber, or Lyft. Program participants can request these rides when they want them, no reservations required, and have an accessible ride come right to their door. Vouchers will work on trips that start or end within the city of Seattle, and riders can receive higher discounts off trips that connect to transit.

Eligible individuals include:

Older adults: Individuals aged 65 or older.
People with disabilities: Individuals with any type of disability that impacts their ability to access transit, including physical and cognitive disabilities.
Caregivers: Individuals who travel with the above eligible riders.

You can request vouchers at seattle.gov/transportation/RideNow or by calling 206-684-ROAD [7623]. Vouchers will also be available through some community-based non-profit organizations. This pilot program, the result of a grant, is in addition to services offered by other agencies, such as the Hyde Shuttle and other King County programs linked here.

Here’s who will help the mayor find a new SDOT director

When Mayor Bruce Harrell recently announced his plan for a police-chief search, we asked about the plan for hiring another high-level city position – SDOT director. The reply was that a similar process would launch shortly, and now it has. A Friday afternoon announcement from the mayor’s office says these 15 people have been named to a search committee:

Genesee Adkins, former SDOT Chief of Staff
Cassie Chinn, Wing Luke Museum
Dr. Anne Goodchild, UW Urban Freight Lab
Amy Grotefendt, Transportation Lead, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Matt Howard, Seattle Department of Transportation
Alex Hudson, Transportation Choices Coalition
Rob Johnson, NHL Seattle Kraken, former Councilmember
Steve Kovac, IBEW Local 77
Lee Lambert, Cascade Bike Club
Geri Poor, Port of Seattle
Rizwan Rizwi, Muslim Housing Services
Monisha Singh, Chinatown International District Business Improvement Assoc.
Yordanos Teferi, SDOT’s Transportation Equity Workgroup
Terry White, King County Metro
Yu-Ann Youn, SDOT’s Transportation Equity Workgroup, UW student

The announcement does not mention neighborhoods of residence; our quick cross-check of public records shows only one name that potentially matches to a West Seattle address. The announcement says the committee members “were selected for their technical expertise and vision, lived experiences with the transportation system, and ability to leverage networks to market the position, collect feedback, and provide information to support the process and selection.” The committee is expected to meet for the first time later this month; applications for the SDOT director position officially open on Tuesday. No details yet of other plans for community input into the search. The mayor’s office has said the current interim director, Kristen Simpson, previously SDOT’s chief of staff, doesn’t intend to seek the permanent job.

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Avalon-area neighbors walk the (potential) line

(Sound Transit rendering, possible routing at Genesee looking east toward Avalon)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you haven’t yet decided what you want/need to say during the last major comment period before Sound Transit locks in West Seattle light-rail routing and station locations, a community workshop Thursday might help you formulate your feedback on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. (More about that later.)

Some neighborhoods in light rail’s potential path have been studying the proposal independently and extensively almost every step of the way. Among them, Avalon-area residents, some of whom might be forced out of their homes depending on where the train goes to get between the Duwamish River and the West Seattle Junction. They’ve had several meetings with ST, including one last Thursday night devoted solely to Q&A. Hours before that, they accompanied ST reps on a walk through the neighborhood, from the westernmost potential Avalon station location eastward along potential routing paths. We covered both events and have chronicled some of their other discussions, going back almost two years to this one, shortly after they learned the ST Board had decided to study a route through their neighborhood.

Thursday’s walking tour was intended to be a firsthand look at where the station might go, and how the trains would get there. Neighbors and ST reps, plus a rep for King County Councilmember and ST Board member Joe McDermott, gathered first by the Avalon Starbucks and Taco Time. ST’s reps included Jason Hampton, currently the lead for the West Seattle extension. This had been long enough in the works that ST brought the hard-copy equivalent of a slide presentation, customized for this tour.

