West Seattle 4th of July 2015: Fireworks plea; pet protection

July 3, 2015 at 3:34 pm | In Pets, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 2 Comments

Two more 4th of July notes:

FIREWORKS PLEA: The photo is from Shelly, who found fireworks debris while running through Lincoln Park the morning after the 4th last year. She warns, “The park is extremely dry now and it wouldn’t take much to set the whole park on fire.” She is hopeful people will heed that and obey the fireworks laws this year – the park is far from the only place that’s full of dry grass, brush, shrubs, and trees. And just as we were writing this – the National Weather Service has just extended the “heat advisory” AGAIN, continuing through Sunday night.

Speaking of fireworks laws, we already published the official reminder from Seattle Police a week and a half ago, but are sharing it here one more time, as conveyed by Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores:

The Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department would like to remind the public that fireworks are illegal in the City of Seattle. The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited. Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Fireworks pose a fire hazard to property and present a safety risk to those who use them. Every year the Seattle Fire Department responds to fireworks-related fires and injuries. The holiday-related fires and injuries are preventable.

On the 4th of July, 911 centers become overloaded with non-emergency fireworks calls. DO NOT call 911 unless you have a life-threatening emergency and need immediate help from police, fire or medics. Unnecessary 911 calls block people with real emergencies from reaching 911 and getting help.

Any fireworks-related fires or injuries should be reported directly to 911. Other fireworks violations may be reported by calling the Seattle Police non-emergency number at 206-625-5011.

Listening to the scanner the past few nights, fireworks calls *are* broadcast, so those lighting fireworks shouldn’t assume they’ll never get caught.

PROTECTING PETS: Another side effect of fireworks – they tend to scare pets, which means that invariably, we get many more lost-and-found pet reports to publish on the WSB West Seattle Lost/Found Pets page. We hope you won’t need to use it, but if you do lose or find a pet, please e-mail a description, phone number, and photo if available (if not, just be sure the description is detailed) to editor@westseattleblog.com. The Seattle Animal Shelter, meantime, has published information on how best to protect your pets at this time of year.

Reader report: Update on bicycle rider recovering from Delridge crash

July 3, 2015 at 2:20 pm | In Delridge, Safety, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

(WSB photo from June 19th)
Two weeks ago today, a woman riding her bicycle southbound on Delridge at Dakota was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after, according to witnesses, a driver in a Nissan sedan hit her. Many have asked how she’s doing, but although we’ve continued trying to follow up, official information remains scant; then, overnight, we received this reader report via text message:

Cyclist injured on Delridge/Dakota has progressed to trauma rehabilitation. She suffered multiple injuries but her body is intact and she has a good chance of significant physical recovery. Full recovery from brain injury and neck ligaments will be determined in the months ahead but the medical staff have been great and with the cyclist are working hard. Thanks for the concern, the medics/police/public for helping at the scene, and the witness accounts in the blog.

SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad was sent to the scene of the crash, as is customary when someone suffers life-threatening injuries (or worse). Results of its investigations usually aren’t available for weeks or even months, but we will continue checking with SPD periodically.

FOLLOWUP: July 15th meeting set for SDOT’s 35th SW plan

July 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

That’s the postcard the city is about to send to residents on and around 35th SW, announcing Wednesday, July 15th, as the date for the meeting at which SDOT will present its plan for 35th SW. The news come from project manager Jim Curtin, who had said, when we checked in two weeks ago, that the city expected to have a plan by mid-July. The meeting is set for 7-9 pm July 15th at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way). If you’re just catching up with the 35th SW Safety Project, there’s backstory on the city’s webpage (which Curtin tells WSB will be updated next week to add the new meeting date).

FOLLOWUP: Lights in place at 47th/Admiral/Waite signal/crosswalks project

June 26, 2015 at 3:01 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Thanks to Dave Brewer for the photo – the lights have arrived at the 47th/Admiral/Waite project; in the update we published on Monday, SDOT had said they were expecting delivery by the end of the week. Don’t expect to see them in operation immediately, though – testing/configuration is expected to take a while.

FOLLOWUP: Fireworks ban? No, say state officials – ‘not a current statewide fire emergency’

June 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm | In Holidays, Safety, West Seattle news | 37 Comments

Two days ago, we reported on a petition drive in which community advocates in two areas of urban unincorporated King County, including North Highline (White Center and vicinity), asked for an emergency ban on fireworks. County leaders said they don’t have the authority to do anything immediate, but the state does; we finally got a chance today to inquire with the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Deputy Fire Marshal Lysandra Davis replied, saying that only the governor has that authority, but that calling for one isn’t warranted right now. Here’s the entire reply:

Our office has received numerous inquiries on this matter, and we value and appreciate each and every one.

