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).

OPEN LETTER: A grandmother says ‘thank you,’ and wonders about safety, after 4-year-old’s Alki seawall fall

April 11, 2015 at 9:31 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 53 Comments

That’s 4-year-old Aaron, photographed before a fall off the Alki seawall left him badly hurt. His grandmother Teri has written an open letter both to say thanks to the strangers who helped, and to voice concerns about safety:

On Tuesday, April 7th, at approximately 5:30 pm, my husband David, my 4-year old grandson Aaron and I were riding bikes along the 1300 block of Alki Avenue. We were in the bike lane, with Aaron following David, and I was bringing up the rear so I could keep a watchful eye on Aaron. Part way through the ride, Aaron apparently decided he wanted to ride along the path on the other side of the sidewalk and veered off in that direction. Despite my calls for him to stop, Aaron continued on toward the path and the unprotected bulkhead. He managed to stop his bike before it went over the edge, but he went flying over the handlebars and over the edge of the bulkhead, landing face first on the boulders 6-8 feet below street level.

As I scrambled off my bike and ran, horrified, toward where I had just seen Aaron flying over the wall, passersby had already leapt into action. By the time I got to the edge, there were people down on the rocks lifting the very terrified Aaron up to safety. Others standing around also clamored to help, and one woman was an absolute angel. She sat with Aaron and kept him talking, focusing on calming him down while we waited for the 911 response team that was summoned by still others. I was in a state of shock at the time and can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to all of these people who stepped up to help us.

Fortunately, Aaron was properly outfitted with a Bern bike helmet at the time of his accident. Without it, he would not be with us today. This helmet literally saved his life. It was cracked and dented as a result of the fall, clearly showing us where significant brain damage was avoided. I am now a staunch bike-helmet advocate! I see so many children out riding bikes with helmets that are ill-fitting and barely more than a styrofoam hat in the shape of a shark, unicorn, or kitty and wonder whether one of these helmets would have stopped the significant damage that was avoided by wearing the well-fitting, hard-shell Bern helmet. Our children and grandchildren are irreplaceable, so only the best in protection is good enough for them.

Aaron spent just under 4 days at Harborview, and was helped by many fine, caring doctors and nurses both in the Emergency Room and PICU. Our eternal gratitude goes out to them as well.

At Harborview, we learned that Aaron had fractured his skull. He also had several fractures around both eye orbitals, multiple deep nose fractures, and his upper right jaw was fractured as well. Right now he is back home, and back to playing with his trains and cars, colors and crafts as he continues to heal. The doctors are waiting for the significant eye swelling to subside before they can determine whether he is in need of surgery to repair some of the fractures as there is the possibility that they may be impinging facial nerves and eye muscles. Right now we call him our little puffer fish!

Since the accident, we have heard that there have been several other incidents along the unprotected stretch that runs around Alki Avenue and drops off to large boulders. I walk that path several afternoons a week, and with the warmer weather I am seeing more and more children along the way either walking, running, or riding scooters and bikes. Knowing how the younger ones can rapidly dart away and put themselves in danger, I have to wonder what the City of Seattle can do to make this a safer place for us all. We came so close to losing a precious 4 year old that day. God forbid another child, or even an adult, is lost forever due to a slip or fall and lack of fencing along this area.

We don’t know who any of the people are who helped us on the beach last Tuesday, but we really want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to them for them being there and stepping up to help. I don’t know what we would have done without their help! We are blessed to live in a community with so many caring people.

Teri says they *do* know some of Aaron’s rescuers – the Seattle Fire Department personnel – and that they plan to visit those fire stations soon (the log from Tuesday shows units from 3 stations) to say thanks in person.

Online petition launched by opponents of 35th SW speed-limit cut, rechannelization

April 10, 2015 at 2:41 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 114 Comments

An online petition was part of the community campaign to get the city to make safety improvements on 35th SW.

