West Seattle safety: ’5-way intersection’ improvements under way

October 2, 2015 at 12:20 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

It’s #9 on the new West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor “action report,” but the 5-way intersection at West Marginal/Chelan/Delridge/etc. has been in line for improvements since long before the report came out. One of the people who’s been closely involved, West Seattle Bike Connections president Don Brubeck, shares the photo and an update on what’s happening at the intersection today:

Work is beginning on Chelan 5-way intersection short-term improvements. SDOT electricians were out this morning, working on installing rapid-flashing beacon lights at the blind corner at the bridge pier where the Delridge Way right turn lane to Spokane St Bridge crosses the West Seattle Bridge Trail. They will install sensors for bikes and pedestrians to trigger the beacon. Other safety improvements include pavement markings to increase bicycle predictability, and bicycle ramps to minimize conflicts at this complex intersection.

Rapid-flashing beacon lights are a relatively new arrival in West Seattle – they’ve gone up this year at California/Dakota, Holden/11th, and in the school zone in the 5900 block of Delridge Way. As for the 5-way intersection plan, you can find out more at the WSBC website, and remember, a discussion of the entire corridor’s future – all modes and a multitude of issues – hosted by City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, is planned for October 19th, 6:30 pm, at the Sisson Building in The Junction (California SW & SW Oregon).

‘Drastic turnaround,’ for the better: West Seattle crime stats and more as West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network reconvenes

September 22, 2015 at 10:57 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

As the temperatures have dropped, so has West Seattle crime. The report heard by the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network tonight was basically what the WS Crime Prevention Council heard last week (WSB coverage here), and what online reports have borne out: After an early August spike, and some key arrests, things have slowed way down.

From tonight’s meeting at the Southwest Precinct:

CRIME TRENDS: Operations Lt. Ron Smith told the 15+ WSBWCN attendees that the Anti-Crime Team has “made some great arrests,” about a dozen people. While back during the week of August 9th, there were 32 car prowls in West Seattle – “that’s a lot” for this area – that fell to 8 car prowls a week in mid-September, and this past week, 3 car prowls, after some arrests with the help of watchful neighbors – “our K-9 is running down the street and a citizen will come out and identify which shed someone is hiding in.” Lt. Smith declared that drop “That’s a drastic turnaround.” One commercial burglary this past week, also a drop, and residential burglaries are also down on average – peaking in early August at 14 burglaries one week, declining to 4 the week of September 6th, 7 the most recent week (as shown here last night). Year-to-date compared to last year, residential burglaries are down 5 percent in this area – 349, compared to 370. (At right, the city map for the past week, filtered for burglaries, car prowls, and robberies.)

Auto thefts are reported to be up a bit lately but down 5 percent year-to-year – Lt. Smith says some of the more recent arrestees are “back on the streets” so the Anti-Crime Team is back on their case. The robbery rate is more or less unchanged, averaging three per week, which includes shoplifting cases that were classified as robberies because the thief used force. Lt. Smith also mentioned that the recent Hamilton Viewpoint Park concerns seemed to be under control. Asked about the Community Police Team status, it’s still at half-strength, down to two officers, but three candidates are being evaluated, Lt. Smith said.

Two other major topics tonight:

Click to read the rest of ‘Drastic turnaround,’ for the better: West Seattle crime stats and more as West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network reconvenes…

NEXT SATURDAY: Drug Take-Back Day dropoffs at SW Precinct

September 20, 2015 at 10:03 am | In Health, Safety, West Seattle news | No Comments

Next Saturday – September 26th – you can get expired/no-longer-needed prescription drugs out of your home and into a safe drop-off container at the Southwest Precinct, during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, 10 am-2 pm. The announcement is from SW Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis. Nationally, it’s a DEA initiative, as explained:

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

The precinct is at 2300 SW Webster; the public entrance is off the east side of its parking lot on Webster west of Delridge.

FOLLOWUP: Warning period recalibrated for West Seattle’s new speed-camera zone. Also: New price for school-zone tickets

September 19, 2015 at 11:59 am | In Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 14 Comments

Once it was determined that Seattle Public Schools would start this past Thursday, we published a reminder about West Seattle’s new speed camera zone, its fourth one, on Delridge Way SW by Louisa Boren STEM K-8 and interim Arbor Heights Elementary (as first confirmed in June). We have since obtained followup information about the warning period for that camera – and it includes news of the new increased fine for school-zone speeding. From Chris Steel of SPD’s speed-camera program:

The new sites [this one and others in the city] will have a 30-day warning period starting on the first day of school, 9/17/15. Drivers who exceed the posted speed limit while the school zone beacons are active will receive a Courtesy Warning Notice. This notice explains the school zone safety program and advises the driver:

· This is a Courtesy Warning Only
· There is No Penalty for this Notice
· These is No Response needed
· This Notice will not be reported to the Department of Licensing

The notice goes further on to explain that once the warning period ends, the current fine for this violation is $234. This is an increase from last school year as mandated by the Washington Supreme Court and in effect as of July 1, 2015.

Again, the “grace period” applies only to the ticketing *camera* in the STEM/AH zone – if an officer tickets you, or if you get an in-person or camera ticket in any other flashing-beacon school zone, it’s official from the school year’s start. (Here’s the map of speed cameras citywide – West Seattle has three that were in use before this school year, Fauntleroy Way SW near Gatewood Elementary and two on SW Roxbury, by Roxhill Elementary and Holy Family School.)

West Seattle Bridge bus lane to get red paint tomorrow

September 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 48 Comments

Just in from SDOT:

Starting on Saturday, September 19, 2015, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will mark the existing eastbound bus-only lanes on the West Seattle Bridge with high visibility red markings. Similar to those installed in locations such as Battery Street and NE Pacific Street, these markings raise the profile of the transit-only lane and improve driver compliance with the restriction.