Because Washington is a Home Rule State, legislative authority to limit or prohibit the sale, purchase, possession, and/or use of consumer fireworks is only granted to city, municipal, and county governments. However, any ordinance adopted by a county or city has an effective date no sooner than one year after its adoption, per RCW 70.77.250 (4). Because State Fireworks Law does not provide the SFMO or any other local jurisdiction/agency the authority to temporarily ban
fireworks, even on an emergency basis, it is unlawful to do so.

The only person with the authority to issue a temporary ban on fireworks sales/usage is Governor Jay Inslee. This would be done through a State of Emergency Proclamation which normally prohibits activities that the Governor reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or public peace. In the past, when emergency proclamations have been issued during heavy wildland fires (usually occurring mid-July to August), fireworks usage and sales were already prohibited by State Fireworks Law.

The current burn ban that is in effect only applies to state forests, state parks and forestlands under Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fire protection, including Department of Fish and Wildlife lands; it does not include cities, municipalities and/or counties. This ban prohibits outdoor burning and fireworks and incendiary devices (which are never legal on DNR-protected forestlands).

While these drought conditions we are facing may be unprecedented, there is not a current statewide fire emergency that would warrant the Governor to declare a State ban on fireworks.

What I can assure you of is that the State Fire Marshal’s Office is committed to promoting fire safety and injury prevention year round with our Celebrate Safely and Legally campaign — emphasizing “personal responsibility,” especially during these extremely dry weather conditions.

Fireworks are illegal in Seattle, but will be on sale, legally, in unincorporated King County starting this Sunday, where the law allows their use 9 am-midnight on July 4th.

West Seattle 4th of July 2015: City’s plans for field lighting

June 26, 2015 at 11:50 am | In Holidays, Safety, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

Just in from Seattle Parks (we’ve truncated the location list to show West Seattle fields only – see the full list here):

Seattle Parks and Recreation will turn on field lighting on ballfields throughout the city on the evenings of Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, to protect the surfaces. The ballfield lights will be turned on at 8:45 p.m. and will be turned off at either 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., depending on the field.

The lights will be turned on to discourage the use of fireworks. Fireworks are illegal in the city of Seattle and will destroy the artificial turf on the fields or surrounding facilities. The approximate replacement cost for the synthetic surface based on per average full-size field (110,000 square feet) is $1.2 million. All the fields have been renovated in the past several years and benefit field users including players of soccer, football, baseball, Ultimate Frisbee and lacrosse.

The fields will be monitored by security from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Lights at the following fields will be turned off at 11 p.m.:

· Delridge Playfield, 4458 Delridge Way SW

· Hiawatha Playfield, 2700 California Ave. SW

· Walt Hundley Playfield, 6920 34th Avenue SW

New Delridge crosswalk: City to start work after holiday weekend

June 25, 2015 at 3:07 pm | In Delridge, Safety, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

We’ve been talking about the new pedestrian-safety beacons at local crosswalks – recently installed at California/Dakota, in the process of installation at 11th/Holden, and in the works for the 5900 block of Delridge Way by the front entrance to the Boren Building, home to K-5 STEM and interim home to Arbor Heights Elementary. This afternoon, SDOT announced the timeline for installation of the latter, along with the promised crosswalk and curb ramps, and curb bulbs: “Crews plan to begin work on Monday, July 6, with construction expected to last approximately two weeks. Crews will work weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. During this time, pedestrians will follow signed detours next to the school or into a temporary walkway using the parking lane.” The improvements, which the school community and other safety advocates have long sought, are funded by the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund and SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program. (The same area is also getting a speed-enforcement camera system, as reported here two weeks ago.)

‘Keep Alki Safe’: New neighborhood campaign against SDOT’s plan for west Admiral Way

June 24, 2015 at 9:31 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 54 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

West Admiral/Upper Alki residents opposed to SDOT’s Southwest Admiral Way Safety Project have just launched a campaign titled Keep Alki Safe.

