The mail must go through … the fence? Truck crashes, no one hurt

March 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

We don’t know how it happened, but thanks to those who sent photos of this U.S. Postal Service truck crash in Upper Morgan earlier this evening, including this one from Rob. Someone who texted us about the crash says no one was hurt, verified by an absence of an SFD callout on the department’s online log.

UPDATE: Pole problem outside West Seattle PCC fixed, store open

March 21, 2015 at 10:25 am | In Safety, West Seattle news, WS breaking news | 10 Comments

(SATURDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Pole fixed, store open)

10:25 AM: Thanks for all the tips (and the photo!). Police and firefighters are at PCC Natural Markets-West Seattle (WSB sponsor) because, we’re told, a utility pole was hit by a truck and is in danger of toppling. The store is still open, we’re told, but Stevens is closed off at California on the south side of the store’s parking lot. We’re en route to find out more.

10:47 AM: Here’s what our crew found out: Until the pole problem (which is on the alley off the west side of the store and its lot) is fixed, much of the parking lot is blocked off, as is Stevens from the alley to 44th SW. Thanks to David Whiting from the Admiral Neighborhood Association for this photo:

The parking that remains open is on the east side (along California). The store itself is not affected otherwise. (Added: Here’s a photo from our crew, showing the entirety of the pole:)

We’ll check back again later.

1:20 PM UPDATE: The store confirmed, when we stopped by a short time ago, what commenter OVR said – they’ll have to close temporarily when the repairs are under way, because power will have to be cut. No ETA for that so far. More of the parking lot is open (about half), in the meantime.

6:23 PM: Went back to check. Store is temporarily closed while pole repair is under way.

6:59 PM: Back at HQ, added the photo of repairs under way. No ETA on reopening but we’re told the store does hope to reopen sometime this evening (midnight is the usual closing time), so we’ll update when there’s word.

8:23 PM: Now that the pole repairs are over, the store’s open, says Melissa via Twitter, but no hot bar/soup for the rest of the night.

Safety alert: Tree topples near bus stop south of The Junction

March 19, 2015 at 5:13 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

Thanks to Cindi for the photo – that tree along the west side of California SW toppled this afternoon, taking some of the surrounding pavement with it, so if you are walking along that part of the street south of The Junction this evening, be careful. Since her photo, a tree crew has been on the scene and, we confirmed with a quick trip that way, turned the branches and trunk into chunks, currently piled between the surviving trees. The pavement in this tree’s vicinity still looks a little precarious.

VIDEO: What you need to know to keep your kids safe, as presented to Madison Middle School PTA

March 19, 2015 at 11:43 am | In Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

If you couldn’t make it to Madison Middle School last night for the PTA-organized presentation by/discussion with Seattle Police and Parks personnel, no worries, we recorded it on video. (No slide decks, so you can just listen to it in the background by playing the video, too.)

Starting at about 4 minutes in (after an introduction by PTA president Carla Rogers), the first presenter was SPD’s local Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon, who gave an overview of the situation – since the first of the year, in the Southwest Precinct‘s coverage area (West Seattle/South Park), police have investigated 17 incidents in which youth were targeted. Most of the robbers stole their victims’ cell phones; Solomon stressed the importance of not going around openly using your electronics. Most of them were, like their victims, youths, he said. He answered lots of questions about what advice to give kids, both about prevention and about what to do if something happens. Then at about 32 minutes in, Seattle Parks security supervisor Marlan Teeters spoke. His part of the discussion included community-center lockdown policies. And at about 49 minutes in, Madison principal Dr. Robert Gary spoke about school policies and procedures – including an explanation of “shelter in place” vs. “lockdown,” and also why parents will likely hear about one or the other before the school gets a robo-call or other notification out. Dr. Gary also talked about traffic/pedestrian safety outside the school and said they’re working with SDOT on ways to calm the morning traffic, in particular.

P.S. Find out more about the Madison PTA here.

Keeping kids safe: Madison MS PTSA hosting meeting tomorrow

March 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 7 Comments

In case you missed earlier mentions of this, we wanted to publish the reminder with an extra day’s notice:


(Click image to see full-size, full-details flyer)
Tomorrow’s the night the Madison Middle School PTSA is hosting a special meeting with information about keeping kids safe:

Our Children’s Safety and Security is of paramount importance to each of us. If the recent reports of lewd or violent behavior by unknown suspects in West Seattle has you worried about your kids, then you can’t afford to miss the Student Safety Night Event that Madison PTSA has put together for you!