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FERRY UPDATE: Fauntleroy dock reopening after repair closure

10:33 AM: The week is not off to a good start for Washington State Ferries. The Fauntleroy dock is out of service for repairs. The downtown dock is also down to one slip because a boat from the Bainbridge run made a hard landing, and both the boat – M/V Kaleetan – and dock are being assessed. WSF says Fauntleroy service “will be suspended while maintenance staff assess and repair the issue. The repairs are currently estimated to be completed by mid-afternoon. This means service on the Fauntleroy/Vashon and Fauntleroy/Southworth routes is cancelled until further notice. Service between Southworth and Vashon will continue to run, and the #1 vessel will sail as scheduled, while the #2 vessel will operate unscheduled trips as needed.” We are told at least part of the Fauntleroy problem is related to a worn-out cable. Updates as we get them.

10:44 AM: WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling confirms, “There’s some sort of issue with a cable that is currently being inspected. It’s my understanding the cable is used to help lower and raise the ramp to and from the ferry.”

1:04 PM: WSF says the repairs are complete and the Fauntleroy terminal is back in service with the 1:15 boat to Vashon.

WEST SEATTLE WEEKEND SCENE: Transportation tabling at WS Farmers’ Market

April 3, 2022 12:01 pm
|    Comments Off on WEST SEATTLE WEEKEND SCENE: Transportation tabling at WS Farmers’ Market
 |   Transportation | West Seattle Farmers' Market | West Seattle news

While real trains are still ~10 years away, cardboard light-rail trains are being clutched by kids at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market today, part of the freebies at Sound Transit‘s info table. Both ST and SDOT have tables at the market today, we noticed while walking through, so if you have questions for either transportation agency, this is an opportunity to get answers. ST of course is focused on the 25 days remaining to get your comment in about the West Seattle light rail Draft Environmental Impact Statement, while SDOT is mostly there to talk about commuting alternatives. Both tables are on the east side of the market, closer to the north end than the south end. As always, the market is open until 2 pm.

FOLLOWUP: ‘Driver report card’ signs, week 3

It’s the third week for what SDOT says is a six-week pilot program tallying whether drivers are stopping for pedestrians. The two signs in West Seattle are updated on Fridays with results of a count taken by student interns earlier in the week. Above, the sign at the 34th/Morgan marked crossing shows 43 percent this week, up from 28 percent a week earlier; below, 11 percent at the unmarked crossing on Sylvan Way near Sylvan Heights, up from 10 percent a week earlier:

After six weeks here, SDOT says the signs will be moved elsewhere in the city, as it gets rolling on a two-year safety campaign.

COMMENT COUNTDOWN: West Seattle Transportation Coalition’s workshop to help you have your say on light rail

We’ve been mentioning in our coverage of West Seattle light-rail planning that the West Seattle Transportation Coalition would be presenting a workshop to help you shape your feedback, whatever it is. Details are now set for that event. It’ll be both in-person and online, 6-9 pm next Thursday (April 7th), at American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle (3618 SW Alaska). Sound Transit will be there too, but this isn’t a sit-down-and-watch-a-long-presentation meeting, WSTC says:

Our aims for the workshop include:

● Understanding what a public comment is and why it is needed

● How to write effective public comments that get meaningful results

● How to back up your comment

If you want to watch the livestream instead of attending in person, you’ll find the link (and the full announcement) in our calendar listing. Comment deadline for the light-rail Draft Environmental Impact Statement is April 28th.

About that other high-profile city job opening

Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s announcement today of the search process for a new police chief had one WSB commenter wondering what’s up with the search for a new SDOT director. So we asked mayoral spokesperson Jamie Housen. His reply tonight: “We should have some news to announce on the SDOT front soon around the search process, which will be a robust national search and include community input and stakeholder engagement.” When Harrell announced previous SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe‘s departure three and a half months ago, he elevated SDOT chief of staff Kristen Simpson to interim director, but said she wouldn’t be applying for the permanent job. We also asked Housen if the mayor had visited the West Seattle Bridge yet, since those weekly progress-report documents we’ve been getting (on a 4-week delay via public-disclosure request) mentioned it. Housen said, “The mayor’s schedule hasn’t aligned for a site visit to the bridge yet, but it is something we are hoping to get on the calendar, as the bridge’s repair and reopening remains one of the administration’s highest priorities.” P.S. Former SDOT director Zimbabwe, who lives in West Seattle, just started a new job in the private sector, with the design-consulting firm Kimley-Horn.

