West Seattle Blog… | FAUNTLEROY FERRY TERMINAL: Where is the planning process, with another advisory group meeting on Tuesday

Washington State Ferries‘ The Fauntleroy terminal/dock replacement planning process is still in its early stages. Two of the project’s three advisory groups met last week, and another is meeting tomorrow afternoon. We covered the first two meetings, which mostly reviewed the same material, and then invited members of the advisory group to ask questions. All meetings in this process continue to be held online. Here’s the slideshow, followed by highlights of what we saw/heard:

TRAFFIC PROBLEMS IN THE FAUNTLEROY AREA: the Community Advisory Group, which met last Wednesday evening, first received an update from Heather Marx, Director of SDOTit is Seattle West Bridge program. This was largely a follow-up to issues highlighted by the Fauntleroy Community Association during its recent traffic-focused meeting (BMS coverage here). One issue had already been addressed prior to the meeting – the new strip of the waiting lane along southbound Fauntleroy Way SW, including hatching along the aisles.

Marx said SDOT also plans to install “no line break” signs. On California SW between Fauntleroy School and Fauntleroy Church, “paint and post” curb light bulbs will be installed to address crossing safety issues. Also planned: Bevelling of sidewalks in the Endolyne business district. Traffic calming measures such as speed bumps/cushions remain under review, pending consultation with Seattle Fire on how these would affect their response routes.

STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVE AND NEED: This key document for early planning is still being refined. The slideshow above includes the latest toplines. It was presented to members of the community advisory group on Wednesday and Executive Advisory Group members (which include elected officials) on Thursday. Changes since the last meetings included dropping language on ‘reliable service’ levels and specifying that all ‘tri-community concerns and values’ on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route should be addressed. When the CAG was asked for comment, it included requests to be more specific on sustainability/environmental issues, such as preventing toxic runoff and promoting alternatives to using single-vehicle ferries. The only noteworthy comment at the EAG meeting was a concern over a “property purchase” mention, suggesting that the future wharf could be built outside of its current footprint, but WSF staff have noted that this was not a foregone conclusion, just a reflection of the fact this option – or even a new location – was not ruled out at this early stage.

At the CAG meeting there was also a discussion of the big picture – that this is a project that will last 75 years, although there is no way of knowing what usage will look like at that time, observed WSF’s terminal engineering manager. David Sowers.

PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL LINKAGES: This section of the early planning process was explained as a federal requirement. WSF’s Maggie Buckley explained how the process will work over the next two years, as a precursor to the official environmental review process. Ultimately, she says, it’s a tool for “efficiency in project delivery.”

BRIEFING OF WSF OFFICERS: The EAG – but not the CAG – heard from the head of the FSM, Patty Rubstello, who spoke about the system’s recent service reductions, saying that the WSF is currently sailing with 11 ships instead of 16, and that it missed 341 sailings before switching to the reduced schedule, whereby – at the time of the meeting – she had only missed eight.

AND AFTER: Criteria for selecting potential alternatives will be developed; then they will talk about alternatives. The current series of meetings ends with the Technical Advisory Group (mainly staff from relevant agencies) at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow; we will add the viewing link later today – the WSD website does not currently have it due to a redesign of the WSDOT website launching on Sunday. The Community Advisory Group meets again in December; the executive advisory group (whose meeting was very short, less than 50 minutes) should not be reconvened before next year.

ADDED MONDAY EVENING: Here’s the direct link to the now-updated page where you can sign up to view the Tuesday 1 p.m. TAG meeting as well as the Dec. 1 CAG meeting… A document we forgot to add to the cover above might be interesting – it has been provided to all advisory groups: the latest public comment log.

Louisa R. Loomis