From advice for routine issues like safely crossing busy intersections, social-media pitfalls, to alarming issues like how to respond to and handle a potential threat by an attacker or mugger, we will host experienced experts to share their insights with you!

Join us for this FREE informational event on March 18th at the Madison Middle School Library and learn from our Special Guests like Mark Solomon – Crime Prevention Officer from Seattle Police Department’s South Precinct and Marlan Teeters, Security Supervisor for Hiawatha Park. As usual we will also have our Principal, Dr. Gary, in attendance to represent safety on campus at Madison.

The meeting will be at 7 pm in the library at Madison; the campus is at 45th/Spokane.

You can help! Denny PTSA raising $ to set up and equip special Block Watch to keep students safe

March 16, 2015 at 10:03 am | In Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

When PTAs and PTSAs raise money for their schools, it’s usually for academic and enrichment necessities that just can’t be covered by the school budget. Right now at Denny International Middle School, the PTA finds itself raising money to keep kids safe, in the wake of the recent robberies/assaults against students in their area (and elsewhere in West Seattle).

Denny PTA co-president Catherine Irby Arnold tells WSB that after meeting with police to find out what more could be done, they’re setting up a Block Watch as soon as they can – what’s above is *part* of their roughed-out map showing the coverage area – and are raising money via their Direct Drive to train volunteers, since they need at least 20. Also, she adds, the money will cover buying security vests, flashlights, and Denny sweatshirts for the volunteers. “We will kick this off as soon as possible. We are all fed up with the rash of security issues around our school. Safety of our scholars is our highest priority.”

If you’d like to help, you can donate online – scroll down this page and click the golden button.

Here’s what happened at 35th SW safety-options meeting #2

March 13, 2015 at 9:40 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 46 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two days after SDOT debuted the 35th SW safety-design options (WSB coverage here), an afternoon encore presentation filled the upstairs meeting room at Southwest Branch Library.

While the information presented by SDOT’s Jim Curtin on Thursday afternoon was the same – most of it in this slide deck – the reaction and questions were not. And that wasn’t surprising, since Curtin asked for a show of hands by those who had already heard something about the proposals.

As we listened to the presentation a second time, different facts jumped out, beyond the big ones (five people killed and more than 1,000 crashes in a decade):

Click to read the rest of Here’s what happened at 35th SW safety-options meeting #2…

Followup: 47th/Admiral signal work to start tomorrow

March 9, 2015 at 6:55 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 17 Comments

Work will start tomorrow on the 47th/Admiral traffic signal and other pedestrian-safety components.

A week and a half ago, SDOT announced the project could start “as soon as” this week, and now we have the alert with details of what’s ahead:

The Seattle Department of Transportation will begin work to install a new traffic signal, new crosswalks and upgraded curb ramps at the five-leg intersection of 47th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way at SW Waite Street. Crews will work at this location for up to four months.

Residents, businesses and travelers can expect to see crews and equipment in the area beginning tomorrow, March 10. Construction will begin with survey work and site preparation. Crews will begin saw cutting at the northeast corner of 47th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way as soon as Wednesday, March 11, with demolition of the northeast corner to follow on Thursday, March 12. “No park” signs will be placed around the work zones prior to the start of work. We will notify adjacent properties prior to the start of work at a given corner.

Crews will begin work to demolish the existing curbs and prepare to set the foundation for new signal equipment. Crews will continue to work in preparation for installation of the signal but there may be a lull of activity between the corner work and installation of the new signal. The existing overhead pedestrian signal will remain in place until the new signal is operational and the crosswalks are marked. No impacts are expected to adjacent Metro bus stops.

During construction you can expect:
· Construction activity from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday to Friday
· Pedestrian and bicycle detours around work areas
· Temporary lane and parking restrictions during off-peak travel times on 47th Avenue SW, SW Admiral Way and SW Waite Street
· Noise, dust and vibration associated with concrete removal and paving

If you have questions or concerns during construction, contact Rachel McCaffrey, construction outreach lead, at rachel.mccaffrey@seattle.gov or 206-615-0925.

According to the city website, the contractor is CA Carey of Issaquah, awarded the contract for $352,026. That’s close to the projected $350,000 cost, but considerably less than expected when the City Council decided in 2013 to fully fund the signal. SDOT says the work will last about three months.

