West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
SDOT has unveiled its new in-progress plan for the SW Avalon Way repaving/rechannelization project, one year after it first came to light.
This time last year, SDOT had a community meeting after announcing it would repave/rechannelize Avalon plus a few blocks of 35th “after the Fauntleroy Boulevard project.”
Though Fauntleroy Boulevard is on hold pending Sound Transit light-rail decisions, SDOT confirmed this week that the Avalon/35th plan is moving ahead, and the project zone has expanded a bit. We met with two key members of the project team, project manager Bill Clark and communicator Dan Anderson, to get the rundown on what’s now in the plan.
Before we go any further – take note that SDOT does plan an “open house” community meeting, and a mailer; the former is set for June 5th in The Triangle, the latter will be on its way to project-area mailboxes soon (see it here now).
The project now calls for repaving the entirety of Avalon, from where it begins at Fauntleroy, to where it ends at Spokane. Plus, along with the stretch of 35th between Avalon and Alaska that’s to be repaved (and in some spots rebuilt), the repaving also will extend a block onto Alaska west of 35th.
Thanks for the tip. Luna Park Café confirms they’re unexpectedly closed for the rest of the day/night because of water trouble. They explain that Seattle Fire was doing some hydrant testing nearby and that left them with brown water that’s not expected to clear for some hours, so they had no choice but to close. They hope to reopen for regular hours at 7 tomorrow morning.
Start your Earth Day with some help around the spot where Harbor Avenue, SW Avalon, and Spokane Street meet. Tools, gloves, coffee, snacks provided! In case you haven’t already seen it in the WSB calendar, here’s the reminder from organizer Roxane Rusch:
You are INVITED to Our Neighborhood EARTH DAY Harbor Avalon work party!!!!!!!
This is a work party to celebrate Earth Day and maintain the work completed through our Neighborhood Street and Park fund grant project.
Please join our party and help us positively and uniquely brand this West Seattle gateway area for all to enjoy!
Don’t worry about RSVP’ing if you haven’t already – just show up to help!
Almost a year and a half after they were chosen for funding, two Neighborhood Street Fund projects proposed by West Seattleites are going out to bid. A notice in today’s Daily Journal of Commerce announces that the city is seeking bids on a package of five NSF projects meant to improve walking and biking safety, two of which are in West Seattle – the Chief Sealth Walkway Improvements and the Harbor Ave. SW/SW Spokane St. Intersection Improvements Project. The notice says bids will be opened March 7th; we’ll be checking with SDOT on the anticipated construction schedule.
Management at the Nucor steel mill in northeast West Seattle says they’re “working … to mitigate the problem” that’s caused startling booms in recent days. The one reported here on Saturday evening, after hearing from readers, was such a jolt, some said, they didn’t think it was from the plant because they’d never felt anything like it. We talked this afternoon with Nucor’s environmental manager Patrick Jablonski. He explained that this can happen “when we add wet scrap metal into our furnace … I think we are particularly vulnerable to it because of our climate; it happens more often in the wintertime.” He said Nucor is “certainly not happy” about this, and is trying to find out why it’s happened repeatedly in recent days, so they can work “to mitigate the problem.” Jablonski also told WSB, “We’ve worked over the years to minimize it … As far as I know, we are the only mill that built a large canopy to keep the rain off the scrap in our scrapyard … We’ve developed additional procedures over the years.” But that doesn’t get all the rain – or snow, if the scrap was brought over the mountain passes – off the steel, and when the wet scrap metal goes into the furnace (which is on the north side of the main building), the evaporation happens quickly and loudly. No one was hurt, he added. Some commenters asked about contacting the plant in case of an incident; you can call the general number, 206-933-2222, around the clock – if it’s after-hours, security can get in touch with someone to check into it, Jablonski said.
(‘Conceptual’ rendering by Lemons Architecture, from April 2017 Design Review presentation)
The project passed the first phase of Design Review back in April (WSB coverage here), which meant the developer was cleared to go ahead and apply for land-use permits. They have now just done so, which is the reason for the notices published today, opening a new public-comment period until January 8th (each address above is linked to the notice that in turn includes a “how to comment” link).
NEXT STEP: The second round of Design Review – no meeting date yet.
