West Seattle, Washington
When Mayor Murray announced the “Vision Zero” plan more than a year and a half ago, the plan (p. 14) promised to start reducing speed limits on “residential streets” to 20 mph. By last summer, the change was made on a few streets in north West Seattle. Now, it’s going citywide. One week from today, the City Council’s Transportation and Sustainability Committee will consider the proposal that was announced this afternoon:
Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Mike O’Brien today unveiled a proposal to enhance safety on Seattle’s streets by changing the speed limit on all residential streets from 25 to 20 MPH and streets in the center city from 30 to 25 MPH. The proposal is part of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.
“Having helped pass the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill during my time in the legislature, I’m proud that Seattle will be the first city in the state of Washington to implement lower speeds on all residential streets,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “When combined with other elements of our ongoing Vision Zero work, such as redesigned roadways and data driven enforcement, lower speed limits will help make Seattle’s roads safer for all.”
Speed contributes to 25 percent of collisions citywide and 42 percent of downtown traffic fatalities every year. It is the critical factor in survivability for a crash. Pedestrians struck by vehicles traveling at 25 MPH are half as likely to die as those struck at 30 MPH.
“Studies show that lowering speed limits is one of the best ways to improve safety in our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “Reducing speeds will not only reduce accidents and fatalities but it also brings peace of mind for those who use our sidewalks, including children and our elderly neighbors. The reduction we are proposing will not restrict mobility.”
In residential areas, going down to 20 MPH brings the entire neighborhood to existing school zone speed limits, making safer routes of travel for all. Vehicle safety in Seattle has improved significantly, but not for people walking and biking. Pedestrian and bicycle collisions make up seven percent of total crashes, but nearly half of fatalities. The new speed limit will apply to 2,400 miles of non-arterial streets and help enhance safe routes to schools, transit, parks and other destinations.
“The proposal presents the opportunity that exists to balance the need for safe passage with thoughtful engineering,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “Reducing speed limits has a direct impact on safety and helps the City implement better design standards that will allow drivers, bikers, pedestrians and parents alike to breathe a little easier as we head back to school by bus, bike or single passenger vehicle.”
Downtown there has been a 20 percent increase in speed-related fatal collisions over the last four years. Signal timing has already been adjusted to the new 25 MPH speed limit and drivers are moving more efficiently through the center city. A 25 MPH speed limit fits the typical operating speed of vehicles in the downtown core today.
This change would mainly impact the off-peak hours when there are more high-end speeders and more severe collisions.
“Speed is the critical factor in crashes, and lowering speeds is essential if we want to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets,” said Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly. “You can save a life for only an extra minute more per trip.”
This speed limit is consistent with the Washington State speed limit for city streets and Seattle is the only city in King County with an arterial speed limit over 25 MPH. Also, 25 MPH is the speed limit in the overwhelming majority of city centers nationwide including cities like New York, Portland, Phoenix, Denver and Houston.
The City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee will discuss and vote on the proposal at its September 20 meeting. The legislation will then go before the full council for a vote later this month. If passed into law, the City expects to begin rolling out speed limit changes in November.
If you’re not sure whether a street near you is “residential” – check this map. If it’s not an arterial or freeway, it’s residential.
Tomorrow will be the start of the fourth week of work on SDOT’s lower Spokane Street project – happening mostly east of the “low bridge” – which the city says will “repave, reconstruct sidewalks and curb ramps, and make other improvements along SW Spokane Street from SW Klickitat Way to East Marginal Way S to improve safety for all users.” Below are key points from the overview of what’s planned this week, including continued detours for people on bikes and on foot:
• SW Klickitat Way and Manning Street
– Forming and pouring new curb ramps and replacement portions of sidewalk.
– Roadway asphalt patching.
• SW Spokane St and Manning St
– Reconstructing curb ramps and sidewalk on south side of Spokane St.
– Constructing a raised crosswalk in the West Seattle Bridge Trail across the driveway on the north side of Spokane St at Manning St
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING CONSTRUCTION FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 29, 2016
• Weekday work hours from 9 AM to 4 PM
• Single lane closures and/or lane width reductions during work hours
• Noise, dust and vibration typical of construction
• Access to the port and businesses will be maintained
• Temporary pedestrian/bike pathway around work zone at SW corner of Spokane St and 11th Ave SW
• Temporary pedestrian/bike pathway around work zone on north side of Spokane St at Manning Street
The project summary is on this SDOT webpage.