Reminder: Meetings this week to see what SDOT will propose to make 35th SW safer

March 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | No Comments

In case you missed the first announcement a week and a half ago: You have two chances this week to see the “design alternatives” that SDOT is proposing to make 35th SW safer, 6:30 pm Tuesday (March 10th) at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way), and 3:15 pm Thursday (March 12th) at Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). These will be the first standalone community meetings since the project kickoff in October (WSB coverage here), which in turn followed the February 2014 city announcement of a long-sought safety initiative for the arterial, after much talk but no action despite five deaths in seven years. What happens after these meetings? The process is laid out on the project page.

Dangerous crossing: Westwood transit-hub crosswalk turns up trashed, days after WWRHAH discussion

March 6, 2015 at 7:07 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, Westwood | 40 Comments

Just two days after the Westwood transit hub took centerstage at the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting, a new illustration of a not-so-new concern presented itself:

(Thursday photo courtesy Joe Szilagyi)
On Thursday, WWRHAH secretary Joe Szilagyi took that photo in the middle of a very recognizable crosswalk on SW Barton between the Roxhill Park bus stop and Westwood Village. He sent the photos to city leaders with this note:

I am writing about the crosswalk from the Rapid Ride terminal site at Westwood Village in West Seattle. At some point overnight or today, a car plowed through the crosswalk and demolished it, while leaving debris all over.

We have asked repeatedly for nearly two years for assistance and budgetary relief to fund proper, full, and safe mitigation for pedestrians crossing here in the form of a controlled crosswalk if possible, and failing that at minimum a user-activated flashing visual beacon. As of yet we have only heard several variations on how this is not feasible, beyond current budget realities, or ‘not proper’ or appropriate for this location due to the nearby streetlights at Barton and 26th for the Westwood Village entrance.

There is a user-controlled full crosswalk one block south on Roxbury adjacent to the intersection of Roxbury and 26th, by the Safeway supermarket. Why is that location appropriate for these controls to service that Rapid Ride C stop, while the full end-of-line terminal a block away on another arterial is not? It’s a miracle that no one was in the crosswalk when this happened.

If this slows traffic down on Barton that is an irrelevant concern to the safety issues. Please advise us with a schedule as soon as possible of when this specific crosswalk’s dangerous conditions will be rectified to the satisfaction of the community.

Please note that we are not asking for assistance or guidance on applying for a grant on our own for this. We are asking for SDOT and the City of Seattle to immediately begin remediation of the dangerous conditions at this location.

We were CC’d on that note, and on several replies so far. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen told Szilagyi that he would ask SDOT to respond. SDOT director Scott Kubly said, “I will have my team work with King County to get the shelter repaired and to evaluate what we can do to improve safety at this location.” One of the people from whom he requested followup, city traffic engineer Dongho Chang, replied this morning that he would get it reviewed, then wrote again this afternoon:

The sign was repaired today. We’ll need to chip out the concrete and install a new post anchor. I had staff review our records and we didn’t have any specific concerns that I was able to find today for the crossing. However, I spent some time observing and walking the area and I have some thoughts that I’d like to have a quick conversation with the community.

We verified before sunset that the sign has indeed been repaired:

(WSB photo taken late today)
But that doesn’t address the ongoing issue. The e-mail chain continued late in the day with WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick pointing out that the safety issue had been discussed with SDOT’s new transit division director Paulo Nunes-Ueno at the last West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (WSB coverage here) and that she had a walkaround tour set with him for March 30th. All involved are now deciding whether that is soon enough for an assessment, or whether the timetable needs to be accelerated.

The transit-hub-related issues discussed at WWRHAH’s monthly meeting last Tuesday at the Southwest Branch Library involved more than safety. Helmick had already announced that Metro had committed to sidewalk and lighting improvements; Metro’s Paul Roybal was at the meeting to confirm all that, saying the sidewalk work will go from 26th to 29th on the south side of SW Barton, and ADA improvements will be included. Preliminary engineering work is under way, he said, and a survey crew will be out soon; if all goes well, work could start late in the year (which would be two years after WWRHAH’s original walking tour with Metro and other reps).

Also at the meeting, Metro’s Doug Johnson talked about Metro changes that will take effect June 1st as a result of Proposition 1 money. Area residents remain concerned that the 21 isn’t getting much and the previously slashed 22 isn’t getting anything, with Arbor Heights service still suffering as a result. Johnson said this isn’t the only round of improvements; there will be more in the future. Helmick is gathering comments on how the 21/22 reductions have affected riders.