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Bridge bus lane to get red paint tomorrow…

ROAD WORK TONIGHT: Roxbury, 35th painting, marking, ‘hydroblasting’ continues

September 14, 2015 at 6:57 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 55 Comments

You might have missed this if you don’t read the daily road-work alerts in the traffic/transit coverage we publish each weekday morning: SDOT crews are due back out on Roxbury and 35th tonight, as marking, restriping, and “hydroblasting” removal of the old striping continues in both projects. We saw this crew on 35th north of Thistle less than an hour ago:

As we showed in this morning’s traffic/transit notes, the Roxbury rechannelizing north of White Center was mostly finished overnight. That’s far from the entirety of the Roxbury project, which is detailed in this presentation first shown at the April meeting of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, and has been in the works for more than a year and a half:

Jim Curtin, managing both projects for SDOT, says, “Our crews will be out on Roxbury again tonight since there’s still some work left,” as well as working on 35th (plan below, as announced two months ago):

If it does rain Wednesday, that could delay some work, Curtin adds: “We can remove paint in the rain but re-painting is impossible.”

Yes, the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council IS meeting tomorrow

September 14, 2015 at 10:20 am | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, West Seattle news | Comments Off

We’ve just received confirmation that the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council WILL resume its monthly meeting schedule as planned, starting tomorrow night (Tuesday, September 15th), 7 pm, at the Southwest Precinct‘s community meeting room. If you have a neighborhood concern to bring up with SPD, and/or want to hear local crime trends firsthand, this is the one open, public, monthly chance to do that. Each meeting usually also has a featured topic and/or guest; this time around, it’s self-defense, discussing with SPD and attendees, according to WSCPC president Richard Miller, “(the) relative advantages and disadvantages of various personal protection/self defense devices (stun guns, tasers, pepper spray, handguns, etc.).” The precinct is at Delridge and Webster; the community-room entrance is off the parking lot on Webster.

VIDEO: West Seattle bike rider survives collision after truck turns into his path

September 11, 2015 at 9:51 am | In Safety, West Seattle news | 77 Comments

West Seattle bicycle rider Al survived a frightening collision with a semi-truck/trailer on Thursday – and it’s all on video, recorded by his helmet cam. He asked if we would share it here as, at the very least, a reminder of why it’s important to be aware of everyone and everything on the road – it can be a matter of life and death. It happened as he was riding southbound on East Marginal Way near its turn into Alaskan Way, as he headed back to West Seattle after yesterday’s Mariners game. WARNING: LOTS OF PROFANITY – the video is not edited and so, Al says, “A word of warning…If you don’t want to hear a bunch of words and phrases most parents don’t teach their children, hit the ‘mute’ button.” You have lots of time once you hit “play,” as the truck does not come into view until almost a minute into the video, and the collision happens shortly thereafter. Al adds, “I was very lucky and I’m okay (a scratch on my left elbow and thigh), my bike was mended (rode straight to Alki Bike with a rubbing I couldn’t find).” He says the crash was reported to police and that Port of Seattle PD took a report. East Marginal Way S. was in the spotlight in 2013 after a deadly crash (less than a mile south of Al’s incident), and is one of the “multimodal corridors” that SDOT is currently studying for safety improvements.

JUST IN: New plan for SW Admiral Way Safety Project, announced ahead of tonight’s ANA meeting

September 8, 2015 at 3:34 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 29 Comments

SDOT has just gone public with the revised SW Admiral Way Safety Project plan, ahead of a briefing at tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting. This is the plan that originally stirred controversy for seeking to remove more than 200 parking spaces along parts of Admiral Way west of California SW. Some residents launched a petition drive and campaign, with concerns including SDOT having made decisions based on a parking study conducted in the winter. SDOT agreed to do another parking study in the summer, and this is the revised version just announced:

Our revised proposal maintains on-street parking on both sides of the street, constructs a buffered bike lane, adds a new crosswalk and a westbound radar feedback sign. It also helps motorists maintain speeds closer to 30 mph by reducing travel lane widths. We are doing this by removing the center turn lane, while maintaining left turn pockets at four intersections with high left turn demand. Providing these left turn pockets would require removing a limited amount of on-street parking at 59th, 49th and 47th Avenues SW (no changes proposed at California Ave SW). The design is not at a point where we know how many spaces, but as you can imagine it will be much less than the initial concept shared in May.

While the revised proposal significantly reduces impacts to parking, we still wanted to honor our commitment to studying parking during the peak summer season. A parking study was conducted from July 30 through August 11 along SW Admiral Way by an independent consultant. Here is an overview of what we learned (the full report is available online).

We are looking forward to engaging the community in a conversation about the revised proposal. A public meeting is being held on September 17 from 6:15 to 7:45 PM at the Hiawatha Community Center and more information is available at our project website. We will be taking comments until October 1, 2015.

Your first opportunity to do that will be at tonight’s ANA meeting, 7 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd SW & SW Lander).

SAFETY: FCA installs mirror at Marine View/45th/Roxbury

September 3, 2015 at 11:16 pm | In Fauntleroy, Safety, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Traffic-safety issues are high on the priority list for the Fauntleroy Community Association, and FCA shares the photo with word of one more safety feature in place. From Gordon Wiehler: “The FCA installed a convex mirror at Roxbury, Marine View SW and 45th Ave SW to better see what’s coming down the hill, typically at high speed.”

P.S. The FCA is another of the community councils that’s getting back to regular meeting schedules now that summer’s ending. Its board meets at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (9131 California SW) next Tuesday, September 8th, at 7 pm.

Oops: City safety campaign touted on signs showing helmet-less bicycle riders

August 14, 2015 at 8:30 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 44 Comments

Maybe it’s just something about north West Seattle and SDOT signage. First came the “HPM” speed-limit-sign saga, and now:

Among a series of new SDOT-placed signs staked beside the bicycle/foot trails along Harbor and Alki Avenues are at least two with that design – silhouettes of two people on a bicycle, without helmets, which are required by law.