10:25 AM: We are at 49th and Admiral with about 20 residents and SDOT reps Dawn Schellenberg and Sam Woods for this morning’s first of two ‘Walk & Talk’ gatherings to talk about the upcoming Admiral Way Safety Project changes. No walking yet – all talking. (Added: Here’s our video of the first 14 minutes:)
The second session is supposed to start at the entrance to Schmitz Park on Admiral at 11:15. Main focus here: Pedestrian safety and what can be done to enhance it.
In general, those here are concerned about speeding. “This intersection is critical,” one person said.
10:42 AM: One group has gone on to Schmitz Park, while one that trailed, with Woods taking notes, is now at 53rd and Admiral, where Lander cuts off to Alki.
Woods is explaining that all three lanes here will narrow to 10 feet.
We are breaking off to move on with other events. SDOT says comments will be taken until September 2nd (contact info is at the end of their project webpage); restriping on Admiral will start a few weeks later.
Six months after we first reported on a long-requested traffic-calming plan for Fauntleroy’s Endolyne district, it’s about to become reality. We’ve confirmed with SDOT that installation work starts next week, likely on Wednesday – what you see in the photo above is part of the layout that’s been marked in the area to get ready for the work. As explained in the just-mailed flyer:
This project will change SW Brace Point Drive to a one-way, eastbound street, provide 7 new back-in angle parking spaces, enhance pedestrian crossings with three paint-and-post curb bulbs with plantings, and install on-street bicycle parking. This project will also restrict parking on a short segment of SW Wildwood Place to increase safety.
Construction is scheduled to last approximately one week with minimal impacts to residents, businesses, and travelers. Later this year, we will return to install 12 planter boxes in the new paint-and-post curb bulbs to help clearly define the pedestrian space.
For an even-more-detailed look at the plan, here’s the final design.
(Photo from Night Out 2015, shared by Michael in Westwood)
Show and celebrate your block/building/etc. next Tuesday! August 2nd is Night Out – the annual night to spend with your neighbors, fighting crime and strengthening your community. Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon sends this reminder:
We are one week away from National Night Out Against Crime. Many of you have registered your events with us; we very much appreciate that, and the invitations you have extended to us to stop by your events.
If you haven’t yet registered your event, it’s not too late. Our registration link is active until 5pm, Monday, August 1st. This event is always fun and a great way to reconnect with neighbors and meet new ones.
Use (this) link to register your event; registration will allow you to block off your (non-arterial) street.
Printable invitations and street closure signs can be found (here).
We hope to see you at your Night Out Event!
And we hope to see you too – as we do every year, we’re inviting you to let us know about your Night Out party, if you wouldn’t mind us potentially stopping by for a photo to include in our as-it-happens coverage – send the location and time to firstname.lastname@example.org – we also welcome your photos during Night Out, too, via any of our channels.
We counted at least 130 people at the start of West Seattle’s second Find It, Fix It Community Walk. It wrapped up in Roxhill Park just after 8 pm. While it was certainly planned, it wasn’t staged, and there were some raw moments, including resident Ami standing at the bottom of a problem-plagued stairway at 22nd and Henderson, playing a video by a former neighbor (see it here) who moved away, saying she couldn’t take the threats and trouble any more but begging the mayor to help those still there.
Lots of photos and video – and the commitments we heard – to come, in our second report.
After more than a year, SDOT has just gone public with what it’s decided to do on SW Admiral Way, between Admiral Junction and Alki. Here’s the full text of the e-mailed announcement, including plans for “walk-and-talk” meetings on August 20th:
We’ve spent the last few months incorporating feedback into a street design that will reduce speeding and crashes and preserve parking where it’s in high demand.
We heard during public engagement that people are driving too fast along SW Admiral Way, crashing into parked cars, and residents are afraid to cross the street. In fact, one mother choked up at our first public meeting at the thought of walking her children across SW Admiral Way.
When we started the project data showed there had been 71 vehicle crashes, two bike crashes and one pedestrian crash between 2011 and 2014. From January 2015 through May 2016 an additional 34 crashes have occurred. This statistic shows that crashes along Admiral Way SW have increased by nearly 28% in the past 1 ½ years. The neighborhood has people who’ve lived here for decades, new families, and visitors enjoying Alki Beach. Each person deserves safe travel whether walking, biking or driving.
After sharing a few designs with the neighborhood, studying on-street parking occupancy during the summer, and talking with community members, (the map above shows) what will be installed.
