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West Seattle Bridge/Reconnect West Seattle Update; Sound Transit Light Rail Presentation in Transportation; SPU Committee; Bike Helmets; Covid Updates: Masks and Vaccine Verification Changes; New Ticket Debt Reduction Calendar; URM Proclamation; Mayor’s State of the City; Neighborhood Matching Fund

West Seattle Bridge/Reconnect West Seattle Update

Work on the West Seattle Bridge repair is continuing.  We are approaching the date of February 20th by which time, in order to keep the project on schedule to complete work by the end of June 2022, concrete will be needed to continue work on post-tensioning inside the bridge. Work on exterior carbon-fiber wrap and epoxy injections can continue.

As I noted in last week’s release, “We are just 245 yards – fewer than 30 truckloads – from the finish line. I call on concrete suppliers to reach agreement with Teamsters Local 174 as soon as possible to ensure completion of the West Seattle Bridge repair is as scheduled.”

Here are some additional updates related to the West Seattle Bridge and the Reconnect West Seattle program.

First, WSDOT is planning to do repairs in the Spring to repair a hole in the eastbound access ramp for northbound SR99 before the bridge re-opens. This will require concrete, which will take a couple of weeks to settle:

Reconnect West Seattle

53 of 70 total Reconnect West Seattle projects were completed during 2021. The Home Zones for Highland Park, South Park and Georgetown each only count as one project in the overall tally, but include a total of 64 separate projects, of which 39 were completed during 2021:

Reconnect West Seattle projects planned for 2022 include adding a low-cost asphalt walkway along Sylvan Way SW from High Point Drive SW to SW Sylvan Heights Drive and adding a flashing beacon on at 17th Ave SW and SW Henderson; some detour and bridge-specific signage projects will likely be removed after the bridge re-opens:

Six speed cushions are anticipated to be installed in the Fauntleroy neighborhood in March:

  • One SW 106th St between 35th and 41st Ave SW
  • Three on 45th Ave SW between SW Trenton St and SW Director St
  • Two on Marine View Dr between 44th Ave SW and SW 106th St

Two additional speed cushions are planned for:

  • 18th Ave SW between SW Myrtle St and SW Graham St
  • SW Cloverdale St between 11th Ave SW and 12th Ave SW

In addition, Reconnect West Seattle paving work is taking place as part of SDOT’s pothole emphasis repair work. Five projects are listed below, with tentative construction dates (weather permitting):

  1. Marine View Drive SW between SW 104th St and SW 106th St; expected completion in Q1.
  2. 16th Ave SW between SW Barton St and SW Cambridge St; completion expected today (February 18)
  3. 35th Ave SW between SW Trenton St and SW Cloverdale St – Late February/Early March
  4. 35th Ave SW between SW Thistle St and SW Kenyon St – Late February/Early March
  5. 35th Ave SW between SW Othello St and SW Myrtle St- – Late February/Early March

There is more paving (not Reconnect West Seattle-funded) at SW Spokane St (westbound direction) in the vicinity of 26th Ave SW planned for completion this week.

SDOT also recently completed three other paving projects in West Seattle, in a partnership between the West Seattle Bridge Program and Annual Major Maintenance (AMM), the pavement preservation program:

  1. SW 106th St between 32nd Ave SW and SW Seola Beach Drive
  2. SW 106th St between 39th Ave SW and 42nd Ave SW
  3. West Marginal Way SW, between 2nd Ave SW and Highland Park Way SW (phase 1 of 2, phase 2 planned for Q2)

Last week SDOT presented an evaluation of improvements completed in September at the intersection of West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW:

Travel times improved an average of 11-31%:

Sound Transit Light Rail Presentation in Transportation& SPU Committee

On Tuesday the Transporation and SPU Committee heard a first presentation from Sound Transit on the Draft EIS for the West Seattle Ballard light rail extension. Here’s a link to Sound Transit’s presentation.

The presentation showed potential Duwamish crossings:

Here is a chart showing cost ranges, and some of the potential impacts:

The West Seattle segments are combined as the Preferred Alternatives identified by the Sound Transit Board (in pink); Preferred Alternatives with Third-party funding (in brown); and other alternatives, in blue:

Below is a comparison of cost and impacts for these combinations; some of the separate Delridge/Avalon and Alaskan Junction segments can be combined, so these are not the only potential combinations. All of the Duwamish crossings are compatible with the various Delridge options.

At the meeting I raised the question of the sufficiency of visual representations, an issue about which constituents have contacted me. Sound Transit staff answered that they will be presenting additional information at the next meeting of the West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group, which will meet on March 8 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Sound Transit’s presentation also includes sections on Downtown, South Interbay, Interbay/Ballard, Chinatown/ID, and SODO.

Bike Helmets

Bike helmets save lives and prevent injuries.  That has been proven time and again.  Check out this list of where to find free and low-cost helmets in King County.  I urge everyone who bikes to wear a helmet, every time.

On Thursday, I joined my King County Board of Health colleagues to pass a resolution in support of using bike helmets, and to repeal the County-wide helmet mandate.  You can read more about these votes here: With a Commitment to Equity: Board of Health Updates King County’s Bike Helmet Policy – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER

This action was deeply considered; the Board of Health first began discussing repealing the mandate in January of 2021, based on an analysis of Seattle Police Department data that showed racist and discriminatory enforcement of the helmet law, impacting BIPOC communities and people experiencing homelessness.

