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Tighman Traffic Analysis

Tighman Traffic Analysis

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Published by WestSeattleBlog
West Seattle Blog upload of memo received from Getting It Right for West Seattle, described as study on which it based a video showing potential traffic at 4755 Fauntleroy development site.
West Seattle Blog upload of memo received from Getting It Right for West Seattle, described as study on which it based a video showing potential traffic at 4755 Fauntleroy development site.

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Published by: WestSeattleBlog on Mar 10, 2014
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03/11/2014

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Tilghman Group 4618 44
th
 Ave South Seattle, Washington 98118 Voice & Fax: 206-577-6953
 
13 May 2013 Claudia Newman Bricklin Newman 1001 4th Ave #3303 Seattle, WA 98154 Re: 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW Alley Vacation Dear Claudia: This letter details my comments concerning circulation at the proposed mixed-use project at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW in West Seattle. I have reviewed plans for the mixed-use project proposed by Weingarten Realty that would build 370 residential apartment units and approximately 70,000 square feet of retail to include a supermarket, drug store with a drive-through window and restaurant. Parking for 570 vehicles would be located beneath the buildings underground. The project seeks to vacate two existing public alleys, one running east/west, and the other north/south. A new midblock private alley would be provided for access to truck loading docks, the drug-store drive-through window, and underground parking, while the north/south alley would also provide access to underground parking, and would serve as the exit route for trucks departing the loading dock. The midblock alley includes a pedestrian walkway on its south side.
PRIVATE ALLEY FUNCTIONS
The proposed private midblock alley would function mainly as parking and truck access to the project.
It’s
 a service corridor with a sidewalk. That function differs markedly from the concept articulated by the West Seattle Triangle Plan (Nov. 2011) which shows a
 pedestrian-only 
 connection in the west half of the block. The private alley provides access to the truck loading dock, to the north ramp of the underground parking garage, and to the drug store drive-through window as well as the north/south alley. It is the route for all major deliveries to the site, and is the route for garbage removal. The p
roponent’s traffic
analysis discusses truck trips for the drug store and grocery but does not address garbage trucks. Unfortunately, the amount of traffic using the midblock private alley has not been fully revealed. The traffic projections for this project indicate part of the volume but omit other parts. In particular:
 
Claudia Newman 13 May 2013 Page 2 Tilghman Group 4618 44
th
 Ave South Seattle, Washington 98118 Voice & Fax: 206-577-6953
 
1)
 
The alley vacation petition includes an
illustration entitled “PM Peak Hour Total Driveway Trips”
that under-reports the volume of vehicles using the private alley. In attempting to quantify the net increase in traffic on surrounding streets due to this project, the traffic analysts first calculated total project traffic. Then, after estimating
“existing” site generated traffic
, they took the difference between the total and existing to determine the net increase. The illustration shows only the net increase in
traffic above “existing” volumes.
While net increases are essential information for analyzing traffic operations on nearby streets, total traffic volume is the correct approach for evaluating traffic flow within the site. Comparing the illustration to the traffic projections detailed in Appendix D of the March 2013 traffic analysis shows that the illustration under-reports peak hour volumes by 20%. The applicant should show the full volume of traffic expected to use the private alleys. 2)
 
The traffic analysis does not identify the number of vehicles that would use the drug-store drive-through window. The proponent should identify that volume since those vehicles will be in direct conflict with pedestrians using the mid-block walkway as they must cross the pedestrian walkway. Furthermore, it is imperative to evaluate the probability of vehicles backing up from the drive-through window that would block pedestrians and other vehicles in the mid-block private alley. 3)
 