Dozens of questions, answers, comments @ Sound Transit’s West Seattle light rail public hearing

(Rendering of potential SW Genesee guideway, from page 126 in DEIS Appendix N-2)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

You have four weeks left to officially comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the West Seattle (and Ballard) light-rail extensions – basically, one last major chance to speak up before its final routing and station locations are settled.

As part of that process, Sound Transit held an online public hearing tonight, this one geared toward the West Seattle segment, currently expected to open in 2032. The DEIS contains results of studies of the possible alternatives for routing and station locations, and the comments will be taken into consideration by ST board members – including King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who spoke briefly at the start of the meeting – at their next major decision point, likely this June.

Three-quarters of the meeting was devoted to Q&A and comments; 22 people offered the latter, half of them advocating for ST to study the gondola system whose advocates have pitched it as an option to West Seattle light rail.

As the meeting began, ST’s Cathal Ridge began with a recap of the project plan, going back to the ST3 vote in 2016. Design starts in 2023; construction of the West Seattle line is scheduled to start in 2026. The official comment period for the DEIS began January 28th, and after it’s over, the board “will confirm or modify the preferred alternative.” He also recapped the alternatives that are being studied while noted that some of them would “require third-party funding.”

OVERVIEW: For an overview of what’s been studied, Ridge turned it over to Jason Hampton, who’s leading the West Seattle segment planning. For context on what’s in the DEIS, here are the focus topics:

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REOPENED: Andover Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge, after 7 1/2-month closure

(WSB photos, this afternoon)

Thanks to Dawn for the tip: A West Seattle bridge has reopened. Not THE bridge, but close, literally – the walking/rolling bridge at Andover, which passes over the southwest end of the two-years-closed West Seattle Bridge, is now open again, SDOT confirms. This bridge, too, was closed suddenly – last August, SDOT declared it closed in advance of a planned seismic-improvement project, citing various concerns. The actual work on that project didn’t start until months later. It was expected to be done by the end of January, and then came the concrete strike. But a week and a half ago, SDOT said the contractor had obtained some concrete. Now, work is done and the bridge is back in service.

P.S. We’re working on an update about that “other” bridge.

WATER TAXI: Shuttle service restored to all runs starting Monday

(WSB file photo)

Back when we first reported that the West Seattle Water Taxi‘s summer season would launch April 21st, Metro hadn’t yet finalized the summer shuttle schedule. Now it has, and shuttle service is being restored to all runs as of tomorrow (Monday, March 28th). Metro’s announcement says that “all Water Taxi sailings will be met with shuttle service.” The online schedules for shuttle Routes 773 and 775 don’t yet reflect this, however; we’ll be asking about that tomorrow. Though the Water Taxi has stayed on a seven-days-a-week schedule throughout this bridgeless winter, the shuttle buses did not.

FOLLOWUP: SDOT cancels 16th/Austin reconfiguration plan

One mini-bulletin from tonight’s HPAC meeting, just wrapping up – SDOT has canceled the plan to reconfigure the 16th/Austin intersection. We reported on it three weeks ago after a reader tip. SDOT’s Sara Zora indicated at tonight’s meeting that they got a lot of feedback, and after their traffic-operations team re-examined the plan, they decided to shelve it. They’ll “continue to monitor” the intersection for collisions or other problems. (Our report on the rest of the HPAC meeting will be published tomorrow.)