More than a year later, another online petition is asking the city not to reduce the speed limit or rechannelize 35th – both of which are key parts of the “design alternatives” announced in two March meetings (which begin on page 22 below):

We covered both meetings – March 10th here, and March 12th here – as well as the March 26th West Seattle Transportation Coalition briefing. It all traces back to an announcement by Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tom Rasmussen more than a year earlier.

Neel says it goes too far. In feedback to SDOT, he wrote:

35th has been the major West Seattle arterial since West Seattle was platted! Everyone else who depends on it to help them get outta town don’t want it choked with “safety” improvements that, plain and simple, aren’t needed. Your own data shows that there isn’t much of a problem here, except for some concerns for pedestrian crosswalks toward the north end. So go fix that — don’t mess up the whole transportation system to ‘fix’ a problem that doesn’t exist. …

We like 35th just the way it is, but are also open to changes that will improve our throughput while maintaining proper regard for safety. And by this I mean the efficiency of the driver, not the road. I really don’t care how many vehicles per unit time you can accommodate (the road’s efficiency). I only care about the transportation efficiency — covering the maximum distance in the least amount of time. That’s the true measure of productivity: maximizing desired outcome(s) with the fewest resources.

The specific objections – and potential counterproposals – are all in the text of the petition, which you can see here. The city says it will present the final plan in June; in the meantime, comments are being taken by project manager Jim Curtin at jim.curtin@seattle.gov.

GOAT UPDATE: Holden stairway herd expected to leave Friday

April 9, 2015 at 3:46 pm | In Delridge, Safety, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

We just went back over to the Delridge/20th/Holden stairway to see the progress the Rent-A-Ruminant goats have made – considerable, as our photos show.

They’ve been on the job for two days, munching away at stairway-side brush that was considered a safety threat, especially after a student was robbed in the area in late January, during a series of crimes against students around West Seattle.

But now their work is almost done, and SDOT’s David Allen – who shared first word of the goat plan last week – tells WSB this afternoon that R-a-R’s Tammy Dunakin expects to load up her goats and head out late Friday morning.

GOAT UPDATE! Just because we know you’re wondering…

April 8, 2015 at 12:13 pm | In Delridge, Safety, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

(WSB photo)
We promised updates on the Rent-A-Ruminant goats’ work for SDOT along the SW Holden stairway, following our first report after their arrival Tuesday afternoon and our original report last Friday on the plan. So we stopped by a little while ago. They still have much left to munch. Right now, they’re working further up the slope, closer to the 20th SW top of the stairway than to the Delridge Way end of the stairway, where they were in view yesterday, so no cute closeups (yet, but we’ll be checking back later). R-a-R proprietor Tammy estimated after arriving that they’d probably need about three days to get the job done.

Ballots go out tomorrow for April 28 special election. Here’s what you’ll be voting on

April 7, 2015 at 9:53 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | Comments Off

King County is mailing ballots tomorrow for this month’s special election. In our area, you’ll just see one thing on the ballot – a levy to raise money to replace the area’s emergency-radio system. In the first of its nine years, the rate will be 7 cents for every thousand dollars of property valuation, so if you have a house valued at $400,000, this will cost you $28. Several areas outside Seattle have various other measures, and you’ll see them in the voters’ pamphlet, but the radio levy is the only thing that’ll be on your ballot, which will be due by 8 pm April 28th. If you mail it back, use a stamp; if you want to vote without paying postage, the West Seattle and White Center dropoff vans will be in place for the last few days of voting – see days, times, locations here. (And if you’re not registered to vote in this state, you have time – register in person by 4:30 pm April 20th.)

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: SDOT unveils SW Roxbury plan at Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting

April 7, 2015 at 6:19 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, Westwood | 56 Comments

That’s the plan for SW Roxbury, which SDOT is about to unveil at the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s April meeting, under way until about 7:30 pm at the Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). An open house is also planned April 16th. First, WWRHAH is hearing briefly from City Council District 1 candidate Lisa Herbold (we’ll add details later on what she says, and other parts of the meeting that aren’t related to the Roxbury presentation).

