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…

Building the WSTC:

Joe Fitzgibbon speaking at the WSTC rally.

Joe Fitzgibbon speaking at the WSTC rally.

In October we sent out a Call to Action to every single elected official related to West Seattle, up to the Governor’s level, and to every single transportation related agency that touches us, detailing our long standing frustration at being ignored and overlooked. Between October and the end of the year a huge array of West Seattle groups endorsed the WSTC and joined us. We learned in November from speaking with Sound Transit that an overwhelming majority of West Seattle residents favor bringing light rail to our area, and informed Sound Transit that we fully endorse it.

We finished the structure of the WSTC into four committees to drive us to solve our problems and finished our by-laws to make this group solid, to handle our growth into the future. We held a rally that was covered on all the major TV news stations (West Seattle Herald report, West Seattle Blog report). We’ve got a mailing list setup for everyone to use.

In January, we hosted a Q&A Panel and forum with representatives from the Governor’s office, the County Executive’s office, the Mayor’s office, and the City Council. You can watch it here on the Seattle Channel:


In the wake of this, with all the extra media attention we helped stir up and conversations with many State and County officials, the mitigation money came through Governor Inslee’s office, and was funded another two years through 2016. The 10% “West Seattle Penalty” was eliminated, but we still have the looming 17% cuts to all of Metro, from the State Legislature failing to provide funding authority to the county in any transportation package. The County responded with Proposition 1, that we vote on in April 2014, next month. The West Seattle Transportation Coalition has endorsed Proposition 1, the “Plan B” option.

The new WSTC Board:

Most of the heavy lifting was done in the set-up phase of building the WSTC except to get our permanent board in place. After lots of calls for people, some of the original interim members decided to step back for time reasons (most of us are already active in helping run other West Seattle or city-level groups) and some opted to just work on committees instead of the Board. Some new people decided to join!

Here are the volunteers for your 2014-2015 West Seattle Transportation Coalition Board. As the WSTC for it’s 2014 Board elections has  10 volunteers for 11 positions, the voting will be more of a confirmation process in our May 8th, 2014 meeting. Odd numbered positions will serve for one year and run again in May 2015; even numbered positions will serve for two years and run again in May 2016.

Position 1: Joe Szilagyi

joeszilagyi-wstcJoe moved to Arbor Heights in West Seattle with his family in 2012, after living in Magnolia by the Ballard Locks for seven years. Originally from Connecticut, he was brought to his forever home by his Seattle native wife in 2005. He is a nearly two-decade veteran of various corners of the IT industry, from telecom to data centers to tech support to engineering across several areas.

He is one of the founders and elected Secretary of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council in the southwest corner of our area, and is one of the founders and an interim board member of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, serving as the Chair of it’s Communications Committee. He manages the web sites for both groups, and is one of the people who maintains the social media presence for both groups. In his dreams West Seattle would have grade separated Light Rail to every neighborhood somehow and a zip line commuting option down from Hamilton Viewpoint to the Seattle waterfront. He enjoys his free time on a bunch of nerdy pursuits, spending time with his wife and son, and cursing the rain when he can’t barbecue.

Position 2: Amanda Kay Helmick

amandakayhelmickI have been a resident of West Seattle for 7 years, and of Seattle at large for almost 14. I am a native Chicagoan and still have lots of family in that area (Go Cubs!). I’ve always been a champion of causes, but having a child has led me to be even more proactive in my Community.  After joining the Steering Committee for the Roxhill Park Playground build in October 2013, I really felt that Community activism was my calling. Becoming Chair of the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council has taught me that there are many people in this Community who care just as much as I do, and together, we can do great things.  In being a founding member of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, I’ve found that by working with other Neighborhood groups we have a stronger voice, and we can make a real difference.  I would like to continue the work that has been started here, by joining the permanent board.


Position 3: Michael Taylor-Judd

michaeltaylorjudd-wstcMichael Taylor-Judd, Transportation Chair of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council, and active member of the 34th District Democrats, has been a local political activist since he moved to Seattle to canvass door-to-door in West Seattle for statewide healthcare reform 15 years ago. Since arriving from Southern California, he has been active in marriage equality and transportation issues and grassroots organizing the Democratic Party. He’s helped to bring a bus-service funding problem to the attention of King County Metro, in which Seattle was slated to receive only 20 percent of Metro’s monies, even though it accounts for 75 percent of bus service, fought for improvements to local bus routes, and helped North Delridge get a new traffic signal at the top of Genessee and the 26th Ave Greenway.

