Month – December 2013

The WSTC is hosting a Q&A Panel with government officials

On January 14th, 2014 at 6:30pm, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC) will be hosting a Q&A Panel with the offices of State of Washington Governor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the City Council’s Transportation Committee. This will be a panel Q&A with the WSTC moderators asking questions of each level of government about our transportation issues.

This will be relevant to everyone living in Seattle’s District 1, as well as our neighbors in District 2, District 7, White Center, Seacrest, and North Highline. Please plan to attend. The event will be at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle, WA 98106.

For the Facebook event page, please click here.

WSTC Winter 2013 Listening Tour Dates

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition needs to hear from you! Are you unhappy with our current transportation system, situation, and options? Come tell us what you’re upset about, and learn about the WSTC, our mission, and what we’re doing. What you come and tell us at this Listening Tour will directly affect how we interact with and pursue issues with the City of Seattle, King County, Washington State, and the Federal government.

“We’d like you to tell us what works and what doesn’t work about transportation in West Seattle; what do you think can be improved, or what do you think is needed,” said WSTC Outreach Chairperson Deb Barker.

The Listening Tour schedule is:

  • December 14, 2013 from 12-2pm at Barnes & Noble Coffee Shop, Westwood Village, 2600 SW Barton
  • December 15, 2013 from 11-1pm at Cupcake Royale, 4556 California Ave SW
  • December 21, 2013 from 12-2 at The Feedback Lounge, 6451 California Ave SW
  • December 22, 2013 from 12-2 at Zatz a Better Bagel, 2348 California Ave SW
  • December 29, 2013 from 12-2 at Uptown Espresso, 3845 Delridge Way SW

The WSTC announces it’s by-laws and Board elections

After many late night working meetings, a lot of draft versions, and much feedback, on December 1oth, 2013, the WSTC’s Interim Board finalized and ratified our initial by-laws. To read them in full, go here to our new by-laws page. Here are the high level basics:

  • WSTC formed September 24, 2013 by unanimous consent of 40+ community leaders.
  • Groups and people grant us their permission to speak on their behalf for transportation issues.
  • Positions, issues, etc. all derive from those endorsers in aggregate – the WSTC is an executor.
  • WSTC covers the “big stuff”, peninsula wide or multi-neighborhood transportation issues.
  • Board and it’s officers work on and with committees to get results to those issues.

WSTC structure:

The basic flow and structure of our organization is this:

wstc structure 1

WSTC Board elections:

Starting in the December 10th, 2013 meeting, any Member–who lives in, works in, or serves on an organization in our boundaries (all of West Seattle, South Park, Seattle’s new District 1, White Center, North Highline (the county, south to Burien, west of the Duwamish River)–can run for a place on our board or vote in Board elections if they’ve come to at least one general meeting of the WSTC.

Here are the basics of how the elections will work:

  • Terms are two years. Officer terms are one year.
  • There are 11 board seats/positions.
  • All 11 positions are up for election in May 2014.
  • Each board seat is numbered, and future elections will be in odd/even numbered years in May of every year. Positions #1, #3, #5, #7, #9, and #11 would be up for election in 2015, 2017, and 2019. Positions #2, #4, #6, #8, and #10 will be up for election in 2016, 2018, and 2020.
  • You must declare in-person, in our December 10th, February, or March meetings. You need to announce which position you want. By March 15th you must provide a photo and written statement up to 500 words, both for our website.
  • Normally January would be available for this, but our January 2014 meeting will instead be our special transportation event with guests.
  • Elections are in May 2014’s general meeting, by secret ballots.
  • To vote, you must be a member and must have “signed in” at at least one general meeting/major event in the preceding year before that May. For the May 2014 elections, this means the October 2013 meeting, November 2013, December 2013, January 2014, February 2014, March 2014, or April 2014.
  • Our current Interim Board serves until June 1st, 2014.
  • The new incoming permanent Coalition Board takes over June 1st, 2014.
  • Between May 2014’s election and June’s general meeting, the new Board will elect it’s officers by secret ballot.
  • All Board members must serve actively on at least one committee (but does not need to chair a committee).

If you are interested in joining the West Seattle Transportation Coalition as a regular volunteer, you can check our volunteer page here.