UPDATE: Another electric-vehicle charging station proposed for West Seattle

7:51 PM MONDAY: A year and a half after installing a public electric-vehicle charging station in The Junction, Seattle City Light is proposing another one in West Seattle – this time, at a former substation site in Morgan Junction.

That’s an outline of the proposal, from the city webpage set up for the project. The site is at 4118 SW Morgan, kittycorner from the east side of West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor). As shown, it could hold up to eight charging stations, which SCL says would be accessed from the north side of the site, off Fauntleroy Way SW. The description adds:

Anyone with an electric vehicle will be able to use the charging station. Drivers will need to pay a fee to charge. The fee is designed to pay for the electricity and the cost of building the station.

Construction could begin as soon as the 4th quarter of 2022. The project will take approximately three months to complete.

This is considered a good location for an EV charging station because it is close to neighborhood retail, services, and major arterial roads. There are currently no public EV fast chargers in the Morgan Junction neighborhood.

The substation was decommissioned 20 years ago and the city says the site is planned for cleanup first, with its existing trees to be removed and replaced. For the next month – until April 22nd – the city is running a survey to see what the community thinks about the plan – you can answer it here.

3:57 PM TUESDAY: We asked SCL spokesperson Jenn Strang about the project’s cost. She responded that “at this juncture it would be premature for us to assign a number to costs. There are many variables yet to be determined before we could form a concrete estimate.”

NEW SIGNS: SDOT starts citywide stop-for-pedestrians campaign with signage in West Seattle

(SDOT photo)

That’s one of the new signs SDOT has put up as part of a new safety campaign to remind drivers that they need to stop for people crossing the street. As explained here:

… (W)e began unveiling “driver report cards” signs at certain crosswalks to show the percentage of drivers who stop for people waiting to walk or roll across the street. This is the start of a larger $350,000 public-education campaign focused on the benefits of following the speed limit and making sure drivers understand that all intersections are crosswalks – and that state law requires them to stop for pedestrians and people in wheelchairs or other mobility assistive devices who are attempting to cross the street.

Per Washington State law, practically all intersections are legal pedestrian crossings, whether or not there is a painted crosswalk, unless a sign officially says that people are not allowed to cross the street in a certain location. That means drivers are legally required to stop for people crossing the street at nearly every intersection in Seattle and throughout the state.

Two of the first signs, including the one in the top photo, are in High Point, at 34th Ave SW and SW Morgan St (where there’s a painted crosswalk) and at Sylvan Way SW and SW Sylvan Heights Dr (an unpainted crossing). While the former has the 46 percent stop rate – as observed by a high-school-student volunteer, SDOT says – the latter has a 0% rate (out of 25 passing drivers). SDOT plans to use signs like these at 13 intersections around the city, for starters.

ADDED 4:40 PM: We asked SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson for a little more detail on how these signs will be updated: “The data will be collected and updated weekly for a total of six weeks. Typically we would collect data on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and then an SDOT crew member will update the signs on Fridays. The high school students assisting with this have an internship with Delridge Neighborhood Development Association and will receive a stipend for their time. In addition to helping to collect data, they helped us to choose the locations and were involved with other aspects of the exercise in order to make it an enriching experience for them.”

Questions about questions, comments about comments as Fauntleroy ferry-dock-replacement’s Community Advisory Group reconvenes

March 17, 2022 8:58 pm
|    Comments Off on Questions about questions, comments about comments as Fauntleroy ferry-dock-replacement’s Community Advisory Group reconvenes
 |   Fauntleroy | Transportation | West Seattle news

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Are members of the Community Advisory Group for the Fauntleroy ferry dock/terminal replacement plan being rushed along to get buy-in on potential locations without enough information for a true comparison?

That’s what some suggested at last night’s meeting, a followup to the one two weeks ago (WSB coverage here) at which Washington State Ferries presented nine “draft alternatives,” including Lowman Beach and Lincoln Park.

