Freeway Fright ’07, we hardly knew ye

August 24, 2007 at 7:01 am | In Freeway Fright '07 | 9 Comments

i5logo6.jpgThis is it … the final weekday morning of the I-5 work that once swamped us in speculation that West Seattle would be cut off from the rest of the known world. The state still promises it’ll all be over by this time tomorrow; all we’ll have to show for it is a slightly smoother drive on part of 5, and the knowledge we are flexible enough to try alternative means of commuting when we absolutely have to. Next up: “Early work” to shore up part of The Viaduct, though the state’s latest handout materials (page 5) promise that won’t involve lane closures.

Tuesday: Happening today & tonight

August 21, 2007 at 5:53 am | In Crime, Freeway Fright '07, How to help, West Seattle politics | Comments Off

i5logo5.jpgFREEWAY FRIGHT ’07, FOURTH-TO-LAST WEEKDAY: The I-5 work crews have reached a milestone. (Maybe we’re just punchy; we childishly giggled at the text clump toward the end of that WSDOT page’s full web address: Crewsfinishjoints …) Now they’ve just got some more paving to do — weather permitting. Only two lanes open till they’re done. To check the live cams before your commute, go here.

flagforicon.jpgPRIMARY ELECTION ’07, 7 AM-8 PM FOR IN-PERSON VOTERS: On the ballot you will see City Council races, Port Commission races, the School Board District 6 race, a smattering of county contests, and 2 park levies. All the info you could possibly want, even video voters’ guides, can be found from the list of links here. (We’ll have links to results here tonight.)

HELP FIGHT, AND PREVENT, CRIME, 7 PM TONIGHT: Everyone’s invited to tonight’s meeting of the West Seattle Community Safety Partnership, 7-8:30 pm @ the SW Precinct. Main topic: Protecting your home from burglary. You’ll also hear updates on recent area crime, and neighborhood reports.

Freeway Fright ’07: Commute report

August 20, 2007 at 7:56 am | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | Comments Off

17 minutes from the top of The Bridge at Fauntleroy, to the end of The Viaduct (just before the Battery Street Tunnel). The Admiral and Delridge onramps looked somewhat crunchier than usual, however. (Also, the city traffic cameras are back online.)

Freeway Fright ’07: Five mornings left

August 20, 2007 at 5:49 am | In Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 1 Comment

On the good side, we soon won’t have to worry any more about I-5 (and ripple effects); bad side, the added early Water Taxi run will end when the project does. The folks who unveiled the Pier 2 dock/terminal proposal last week sent along this photo of the WT’s biggest line on its biggest day (today’s commute info continues below) …

wtlinelastmon.jpg

This week is still prime time because I-5 is down to two lanes north of the WS Bridge until the work is done; that made things crunchier last Friday morning and today’s rain won’t make it any better. (Also note the bridge ramp to NB 5 will be closed overnight for the next few nights.) Meantime, here are a few relevant “live” cameras (refresh this page for the newest picture, or click on the images to go to the cameras’ “home” pages); as of this writing, the Seattle city website has been out of commission since late last night, so we won’t link those cameras here; check our permanent cams page to see if they’re back. (Left to right below, three state cams: I-5 @ Spokane just before the construction zone, I-5 @ Holgate through the construction zone, Highway 99 on the southeast side of WS)

Freeway Fright ’07 & beyond: Transportation tidbits

August 19, 2007 at 2:09 am | In Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | Comments Off

i5logo4.jpg1 more week or so to go till we can stop hearing about I-5, for better or for worse, for now. Remember, the WS Bridge ramp to NB 5 is closed this weekend, like last weekend. Other WSDOT updates are here. Meantime, some related notes to share:

watertaximidday2.jpg-On the citizen-group proposal for a new Water Taxi dock/terminal, one of the group’s leaders, Vlad Oustimovitch, posted a comment that you might have missed (scroll down on this post), answering some of the questions about the plan, which also got some exposure at the Seattle Weekly blog, Daily Weekly.

