West Seattle Blog... » Elliott Bay Water Taxi http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 22:37:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 P.S. – it’s not the Elliott Bay Water Taxi any more http://westseattleblog.com/2009/03/ps-its-not-the-elliott-bay-water-taxi-any-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/03/ps-its-not-the-elliott-bay-water-taxi-any-more/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2009 01:24:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=15098 **NOTE – SINCE THE SERVICE’S NAME HAS CHANGED, STORIES NEWER THAN THIS ONE ARE CATALOGUED IN OUR “KING COUNTY WATER TAXI” CATEGORY, HERE**

Since our Water Taxi update this morning, its website has been updated with all of this year’s information, including schedules – and you’ll notice one big thing: It’s not the Elliott Bay Water Taxi any more; it’s the King County Water Taxi. Online info starts here; note that the KCWT will now run till late evening 7 nights a week, among other changes.

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A few more details on Elliott Bay Water Taxi’s April 5th kickoff http://westseattleblog.com/2009/03/more-details-on-elliott-bay-water-taxis-april-5th-kickoff/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/03/more-details-on-elliott-bay-water-taxis-april-5th-kickoff/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2009 18:15:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=15089 A month after first word that the Elliott Bay Water Taxi‘s new season will start April 5th (WSB coverage here), a few more Day 1 details just arrived – along with a coupon – so watch your mailbox. As has become traditional on the season’s first day, you’ll be able to ride the Water Taxi free all day on April 5; the kickoff festivities will happen at Seacrest from noon-2 pm. And for use after Day 1, clip the coupon that’s part of a postal-mailed postcard sent by King County Council Chair Dow Constantine (ours just arrived).

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Parks Board in West Seattle: Golf plan, Water Taxi dock, more http://westseattleblog.com/2009/03/parks-board-in-west-seattle-golf-plan-water-taxi-dock-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/03/parks-board-in-west-seattle-golf-plan-water-taxi-dock-more/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2009 09:26:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=14935

The city Board of Park Commissioners – the Parks Board, for short, whose chair Jackie Ramels and vice chair Neal Adams are both from West Seattle – took a field trip Thursday night to meet at the West Seattle Golf Course clubhouse instead of their usual digs at Parks HQ on the north end of downtown. The meeting was preceded by even more of a jaunt – they visited two of the locations to be discussed in the night’s business, Seacrest Pier and the Golf Course itself. Seacrest is before the board because Parks has to sign off on the King County Ferry District plan to fix up the Seacrest dock to facilitate year-round Elliott Bay Water Taxi operation starting next year (this year’s season starts April 5); the proposal is detailed here, and in our coverage of an informational meeting in Alki. Board member John Barber said he had some questions about the use of parks land for nonpark use, given a past ballot measure guaranteeing park uses for park land; city staff will review this, but noted that this extended use of Seacrest is only expected to last three to five years, while the county continues working to find a permanent home for the Water Taxi. Former port commissioner and nearby-park namesake Jack Block spoke in support of the Seacrest dock improvements, even though he cautioned that the long-term solution must be found elsewhere (a proposal for a terminal adjacent to Jack Block Park has long been floated); the board vote on this happens in two weeks. Next, the Golf Master Plan; tonight’s review focused on the money aspect. Two competing proposals are under consideration — one costs $30 million and would pay for all recommended upgrades at all city golf courses. The other costs $20 million and prioritizes key work. Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher told the board that staffers are learning toward #2 given the rough economic times — when things get better, the department could go on to complete the remaining $10 million work. Raising the money is the challenge; Gallagher said the city can finance $20 million in improvements without raising green fees, but not $30 million. Following tonight’s discussion, a public hearing on the Golf Master Plan is set for the April 9 Parks Board meeting, and a board vote on April 23.

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Happening today/tonight: Plants, pets, prosecutor, parks http://westseattleblog.com/2009/02/happening-todaytonight-plants-pets-prosecutor-parks/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/02/happening-todaytonight-plants-pets-prosecutor-parks/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2009 13:31:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=14527 PLANT SALE: It’s happening at South Seattle Community College, 11 am – 3 pm. Nursery (North Lot entrance), promising “blowout prices.”

PET ADOPTIONS ON WHEELS: The big yellow MaxMobile is due back in West Seattle to offer mobile pet adoptions at Pet Pros in Westwood Village, noon-3 pm (more info here).