Position 4: Deb Barker

debbarker-wstcA West Seattleite since 1985, I’m an enthusiastic supporter of my adopted home.  I retired after 21 years as a land use planner for a large suburban city, and I’ve had a great time volunteering on behalf of my community. Currently I’m president of the Morgan Community Association, and a member of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board. I’m a past member of the SW Design Review Board and the SW Seattle Historical Society. I joined the SWTC as an interim board member because I believe in being proactive about our transportation future. I appreciate the peninsula-wide focus of the WSTC, and I’d like to continue to help guide this important organization as an elected board member.

Position 5: Vicki Nelson

victorianelson-wstcVictoria is a third generation West Seattleite; having grown up just a mile from where she now lives with her husband and two dogs. A passionate environmentalist, she spends much of her volunteer time working on projects that will help keep neighborhoods and beaches healthy. Along with her husband, Victoria worked with other residents to bring a farmers market to West Seattle.

Having retired from the insurance industry in 2012, she is expanding her volunteer work to include a broader range of issues by working with the City Neighborhood Council – Neighborhood Planning Committee, and the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. It is her hope that when a community takes a holistic approach to high density development along with the corresponding traffic issues, a good balance can be achieved so that one does not outweigh the other. Currently, West Seattle has three major challenges to address. First, over one million vehicles move through our neighborhoods. Second, we live in a peninsula that can easily become an island due to weather and traffic incidents. Finally, West Seattle does not have its own hospital which means we must leave our peninsula to get treatment for serious health issues. Her hope is that by working together with the city, the WSTC can help provide solutions to these challenges.

Position 6: Alon Bassok

alonbassok-wstcI have been a North Delridge resident since 2006 when my family was attracted to Longfellow Creek and the easy access to downtown. My interests around West Seattle transportation issues focus on convenient ways to get around in the peninsula, as well as safe and efficient access and egress to and from the peninsula. Within West Seattle, we are constrained by distance and hills. Leaving our community can be taxing; bicycling can be frightening, taking the bus can be slow, and driving can be frustrating. We have many challenges to work on.

I currently teach courses on land use and transportation through the Master of Sustainable Transportation program at the University of Washington. I am interested in a number of diverse transportation topics and helped organize the Bicycle Urbanism Symposium (2013) and Innovation in Urban Freight Workshop (2012) held here in Seattle. I also spent several years on the city’s Freight Advisory Board. Prior to returning to teach at the University of Washington, I worked as a transportation planner at the Puget Sound Regional Council.

When away from transportation discussions, I spend most of my time chauffeuring my daughters around West Seattle between their activities, or sneaking down to Lakewood Park for a round of disc golf. Occasionally I may be found playing bass with the Pretty Good Jazz Trio.

Position 7: Tod Rodman

todrodman-wstcTod Rodman, BA, MBA has lived in West Seattle since 2000. Prior to that he lived for a year in Kirkland, having moved out West from Charlottesville, Virginia in 1999. Tod was born in New York City and until leaving to attend the University of Virginia lived in the Northeast. Upon receiving his BA degree from UVa, Tod lived in London and New York. Tod received his Masters Degree from the UVA, spent a year in Memphis, and returned to live in Charlottesville where he raised his two children. His children and three grandchildren live in West Seattle.

Tod studied Urban Planning and Architecture, ultimately receiving his Masters in Finance and Operations, interning at UPS in their Advance Logistical Solutions Group . His early work was as an Ordinary Seaman, a Taxi Driver, a Broker in Maritime Vessel Sales and Chartering, and as Firefighter. His has spent over 30 years in the Information Technology industry performing Systems Analysis and Program Management.

Tod’s passion for improving the Seattle Transportation system, and especially the West Seattle Transportation system has brought him into a working relationship with many dedicated volunteer and professional folks who have a broad range of interests and expertise in transportation issues. Tod would very much like to continue to serve the West Seattle Community, especially in working toward implementing a balanced and top quality transportation system for West Seattle that provides the best transportation for all of the people who live and work in West Seattle.