With little advance notice of the proposed Admiral Way changes, SDOT first presented them at April’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting (WSB coverage here), then at May’s Southwest District Council meeting (WSB coverage here), and finally in a contentious standalone community meeting May 21st at Alki Elementary (WSB coverage here). That meeting included the following slide deck, showing the heart of the plan in the final few pages, proposing removing more than 200 parking spaces along Admiral Way west of California SW, to make room for changes including the addition of bicycle lanes:

(Slide deck from May 21st meeting)
The parking removal is the center of concern for area residents, for reasons including that it would require some of them to park across Admiral and dodge traffic to get to and from their vehicles. When they heard SDOT say it considered the parking removal to have a relatively nominal impact because of usage studies they had done in the winter, rather than in the busy summer season, that led to further concerns. From the group’s newly launched website:

We are a group of neighbors who came together, in shock and disbelief, in April 2015, when Seattle Department of Transportation informed us they were planning to remove 200 parking spaces on Admiral Way, between the Admiral Junction and 59th SW, four months hence. Admiral Way is a residential arterial, bordering the Alki Parking Overlay; it is the main access route to Alki Beach, the Alki business district, Alki Elementary School, Alki Community Center, a church, and the Alki neighborhood.

We are concerned that SDOT does not understand this street: the traffic patterns, the parking, the adjoining structures and the safety challenges. Most of the accidents on this section of Admiral Way are caused by impaired drivers, late at night. The SDOT Admiral plan is dangerous because SDOT would force some residents to park on the dangerous side of the street, the side where impaired drivers crash into cars and structures on a routine basis. The plan is dangerous because SDOT would also force some residents to cross a busy arterial, with children, elderly and handicapped family members in tow, to get to their cars. The plan is shocking because this portion of Admiral Way suffers from extreme parking congestion during the summer and during school pick-up and drop-off time.

The new website also links to an online petition asking Mayor Ed Murray to drop the plan, and organizers say they’ll soon have yard and roadside signs to catch the attention of neighbors and visitors alike, including ones like this:

Organizers also tell us they are lobbying elected officials directly and expect to meet soon with Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

As for where the plan officially stands:

At the May “open house,” pressed by Admiral Neighborhood Association president David Whiting to commit to at least one more public meeting about the project, SDOT agreed. No date’s been announced yet; Rasmussen asked SDOT director Scott Kubly about this project’s “public process” during yesterday’s City Council Transportation Committee meeting (starting 53 minutes into the clip at that link); Kubly said he knew one public meeting had been held and thought multiple additional meetings would be ahead. The project website now shows this timeline, mentioning a “community briefing” in late summer:

We left a message for project manager Emily Ehlers today to ask about the status, and have not received a response.

Emergency ban on fireworks? Unincorporated King County community advocates ask for it in online-petition drive

June 24, 2015 at 2:56 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 71 Comments

2:56 PM: As we were discussing here just yesterday, while fireworks are illegal within the Seattle city limits, they’re legal on the other side of the line, in unincorporated King County, and that’s unquestionably where some if not most of the fireworks illegally used here are bought. So you might be interested to know that community leaders from the unincorporated areas of North Highline and West Hill have just launched a petition drive asking county leaders for an emergency fireworks ban – the petition is on this Change.org page. The petition is addressed to the County Executive and County Fire Marshal. We’ll be checking with their offices, as well as with County Councilmember Joe McDermott, to see if this is something they are considering. Right now, fireworks sales in the unincorporated area are scheduled to start at noon on Sunday.

3:43 PM: We’ve just spoken with Jim Chan in the King County Permits and Environmental Review department, which oversees the Fire Marshal’s Office. He says the same thing that commenter Karen was told by the County Executive’s Office – that the county has no authority for an emergency ban; any ban couldn’t take effect for a year. Chan says a few Washington counties’ laws enable such a ban – Douglas and San Juan Counties, he mentioned – but for King County, that sort of authority has just never come up. We asked if the state would have authority, then, to take an action that could enable an immediate emergency local ban, and he said yes. So we’ll be checking next with the state Fire Marshal’s Office. Meantime, we were forwarded a news release that the county Fire Marshal’s Office had been planning to issue, saying only this:

King County fire agencies are urging citizens to attend one of the many professional public fireworks displays during the Fourth of July weekend. Prolonged dry weather and below average spring rainfall have cured grass and vegetation growth, creating high fire danger nearly six weeks earlier than normal. Last year in King County fire agencies responded to nearly 200 fire calls with 82 of them related to fireworks, as reported in the 2014 Washington State Fire Marshal report.

While it is not advisable to light fireworks, follow the three B’s – Be Prepared, Be Safe, and Be Responsible. Retail fireworks go on sale June 28 through July 4 and in those communities that allow fireworks, discharge is limited to July 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. only.