PROSECUTOR IN WEST SEATTLE: Got questions about what happens to criminals AFTER police arrest them? King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg is the scheduled guest at the South Delridge/White Center Community Safety Coalition at St. James Place tonight, 9421 18th SW (map), 6 pm (free dinner!).

PARK BRIEFINGS: The Seattle Parks Board hears a briefing on Seacrest dock improvements to facilitate year-round Elliott Bay Water Taxi service as well as briefing on possible changes to park operating hours, parks HQ downtown at 7 pm.

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Parks “briefing” online for year-round Elliott Bay Water Taxi plan http://westseattleblog.com/2009/02/parks-briefing-online-for-year-round-elliott-bay-water-taxi-plan/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/02/parks-briefing-online-for-year-round-elliott-bay-water-taxi-plan/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2009 05:42:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=14445 As reported here a few days ago, this Thursday, the city Parks Board will get a briefing about the proposal to run the Elliott Bay Water Taxi year-round from Seacrest “temporarily,” till its permanent home is found. This is the next step toward final Parks approval of the plan, which then would enable county-funded dock improvements to be built later this year, to be in place for year-round operations to start in early 2010. The “briefing paper” that will be presented to the board is available online now; it says Parks staff recommends approval of the plan, and recaps “overwhelmingly supportive” reaction at the Alki Community Center open house last month (WSB coverage here), while mentioning a few more points:
*Final decision expected from the King County Ferry District by the end of June
*Project then would go out to bid in July
*Construction should be done sometime in December
*Divers’ ongoing concerns about Seacrest will be addressed – the briefing paper says:

Some divers would like to see mitigation at the park for increasing water-taxi service at the site. They have always had safety concerns about the shared use at this site, but we are anticipating that the improved dock configuration will be much safer for the divers as it moves the water taxi boat further from the diving area. A group of divers is going to work with King County Councilmember Dow Constantine on assistance in providing some amenities for divers at the site. In the past few years, a diver shower and safety buoys have been added as mitigation at Seacrest.

Public comment is not scheduled to be taken on this item at Thursday’s Park Board meeting (7 pm, parks HQ downtown); a public hearing is set for March 12, with a vote on March 26, and Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher getting the final say after that. Side note: This week’s Parks Board agenda has another item likely to be of wide West Seattle interest — a proposal for changing parks’ operating hours — that “briefing paper” is online now too, and we’ll write about it shortly. (Side note in another direction: While checking links for this item, discovered the King County Ferry District has a “blog” site now, and it was running a web poll asking what you think county-run passenger-ferry service should be called — Water Taxi? Water Bus? Foot Ferry? Passenger Ferry? The poll appears to be closed as of this writing, though.)

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Next steps set for Elliott Bay Water Taxi dock-upgrade approval http://westseattleblog.com/2009/02/next-steps-set-for-elliott-bay-water-taxi-dock-upgrade-approval/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/02/next-steps-set-for-elliott-bay-water-taxi-dock-upgrade-approval/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2009 04:49:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=14356 The next steps are set for the Parks Department to sign off on upgrading the Elliott Bay Water Taxi‘s dock at Seacrest (as discussed at the Alki Community Center meeting a month ago) , to prepare for year-round operation to start early next year: First, the city Parks Board (chaired by Alki’s Jackie Ramels) will be briefed at its next meeting, Feb. 26. Then the board plans a public hearing on March 12th – and it will meet in West Seattle for the occasion; that meeting’s set for the WS Golf Course. Two weeks after that, March 26th, the Parks Board will make its recommendation, and the final say goes to Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher. If you don’t expect to be able to make it to the March 12th meeting, by the way, the department offers other ways to have a say:

E-mail: send to Sandy Brooks at sandy.brooks@seattle.gov. E-mails are forwarded as soon as possible after receipt. Deadline is 5:00 pm, Tuesday, March 24.

Fax: send “Attention: Sandy Brooks” at 206-233-7023

U.S. mail/hand-delivered: send to Sandy Brooks at 100 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109-5199, or drop off at the front desk at 100 Dexter Ave N. Deadline is Thursday, March 19, to allow time for copying and mailing.

As first reported here last week, the Water Taxi’s start date this year is planned for April 5.