Position 8: Marci Carpenter

marcicarpenter-wstcMy name is Marci Carpenter. I am a native Washingtonian, and have lived in West Seattle for 10 years. I am a regular bus rider but am interested in promoting all modes of transportation. During the 1980’s and 1990’s I lived in Boulder, Colorado, where I served on three transportation boards and committees. The first one was a 7-member committee appointed by City Council. Over the course of 18 months we met weekly with city staff and consultants and conducted an extensive public process; all of which led to the development of a Transportation Master Plan for the Boulder Valley. In the next committee, which I chaired for several years, we implemented that multimodal plan. My work included negotiating with the transit agency and local businesses on an employer-based bus pass (which existed in few places at the time), and also negotiating with the University of Colorado for a student bus pass program. The third board was a more traditional City Transportation Board where I conducted public meetings and worked a lot on implementing a citywide sidewalk program which filled in missing sidewalk links.

I’m asking for a 2-year position on the WSTC Board.

Position 9: Ray Krueger

raykrueger-wstcRetired Information Technology Systems Engineer, Project Manager, and Community Mobility Advocate. Evangelist for community mobility in Seattle and formerly in Colorado Springs, a transit wasteland. Since 2009 I have represented transit underserved community members for the sustainable funding levels by public comments and voluntary membership in many boards and committees:

Member, PPRTA Citizens’ Advisory Commttee representing the CTAB Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. Volunteer Member, City of Colorado Springs Citizens’ Transportation Advisory Board. President, Board of Trustees Disability Services, Inc./Amblicab. Volunteer Concerned Citizen, El Paso County Region Stormwater Task Force Engineering Subcommittee. Member, Transit and Rail Advisory Committee work group, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Member, Board of Trustees Pikes Peak Partnership. Steering Committee Member and Facilitator, Transportation Working Group, Pikes Peak Green Cities Coalition. Volunteer Leader, Transportation Task Group, Pikes Peak Regional Sustainability project. Volunteer Vice Chairman, Future of Regional Transit Study steering committee for Mountain Metro Transit. Member, Transportation to Employment for Disabled (TED), The Independence Center. Vice President, Quality Systems: Public Personal Rapid Transit Consortium (PPRTC).

Position 10: Martin Westerman

martywesterman-wstcMartin Westerman has served as an interim WSTC board member since the organization was formed in 2013. He serves on the board of the Fauntleroy Community Association, and volunteers with the West Seattle Green Space Coalition.

He is a life-long bicyclist, and an author, editor, lecturer and consultant on sustainable business, and business communications.  He lives with his wife and sons near The Original Bakery.

Position 11: open

At this time, Position 11 is open, and the Board will review that in June 2014. The deadline to declare was in our March 2014 meeting.

Many thanks to those that helped launch the WSTC and worked for a time on the Interim Board!

  • Cindi Barker
  • Kevin Broveleit
  • Barbara Dobkin
  • Mat McBride
  • Carolyn Stauffer
  • Diane Rose Vincent

The next six months

After Metro:

In the next year, the WSTC is going to finally have spare bandwidth to start focusing on other transportation issues that affect our entire area. Our guests for upcoming meetings are:

April 8, 2014: Seattle Department of Transportation engineering staff, to talk about a variety of topics.

    • Safety studies and possible re-channelling of SW Roxbury and 35th Ave SW, and safety issues at the north end of Delridge and under the West Seattle Bridge.
    • When will see another on-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge and viaduct in SODO?
    • When will see the already designed Lander Street Overpass finished?
    • Can the West Seattle Bridge carry Light Rail?
    • What is the current safety status of the West Seattle Bridge, the on and off ramps, and the I-5 connectors at the end of our line?

May 13, 2014: Andrew Glass Hastings, Mayor Ed Murray’s Transportation policy advisor, to discuss the political issues we’re facing with transportation and what it will take to get funding in place for anything SDOT says is possible in April.

June 10, 2014: We have requested for Lynn Petersen, the Secretary of WSDOT, to join us to discuss the status of the Viaduct and other WSDOT issues as they directly apply to West Seattle, including mitigation plans for SR99 shut downs.

Beyond this, we need YOUR help. What do we focus on? What do we prioritize? Do you want to help fix these generations-long problems that have been overlooked for West Seattle? Come to our meetings. The West Seattle Transportation Coalition does not exist without you.

The crowd at our January forum.

The crowd at our January forum.

Updated: March 27, 2014 — 5:53 pm
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