47th/Admiral/Waite project: SDOT update; safety reminder

June 23, 2015 at 10:10 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

(Photo taken this evening, looking westward at 47th/Admiral/Waite)
Two messages tonight about the 47th/Admiral/Waite signal and crosswalks project. First one is a progress report from SDOT:

Work resumed last week at the intersection of 47th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way. Crews installed the signal poles and striped the intersection, including new crosswalks. They also began installation of wiring in preparation for the new signal heads that we expect will be delivered later this week. We anticipate approximately three more weeks of construction while the signals are installed and configured.

The striping of the crosswalks before the signal’s installation, however, led WSB reader Jennie to e-mail this safety concern and ask if we’d share it:

I was wondering if you might be able to highlight a safety concern and an extra need for people to slow down and use caution when driving through the new Admiral stoplight intersection that is being created near Alki Mail and Dispatch.

There are not lights yet to control this intersections, yet they have decided to lay down all of the crosswalks. I am *very* concerned that someone is going to use one of these new crosswalks (potentially even young kids now that they are out of school) and get hit. The one crosswalk that was always there was placed in about the best position for line of sight for cars and it obviously didn’t do its job well with crossing deaths and accidents.

Crosswalks don’t require lights – don’t even require striping (as explained here) – but nonetheless, since the painted crosswalks are new features and the light is still a few weeks away, it’s a good idea to take extra care in that area as people using all modes get used to the new features.

West Seattle 4th of July: Early reminders on fireworks, crime prevention

June 23, 2015 at 3:56 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 28 Comments

(2012 photo: Illegal fireworks at Hamilton Viewpoint Park while spectators awaited view of legal Lake Union show)
With the 4th of July a week and a half away – plus an extra-long spell of warm, dry weather already well under way – the Southwest Precinct asked us to share a reminder that’s more important than ever:

The Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department would like to remind the public that fireworks are illegal in the City of Seattle.

The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited. Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Fireworks pose a fire hazard to property and present a safety risk to those who use them. Every year the Seattle Fire Department responds to fireworks-related fires and injuries. The holiday-related fires and injuries are preventable.

On the 4th of July, 911 centers become overloaded with non-emergency fireworks calls. DO NOT call 911 unless you have a life-threatening emergency and need immediate help from police, fire or medics. Unnecessary 911 calls block people with real emergencies from reaching 911 and getting help.

Any fireworks-related fires or injuries should be reported directly to 911. Other fireworks violations may be reported by calling the Seattle Police non-emergency number at 206-625-5011.

Via Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores, we also have SPD info-sheets to share on preventing/deterring crimes that are even more common in the warm season:

*Car prowls
*Making sure your windows are secure
*Making sure your doors are secure
*Burglary deterrence, outside your home
*Suspicious behavior and when to report it

P.S. More crime-prevention info is just a few hours away at tonight’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting.

West Seattle safety: Next set of ‘rectangular rapid-flash beacons’ going in @ Highland Park intersection

June 23, 2015 at 9:57 am | In Highland Park, Safety, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

Thanks to Beef for the photo from 11th SW and SW Holden in Highland Park, where SDOT’s installing another set of “rectangular rapid-flash beacons” in hopes of making it safer for people to cross. West Seattle’s first set has been up for about a month at California/Dakota north of The Junction, as reported here; a third set is in the works for the new crosswalk in front of the Boren Building at 5950 Delridge Way SW, home to K5 STEM and interim home to Arbor Heights Elementary (for one more year).

What’s next for 35th SW Safety Project? Final plan due by mid-July

June 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

After public meetings, petition drives, and a walking tour, the city’s final plan for 35th SW will be announced by mid-July. That’s what SDOT project manager Jim Curtin told us when we checked in with him today. Once a meeting date is finalized for the second week of July, SDOT will announce it in a variety of ways, including via postal-mail postcards to residences, businesses, and others on and near 35th SW in the project zone, from Fauntleroy Way SW south to SW Roxbury. The latter, of course, has its own changes in the works, as announced in April, and that work will be done first, Curtin tells WSB: “We intend to combine our work on Roxbury and 35th to save on construction crew mobilization costs. Work on Roxbury is expected to start the week of (August) 17th and we intend to move over to 35th as soon as Roxbury is complete. I believe work on 35th would begin in early to mid-September.” SDOT unveiled “design alternatives” for 35 in March; during last month’s lightly attended walking tour (WSB coverage here), Curtin said “Option A” was looking the most promising for most of the project zone.

