SDOT has announced that they are putting the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold; their announcement says:
“Based on community input and continued coordination with Sound Transit, we are putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold. This decision responds to community concerns about prolonged construction and effective use of taxpayer dollars.
Sound Transit’s current proposed route for the voter-approved West Seattle Light Rail Extension includes an elevated rail line on Fauntleroy Way. If built after the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, there is the possibility that Fauntleroy improvements would need to be removed and potentially rebuilt.”
I raised the issue of potential overlaps in a May letter to Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. I appreciate SDOT and Sound Transit coordinating to resolve this obvious potential conflict and potential waste of public dollars. Moving forward I have questions about a. use of levy funds in West Seattle, b. whether there are smaller short-term improvements that can be made, and c. the fulfillment of north-south bicycle access across the peninsula.
Some have asked if the project is being delayed or if it has been cancelled. Here’s where things stand. We’re working to ensure that, if Sound Transit builds the representative alignment through Fauntleroy Way, then Sound Transit will be responsible, on their dime, for rebuilding to project-level standards if they dig up the same portion of the street. Those standards, as currently defined by SDOT Director’s Rule, are very similar to the plans for the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, minus the bike lanes. If Sound Transit, on the other hand, chooses a different alignment, then SDOT can still move forward with the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project. Under that scenario, if SDOT determines that there are increased costs as a result of cost escalation due to the delay, then we’ll work to see that Sound Transit picks up those extra costs. Sound Transit won’t make final alignment decisions until April 2019, so in the meantime, we need to be working to prepare for a possible reallocation of levy dollars, based on what we have heard and will hear from the community about West Seattle’s transportation priorities.
As long as we’re on the topic of Sound Transit, it’s important to note that Sound Transit will hold its West Seattle light rail project kickoff open house on Tuesday, February 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Alki Masonic Center at 4736 40th Avenue SW.
This meeting is a first opportunity to help identify alternatives for potential routes and station locations. Sound Transit will make a brief presentation 15 minutes after the start of the meeting.
Why is starting and participating in the public process important now if we won’t even have a “preferred alternative” for light rail from West Seattle to Ballard until April, 2019? In meeting this goal set in an agreement the Council passed in December we can build light rail faster than previous light rail lines. With the April 2019 target, it’s important to get involved and bring forward all proposals and options as early as possible. Only if we do so, can we complete environmental review by 2022, utility work in 2024, final design through 2025, with construction and testing through 2030.
Sound Transit’s starting point for light rail to West Seattle, and for Ballard, is the “representative alignment” included in the ST3 plan. The representative alignment included in the ballot measure includes a high-level bridge across the Duwamish, an elevated alignment, and three stations in West Seattle Delridge, Avalon, and Alaska Junction. A Sound Transit presentation from January 4 shows an aerial view of the representative alignment.
The West Seattle line description notes “The elements included in this representative project will be
refined during future phases of project development and are subject to change.” The project kickoff is your chance to weigh in early.
Last week I attended the West Seattle Chamber Annual Meeting luncheon. Though I can’t use public resources to promote the caterer, I can say unequivocally that the food was exceptional! Pete Spaulding, former Vice-Chair and Government Advocacy Chair, is now leading the organization as West Seattle Chamber Board of Directors Chair. Congratulations to Pete; I know that he will do a great job.
Lynn Dennis, the West Seattle Chamber CEO reviewed the accomplishments for the year which included (but are not limited to):
- Increasing, to more than 200, the membership of the Chamber
- Working with the West Seattle Junction Association, WorkSource, the Family Resource Center at Neighborhood House High Point, and the Seattle Housing Authority to organize a West Seattle Job Fair. People were hired on the spot!
- Partnering with North Delridge business owners and the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association on a survey of needs and priorities to develop a “shared Delridge economic development vision.”
The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has been around since 1923. It works to support economic growth based upon an understanding that “when our entire community thrives– when neighbors care about neighbors, people shop and eat local, and individuals participate in advocacy and service” that’s when business also thrives.
Seattle Public Utilities recently released a study showing that, since 2003, extreme rainstorms in Seattle have increased by 30%. The data was collected using SPU-owned rain gauges and combined with observations from the National Weather Service.
The City has a combined sewer system that handles both stormwater and wastewater. Therefore, large rain events can overflow the capacity of the system which causes combined sewer overflows (CSOs). This SPU study is helpful so that the Utility can accurately plan new stormwater infrastructure that will better control CSOs. Controlling our CSOs is important because, not only do we want to maintain clean waterways, but the Clean Water Act, passed by Congress in 1972, requires that government ensure that CSOs occur no more than once per outfall per year.
The increase observed by SPU in the newly released study is consistent with national research on climate change and provides additional evidence for the need for increased stormwater infrastructure as well as other innovations to combat climate change.
Last June the Council approved a resolution to adopt an updated Pedestrian Master Plan, the first update since 2009. A high priority of mine in the Council resolution was to require a 5-year implementation plan, which has been done for the Bicycle Master Plan for a number of years. Councilmember O’Brien’s resolution included this requirement.
In December SDOT published the Pedestrian Master Plan 2018-2022 Implementation Plan and Progress Report. It lists projects completed in 2016/2017, projects planned annually from 2018 to 2022, project selection framework, scoring for project evaluations, and a priority investment network.
A presentation heard in the Transportation Committee has a high-level summary.
Seattle has a Pedestrian Advisory Board, charged with advising the Mayor and Council and departments on pedestrian matters; there’s a link to apply in case you’re interested.
This Saturday, February 3, Hate Free Delridge and West Seattle Meaningful Movies will be screening Harvest of Empire the Untold Story of Latinos in America, based on a book from Juan González which considers the real-life events and conditions of Latinx families who left their home to come to the US. The film examines the linkage between US intervention in Latin America and the immigration patterns that comprehensive immigration reform public policy efforts seek to address today. It is recommended for high school ages and up due to some graphic violence. The screening will be at High Point Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW). Doors open at 6:30pm with show time at 7pm. A facilitated discussion will occur after the film. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.