After the signs were pointed out by Jackie from Upper Alki, which has a safety controversy of its own going on, we went out to see for ourselves, and then asked SDOT about the signs. Marybeth Turner said they’ll be fixed:

This sign is one of a set of five signs, each with a different image. One of the signs shows a silhouette with a retro image of two people without helmets on a tandem bicycle. My understanding is that sets of five signs were placed at six trails around the city. The signs inform people about the Seattle Trails Upgrade Plan (see SDOT web page about this).

A different bicycle image was originally planned for the set, but was replaced by the image you’ve seen by project staff and did not get our usual thoughtful review for public information materials. Although the image seems to portray bicyclists at a time before helmets were commonly used, we definitely want to promote helmet use, and would not normally approve an image of bicyclists without helmets. We are adding helmet stickers to the signs.

Only one of the sign designs we saw was clearly a promotion for the trail:

The others (including silhouettes of a runner, a dog walker, and someone with a small child on their shoulders) bore only the logos for SDOT and for the city’s Vision Zero safety campaign, including the one with the unhelmeted riders.

Lifesaving lesson: Engine 32 crew and Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins visit Delridge Library for Firefighter Storytime

August 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm | In Delridge, Safety, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Is there a preschooler or toddler in your family? Has s/he ever seen a firefighter up close, in full gear? Heard the household smoke alarm? Been told what to do in case of fire?

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
While this morning’s Firefighter Storytime at Delridge Library looked and sounded like fun … at the heart of it was a life-and-death lesson: Teaching small children what to do in case of fire. With the help of Junction-based Engine 32′s crew members, Fire Chief Harold Scoggins was the guest reader:

He read the same book that’s usually read at Firefighter Storytimes … “No Dragons for Tea,” Jean E. Pendziwol‘s book about a visit from a friendly dragon who sneezes and accidentally sets a house on fire. What follows in the story helps kids understand what to do and what not to do. After the reading, the kids got to see Firefighter Jeff from Engine 32 suit up into full gear, including the rebreather that, as Chief Scoggins noted, made him sound like Darth Vader. Then he got down on the ground to demonstrate getting below the smoke in a smoke-filled room and crawling to safety:

Chief Scoggins also got down onto the floor for some prizes and high-fives:

The storytime audience got to go outside and see the fire engine:

They also learned that firefighters go to many different types of incidents, including medical calls, so you might see them even if nothing is burning. The hope of course is that they’ll never need to put the lessons into action, nor have to see the firefighters at work, but one boy said he had: “Grandma started a fire,” he said. Uh-oh.

P.S. Chief Scoggins assigned “homework,” including asking the grownups to show the kids what the smoke alarm sounds like, and making a plan about how to get out of the house and where to go. All important stuff you can and should do with your family even if you don’t get the lesson directly from SFD. But if you’d like to check out Firefighter Storytime firsthand – next one isn’t too far away, a week from today (August 12th) at 11:15 am at South Park Library (8th Ave. S./Cloverdale).

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Night Out 2015 neighborliness, at block parties all around West Seattle

August 4, 2015 at 6:14 pm | In Neighborhoods, Safety, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

6:14 PM: It’s Night Out 2015 – which means dozens of side streets closed for block parties, with neighbors celebrating each other and intensifying their commitment to look out for each other. We’ll be stopping by some parties for photos; we’re also happy to receive yours and add it to the coverage. Different e-mail address than usual – westseattleblog@gmail.com – or you can share via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (you’ll find us at all three as /westseattleblog) so we can re-share here – thank you!

6:30 PM: First photo in, above, is from Imelda‘s block party at 61st/Beach Drive – we’re hearing about lots of parties with live bands this year! We’re stopping at another one right now, 35th/105th in Arbor Heights – thanks to Darren for letting us know.

Pop-A-Shot (photo above) and Putt-Putt Golf are happening at the AH party, as are hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorns, and dozens of neighbors having a great time.

6:49 PM: We’re heading north now, just arriving in Gatewood, where Ellen‘s party is getting a visit from Reptile Man.

(WSB photo, substituted for the not-as-clear Instagram image originally posted)
Lucy the alligator is one of the friends he brought along. This party was near 41st/Rose.

6:59 PM: Just tweeted by Amanda:

We’re now arriving at the 37th/Raymond/Graham block party, invited by Aaron (thank you!) – these neighbors also are celebrating with a barbecue. Some party participants just paused to pose for us:

(Update – here’s our full-group photo from that party:)

Another block party’s youngest attendees are in these photos shared via Twitter:

Headed now to the Fairmount neighborhood south of The Triangle, where four streets of neighbors are gathering for Night Out. This seems to be the Year of the Band at Night Out, peninsula-wide:

Sharonn invited us to this party, which is bringing together neighbors from 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, as well as Edmunds itself. We’ll add the group photo later. (Added – here it is!)

7:20 PM: In High Point, the big party’s in Commons Park – that’s where Tim photographed Lucy dancing to the music near the bouncy house:

Many parties double as informational events; at the HP party, until about 8 pm, you can also talk with SDOT about the 35th SW Safety Project. From one HP to another – the next tweeted photo is courtesy of Marcia in Highland Park:

7:38 PM: Night Out and Election Night parties are about to overlap (22 minutes left to vote!) – but we’re still in Night Out mode, stopping now in the 3200 block of 36th SW, thanks to Andrea‘s invitation. This party has guinea pigs!

(Added: We learned via an Instagram comment that they are Oreo, Vanilla, and Marshmallow.)

8:05 PM: Still partying:

9:08 PM: Had to break away from Night Out coverage to report on the election results and talk to a few candidates. But we’re back at HQ, where we’ll add the photos we took, and we’re now adding several more photos e-mailed to us (thank you!). First, from the 6700 block of 38th SW:

From Sara in Belvidere:

Also from Sara – 24 kids at that same block party!

