Update on Request for 1st Avenue Bus Lane & Access to Downtown after Viaduct Closure; Solid Waste Collection Delay; This Week’s Budget Update; SPD Launches 911 Data Dashboard; Elected Leadership Group Recommendations for Light Rail Options; Thank you to Pearl Jam for Helping to Address Homelessness; Seattle Art in Parks; In-District Office Hours

Update on Request for 1st Avenue Bus Lane & Access to Downtown after Viaduct Closure

SDOT Interim Director Laird sent a reply to my letter asking SDOT about reserving a dedicated lane for buses on 1st Avenue while the Alaskan Way Viaduct is being removed. WSDOT plans to permanently close the viaduct on January 11, 2019.

Eventually, buses will access Downtown of SR 99 through an exit onto Alaskan Way. For 9-12 months before that, they’ll need to arrive by other paths.   In 2017, there were more than 29,000 daily boardings for buses from West Seattle and adjacent communities that access Downtown on the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

West Seattle commuters will bear a heavy share of the burden for the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Laird’s reply notes that SDOT engineers are examining the ability of the 1st Avenue road structure to handle buses; the curb lane could require strengthening in order to support curb bus loads. Without additional strengthening, buses and freight vehicles would need to be in the inside lane, which would not allow for an exclusive bus lane. SDOT studied this area in 2014; they are revisiting that study and conducting additional analysis in coming weeks to “refine specific actions needed to improve the corridor capacity and provide a dedicated transit lane along 1st Avenue.”

I thanked Laird for her response, and requested that she let me know when she has additional information from the SDOT Roadway Structures engineering team about providing a dedicated transit lane on 1st Avenue.

The reply also notes there will be two time periods for rerouting bus service after the viaduct closure on January 11.

For the first 4-5 weeks, buses from West Seattle that access Downtown on the viaduct will travel on temporary bus lanes on the Spokane Street Viaduct and 4th Avenue South. Some special afternoon peak routing will be available for trucks and buses connecting from Alaskan Way to E. Marginal Way S.

After the first 4-5 weeks, buses that access Downtown on the Alaskan Way Viaduct will use 1st Avenue between Dearborn and Cherry/Columbia (that’s the subject of my letter).

SDOT notes they will be taking measures to keep traffic flowing through Pioneer Square, including parking restrictions to create two travel lanes instead of one on 1st Avenue.

The letter also notes that SDOT is working with King County Metro to provide other options for West Seattle commuters during this 9-12 month period. The 2019 proposed budget includes “microtransit” shuttles to bring riders to the RapidRide C Line in the Alaska Junction, and to the water taxi in West Seattle, a new “First Mile/Last Mile” service to connect riders in West Seattle.  Service is planned to begin by the end of 2018. Service will be during weekday peak periods (e.g. 6-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.) The exact route is to be determined; SDOT expects to have additional information in coming weeks. Funding comes from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District, and is included in the Mayor’s proposed 2019 budget.

In addition, King County Metro’s SR 99 closure information page notes that the West Seattle Water Taxi will add a second vessel on the during the SR99 closure during weekday commute times to significantly increase capacity. Vessels will depart every 20 minutes during commute periods.

When the Alaskan Way Viaduct is closed, SR99 through Downtown will be closed for three weeks, to realign SR99 with the new tunnel. Some ramps will be closed for up to six weeks. WSDOT has a webpage about the closure, and recommends preparing in advance.

The plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel was approved by the state legislature in 2009; background WSDOT documents and planning reports from 2004 to 2011 are available at WSDOT’s project website.


Solid Waste Collection Delay

Many have you have probably read about the natural gas pipeline that ruptured just outside Prince George British Columbia. No one was injured in the explosion. However, this gas line supplies two thirds of Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) natural gas supplies. This affected some garbage collection because many of our collection trucks now run on natural gas and are not able to operate on other fuel sources.

Waste Management released a statement saying garbage collection would be delayed for many of their customers, this included the Broadview, Bitter Lake, Beacon Hill, and Columbia City neighborhoods. These neighborhoods will now be collected today. The Greenlake, Wallingford, Hillman City, and Rainier Valley neighborhoods will now be collected on Saturday.