SCENIC_Alaskan_Way_AWV.jpg-Hey, what ever happened to the dithering over the future of The Viaduct? The Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Project for Regional Development is suggesting a new tunnel idea — under downtown. (Whatever the case, this page seems to suggest WSDOT believes The Viaduct will be coming down in 2012. Its next public meeting about The Viaduct’s future is next Wednesday in Pioneer Square.)

-Catching up with the 83 sites on our Other Blogs In WS page, we came across a few people’s I-5 tales: Esprit de l’escalier wrote about the Chicken Little-ness of it all, Mountain Songs says even her bus was early, 1000 year headache recounts his first week of FF ’07.

-Last but not least, some cruise-ship passengers missed their boat on Saturday, and Freeway Fright ’07 is fingered as the possible cause.

Freeway Fright ’07: Beware the drive home

August 17, 2007 at 3:49 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | Comments Off

i5logo3.jpgBy all accounts, things are uglier out there than even the usual sunny “let’s get out of here and get the weekend started” Friday afternoon. And there’s a Mariners game tonight, to boot, which usually bodes badly for the southbound Viaduct. Here’s the latest from WSDOT; if you want to check our group of relevant-to-WS live cams, all six are now at the top of our West Seattle Cams page. Drive safely!

Freeway Fright ’07: 2-lane Friday

August 17, 2007 at 2:54 am | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 1 Comment

WSDOT made the overnight switch, which means 2 NB lanes on I-5 as of this morning. Click ahead for live cams; we’re keeping them off the front page because we’ll be talking a lot about the big fire: Click to read the rest of Freeway Fright ’07: 2-lane Friday…

Freeway Fright ’07: Tomorrow could be tough. Really.

August 16, 2007 at 9:03 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | Comments Off

WSDOT says really, they mean it, they’re closing that extra lane tonight and only two lanes will be open through The Construction Zone tomorrow morning. Here’s their diagram of how everything will be configured, tomorrow and beyond.

Freeway Fright ’07: No commentary, just the cams

August 16, 2007 at 6:03 am | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 10 Comments

This morning, we’re trying alternative transportation, so no commute commentary, don’t everyone boo all together. But here are those six live cams again, with a few random notes below …

(l to r below: latest from cams over WS Bridge midspan looking east, WS Br. I-5 ramps, I-5 @ Spokane Street in whichever direction WSDOT chooses to point it)

(l to r below: latest from cams looking east @ Low Bridge approach, Alaskan Way @ Washington, 99 @ 1st Avenue S bridge)

RANDOM NOTES: Came across one more goofy term last night for what this traffic situation has NOT become (so far); to Commutastrophe and Carpocalypse, add “Carmageddon” … Found this about 12 hours too late to share with anyone who might not have already known … If you’re looking for more commute info besides the cams above, remember the WSDOT update page … Later this morning, after our alternative-transportation test, we’ll post more info on the water taxi dock proposal announcement made last night, including a link to something the project proponents drew up showing what it would look like.

Freeway Fright ’07: Change in plans for Thursday morning

August 15, 2007 at 11:26 pm | In Freeway Fright '07 | Comments Off

WSDOT has now decided not to move to the next “phase” of the project until Thursday night. That means “only” two lanes of I-5 will be closed Thursday morning, instead of three. But they still say they are on track to finish the whole thing by Saturday morning 8/25.

Freeway Fright ’07: They’ll be done sooner

August 15, 2007 at 12:12 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 3 Comments

Big news from WSDOT: The project is 5 days ahead of schedule and should be done by the end of next week. REMINDER: Tonight the WS Bridge onramp to NB I-5 will be closed, 10 pm-5 am. It’s supposed to reopen before tomorrow’s commute.

Freeway Fright ’07: Wednesday morning commute updates

August 15, 2007 at 8:49 am | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 17 Comments

First, those 6 live cameras (refresh this page any time for the latest images and info); scroll down to see frequent commute updates below them:

(l to r below: latest from cams over WS Bridge midspan looking east, WS Br. I-5 ramps, I-5 @ Spokane Street in whichever direction WSDOT chooses to point it)


(l to r below: latest from cams looking east @ Low Bridge approach, Alaskan Way @ Washington, 99 @ 1st Avenue S bridge)

6:15 AM: Here we go, one more time. Our WSDOT pal Erin is doing a live radio interview and saying more cars are out there … and also says the project could switch over by tomorrow morning to three lanes closed. She says commuter complacency could be a “recipe for disaster.”