From Westwood – e-mailed by Michael:

He explained, “Our annual block party is still going strong but we wanted to share this awesome cake our neighbors Michael & Randi brought. We’re on 34th between Kenyon & Elmgrove, and we love our neighborhood!”

Next, from Chris at 15th and Trenton:

“Great turnout in our neighborhood!” Chris added. Next – Darryll‘s photo from 8800 block of 17th SW, when firefighters stopped by:

Max sent the next photo from the 2700 block of 36th SW:

From Long Bach Nguyen in Gatewood, the California/Portland block party:

Also in Gatewood – the 45th/Austin party – thanks to Kera for the photo:

On 36th SW between Findlay and Brandon, Jenny’s block-party neighbors gathered for a group pic:

At 45th and Edmunds on the southwest side of The Junction, a traffic-stopping street-closure sign:

Thanks to Michelle for that photo. Over at 16th/Trenton, Steve says his party got a little “goofy”:

He also reports, “We had an awesome time tonight. Engine 11, ping pong, basketball, bikes, soccer, hand-turned ice cream and tons of great neighbors.”

Earlier in the week, we showed you one of the Night Out signs on Pigeon Point. Here’s part of the party:

Thanks to Pete for the pic; Pigeon Point visitors included Southwest Precinct Captain Pierre Davis.

Near 48th/Morgan, Deb‘s party was visited by Matt from AlertSeattle:

That’s the new city service we mentioned on Tuesday morning – sign up for emergency alerts (and more). Finally, on 34th SW south of Camp Long, Susan says she and her neighbors had a “lovely evening” at their party:

“Close to 50-60 folks attended, enjoying great food, wonderful neighbors and awesome music from Hoo Doo Boogaloo” – featured in the video clip she shared:

One more time – THANK YOU to everyone who shared photos and/or invited us to come by (sorry the election overlap cut our travels short) – and congratulations on a neighborly night all over West Seattle.

AlertSeattle: How to sign up for city’s new notification service

August 4, 2015 at 9:00 am | In Preparedness, Safety, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

The city has opened signups for AlertSeattle, which its announcement describes as “a new, real-time emergency alert and notification system … a way to send out messages to the public with information on what to do when emergencies like earthquakes, explosions, flooding, or other disasters happen,” as well as “community notifications about severe weather, safety, health, utility-service disruptions, major traffic incidents, preparedness events and more.” You can register by going to alert.seattle.gov and creating a profile. Set aside a few minutes before you start – it’s a bit complicated, with numerous optional fields you can (but don’t have to) fill out beyond the basic notification information; it’s linked to Smart911, so you’ll also be asked, for example, if you want to provide information about your household that could be displayed to emergency providers if you call 911 from the phone number you register.

Night Out 2015 = tomorrow. Deadline to sign up your block party = today

August 3, 2015 at 9:00 am | In Neighborhoods, Safety, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(One side of Pigeon Point’s Night Out sign; art by Jim Sander, photo from Pete Spalding)
Tomorrow night, hundreds of neighbors around West Seattle – among thousands citywide – will hang out together in their neighborhoods during the annual Night Out, which started with a focus on crime prevention and safety, and evolved to an all-around celebration of neighbors’ solidarity. If you want to close your (non-arterial) street for a Night Out party, you need to be sure it’s registered via Seattle Police by 5 pm today – go here to do that, and to find printable flyer/signage templates. Registered parties also have a chance for police or firefighters to stop by during the official 6-9 pm party timeframe.

P.S. If you’re photographing your Night Out gathering, we’d be thrilled to get a photo, to include in our as-it-happens coverage tomorrow night – editor@westseattleblog.com (or share via the WSB Facebook page, since we can download from there for website use) – thank you!

VIDEO: SW Admiral Way Safety Project ‘changes’ in the works, SDOT director tells council Transportation Committee

July 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 40 Comments

(ADDED: Seattle Channel video of committee meeting – SDOT director’s report starts 1:44 in)

SDOT has “already started making some changes” to the SW Admiral Way Safety Project plan, director Scott Kubly just told Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and the rest of the City Council’s Transportation Committee.

Rasmussen had told us that a briefing would be part of today’s meeting; it happened during Kubly’s periodic “director’s report” presentation, which as usual addressed multiple issues, though only two were discussed before the committee, including this one. (See the full pre-submitted written version of his report above.)

Rasmussen expressed an overall concern about the public-input portion of projects like this – suggesting, as residents have said, that it would be better for agencies to come out and say, there’s an issue we want to address in your neighborhood, and ask for ideas on addressing it, rather than beginning the public-input process by showing up with a proposed plan that invariably draws a negative response, with some walkback invariably following.

Kubly’s response to that was to say that it could stretch out a process for so long that people would lose interest – and/or that an entirely different set of participants/stakeholders might turn up if a year or so elapsed between the start of the discussion and the presentation of a plan. He also pointed out that some projects, like this, are outgrowths of existing “modal plans” (in this case, the city’s Bicycle Master Plan).

But he did acknowledge that community input is leading to some changes already in the plan, which was first presented in April with changes to Admiral Way west of California SW including addition of a bicycle lane, other channelization changes, and removal of 200 on-street parking spaces. When SDOT said it had done parking studies in December to generate its contention that the parking wasn’t needed, community members’ jaws dropped, pointing out that peak parking season in the area is summertime because of Alki Beach Park usage. SDOT agreed to study the parking again in mid-summer; Kubly indicated that “data collection” is under way (as project manager Emily Ehlers had told WSB last week).

