West Seattle, Washington
That time-lapse video shows road-building inside the under-construction Highway 99 tunnel, and it accompanies WSDOT’s latest update on tunneling progress. The tunneling machine is now more than 70 percent of the way along the 9,270-foot route, according to WSDOT, which included the video in this update published today. It’s the second update of the week – this one details progress at the tunnel’s “south portal.” It’s been almost a full year since tunneling resumed on December 22, 2015, two years and two weeks after the machine stalled.
7:01 PM: Avoid 35th/Holden – SPD and SFD are dealing with an “assault with weapons” response right now. More to come.
7:11 PM: Awaiting word from our crew headed to the scene, but so far we’re hearing this is reported to be a case of someone shot elsewhere and taken to Fire Station 37 (which is what’s at the address on the real-time 911 log, 7700 35th SW).
7:27 PM: At Station 37, SFD tells WSB’s Christopher Boffoli that an 18-year-old man showed up there with a gunshot wound and has been taken to Harborview. No information on his condition. Police have left FS 37 and Christopher is off to the second scene, reported to be at or near the small commercial center on the northeast corner of 35th/Roxbury.
7:52 PM: Police there were leaving but Christopher did find out they suspect the victim was NOT shot near A Pizza Mart as reported; the store’s owner told Christopher he’s been there since 11 am and there have been no disturbances, let alone shootings, nearby. Meantime, SPD tweeted that the victim’s wound is not life-threatening.
The original announcement of a removal plan for the two shelters on the west end of the south side of SW Alaska between California and 44th was made via signage that appeared on those shelters – and two NOT proposed for removal – on October 22nd; then concerns arose that the announcement, part of a Junction problem-solving plan, had been made without a chance for comment. So a comment period was opened up, until November 18th, and Metro told us at the time its decision would be made within “weeks.” Now, it’s here:
As part of an effort to address customer comfort and access to Metro bus service as well as to address non-transit use including illegal and uncivil behavior at the Alaska Junction, Metro is moving forward with the retention of two of the four oversized “double” shelters at one of the six transit bays in the area of California Avenue Southwest and Southwest Alaska Street as soon as December 20.
The decision to remove two of the shelters was finalized after several weeks of public feedback and further analysis of rider usage. With this change, the remaining two double shelters at Bay 2 will continue to provide a weather-protected area sufficient for the riders who use these facilities. Metro also provides two RapidRide shelters at Bay 1 for transit riders. The removed shelters will be reused at other bus stops that are in need of shelters, and the artwork will be relocated to bus shelters within the Junction.
Bay 2 is served by routes 50 (Alki to Othello Station) and 128 (Admiral to White Center and Southcenter). Route 50 generally operates every 20-30 minutes and Route 128 every 30 minutes. Metro staff were sent to the location to observe how riders were using the stops at different times and days. Staff observed between zero and five customers waiting for buses at any one time under normal conditions, based on recent observations during peak and off-peak hours.
Metro solicited comments between October 28 and November (18th) and received feedback from both riders and non-riders, some opposed and some supporting the change. The majority of comments opposed to the removal were based on the misconception that Metro intended to remove all shelters at this location.
The change is expected to reduce non-transportation use of Metro facilities, and to better match transit facility supply and demand.
Should road-usage charges replace gas taxes? The state is looking at the idea, and looking for volunteers to help figure it out. Here’s the announcement, just out of the WSB inbox:
Drivers will have a chance to “test drive” a proposed system that would charge them by the mile, rather than by the gallon of gas for their road usage. The Washington State Transportation Commission today approved a plan to conduct a Road Usage Charge pilot project in fall 2017 that will simulate how this system might work.
“As the fuel efficiency of vehicles increases, gas consumption decreases and this equates to a reduction in gas tax revenues over time. The gas tax serves as the major source of funding for building and maintaining our state highways and ferries,” said Commission Chairman Jerry Litt. “Under the direction of the state Legislature, the commission has been assessing a road usage charge as a possible replacement for the gas tax in the future.”
The commission’s Executive Director Reema Griffith added, “During the commission’s evaluation over the past four-plus years, we’ve determined a road usage charge is feasible and that it could produce the revenue needed for Washington’s roads well into the future.”
The commission’s next step is to test the concept with the public and see what people think of it based upon actual experience using it. Recruitment will begin in spring 2017, with up to 2,000 volunteers needed from across the state to participate in the year-long test. Individuals who want to learn more about the project and have an interest in participating can visit the Road Use Charge website at www.waroadusagecharge.org.
Pilot project participants will choose different ways to participate and report their vehicle’s mileage. Some options do not involve any technology, such as manually reporting odometer readings; others do involve technology utilizing smartphones or in-vehicle technology. Because this is a simulation, participants will not be charged for any miles driven.
A 25-member steering committee has guided this work since 2012. The steering committee includes representatives from: auto and truck manufacturers, ports, environmental groups, trucking industry, cities, public transportation, business community and state agencies. The committee also includes three transportation commissioners and eight legislators.
A key finding from the work of the steering committee is that the gas tax is becoming more and more inequitable. Under Washington state’s current gas tax system, drivers pay widely different amounts for roadway use, depending on their vehicle’s fuel efficiency; those driving older, less efficient vehicles fill up more often and therefore, pay more in taxes. This inequity is expected to grow each year as vehicle fuel efficiency continues to rise, and as more alternative fuel vehicles that don’t use gas at all come onto the market.
Currently, 14 other states are evaluating a shift from the gas-tax revenue model to a road use charge. Funding for this work stems from a $3.8 million Federal Highway Administration competitive grant received earlier this year.
Here’s the slide deck that accompanied this agenda item, on the first day of a two-day meeting for the WSTC. Tomorrow morning its topics include tolling updates, one of which will focus on the future Highway 99 tunnel (see the agenda here).