That’s West Seattle’s legendary, short-lived and long-gone Luna Park, circa 1910, from the Seattle Municipal Archives. If you have any Luna Park memorabilia/photos, Michael Falcone is hoping you’ll help:
I’m working on a documentary on Luna Park (amusement park 1907-1913) and would like to put out a call for any photographs/materials relating to the park and/or early West Seattle. I will be at the High Point Library Sunday, July 16th from 1-3 pm in the High Point Meeting Room for people to come by with any materials they would like to see included in the documentary.
I will have a laptop, scanner and camera present in case people allow me to copy images at that time. I am working with SW Historical Society in part on this project and seeking a Seattle CityArtists grant with the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
If you have questions, you can reach Falcone through his website.
More than three dozen volunteers weeded, cleaned, and mulched in the Luna Park area this morning. Toward the right side of the top photo is Roxane Rusch, who organized the work party as part of the preparations for a Neighborhood Park and Street Fund project on its way to the area. SDOT-provided river rock is part of the landscaping preps, too:
At right, above, Luna Park Café owner John Bennett was among the volunteers, and he shared the next two photos, starting with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold pulling weeds:
So when you next ride, walk, or run through the area, you can appreciate the volunteer work – and if you would like to help, watch for word of the next work party.
The original vision for the future city-grant-funded work … with the way paved by volunteer help … is in this WSB story.
Reminder if you haven’t seen it in the calendar yet – you’re invited to start your weekend by helping clean up the Luna Park area tomorrow with neighbors, businesses, and city Tree Ambassadors. Organizer Roxane Rusch says it’s “another in a series of work parties to ready the site for the receipt of a Neighborhood Street and Park fund grant that your neighborhood councils, associations, and groups have generously endorsed. We are working with SDOT on final plans.” As the flyer says, meet at Luna Park Café (2918 SW Avalon Way) at 9 am Saturday. The work party is scheduled until noon, but even if you can just give an hour or two, your help will be welcomed.
This isn’t a request for much – $10 each from 400 people will make it happen.
Ola Salon in Luna Park “is in the midst of a campaign to send one of our stylists to Cambodia to have a direct impact on changing the life of formerly sex-trafficked youth. Over the next 2 months, we need to raise $4000 to make this happen,” says Ola proprietor Rachel Karlin. They’re working with the organization Justice and Soul. Stylist Julia Durfee has been accepted into the J&S program to provide training to people at risk of trafficking and is planning to go to Cambodia in April. If you are interested in helping, you can do it through this GoFundMe page.
Water crews are back out this morning repairing the 8-inch water main. Last night crews responded to the break and throttled the main until they could return today. Customers may have noticed a diminished volume in their water service last night.
Currently water is shut down and crews are fixing the pipe. We expect to have the repair complete and water back on by 3 pm today. About 9 water services are impacted by the shutdown.
We just checked with Luna Park Café and they are open, no water trouble, so it’s apparently NOT affecting the mini-business district there.
P.S. Thanks to original tipster Stephanie for the photo above.
9:22 PM: Though it’s a rainless night, water is rushing downhill in the Luna Park area under the West Seattle Bridge. We checked it out after a tip from Stephanie. A Seattle Public Utilities worker was checking it out along 30th SW, uphill and west of Avalon Way; he told us an SPU crew would be on the way over after fixing an unrelated break downtown. We have a message out to SPU to find out more, including whether anyone is without water service because of the break.
10:37 PM: Haven’t heard back from SPU, so we might not get any followup info until tomorrow.
1:52 AM: Thanks to commenter SEW for an update – not fixed yet.
4:26 PM: Thanks for the text – police/fire response at Avalon Way and Orleans (map) because of a crash, and at this time of day, that could be trouble. We’re en route to look.
4:39 PM UPDATE: Just went by. Crashed car and police car are in eastbound lane of Manning by the Luna Park commercial building. A tow truck is on the southbound Avalon shoulder.
4:46 PM: The scene has just cleared. Police tell us the driver of the car that had to be towed is being checked for a possible broken ankle; the other driver was not hurt.
The organizers of this morning’s Harbor/Avalon/Manning work party said “rain or shine,” and they meant it! In the final hour, we found hardy volunteers under and around the bridge, cleaning up the area as well as planting trees and ferns.
Don Brubeck from West Seattle Bike Connections sent the next photo – reporting that WSBC had three volunteers joining in, as the group planted five 5 Hogan’s Cedars:
As mentioned in the announcements of this work party and one earlier in the year, this work is part of the preparation for a beautification project next year funded by a city matching-fund grant (volunteer work counts toward the “match”).
