State Government

The state is looking for volunteers in communities in Seattle and across the state to help count the number of people who walk or bike to their destinations.

The information being gathered this fall will be used to track progress toward the state’s goal of increasing bicycling and walking in Washington and reducing the number of vehicle miles driven, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. 

The department of transportation and the Cascade Bicycle Club are enlisting volunteers and organizations like FeetFirst and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington to count the numbers of people bicycling and walking on paths, bike lanes, sidewalks and other facilities on Sept. 29 and 30 and Oct. 1.

“We had a great turnout of volunteers in 2008,” said Ian Macek, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the state. “This effort can not be done without their help, so we hope to see an increase in volunteer support this year.” 

Photo credit: 
Photo courtesy National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project

The state and Cascade Bicycle Club are looking for volunteers to help count the number of people who walk or bike to their destinations on Sept. 29 and 30 and Oct. 1.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct Program has posted two video simulations to show the proposed replacements for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The simulations show the current design concept for the proposed SR 99 bored tunnel and the new Alaskan Way surface street on the Seattle waterfront.

See the simulations here.

The first video shows the current design concept for the proposed SR 99 bored tunnel. The drive-through starts at the tunnel’s south portal, which is near the stadium district and the Port of Seattle’s terminals, and takes you to the exit in the north, onto Aurora Avenue North.

Along the way, there are ramps at either end of the tunnel that will allow drivers to access the downtown street grid from SR 99, as well as the new street connections that will be built over the tunnel’s portals.

The the second video shows what the waterfront would look like. The state plans to build a new Alaskan Way boulevard in the footprint of the current viaduct.

Photo credit: 
Image courtesy Washington State Department of Transportation

New simulations show what the waterfront and tunnel will look like to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW MORE.

An agreement has been announced for pollution testing at a site along the heavily contaminated Duwamish River.

The state Ecology Department announced the deal with Crowley Maritime Corp. on Tuesday, Aug. 11, which calls for soil, groundwater and sediment tests.

It is the first step toward long-term cleanup of the 16-acre site near the Georgetown neighborhood.

Beginning in the 1920s, the site was been used for manufacturing pipes, chains, lumber, treated poles, aluminum windows and other industrial parts.

Investigations since the late 1980s have shown traces of arsenic, copper, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls.

The work is part of a state, federal and local effort to remove pollution along the lower Duwamish Waterway.

Photo credit: 
Photo courtesy Northwest Fisheries Science Center

The state Ecology Department has made a deal with Crowley Maritime Corp. to test soil, groundwater at sediment at the Duwamish River.

Metropolitan King County Council Chair Dow Constantine joined Shaun Donovan, secretary of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), on a walking tour of Greenbridge on the afternoon of Aug. 10.

Greenbridge is a White Center mixed-income community built on the site of the former Park Lake Homes public housing complex and funded in part through a federal Hope VI redevelopment grant.

“I am pleased that Secretary Donovan got a first-hand opportunity to see the community redevelopment work that HUD funding has helped accomplish in White Center,” said Constantine. “We hope this can become a model for similar Hope VI projects.

Former King County Executive Ron Sims, who is now deputy secretary of HUD, was a key leader in this effort to create a sustainable community at Greenbridge with strong connections to the broader White Center neighborhood.”

Photo credit: 
Image courtesy Greenbridge

Reuven Carlyle, 36th District Representative, met with Ballard residents Aug. 6 at Caffé Fiore to discuss issues that are affecting them.

The conversation touched on cellphones and driving, drug dealing in Ballard and the homeless.

The completion of the Burke-Gilman Trail was a major topic.

"We have to think about what will be best 25 years from now," said one woman.

Carlyle said it is unimaginable that the completion of the Missing Link now sits before a judge instead of being worked out within the community.

"We need to negotiate a deal about this," he said. "I find it hard to believe that we can't come down to some kind of win-win."

Carlyle said that win-win could take the form of moving the future trail a block over or looking at an elevated trail.

The Metro funding crisis drew heated conversation as well.