Seattle Public Utilities has communicated with their customers in a number of ways and have posted current service information at this link.

If you live in a Recology service area your collection schedule has not been affected.


This Week’s Budget Update

While the Budget Committee didn’t hold any meetings this week, there was a key deadline on Thursday to propose items for discussion during Issue Identification meetings. Issue Identification meetings are scheduled for October 17, 18, 22, 23 and 24, though it’s possible some sessions may be cancelled if additional time isn’t needed.

Confirmation of meetings can be found at the Budget Committee meeting schedule. You can also sign up to receive the meeting agendas in advance by e-mail.

During Issue ID meetings, Council Central Staff will present highlights of department budgets and issues for potential Council consideration, as well as issues and proposals identified by Councilmembers. At this stage budget deliberations, proposals don’t necessarily need to be detailed.

For reference here are a couple of example of Issue ID memos from last year’s budget process: Police Department and Parks and Recreation.

Here’s a link to the Budget calendar and background on the budget process.


SPD Launches 911 Data Dashboard

I get a lot of emails about 911 response time.  The Seattle Police Department has launched a new public data site with data about 911 calls. It’s called the “Calls for Service Dashboard.”

The Calls for Service data includes 911 calls from the public, as well as officer-initiated calls. They can be for criminal or non-criminal activity, handled in the field or over the phone, and do not always result in a report being taken.

You can search for Calls for Service by type of call, precinct and neighborhood from 2010 to 2018.

The site also includes a field for citywide Response Time by call priority and methodology, including how SPD lists calls by priority.  There is no nationally recognized standard for police response time. Public and officer safety, staffing, geography, call volume, and priority are unique in each event.

According to SPD, Calls for Service are most appropriately used in analyses of public disorder (e.g., suspicious, disturbance, noise, intoxication, etc.)  and officer activity (e.g., officer-initiated calls). Call groups and descriptions do not indicate a final disposition.

SPD previously made available its Crime Dashboard. The dashboard covers confirmed incidents documented in a report.

Thanks to the Seattle Police Department for making this information publicly available, and for increasing transparency.


Elected Leadership Group Recommendations for Light Rail Options

On October 5th the Elected Leadership Group (ELG) for Sound Transit’s West Seattle and Ballard light rail extensions, of which I’m a member, met to consider potential options for alignments.  In order to facilitate constructing light rail as quickly as possible, the goal is to select a preferred alternative by April 2019.

The starting point for the discussions was the recommendations of the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG), which is advisory to the ELG. SAG members were selected from communities along the rail line.

The SAG recommended pursuing the Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel (purple) option, and the Golf Course/Alaska Junction Tunnel (blue) option. Back at the May ELG meeting, my reaction to a recommendation to eliminate the Golf Course/Alaska Junction Tunnel (blue) option was to ask Sound Transit to instead convert that option into one that didn’t impact the golf course.  Sound Transit agreed and the ELG moved it forward for consideration.  I’m glad they did, otherwise we wouldn’t have had the Golf Course/Alaska Junction (blue) option for the SAG to support.

The SAG further recommended exploring a Junction station at 41st/42nd instead of Fauntleroy, like that in the Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel (purple) option; and a crossing north of the current bridge. Here’s a link to the options that were considered in West Seattle.

The Pigeon Ridge option would cross the Duwamish south of Harbor Island, and go through Pigeon Ridge, come out with a station by Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, then proceed at a low height along Genesee, and enter a tunnel on Genesee with a station at Avalon, then continue underground to a station at 42nd and Alaska.

The Golf Course (blue) option would cross the Duwamish to the south of the West Seattle Bridge, then proceed on Delridge, then turn onto Genesee, then enter a tunnel in the hillside on Genesee, with stations at Avalon and on Fauntleroy in the Junction. The “Golf Course” name is an artifact of the earlier version mentioned above that went across the golf course with an elevated guideway.

The SAG recommended not moving forward with elevated and tunnel options that entered the Junction on Oregon Street, and have high elevated guideways on Genesee.

I spoke in support of the two options recommended by the SAG.