You may be wondering how the new design improves safety. We have proven success throughout the city that narrower travel lanes reduce the speeds people drive and the number of crashes.
We are also adding buffered bike lanes. Adding buffered bike lanes makes the street operate more predictably by giving everyone a space; and makes biking more comfortable, which can encourage more people to give it a try.
Here is how your input was included:
· Parking study. We conducted an on-street parking study during the month of August. Study times were 5-7AM, 1-3PM and 5-7PM on a sunny Saturday and Tuesday. The study confirmed what you told us. Parking spaces on the west end of the street with convenient access to Alki Beach are in high demand.
· Center turn lane. At our first public (meeting) you suggested we remove the center turn lane rather than impact on-street parking, so we did in the high-demand parking area.
· Left turn access at 57th and 59th Avenues SW. At the second public meeting, you requested left turn access to help reduce the risk of being rear-ended. We’ve included the access. To make room for them, about nine on-street parking spaces will be removed on the south side.
· Crosswalk at 61st Ave SW. We asked if you would like a new crosswalk in this location and one is included in the project.
Here is what we were not able to include and why:
· All-way stop at 59th Ave SW. You suggested we change the pedestrian activated signal at this location to an all-way stop. Unfortunately, studies showed that an all-way stop at this location did not meet guidelines. However, we have agreed to look at it again in the future.
Finally, we heard you want improved pedestrian crossings and supplied information on where. We’ll conduct a second round of outreach on August 20 in the form of “Walk and Talks” to gather site-specific input and talk about low-cost opportunities (visit web site for more details). The Walk and Talks will build off of comments collected through the first phase of outreach. Any improvements identified would be installed as a second phase of construction.
Our project web site at seattle.gov/transportation/swadmiralwaysafetyproject.htm has information on the walk and talk; and a flier with similar information will be mailed early August. Construction information will be shared as soon as available. However, work to restripe the street is expected to be completed before October 2016.
BACKSTORY: The first version of the plan was unveiled in April 2015 at an Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting. Ten months have passed since the second and final community meeting held by SDOT – which wasn’t planned until community members demanded it.
Datapoint regarding one assertion in the city news release: The “mother who choked up at (the) first public meeting at the thought of walking her children across Admiral Way” was reacting to what the city was proposing at the time, removing parking on the side of the street where her family lives, as noted in our coverage of that meeting.
Might be some looky-loo slowdowns on northbound 35th Avenue SW just north of SW Trenton for a little while; the two cars in our photo got into a collision – the one in the foreground has front-end damage, the one in the background has rear-end damage – but have been moved off to the side. SFD was checking out a few people for possible injuries but no medic unit has been called, so nothing serious.
Beware of that hazard on the 1st Avenue S. Bridge! That’s the warning from Aaron Goss, proprietor of Aaron’s Bicycle Repair in White Center, who sent the photo along with a CC on this note:
Please fix this IMMEDIATELY!!!!!! (see attached photo)
Someone is going to get killed. This cannot wait another day!
The metal strip that covers the gap has been bent and jammed down in the gap.
Aaron got a reply at day’s end from SDOT – pointing out only that the bridge belongs to WSDOT and saying they would forward the concern.
Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this morning:
CAR PROWL: From Kami:
(Thursday) night around 3 am I caught a car prowler on 36th Ave SW, 4000 block. I called the cops but I am not sure if they made an arrest. Thought it would be worth sharing the description so the neighborhood can be on watch. It was small, 2 door, gray pickup truck, older style with driver and passenger. The driver would slowly driving to keep up with the passenger as he walked the street checking for unlocked doors. They did get items from a white pickup truck that was unlocked and had items in the back bed and front seat. 2 white males and the passenger was wearing a navy hoody with bright blue baseball cap. The thieves must have got to end of block and circled back because I saw their vehicle one more time but wasn’t able to see plates.
AND ANOTHER CAR PROWL: From Eli in the 3800 block of Beach Drive:
After 3 (!) stolen bikes within a year out of our condos’ garage within a year now, my car was “searched” (earlier this week), nothing missing as far as I can tell. A reminder to leave nothing valuable in your car.
STOLEN AND DUMPED? From Erin:
We just found a box of stuff strewn across 22nd Ave SW in Shorewood; looks like it was probably stolen from someone’s home. Box contents include letters dated 1985 from Taiwan, addressed to a D.E. P—-r on 31st Ave SW, a diploma from 1947 for Ruth H—–t, a drivers license for a Janice P—-r and various empty coin holders (which I’m assuming were all stolen). If anyone knows these folks or is missing this box, please email me!
email@example.com is Erin’s address. We’ve taken some letters out of the names so as to help ensure the right person claims the items.
BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS NETWORK AT SUMMER FEST: Want to talk safety and crime prevention with the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network? Come to West Seattle Summer Fest until 2 pm today, and/or 11 am-2 pm tomorrow, and catch Karen and Deb from WSBWCN in the Community Tent section of the Info Tent at California/Alaska (look for the huge INFORMATION banners across the top of the tent).
Fireworks danger was the main topic of the Harborview Medical Center media briefing we attended after finding out it would include an update about this morning’s deadly incident by the bridge. So here are the fireworks-related toplines, from hospital, SPD, and SFD officials. Assistant Chief Charles Cordova, newly promoted and appointed Seattle Fire Marshal, spoke for SFD. Some numbers:
*Statewide, 481 fireworks-related injuries and/or fires reported last year, 11 percent more than 2014
*At Harborview, 54 people were treated for fireworks injuries last year, ranging from “finger amputations to fractures to burns to faces and hands,” says SFD, with 11 so far this year
*If there’s a fireworks-related fire or injury on the 4th, *do* call 911. For other fireworks violations, you’re asked to call 206-625-5011
P.S. Nationally, fireworks were blamed for at least 11 deaths last year.
Some promising news about local crime trends, as this month’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting got under way Tuesday.
SEATTLE POLICE UPDATE: Here’s what Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis told the group: Yes, the weather’s warm, but please be careful about leaving your windows and doors open – “there are still individuals out there who like to exploit that. … It invites criminal activity, it really does.”
That said, the burglary rate is running lower than usual right now, he said. Car prowls, though, are still running relatively high, which led to this reminder in a tone that merits all-caps: “DON’T LEAVE VALUABLES INSIDE YOUR CAR.”
Four reports in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight, plus upcoming neighborhood discussions about crime and safety:
RACIST GRAFFITI VANDALISM: Florentino reported calling Port of Seattle Police to report “disturbing racist graffiti” vandalism in one of the restrooms by the sandy area at Jack Block Park. Photos accompanying his e-mail showed messages in black marker including “white power” and a swastika. Florentino waited until Port police arrived to investigate; we followed up with the Port to ask if the graffiti had been painted over or cleaned off, and we’re told it has been.
SCHOOL BREAK-IN: Seattle Police confirmed to WSB this pm that they investigated a reported break-in at now-closed Schmitz Park Elementary early this am. According to Det. Mark Jamieson, they got a call from Seattle Public Schools security around 1:13 am saying they were “viewing” five suspects in the school’s main hallway – described only as “two white males, late teens, thin build; two black males, late teens and wearing backpacks; one white female, late teens, thin.” No one was inside the building when police arrived; nothing appeared “disturbed”; no sign of forced entry but they found an “unsecured door on the north side of the school.”
STOLEN CAR IN ADMIRAL: Tracey‘s car was stolen from SW Walker Street. Black Saab 93x. The message to us didn’t include plate info but we’re guessing it’s this one on @getyourcarback. See it? Call 911.
LIGHTING THEFT: Darren e-mailed with word of a theft outside his Alki home: “I’m writing to notify the blog that over the weekend, someone came through our private gate and stole our exterior ambient lighting (strings of bulb lighting over hanging our porch). We left for camping Friday afternoon and noticed them missing upon our return Sunday am. We live on 60th Avenue between Admiral & Stevens. I’ve notified the police, but since there was no witnesses and the value is less than $500, there isn’t anything they can do. Neighbors didn’t hear or see anything.”
CRIME/SAFETY FOCUS GROUPS: Once again this summer, researcher Jennifer Burbridge, who works out of the Southwest Precinct, is leading focus groups in the local “micro-communities” that have policing plans. She wants to talk with you about “knowledge of the micro-community policing plan project, interactions with the Seattle Police Department, crime and safety concerns, and suggested improvements for each of your unique neighborhoods!” Use this map to check if you’re part of one of these “micro-communities” (except for South Delridge/Delridge Triangle, which Burbridge says is not yet updated on the map).