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Elliott Bay Water Taxi start date set: April 5 http://westseattleblog.com/2009/02/elliott-bay-water-taxi-start-date-set-april-5/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/02/elliott-bay-water-taxi-start-date-set-april-5/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2009 16:21:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=14214 wttuesday.jpgKing County Council Chair Dow Constantine told yesterday’s West Seattle Chamber of Commerce lunch that the Elliott Bay Water Taxi would start its season about a month earlier this year than last year; he didn’t mention a date but when we caught up with him at last night’s 34th District Democrats meeting, we followed up, and now have the date to share with you: Sunday, April 5th. (Last year, it kicked off on April 27th; the EBWT’s future year-round operation is scheduled to start next year.)

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Details: New dock, new boat when Water Taxi goes year-round http://westseattleblog.com/2009/01/details-new-boat-new-dock-when-water-taxi-goes-year-round/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/01/details-new-boat-new-dock-when-water-taxi-goes-year-round/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2009 11:44:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=13564

If all goes as currently planned, the Elliott Bay Water Taxis long-anticipated year-round operation will start a little more than a year from now. But first, some improvements – including a new dock and gangway worth about $2 million at Seacrest, in the configuration above, displayed Thursday night at Alki Community Center during a public meeting about the proposal. The gangway will be 80 feet long and 10 feet wide, to accommodate people walking in both directions, which doesn’t work well on the current 6-foot-wide gangway. The new dock will extend past the end of the fishing pier, and then join with a 75-foot-long north-south section where the boat will tie up, keeping it further away from divers. The meeting brought other updates about the foot ferry’s future — read on:

Though the meeting was supposed to focus on the dock proposal, other Water Taxi updates were provided by West Seattle’s County Councilmember Dow Constantine – who now chairs the council as well as the board of the King County Ferry District, which runs the EBWT and the Vashon foot ferry. He also took audience questions:

Major updates: Constantine said he’s trying to get talks going again regarding the Pier 1/2 proposal (past WSB coverage here) for the Water Taxi’s permanent home. He said he met this week with Seattle Port Commission President Bill Bryant to try to brainstorm “how to get a conversation going between all the parties involved” — but, he cautioned, that means a LOT of “parties” – the county, Ferry District, Port of Seattle, City of Seattle, federal government, tribes, “and very likely private investors all have to get on the same page in a complicated transaction which is not the kind of thing that’s easy to get done in the depths of the worst recession we’ve seen in decades.”

Also, in response to an audience question, he said plans were continuing to move ahead for the Ferry District to lease a boat for the Water Taxi, so that by the time it goes year-round in early 2010, it doesn’t have to keep running the slower Sightseer that’s been on the run for a few years (replacing an even-smaller boat):

watertaximidday.jpg

(WSB photo of Sightseer at Seacrest, 2007)
Eventually, according to Constantine, the goal is a brand-new boat: “Our plan ultimately is to commission a boat for this run, and Vashon, something better suited, low wake, low emission, fuel efficient, stable with the kind of amenities we want on board for passengers.”

As for the timetable for next year’s launch of year-round service: This fall, service may stop sooner than usual – September is what’s tentatively planned – so there are a few months open for the dock construction. The actual on-site construction is only supposed to take about two weeks, likely in December, since the dock itself — which also includes a section more conducive to kayak use, important given that Alki Kayak Tours is based at Seacrest — will be built somewhere else; the project is expected to go to bid this July. They haven’t decided when the year-round service then would start up — depends on a variety of factors including expected ridership.

Another big piece of the puzzle for the Water Taxi’s future: How to get to it. For one, there’s the parking picture. Consulting firm KPG will be surveying parking around the area quarterly for the next three years; KPG’s Richard Hutchinson explains they’ll start “this quarter,” checking the area at all times of the day (as early as 5 am), and tracking license plates to see who’s parking where and for how long. As baseline information for the study, they have done an inventory on area parking: 392 spaces within “half a mile walking distance” of Seacrest, another 291 along Harbor Ave to The Bridge beyond the half-mile mark, 25 two-hour-max spaces at Seacrest, 100 four-hour-max spaces at Don Armeni, and other variables such as the Bronson “street end” and the Spokane Street park/ride area.

Another transportation issue, brought up in the Q and A section before the meeting broke back up into informal open-house circulation and conversation: The Water Taxi Shuttle buses. Said Constantine, “We’ve been spending a lot of time talking about how to make the dock more accessible to a larger part of the community by coordinating the shuttle sand what little Metro bus service there is on Alki.” His chief of staff Chris Arkills said they’re also tossing around ideas for improving the shuttle’s routing — “maybe a shuttle down Fauntleroy to Morgan Junction,” he said (the shuttle did go that far for a while in the ’90s), or, “there’s also a lot of excess capacity in the Park-and-Ride under the West Seattle Bridge – maybe use the shuttle to access that parking.” Constantine added that access from Delridge and Pigeon Point is a concern too.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners (chaired by Alki’s Jackie Ramels) will have to vote on the dock changes; three city meetings are ahead, including a public hearing in March.

