South Park Investments; Alaskan Way Viaduct Closes on January 11

Update on South Park Work to Address Community Task Force Recommendations and Other Investment in South Park

Here’s a follow up to an update earlier this year about implementation of the recommendations of the South Park Public Safety Task Force, and other projects in South Park.

The South Park Public Safety Coordinator, a key community priority, began work during 2018. I sponsored, and the Council adopted funding to continue this position in 2019.

The community voted to prioritize spending $500,000 in transportation improvements identified by the task force, and funded by the Council in 2018.

Of the projects selected by the community, three have been completed: new lighting has been added on the 8th Avenue Trail, and stairway lighting added on 10th Avenue and 12th Avenue. Design is being finalized for crosswalk upgrades at South Cloverdale and 7th Avenue South.  Signal upgrades at 7th and 8th and Cloverdale were also completed with Your Voice Your Choice funding.   Your Voice Your Choice funding was also used to install of a new crosswalk at 12th and Cloverdale.

The community also prioritized pedestrian lighting on Cloverdale on both sides of the SR99 underpass, and sidewalk widening. Subsequently, $90,000 was added for walkway improvements through community voting in the Your Voice Your Choice program. The Department of Neighborhoods has worked with SDOT and City Light to develop a design concept that includes lighting upgrades to the underpass; pigeon spikes under the bridge, to address pigeon dropping which make the walkway slippery; sidewalk improvements; and traffic calming (an SDOT analysis found the sidewalk was wide enough, so barriers may be installed between the roadway and the sidewalk in 2019 instead).

The cost for this pedestrian lighting on Cloverdale on both sides of the SR99 underpass is estimated at $300,000 to $500,000; funding will be carried forward in legislation sent to the City Council early in 2019 in what’s called the budget “carryforward” ordinance.

Additional priorities identified by the South Park Public Safety Taskforce have been completed by City Light: installation of alley lighting near 14th Avenue South, and street lighting upgrades to LED.

SDOT has also completed traffic calming on 5th and 7th, a new edge line on Cloverdale, and is scheduled to install radar feedback signs on Cloverdale and 14th.

Friends of 5th and Cloverdale, through a DON grant, completed work on street design improvements, including a new sidewalk on the south side of Cloverdale, including safe bike access, and green stormwater infrastructure and a pedestrian walkway on the north side of Cloverdale.  These improvements will occur in phases over the next few years. The City Budget Office indicated in a reply to a budget question that crosswalk upgrades were planned for 2018 at 7th and Cloverdale.

In addition, the Council voted earlier this week to approve legislation to accept grants, including $950,000 for the Duwamish Waterway Park Improvements project; funding will be used to make major improvements to Duwamish Waterway Park, including installation of a new play area, renovation of grill/picnic areas, addition of pathways and a drinking fountain, and related work. Separate legislation creates a new “Duwamish Waterway Park Improvements” project in the Department of Parks and Recreation Capital Improvement Program.

I previously wrote about the South Park Conveyance project here. In my capacity as a member of the Flood Control District Advisory Board, I worked with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to successfully get $13.1 million for this project which will allow the City to construct a drainage system in South Park near 7th Ave south and alleviate flooding problems in the area that have a particular impact on the businesses in the area. This drainage system will connect with another project that SPU is working on, the South Park Pump Station, which will be built and in operation by 2021.

Finally, my office has also asked for an update about a task force recommendation to improve traffic safety and enforcement. One Action Item recommendation was to research “traffic calming options for vehicles, particularly large trucks, turning from the South Park Bridge onto Cloverdale.” SDOT indicated they were “reviewing truck turning at this intersection to evaluate options to reduce encroachment on the sidewalk.” Over the last two weeks, there have been two instances of very large trucks coming up on to the sidewalk.  In one instance, the truck hit a building at that intersection. I asked SDOT for their analysis, and potential next steps; the Dept. of Neighborhoods let me know that SDOT and the Office of Economic Development will be meeting on January 9 about this, so we expect to have an update soon after that.

Thanks to the Department of Neighborhoods for coordinating public voting on South Park improvements, and for helping to coordinate work of city departments.

Alaskan Way Viaduct Closes on January 11: Temporary Restrictions on Spokane Street Bridge Openings, New Shuttle Service

On January 11, WSDOT will permanently close the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This will lead to significant changes in how we get to and from Downtown.  A recent presentation at a Council Briefing meeting has a good summary of what this will entail.

Two changes were announced last week that are designed to help.

First of all, the U.S. Coast Guard, which regulates bridge openings, has approved a temporary restriction from January 11 to February 9 to limit Spokane Street Bridge openings (i.e. the “lower bridge” adjacent to the West Seattle Bridge). The restrictions will be in place from 7-10 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m., and prohibit openings for vessels of less than 5000  or more gross tons (see page 3 of the Coast Guard’s Notice to Mariners).

Secondly, KC Metro’s Ride 2 service began operation on December 17, with city funding. This service will provide shared on-demand trips to buses at the Alaskan Junction and to and from the Water Taxi at Seacrest Park from Monday through Friday, 5-9:30 a.m. and 2:30-7 p.m. You can download the app at the link, or call 855-233-1880. I’ve asked SDOT about the area served; as shown on the map at the website as it doesn’t cover the southern portion of the peninsula. More information is available at the West Seattle Ride 2 website.

SDOT has a new Seattle Traffic site which includes current traffic travel time estimates  for several locations, including to and from the West Seattle Junction and Downtown. You can subscribe to traffic alerts by neighborhood here, including for the West Seattle Junction. I’ve asked SDOT if a travel time estimate can be added for Westwood Village to Downtown, as well as a traffic alert.

During the 3 weeks when SR 99 is first closed, and then while the Dearborn exit is being constructed,  buses from West Seattle, White Center and Burien that use the Alaskan Way Viaduct (21X, 37X, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125, and the C Line) will travel on the Spokane Street Viaduct, then are planned to access Downtown on 4th Avenue.  However, they may travel on different streets through SODO, depending on traffic conditions. Once the new ramp on Dearborn is constructed, buses will travel on SR 99 to Dearborn, then on to 1st Avenue.

Last week SDOT sent a follow-up reply to my letter requesting a bus lane on 1st Avenue, after SDOT engineers did a structural analysis of the capacity of 1st Avenue to handle frequent bus traffic. While the 1st Avenue curb lane isn’t able to tolerate frequent bus traffic loads, SDOT is continuing to work with King County Metro to determine the feasibility of routing buses along the inside (non-curb) lane, and examining weight restrictions.

Additional information on the Viaduct removal and new tunnel are available at WSDOT’s Realign 99 website, and WDSOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement website.

King County’s viaduct closure information page includes information about the water taxi, which will have an extra boat. Bus routes 773 and 775, and 37 all go to the water taxi dock. Here’s a link to additional information; overnight parking restrictions will apply on the water side of Seacrest Park to allow for around 120 cars to park for the water taxi; the Pier 2 parking lot holds over 200 cars, and will be staffed Monday through Friday from 5:45 to 9:15 a.m. and 4 to 7:15 p.m.; a shuttle will run continuously between Pier 2 and Seacrest Park. Here’s a link to a document that has the schedules for the water tax, and routes 773 and 775.


Happy holidays and I look forward to working with everyone in the New Year!

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