6:19 AM: The WSDOT update just posted here says, “It’s taking drivers approximately seven minutes to get from Albro to Holgate. This is twice the time it usually takes, and a direct result of the increased volumes this morning.” Could this morning finally bring the feared Commutastrophe?

6:25 AM: Bridge cams show a little bit of thickening. Bridge ramp to I-5 looks OK, though. Browsing our bookmarks, we arrive at a historic WS photo; imagine commuting in one of these.

6:35 AM: Not too bad past the construction zone. TV traffic report echoes what WSDOT’s Erin said earlier – might as well start worrying about tomorrow and the potential additional lane closure already.

6:40 AM: Times I-5 blog hasn’t updated since 3:46 pm yesterday, at which time they mentioned the Water Taxi “mobile farebox” Dow C’s people told us all about on Monday, as well as interesting bus numbers. As for today’s traffic — TV says The Viaduct looks great, even as I-5 continues to bog down (10 mph past construction zone).

6:47 AM: Those radio people are getting complacent too. They just spent three minutes interviewing somebody from this “geek dating” website. Although as geeks, we might be interested if we weren’t happily coupled. On the traffic front, sounds like 405 is again the place to avoid. On our bridge, the viaduct exit looks a little busy, but not horrifically backed up yet.

6:51 AM: Southbound I-5 could be a problem – stalled car reported at Spokane Street.

6:57 AM: Latest travel-time report, “an extra five or six minutes to get through the construction zone.” WS Bridge continues looking good. Crystal-clear sky again today, don’t forget the shades, whichever commute method you’re using.

7:01 AM: A traffic reporter used a scary phrase … “pretty darn slow.” WS Bridge drivers appear to be behaving, however.

7:10 AM: WSDOT says 1.5-mile backup on NB I-5 through construction zone, to Albro. If you’re joining the freeway from the WS Bridge, things still aren’t too bad … the left lane is even open just past the Viaduct exit.

7:14 AM: 99 heading northbound past the South Park exit looks pretty jammed. 99 at Michigan too.

7:20 AM: TV traffic reporter says 99 is still moving better than I-5, where the “construction zone” backup is now described as about 11 mins. On camera patrol, 1st/Marginal looks busy, not bad coming over the S. Park bridge.

7:28 AM: I-5 construction zone now declared “stop and go.” WS spots continue looking light – check out Fauntleroy/Alaska, often clog city by now, not today.

7:33 AM: Bridge offramp to The Viaduct now in its customary backup. WSDOT people back on the radio warning again about tomorrow — yet another lane may be closed at 5 — weather is supposed to be worse too — if you tried evasive action this past Monday, tomorrow’s the day to try it again.

7:40 AM: Cringe, the I-5 construction zone does look choked. Bridge exit to Viaduct does too.

7:46 AM: The Bridge is starting to look a little ugly heading toward I-5 as well as toward 99.

7:52 AM: As a distraction from commute angst, here’s the best clip ever from the old local comedy show “Almost Live” — the “Ballard Driving Academy.” Had to find it after the Big Blog started a thread about “Almost Live,” which is what taught us about neighborhood quirks (some of which don’t even apply any more) when we moved here in the early ’90s.

7:56 AM: Here’s a wide-open road … Alaskan Way. You could take the low bridge as an alternative; its approach looks good.

8:01 AM: WSDOT has switched the Holgate (construction zone) cam to look head-on at approaching drivers. A little closer and you could probably see faces. Scowling, most likely. Good news for West Seattle — our bridge looks better.

8:08 AM: Radio traffic report says there’s a stalled vehicle in the construction zone on NB 5. Meantime, we’re sending the WSB road crew to see how the Water Taxi looks for the morning’s last run.

8:13 AM: Bridge, nice. I-5, improving. Have we bottomed out for the day? Is going to work early (and ostensibly going home early … to enjoy the summer evening) the antidote to Commutastrophe?

