Today’s Vote: Update on Preservation, The Missing Piece of our Affordable Housing Strategy.
The Council voted this morning in the 2016 Housing Levy Select Committee to pass the amendments supporting the new housing preservation program first proposed by myself and then supported and developed with the help of Councilmember Mike O’Brien and his staff.
I have an editorial in this week’s Real Change explaining why a truly comprehensive affordable housing strategy must include new programs to preserve existing affordable housing. You may recall, in early April, I told you how, in the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee, I presented a “proof of concept” preservation funding strategy as identified by HALA to use the City’s bonding authority to issue a housing bond and reinstate the growth fund.
My colleagues had concerns with issuing city bonds to finance housing and earmarking future property tax dollars collected from new construction projects. So, I turned my sights to the Housing Levy to accomplish the goal of creating a new Anti-Displacement Housing Preservation Program. Our proposal does not require an increase in the $290 Million Housing Levy proposal.
This new program is aimed at:
- Acquiring tenant occupied multi-family rental buildings with five or more units.
- Preserving buildings for long-term affordable rental housing or converted to permanently affordable homeownership units.
- Targeting buildings with units affordable at or below 80% of area median income (AMI), with a focus on serving households at or below 60% of AMI.
- Implementing the Notice of Intent to Sell Ordinance
- Directing OH is directed to leverage housing levy resources and identify additional dedicated revenue
SPU Water Quality
As you may have seen, there is a developing story in Tacoma where lead has been found in the water of four houses. Out of an abundance of caution Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will be testing the water quality across our system. Please see the press release here.
I have asked that at Monday morning’s Council Briefing SPU give the Council a full update on the testing and our water quality. You can watch that briefing online live (at 9:30am on Monday) at this link. I will keep you updated as I know more information.
Alaskan Way Viaduct Closure Begins Friday, April 29
Last week WSDOT announced they will close the Alaskan Way Viaduct for an estimated two weeks beginning Friday, April 29, for tunnel boring beneath the structure. During the closure WSDOT expects congestion to begin earlier and end later, and encourages flexibility and traveling at non-peak times if possible. WSDOT, King County Metro, and SDOT will hold three calls each day to monitor and address emerging issues during the morning and evening rush hours.
For District 1 residents, page 2 of this KC Metro bus detour map has information about where through SODO the 21E, 37, 55, 56, 120, 125, and C Line will travel.
The King County Water Taxi at Seacrest Park is another option: 160 parking spaces will be available at SW Bronson Way and Harbor Ave SW, and 200+ at Pier 2. For shuttle Route 773 from the West Seattle Junction to the dock at Seacrest Park, you can view the map and schedule; for Route 775 from Alki to Seacrest Park you can view the map and schedule.
In response to concerns I heard about the Fauntleroy Expressway closure for the bearing-pad re-replacement project beginning on April 27 and the cumulative impact of both closures on West Seattle, I requested that that SDOT consider holding off until after the AWV closure is complete. We learned yesterday the Fauntleroy Expressway work will be delayed.
ST3 Public Meeting in West Seattle
Sound Transit is holding a public outreach meeting for a Sound Transit 3 ballot measure on Tuesday, April 26 at West Seattle High School at 3000 California Avenue SW, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a presentation at 6 p.m.
Sound Transit’s Draft Plan, released on March 24, includes light rail from West Seattle to Downtown with stations in the Alaska Junction, Avalon/35th, and Delridge adjacent to the West Seattle Bridge. You can see an overview and details of the proposed West Seattle line.
Sound Transit’s schedule for implementation calls for building the West Seattle line in 2033. I’d like to explore ways to accelerate the timeline for this and other Seattle projects.
The City Council is planning to pass a resolution in May with Seattle’s position, in anticipation of a Sound Transit board vote in June, and a November ballot measure. I’d like to see a fully unified City position that avoids pitting one neighborhood against another.
The Council will soon send letter with questions to Sound Transit; I’m requesting information about whether tunneling was considered for the portion of the alignment from the bridge to the Junction, and the rationale for eliminating the Delridge option listed as a Candidate Project in December 2015.
The Draft Plan also includes light rail from Ballard to Downtown, which includes a second subway tunnel through Downtown Seattle; a station at Graham Street on the current line (for the Move Seattle levy included $10 million) a provisional station at NE 130th, and a host of regional projects. You can view the Draft Plan and Draft Plan map on the ST3 site.
The Draft Plan also includes early deliverables to C and D lines, to be carried out in coordination with King County Metro. It also includes a planning study for light rail from West Seattle to Burien.
Another public meeting will be at Union Station on April 28 at 401 South Jackson Street from 11:30 to 1:30, with a presentation at noon. An earlier meeting was held in Ballard.
In addition, King County Metro will also be seeking feedback at the meetings on its Long Range Plan.
West Seattle Bridge SLI report back
In last week’s blog post I went over the background on the Council’s budget actions for 2016 to add $500,000 for West Seattle Bridge Corridor congestion management investments, and $100,000 for corridor feasibility studies. SDOT requested a delay in reporting to May 31, and I asked for an update by April 15 on progress made to date, and next steps.
SDOT’s update notes that SDOT and SPD have implemented some projects listed in the West Seattle Bridge Corridor Whitepaper and Priority Investment List: painting the eastbound red bus lane and increasing police enforcement; coordinating with the Coast Guard and marine vessel operations to obtain cooperation with voluntary avoidance of openings during road traffic peak periods; revising the mechanical sequence of the low bridge to reduce the time it takes to open and close; enhancing markings of at-grade crossings of Alki Trail at Delridge Way; revising Rapid Ride C line service to increase reliability; and pursuing funding for the South Lander Street Railroad grade separation project. In addition to the $55 million application described in last week’s blog post, SDOT has applied for grants for $8 million from the Washington State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, and $14 million from the Puget Sound Regional Council.
SDOT notes they are concentrating on the 13 projects located in the corridor from the West Seattle Bridge, Spokane Street Viaduct, and associated lower roadway section of Spokane Street between 35th Ave SW and I-5 (see map).
For the $100,000 available for studying physical and operational improvements, SDOT plans to focus on two of the six study areas in the white paper (the original cost estimate for all six items was $200,000): evaluating lower Spokane Street choke-points, and bridge opening blockages be better coordinated; and evaluating better communications and control protocols for Port of Seattle cooperation with truck queue management. This would not cover studying an evaluation of the feasibility and benefit of installing center barrier sections so emergency vehicles can make U-turns for faster response time; the feasibility of markings and signage for one designated emergency lane in each direction, and coordination with WSDOT re: access to I-5 on the Spokane Street Viaduct. We’ll need to explore additional funding for this work.
More information will be available in the full report-back on May 31.
Office Hours Update
Please join me in South Park next Friday, April 29th. These hours will be slightly different than usual – I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S) from 11am to 5pm.
You are welcome to let me know you’re coming by emailing my scheduler Alex Clardy.