Reminder from Roxane in the Luna Park area:
Our neighborhood, along with Luna Park Merchants and the Seattle reLeaf Tree Ambassador team, will be holding a work party to continue the clean up of the Avalon/ Harbor at Manning area on Saturday, November 5th, from 9 am until noon.
This is the second in a series of work parties to ready the site for the Neighborhood Street and Park fund grant work that will commence in February 2017 AND provide a green buffer for neighboring homes and businesses. Meet at the parking area of Luna Park Café. Help us remove aggressive weeds, care for the mature trees, and improve sightlines for pedestrians and traffic. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and instruction. No experience necessary.
WE WILL BE PLANTING SOME NEEDED TREES TOO! Here is the link for RSVPs.
Rain or shine!
Thanks for the tips – police and fire are in the Luna Park area investigating an incident that left a man unconscious and being rushed to the hospital. According to what we’re hearing via scanner, he’s about 50 years old and was on foot when hit by a car near the Avalon ramp to the bridge. If you’re heading out any time soon, avoid the area.
1:38 PM: Burglars are still targeting local storage units in the Luna Park area. Most recently, we’ve had multiple reports of break-ins at Public Storage on SW Avalon Way; today, we have word of a break-in at nearby Stor-More (WSB sponsor) on SW Yancy. The victim says it happened late Friday night:
They broke into only our unit, apparently. We had a really good lock on the door but they cut the hasp — so essentially, they cut *around* the lock. They went through almost every box and threw stuff around and took jewelry and a few antique silver ornate serving platters. Mostly stuff they could sell easily.
Searching Tweets by Beat for the incident number (2016-320931), we noticed another burglary report this weekend (different incident #) for an “unoccupied structure on residential property” in the same block.
6:08 PM: As noted in comments, there are reports now of multiple break-ins at Stor-More this weekend. We’ll be following up on these and the PS break-ins, with police and with company reps, to see if we can find out about plans for increased security.
Reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:
STORAGE FACILITY HIT AGAIN: Two customers of the Public Storage facility in the 2900 block of SW Avalon Way have e-mailed to let us know burglar(s) have struck there again. One reports, “My unit along with about 15 others were hit overnight or sometime this morning.” She’s on a floor with “secure elevators” but was told that entry was made via emergency-exit stairwells. She says she’s moving her belongings somewhere else. The other victim who contacted us also reported being told that multiple units were broken into. We also reported last Sunday on multiple break-ins at the same facility.
MARINE VIEW DRIVE BURGLARY: Also via e-mail: “Today, around 12:30, my parent’s house in the area of 112th & Marine View Dr SW was broken into. The (burglars), possibly two of them, neighbors think were white males wearing construction vests & driving a dark SUV. Made entry through window & took the stolen items out the garage. Of the stolen items, the biggie was a safe. About 2×2.”
Thanks again for the Crime Watch reports – 206-293-6302 text or voice if it’s urgent (after you’ve called 911), firstname.lastname@example.org if it’s not.
One of West Seattle’s “gateway” areas is scheduled for some community TLC next weekend, and organizers – including community members, merchants, and Seattle reLeaf – hope you can help. Volunteers will gather in the lot between The Shack and Luna Park Café at 9 am for “weeding, cleaning up around the street trees, and spreading mulch. Come prepared wearing closed toe shoes and long pants. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and instruction.” They’ll be working until noon – lots of time to go to West Seattle Summer Fest after that! Interested? RSVP here.
P.S. This is intended as the first in a series of work parties to get ready for a potential Neighborhood Park and Street Fund grant to revitalize landscaping in the area north of the business district, under and near the bridge. The community member who wrote the grant application, Roxane Rusch, says the work will include the weedy area along SW Manning.
FIRST REPORT, 2:02 PM: Just in: Deputy Hearing Examiner Anne Watanabe‘s decision on Luna Park Café owner John Bennett‘s appeal of a $500 citation for an A-frame sign. We first reported two weeks ago that he had been cited for the sign, after two warnings to remove it; city rules say business owners can only have such signs adjacent to their business, but his café is half a block away.