“Allow us to collect the data in July, see what that data suggests is the right solution for meeting all of our goals – predominantly safety, for all users,” implored Kubly, adding, “We’ve already started maing some changes based on what we’ve heard … We’ll add back a lot of the parking in the highest-demand areas but without sacrificing some of the safety improvements that we’re making – we’re going through an iterative process … we’ll go back to the public with some design modifications we’ve made,” including changes to where the bicycle lane would be buffered from parked cars and where it would be buffered from the travel lane. The written version of his report says the next public meeting might not happen until September.

More than an hour and a half before Kubly’s appearance at meeting’s end, Admiral Way residents Jackie Ramels, Chris Thayer, and Brenda Gage spoke during the general-public-comment period that started the committee meeting. Thayer mentioned that Alki and Schmitz Park are both parks “with no dedicated off-street parking,” as even acknowledged by the city website. Gage mentioned that she and her three small children would have to cross Admiral Way if parking is removed in front of her house. She voiced a wish that “SDOT (would have been) more collaborative with us.” She also expressed gratitude for the 47th/Admiral light and crosswalks that opened recently, and mentioned that the group’s online petition is up to almost a thousand names. (Rasmussen also mentioned the signal/crosswalks before the meeting concluded – he and Kubly were there for its “completion celebration” two weeks ago, as reported here.)

When this meeting’s archived video is available online via the Seattle Channel, we’ll add it to this report. (NOTE: As of late night, it’s been added.)

SATURDAY: Free self-defense seminar for women and girls at Straight Blast Gym

July 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Just found out from Sonia Sillan at Straight Blast Gym Seattle (WSB sponsor) that there’s room for more participants in their free “Warrior Woman” self-defense seminar 11 am-2 pm this Saturday (July 25th). From the Facebook event page, the description:

This seminar isn’t your typical self-defense seminar. Our goal is to leave you with more knowledge, feeling more empowered, and understanding what self-defense really means (both mentally and physically). We’re going to show you a wide range of practical techniques and more importantly, the concepts that are critical to learning how to avoid becoming a victim of violence. No experience necessary; open to all women, and girls age 10+.

Go here to sign up – click on the calendar box for the 25th and it’ll lead you through. (Or cal 206-420-1834.)

FOLLOWUP: Admiral Way Safety Project expects next parking study soon, updated plan in ‘late August’

July 20, 2015 at 4:06 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | Comments Off

If you’ve seen temporary traffic cameras up along west Admiral Way in the past week or so – yes, they’re related to the SDOT proposal for changes along the road between California and 63rd, including removal of 200 parking spaces and channelization changes. In our followup published last week featuring one of the meetings City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has had with local groups both pro and con, we mentioned we had questions out to SDOT. Today, we talked with project manager Emily Ehlers. She says they’re expecting the promised followup meeting with the community to be in “late August.”

Between now and then, they’re expecting two sets of data – one gathered by temporary cameras like the one you see above, five of which she says are in place, recording pedestrian activity in the project zone. That data, according to Ehlers, will help them decide if new crosswalks and flashing-beacon-type signage are needed. The other set of data will involve the next parking study, which she says has not started yet – you might recall that SDOT raised eyebrows by basing its first round of recommendations on parking-usage studies done in the winter, so, agreed to community demands to do a study in the summer too. She says they’re working with a consultant to get going on that and she expects it to happen soon. Ehlers added that they are receiving lots of community feedback and said that’s part of what they’re working with, too – so you have plenty of time to e-mail her at emily.ehlers@seattle.gov.

A little paint, a lot of safety: Pigeon Point’s new street mural

July 19, 2015 at 6:30 pm | In Pigeon Point, Safety, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

Something new on the street at the intersection of 21st and Genesee on Pigeon Point (map) – a mural, meant for safety more than beautification, though it certainly offers the latter. What you see above is the finished product (though our photo, taken in afternoon shadows, doesn’t do it justice); this morning, we stopped by while it was a work in progress:

That photo shows just a few of the neighbors who pitched in today to get it painted.

Toni Wells, current chair of the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council, led the charge along with Ned Sander, renowned for his neighborhood signage, and Alon Bassok. Neighbors had hoped for a traffic circle at the intersection, but that wouldn’t have worked for the school buses turning to head to Pathfinder K-8. So this was painted, with SDOT permission and community donations of time and money.

The mural incorporates elements inspired by the nearby greenbelt and Duwamish River, with the help of Native artist Roger Fernandes. The most important element: Neighborhood spirit, embodied in the chalk addition we spotted when checking back late this afternoon:

FOLLOWUP: What’s next for SW Admiral Way Safety Project? Neighbors ask councilmember to get SDOT to work with them

July 16, 2015 at 3:22 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 21 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tonight’s Alki Community Council meeting tonight is scheduled to include an informational item about the Keep Alki Safe campaign opposing SDOT‘s planned changes to SW Admiral Way west of California SW.

With no date yet for SDOT’s next move, two months after the last meeting about the proposal, those with potential stakes in the proposal for lane-configuration changes on Admiral west of California are not just watching and waiting. At least two groups have met with City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. One of them invited us to sit in.

The Keep Alki Safe group is primarily from the blocks where SDOT proposes consolidating parking on one side while removing about 200 spaces, to “encourage slower speeds and reduce collisions, as well as add a buffered bike along most of the corridor.” The meeting to which we were invited was held in a living room last week, in the 5700 block, where some of the yards held the signs they had designed and printed to let passersby know what is going on.

As much as opposing the details of the city plan, their primary concern seemed to be that SDOT wasn’t working with or even communicating with them. The agency “is blowing us off,” one neighbor declared. They asked Rasmussen to help them get a chance to voice their concerns; he promised to do what he can.

But first – he listened.