With some other routes – particularly the RapidRide C Line – getting added service, Helmick asked the Metro reps if that meant more layovers and more buses stacking up at the Westwood hub, where the “Wall of Buses” along Roxhill Park has been notorious. Johnson said drivers will still have breaks there but the buses will be moving more frequently to keep up with schedules, so it won’t be that noticeable.

Also at the meeting, Andy Thompson from Westwood Village’s owners, Madison Marquette. WWRHAH told him the center isn’t as walkable as it could be. He said they’re continuing to look into pedestrian safety concerns and questions, but that overall safety has been improved since the Seattle Police bike patrols began.

WWRHAH also talked Tuesday night about Roxhill Bog, one year after its first big discussion; a new report about its issues – particularly, why the bog isn’t much of a bog any more – is out. We’ll publish that part of the March WWRHAH story this weekend.

The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meets first Tuesdays, 6:15 pm, SW Branch Library.

Another safety alert sent to families: This time, Denny/Sealth

March 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 6 Comments

For the second day in a row, some local parents are getting a safety-alert message from school administrators. Last night, it was Madison Middle School after a student was harassed; today, it’s the Denny International Middle School/Chief Sealth International High School community after a different type of incident, just east of the Denny campus. Here’s the letter, obtained from Denny principal Jeff Clark:

Dear Denny and Sealth Scholars and Families,

We want to share with you information right away regarding an incident that occurred in our community this morning.

At approximately 7:30 this morning a seventh-grade Denny scholar was walking on SW Kenyon Street from Delridge to 26th Ave SW via the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail.

When she arrived at the bridge on the trail, a male of mixed race who appeared to be in his 20s or 30s came into view. She was asked for money and then had a picture was taken of her before she ran to school. When the scholar arrived at school, she did the right thing by reporting this to school staff right away. Denny staff immediately notified the Seattle Police Department, and they are actively investigating.

The safety of our scholars is our top priority. Please help us remind your children to walk in pairs, stay on well-lit and streets that can be seen by others, and to report anything suspicious to a trusted adult (school staff and family member).

More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website: seattle.gov/police/prevention/child/default.htm.

Sincerely,

Jeff Clark, Principal, Denny International MS
Aida Fraser-Hammer, Principal, Chief Sealth International HS

Thanks to the Denny parent who sent us first word of this.

Safety alert circulated to Madison parents: Student ‘grabbed,’ harassed

March 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

Madison Middle School sent a robo-call safety alert to families tonight. We hadn’t heard about the incident that triggered it until several parents asked about it; so far as we’ve heard, the alert was only sent via robocall, and not via e-mail, but one parent forwarded the audio file and we’ve transcribed it below. The voice was that of assistant principal John McDonald and he described it as “an important safety message regarding an incident that occurred in the community today.” Here’s what follows on the recording:

This morning, we had a Madison student come to school and report an incident involving an unknown individual. The student reported that a male approximately in his early to mid 20s got off a Metro bus at the same time the student got off the Metro bus near the McDonald’s on California Avenue, approached the student, and grabbed the student. After the student went to McDonald’s, the male continued to follow the student, asking for money, and then calling the student names, after the student told him that they didn’t have any money. The student then ran to Madison and immediately reported the incident to school personnel … (then) the Seattle Police Department was contacted.

The message did not have any additional information about the incident, but continued with safety advice for parents to share with children, including walking in well-lit, well-traveled areas, not walking alone, not taking unfamiliar shortcuts, being aware of your surroundings – acknowledge people but don’t “try to stare them down” – don’t display valuable items such as phones or money, and not wearing headphones with music blocking out ambient sound and preventing them of being aware of what’s going on around them.

We’re trying to reach police to find out more about the incident and will add anything more that we find out, though it might take us until tomorrow.

ADDED: Police included this incident in an SPD Blotter post on Friday afternoon.

Followup: Fire Station 29 now set up in interim North Admiral site

March 4, 2015 at 5:05 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

As of today, interim Fire Station 29 is officially up and running in those temporary structures on the city-owned right-of-way triangle at Ferry/44th/Hill, across from Admiral Congregational Church and down the street from permanent Station 29.