Here are the focus groups scheduled so far, with links to their micro-community-policing plans – first one is tomorrow night:
-Wednesday, June 29th, 6-7 pm, Alaska Junction (at the SW Precinct community meeting room, 2300 SW Webster)
-Thursday, June 30th, 7-8 pm, Fauntleroy (at the SW Precinct community meeting room- 2300 SW Webster)
-Monday, July 11th, 7-8 pm, Pigeon Point (at the SW Precinct community meeting room, 2300 SW Webster)
-Wednesday, July 13th, 6-7 pm, High Point (at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, 6400 Sylvan Way SW)
-Monday, July 18th, 7-8 pm, North Admiral (at the SW Precinct community meeting room, 2300 SW Webster St)
-Wednesday, July 20th, 7-9 pm, Morgan Junction (second half of the Morgan Community Association meeting at The Kenney, 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW)
-Monday, July 25th, 7-8 pm, South Park (at the SW Precinct community meeting room, 2300 SW Webster)
-Wednesday, July 27th, 7-8:30 pm, Highland Park (at the Highland Park Action Committee meeting at Highland Park Improvement Club, 12th Ave SW and SW Holden St)
-Monday, August 1st, 6:15-7:45 pm, Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights (at the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council meeting at the SW Branch of the Seattle Public Library in the meeting room, 9010 35th Ave SW)
-Monday, August 8th, 6-7 pm, South Delridge/Delridge Triangle (at the SW Precinct community meeting room, 2300 SW Webster)
-Wednesday, August 10th, 6-7 pm, Alki (at the SW Precinct community meeting room, 2300 SW Webster)
(File photo, fireworks debris at Highland Park Playground)
One week until the 4th of July, which means it’s time to talk about fireworks. They’re illegal in Seattle city limits – but the law is so widely ignored that the 5th of July brings toxic, ugly messes like the one in our file photo from Highland Park Playground.
Some of the problem here stems from fireworks remaining legal right next door, in unincorporated North Highline (White Center and vicinity). Sales at legal stands in the unincorporated area start tomorrow, but use is only legal – again, only in the unincorporated area – 9 am to midnight on July 4th. (The full list of regulations statewide – county to county, city to city, specific dates and times – is here.)
Meantime, Seattle Parks hopes again this year to discourage illegal fireworks use at some of its facilities – particularly synthetic-turf playfields, where a fire would do extremely costly damage. It’s announced it will illuminate certain playfields on the 4th – here’s the full list of locations and times; in West Seattle, the locations are Delridge, Hiawatha, and Walt Hundley Playfields, along with West Seattle Stadium.
Still not dissuaded? Think of the pets. This alert is from King County.
(UPDATED FRIDAY AFTERNOON with reader photo of electronic sign trailer now in place by Duwamish Head)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Operations Lt. Ron Smith said there wasn’t much that could be done about most of the complaints. But he said the area had some good news nonetheless, as he opened with the overview: “Crimes against persons (in the Alki area) are down 21 percent.” That’s largely attributable to a reduction in domestic-violence cases, he said. Property crimes are down 11 percent – “this is one of the few neighborhoods that have a 31 percent reduction in car prowls.”
As he had told the Delridge District Council last night, he and precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis are leading the planning for security for the upcoming Seattle Pride events, and also are meeting with owners of LGBTQA bars. Today, the Southwest Precinct had 11 officers working; on Saturday, they will have that same level of staffing, with two of the officers assigned to bicycle patrol.
“We are again doing a summer emphasis – not to the numbers that you and I would like, but we have to be somewhat responsible in the deployment of overtime,” he added. In terms of hiring, the real impact from the process might be as far as two years away, he said, which drew a loud sigh from one attendee. “The mayor’s keeping his commitment in trying to hire more officers,” but they are having more of a challenge getting good applicants, he said.
“I think our concerns in Alki are quality-of-life issues,” most of all, he said. Then ACC vice president Randie Stone opened the floor. One resident said they had been sending e-mail to Southwest/South Precincts’ Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon (who was in attendance) and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold.
She listed two issues: Read More
After this morning’s Orlando massacre, Mayor Ed Murray has sent a statement including a note that “Seattle Police Department has increased security for Pride events and other large gatherings”:
Mayor Edward Murray made the following statement today regarding the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning:
“Americans woke up this morning with the all-too-familiar feeling of incomprehension at another act of mass violence, and LGBTQ Americans awoke with the sickening, all-too-familiar feeling of fear that our community has once again been attacked.
“Words cannot adequately encompass the feelings of grief I am feeling for the loss of so many of our LGBTQ and allied brothers and sisters in Orlando during the largest single act of violence against LGBTQ people in United States history. For too long, our community has been the target of violence throughout the world. It will never make sense to me that love is met with such hate.