For the Pigeon Ridge option, I noted strong community support from both the Delridge and the Junction communities; Sound Transit’s Racial Equity analysis said it was the best options for transit connectivity with buses; the Seattle Design Commission’s strong support, for having fewer turns, and a low guideway that mostly avoided Delridge Way SW. The Seattle Planning Commission also supports this option. A letter from Transportation Choices Coalition, Futurewise, Feet First, the Cascade Bicycle Club, the Housing Development Consortium and the Transit Riders Union recommended moving the option forward “with reservation” due to concerns about costs. I wanted to move this forward and see if concerns about costs could be addressed.

For the Blue Golf Course/Tunnel option, I noted community support, including from people who had originally supported the Pigeon Ridge option. It was the 2nd choice for many in Delridge who preferred the purple option. The Planning Commission supported moving this option forward, and Sound Transit’s Racial Equity analysis noted the potential opportunity for transit-oriented development, and neighborhood amenities such as a grocery store (this theme also came up in the Delridge station charette Sound Transit held). This option also has a lower guideway. The Blue Golf Course/Tunnel option also minimizes impacts on the park and skate park, concerns that had been raised about the Pigeon Ridge option.

I also noted my support for considering a station location in the Junction on Alaska at 41st or 42nd as an important component of the Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel (purple) option that should move forward.

I further noted I’d like to see the Delridge station, as represented in the Blue Golf Course/Tunnel option, to be moved be at least partly along Delridge Way, like the station alignment for the Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel (purple) option.  Doing so would improve the transfer environment for bus transfers from neighborhoods to the south, such as South Delridge, Highland Park, and White Center; Sound Transit’s Racial Equity Toolkit noted these were communities with a majority of people of color, along with High Point.

During the discussion at the Elected Leadership Group, it was clear the Pigeon Ridge option didn’t have support, due to concerns about costs, so it didn’t move forward.

The Blue/Golf Course option did move forward in the ELG recommendations, including recommendations to consider a) a Junction station location at 41st or 42nd,  and b) a moved Delridge Station.  I’m glad that the ELG agreed with the SAG that these were both important components of the Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel (purple) options that should move forward.

The ELG accepted the SAG recommendation to move forward exploration of a crossing to the north of the bridge, which could reduce the cost.

Finally, consideration of a station location at 44th was also included at the request of King County. 44th and Alaska is currently a KC Metro bus transit hub; a station at 44th had been included in the Oregon Street options that didn’t move forward.

Sound Transit has indicated it will be moving forward the “Representative Alignment” included in the ballot measure for comparative purposes; this is an elevated option that goes on Delridge, Genesee, Fauntleroy, then Alaska to 42nd.  The ELG accepted the SAG’s recommendation to move the Alaska Junction station east and oriented north/south, and move the Delridge station further south.

The ELG also made recommendations for other neighborhoods along the alignment (Ballard/Interbay, Chinatown/ID, SODO, and Downtown). The recommendations are available here.

Here’s background information about how Sound Transit is developing options, and the April, 2019 target for developing a preferred alternative. The Elected Leadership Group earlier narrowed the number of options under consideration in May.


Thank You to Pearl Jam for Helping to Address Homelessness

Last week the band Pearl Jam confirmed earlier estimates that their “Home Show” at SafeCo Field this summer raised about $11 million to help address our region’s homelessness crisis.  This money was raised by more than 170 businesses, foundations and restaurants and thousands of individuals.  Most of the partners designated regional organizations to receive, $7.8 million of the funds. An additional $1.3 million will be distributed to non-profits selected by Pearl Jam with guidance from a 19-member advisory group.   The last $1.7 million will be granted by Pearl Jam, the advisory group and Partners based on future needs.

I want to extend a special thank you to a home town band for their leadership and generosity in helping to address our region’s homeless crisis.


Seattle Art in Parks

On October 2nd Seattle Parks and Recreation released in an interactive map where you can take a virtual tour of public artwork in our parks.

As you know, there are many public art pieces around our parks which can be enjoyed free by the public. Now you can view them virtually as well, check out some of the great artwork in District 1!


In-District Office Hours

On October 26, I will be at the Southwest Customer Service Centers (2801 SW Thistle St) from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30 p.m.

These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

Additionally, my last tentatively scheduled office hours for this year are:  Friday, December 14, 2018 at the South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S.

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