Student safety: How SPD followed up after chief’s Denny visit

June 17, 2015 at 4:05 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle police, West Seattle schools, Westwood | 2 Comments

(WSB photo from June 1st @ Denny)
Two weeks after Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole visited Denny International Middle School and heard students request more help from police in staying safe (WSB coverage here), members of her department followed up to start making good on that promise. Southwest/South Precincts Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon shares these notes of what happened when they visited the Denny/Sealth campus this past Monday, one day before the last day of school, particularly to lay the groundwork for a safer start next fall:

* SPD Reps met up with students and staff at 12:40 at classroom

* Walked SW Kenyon Street between 2600 Block and Delridge SW

* Walked from Kenyon & Delridge to Holden & Delridge; observed Holden Stairs; returned to Denny via same route

* Mark drove routes between Denny/Sealth Campus and Westwood Village to observe areas about which students expressed concerns.

* SPD Officers spoke with students about ways to minimize their chances for victimization (Robbery/Assault)

* Discussed the possibility of SPD officers getting together with students at the beginning of the school year to discuss safety measures; being proactive and focus on prevention vs. being reactionary.

Measures in Progress

* Mark will work with Youth Ambassadors and Denny Staff through the summer to engage surrounding neighbors to form Block Watch groups with have Denny/Sealth student safety as a prime focus.

* Mark will facilitate communication between the Youth Ambassadors Program and The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative regarding the Safe Passages Program (a group of adult volunteers who provide a presence in the Rainier Beach community between the 1400-1800 hrs on school days to deter youth violence and disorder). The goal is to try to implement this program for the Denny/Sealth campus area by the fall of 2015.


* Raise tree canopy on SW Kenyon Street Between 2400 – 2600 Blocks. Tree canopy should be no lower than 8′ to ensure good lines of sight for pedestrians transiting SW Kenyon ST.

* Request SDOT conduct additional vegetation clearing at dead end of SW Kenyon ST & 24th Ave SW.

* Request SDOT conduct vegetation clearing along trail/walkway/bridge over creek between Delridge WY SW & 24th Ave SW along SW Kenyon Street (Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail).

* Request additional vegetation clearing be done on the Holden Stairs, between Delridge WY SY & 20th Ave SW. (possible return of the goat herd?)

* Request vegetation clearing along the non-through streets of 26th Ave SW, 25th Ave SW and the North/South Alley that runs parallel between those two streets, between SW Thistle Street and SW Trenton ST. Students use these corridors to transit anyway; let’s open them up to reduce cover and concealment.

* SPD conduct student safety assembly at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.

Work starts Wednesday for new curb ramps on Alki Ave. SW

June 16, 2015 at 6:14 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | No Comments

From SDOT:

The Seattle Department of Transportation will install new “ADA” compliant curb ramps at two locations on Alki Avenue Southwest. They plan to start tomorrow and complete the work by June 26. The curb ramps are at two crosswalks on Alki where there are viewing areas with benches along the waterfront. The first location is at 1716 Alki Avenue SW [map] and the second is at 1564 Alki Avenue SW [map]. The crews will work in the parking lane, and on-street parking will be restricted at those locations.

SDOT confirms West Seattle’s next school-zone speed camera will be on Delridge by the Boren Building

June 12, 2015 at 2:32 pm | In Delridge, Safety, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

SDOT‘s been saying for months that it was about to announce its next round of school-zone speed cameras, and every time we’ve checked with them, they’ve said the most likely contender in West Seattle would be Delridge Way, by the Boren Building (home to STEM and interim home, for one more year, to Arbor Heights Elementary). Now it’s official. Just in from SDOT:

To reduce speeding and improve safety for school children, contractors working for the City of Seattle will begin installing speed enforcement cameras for six schools starting Monday, June 15.

[The only West Seattle location is]:

* Delridge Way SW for K-5 STEM at Boren

Once functional the cameras will take photos of vehicles that exceed the school zone speed limit of 20 m.p.h., and drivers will receive citations in the mail. The school zone speed limit is in effect for approximately one hour in the morning as students arrive at school and one hour in the afternoon when students are dismissed. Flashing beacons have been installed to emphasize the times when the school zone speed limit is in effect.

The camera installation work will occur from June through August. Seattle Police will issue warnings for 30 days beginning September 9 and will start issuing citations on October 9.

See the full announcement, including the other five new camera sites around the city, by going here. West Seattle already has three school-zone speed cameras: Fauntleroy Way by Gatewood Elementary, and two on SW Roxbury, by Roxhill Elementary and Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School.

