WSDOT Secretary Lynn Peterson visits WSTC on June 10

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is happy to announce that Washington State Secretary of Transportation and head of WSDOT Lynn Peterson will be the guest at our June 10, 2014 meeting. We will have a discussion about the current state of the SR-99 Viaduct, it’s impact on West Seattle, the plans the state has for mitigation of traffic from our peninsula in the event of short or long-term Viaduct closures before the Deep Bore Tunnel is completed, and a talk about the possible future of ferry traffic from Vashon and Southworth. This meeting will be held at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, June 10th, in room 207B at at the High Point Neighborhood House at 6400 Sylvan Ave SW in West Seattle.

Lynn_Peterson_WSDOTLynn Peterson was appointed Secretary of Transportation in February 2013 by Governor Jay Inslee. Peterson manages an agency of 6,600 employees, with responsibility for 18,600 lane miles of highway, 3,700 bridges, general aviation airports, passenger- and freight-rail programs, and the Washington State Ferry system, the nation’s largest.

As the Washington State Department of Transportation nears completion of the agency’s largest construction program in its history ($16.3 billion), Peterson brings a renewed focus on efficiencies, accountability and investing in a multimodal system. She supports WSDOT’s partnerships with cities and counties, businesses, transit, non-motorized transportation and environmental organizations to cost-effectively build safe and healthy communities everywhere in Washington state.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (the WSTC) is a Peninsula-wide organization working to address transportation and mobility issues for Seattle’s largest constituency. The WSTC formed in September 2013, in response to the looming 27% cuts to King County Metro to West Seattle. We represent up to 100,000 people the 10 square mile area between the Duwamish River and Puget Sound.

Meetings are held at the High Point Neighborhood House at 6400 Sylvan Ave SW from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM on the second Tuesday of every month. Our guest in our May 13th meeting is Andrew Glass Hastings, the principle transportation policy advisor for Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

Please join our discussions online:


WSTC joins Mayor’s Advisory Committee to find SDOT Director

Marci Carpenter
Marci Carpenter

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC) is happy to announce that we have been invited by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s office to have a representative of the WSTC on the Mayor’s Community Advisory Committee to find a Director of Transportation for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). The Director of Transportation reports to the Mayor and has management oversight of more than 750 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $400 million.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition will be represented by Marci Carpenter. Carpenter is a West Seattle resident and current interim board member of the WSTC. Carpenter has extensive experience in transportation advisory roles. In the 1980s and 1990s she helped to develop the Transportation Master Plan for the Boulder Valley in Colorado, chaired a group that helped implement that multi-modal plan, worked on creating one of the nation’s first employer-based bus pass systems and negotiated with the University of Colorado for a similar student pass program. Carpenter also served on Boulder’s City Transportation Board and conducted public meetings, with a focus on implementing a citywide sidewalk completion program.

The Mayor’s initiative and other committee members are listed here:

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is a Peninsula-wide organization working to address transportation and mobility issues for Seattle’s largest constituency. We represent up to 100,000 people living and working in the 10 square mile area between the Duwamish River and Puget Sound.

Our next monthly meeting is tonight, Tuesday, April 8th, at 6:30pm at High Point Neighborhood House at 6400 Sylvan Way SW (east of 35th & Morgan) in West Seattle. Our guest tonight is the Seattle Department of Transportation to discuss upgrades and improvements to our major capital infrastructure such as the West Seattle Bridge, fixing deficiencies related to entering and leaving our peninsula and all areas west of the Duwamish River.

The full agenda is here:

The WSTC is also happy to release our own group’s response to the Mayor’s survey on the future SDOT director:


Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 WSTC Agenda

Here is the agenda for our next meeting. We need as many people to come out as is possible for the Seattle Department of Transportation. Today, Mayor Ed Murray made it clear that transportation issues in West Seattle are a priority for the city. We need to demonstrate our commitment and get all our infrastructure issues out on the table for SDOT.

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 WSTC Agenda.

This meeting will be 6:30pm to 8:30pm at High Point Neighborhood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW in West Seattle. Please enter at the rear plaza to the large meeting room.

The Facebook event for this meeting is here:

6:30-6:40: Welcome, Introductions, Community news, Updates.

6:40-6:50: Committee News and Updates; Looking for new Committee Chairs

6:50-7:00: New business from the Membership – Anything to share, work on?