8:17 AM: Our original radio choice is now wasting time on another non-traffic topic so we are switching. The other alternative reports that First and Fourth are a little slower than usual but nothing horrific. Cam at 3rd/Lander a little busy, however.

8:25 AM: Bridge ramp to I-5, no problem. WSDOT says that stall in the construction zone has been “cleared.” (Sounds ominous. Dematerialization beam, perhaps.) Road crew says the Water Taxi dock looks “deserted,” with one run left to go for the morning. Photo shortly.

8:30 AM: Both bridge views admirably clear. I-5 doing OK south of the city; here’s the view from Albro.

8:36 AM: Our new radio choice says it’s staying in touch with a cabbie. No specifics on his commute except that he is following alternative routes and avoiding backups. Bridge watch: Thumbs-up. I-5 ramp watch: Same.

8:49 AM: Last check. The Bridge is slightly busier (people going in late?). Commutastrophe averted for another day. But beware that additional lane closure tomorrow. Before we go, here’s the WSB road crew photo from Seacrest, where a flock of Water Taxi shuttles was sighted (though few passengers in view):

watertaxishuttles.jpg

Freeway Fright ’07: Complacent commuters, beaucoup bicyclists

August 14, 2007 at 10:51 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 3 Comments

I-5 Construction Weekday 1, dreamy … Weekday 2, almost a rerun … but tonight, WSDOT sounds the alarm that Weekday 3 could be Nightmare On Spokane Street (and 1st, and Marginal, and 4th, and so on), noting chidingly that afternoon traffic volume today was up 10% in some spots from yesterday. So, we’ll be up early again Wednesday to commuteblog at least one more time. Meanwhile, not all increases are bad news … finally found anecdotal quantification of what we thought we were seeing, more bicyclists. (Photo below shows one @ 35th/Avalon this am.)

bicyclist35thavalon.jpg

Freeway Fright ’07: Tuesday morning commute updates

August 14, 2007 at 8:44 am | In Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 15 Comments

Again this morning, here are 6 live cameras (refresh this page any time for the latest images and info), and commute updates below them:

(l to r below: latest from cams over WS Bridge midspan looking east, WS Br. I-5 ramps, I-5 @ Spokane Street in whichever direction WSDOT chooses to point it)


(l to r below: latest from cams looking east @ Low Bridge approach, Alaskan Way @ Washington, 99 @ 1st Avenue S bridge)

6:04 AM: WSDOT says the work is one-fourth done. And it’s sharing good news for people who travel through Renton: the Rainier Avenue South work there is finished, two days ahead of schedule. As for the freeways — ground and chopper shots show smooth sailing again in the early going.

6:11 AM: Uh-oh, more cars in the construction zone, according to the I-5/Holgate cam.

6:18 AM: South of there, the I-5/Spokane cam looks more jammed too, though chopper crews are describing it as “three extra minutes,” so no panic yet.

6:26 AM: Viaduct still in good shape. WSDOT says the construction zone is now backed up “about a mile” and notes that some drivers are “confused about the traffic split between the right lane and the other two through lanes. Drivers can use the right lane to stay on northbound I-5.”

6:34 AM: Drivers on our side appear to be heeding the “don’t go back to your old ways yet” pleas. Bridge moving well. So is the ramp to NB 5.

6:41 AM: DOT says traffic is moving 20 mph on NB 5 from Albro through the construction zone. The ramp to 5 from WS Bridge still good. 99 @ the 1st S bridge is described as “a little heavier than normal.”

6:46 AM: Weird that the Times has a commute blog but no updates (as of this moment) since 6:57 last night. OK, snark aside, here’s our favorite bridge shot. The left side shows folks coming out of WS. Nice for this hour.

6:54 AM: The Viaduct exit on The Bridge is now starting to look normal (aka jammed) for this time of day.

7:01 AM: Bus riders, did you know there’s an online tool to track if your bus is on time? As for the roads, Viaduct exit still backed up, things looking decent heading past there toward I-5. First report from the Water Taxi dock: Running a few minutes behind schedule – 6:50 am run left a few minutes late.