West Seattle wildlife: Where to beware of crows

June 10, 2015 at 9:52 am | In Safety, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 44 Comments

We’ve heard two reports now of a certain area on the west side of The Junction where the crows are feistier than usual right now. This one’s from Laura:

I live in the Genesee neighborhood. I was walking to work (Tuesday) morning, and was on the west side of the street on Glenn Way SW that cuts a diagonal path between Genesee and Alaska on my way to the bus at about 6:30 a.m. The street has a few really large trees on it.

Suddenly I hear a couple crows start cawing really loudly. Then, one swoops down high from a tree and right over my head. Then lots more cawing from the trees. Then another swoop close to my head. I scream and put my purse over my head and start running. Then a third swoop over my head, more cawing. Finally, I get beyond the big trees and it’s over. Assume it’s a nest they’re guarding, or they don’t like white jackets, or…. anyway, pretty alarming and thought maybe you’d want to alert readers to at least walk the opposite side of the street.

As usual with something like this, we searched online to look for expert advice to add to the reader report – and found this KING 5 report saying it’s “crow-attack season.” Lots of other crow-attack tales turn up online too, but as for practical advice and explanation – the state Fish and Wildlife Department wins again, with this “Living with Wildlife” page.

TOMORROW: Show off your ‘safe travel habits’ along Delridge during SDOT event – rewards may follow

June 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm | In Delridge, Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

SDOT director Scott Kubly returns to West Seattle tomorrow – this time to launch a series of “positive reinforcement” events tied to the city’s Vision Zero safety campaign. From 8-8:45 am outside the interim home of Arbor Heights Elementary (5950 Delridge Way SW) on Wednesday, according to the announcement, “Kubly, Seattle Police, and community transportation safety advocates will be out rewarding parents and kids that follow the rules of the road and practice safe travel behavior as the summer school break is days away.” If you’re caught “practicing safe travel habits,” you might get “a $5 coffee gift card and safety swag (all items grant funded),” SDOT adds. This is the first of three events around the city this week; the other two will be downtown at noon Thursday and at the Fremont Bridge on Friday morning.

California/Dakota gets first of 3 ‘rectangular rapid-flash beacons’ set for West Seattle crosswalks; Delridge, Highland Park next

June 2, 2015 at 1:07 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

Have you seen the new safety lights on the crosswalk signs at California/Dakota, north of The Junction? We noticed them earlier this week, grabbed the quick Instagram clip you see above, and then asked SDOT’s Brian Dougherty if more are on the way for West Seattle. Yes, he replied, two more so far:

The new rectangular rapid flash beacons (RRFB) at California Avenue SW and SW Dakota Street were funded and installed by SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program. This is one of several RRFBs that will be installed at school crosswalks this year; the other two locations in West Seattle include the new Delridge midblock crosswalk that will be installed in front of the Boren building, and SW Holden Street and 11th Avenue SW near Riverview Playfields (funded by Neighborhood Park and Street Fund). Both of those are planned to be installed this summer.

Boren also remains a top candidate for West Seattle’s next school-zone speed camera, Dougherty confirms, but the list of upcoming installations hasn’t been finalized yet.

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: SDOT-led walking tour of 35th SW

May 16, 2015 at 9:36 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

FIRST REPORT, 9:36 AM: As of just after 9 am, the SDOT-organized walking tour of the 35th SW Safety Project zone is under way. Above, project manager Jim Curtin, who started the tour with one assistant and three members of the public. At the outbound 35th/Avalon RapidRide, he explained that the section of 35th in that area is NOT proposed for rechannelization or other major changes. He was asked how the mixed-use development across the street will change conditions in that area:

Curtin mentioned, as has been reported here, that it includes a slopeside stairway to help connect the 35th/Avalon area (which is the gateway to West Seattle Stadium, WS Golf Course, and Camp Long) with the growing residential/business area to the west in The Triangle and The Junction. The transit stop, currently relocated to the south, will be “improved,” he said. Then after a few minutes, the group headed southbound, where we spotted them a few minutes later outside the stadium entrance:

You can catch up with the tour for a moment, an hour, whatever interests you. The stops and times are listed here, continuing until they reach 35th/Roxbury at noon. And if you don’t get to catch up with any of this – Curtin reiterated at the start that SDOT will come back to the community with the next version of the proposal, next month. You can send comments/observations/questions to him at jim.curtin@seattle.gov.

11:07 AM: We checked in on the walking tour again at 35th and Morgan, one spot where SDOT had said during the recent community meetings that they were still deciding what would be best to do to avoid significantly delaying traffic here:

Curtin said the plan for this intersection so far includes “tweaking the signal phasing.” Nearby residents who joined in at this stop mentioned parking near the intersection that could be reviewed for removal.