Some CAG members also suggested the process is putting too much emphasis on dock location/size when some of the biggest issues, like traffic, could and should be addressed operationally, and long before the replacement is built (currently expected in 2025-2027).

Here’s how the meeting unfolded:

Read More

FOLLOWUP: Andover Bridge work resumes with ‘small amounts’ of ‘independent’ concrete, but West Seattle Bridge still waiting

(WSB photo, late this afternoon)

One small bridge project has resumed, but the West Seattle Bridge work still awaits concrete, despite drivers’ back-to-work announcement earlier this week. First, here’s what SDOT announced today about the Andover overpass over the southwest end of the West Seattle Bridge:

We’ve resumed work on the SW Andover St Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge (Andover Bridge) seismic retrofit project. Our contractor for this project is using independent drivers to pour small amounts of concrete.

Remaining work includes landscaping around the new sidewalk and base of the bridge, installing and painting the handrail, and replacing fencing near the bridge. With work starting on the Andover Bridge again, we expect to complete the seismic retrofit in the next few weeks. We appreciate your patience and look forward to reopening the bridge after the work is done and it’s ready for use again.

After getting that announcement, we asked SDOT if there’s an update on the Teamsters Local 174 drivers’ offer to resume work for three companies in hopes of getting concrete to some projects including the West Seattle Bridge. The reply from spokesperson Ethan Bergerson:

Contractors have autonomy to select concrete suppliers and we were informed last week by the contractor for the Andover St Pedestrian Bridge Seismic Retrofit project that they would be pouring a comparatively small amounts of concrete using independent drivers.

This is not the same kind of concrete as is needed for the West Seattle Bridge. The West Seattle Bridge program requires specialized concrete which is capable of holding more than 20 million pounds of force and must sustain its strength for decades for the bridge to remain standing. This is a different kind of concrete than what is used for most other transportation projects like streets or sidewalks, which does not need to hold up to the same kinds of force.

Kraemer has reached out to all the concrete suppliers to determine who can supply the special type of concrete needed for the West Seattle Bridge and other details about timing and logistics. We are still awaiting more information from the concrete suppliers.

As for the drivers, they have a new statement online tonight, saying drivers for one company – Salmon Bay – are back at work, but alleging another company, Cadman, is dragging its feet on setting a date for drivers’ return.

Another West Seattle change for Metro’s ‘service change’ Saturday

4:18 PM: When Metro announced the plan for its next twice-yearly “service change” this Saturday (March 19th), the plan was for Saturday service on Route 125 to remain suspended. But Metro has just announced that instead, the 125 will resume Saturday service.

ADDED THURSDAY EVENING: We asked Metro why the last-minute change of heart, and spokesperson Jeff Switzer explained they’re still “fine-tuning” the service-change plan and won’t have final word until tomorrow afternoon.

You asked, so we asked: What’s ahead for West Seattle’s Water Taxi

(WSB Tuesday photo, Water Taxi dock at Seacrest)

Karen emailed to ask if Metro had announced plans for spring/summer-season changes on the West Seattle Water Taxi schedule, so we inquired. You might recall that the pre-pandemic routine was for the WT to go weekdays-only through late fall, winter, and early spring, but this year, after public clamor because of the West Seattle Bridge closure, the service has continued in 7-days-a-week mode, though the shuttle buses are on reduced schedules. Metro spokesperson Al Sanders tells WSB, “The West Seattle Water Taxi will begin its summer schedule on April 21. The only change from the current winter schedule will be the addition of late-night departures on Fridays and Saturdays.” Will the shuttle schedule ramp back up? Sanders says that’s not decided yet, “Summer shuttle schedule is also TBD. Marine (Division) is waiting to hear back from Service Planning on if their contracted service provider will be able to expand the current schedule.”