6:27 PM: SDOT’s Jim Curtin begins his presentation, saying the details (which you can see in the slide deck above) aren’t much different from the previous discussion, and that implementation will start in mid-August. The package, he recaps, has short- and long-term “engineering solutions” for SW Roxbury from Olson on the east to 35th SW on the west. He also recaps the road’s conditions, which are at the start of the slide deck – 52 percent of what’s along Roxbury in that stretch is single-family residential housing. The traffic flow goes from an average of 13,000 vehicles a weekday at 35th to 25,000 vehicles each weekday at Olson. The roots of the project lie in the fact so many people speed – more than 5 mph over the speed limit, on much of the stretch – the average at 30th SW is 41 mph, “a big problem” in SDOT’s view. The stretch has seen 223 crashes with 112 injuries over just the past three years.

The changes are at 60 percent design, close to “ready to go,” Curtin said, and they are coordinating with partner agencies including Metro and King County Roads (though SDOT is accountable for the road from curb to curb). 100 percent design is expected in June, and that’s when they’ll mobilize their crews, in hopes of getting the work done by the first day of the 2015-2016 school year.

Just a few tweaks from the draft plan. From 17th to 35th SW, rechannelization is proposed, “which means we will eliminate a lane of traffic and bring Roxbury down to its surroundings, including parks and schools … while still maintaining travel times that are essentially unchanged for people who are driving. There will be short sections of bus lanes for the 120 and RapidRide; we are going to repave Roxbury from 17th to ’18th and a half’ … a really, really rough section of road.” The curb will be fixed and ADA-complaint curb ramps will be put in, 8 each at 17th and 18th SW.

300 new linear feet of sidewalk will go in, on the south (county) side of the street across from Roxhill Elementary (photo added above), past the auto-parts store and casino – “the last section of Roxbury without sidewalks,” Curtin said, adding that the city and county have secured a grant to pay for this.

No rechannelization is planned east of 17th. At the White Center intersection – 15th/16th “funky five-way split,” as he described it – curb painting and audio pedestrian signals are part of the plan. Then from Olson to 15th SW, the speed limit will be reduced to 30 mph; two new radar speed signs will go in to support that; and other “spot signage” improvements are planned. That will include changes targeting the “persistent collision patterns” at 4th SW and 8th SW. For the latter, Curtin said, the patterns are rear-end crashes. The county has put in a “warning” beacon that isn’t making a difference. Engineers concluded, Curtin said, “we need people to slow down” – as is the case with the “spinout” crashes at 4th SW – and they believe that will make a difference. (Later, he said, they hope to take that “all the way down the hill” toward 509.)

Back to the west – A “shared bus lane” will go in near Roxhill because of operational requirements for Metro and school buses; a potential bus-layover zone is being considered by Roxhill. The Metro transit stop that’s currently right in front of Roxhill Elementary will be moved to the west of 30th (where it had once been). WWRHAH’s transportation chair Chris Stripinis asked if that would create a situation like the notorious C-Line stop at Fauntleroy/California – Curtin cited reasons why it won’t, including a “partial lane” that vehicles will be able to use to get around.

No bicycle lanes right now; bicycle facilities will be considered “later” – likely 2016 – said Curtin; right now, the curb and pavement are not in good-enough shape, and so the area that later will become bicycle lanes will for now be “buffers” between vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

For rechannelization doubters, Curtin hauled out a slide he acknowledged has been shown at many meetings lately – other rechannelized streets including Fauntleroy and (outside West Seattle) NE 75th have seen decreases in crashes even as traffic volume edged up a bit.

Beyond all this, he said, in the long term: If the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle passes, SDOT hopes to “completely rebuild” SW Roxbury, with repaving and even in some places “taking it down to the dirt” and redoing it. Also, a pedestrian signal at or near 12th SW would be a long-term priority, according to Curtin (it came up often at previous meetings). Anything else missing? he asked. WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick suggested a crosswalk at 24th and Roxbury. Between 35th and 30th, Stripinis suggested, some visual cue for crossers would be helpful, since because streets don’t connect from both sides, and drivers don’t tend to stop even for the implied crosswalks at corners.

