Alaskan Way Viaduct closure beginning April 29; District 1 transportation update: Lander Street Overpass, West Seattle Bridge; SPU West Seattle Flush; Ernestine Anderson; Senior Center fundraiser

BREAKING NEWS: Alaskan Way Viaduct to be closed beginning April 29

WSDOT announced this afternoon that they will be closing the Alaskan Way Viaduct beginning on April 29, two weeks from now, while the tunnel boring machine tunnels beneath the structure. WSDOT estimates the closure will be for two weeks. I’ll have more information next week. For now, you can visit WSDOT’s Viaduct Closure page, an overview about the closure, traffic control coordinated with KC Metro and SDOT, and travel alternatives during the closure, and the WSDOT presentation before the City Council from April 11.

District 1 Transportation Update

City seeks federal funding for Lander Street overpass

The Council and Mayor signed a letter in support of an application seeking $55 million in federal funding for the long-delayed Lander Street overpass in SODO.  The project would take Lander over the railroad tracks, which currently results in an average of 4.5 hours of road closures daily due to train traffic.

I added language to the letter to note “its importance to maintaining access to Downtown from West Seattle and South Park,” and to note that the daily closures result in “hindering access to Downtown from West Seattle and South Park.”

I’m glad to see City government is unified in prioritizing funding for this project.  The letter also notes business, maritime, and environmental groups that support the letter. The 2015 Move Seattle levy included $20 million in City funding.

Previous efforts have fallen short, as District 1 residents regularly note.

Funding for the Lander Street overpass was listed in the 2006 resolution setting funding priorities for the  Bridging the Gap program; $80 million was reserved for the Lander Street overpass, the Spokane Street Viaduct, and the Mercer Project. Afterwards, in 2008, SDOT and the Mayor recommended focusing the city funding on Mercer and Spokane, and the Council agreed. Those projects were funded and completed; Lander was placed on hold.

The state has contributed $7 million toward the project, which will allow planning and design work to resume–this should allow for development of a clearer cost estimate.  The Mayor has sent the Council legislation that includes transferring the appropriation authority to the Lander Street Grade Separation Project, to resume project work.

West Seattle Bridge study delay

Last year the City Council, under the leadership of former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, approved a budget action to add $600,000 to SDOT’s 2016 budget for West Seattle Bridge Corridor congestion management investments. $500,000 is dedicated to Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), and $100,000 for corridor feasibility studies. The study funding cannot be spent until SDOT provides the chair of the Transportation Committee with a scope of the study, the resources required to complete the study, and anticipated completion date.

The ITS funding is for equipment including Bluetooth readers and dynamic message signs along the bridge corridor between Airport Way South and Terminals 5 and 18 to collect and display real-time travel information to truck drivers and motorists, to provide freight operators and the general public with critical information, travel options and better reliability. Traffic signal system improvements at the intersection of Chelan Avenue SW and West Marginal Way SW could be included in the project scope.

The Council passed a separate “statement of legislative intent” requesting that SDOT prepare a written progress report on the implementation of initiatives described in the West Seattle Bridge Corridor Whitepaper and Priority Investment List, presented in the Transportation Committee in September, 2015.

The request was for 1) all anticipated 2016 SDOT maintenance and capital projects for the West Seattle Bridge Corridor; 2) schedule of implementation of the whitepaper investment list recommendations; 3) estimated total investment of city resources to carry out the recommendations; and 4) a description of on-going metrics SDOT will use to measure the effectiveness of the recommended investments

The Council requested a reply by March 31. SDOT informed the Council in March they were behind schedule, and requested a delay to May 31.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien chair of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee, asked for my input on this, and I thank him for reaching out.  I agreed to the extension contingent upon receiving an update by April 15 on (1) the progress made on the statement of legislative intent and (2) next steps for the $600,000 appropriation added by Council in the 2016 Approved Budget for investments in the West Seattle Bridge Corridor. The Executive agreed. While I would have preferred to receive the information last month, in the long run I believe it’s most important to get the work done right, even if a two month delay isn’t optimal. I’ll report on the update next week.

West Seattle flushSPU West Seattle Flush

As many of you may have seen reported on the West Seattle Blog, there has been a reoccurring brown water issue.

Last Friday Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) mailed documents to about 4,000 customers in the North Admiral Neighborhood of West Seattle. These documents include a public notice letter, FAQ, and a map of the area to be affected.

This Sunday at 11pm SPU will begin flushing the water mains in North Admiral, this will end by 5am Monday morning but continue every night through Thursday. SPU anticipates that they will complete the flush in North admiral by the end of June. Once completed they will move south and continue the process in other neighborhoods until all of the West Seattle mains have been flushed, which should be by the end of the year.

A few things to note:

  • Residents and businesses do not need to take any action.
  • The water is safe and tested on a daily basis. If it is discolored, run the cold water until it is clear.
  • This will not eliminate the discolored water, but it will reduce it as well as help reduce the buildup of sediment and rust in the pipes.
  • SPU will place signs in neighborhoods to indicate when flushing is taking place.
  • You might experience temporary low water pressure and discolored water during the process.
  • If discolored water does persist please call SPU’s 24 hour emergency line: 206-386-1800

Jazz Great Ernestine Anderson Proclamation and Life Celebration

Proclamation honoring Ernestine AndersonSeattle jazz great Ernestine Anderson passed away on March 10, at the age of 87.

In her honor, I presented a proclamation the Councilmembers signed at her life celebration on April 9. She recorded over 30 albums, received four Grammy nominations, and performed all over the world.  Quincy Jones said her voice sounded “like honey at dusk.”

At the event, the Mayor mentioned re-naming a Seattle street in her honor. The Low Income Housing Institute honored her tireless advocacy for charities and causes in Seattle by naming a low-income senior housing project on Jackson Street, the street where her career began, as Ernestine Anderson Place.

West Seattle Senior Center Fundraiser

The West Seattle Senior Center will be hosting an all-ages trivia night fundraiser on Tuesday, April 19 at the center at 4217 SW Oregon Street. Doors open at 7, trivia starts at 7:30. More information is available at their facebook page and below.

Senior Center fundraiser

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