As first reported here in January, this wasn’t in the original plan for where Station 29 would go while its permanent quarters get earthquake-safety upgrades and a bit of other remodeling; for many months, the city had said it would instead be located at the Harbor Avenue site that had been used for interim Station 36, and the neighbors of this site weren’t notified until eight weeks ago, days before site prep began. They voiced safety concerns but ultimately the plan proceeded, and Engine 29 is now operating out of the temporary station; SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore confirmed to WSB that today was moving day. Also: Battalion 7, which had been based at 29, is now at interim Station 32 on 40th SW in The Junction, home to Engine 32 and Ladder 11 while permanent station 32 is rebuilt, and Medic 32, as noted here last month, has moved temporarily to Station 37. Bottom line – for the next year-plus, you’ll see emergency vehicles emerging from places you’re not necessarily used to seeing them.

P.S. The future of the North Admiral site, post-interim Station 29, is on the agenda for next Tuesday’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, 7 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd/Lander).

Crime Watch: Safety alert after student approached; car prowl

March 4, 2015 at 12:39 pm | In Crime, Safety, South Park, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Two Crime Watch notes this afternoon:

STUDENT APPROACHED: This happened in South Park, but the student attends Pathfinder K-8 in West Seattle, and the alert is being circulated among parents in both communities, so we were asked to share it:

My 14 year old daughter was approached by a man on Trenton Street while she walked to her school bus stop this morning. This guy obviously had no good intentions! My daughter describes him as Hispanic, thin with dark hair. His car was a gray 4-door sedan of an older (1990s) model. She believes that he was using or on some sort of substance.

His intent was to get her into his car!!! She avoided his questions, got to her bus stop and called the police. She has since given a statement to police (at her school) and her school has been made aware of what happened this morning.

I want to be clear: My daughter felt threatened by this man and that he was very intent on getting her alone. Please help keep an eye out for this person and help keep our kids safe!!!

Via Twitter, the police log indicates this was near 10th Avenue S./S. Trenton (here’s a map).

CAR PROWL: Two car prowls are on the police log so far this morning. One was reported in the 7300 block of Delridge Way, and we learned of the other one in this reader report from David:

My car was broken into in the Gatewood area just west of 35th sometime between 1100 PM and 0700 AM. A window was broken and some items removed. It has been reported to the police.

SPD shared car-prowl-prevention/deterrence advice a month ago; we published it then but it bears sharing again:

Baby (or toddler, or preschooler) on board? Free safety checks at Swedish Automotive later this week

March 3, 2015 at 4:32 pm | In Gatewood, Safety, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

That’s Victor Gonzalez-Arredondo, child-safety expert at Swedish Automotive (WSB sponsor). This Thursday and Friday, 11 am-2 pm, he’ll be front and center offering free safety checks of baby/child car seats – all you have to do is drop by Swedish, 35th/Kenyon. (All makes of vehicles welcome for the safety checks, by the way!)

47th/Admiral signal: Construction to start ‘as soon as the week of March 9th’

February 27, 2015 at 9:00 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

As mentioned here a week ago, SDOT director Scott Kubly told the City Council Transportation Committee that the 47th/Admiral signal was on the brink of construction – and now, a city alert says construction could be just days away:

As soon as the week of March 9, the Seattle Department of Transportation will begin construction of the project to build a new signal, crosswalks and updated curb ramps at the intersection of 47th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way in West Seattle.

This project aims to improve the flow of traffic in this area and you can expect to see the following changes at this intersection:

Click to read the rest of 47th/Admiral signal: Construction to start ‘as soon as the week of March 9th’…

You’ll see firefighters at ‘the pit’ on Saturday – but it won’t be an emergency response

February 26, 2015 at 11:16 am | In Safety, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(WSB photo of Murray CSO Control Project pit, from last week)
You’ll see a Seattle Fire Department presence on Saturday at the Murray CSO Control Project site – the million-gallon-tank pit across from Lowman Beach – but it’s just a drill. We mentioned this briefly last weekend, and now have more information, as promised by Doug Marsano from King County, who writes:

The Seattle Fire Department will practice safety drills at the Murray CSO Control Project site from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 28. The drills provide training for fire personnel to practice emergency procedures on construction sites. They are not part of the project work.

The drills are being conducted in cooperation with King County’s contractor. You can expect to see fire trucks and emergency personnel working at the site on Saturday.