WEST SEATTLE LIGHT RAIL: Comment countdown continues with city observations, ‘deep dive’ info, and how to see what it’ll look like

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

46 days left to comment on what Sound Transit has found out about potential routes and station locations for West Seattle light rail – the findings that comprise the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

As of the end of February, ST had received 409 comments, the Community Advisory Group for the West Seattle/Duwamish River leg was told at its latest meeting

The centerpiece of the meeting was supposed to be a “deep dive” into parts of the DEIS on which group members had requested more information – including a slide deck with many more renderings that didn’t even get reviewed during the meeting. But if you’re still considering how you’ll comment on the options, you might be more interested in the second part of the meeting, which featured City of Seattle reps talking about how the city’s official comments are taking shape. So that’s where we’ll start.

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From White Center Now: 16th SW plan update

Last month, we reported on King County Road Services‘ plan to rechannelize 16th SW between 100th and 107th, after a short presentation to the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council. This month, a county rep returned to NHUAC with a more-detailed presentation, including early results of the online survey asking people about two options. Both options would change that stretch of 16th SW to one vehicle-travel lane each way. If you’re interested in the project, we’ve published our coverage of the newest briefing on partner site White Center Now. Also, the survey is still open, so if you haven’t responded, you can go here.

TRANSIT: Here’s what Metro’s next ‘service change’ brings for West Seattle routes

Metro says it’s back up to “about 96% of (its) service” with more than 160 bus routes are operating each day, and some of them will see changes on March 19th, the next “service change” date. Those are detailed systemwide on this Metro webpage. Metro’s highlight list include these changes for routes including West Seattle service; we’ve linked each affected route number to its new timetable:

Added service “as part of Seattle’s Frequent Transit Network” – 21, 60
Routes with “added or adjusted trips to support demand at public school bell times” – 50, 128
Schedule changes – 21, 50, 60, 128

Routes 37 and 116 continue to be indefinitely suspended, as does Saturday service on Route 125. Metro’s next service change will be in September, which is when Route 120 is planned for conversion to the RapidRide H Line.

Ferry dock at Lincoln Park? Lowman Beach? Current location? Or? Fauntleroy terminal replacement ‘draft alternatives’ unveiled

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Fauntleroy ferry dock/terminal must and will be replaced. But might it be moved, too?

At this early stage in the planning process, that’s a possibility, the replacement project’s Community Advisory Group was told tonight. During the group’s first meeting in three months, Washington State Ferries rolled out nine “draft alternatives” – including concepts, however improbable-seeming, for possibly moving the dock to Lincoln Park or Lowman Beach.

More on the nine “draft alternatives” in a moment. First, here’s what the meeting was all about. The replacement isn’t expected to go into construction before 2025, so the process is currently in the stage of developing alternatives and finalizing the criteria for screening them.

Screening is a two-level process, and when they get to stage 1, that’s the “fatal flaw” part of the process; stage 2 is “detailed analysis.” Read More

FAUNTLEROY FERRY DOCK: Community Advisory Group about to reconvene for first time in 3 months

February 26, 2022 7:30 pm
|    Comments Off on FAUNTLEROY FERRY DOCK: Community Advisory Group about to reconvene for first time in 3 months
 |   Fauntleroy | Transportation | West Seattle news

(WSB file photo)

Somewhere between the reopening of the West Seattle Bridge and the groundbreaking for West Seattle light rail, our peninsula will see another major transportation project – the replacement of the circa-1950s Fauntleroy ferry dock/terminal. Construction is expected around 2025, so planning is reaching a key stages, and Washington State Ferries has convened advisory groups. This week, the Community Advisory Group for the project will meet for the first time since early December, 6 pm Wednesday (March 2nd), online. Though there’s no public-comment period, everyone’s welcome to watch/listen – you can register here to get access. This is the first of two meetings scheduled for this group in March; the second is two weeks later, on March 16th. WSF has yet to make key decisions such as the size, configuration, and even location – on th current footprint, or? – of the new terminal/dock.