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This Week in Council Budget Deliberations; SW Highland Park Way / SW Holden Street Intersection Funding in SDOT Budget; SR99/West Seattle Traffic

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This Week in Council Budget Deliberations

This week the City Council Budget Committee met on October 2 to discuss:

  1. The Citywide Homelessness Response
  2. The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, with a community panel (which included King County Prosecutor Satterberg) and a City department panel
  3. The Mayor’s proposed tax on Transportation Network Company (TNC) vehicles (the TNC “Fair Share” Plan).

The Budget Committee held the first of two public hearings on October 3rd.

No City Council Budget Committee meetings are scheduled for next week. Councilmembers have a deadline of October 10 to submit Initial Proposals to be included in Budget Deliberation and Issue ID sessions scheduled from October 16-22. We’ll let you know more about the schedule for the Budget Deliberation and Issue ID sessions in next week’s blog.

 

SW Highland Park Way /SW Holden Street intersection funding in SDOT budget

The intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden Street is one of the few access points to the West Seattle peninsula. Since 1941 the community has advocated for pedestrian and motorist safety; it has been the site of numerous accidents.

In 2017 I helped secure funding for initial design of a roundabout proposed by the community; SDOT provided additional funding, totaling $500,000 in funding. SDOT submitted grant proposals to the state for different funding programs; I worked with several community groups and residents to gain support for the project, and submitted those letters to WSDOT, which included letters of support from the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, the Highland Park Action Committee, the Highland Park Improvement Club, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition, the City Council, US Representative Jayapal, King County Councilmember McDermott.

SDOT’s grant proposals to the state wasn’t successful; a grant for a separate state funding program in 2018 wasn’t successful either.

Late last year I amended the 2019 budget to add the “Highland Park Roundabout” to the SDOT Capital budget, so that it was clear the project was in the City’s plans moving forward.

State Senator Nguyen and Representative Fitzgibbon submitted funding requests through the state budget process, though funding for local projects is very limited.

The community proposed the project for funding through the Neighborhood Street Fund grant process this year. Despite being highly rated in community voting, it was not selected; a community proposal in 2016 had been supported as the highest-ranking project in the Delridge District Council review process, but it was not selected, in part due to cost.

In August I proposed an amendment to the SDOT Capital Improvement Program budget item to increase funding by $2.5 million, and list $3 million in total funding for the project the Council approved in a supplemental budget bill. The amendment also revised the entry to “Highland Park Intersection Improvements,” as SDOT’s cost estimates were increasing.

The Mayor’s proposed 2020 budget, released September 23rd, increases the funding from $3 million to $4.1 million in funding, including $3.5 million in state gas tax funds derived from the sale of properties in South Lake Union (the “Mercer Properties”), which must be used for transportation purposes (it also adds some Move Levy funds).

Thank you to the Mayor for including this funding in her proposed budget.

The entry in the SDOT Capital Improvement Program notes there are currently two alternatives, a roundabout and a traffic signal, and estimates $7.3 million for a roundabout. SDOT Director Zimbabwe noted in a recent Budget Committee that the available funds could fund a traffic signal, sidewalks, curb ramps and marked crosswalks, but would be insufficient to fund the roundabout.

My office has submitted questions to the City Budget office about the spending plan, and timeline for the two options being considered, as well as for SDOT’s perspective about a “mini-roundabout’ proposal from a community member.

SR99/West Seattle Traffic

I have received numerous e-mails from constituents about traffic backups on SR99, the West Seattle Bridge, and arterials in West Seattle that started after the re-installation of a northbound bus lane on SR99 between the West Seattle Bridge and the Downtown exit at Dearborn, and the disruption this has had on their commutes and their lives.  SDOT is seeking WSDOT’s approval to make adjustments to extend the merge 1,000 feet in order to minimize the backup.

Earlier today I sent a letter to SDOT Director Zimbabwe linked here.

(photo sent by a constituent on SW Admiral Way)

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