7:06 AM: Cams are watching 1st Avenue S too – so far so good. I-5 “through the construction zone” is still not bumper-to-bumper; Viaduct offramp from The Bridge looking a little better now.

7:14 AM: Still no major snarling. Southbound traffic on 1st at Marginal is a little busy; this cam also looks toward the 1st Ave S bridge. Over I-5, latest chopper reports still indicate traffic is near the speed limit. Room to breathe on the bridge at last look.

7:28 AM: Big lines for Water Taxi ‘s 7:30 run. It will be a few minutes late; the boat isn’t there yet.

7:39 AM: The bridge and other routes still in good shape.

7:54 AM: WSB Road Crew just back from checking out the 7:30 water taxi run firsthand. Photos to follow. It was going to leave at least 10 minutes behind schedule; didn’t pull in till 7:36. Meantime, no road trouble on the key routes. For our fellow south West Seattleites, Fauntleroy heading from Morgan Junction all the way to the bridge looked like a holiday or weekend when we traveled it a few minutes ago.

8:01 AM: Chopper reporters say the Viaduct (which is largely a camera-free zone) is slowing a little. Cams show the Bridge still “wide open.” Here are those Water Taxi pix; first, the boat arriving at 7:36 as mentioned above; second, the line on the dock, from quite a distance — we couldn’t park any closer than the far side of Salty’s, so this is thanks to our modest zoom. There were dozens up along the boathouse too; will be interesting to hear later how today’s numbers went.

wttuesday.jpg

wtdocktues.jpg

8:12 AM: WSB road crew is heading out to see the bridge/viaduct firsthand. Does sound like (dare we say) Commutastrophe (we also like “Carpocalypse”) has been averted for a second day.

8:44 AM: WSB road crew reports seven minutes from the Fauntleroy end of The Bridge to the Battery Street Tunnel end of The Viaduct.

Freeway Fright ’07: Water Taxi improvement for tomorrow

August 13, 2007 at 7:07 pm | In Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | Comments Off

wtcrowd.jpgAnother WT update forwarded by County Councilmember Dow C: He says the folks at Argosy came up with a “mobile farebox” to speed up fare collection, which is the part of the process that bogged down a bit this morning (with several hundred more passengers than usual). They will use the “mobile farebox” to collect fares before people even get aboard the WT; if you took the Water Taxi back to WS this evening, you may have already seen it in action.

Freeway Fright ’07: Hey! Don’t get complacent!

August 13, 2007 at 5:03 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | Comments Off

Back for an encore, our selection of six live cams (refresh this page any time for the latest images and info) before the latest info looking toward tomorrow:

(l to r below: latest from cams over WS Bridge midspan looking east, WS Br. I-5 ramps, I-5 @ Spokane Street in whichever direction WSDOT chooses to point it)


(l to r below: latest from cams looking east @ Low Bridge approach, Alaskan Way @ Washington, 99 @ 1st Avenue S bridge)

WSDOT says “thanks, but don’t go back to your old ways tomorrow” … and it’s also keeping a wary eye on tonight’s Mariners-game-added commute. In fact, from its continuously updated I-5 page right now (5 pm):

While traffic is moving well through the construction zone on northbound I-5, an accident on southbound I-5 is blocking the right lane at the end of the on-ramp from the west Seattle Bridge.  Traffic has backed up about a mile.

Freeway Fright ’07: Water Taxi, wall-to-wall

August 13, 2007 at 11:59 am | In Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 19 Comments

Photo from the office of KC Councilmember Dow Constantine (who tells WSB he too is telecommuting today, in case you wondered). This is the run that carried almost 200 people.

wtcrowd.jpg

Freeway Fright ’07: Anybody telecommuting?

August 13, 2007 at 10:33 am | In Freeway Fright '07, Seen around town | 2 Comments

We talked about it here and here. And as for West Seattle’s Most Famous Politician himself, looks like he’s keeping the promise — this just out of the WSB inbox:

Just spotted the mayor at Zatz Bagels. Guess he was serious about working from home.

