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Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

Past Minutes of the Board


11 December 2002, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Key Tower, 700 5th Ave.
Room 4096

Board Members Present: John Coney (outgoing Chair), Suzanne Anderson, Amy Clark, Robert Ketcherside, Charity Ranger, Hemant Bhanoo, Charles Smith, Matthew Amster-Burton, and Margaret McCauley

Absent Members: Mark Schultz (excused)

SDOT Liaison to SPAB: Megan Hoyt

SDOT Bicycle-Pedestrian Coordinator: Peter Lagerwey

Presenters: Bob Carroll (Metro Accessibility)

Public: Michael Ingram (former member), Lois Laughlin (League of Women Voters)

  1. Adopted minutes of 11.13.02 meeting on motion by Anderson and Amster-Burton
  2. Adopted slate of officer candidates on motion by Smith and McCauley:
    • Chair: Rob Ketcherside
    • Vice Chair: Suzanne Anderson
    • Secretary: Amy Clark
  3. Presentation of King County Metro Bus Lift Procedures: Bob Carroll, Para transit Operator, King County Metro Accessible Services Group
    • Metro has 220 routes and 10,000 bus stops. In the last year, there were 99 million unlinked trips, 291,000 trips a day, and 900 of these were lift trips. Only .2% of Metrofs customers are wheelchair or other lift uses; therefore most drivers never see a wheelchair user or are required to operate the lift. Metro has been accessible since 1978, making it a national leader both in service and in policy.
    • Metro bus drivers are required to carry the frequently updated service manual (gThe Bookh) with them at all times when driving, and an Operations Bulletin is printed and circulated once a week. Carroll works to ensure that one accessibility note is included in each bulletin, and the content of the bulletin reflects recently filed complaints.
    • Bus lifts are operated hydraulically and have only one sensitive edge, and therefore can cause serious injury to an unaware bus rider. The newer lifts on the buses that have been purchased in the last 6 or 7 years are safer, but further improvements to the old or new lifts are not possible if operation is to be maintained. Metro is in the process of acquiring low-floor kneeling buses that replace the lift mechanism with a ramp, which are more reliable and safe. These buses may be in use within the next year.
    • According to Federal guidelines, coach operators can ask riders to make way for wheelchair users, but they do not have the authority to make those riders move. Drivers essentially have no authority to control the behavior of others. Additionally, while they are trained otherwise, some drivers prefer not to operate the lift and will leave passengers at the stop.
    • According to Metro policy, drivers must scan the bus stop zone for riders with obvious mobility needs. Metro provides travel-training programs for senior and disabled riders, but Carroll concedes that Metro does not do enough. Carroll emphasizes that the best way to affect change on Metro buses is for riders to report problems when they happen. He suggests directing a letter to Rick Walsh and to the Metro King County Accessibility Advisory Committee, and he will ask Operations to run a bulletin specifically addressing the wheelchair user issue.
  4. Monorail Update: Matthew Amster-Burton
    • Amster-Burton emphasized the fast pace taken by the Seattle Popular Monorail Authority (SPMA) and the importance of insuring that SPAB has a strong, obvious, and constant presence at SPMA meetings and neighborhood outreach events.
    • Station areas are pedestrian dominated, and it is therefore essential that the board get its input in as soon as possible, preferably at the 30% plans point.
    • At this point, the board will not be ready to send an advisory to the SPMA, but members should attend meetings with a list of concerns and discuss them. SPABfs focus should be on outcomes instead of funding mechanisms, and it is essential that the board closely track the project. Hoyt and Lagerwey will bring SPAB in on important points.
  5. Pedestrian Programs 2003 Budget: Pete Lagerwey
    • Lagerweyfs explanation divided the budget into two different segments: Operations, which are projects costing $75,000 or less and completed by SDOT crews; and Capital projects, which cost $75,001 or greater.
    • Within the Operations budget fall 300 curb ramps, curb bulbs and pedestrian crossings, sidewalk repair, curb revisions, and an inventory of crosswalks. Signs and markings are part of a separate budget.
    • Funding for Capital projects is combined with neighborhood street fund and cumulative reserve fund moneys. Under this umbrella come three major sidewalk projects, plus some bike related projects.
    • Sidewalk projects will find additional funding for drainage from Seattle Public Utilities if a watershed is involved; $350,000 is budgeted for Local Improvement Districts (LIDs).
    • LID-driven sidewalk projects run a risk in that they will be built in neighborhoods with single-family residences, instead of in the highest priority areas. Funding for higher-priority arterial sidewalks near transit, schools, and social service centers will come from another part of the budget.
    • Lagerwey had no comment on SPABfs draft letter on sidewalk creation, but did suggest that a letter be written requesting more money for wheelchair ramps, safe routes to schools, and sidewalk improvements including crosswalk upgrades.
  6. Recruitment: Megan Hoyt
    • Hoyt explained that SPAB needs to quickly recruit skilled people in time for March confirmation hearings. People with experience in planning and bureaucracy in other cities, neighborhood leaders, mobility-impaired residents, residents of areas with few sidewalks (southwest and north), and residents of underrepresented areas such as the south end, and others are all desirable candidates.
    • Hoyt will take recommendations for potential candidates in order to interview them by the end of January, and will send a letter in the name of the city encouraging them to apply for a position.
  7. Round Robin
    • Amster-Burton updated the board on the internal list serve and on the publicly available announcement list serve.
    • McCauley has secured a crosswalk study presentation for March.
    • Coney briefed the board on the newly introduced Alaskan Way Viaduct plan. Phasing is no longer an option; instead predictable function and cost are the focus. The four new options are:
      1. A more modest cut and cover tunnel that preserves the Battery St. tunnel
      2. Replacing the viaduct with a wider, higher, and possibly enclosed structure
      3. Bracing the existing structure
      4. A surface street option that can be implemented in case of earthquake. Capacity will not equal that of the other plans and cars will be diverted to other city streets.
      5. Ketcherside reviewed potential topics for a letter to Bob Carroll, including a request for continued enforcement, consideration for placing the kneeling buses on high wheelchair use routes, and careful assessment of policies on kneeling buses.
  8. Toronto Pedestrian Charter: Ketcherside
    • A discussion of this topic was postponed, as the Bike-Ped conference will not be until spring.
  9. Future Agenda Items: Ketcherside
    • Future topics will include the SPAB annual report, and the goals for 2003 as they relate to the 6 Steps as outlined last year.
  10. Project Tracking
    • Board members reviewed list of current transportation and other projects and considered self-assignments for tracking these.
  11. Adjourn: 8:08 PM

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