P.S. We’ve been experimenting with the new Twitter-linked “live” app Periscope lately and went live at this stop for a few minutes – if you use Twitter, check it out (or, if you don’t want to use Twitter but do decide to use the Periscope app, just follow us there!).

12:22 PM: The tour concluded right on time – we stopped by to check in as they arrived at 35th and Roxbury:

Curtin told the final few participants that “Option A” is looking the most promising, especially “south of Oregon,” and that the community meeting will likely be in mid-June.

FOLLOWUP: 47th/Admiral signal, crosswalks project close to pause

April 30, 2015 at 4:18 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(WSB photo: Working on concrete on east side of 47th/Admiral)
After less than two months of work, you’ll soon see a pause in the project that’s adding a traffic signal and crosswalks to the 47th/Admiral intersection, according to SDOT.

(WSB photo: North side of 47th/Admiral/Waite)
We went over for photos today after getting this update from project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey:

This week crews are wrapping up work on the south side of 47th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way, pouring new curb ramps and sidewalks and incorporating a leaf stamp into the concrete. Crews will also work to wrap up remaining work and cleanup on the north side of the intersection. Corners may be closed to pedestrians and bicyclists during work. People walking and biking will need to follow marked detours or find an alternate route. Access to Alki Mail & Dispatch will be maintained at all times.

As we’ve mentioned, there will be a pause in construction while we wait for the delivery of signal equipment. After crews complete the concrete pours at the corners, we will stop work in the area until this equipment is delivered. The existing overhead pedestrian signal will remain intact and the sidewalks will be open during this pause in construction. Construction cones will remain in place to cover the signal pole foundations on each corner. Once the materials arrive, work will resume and continue for approximately three more weeks while the signal is installed and configured. We will continue to keep you informed as more information is available related to delivery of the signal equipment.

The project webpage is here.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Alki Trail safety-improvement realignment

April 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 1 Comment

3:25 PM: Announced by SDOT this afternoon:

The Seattle Department of Transportation will realign the Alki Trail at the driveway of 3400 Harbor Avenue Southwest (several hundred yards north of Spokane Street). Moving the trail away from the building at the driveway will improve visibility for drivers exiting the building parking lot and for bicyclists and pedestrians using the trail. Please see the [above] aerial visual with realignment super-imposed.

Construction is scheduled to begin tomorrow, April 28, and take up to three weeks to complete. Work will occur weekdays from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. with pedestrians and bicyclists detoured away from the building into an adjacent temporary pathway currently used to provide on-street parking. A single general traffic lane in each direction will be maintained, although they lanes will be narrowed to accommodate the work zone and temporary trail through the area. Access to building storefronts will also be maintained.

We had been asked recently about some parking changes in the area and are following up to ask if that was related to this.

ADDED 6:19 PM: SDOT’s Marybeth Turner responded to our question about the parking changes:

To make way for the trail’s new location, the truck load zone in front of 3400 Harbor Ave SW will be relocated approximately 23 feet to the south. Two on-street parking spots, one just north of the driveway and one just south of the driveway (for the relocated load zone) will be permanently removed.

VIDEO: Youth leaders gather to organize for community safety

April 23, 2015 at 2:04 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Community safety isn’t just about the police, or about Block Watches. It’s also about individual community members, of all ages. Youth leaders included. As part of the city’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, one of its partner agencies, West Seattle-based Southwest Youth and Family Services presented a gathering on Wednesday afternoon at High Point Community Center.

It involved ideas, and suggestions, and youth leaders – like 19-year-old Marquese Sykes, who told us in this short clip what the gathering was about:

What happened last night was just a start – committees were being set up, with participants invited to decide which ones they’d join, and what they wanted to do:

Before the night’s end, names were to be added to each of those committees – and then, the next round of work would begin.

Call it ‘Guardian One 101′: West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network to feature law-enforcement helicopter’s pilot

April 22, 2015 at 10:22 pm | In Helicopter, Safety, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(WSB photo from 2014)
You’ve probably seen – or at least heard – it in your neighborhood – our area’s only law-enforcement helicopter, Guardian One. You might have questions about how it works with local police departments, when it gets involved, how it gets involved, and why. Now you have the chance for answers! the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network has just announced its special guest for next Tuesday’s meeting (April 28th):

Our special guest will be Deputy Hersh T. Hoaglan, pilot of the Guardian One helicopter!

