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    West Seattle Bridge SLI, Port Releases T5 DEIS, and Tenant Protection Ordinance

    West Seattle Bridge SLI

    SDOT has released its response to the West Seattle Bridge Council Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) 2015 Council budget action, and submitted a request to release $100,000 reserved for studying physical and operational improvements. The SLI grew from the West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor Whitepaper commissioned by former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

    The Council’s 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 report lists work completed so far, estimated costs for the 27 projects mentioned in the Whitepaper; implementation status, though some are listed as TBD (to be determined); which agency has primary and implementation responsibility for each project; resources directed so far, and timetables.

    Of the 27 projects mentioned in the Whitepaper, SDOT proposes to focus on the 15 projects in the Primary West Seattle Bridge/Spokane Street Viaduct corridor (See map). In addition, SDOT added four projects from after the publication of the whitepaper in 2015, including installing additional locational markers on the bridge.

    The report provides data for corridor traffic trends. Of note is that the West Seattle Bridge carried an average of 107,300 vehicles per weekday, and 29,300 transit riders. In 2015, there were 56 collisions on the bridge and the Spokane Street Viaduct, and 117 “incidents”, which averaged 47 minutes in duration.

    The report notes the $500,000 approved by the Council in 2015 for Intelligent Transportation Systems improvements will mostly be finished by 2016, with the rest scheduled for 2017.

    Also included are cost estimates and grant application status for the South Lander Street Grade Separation and RR Safety Project.

    SDOT proposes to exclude some projects from future whitepaper reports, including 4th Ave Transit Ramp to Spokane Viaduct, Delridge Way Rapid Ride Transit, and Sound Transit expansion (which is subject to a public vote). This may be worth additional discussion.

    Further background and links are available in an earlier blog post noting the study would be delayed

    In a separate request to allow $100,000 in spending to proceed, SDOT proposed to hire a consultant to complete a feasibility report by the end of 2016. SDOT recommends prioritizing four of the original six studies mentioned in the Whitepaper (the Whitepaper estimated $200,000 would be needed for all six): 1) evaluating Lower Spokane Street chokepoints to see if rail, truck and bridge opening blockages can be better coordinated to minimize cumulative impacts; 2) evaluate better communication and control protocols for Port of Seattle cooperation with truck queue management and dispersal on congested city street approaches to Port terminals; 3) evaluate feasibility and benefit of installing center barrier sections so emergency response vehicles can make U-turns to speed up response times; 4) evaluate installing markings and signs to provide one designated emergency lane in each direction on the West Seattle Bridge for use during emergencies.

     

     

    Port Releases T5 DEIS

    On May 23rd the Draft Environment Impact Study (DEIS) for Terminal 5 (T5) was released. You can find it here. Last month I wrote a public letter to the Port in which I expressed the importance of the installation of shore power, the implementation of a quiet zone, and the addition of broadband back-up alarms. I am currently reviewing the DEIS, but it is important to note that May 23rd kicked off an open comment period where the Port is seeking the community’s input and feedback. There will be two public meetings next week:

     

    Date: Tuesday, June 7

    Time: 5pm – 8:30pm (public testimony will be at 6:45 and will be include as formal comments on the DEIS)

    Location: Georgetown Campus, South Seattle Community College, 6737 Corson Avenue South, Seattle

     

    Date: Thursday, June 9

    Time: 5pm – 8:30pm (public testimony will be at 6:45 and will be include as formal comments on the DEIS)

    Location: Alki Masonic Center, 4736 40th Avenue SW, Seattle

     

    Additionally they are hosting an online “open house,” you can find a link to that here. The online open house gives an overview of the process, options in the DEIS, and provides a place to comment as well as sign up to receive email updates on T5. I encourage you to comment online if you are unable to attend one of the two public meetings mentioned above. The public comment process will be closed on June 22nd.

     

     

    Tenant Protection Ordinance

    Seattle has approximately 148,000 rental housing units and approximately 10 percent have moderate to severe physical problems according to the 2009 American Survey. During the Affordable Housing, Neighborhood and Finance Committee we discussed and voted on the Tenant Protection Ordinance (CB 118678). This law will ensure that units are fit for habitation before a landlord increases rents. The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO), checklist will be used to determine whether the unit complies with only the most serious requirements of the Housing and Building Maintenance Code. The Seattle City Council started a proactive inspection program focusing on the serious life safety violations in 2014.

    My primary concern with the Tenant Protection bill was the lack of clarity regarding when tenants can get – and what to do if – they get an eviction notice as a result of withholding payment of the rent increase. To address this concern, I proposed two amendments to safeguard tenants if they were to face this form of retaliation.

    My first amendment did not change the effect of the proposed bill, but makes it explicit to tenants and landlords when they can lawfully withhold payment of the rent increase.

    My second amendment added language to define how the City will work with tenants when the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) is notified by tenants that a landlord has given them a 3 day pay or vacate when the rent increase has been lawfully delayed. This amendment will do three things: (1) define SDCI’s role in eviction proceedings to inform the landlord and/or courts about the City’s regulations and confirm if the City determined that the effective date of the housing cost increase was lawfully delayed; (2) SDCI will provide an annual report to Council; and (3) SDCI would also work with tenants organizations to develop education materials on the ordinance.

    Lastly, I supported Councilmember Sawant’s amendment which increased the time period given to the tenant after receiving a rent increase to respond to the landlord in writing from 10 days to either 30 or 60 days, depending on the effective date of the rent increase period. The amendment passed 4 to 1.

    The Full Council will vote on the tenant protection ordinance on Monday, June 6, at 2pm.

    RentIncreaseDelay_Process

    Again, this new law focuses on serious life/safety violations. It’s important to know that tenants have the right to report any housing code violations anytime. A housing code violation plus a rent increase will trigger the protections outlined under the Tenant Protection ordinance if a tenant notifies their landlord of any deficiencies. A tenant can file a complaint with SDCI by calling (206) 615-0808 – Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. When needed, translators are available to help you file your complaint about housing and building maintenance compliance issues. You can track the status of your housing code complaints by typing in your address here.

     

     

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