7:00-8:00: Seattle Department of Transportation, to discuss infrastructure and safety across the West Seattle Peninsula. Expected Guests:

  • Jim Curtin, Senior Transportation Planner
  • Brian Dougherty, Associate Transportation Planner
  • John Buswell, Roadway Structures Manager
  • Bill LaBorde, Strategic Advisor at Seattle Department of Transportation
  • Bob Chandler, Seattle Department of Transportation
  • Assistant Director Richard Sheridan, Public Information Manager
  • Cheryl Swab, Strategic Advisor for Council Relations at Seattle Department of Transportation

8:00-8:20: Set action items for the May WSCT meeting with guest Andrew Glass Hastings, Mayor Murray’s Transportation Policy Advisor.

8:20-8:25: Set the main Agenda items for May’s WSTC meeting.

8:25-8:30: Adjourn.

Other upcoming events:

  • Wednesday, April 9th: Seattle 2035 Meeting at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Tell the Department of Planning and Development your concerns about long-term planning and the direction of the city.

Join us on our mailing list here:

Join us on Facebook here:

The first six months, and the next six months

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition formed in September 2013, in response to the looming 27% cuts to King County Metro to West Seattle. From that moment we started the process of building the WSTC so that there would be a unified voice for transportation issues in West Seattle, to drive our elected officials and agencies to stop — finally — overlooking West Seattle.

The first six months

The panel at our January 2014 forum.
The panel at our January 2014 forum.

How it began:

A huge crowd discussed this at our first meeting, which was recorded by the West Seattle Blog. You can watch it here:

West Seattle was getting a double hit: in addition to the 17% cuts the entire county was facing to King County Metro, we were also facing another 10% in cuts because of the “Viaduct mitigation money” from the WSDOT running out. This was a special fund for us, due to the massive disruption to our commutes from the Deep Bore Tunnel and Bertha digging. Unfortunately, the State only funded that through June 2014! At the end of that first meeting, with nearly all of the leaders of nearly all of the West Seattle neighborhood and community groups present, we unanimously formed the WSTC, and started working on our problems…


WSTC Endorses King County Proposition 1 to “Save Metro”

West Seattle Transportation Coalition
Endorses King County’s Proposition 1, Adds Caveats

At their February 11, 2014 meeting, the Interim Board of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC), an advocacy group dedicated to advancing and improving all modes of transportation to benefit the 100,000 residents of the West Seattle Peninsula, voted to endorse King County’s “Proposition 1” transportation package with some important caveats. As proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, Proposition 1 is intended to save bus services and maintain roads in lieu of adoption of a balanced statewide transportation package with local options for funding transit and roads.

The caveats are:

  1. Proposition 1 package should sunset in two years instead of ten years.
  2. King County should continue to lobby the Legislature for permission to levy an MVET, which is less regressive for taxpayers.
  3. King County should work with the City of Seattle and other jurisdictions to implement transit mitigation fees.

The WSTC developed the caveats based on current available information. Refer to our website for the full version of our endorsement position. The West Seattle Transportation Coalition endorses adoption and encourages support of King County’s ‘Proposition 1’ Transportation Package with important caveats.

Media Contact: Amanda Kay Helmick
West Seattle Transportation Coalition
(206) 708-5617;

A PDF version of this endorsement is available here: WSTC Endorsement letter for Proposition 1 on this web site, and on Scribd here.

March 11, 2014 WSTC meeting agenda

Here is the updated WSTC agenda for Tuesday, March 11!

6:30-6:35 — Welcome, and Community News.

6:35-7:00 — Board Elections. Candidates need to declare today, it’s the deadline in our by-laws. Elections are in our May 2014 meeting. Full details are here:

7:00-7:15 — Committee business/reports. The Research & Solutions Committee is meeting to review additional items and issues that we have in our long West Seattle backlog of transportation issues and will give us more details. Some of the items can be seen here in last month’s agenda:

7:15-8:15 — WSTC Steering: Review of outstanding action items for prioritization for the year, West Seattle Transportation Coalition Steering Discussion. What issues should we tackle, and in what order? It’s time to decide and then dig into resolving them.

8:15-8:20 — Set the main Agenda items for April’s WSTC meeting.

8:20-8:30 — Break, and meet with Board candidates for quick photos for website and discussion.

NOTE: SDOT due to scheduling difficulties will not be coming in our March 11 meeting to talk about West Seattle-affecting capital projects but we’re working on scheduling with them for our April 8th meeting.

Reminder: tonight is our next meeting

6:30pm at High Point Neighborhood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW. Here is the Agenda:

6:30 – Welcome and Community News
6:40 – Board Elections in May; click here for details!
6:50 – Committee Reports & Updates:

• Communications; Joe Szilagyi – Plan survey. We will need volunteers to work on developing an agenda and legislative survey for all of West Seattle. The purpose? To find out exactly what everyone really thinks is wrong with our transportation situation. To define and refine the goals of the WSTC. And, most importantly, to let West Seattle tell us where to aim our efforts.