Carlyle described what he called the "double whammy" of looming Metro cuts. Seattle could possibly have its routs cut at the same level as the rest of King County, but due to a county agreement, those routs would be returned at a higher level outside of the city, he said.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Representative Reuven Carlyle addresses Ballardites' concerns over drug use and drug dealing in the neighborhood Aug. 6 at Caffé Fiore.

The shelter, known as Nickelsville, has been posted a 72-hour notice to vacate by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Residents of a south Seattle homeless nearly 4-acre encampment on state-owned property at 2nd Avenue Southwest and West Marginal Way in Seattle were hoping Gov. Chris Gregoire would let them stay.

The encampment moved onto the state-owned property June 6. According to a press release from the state, for the past six weeks, the state has worked closely with King County, the City of Seattle and both the Church Council of Greater Seattle and the Lutheran Public Policy office of Washington State to develop a long-term solution for the members of the encampment.

Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary, negotiated a two-week extension with the Church Council of Greater Seattle for the camp to leave the site by July 20, which organizers failed to abide by.

Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

"Nickelodean" Donna Beavers met her husband Bruce at a Nickelsville encampment near the university and they married six months ago. On June 20, the state department of transportation issued the encampment a notice to vacate the state owned property within 72 hours.

During the week of July 13, drilling work will close the multi-use trail along Alaskan Way South between South Royal Brougham Way and South Dearborn Street for the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Program.

Crews will drill three holes in the multi-use path that runs adjacent to the Alaskan Way Viaduct, according to Emily Neff, communications staff member for the state-run project.

What to expect:

- The section of the multi-use path between South Royal Brougham Way and South Dearborn Street will be closed approximately Monday through Friday (July 13-17).

- Detour routes will be clearly identified; bicycle traffic will be diverted to Alaskan Way South, and pedestrian traffic will be diverted across the street to the sidewalk on the west side of Alaskan Way South.
- Signage will be placed near the path one day in advance to notify cyclists and pedestrians about the closure and detour. 

- Excavation will take between three and five business days to complete; all work will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

- When drilling is complete, the surface of the multi-use path will be restored and detour signage removed. 

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Exclusive commentary from Rep. Carlyle

Everything I need to know about transportation policy I learned at the corner of 15th and Market in Ballard. That’s where I waved signs at 7:30 a.m. each morning during my campaign for the legislature.  

One cold, rainy day a gracious older woman waiting for her bus said to me:  “Young man, don’t forget that we can’t be a great city if we don’t appreciate that we need an integrated system of cars, buses, rail, bike paths, walkable areas and everything in between. That’s what makes for real quality of life—helping families get where they need to go however it works best for them with transportation choices but without socially engineering it all.”   

And then she was whisked away by a Metro bus into the mist.  

Today’s reality is that Metro is facing awful cuts to service even though demand has surged in recent years; the state fuel-tax structure is an old-fashioned vestige of the 20th century, and the public needs more and better transportation choices. So how do we build that 21st century transportation infrastructure at a time when our collective financial nerves are frayed?   

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Photo credit: 
Photo courtesy Reuven Carlyle

Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division (WSF) will purchase five new vessels over the next five years as part of a long-range plan that will guide its services and investments through 2030.

View the long-range plan here.

“After a lot of hard work by the Legislature, Gov. Gregoire and (state transportation department), we are finally at a place where we can look ahead to long-term, sustainable service of our marine highways,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “This is good news for the communities that depend on our marine transportation system, but also for the entire state of Washington.”

“The final long-range plan for the ferry system is the culmination of the efforts of many people, including lawmakers, ferry served communities, and (state transportation department),” said Assistant Secretary David Moseley. “The plan sets a path for WSF between now and 2030 with the first milestone being construction of the 64-auto ferry.”


The Washington State Department of Transportation has begun the second round of soil testing for the proposed bored tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The soil samples and other geotechnical information gathered by crews will inform the design of the tunnel and boring machine. When testing is finished this fall, tunnel engineers will have soil samples every 100 to 400 feet along the alignment, to depths of 100 to 300 feet below the surface.

“These samples will help us plan where ground stabilization should take place prior to the start of construction and where monitoring equipment can be installed,” said Ron Paananen, Alaskan Way Viaduct Program Administrator. “It will also provide important data to the tunnel designers and contractors so they can complete their work.” 

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