SDOT Project Manager Norene Pen on a walking tour in West Seattle describes some of the changes coming to Fauntleroy Way SW as the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project gets underway later this year.
Fauntleroy Boulevard walking tours share plans and problems with gateway makeover
SDOT conducted two Walking Tours last week to inform people and collect feedback on the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project that is set to transform the “gateway to the neighborhood” starting later this year.
About 35 to 40 people showed up for each tour which took people from the corner of Fauntleroy Way SW and Alaska Street SW down to West Seattle Brewing on 36th Avenue SW to give them a ground level look at the changes coming and complete what is said to be a project about 60 percent complete in design.
SDOT’s project page describes it this way:
“Fauntleroy Way SW serves many purposes; it is a key entrance to West Seattle, a major truck street, a bike route, and is home to numerous retail businesses and new residential developments. Today, this area presents several challenges that impact mobility for users, including: poorly defined sidewalks, significant distances between marked pedestrian crossings, no dedicated space for people riding bikes, and minimal landscaping.
The Fauntleroy Boulevard Project builds upon previous planning work done by the community. Discussions of improvements to Fauntleroy Way began in 1999, when the West Seattle Junction Hub Neighborhood Plan identified streetscape improvements in this area, and continued through the multi-year West Seattle Triangle planning process. The community chose a preferred streetscape plan for the project in 2012, which was formally adopted by SDOT and the Seattle Department of Planning and Development. In addition, the 2014 Bike Master Plan designated Fauntleroy Way SW for a protected bike lane.
Through several extensive community planning efforts, the residents and business owners in the area have expressed the need for mobility improvements to make this stretch of Fauntleroy Way more comfortable for people walking or riding bikes, and highlight its role as a main entrance to West Seattle.
The project goals are:
• Respond to community needs identified in the West Seattle Triangle Plan and the Bicycle Master Plan
• Improve mobility by organizing the street to be more predictable and comfortable for everyone: people driving cars or trucks, walking, or biking
• Enhance Fauntleroy Way SW’s role as a key entrance to West Seattle
As part of the design process, we’re evaluating these potential improvements:
• New sidewalks, crosswalks, and shortened crossings at side streets, created by realigning skewed intersections
• New street lighting
• Signal additions and revisions
• Protected bike lane(s)
• Landscaping and other urban design features
• New public art, funded by the City of Seattle's 1% for Art program
• Maintaining freight mobility
SDOT links for more information on the project
• 60% design concept
• Summary of the September 2014 project open house
• Project PowerPoint presentation
• Project Folio
The project will lower the speed limit on Fauntleroy to 25mph, make sidewalks contiguous, put in bike lanes and a center landscaped median beginning at 35th SW and extending up to Alaska Street SW. It will add curb bulbs and “square off” now angled intersections with Fauntleroy Way SW.
There were questions from the crowd on left turns for businesses (the center median is going to make that a challenge in some cases), the need for bike lanes on Fauntleroy when bikers won’t take the freeway but will instead go down Avalon Way SW to take the lower level bridge, why the city isn’t taking care of maintenance on existing roadways first such as 35th which has extensive pothole damage instead of launching into this project, on lighting, and more.
One business owner, Chris Alatorre of West Seattle Brewing has some serious questions for the planners. The plan calls for sidewalks to extend all the way to the edge of his building, crossing his property line, meaning the city will be constructing on private property and prevent them from opening their "garage style" doors. The Liquor Control Board won't allow because it's too easy to just walk by and steal a beer," he said. But beyond that he points out that businesses like Rudy's Barbershop and RealFine Coffee will lose their on street parking. Since the city says they must have a certain number of parking spaces per 250 square feet this may affect their ability to stay in business.
Even if those issues are resolved, some of the people on the tour expressed concerns over the one year or longer construction time which will unquestionably disrupt businesses along the construction corridor. SDOT is even considering making Fauntleroy Way one way for a certain period of time though that’s only one option.
Jill Anholt a Canadian artist has been chosen to develop the public art component for the project through the City of Seattle's 1% for Art program. The new art will be installed as a part of the construction.
Jill is a visual artist based in Vancouver BC who has been creating site-specific works in the public realm since 1998. Her practice ranges from complex integrated works in parks, pedestrian walkways, and transit stations, to small-scale installations in buildings and public plazas across North America.
The project team is seeking public comment and input.
Contact the project team:
Project e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project phone number: (206) 727- 3994
Photo gallery for this story