Guardian One is a familiar sight over West Seattle, helping Seattle Police from the air to apprehend suspects. Deputy Hoaglan, from the Air Support Unit of the King County Sheriff’s Office, will share with us in detail what he does, how the tools and technology work, and what he sees from the air. He’ll also talk about some of the searches that he works on with Seattle Police.

Bring your questions and take advantage of this opportunity to learn about Guardian One. Should be a very interesting evening!

Meeting schedule (Come early, stay late!)
Tuesday, April 28, 2013, 6:30-8 PM
At the SW Police Precinct, 2300 SW Webster Street (at Delridge Ave SW, next to Home Depot)

6:00-6:30 – Arrive early for light snacks, socializing and networking with each other while we set up the room!

6:30-7:00 – Introductions, announcements.
7:00-8:00 – Deputy Hersh T. Hoaglan | Air Support Unit | King County Sheriff’s Office
8:00-8:30 – Feel free to stay after the meeting to continue your discussions.

Hope to see you there! Everyone is welcome, even if you aren’t a Block Watch Captain!

VIDEO: 1 person to hospital, 3 cars damaged in hit-run crash

April 21, 2015 at 11:54 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 20 Comments

Thanks to the tipster who let us know that a crash at 47th/Andover earlier tonight was more than it looked on the 911 log. When we got there, the car above was the most visible remaining sign of what had happened around 7:30 pm – it was one of three parked cars damaged when a black Jetta slammed into them. Our tipster says witnesses saw a man get out of the driver’s seat and run after the collision, leaving an injured woman inside; she was taken to the hospital. Our tipster sent this video clip, in which you’ll hear the en-route fire engine:

We weren’t able to reach police to ask if the driver was caught but will see if we can find anything out in the morning.

Make your home more earthquake-resistant: register now for 2 free workshops coming up in West Seattle

April 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm | In Preparedness, Safety, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Want to make your house more earthquake-resistant? Two chances to learn about retrofitting are coming up in West Seattle as part of the Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare (SNAP) program. They’re free, but you do have to register. First one is next Sunday (April 19th), 2-4 pm, at the West Seattle (Admiral) Branch Library – full details here; e-mail snap@seattle.gov if you’re interested. After that, another one is set up for 2-4 pm May 2nd at the High Point Branch Library; same registration address.

Admiral Way Safety Project: Preview what SDOT will present tonight @ Admiral Neighborhood Association

April 14, 2015 at 1:34 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 45 Comments

(Admiral Way Safety Project area map, from SDOT)
We’ve already mentioned that the Admiral Neighborhood Association will hear tonight from SDOT about bicycle lanes proposed along Admiral Way between the business district and Alki. Since then, SDOT has sent this preview – which reveals it’s not just a bicycle-lane project, but includes other planned safety improvements including narrower vehicle lanes (note that this area includes the already-underway 47th/Admiral signal-and-crosswalks project):

Project Need

Collisions from 2011 to 2014 along SW Admiral Way

· 1 pedestrian collision along project extent (2012)
· 2 bike collisions along project extent (both in 2011)
· 45 vehicle collisions along project extent

Project Description

· Reduce lane widths along SW Admiral Way and design the street to encourage slower speeds and reduce collisions

· Add new travel option by installing buffered bikes lanes from 63rd Ave SW to 44th Ave SW.

In order to add the bike lane, depending on the location, on-street parking will be consolidated to one-side of the street where parking utilization is low; or the two-way, left-turn lane (will be) removed to keep on-street parking on both sides of SW Admiral Way.

Parking Study Results

Along this 1.4 miles of SW Admiral Way, there are 441 parking spaces. We tracked the parking utilization on weekends and weekdays, morning, noon, evening and late night. At the maximum occupancy for each block, only 33% of existing spaces are being used. Of course, this isn’t uniformly distributed across the corridor. Between 45th Ave SW and California Ave SW and between 57th and 63rd avenues SW on-street parking occupancy is relatively high.

Existing Spaces: 441
Current Utilization: 33%
Percentage Preserved: 56%

Project Schedule

April – Community briefings
May 6 – SW District Council briefing
May – Open House
May – July – Final design
August – Implementation
2016 – Evaluation

(We are asking SDOT to confirm that “percentage preserved” in the “parking study” section means that 44 percent of the 441 parking spaces are to be removed, or whether it means something else. Update: Yes, SDOT’s Norm Mah confirms, that’s what it means – so, about 200 spaces will go.)

Now that you’ve seen the plan, if you have questions/comments, come to tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, 7 pm, The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd/Lander). If you absolutely can’t – watch for one of the other briefings (such as the SWDC, 6:30 pm Wednesday, May 6th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle).

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