• Action; Amanda Kay Helmick – Meetings with the Governor’s office to discuss mitigation money; Mayor’s office meeting.

• Research & Solutions; Kevin Broveleit; (Meets 1st Tuesday of the Month) – Discuss the Transportation Benefit District that the County is proposing as Plan B for King County Metro funding. Is it appropriate for us to be endorsing a vote either or way or just educating on the subject?

8:30 – 2014 To-Do List: Tackling our items for the year. This is based upon feedback from the Q&A Panel forum in January.

(B = Board Level tasks; C = Committee Level tasks)


B: Identification of projects protocol — set up a procedure for the WSTC to fairly asses things “in our wheelhouse”.

B: Public forum 2 & 3 — we want to hold more events like January, with specific topics, or as debates.

B: Overlay Map — a map of areas and issues that we need to focus upon.

On Peninsula issues (issues specific within our boundaries):

C: Grant funds – for what projects should we pursue?

C: Bike trails through greenbelts to W Marginal — a way for people to get up to and down from us toward the city easily. Inspired by the John Wayne Trail through Snoqualmie Pass.

C-RS: Master Plan — our main “Transportation Master Plan” for the peninsula, as a guide to curate and present to officials of outstanding issues.

Peninsula egress issues (issues related to the access points to and from West Seattle):

C: 4th/6th or bus way to WS freeway — a replacement for the long ago taken 4th Avenue on-ramp.

C: Viaduct Mitigation money — Metro must decide in March if our specific 10% cuts go through in June.

C: Viaduct/SR99 response times — brought about by the terrible December 6 incident.

C: Lander Street overpass — it was already funded once but the money was shifted to the Mercer Project.

C: Light Rail/ST3 — lobbying and pressing for Light Rail here. Surveys have shown 90%+ support in West Seattle.

C: Should we have another way out? Literally–another bridge?

2014 WSTC Board Elections

In May 2014, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition will hold it’s first ever Board elections, as detailed here in our by-laws. The rules and voting will work like this.

What is the WSTC Board?

  • The board is made up of eleven seats, numbered 1 through 11. This reflects the initial number of interim volunteer board members that stepped up in our inaugural meeting.
  • The Board members make all high level decisions for the WSTC as needed on behalf of it’s memberships and endorsers, subject to our by-laws and customs.
  • All Board members must actively serve as members of a WSTC Committee.
  • Terms are typically two years.
  • The Board elects it’s own officers of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Officer terms are one year.
  • The Board is typically present at each General Meeting, and there is usually a “working” meeting of the Board once per month for 90 minutes.

Who can run for the WSTC Board?

Anyone who lives or works in our boundaries. The area is West Seattle, South Park, Harbor Island, White Center, North Highline — anything west of the Duwamish River south to Burien. Also, anyone who is a member of groups, organizations, companies or institutions in those areas, may announce that they want to run for a Board Seat. If your status changes and you no longer qualify after being elected, you will step down from the Board.

How do I run for the WSTC Board?

  • You need to come to our February 11 or March 11, 2014 meeting and declare what Board position you wish to run for.
  • By a deadline of March 15, 2014, you must provide to the WSTC a photo and a statement of up to 500 words for our website.
  • By April 1, 2014, the WSTC will publish online all candidates, their positions, photos and statements.

What WSTC Board positions are open in 2014?

  • As this is our first-ever election, ALL eleven positions are open.
  • Following 2014 we will run even numbered positions on even numbered years and odd numbered positions on odd numbered years.
  • Anyone running for odd positions (#1, #3, #5, #7, #9, #11) in 2014 will serve one year until 2015.
  • Anyone running for even positions (#2, #4, #6, #8, #10) in 2014 will serve two years until 2016.

When are the 2014 WSTC Board elections?

  • The elections will be held in our May 13th, 2014 meeting.
  • Voting is by secret ballot. At least two people who are not running for office will count votes.
  • Voting is decided by simple majority.

Who can vote in the 2014 WSTC Board elections?

  • To vote, you must be a Member, with the same geographic requirements that Board members have.
  • To vote, you must also have signed into at least one meeting or event of the WSTC in the preceding calendar year.