Freeway Fright ’07: Round 1 goes to the Water Taxi

August 13, 2007 at 10:06 am | In Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | Comments Off

Official morning numbers just in, courtesy of West Seattle’s own King County Councilmember Dow Constantine, below this lovely view of the added 6:10 am run:

watertaxisunrise.jpg

First water-taxi run (6:10 am), 68 passengers; second, 135; third, 191; fourth, 128; fifth, 65. As we noted in our updates below, the increased volume caused the WT to fall behind schedule; Dow C says Metro told him, “We will be working with Argosy to determine any ways we can speed up this process without jeopardizing safety.”

Freeway Fright ’07: Frequent WS commute updates

August 13, 2007 at 8:45 am | In Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 27 Comments

Scroll below these six live cams (refresh this page any time for the latest images and info) for our updates from the morning commute on what did, and didn’t, happen out there:

(l to r below: latest from cams over WS Bridge midspan looking east, WS Br. I-5 ramps, I-5 @ Spokane Street in whichever direction WSDOT chooses to point it)


(l to r below: latest from cams looking east @ Low Bridge approach, south on Alaskan Way @ Washington, 99 @ 1st Avenue S bridge)


Before the commute updates, remember: The low bridge won’t open for boats; the Water Taxi has changes; you can turn left to 4th Ave S from surface Spokane St.

5:40 AM: State update page confirms bridge ramp to NB 5 is open again. WSB-mobile heading out. One of us is checking out the main routes and alternatives and will phone/text/send pix back to HQ for the other to add here.

6:10 AM: First Water Taxi run has 50 passengers. Announcement heard – no chairs upstairs because of some sort of problem. One television camera crew and KIRO radio at dock.

610wt.jpg

6:30: Admiral to I-90 took nine minutes. Sky more crowded than road – two choppers, two planes over I-5. (Below is the view right after turning onto NB 5 from WS Bridge.)

630i5.jpg

7 AM: We’re changing places. Team member just back from the road reports First Avenue South looking good past the stadiums, the bridge looked great heading east as we headed back west. Beware — some of the “I-5 ramp closed” detour signs are still up in places on the WS side — that is NOT true; the ramp to NB I-5 is open and we saw it with our own eyes. If you drive that stretch, be careful not to get distracted by what’s happening with the construction on the right side of the road — interesting welding, etc., but keep your eyes on the car in front of you!

7:07 AM: As our road crew heads toward the bridge for the next firsthand report, radio traffic reporter says the Viaduct is starting to bunch up. Meantime, another note for people taking I-5 to 90 — the right lanes of 5 are blocked till right before the ramp — no time to see it and merge over, so make sure you stay on the right side from the moment you get onto 5, if that’s where you’re headed.

7:19 AM: First report from road crew since switchover: Everything still looking good. Taco Time on 35th to 1st Avenue South off The Bridge — four minutes. Delridge onramp starting to get busy but not bad. 35th moving well. Large contingent of traffic officers spotted at the bottom of the 1st Avenue South offramp.

7:27 AM: Coming back the other way, eastbound bridge still looking good, 35th “almost deserted.” Radio traffic reports say the Eastside are where things are fairly ugly — a lot of people taking 405 to avoid 5, apparently. If you commute that way, beware.

7:33 AM: Radio traffic reporter says she’s going 45 mph — posted limit — past the construction zone on NB 5 between WS Bridge and I-90, all’s well. She also echoes what we noticed last hour, the work itself is a sight to see. WSDOT update page says things are starting to slow at 509/99.

7:41 AM: This WS-based LJer who left for work “at the crack of dawn” writes what many are thinking … OK, today’s OK so far because we all had the living daylights scared out of us; tomorrow (and beyond) could be a different story.

7:54 AM: Just drove The Bridge from 35th to 1st S again. Still just four minutes, moving at the speed limit. Now our road crew is back on the WS side and reporting that parking is a challenge in the water-taxi vicinity — even up to the diagonal spots at the viewpoint several blocks west. So if you want to take the WT, don’t bring your car — catch a shuttle.