For information about the Murray CSO Control Project, please contact the project information hotline available 24 hours a day, 206-205-9186, or visit the project web page.

You might recall that two years ago, firefighter trainees practiced at the residential buildings that were demolished to make way for this project – here’s our photo gallery.

@ West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network: Protecting property

February 25, 2015 at 10:04 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

What can you do to try to prevent/deter someone from stealing from you? An informal discussion with SPD was the spotlighted topic as the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network met last night at the Southwest Precinct.

Click to read the rest of @ West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network: Protecting property…

What the U.S. Coast Guard search off Alki is about

February 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(WSB photo)
Thanks to everyone who tipped us about the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter that appeared to be searching off Alki. We went over to check, and got the photo above, but no information from land, and no city public-safety responders in view; a USCG spokesperson we subsequently reached by phone confirms that it’s indeed a search – starting with “an unconfirmed report of a swimmer struggling in the water.” The person who reported this lost sight of the apparent swimmer, according to the USCG, but they are searching from the air and water until they are sure they’ve done as much looking as they can. No other information so far.

‘Vision Zero’ to reduce speed limits on 5 West Seattle arterials; maybe another school-zone speed camera too

February 13, 2015 at 2:28 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 108 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Death and injury on our streets is preventable.

So declares the online overview of the city’s new Vision Zero road-safety initiative, which lays out changes ahead, including reducing speed limits on arterials, with this year’s list including five in West Seattle.

The mayor announced Vision Zero on Thursday in Lake City; the fine print includes a relatively long list of changes ahead for West Seattle. So today, we’re taking a closer look. In addition to what’s in the document made public by SDOT, we’ve also followed up to get more information on the timetable for changes, and along the way we’ve learned of at least one potential new speed-camera location for West Seattle.

First, the plan for lower speed limits. The Vision Zero plan notes that 9 of 10 pedestrians hit by drivers going 20 mph survive – but that survival rate plummets to 1 in 10 if hit at 40 mph. So, a big part of the city’s plan focuses on reducing speed limits on city streets.

20 MPH PROGRAM

Click to read the rest of ‘Vision Zero’ to reduce speed limits on 5 West Seattle arterials; maybe another school-zone speed camera too…

Followup: Interim Fire Station 29′s first structures on site

February 10, 2015 at 9:58 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
The city-owned triangle of land between 44th, Ferry, and Hill now holds the first structures to arrive for interim Fire Station 29.

They arrived early this morning, as per the city plan announced on Monday. Still to come, the temporary structure for Engine 29 itself. The interim site is expected to be in use for up to a year, while permanent Station 29 undergoes renovations and earthquake-safety upgrades.

Building interim Fire Station 29: Trailer halves, early tomorrow

February 9, 2015 at 6:39 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

With that letter to neighbors of the triangle at SW Hill/44th/Ferry (map), the city has announced that two halves of a trailer for interim Fire Station 29 will arrive tomorrow morning. Two trucks will bring the two 14-by-66 halves to the site by 6 am, according to the letter. It’s been just a month since neighbors were suddenly notified that the interim station was moving onto this site during its upcoming renovations and earthquake-safety upgrades, instead of using the long-planned Harbor Avenue site that had been home to Station 36 during its renovations. The city said the change was needed because the response time from the Harbor Avenue site would have been too long. Neighbors will be watching warily to see if their safety concerns are handled, since the site will be a tight fit. The work at permanent Station 29, barely a block south, is expected to take much of the rest of the year. Meantime, the city also is getting ready to move Station 32 out of its Triangle home at 37th/Alaska for a full rebuild; we had timetable details in our most recent update on the 32 and 29 projects.

Fire stations on the move: Updates on interim sites for 29, 32

January 29, 2015 at 3:59 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Updates on two West Seattle fire stations that will soon be on the move, temporarily:

INTERIM ADMIRAL FIRE STATION 29: Fencing went up today at the SDOT-owned triangle that will house Station 29 while its permanent home a block away is undergoing renovations and upgrades. This is the site where neighbors didn’t find out until the last minute that the planned site had changed. After more than a week of concerns, they had a meeting two Saturdays ago, organized by Councilmember Tom Rasmussen:

(January 17th photo courtesy Ted Johnson)
Neighbors’ safety concerns weren’t fully resolved – they’re still worried about blindspots on 44th, especially at SW Hill and Ferry, even with the city saying that parking won’t be allowed on the east side of 44th. That’s another impact that concerns them, as they’ve been told 12 street parking spots will be removed around the site, in all. Regarding the trees, they were given permission for a neighbor to rescue one of the existing trees, a gingko, and they have been promised tree restoration once the interim fire station is gone. Neighbors did not get a commitment for street improvements post-fire station but vow to keep pressing the point and hope to work with the Admiral Neighborhood Association on that. As for what’s next at the site, just as we were finishing this story, we heard back from Julie Moore at the city:

We had been waiting for a signed work order from the contractor, the street use permit from SDOT and for SPU to move its water testing equipment. All of that fell into place over last week and the beginning of this week. As such, some activity has begun, including installation of no-parking signs, the Honey Bucket, and temporary fencing. Over the coming weeks, additional work will occur, including grading of the site, preparation for utilities and ultimately delivery of the temporary trailer and assembly of the tent that will house the fire engine. Because preparation for and installation of the temporary facility involves various components that require the work of different trades and inspections, some of the work will be spaced out, so there may be days without visible activity.

Meantime, in The Junction:

INTERIM JUNCTION FIRE STATION 32: Temporary buildings are now in place on the 40th SW site between Alaska and Edmunds that will house Station 32 for more than a year; this site just north of the 4745 40th SW mixed-use development will eventually become a city park. The latest status report says construction is scheduled to start any day now at the 37th/Alaska home of Station 32, which will be torn down and replaced by a brand-new station on the same site.

4:43 PM UPDATE: For this one, Julie Moore from the city says, site work will actually start closer to late February, but crews will start to move out sooner: “The tentative move schedule shows the medics from FS 32 temporarily moving to FS 37 on Feb. 9, the other crews from FS 32 moving to temporary FS 32 at 4731 40th Ave. SW on Feb. 10, and the Battalion Chief from FS 29 moving to the temporary FS 32 on Feb. 17.”

Here’s what’s coming up at the north end of Delridge and beyond

January 28, 2015 at 6:43 pm | In Delridge, Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

6:43 PM: From the “in case you were wondering, too” file: A reader e-mailed today with the observation, “I noticed a construction sign and cement barriers up this morning on Delridge, north of Andover Street,” so we went over for a photo, then asked SDOT, and got this reply from Maribel Cruz:

The barriers you reference were installed to facilitate installation of four new Seattle City Light poles prior to the start of construction of pedestrian safety improvements along Delridge Way SW between SW Andover Street and the West Seattle Bridge Trail.

The pedestrian safety improvements project is scheduled to begin the third week of February and to last for approximately six weeks. It will improve the connection for pedestrians and bicyclists from the West Seattle Bridge multi-use trail to the signalized intersection at Delridge Way SW and SW Andover St., and beyond to the Delridge and West Seattle neighborhoods. Most importantly, this project will improve safety for all roadway users.

Project elements include:

* Widened sidewalk along the east side of Delridge Way SW
* Curb ramps at Delridge Way SW and SW Andover St
* Redesign of 23rd Ave SW where it meets Delridge Way SW to reduce the pedestrian crossing distance and provide uninterrupted sidewalk

Cruz promises another update soon.

ADDED 9:06 PM: This SDOT webpage has a little more information, including a simple map.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Student reports ‘flasher’ incident

January 27, 2015 at 7:52 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 8 Comments

7:52 PM: Thanks to the Chief Sealth International High School parents who have sent us this message received tonight by families – first we have heard of it:

Yesterday, while walking home from school, a student was approached by a man in a newer model, gray minivan. A man drove up to the student, pulled off to the side, opened his door and exposed himself to her. This student ran away and reported this incident when she got home and then reported to the school today. Police were notified, took a report and description, and are now investigating. We do not have a license plate, but the description was a white male in his mid 30s, brown hair, wearing a white t-shirt and worn-out jeans, and driving a newer model gray mini-van. Our student did everything right, immediately getting away from the stranger, meeting up with a nearby familiar individual and reporting the incident to her parent, to the school, and then to the police.

The safety of our students is our top priority for Chief Sealth International. You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times, as well as not talking to strangers or getting into their vehicles. Having these conversations, especially with younger children, can be difficult. We encourage you to be sensitive to your child. More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website.

While it hasn’t been mentioned here so far, we received this while covering the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting and are pursuing more information from police; we’ll add anything more we find out.