For the 2014 WSTC Board elections, this means you must have signed into one of the following events or meetings:

  • September 10th, 2013 inaugural meeting.
  • October 15th, 2013 meeting.
  • November 12th, 2013 meeting.
  • December 10th, 2013 meeting.
  • January 14th, 2014 Q&A Panel.
  • February 11th, 2014 meeting.
  • March 11th, 2014 meeting.
  • April 8th, 2014 meeting.

When are the Officer elections?

The Board, in the current rules, will elect their own Officers for one year terms, again by simple majority secret balloting.

When will the new WSTC Board take office?

The new Board and it’s Officer take office with our June 10th, 2014 meeting, replacing the outgoing original Interim Board.

How is that bus cost effective?

Sometimes we see comments and questions along the lines of, “How is that bus profitable? No one is on it. The last time I rode it, it only had two people on the bus coming into West Seattle.” Someone asked this about the #50 today. Here is the KC Metro route page for the #50:

We’ll run you through a typical bus line here, and why it’s not a problem to see it empty–sometimes. This will make sense by the end.

Route 50
Route 50

It goes from Othello Station on in southeast Seattle to Seward Park, to Columbia City, to the VA hospital on Beacon Hill, to the SODO Busway & S Lander (by Amazon), to the West Seattle Bridge, to the Alaska Junction here in West Seattle, to 61st Ave SW & Alki Ave SW (the beach in Alki), and then back again. It hits, basically, several business districts, a hospital, two major recreation destinations in the city (that cater more to locals versus “outside” tourists–how many out of towners will you see at Alki or Seward versus Pike Place Market? We’re not exactly a beach destination for tourists).

That bus runs 36 times per day, from 5:14am to 11:04pm, and each “run” takes about an hour. It takes on average around 8 to 11 minutes to go from location to location. The #50 averages about 2200 “riders” per day from Monday to Friday. Assuming each of the 36 individual runs had an even share of the riders that means each run would be carrying 61 passengers in total. That means at each stop, somewhere between 4 to 9 people are boarding the #50.

They usually use a bus with a capacity of 30 people to operate the #50. Not every single person is going to ride all the way from Othello to Alki or from Alki to Othello each time, of course. Some get on; some get off. But, we’re averaging per run double the physical capacity of the bus, so far.

There’s another consideration, as well: the route 50 directly connects West Seattle and other neighborhoods to the Light Rail to SeaTac Airport.

Realistically, the 5am bus and the 11pm bus aren’t going to have as many people on it. The buses between 7am-830am and 430pm-6pm are going to have the bulk of the riders, because that’s the case for many bus lines. On many of the runs, you’ll have the #50 at capacity or very crowded, but again, not for every stop. This is just how a bus line works. The route overall does fine for it’s usage, and the off hours buses serve the public good by letting people ride. While there may only be 5 people getting onto the 5:14am bus at Alki, that’s fine. By the time the bus has gotten to the VA hospital, that run in costs to Metro is likely already paid for, even if there are less people on it.

If the route wasn’t cost effective, and wasn’t in an area that requires additional services (per King County laws) Metro would contract the service and shift that budget somewhere else. Why do we know that? Remember that the #21 used to drive deeply into Arbor Heights, where now it only gets the 21 express commuter service. The justification that was given by Metro was that not enough riders rode the #21 deep enough into Arbor Heights past the commuting hours to justify all day service. Metro has no money to waste running empty buses to nowhere. If a route survived the 2012 cuts, it’s got people riding on it and that route is needed.

Update on our January 14th event at Youngstown

We have a late update on the event for tomorrow. The West Seattle Transportation Coalition regrets to inform you that we will no longer be joined at this event by Charles Knutson of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s office on January 14.

Governor Inslee called for a special meeting between leaders of both parties in Olympia for Tuesday, January 14th, focusing on transportation. As a result, Mr. Knutson had to cancel several engagements in Seattle to stay at the capitol, including ours. The Governor’s office is currently attempting to arrange for a high level WSDOT representative to attend in their place, who will be briefed on the questions we have provided.

Due to the technical nature of some of the questions the WSTC will be asking attendees, they were provided ahead of time for research, with the request for written responses for publication for after the event. The Governor’s office is still working to provide us full written responses to our questions, as planned.

Chris Arkills from Executive Constantine’s office, Andrew Glass Hastings from Mayor Murray’s office, and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen are still attending. Everyone here at the WSTC looks forward to seeing all of you at this important event, as we finally tackle the longstanding issues that have gone idle for too long.

Event details:

Q&A Panel about West Seattle transportation issues with the offices of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and City of Seattle Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

Date: January 14th, 2014
Time: 6:30pm-9:00pm
Location: Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, Thelma Dewitty Theater, 4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle, WA 98107