If you are interested in serving on the WSTC Board, please review the by-laws, and we hope to see you in a general meeting (here is our general meeting schedule) by March 2014 so that you can declare! Remember that our January 2014 general meeting has a completely full agenda with a special event, so you have until February 2014 or March 2014’s meeting to decide.

Questions about the incident today disrupting traffic on the SR99 Viaduct and future mitigation of such issues city-wide

This morning just after 6:00 AM, a van spun out and hit the guard rail on the northbound lane and crashed. It took the City of Seattle nearly two hours to get this cleared up. Multiple reports came in from hundreds of people of traffic backed up in every direction, from the stadiums back to the middle of West Seattle, all the way south past the 1st Avenue South Bridge. In short, it was a completely non-managed fiasco, and it was over the past several weeks at least the fifth time there was a major commuter transportation disruption for the West Seattle peninsula, between accidents and mistakes by government agencies. Reports across the news media and in various comment sections (and SDOT web cams) showed backups and damage from the event continuing well past 10:00 AM.

We saw nearly four hours of systemic disruption from a single crashed van that merely needed to be towed. On a weekday, there is no excuse for why the city could not get this cleared swiftly. The crash took place, as the crow flies, less than a half mile from Seattle’s City Hall and mere blocks from downtown. If we cannot service a critical north-south commuter corridor in the heart of our urban core for hours, things need to be addressed and remediated from a very high level.

In light of this, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition mailed this morning to City of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn; Mayor-elect Ed Murray; Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee; and DeAnna Martin, Community Relations Planner from King County Metro. We asked them the following five questions:

Hello,

We are mailing in regards to the events today on the Viaduct which affected all commutes from West Seattle and points south. This was today’s event:

http://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/traffictransit-today-frozen-friday-updates

We have had now, approximately, four out of the last six commute days with extraordinary events and anger is clearly beginning to boil over with the public over the ongoing nature of these issues and  our limited, declining transportation options in West Seattle.

In order for us to transmit an explanation to our very large membership of up to 68,000 individuals, could the following be answered?

1. Why did it take two hours for a tow truck to clear an accident from the northbound viaduct this morning, when the accident happened at the height of rush hour?

2. If this was a situation where no third party tow truck was available in a timely fashion, what is the city willing and prepared to do to ensure that there will be one available in an extremely timely and highly efficient fashion going forward?

3. If this was a situation where the tow truck itself had to “fight” its way through the traffic jam itself, is there a protocol for SPD to escort safely the tow truck from the opposite direction to quickly and efficiently clear the scene?

4. If there is no such protocol as described in question #3, why not, and what steps are required for this to happen in all future incidents?

5. What sort of immediate communication was issued to Metro drivers ordering them to re-route and bypass the Viaduct, and what time was that done?

We look forward to a prompt answer to each question and steps taken to permanently ameliorate the process for these events. Seattle–not just West Seattle–has a number of critical transportation choke points in our various bridges. There must be a clear, defined, ruthlessly enforced and funded process for addressing these issues as they arise. Failure to do so and failure to address this would be unacceptable for the following reasons:

  •     It transfers tremendous personal costs in both lost time and lost money to commuters.
  •     It transfers directly financial costs in income lost for hourly employees, particularly low-income and working class employees, and those reliant upon child care.
  •     It passes tremendous costs forward and onto employers and businesses in terms of lost productivity, sales, and revenue.
  •     It allows for massive systemic disruption of our entire transportation and mass transit infrastructure, inconveniencing and passing those costs to citizens and employers across the city. As, in this case, Rapid Ride C from West Seattle is delayed for two hours, so is every Rapid Ride D that services north of the Ship Canal.

All this completely unnecessary disruption and harm to tens of thousands, for want of a single tow truck.

Thank you for your continued service and partnership.

We plan on following up on this and pursuing it until we have answers to each of the five questions in full, and until all five answers are publicized here. After the levels of raw frustration and anger we saw displayed today, the neglect in planning for West Seattle’s peninsula and residents in transportation matters has gone well past the point of reasonable patience on our part. There is no legitimate reason for us to have to wait any further for solutions.

If you would like to help us work on these issues, please check our page on volunteering, or you can simply “Like” us on Facebook here to keep updated.

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