Click to read the rest of FOLLOWUP: What’s next for SW Admiral Way Safety Project? Neighbors ask councilmember to get SDOT to work with them…

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: What SDOT announced for 35th SW: Two-phase plan, starting with rechannelization this year between Roxbury and Willow

July 15, 2015 at 6:03 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 92 Comments

(Video of entire meeting, unedited, added 2:58 am Thursday)

FIRST REPORT, 6:03 PM: At 7 pm, SDOT leaders and Mayor Murray will be at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center to announce the plan for 35th Avenue SW. According to the slide deck that’s already live online, here’s what they’ll announce:

It’s a two-phase plan, rechannelizing 35th this fall between Roxbury and Willow, with one lane each way and a center turn lane. The features of the first-phase Roxbury-to-Willow plan are shown and described as:

* More space for parking
• One lane in each direction
• Center turn lane
• Bus and turn lanes (BAT) at Barton, Thistle, Holden and Webster
• 30 mph speed limit
• Signal optimization
• Channelization improvements on SW Barton Street
• No changes on approaches to SW Roxbury Street

Then after an evaluation period, and “project information sessions” next spring, rechannelization between Morgan and Edmunds is planned for summer of next year. The slide deck also says no rechannelizing would be planned on 35th north of Edmunds, and that “repaving and new curb ramps” would be planned if the “Move Seattle” transportation levy passes.

Again, this is all according to the slide deck just posted on the project page in advance of the meeting (which is what SDOT usually does) – also posted is a public-comment log regarding the project; come to the 7 pm meeting (or tomorrow’s 6 pm edition at Southwest Library) for full details plus Q/A – we’ll be updating live.

7:11 PM: After a brief introduction from project manager Jim Curtin, SDOT director Scott Kubly spoke briefly. Even before mentioning details of the plan, someone from the audience called out that they wanted to ask questions immediately.

(Some of the 60+ people at the meeting)
Kubly asked them to wait until some others had spoken. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen then took the microphone, mentioning how many years this has been in the works.

Mayor Murray then speaks, saying they’re trying to find a balance between doing what needs to be done, and listening to everyone.

He refers to a stat you will see in the presentation deck – calling 35th SW the fourth-most-dangerous street in the city. “You’ve got my attention, trying to address these issues,” he says, also talking about having been hit by a car himself.

7:22 PM: Curtin is now presenting the slide deck, same one you see above. There’s a lot of backstory, much of which has been reviewed in the public meetings already held in relation to 35th. It includes a recap of the Vision Zero plan. Man in the front row looks at stats on screen and asks how many of the deaths on city streets are because of drunk driving; Curtin says, in a given year, anywhere from a third to half. Subsequent slides include “recent speed studies” – the average speed has come down a bit in recent years from 42 mph on average (7 mph above the speed limit). A bit of point/counterpoint breaks out in the crowd on that topic (if you’re not here, you’ll hear it in our video later, as we are recording the meeting). Curtin mentions 15 pedestrians have been hit on 35th in the past few years; a woman interjects, “How many were in crosswalks?” Shortly thereafter, Curtin mentions the five deaths on 35th in the past decade (actually in less than nine years).

New traffic data shows that vehicle volume has gone up a bit in the past two years – from 16,500 at Roxbury in 2013 to 16,37 now, 24,600 in 2013 at Alaska to 24,631 now. As Curtin starts to go through this, someone starts to ask questions, and Councilmember Rasmussen comes back to the front of the room (he and others including Mayor Murray went to the back after their initial remarks) to ask people to please wait for the Q/A period so everyone could hear the presentation. That’s greeted with applause.

Next, pedestrian volumes – they counted 15 locations at peak and midday periods; 313 in the morning, 239 at noontime, 561 at PM peak.

Showing again the stats – 1,065 total collisions in the past decade, 412 injuries, 5 fatalities – Curtin says, “if this were a disease, we’d be clamoring that something be done about it.” Four of the five fatalities in the past 10 years were pedestrians or bicyclists, says Curtin, while also noting: “These are your neighbors.” Most-common type of crashes, rear-end, followed by angles, followed by left turns, followed by parked cars, followed by sideswipes. (Again, you can see all this in the slide deck embedded and linked above.) The collision rate, acknowledges Curtin, is slightly below the citywide rate. But for deaths, he says, it’s higher.

7:39 PM: The Seattle Neighborhood Greenways-initiated safety petition, launched after the death of pedestrian James St. Clair in 2013, has just been presented to the mayor here in the room. Now Curtin has brought up proprietors of The Westy and Locol, after saying the business owners in the 35th/Kenyon node had made a compelling case for safety improvements. (Not that many years ago, the city removed a crosswalk there.)

JP from The Westy said, “I don’t want to see somebody die there.” After complimenting them on enlivening the corridor, Curtin gets closer to unveiling the plan.

7:49 PM: He finally brings out the Roxbury-to-Willow first-phase rechannelization plan. No gasps, no boos, in case you were wondering. No reaction in general; people continue to listen. He says signals will be optimized along the entire corridor. Note that the speed limit will drop to 30 mph only as far north as Willow, this year. The Roxbury/35th intersection “functions really well,” so that is not being changed. Then in 2016, “We are going to evaluate what we do this year … we are going to launch a neighborhood greenway study (too).” He mentions the big new development planned at 35th/Graham (vicinity of two of the deaths in the past nine years) and that it will be starting next year. “There are a few unknowns on the north end of the corridor that we need to wait until 2016 to see what’s happening there.” SW Morgan will be rechannelized, he mentions, calling it “a longstanding request from the community,” saying it will get “the Barton treatment.”

He reiterates that no changes are proposed, this year OR next, for the busiest part of 35th, north of Edmunds. And he mentions plans for increased enforcement, which does draw applause. He’s summarizing: “We know this will improve safety” and brings up stats of other rechannelizations again, including Fauntleroy Way SW. “You didn’t change the speed limit,” an attendee calls out. Curtin acknowledges that, while going on to note that Fauntleroy has 31 percent fewer collisions now, has dropped the percentage of 10 mph+ speeders by 13 percent, and that volume change is up a third of a percent.

“If things are going well in the spring, we’ll look at implementing phase two next year,” Curtin summarizes, and now it’s on to Q/A.