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Quick update on tonight’s 2 big West Seattle meetings http://westseattleblog.com/2009/01/quick-update-on-tonights-2-big-west-seattle-meetings/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/01/quick-update-on-tonights-2-big-west-seattle-meetings/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2009 03:12:35 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=13553 At the mayor’s open house: About 50 people there (Southwest Community Center in Westwood) as of 7 o’clock. No formal presentation, the mayor really is just working the crowd, with a variety of other high-level city staffers there (including SDOT director Grace Crunican and deputy mayor Tim Ceis, both of whom are also West Seattleites). At the Water Taxi dock open house: Also about 50 people (Alki Community Center) as of this writing, including County Council Chair Dow Constantine. Easels are set up displaying the changes planned for the Seacrest dock, which will stretch it out beyond the existing “L” shape, to a “T” that would be perpendicular to the end of the current fishing pier; there’s also information about an upcoming study of parking in the area. A formal presentation is about to be made. 8:44 PM NOTE: We’ll be publishing separate stories on both events – which are now over.

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One more meeting reminder for tonight: Water Taxi http://westseattleblog.com/2009/01/one-more-meeting-reminder-for-tonight-water-taxi/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/01/one-more-meeting-reminder-for-tonight-water-taxi/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2009 20:59:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=13544 Before too much more time slips by, we wanted to remind you once more that in addition to the mayor’s snowstorm open house, 6:30 pm at Southwest Community Center, the other major event in West Seattle tonight is the Alki Community Center meeting about Seacrest dock changes to facilitate year-round Elliott Bay Water Taxi operation. That meeting starts at 7 pm.

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Looking ahead: Major West Seattle issues on the agenda all week http://westseattleblog.com/2009/01/looking-ahead-major-west-seattle-issues-on-the-agenda-all-week/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/01/looking-ahead-major-west-seattle-issues-on-the-agenda-all-week/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2009 07:46:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=13430 Lots going on this week. This is all on the WSB West Seattle Events calendar too, in case you lose track:

MONDAY
-City Council briefing on snowstorm response, next steps: 9:30 am, City Hall (live online or on TV)
-County Council briefing on snowstorm response, 9:30 am, County Courthouse (live online or on TV)
-Denny Middle School Site Redevelopment Design Team, 7 pm, Denny Library

TUESDAY
-“Scoping meeting” for proposed West Seattle jail site, Brockey Center at SSCC, 6:30 pm
-Community meeting re: Cooper Elementary “program closure,” Cooper Library, 7 pm
-Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting with transit and parking updates, 6:30 pm, Ginomai
-Fauntleroy Community Association meeting, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy
-Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, 7 pm, Admiral Church

WEDNESDAY
-2nd Delridge Skatepark meeting, 6 pm, Youngstown Arts Center
-34th District Democrats meeting and reorganization election, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy

THURSDAY
-Mayor’s “open house” promising one-on-one chats with citizens about snowstorm response, 6:30 pm, Southwest Community Center
-City/county-led public meeting about Seacrest dock changes to facilitate year-round Elliott Bay Water Taxi, 7 pm, Alki Community Center

Again, this is not EVERYTHING that’s happening, but those are the biggest events on the radar, so far. (Know of something major we somehow missed? Please let us know — thanks!)

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Two meeting reminders circulating today: Water Taxi, skatepark http://westseattleblog.com/2008/12/two-meeting-reminders-circulating-today-water-taxi-skatepark/ http://westseattleblog.com/2008/12/two-meeting-reminders-circulating-today-water-taxi-skatepark/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2008 22:19:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=13175 We’ve told you about both of these before, but reminders are circulating today in non-Web ways, so we thought we’d point you to the basics again: First, our postal mail brought a reminder about the Delridge Skatepark public meeting January 14th (first mentioned here), 6 pm at Youngstown Arts Center – the city is proceeding with design though it doesn’t have construction money right now. Second, e-mail from the city just brought a reminder about the Elliott Bay Water Taxi/Seacrest dock improvements meeting January 15th (first mentioned here), 7 pm (with 7:30 pm presentation) at Alki Community Center.

