Update: Part of rutted Beach Drive set for repairs; lawsuit set for mediation

May 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

Heading back from checking out an unrelated story early this morning, we noticed these signs stretching along a couple blocks of Beach Drive SW immediately south of the disputed slide slope, creating a no-parking zone for “construction” later this week. Coincidentally, we had just inquired hours earlier with the City Attorney’s Office about the status of the legal fight over the slide site, and while we’re still awaiting that information, we asked SDOT if this is work related to that site. Answer: No, but it IS work to repair the rocky stretch of Beach Drive just south of there, replied spokesperson Marybeth Turner. She says the dates have changed, too – though the signs said May 9-11 when we checked them early today, according to Turner, the work is now set for next week.

2:34 PM UPDATE: We do now have that update on the legal fight over the slide-plagued slope that is now held behind a block wall (though water continues leaking onto the road, as we saw today, days after the last rain, with puddling right across from the semi-new BUMP warning sign):

The legal fight involves multiple parties that filed claims and counter-claims, including upslope homeowners, streetfront homeowners, and the city; its status isn’t available online, but City Attorney’s Office spokesperson Kimberly Mills told WSB today, “We have a mediation scheduled for the end of the month and hope the parties can resolve the issues.”

15 Comments

  1. It’s about time!!!! OMG!!! Any time I drove through that section of Beach Drive I’m thankful that I have a crossover with great suspension; but it sucks whenever I bike ride through there. It’s like mountain bike riding!

    Comment by Gregg S — 2:21 pm May 8, 2012 #

  2. The Mayor must have gotten rutted and had an accident there for this to have finally gotten notice and action. Nonetheless, it’s *VERY* welcome news, especially for those who’ve gotten into accidents there because of the pavement:

    http://westseattleblog.com/2011/09/bicycle-safety-citywide-concerns-and-a-west-seattle-crash

    Comment by Petert — 3:28 pm May 8, 2012 #

  3. My husband and I rented one of the little beach cottage’s down the long driveway in the 6000 block of Beach Drive in the 1980′s. There was never a problem with slides because there were no houses above Beach Drive on the other side of the road. The row of beach cottages were called “Spring Hill Villa” and had been there since the 1930′s, according to an older woman who lived in one of the cottages. Her mother lived in the cottage next to her.

    Comment by sc — 3:36 pm May 8, 2012 #

  4. I think there is cold weather forecast that week for hell.

    Comment by smokeycretin9 — 4:23 pm May 8, 2012 #

  5. It amazes me that they still allow two lanes of traffic in that section…the water-side lane is pretty much undrivable. Thank you SDOT for FINALLY doing something about it.

    Comment by Steve — 6:30 pm May 8, 2012 #

  6. Let’s hope that all involved finally learn how to compromise and acknowledge their responsibility to fix this mess.

    Comment by TJ — 6:32 pm May 8, 2012 #

  7. Even though it was years ago a pavement hole there nearly tossed me off my road bike and I am sure it was a contributor to the bent frame the bike eventually died from. I hope they can fix it because as a geologist that section of road looks bad to me…more than one slide in that stretch.

    Comment by JayDee — 6:39 pm May 8, 2012 #

  8. The City promotes Beach Drive for both vehicles and bikes as a scenic drive/ride. Yet the condition of the road is outrageous and dangerous. Even though house prices have fallen, our property taxes continue to go up along this street but the City cannot even make it safe.

    Comment by Mark — 7:23 pm May 8, 2012 #

  9. I blew a bike tire on those ruts a year and a half ago, while 4 months pregnant. was my last bike ride for a while…

    Comment by lina — 7:53 pm May 8, 2012 #

  10. Why did they approve those mega houses above the slide area? The hill clearly can not support the weight. When you remove trees the hill will slide, Geology 101. Their need to build and need for a view view created this mess. I personally drive in the middle of that road, very slowly to avoid oncoming traffic, but glad they are going to try and fix it. It probably won’t hold, and will be bumpy in 2 years. Thanks for the temporary fix though. haven’t biked on it in a long time and look forward to this. Please take your time repairing it so you do it right! Could you place a drain under it at the north end so when the run off freezes it doesn’t create an ice rink?

    Comment by christina — 11:55 am May 9, 2012 #

  11. Christina, you are absolutely right. I have been running along that street for years, before that huge hilltop house was built, and when there were plenty of large trees, bushes, etc. I can’t remember when the road was this bad or there was such a problem with ice and large amounts of water runoff. Seems to me that logically, the builders of the house and whoever cut those trees down (same people?) are to blame for the marked increase in road damage and water runoff.

    Comment by JN — 12:40 pm May 9, 2012 #

  12. I am so with you! Seriously, the ground moves, and it moves downhill, always. Seattle is wet, it rains, and under the best of circumstances there are slides. So when you completely clear-cut a very steep slope and leave little or no vegetation to absorb the rain and stabilize the ground, you are shocked and upset that your giant house starts to shift and the road begins to buckle? Geology, physics, and nature will win every time.

    Comment by Jeri — 1:54 pm May 9, 2012 #

  13. Christina, I’m with you at being outraged over the condition of the road in that stretch impacted by the slide. My guess is that it isn’t the houses per se that are the problem – almost certainly they are built on pilings that go much deeper than the surficial slide material. But the idiots (I use the term deliberately) who cut the trees and removed vegetation to improve their water view have inconvenienced and endangered downhill property owners and motorists/bicyclists alike.

    I hope those responsible end up paying for all of this.

    Comment by WS commuter — 2:01 pm May 9, 2012 #

  14. Part of the solution should absolutely involve replanting that hillside at the upslope homeowner’s expense for all the damage they’ve done.

    Comment by TJ — 7:28 am May 10, 2012 #

  15. They probably aren’t replanting because they’re still denying responsibility in the lawsuit.

    And that area has been sliding for as long as it’s existed. It’s just how it goes. The clearcut definitely made things worse, but you’ll see plenty of evidence of previous slides/slumps/creep/movement in the past 1-200 years or so if you know what to look for.

    Comment by Derek — 9:06 pm May 11, 2012 #

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