WWRHAH secretary Joe Szilagyi asked about the parking spots along Roxbury by Taqueria Guaymas at 17th. They’re staying, said Curtin, adding, “Despite what you read … we actually like parking at SDOT,” for reasons including, “it slows people down.” Speaking of slowing down, though they’re not proposing rechannelization of the entire length of Roxbury now – even though it was frequently suggested, Curtin said, during the comment period – it might be looked at again in the future. Also for the wish list, Helmick added, a roundabout for the Olson end, and more mowing and vegetation clearing so people who are walking and biking can get through.

Though it’s technically beyond Roxbury, several people brought up the walking/biking dangers of going down the hill from Olson toward SW Cloverdale and South Park, as something that should eventually be examined.

Curtin then put up the engineering plans for Roxbury, starting with the 35th/Roxbury intersection, which he said “works remarkably well.” (A side discussion erupted regarding sidewalks on 35th, and Curtin reiterated that the city has some in the works all the way to 106th. Not part of the project in the spotlight tonight, but still of interest.) One stretch is still undecided – the eastbound side near Roxbury Safeway, where they had been looking at a bus lane but decided they don’t need it. Maybe a right turn lane? Right now, by the way, Curtin said, the 28th/Roxbury intersection “functions really well,” too. At 26th, there’ll be a right-turn-only lane heading southbound, and then it’ll be a bus-only lane on the outside, east of 28th, with a bus-and-turn lane on the westbound side, turning onto 26th and heading toward Westwood Village. This intersection’s design isn’t completely finalized, though, acknowledged Curtin – “we’re still kind of wrestling with (it).”

7:20 PM: Overall, he summarized, “this project is universally loved by everyone at SDOT,” where he says some wondered how the road ever had “so many lanes.” If you have comments, go to the Open House, and/or e-mail Curtin – jim.curtin@seattle.gov – ASAP.

Rest of the meeting:
Click to read the rest of AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: SDOT unveils SW Roxbury plan at Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting…

HAPPENING NOW: Rent-A-Ruminant goats on duty alongside Delridge/Holden stairway

April 7, 2015 at 1:56 pm | In Delridge, Safety, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

The first goats ever booked for West Seattle work by SDOT are now on the job – Rent-A-Ruminant‘s goats are at work along the Delridge/Holden stairway:

We first told you back on Friday about the plan for them to spend a few days tidying up the overgrowth that has created safety issues along this stairway, which was the site of one of the student-targeting robberies earlier this year.

We will of course be checking in to see how it’s going. Note that this is not a particularly spectator-friendly site – on either end – busy roads bookend the stairway (Delridge and 20th SW). Rent-A-Ruminant proprietor Tammy is on scene to keep watch over her herd. We’ll be adding more photos later.

ADDED 3:45 PM: Went back over to check in – here’s a bit of Instagram video, from through their protective fence:


Tammy tells us about 40 goats are on the job here – her first job of the season; she generally works with them April through October. In all, she has more than 100 goats; they’re based on Vashon Island.

Want to be one of the first to see the SW Roxbury plan?

April 6, 2015 at 2:01 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Instead of a standalone meeting, SDOT is coming to tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council to announce the plan for making SW Roxbury safer, after 223 crashes left 112 people hurt just in the past three years.

At two meetings last year – which we covered, on July 31st and on August 4th – SDOT rolled out a proposal including rechannelization between 17th and 35th and a mix of changes east of there. One more round of community consultation, focused on Roxbury businesses, was due to follow that.

Tomorrow’s meeting is at 6:15 pm at the Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson); the Roxbury presentation is set for 6:30; all are welcome.

Something missing in ‘Transportation Levy to Move Seattle,’ say West Seattle advocates: Stairways

April 5, 2015 at 11:59 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 4 Comments

After we reported Friday night on SDOT‘s plan to use goats to clear weeds/brush from the SW Holden stairway between 20th and Delridge, our area’s best-known stairway users/advocates pointed out two things: For one, this isn’t the only stairway that needs TLC, note Jake and Cathy Jaramillo, the West Seattleites who wrote “Seattle Stairway Walks.” For two, a stairway plan is missing in the draft Transportation Levy to Move Seattle. With a city survey about the levy open right now, they say it’s an opportunity to fix that:

An Open Letter To Our Stairway Friends:

The mayor’s proposed Transportation Levy has a lot of things going for it, but it completely misses one of Seattle’s most important everyday modes of transportation: our stairway network.