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One more Elliott Bay Water Taxi note: Final, final numbers http://westseattleblog.com/2008/11/one-more-elliott-bay-water-taxi-note-final-final-numbers/ http://westseattleblog.com/2008/11/one-more-elliott-bay-water-taxi-note-final-final-numbers/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2008 00:25:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=11978 wttuesday.jpgFor fellow numbers fans — Just got the final, FINAL Elliott Bay Water Taxi ridership numbers from County Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s office, one day after the King County Ferry District budget won approval (WSB coverage here), furthering the process of moving the WT toward year-round status starting in early 2010. The “unofficial” year-end numbers on the season’s last day put ridership at 182,000 – but the final number is actually 182,904 – almost 183,000 – with a daily average of almost 1,000 (973, to be specific). Next year’s season is due to start up again in April; before then, be sure your calendar is marked for the January 15th public meeting at Alki Community Center (7 pm) to find out about the Water Taxi’s future, including improvements at Seacrest to make that dock work till its permanent home is eventually found.

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More details on Water Taxi/Ferry District approval vote http://westseattleblog.com/2008/11/more-details-on-water-taxiferry-district-approval-vote/ http://westseattleblog.com/2008/11/more-details-on-water-taxiferry-district-approval-vote/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2008 23:22:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=11957 Just one of those government-news-laden days. As promised in our previous report, here’s the official King County Ferry District news release about its $19 million 2009 budget getting unanimous approval at midday today:

The King County Ferry District Board of Supervisors today approved a 2009 budget and work plan that ensures that Vashon Island passenger ferry service will continue and keeps the Elliott Bay Water Taxi on schedule to move to year-round service in 2010.

“I’m pleased this budget will maintain our successful existing service to West Seattle and Vashon Island and will fund the needed upgrades to the Seacrest Park dock to allow for year-round Water Taxi service,” said Board member Dow Constantine.

The Water Taxi carried more than 182,000 riders between West Seattle and downtown this summer, representing a 70 percent increase in ridership over the past three years. The Ferry District also assumed funding of the Vashon Island-to-downtown passenger ferry route this year from the state of Washington.

“We were able to reduce the Ferry District’s effective tax rate, to ensure that existing service is maintained, and to continue our planning process for future demonstration routes,” said Constantine. “Through our actions today, we have charted a prudent course for moving forward with expanded passenger ferry service in King County.”

Board members lowered the average tax bill for district residents by electing to bypass both the allowed annual 1 percent levy increase and the increase for new construction value. Almost three-quarters of 2009 funding will also be held in reserve pending the creation of detailed work plans on proposed demonstration passenger ferry routes by the King County Department of Transportation’s Marine Division.

Under the approved budget, the Ferry District will replace the existing ramp and float at Seacrest Park to allow for year-round Water Taxi service in 2010.

As re-mentioned earlier, a January 15 meeting at Alki Community Center will be your chance to get a closer look at the proposed Seacrest improvements. The search for the Water Taxi’s long-term permanent terminal continues.

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Update: King County Ferry District budget passes, no tax hike http://westseattleblog.com/2008/11/king-county-ferry-district-meeting-under-way-now/ http://westseattleblog.com/2008/11/king-county-ferry-district-meeting-under-way-now/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2008 19:15:42 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=11949 ORIGINAL 11:15 AM POST: Just started in the King County Council chambers. Live on cable channel 22 (and online). This is where they are to vote on approving the budget for, and reauthorizing the property-tax levy to run, the King County Ferry District, parent agency of the Elliott Bay Water Taxi (and Seattle-Vashon passenger ferry). 11:34 AM UPDATE: The Ferry District’s $19 million budget for next year has just passed – with councilmembers (sitting as Ferry District directors) noting that it’s reduced from the original plan, because it will include the same levy level as this year, instead of seeking the one percent increase allowable by state law. Adding a few more details shortly. 12:01 PM UPDATE: A full news release is expected shortly, at which time we’ll post separately. In the short run – King County Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s staff explains the tax-rate decision actually means a reduction from this year: The total amount to be collected is the same as last year, so with an increased amount of taxpayers, that means a small drop in the rate. Water Taxi fares will stay the same as this year, and the budget includes more than $2 million for dock improvements at Seacrest (which may not wind up costing that much), which will be discussed in the January 15th public meeting we first reported here a week ago.

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