Meanwhile, national studies, and local ones, suggest that the presence or absence of helmet mandates today has little to no association with overall rates of head injuries.  Portland, Oregon has similar helmet rate use to Seattle, for instance, without an all-ages mandate.

For me, the question isn’t whether helmets save lives and prevent serious injuries.  We know they do.  The question is the best way to increase helmet use, while doing the least harm.  We have significant data showing us that Seattle’s BIPOC communities and people experiencing homelessness are suffering from disproportionate policing of helmet use.  And we know that norms around helmet use have changed significantly; most cyclists use helmets now.

Without clear and persuasive evidence that helmet laws increase safety, I must weigh more heavily the proven harm to overpoliced Black and brown communities and young people, and those experiencing homelessness, that we know is occurring daily, because of the helmet mandate.

Repealing the helmet mandate, while also investing in distributing helmets and educating folks about bike safety, is the best path forward.  King County has already invested $221,000 to support bicycle helmet distribution.  I sponsored a successful amendment that asked King County to also invest in a helmet safety awareness campaign.  Chair McDermott’s amendment to require a racial equity impact report on the repeal was also successful.  You can read more here.

Covid Updates: Masks and Vaccine Verification Changes

You’ve probably heard that changes are coming to our pandemic precautions.  Here’s a rundown of what’s changing…

Mask Requirements:  While Governor Inslee announced significant changes to State-mandated mask requirements starting on March 21, King County’s own mask mandate remains in effect.  It requires everyone 5-years of age and older in King County to wear a face covering within indoor public spaces, including exercise facilities, auditoriums, stadiums, retail, grocery stores, government buildings, and other businesses and places where members of the public can enter freely.  It also requires masks at any outdoor event with 500 or more people in attendance.

Vaccine Verification Ends March 1: King County officials announced that starting March 1, businesses such as restaurants, gyms, bars and theaters would no longer have to check the vaccination status of patrons.  Businesses may still choose to require and verify vaccination at their door; patrons must follow their guidelines. For more business resources about this policy change, please visit the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce’s website: kcvaxverified.com

Get Vaxxed:  The City-run vaccination site at Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW Seattle, WA 98126) is closing on February 26th.  So now’s the right time to get vaxxed, if you haven’t yet.  The West Seattle clinic is open Fridays from 4:30-7:30pm, and Saturdays from 8:30am-4:30pm.  Appointments are not required.  Free rides and free childcare are available – and your vaccination is always free.

In Seattle, over 90% of residents ages five and older have received at least one vaccine dose through their healthcare provider, government and community partners, or a City of Seattle clinic.  Join us!  Learn more and register here.

New Ticket Debt Reduction Calendar

On February 3, Seattle Municipal Court launched a new Ticket Debt Reduction calendar for low-income individuals experiencing the consequences of unpaid ticket debt from overdue Seattle parking, traffic, or camera tickets.

  • No proof of income is required.
  • Hearings are held by telephone every Thursday from 11 AM-1 PM. Participants sign up in advance, either online or over the phone.
  • During the hearing, individuals speak to a magistrate about their situation and request a reduction in their total ticket debt and removal of their tickets from collections.
  • As part of the planning for this project, the court held conversations with members from the Washington State Relicensing Taskforce, the Interfaith Taskforce on Homelessness, Public Health—Seattle & King County, and the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
  • This is a pilot program, and the court will continue to evolve its processes to be centered around the customers they serve. The court will evaluate the success of the pilot and identify potential modifications to better meet customers’ needs.

To refer clients or learn more, visit: seattle.gov/courts/debtreduction

URM Proclamation

An annual tradition, on Valentine’s Day, the National Trust for Historic Preservation spreads love for historic places through their heart bomb campaign. Heart bombing is the act of showering an older or historic place with tangible expressions of affection and devotion.

The proclamation recognizes that “Significant cultural and architectural Unreinforced Masonry (URM) buildings are some of Seattle’s most beloved community gathering places, the sweethearts, and icons of many neighborhoods.” On this Valentine’s Day, the Seattle City Council pledged its “adoration for our architectural and cultural past while reimagining the future with safe, seismically upgraded masonry buildings.”

Here are Historic Seattle’s favorite URMs in District 1:

The Campell building in the Junction and pictured below is a URM, you can see a list of other key historic URMs by neighborhood here.   And if you want to find out which ones have been retrofitted already and which ones have not been retrofitted, you can check here:  Untitled map (arcgis.com)

I want to thank URM stakeholders Historic Seattle, and Alliance for Safety, Affordability, and Preservation (ASAP) for bringing forward this proclamation and for their excellent presentation they gave to the Council. To read more about this year’s heart bomb campaign please check out Historic Seattle’s website here.

Mayor’s State of the City

In case you missed it ,Mayor Harrell gave his state of the City address earlier this week; here’s a link to the text of his first state of the city speech.

Neighborhood Matching Fund

The Neighborhood Matching Fund program will be holding virtual informational workshops on February 24th and March 9th to assist community organizations and neighborhood groups interested in getting funding for their idea

Applications for the Community Partnership Fund, with awards up to $50,000, is open through March 28th.

Information on the program and how to join the meetings is available at the Neighborhood Matching Fund webpage.

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