The complaint targeted a group of signs at Harbor/Avalon, not just Bennett’s, we learned when he argued his appeal before Watanabe downtown eight days ago (here’s our report). She said she’d have a ruling in a week or so, so we’ve been checking the city website, where it was posted half an hour ago (read the ruling here). Watanabe affirmed the SDOT decision to cite Bennett for the against-the-rules sign, but reduced the penalty from $500 – the fine for using right-of-way without a permit – to $250, the usual sign-citation amount, noting SDOT wasn’t opposed to a reduction, since it was a first-time citation.
Examiner decisions are the final word so far as the city goes; to challenge a ruling like this, you would have to go to court. We’re seeking comment from Bennett and will update.
ADDED 2:32 PM: Bennett tells us via e-mail that he’ll decide next week what to do about it, adding, “I’m a little upset that the sign ordinances are selectively enforced. I also feel small businesses shouldn’t have to pay heavy fines.” (City reps said again in last week’s hearing that enforcement is by complaint – there may be routine rule-breakers out there, but there’s no enforcement unless someone complains, same as a variety of other non-criminal city code situations.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
You might have noticed fewer advertising A-frame signs on streetcorners in recent weeks.
For a while earlier this year, it seemed every intersection in West Seattle had a cluster on weekends – mostly advertising the bigger new apartment complexes around town, even a building in Columbia City, six miles away.
Then the city cracked down and issued warnings – with one local entrepreneur as a sort of bycatch.
John Bennett, owner of Luna Park Café, got a $500 citation for an A-frame sign his restaurant had long placed at Harbor/Avalon/Spokane (same location as the top photo), half a block from his café, meant to catch the attention of people coming off the bridge to head toward the West Seattle waterfront.
He’s fighting the citation and has an appeal hearing this week.
That’s a quick Instagram-video spin (mouse over the image to bring up the “play” button) around the treacherous intersection of 30th/Avalon/Yancy/Andover. Busy road, many residents, south edge of the Luna Park business district, RapidRide stop steps away … dangerous whether you’re on wheels or on foot. It’s been a concern for many years – and now improvements are on the way. This came in from project manager Brian Glas at SDOT this afternoon:
Starting as soon as late March, crews working for the Seattle Department of Transportation will add a curb extension, curb ramps, a striped crosswalk, and a flashing crossing beacon at the intersections of SW Avalon Way, SW Andover St, SW Yancy St, and 30th Ave SW.
As I’m sure you know, this junction of intersections does not have a marked crosswalk across the SW Avalon Way arterial. Also, the current sidewalks do not have curb ramps that are compliant with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, making access difficult for people with assistive devices (such as wheelchairs, walkers, or strollers). Please see the map in the attached project fact sheet for more details about the planned improvements.
The contractor has not yet finalized the construction schedule, but we wanted to give you and your readers a heads up of some general construction impacts. Crews will need to temporarily close SW Andover, SW Yancy St, and 30th Ave SW at SW Avalon Way as they build the improvements. They plan to close these side streets on a rotating schedule, to minimize impacts. There will also be intermittent single lane restrictions on SW Avalon Way while crews are working. During these lane restrictions, a flagger will be present to maintain two-way traffic. As of now, we expect King County Metro routes will not be impacted. We anticipate construction will last approximately 6 weeks, though the paving work is very weather dependent. As we know more about the traffic impacts during construction, we will distribute construction notices door-to-door in the project area and to the project email list.
This project is part of the Pedestrian Master Plan, which aims to enhance pedestrian safety, comfort, and access in all of Seattle’s neighborhoods. This project is also part of the Neighborhood Street Fund Program and was one of three projects the Delridge District Council submitted in 2015.
We also plan to send out project listserv email updates throughout construction. People can sign up to receive updates here.
Note that this does *not* include a signal, though one was decreed as “warranted” back in 2011 – before the signal was added at Genesee/Avalon nearby.
West Seattle’s newest mural has just been finished. If you don’t recognize the building via the telltale marquee – this is Shack Coffee in Luna Park, 2920 SW Avalon Way, where artist Jesse Link completed the mural less than an hour before we stopped by for a photo, according to Shack staff. Link’s mural spans the north wall, along the parking lot that Shack Coffee shares with Luna Park Café. You’ve probably seen Link’s work before; he’s been featured at several West Seattle businesses during monthly Art Walks. Checking online examples of his work, you’ll note that wildlife is frequently part of it.