8 PM: First question – “Monday, the mayor came out with his housing plan. All of 35th has been upzoned from single-family residences … Today I drove 35th … You’re predicating on everyone doing 30 mph … You’re going to have people doing 20 mph … that’s going to screw up your delays,” which SDOT says will max out at 2.5 minutes. The mayor came back to front of the room as soon as his name was mentioned, but the questioner has rambled on to say, “You’re increasing the population of West Seattle, increasing density, I don’t know how you’re going to make room for all the cars that people are going to own.” Applause follows. “There’s no correlation between increasing population and increasing traffic volumes,” Curtin says, and laughter breaks out. Now the mayor speaks. He says that only multifamily zones are being upzoned, “with an additional floor … Let’s deal with facts. Also, that’s my proposal. The council deals with (it from here).”

Curtin elaborates that though population is going up, traffic volume is going down. Next, Bob Neel, who started a petition against 35th SW rechannelization, says his petition had 916 signatures and the “pro-safety … and who’s against safety?” petition had 864.

He now asks for a show of hands about who signed which petition. (Both were on change.org.)

Next questioner says he was pessimistic pre-meeting but is “OK” with what he’s seen so far. But he also goes on to say he used to be an avid bicycle rider and he is concerned about more bicycle facilities than riders in Seattle. Curtin points out that this design does NOT include bicycle facilities.

(L-R, neighborhood advocates Mat McBride, Amanda Kay Helmick, Joe Szilagyi)

After him, Mat McBride, chair of the Delridge District Council, says most of the critics of projects like these are speaking from fear and uncertainty – and the fears haven’t come true. “I want to thank you all in dealing with the problems of what we have today, and not with the fear of what might happen.” Applause follows.

Q/A continues. A woman says she has lived on 35th for 41 years, “I’ve seen a lot of changes – some of them I don’t like.” She goes on to say that she is concerned about “crappy” pavement, particularly at Barton and Holden.

Another exchange involves someone trying to blame pedestrians and bicycle riders who “break the rules” for injuries/deaths. Drivers break the rules too, Curtin interjects, and while he agrees everyone needs to follow the rules, he notes that drivers breaking the rules have far higher consequences in causing injuries/deaths because of what they’re driving.

What about emergency vehicles getting around? one attendee asks. City traffic engineer Dongho Chang fields that question and says among other things the vehicles can use the center turn lane and also can trigger signals to change.

Another 35th SW resident talks about problems she’s seen over the years; she wonders why the “speed detector” at Brandon/35th “was removed,” saying there’s a speed problem near her home and can the detector come back? It is coming back, Curtin says; that draws applause.

Kenyon, Dawson, Brandon, Juneau are places where people want new crosswalks, Curtin says shortly thereafter, in response to an inquiry about improving crossing safety. He mentions the new flashing-beacon signs at California/Dakota and on Holden and says they seem to be helping and might be an option.

Next person says he’s excited about the turn lane and about “parking expansion.”

(We’ve lost some of the back and forth here but it’ll be in our video.) In response to another question, Chang takes the mike and says people are adaptive, and that a reduction in collisions is “huge. … Long term for us, what we want to do in the corridor, is have people get through safely …” He addresses the population increase and traffic decrease, with “transit … carrying the bulk of our growth.” Chang adds, “we’re going to be watching (the 35th) corridor every day. You live here. You know how things are functioning. Let us know. We can make changes very quickly.” An attendee asks, why not keep the 35 mph speed limit? Chang refers to the stats about the survivability of what speed people are hit at. “I now understand the consequences of each decision … We’ll do followup studies and make sure the corridor is functioning.”

Curtin, moving toward wrapping up, says San Francisco is “moving toward this treatment for one of its busiest corridors, 45,000 vehicles daily.” Someone calls out, “They have mass transit.” Curtin says that 35th *has* mass transit, noting that he travels it daily (he’s an Arbor Heights resident).

8:45 PM: The presentation is over; dozens are still here to ask questions in small groups or one on one. We’re going to go try to get a clarification or two ourselves, and will add anything more we find out. Meantime, if you missed this, there’s another presentation at 6 pm tomorrow (Thursday) at Southwest Library – bring your questions/concerns there – and/or e-mail project manager jim.curtin@seattle.gov any time.

9:29 PM: A question came up in comments about crosswalks. Post-meeting, we talked with Chang, who said that crosswalks will follow rechannelization – they’re not installing anything more on the four-lane road, but after assessing how the three-lane version is going, he says they might wind up installing “many” crosswalks.

VIDEO: At long last, a light – tonight’s 47th/Admiral ‘completion celebration’

July 14, 2015 at 8:22 pm | In Neighborhoods, Safety, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

Eight years and eight months after 26-year-old Matthew Tatsuo Nakata was hit and killed at 47th and Admiral, the intersection finally has a signal – a safety improvement that some were seeking even before his death. The then-City Councilmember for whom Mr. Nakata worked at the time, David Della, joined community leaders and city reps tonight at an event commemorating the completion of the signal and crosswalks at the intersection. Among them: Past and present leaders of the Admiral Neighborhood Association had advocated tirelessly for the signal, including a rally in November 2011, close to the fifth anniversary of Mr. Nakata’s death:

Earlier that year, SDOT had again turned down ANA’s request for a signal, but they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Almost two years later, then-Mayor Mike McGinn proposed a “flashing beacon”; but Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and his council colleagues changed the budget to include funding for a full-fledged signal. Construction finally began this spring, and the light went into service last week. One more feature: RainWorks art by Peregrine Church :

It’s only revealed when the sidewalk is wet:

(ANA president David Whiting says they’ll be leaving a container of water nearby all week so you can test it for yourself.)