8:06 AM: The Water Taxi is definitely the story of the morning. Radio reporter says the last run set a record — 191 passengers (you’ll recall WT was recently recertified to carry up to 250). Just got a photo of the line, which is now stretching toward the street …

watertaxiline.jpg

8:25 AM: Checked out The (high) Bridge yet again. Our road crew reports “still NOBODY out here.” Times blog has a dispatch from someone who bicycled in from WS. WSB-mobile now on the way to check out the low bridge.

8:31 AM: Radio says the Water Taxi’s sudden success has pushed it a bit behind schedule; the WT run that was supposed to leave at 8:10 am “didn’t even get to the dock till 8:25.” We’ll check later with King County folks to see if any changes are planned for tomorrow.

8:38 AM: Low bridge and WT dock both quiet — looks like the morning rush is over. WSDOT folks are frantically warning, don’t let this fool you into going back to your regular habits tomorrow, this only worked BECAUSE so many people changed their ways.

8:45 AM: WSDOT also reminds us, there’s a Mariners’ game tonight at Safeco. Even without the benefit of I-5 construction, that usually means trouble driving home to WS in the early evening, so everyone beware. We’re wrapping up this round of posting but keep adding your observations; we’ll be up early to track things tomorrow too, and of course we’ll get back to the rest of the WS news for today …

Freeway Fright ’07: Progress report, plus looking toward tomorrow

August 12, 2007 at 4:16 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 3 Comments

(l to r: latest from cams over WS Bridge midspan looking east, WS Bridge I-5 ramps, I-5 @ Spokane Street in whichever direction WSDOT chooses to point it)


The WSDOT update page says some of the work is going faster than expected, but they’re still keeping a watchful eye out for showers this afternoon. Not surprisingly, traffic volumes are down; the advance alerts to HIDE UNDER YOUR BED TILL IT’S OVER!!!! worked this weekend — but what about tomorrow, when many of us don’t have the luxury of staying home or even telecommuting? Starting just after 6 am tomorrow, we will have one team member out in the WSB-mobile, checking out the commute (and alternatives), while another one mans the keyboard here at WSB World HQ, so that we can post “real-time updates” (including pix) in addition to showing an expanded selection of live cams. Yes, we know, counting us, there will be so many “news” vehicles out “checking the commute” it’ll be worse than it would have been otherwise. Forgive us. Speaking of media, we got this photo of channel 7 interviewing someone at the WS Kiwanis booth at the Farmers’ Market today. P’raps another “how is West Seattle surviving in this time of transportation crisis” story? (7 PM PS: Our guess was close … it was one quick comment at the end of the “everything’s OK today but ARE WE PREPARED FOR TOMORROW?” story at the start of the 5 pm news.)

kirofmmktintvu.jpg

Freeway Fright ’07: As Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says…

August 11, 2007 at 3:16 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 5 Comments

… don’t panic.


Those three images, by the way, are the latest images (as of when you arrived on this page) from the (left to right) city traffic cam for the WS Bridge, looking east from midspan; the city traffic cam pointing east at the I-5 ramps from high over 6th/Spokane; and the state traffic cam (direction varies) at I-5/Spokane. (Refresh this page for the newest images.) Meantime, we just took our first eastbound journey since this began 17 hours ago. No awfulness. We took the Costco loop – down Fauntleroy to The Bridge, off at 1st South & up to 4th, to Costco, then back up over the 1st Ave S Bridge to 509 to Myers and up through the north edge of White Center, to our south side of WS ‘hood. Of course we took pix.

Left to right below – looking east down the bridge after the post-Fauntleroy bend; looking east down the bridge after the high hump; top of the 1st Ave S ramp:

bridgefromfaunt.jpg-overthehumpbridge.jpg-firstsouthramp.jpg
Left to right below — sign on the south edge of the bottom of the 1st Ave S ramp; looking east down Spokane (surface) toward 4th; our only traffic hangup, a train (if you get off at 1st S hoping to use the new 4th S left-turn signal, remember you run the risk of train delay):
detoursign.jpg-downspokto4th.jpg-thetrain.jpg

WSDOT’s latest update on how the I-5 work is going (don’t forget the WS Bridge ramp to northbound 5 is completely closed all weekend) is here.