Two updates related to the city’s plans to change a Myers Way encampment from unsanctioned to sanctioned, one of three new authorized encampments announced almost two weeks ago:
CITY COUNCIL BRIEFING TOMORROW: When the council’s Human Services and Public Health Committee meets at 2 pm Wednesday (City Hall, downtown), its agenda includes an update from the city’s director of homelessness George Scarola on the interim plan that includes three “new” authorized encampments, including one on Myers Way in southeast West Seattle. Here’s the slide deck just added to the meeting agenda:
(If you can’t read it via the embedded document, here’s a direct link to it on the city website.) Two notes of local interest – one, it says the city is still talking with potential operators of the Myers Way encampment, which suggests that Camp Second Chance, which has been there without authorization since July, might not be the operator after all. Second, it mentions showers open for use at Delridge Community Center “since December 1st”; our understanding is that they’ve been available longer than that. Tomorrow’s meeting, by the way, as with most Council meetings, has a public-comment period, and will be live on Seattle Channel (cable 21, seattlechannel.org).
COMMUNITY CONCERNS: Following up on last week’s meeting at Greenbridge about news of the authorized encampment (WSB coverage here), Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council chair Amanda Kay Helmick has sent Scarola this letter voicing community concerns. We were copied and are publishing it in its entirety below: Read More
42nd Avenue SW continues to be the busiest street for West Seattle Junction redevelopment. Newly filed documents show the local developers who built Junction Flats at 4433 42nd SW have a new early-stage proposal on the same block, between SW Genesee and SW Oregon. We just found the “site plan” for 4417 42nd SW in the city Department of Construction and Inspection files. The site plan filed less than a week ago proposes a four-story building with 55 apartments and an unspecified number of underground parking spaces. The site plan shows the new building replacing what county records say are three 1930s-built houses at 4417, 4421, and 4423 42nd SW, separated from Junction Flats by a parking lot owned by the West Seattle Eagles. No formal application filed yet, but this will have to go through the Design Review process.
(Downy woodpecker – our state’s smallest woodpecker! – photographed by Mark Wangerin)
FOOD DRIVE AT SOUTHWEST POOL: As we noted on Monday, you can drop off nonperishable-food donations during pool hours and/or bring in 3 items to get discounted prices for specific swims this week. Tonight – 8:30 pm water exercise. (2801 SW Thistle)
BABY STORY TIME: 10:30 am at Southwest Library, for 4- to 12-month-olds and their parents/guardians/caregivers. (35th SW/SW Henderson)
DINE OUT FOR OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE: 2-9 pm at Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery, 10 percent of the proceeds today/tonight go to Our Lady of Guadalupe School. (4752 California SW)
COMMUNITY DIALOGUE ON SCHOOL DISCIPLINE: 6-8 pm at the Salvation Army in West Seattle, families and students are invited to this dialogue, presented by the Southwest King County Discipline Coalition, to help shape how schools in our state handle discipline. Whether you can or can’t be there, you’re also invited to take this survey. More info here. (9050 16th SW)
SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: 6:30 pm at the Sisson Building/Senior Center, it’s the meeting that had to be postponed when the city booked the big “open house” for last Wednesday. (Added) The agenda includes:
6:40 P.M. Election of 2017 Southwest District Council Officers
· Nominations for Chair and/or Co-Chairs: David Whiting, Eric Iwamoto
· Nominations for Vice Chair (see Co-Chairs)
· Nominations for Secretary: Vicki Schmitz Block
· Nominations for CNC Representative:
6:50 P.M. Discussion on changes to SWDC Bylaws
7:10 P.M. Proposed Rezone Changes
· Recap on last week’s HALA Mandatory Rezone Meeting(s) in West Seattle
· Overview of proposed changes
7:40 P.M. Southwest District Council Business
· CNC Update
· Other business
(4217 SW Oregon)
COMMUNITY MEDITATION: 7 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center: “Meditation instruction offered at the start of each evening, with tea and open discussion following group meditation for any who wish to participate.” Free. More info in our calendar listing. (4408 Delridge Way SW)
HOLIDAY CONCERT: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 12 & Warm Holiday Classics. West Seattle Community Orchestras‘ final concert of the season. “Our Intermediate Orchestra will perform familiar works by Bizet and Dvorak as well as a contemporary treatment of ‘Hatikvah,’ an Israeli traditional folk song. A special treat is the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 12, featuring the orchestra’s own piano prodigy, Vincent Pham, age 12. The Wind Symphony will follow up with classical wind ensemble pieces and holiday favorites including Leroy Anderson’s ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘A Christmas Festival’.” 7 pm, Chief Sealth International High School auditorium. FREE! (donations appreciated, of course!) (2600 SW Thistle)
CLASSIC COUNTRY: That’s what The Rolling Blackouts play, and they’re at Parliament Tavern 8-11 pm. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:48 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle so far. Also, no snow, though you might encounter some showers if you are heading north out of the city.
Today’s big traffic alert will be for the Sounders march and rally celebrating the MLS Cup victory. Here’s the SDOT alert. While it all starts at 11 am, heading from Westlake Park to Seattle Center, some road closures will start earlier, so be aware of that if you commute on the late side. The Sounders’ media advisory says: “All intersections along the main march route, which follows Fourth Avenue north from the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Pine Street before turning right on Cedar Street to continue north on Fifth Avenue to Thomas Street, will be closed to traffic beginning at 9:00 am PT.”
7:36 AM: Crash reported at Delridge and Oregon.
7:48 AM: That call was revised to Oregon and 23rd and then closed on the real-time 911 log, meaning SFD is no longer on the scene.