Truck traffic serving the Whole Foods store appears to be significantly under-estimated. The traffic analysis claims that two semi-truck deliveries would occur daily, one early in the morning (5:00 a.m.) and one in the evening (7:
30 to 9:00 p.m.) and anywhere from “20 to 40 deliveries from smaller trucks…depending on the day from 5:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.”
Observations at an existing Seattle Whole Foods store at 64th/Roosevelt showed 7 tractor-trailers, 31 box trucks, 14 vans and 5 other delivery vehicles on a single Friday between 5:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. On the next day, Saturday, 4 tractor-trailers, 5 box trucks, 12 vans and 1 other vehicle were observed during the same hours. Large trucks are clearly more prevalent than claimed by the applicant. The applicant should re-evaluate the number and types of trucks traffic serving the site. Pedestrians using the mid-block private alley would walk on a walkway along its south side. It is, however, unclear who would use the walkway since there are few uses and activities that would draw pedestrians to it. For instance, the grocery store lacks any direct access to the walkway. The adjacent Masonic Lodge has no doors or windows to the new private alley and already has its own parking lot to the south and its front door on 40th St. It is possible that some residents from the north residential building going to the drug store would use it, as might some residents of the south building going to the new park on 40th. But in each case, residents have other options to reach those destinations since they have lobbies on each side of the block and could simply choose which lobby gets them closest to their destination. Given that Fauntleroy Way SW is a wide arterial street with no legal crossing in line with the midblock alley, people will not be drawn from blocks east of the site to the alley. In short, no anchor exists to draw pedestrians through this midblock crossing on a regular basis. It is therefore likely that few people would walk through this service drive as it is neither useful nor attractive to pedestrians. Note that the vacation application included pedestrian volumes at the four corners of the project but did not indicate pedestrian volumes in the midblock connector despite showing vehicle volumes there. This very limited pedestrian use fails to provide the major public benefit required by
Seattle’s stree
t vacation policies (e.g., 1.6.B, and III. D.)
 
Claudia Newman 13 May 2013 Page 3 Tilghman Group 4618 44
th
 Ave South Seattle, Washington 98118 Voice & Fax: 206-577-6953
 
SAFETY AND TRAFFIC CONGESTION PROBLEMS
The proposed alley configuration and its functions raise specific problems regarding pedestrian and traffic safety. Those problems include:
Truck Conflicts with Pedestrians
Combination (tractor-trailer) trucks would swing very wide across the sidewalk on Fauntleroy to enter the midblock private alley. This could surprise pedestrians since the trailer follows a very different (and much tighter) path than the tractor, which swings wide. Pedestrians would need to stop and stand well clear of the entire driveway opening, especially on its north side. As noted above, large tractor-trailer trucks will be entering and leaving this alley multiple times each day. Truck tractors would come right to the edge of the pedestrian walkway when entering the drive. There appears to be little or no protection for
pedestrians from the truck’s overhang
. Again, this situation could occur multiple times each day. Pedestrians need greater distance or more certain protection from entering trucks.
Truck Conflicts with Other Traffic
Large trucks will block the private alley when entering as they require its full width to complete their turns. This could cause confusion and frustration for drivers of cars in the alley, and could lead to back-ups on Fauntleroy Way SW. Additionally, entering trucks will block the north garage ramp. Truck maneuvers into the dock should be illustrated. Tractor-trailers will need to pull forward most of the way to 40th Ave before backing into the loading dock. This maneuver will block the midblock alley, as well as the alley to the south. It may also interfere with access to the drug-store drive-through. Conflicts inevitably arise when large vehicles reverse in a mixed-traffic area. In light of the number of large trucks that could serve the grocery store, the applicant should evaluate the potential for the number of large trucks present to exceed the number of loading dock berths. It is not at all clear where a large truck would wait for a dock to open up. It may have no other option than to wait on Fauntleroy Way SW, blocking traffic, and potentially interfering with Fauntleroy
s bike lane.
Pedestrian Exposure
In addition to being exposed to entering trucks, pedestrians face a wide swath of unprotected crossing in the middle of the mid-block private alley. The combined width of the north/south alley and adjacent drug store drive-through lane is approximately 36 feet, the same width as a 3-lane street. That width creates an awkward and uninviting space in the pedestrian path. That

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