Freeway Fright ’07: It’s he-e-ere

August 10, 2007 at 10:00 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 3 Comments

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10 pm Friday night. The moment we’ve all been waiting for (or dreading). Here’s what you need to know right now:

-No access to I-5 Northbound from West Seattle Freeway or surface Spokane Street, all weekend.

-If you get to I-5 some other way, three NB lanes are closed in the construction zone (between West Seattle Freeway and I-90), including the ramp to I-90 and Dearborn.

-Some bus routes are affected (more here).

-Water Taxi capacity is increased (schedule here).

-The Washington State Department of Transportation’s complete project update page is here. (If you want to talk to a real live person, they’ve got a hotline 18 hours a day at 206-440-4704.)

-Our live cameras page is here (with additions to come over the weekend as we see where other cameras are pointing and what they are showing; also note the city has added a new Alaskan Way/Washington cam).

-Don’t forget, tonight is the second and (scheduled to be) final night of Admiral Way paving, with Admiral closed till 6 am tomorrow between Olga and 41st.

Let us know how all this winds up affecting you, once you’ve been out in it tonight, tomorrow, throughout the weekend — leave comments on our I-5 posts, or send us e-mail. Good luck to us all!

Freeway Fright ’07 starts tonight at 10

August 10, 2007 at 7:44 am | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 15 Comments

i5logo3.jpgMorning commuters won’t be dealing with it till Monday, but the weekend effects will be major — starting at 10 pm, the West Seattle Bridge exit to NB I-5 will close completely for the whole weekend. If your destination off I-5 is the U-District or somewhere further north, try this alternate route: Take The Viaduct; just past the Battery Street Tunnel, follow the Mercer Street/I-5 exit, which is a relatively straight shot (less than a mile) over to the interstate onramps. Meantime, these links should be handy: WSDOT’s “everything you need to know NOW about the closures” page is here; our live WS cams page including The Bridge is here.

Freeway Fright ’07: Clarification about Spokane/4th

August 9, 2007 at 12:12 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation | 1 Comment

You may have read or heard something about a temporary traffic signal going in on the elevated portion of Spokane Street, better known as the last EB stretch of the West Seattle Bridge, formerly the West Seattle Freeway. We have doublechecked with WSDOT, which is working on traffic mitigation with SDOT, and they confirm for us that this is not so — quoting Erin Bogenschutz of WSDOT:

They are not removing any of the concrete barrier to allow eastbound vehicles on the elevated portion of Spokane Street to turn left to 4th Ave.

The City will install a new left turn signal for eastbound traffic on the ground-level of Spokane Street to turn left to 4th Ave. Currently, the signal prohibits left-turns. The new signal should be installed this afternoon.

47 hours till Freeway Fright, 20 hours till Admiral Agony

August 8, 2007 at 11:02 pm | In Freeway Fright '07, Transportation, Utilities | 9 Comments

The latest on the major road projects that are rolling our way like a semi-truck with burned-out brakes:

i5logo2.jpgFREEWAY FRIGHT ’07, aka the I-5 northbound lane closures: We know it’s going to be crunchy but gosh, the handwringing we’ve heard on tv lately … you would think our peninsula is going to be scooped up and flung into the middle of the Pacific, with all this hue and cry over People In West Seattle Won’t Be Able To Go Anywhere. Oh well, maybe it means a few more square feet of sand on Alki for the locals if the weather ever gets nice again. Back to the traffic: WSDOT has launched this very handy new page with specifics about What Exactly Is Happening Right This Minute, schedule changes if any, relevant cameras, and current traffic troubles. We’ll have it linked prominently here on our site every morning along with specifics on what us WSers need to know before heading out (more on that tomorrow).
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ADMIRAL AGONY ’07, as in, the paving that will close Admiral Way for two nights between Olga and 41st starting tomorrow night, 7 pm-6 am. This city press release has the bare-bones basics about detours and so forth; the city e-mail update we posted back on Monday has even more information, including the warning for neighbors about possible vibrations from construction equipment.

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