ADDED: Here’s our video showing what Whiting, Rasmussen, Della, and SDOT director Scott Kubly said, about 12 minutes followed by, in the last minute of the video, the water pour that “revealed” the art:

A corner on the north side of the intersection has another RainWorks creation with a similar theme:

Though Kubly acknowledged arriving at SDOT late in the process to get this project in place, he said it was one he heard about frequently:

The completion brought big smiles from Katy Walum and Don Wahl:

She was ANA president during the biggest push to make the signal reality; he has operated Alki Mail and Dispatch at the corner for many years and has seen and heard both crashes and close calls for too long.

Location change for Admiral Neighborhood Association’s Tuesday meeting, after traffic-signal celebration

July 10, 2015 at 8:16 pm | In Neighborhoods, Safety, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

As reported here Tuesday, a completion celebration is planned next Tuesday night for the newly completed and activated Admiral/47th/Waite traffic signal. That’s the same night the Admiral Neighborhood Association meets, so president David Whiting has announced the meeting will change locations for the occasion:

Our regular meeting this Tuesday, will have a change of venue to Alki Mail & Dispatch (4700 SW Admiral Way) because ANA will be co hosting a dedication for the new traffic signal at 47th Ave SW & Admiral Way, just before our meeting at 6:30 pm. Installation of the traffic signal was a long-term ANA effort and we should take a moment to celebrate the occasion and thank those who helped make it possible. We will also be revealing some public art.

In his announcement, Whiting also thanked volunteers who helped ANA handle concessions for the 4th of July Parade afterparty last Saturday, mentioned that the group will be part of the July 18th West Seattle Grand Parade, and noted that the Summer Concerts at Hiawatha series will start soon – six consecutive Thursday nights, starting July 23rd (with Carrie Akre up first).

47th/Admiral/Waite signal & crosswalks: Celebration next week

July 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

(June photo by Dave Brewer)
SDOT has announced a “short completion celebration” one week from tonight – 6:30 pm Tuesday, July 14th – for the traffic signal and crosswalks installed at 47th/Admiral/Waite. City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and SDOT director Scott Kubly will join the Admiral Neighborhood Association on the southwest corner of the intersection, by Alki Mail and Dispatch. The announcement from SDOT also includes the final update on the project itself:

Power was wired to the signal equipment last week and this week, crews are:

· Removing the existing flashing beacon and old stop signs

· Installing new signage, including “No parking” and “No right turn on red”

· Testing and activating the signals (during signal activation, a uniformed police officer will be on site to direct traffic during this work)

Thank you for your patience during construction.

It’s been four months since work began – as predicted in SDOT’s pre-construction announcement – and a little over two years since the City Council overruled then-Mayor Mike McGinn and proposed full funding for the signal.

SDOT’s 35th SW plan: Two more chances to hear about it; Mayor Murray expected at first meeting

July 7, 2015 at 10:46 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(WSB photo: 35th SW, looking south from SW Holden)
FIRST REPORT, 10:46 AM: Last Friday, after we published the announcement of the July 15th meeting at which SDOT will unveil its plan for 35th SW, commenters pointed out at least three other notable West Seattle events scheduled for that night. If you were already going to one of those other events but also want to hear the 35th SW details, good news – one more meeting and another info opportunity have just been announced. So here’s the full list of SDOT’s three planned events:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Neighborhood House – Room 207
6400 Sylvan Way SW

Thursday, July 16, 2015
6:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Southwest Branch Seattle Public Library
9010 35th Avenue SW

Tuesday, August 4
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Night Out – High Point
Central Commons

SDOT presented “design alternatives” for 35th in March; during the lightly attended walking tour in May (WSB coverage here), project manager Jim Curtin said “Option A” was shaping up as the most promising one for most of the project zone.

ADDED 11:56 AM: We e-mailed SDOT to ask if the three events would have different focuses – short answer, no, but spokesperson Marybeth Turner did add this: Mayor Ed Murray is expected at the July 15th meeting.

West Seattle 4th of July aftermath: The mess left behind

July 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm | In Environment, Holidays, Safety, West Seattle news | 38 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:06 PM SUNDAY: Still a few hours of light left … so if you haven’t been out patroling your neighborhood, and/or your nearest park, consider this:

Karen Allan made sent that, explaining:

When my kiddo was little, I used to say “In this town, what’s on the ground is swept into the Sound.” So if you see bits and pieces of the things that went bang, pop, and KABOOM on your block, please consider sweeping them up. Grab a bucket, broom and perhaps a neighbor and make a little outing out of it.

Here’s some of what Karen found near 29th and Othello:

She added, “Unfortunately, there is a lot more fireworks debris in the storm drains that I can’t
get to. It will all end up in the Sound with the next big rainfall.”

Some of the holiday-leftover trash and debris was already near the Sound in the first place: . We also heard from Chris Porter, who lives near Lincoln Park and spent time there this morning to help clean up. It wasn’t just fireworks debris he found:

The spectacular fireworks last night are only secondary to the enormous disaster of trash left behind the next day. I spent this morning picking up as much fireworks debris and trash as I could. I have forgotten about what happens to parks after summer holidays.

East to west, north to south, many other West Seattle neighbors were also out today, cleaning up the mess somebody else left behind. Travis Houston sent photos from Riverview Playfield:

We also stopped by Riverview before neighbors were done with their herculean cleanup:

Crossing the peninsula over to Alki, Kim sent the next photo, saying this was what just one small part of Bar-S Playfields looked like before she got to it with her broom:

Even in the unincorporated area where fireworks are legal on the 4th of July, the “legal” time period expired 18+ hours ago … but we’re still hearing dispatches on the scanner, including a fireworks call at Highland Park Elementary a short time ago and “brush fire” calls around the city (see photos in earlier reports here, here, and here).

ADDED MONDAY MORNING: Just sent by Chris:

I picked up a box full of spent fireworks debris on the playground at Gatewood Elementary this morning. The haul included one live mortar. Glad I found it and not some kids.

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