8:14 PM: One additional detail that was not in the school e-mail – the police report says the student wasn’t certain exactly where it happened, but it was “near” Delridge/Thistle, which is a few blocks east of the school. This is the first incident of this type that has surfaced in our area since last September.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole coming to West Seattle for a community conversation on February 3rd

January 20, 2015 at 9:06 am | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | Comments Off

(WSB photo from August 2014 – Chief O’Toole with Karen Berge & Deb Greer of the WS Block Watch Captains Network)
Shortly after Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole started her job last summer, she visited last summer’s Delridge Day/Picnic at the Precinct festival. She has not, however, been to a formal community meeting here – but that’s about to change. Just announced:

The Southwest Precinct Advisory Council (SWPAC) and the West Seattle Block Watch Captains are pleased to announce a community conversation with Seattle’s Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole.

The West Seattle community is invited to come to the Southwest Police Precinct on Tuesday, February 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30 pm to participate in this community conversation.

There will not be a formal program as this is an opportunity for the citizens of West Seattle to come out and meet Seattle’s new police chief.

If you would like more information or have any questions, you can contact Pete Spalding at SWPAC@comcast.net.

The precinct is at 2300 SW Webster, on the NW corner of Webster/Delridge.

Interim Fire Station 29′s sudden switch: Community meeting Saturday; utility work today; response-time difference explained

January 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

(WSB photo taken this morning)
One week after neighbors of the 44th/Ferry/Hill triangle in North Admiral learned it was about to become the suddenly switched site of Interim Fire Station 29, work on the parcel is already under way: A Seattle Public Utilities crew is working on the water-quality-testing installation that has to be moved.

Also: A community meeting is officially set for this Saturday morning. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen told neighbors at an informal gathering last Saturday (WSB coverage here) that he would try to set one up, at least to get answers to their questions, and SFD has announced the meeting will be held this Saturday (January 17th), 9 am, at Station 29 (2139 Ferry Avenue SW, a block from the new interim site), with the other two involved departments – Finance and Administrative Services and Transportation – also officially sponsoring it.

SFD also has sent information elaborating on the response-time concerns that it says led to the scrapping of the long-announced plan to put interim Station 29 at the same Harbor Avenue site that had housed interim Station 36 until its upgrades were finished last summer:

The Seattle Fire Department is concerned about emergency response times to the community served by Fire Station 29. The National Fire Protection Association or NFPA establishes national goals for fire emergency responses. The national standard is to have the first arriving engine at a fire or medical emergency to be within 4 minutes, 90% of the time.
The reason for the national standard is time matters in emergency responses. When it comes to fires or cardiac events, every second counts. Fires grow exponentially. Also, with patients who have life-threatening medical emergencies such as heart attacks, the quality of care that they receive in the first six minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

While searching for a temporary location of Fire Station 29, the Seattle Fire Department looked at response times from the 2500 Harbor Avenue site and from the SDOT triangle located on Ferry Avenue SW. The Department ran district-wide response models from both locations. The data revealed that the response time for a first arriving engine unit from Harbor Avenue would average 5 minutes and 35 seconds. A response time from the temporary location would average 4 minutes.

The maps (above) show the difference in responses from both locations. The dark green represents when the first arriving unit meets the national standard of 90%. The dark red indicates when the first arriving unit would meet the national standard less than 50% of the time. As the data map indicates, the Harbor Avenue location would have much slower responses to the community served by Fire Station 29. For this reason, the Seattle Fire Department wanted to keep Station 29 in the neighborhood it serves to ensure a consistent level of fire and medical protection for the citizens of West Seattle.

When determining the location of the temporary fire station, the City did look at a few other sites in the neighborhood, including the Charlestown Café and Life Care Center sites. Neither were viable options, the former due to it being in the permitting process for a residential project that is due to break ground this spring, and the latter because it would have required a zoning change, and having the fire engine pull out onto Admiral Way, then backing into the site from Admiral Way, is not ideal.

Not mentioned is an alternative city-owned site that has been mentioned in the discussion that’s erupted since last Wednesday’s announcement of the change in sites, SPU property in front of the current Station 29. We’re still checking on why that apparently was ruled out or not considered.

Previous WSB coverage:
1/11/15: Followup – Neighbors mobilize after site switch
1/7/15: New interim FS 29 location: Triangle by church
March 2014: Report mentioning Harbor Ave. site designated for interim FS 29

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