West Seattle is particularly blessed with numerous stairways that play an important role in the everyday life of our community. Some of them are sadly deteriorating, and all of them need ongoing TLC!

Seattle possesses a historic built legacy of more than 650 publicly accessible stairways. Many of them are more than one hundred years old, yet even today they still connect our citizens to transit, parks and everyday neighborhood businesses.

Stairways provide scenic byways in the city for exploration and outdoor exercise. They’re a “third place” for neighbors to meet casually. In short, our stairway network remains incredibly relevant to our city’s function and quality of life.

Back in 2011 the city’s budget for stairway maintenance was only about $1.1 million. This inadequate level of funding shows, despite the hard work done by SDOT rehab and replacement crews (see picture below).

Roughly forty percent of this amount will be lost when the current Bridging the Gap levy expires, leaving a yawning gap in the funds needed to keep up our stairway network.

We’re appealing for concerned residents to do two simple things, right away:

1) Please take a moment to give your feedback to Mayor Murray and the city, using the brief SDOT online survey, at moveseattlesurvey.com.

There’s a key juncture where the survey asks: “Are there other transportation investments you feel should be a top priority for funding through this levy?” Adding a quick note here, such as “To make walking easier and safer, the levy must add specific funding for our deteriorating public stairways” can go a long way to putting stairways on the city’s radar – provided enough of us speak up.

2) Please forward this message to your own networks, to get others to amplify your voice!

See you on the stairs,

Jake and Cathy Jaramillo
Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods

While stairways were mentioned when Mayor Murray announced his overall transportation vision in early March, they did not get a specific shoutout when the draft levy to fund part of that plan was made public a few weeks later.

Goats to clear slopes along SW Holden stairway, says SDOT

April 3, 2015 at 9:13 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 32 Comments

(January 29th photo of Delridge/Holden stairway, after student was robbed)
Back in February, Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Officer Erin Nicholson told the Highland Park Action Committee that the city might bring in goats to clear vegetation along local stairways and make them safer, in the wake of crimes targeting students using them. Now, we have confirmation: SDOT is bringing goats to clear the slopes alongside the SW Holden stairway between Delridge and 20th. Here’s the flyer the city has distributed to nearby residents:

This will be the first time SDOT has used goats in West Seattle, according to SDOT’s David Allen, who says they are from Rent-A-Ruminant.

P.S. While it’s a first for SDOT, it’s certainly not a first for WS; last decade, it was almost common – oldest goat photos in WSB archives are from 2007: Marine View Drive, Admiral, Gatewood

PHOTOS: ‘Wall-to-wall’ Westwood transit-hub-and-vicinity tour, the sequel

April 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, Westwood | 10 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

You can complain and explain until you’re out of breath, but few things beat showing a problem spot firsthand to those who can at least help find solutions. That’s the idea behind the classic “walking tour” with community members and government reps.

One in Westwood on Monday afternoon was a sequel/followup to a similar one exactly 15 months earlier (WSB coverage here), from the “wall of buses” on Barton to the one on 25th, and beyond. It showcased what had changed, what hadn’t changed, and what will soon change.

This one, like the one at the end of December 2013, was requested by the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, represented this time by chair Amanda Kay Helmick and WWRHAH’s Southwest District Council delegate (and SWDC co-chair) Eric Iwamoto. Also like the December 2013, other participants included Metro, SDOT, SPD, Seattle Parks, reps from County Executive Dow Constantine and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s offices, plus King County Sheriff’s Office transit deputies.

Ahead – what’s changed, what hasn’t, and more:

Click to read the rest of PHOTOS: ‘Wall-to-wall’ Westwood transit-hub-and-vicinity tour, the sequel…

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

March 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 12 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.

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