“On behalf of the people of the City of Seattle, my heart and my thoughts go out to those whose lives were forever changed by the events last night. Today our community draws closer to one another for comfort, support and healing, and to honor those who were tragically lost.”
Murray will speak to the Seattle LGBTQ community at a candlelight vigil at 8:00 pm at Cal Anderson Park this evening.
Murray said that all SPD officers have received substantial active shooter training, and the Seattle Police Department has increased security for Pride events and other large gatherings.
He has ordered the flags at City Hall to be lowered to half-staff.
Two incident reports from readers – first, from Libby:
(Saturday) at 1:45 pm, my husband, kids, and I were merging onto I-5 south from the West Seattle Bridge. We were in the merging lane when, seemingly out of nowhere, we saw a giant wooden doghouse fly out of the back of a navy blue pickup truck and bounce onto the freeway. The body of the house bounced up 8 feet into the air and then landed behind a semi truck in the middle lanes while the roof flew onto the freeway directly in front of our car. My husband attempted to swerve to avoid it but did not want to risk getting hit by oncoming traffic in other lane so was ultimately forced to drive right over the structure which caused tremendous damage to our white Subaru Outback. We pulled over at the next exit (Michigan exit) to call 911 about the debris and the possible aftermath. We were told a state trooper would call us back to get a statement. As of (late Saturday night), no call has come our way.
We never got a license plate of the driver of the truck and would like to know if anyone else witnessed this. It happened in just seconds and we weren’t fast enough to grab plates. There were several cars behind us coming off of the West Seattle bridge to merge onto I-5 south and if anyone at all has any information we would so appreciate it.
We can be reached at 206-782-9671 call/text (Jay) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Highland Park resident here, wanted to shoot you guys a heads-up about a weird hit and run outside our home to our two cars on 13th between Elmgrove and Kenyon – one car had the side mirror removed (no other damage, and the mirror is nowhere to be found, so whomever removed the darn thing either ACTUALLY removed it, or hit it and cleaned up after themselves), and the other car was hit with such force it shoved the rear wheels up onto the curb. No other vehicles on the road seem to be damaged, but there’s suspiciously little debris in the street. No bueno.
That was reported on Saturday morning.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes tonight. First one’s a followup, from Sarah:
Remember the Gibson guitar and Fender amp that were stolen out of my son’s car? They were recovered by the police after the robber tried to sell them this week at a Capitol Hill pawn shop! We had serial numbers that we had given to the police pawn shop squad (a very important step: make sure that happens so that they alert pawn shops). We are very happy and relieved! The broken car window was a $50 deductible, but all things considered, a good outcome to what had been a very no-good bad-day two weeks ago.
Second, recognize this potentially stolen-and-abandoned bicycle? Amy sent the photo:
She says it’s been parked on a sidewalk near EC Hughes Playground, and that it has a broken chain. If you recognize it, let us know – comments or email@example.com.
Third and final, a new round of safety advice from SPD, in the latest newsletter from Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon. Read it here as a two-page PDF.
(Map from July 2015 slide deck about 35th SW plan)
When last we checked in on the 35th Avenue SW Corridor Safety Project – which changed the configuration of lanes on 35th, from Roxbury to just south of Morgan, last fall – SDOT’s Jim Curtin told WSB that the plan for Phase 2, and stats on Phase 1, were expected to be out in May. That month has come and gone; we checked in again today to ask where things stand. Curtin’s reply:
We’ve adjusted our schedule to coordinate outreach with another SDOT effort that may have implications for 35th Avenue SW – the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway. As you know, greenways are safer, calmer non-arterial streets prioritized for people walking and biking. We need residents to help us determine the best route for the greenway as well as locations for crossing improvements (the routes identified in the BMP are merely suggestions).
We’re aiming for the week of July 11th or 18th for our first meeting, where we’ll share preliminary data for Phase 1 of the 35th Avenue SW project, start the discussion about the Neighborhood Greenway route, share draft plans for Phase 2 of the 35th Ave SW project, and solicit feedback from residents. We also intend to host walking tours like we did for Phase 1 in August.
As a community-collaborative news organization, we cover many things that start with tips, questions, or other messages. Our followup with Curtin today was inspired by a note from Bob Neel. You might know him as an opponent of the rechannelization; he launched a Change.org petition against it last year. Today, he e-mailed both to wonder about the status of Phase 2 and to ask if we would publish the links to two new petitions he’s started. While there is no way for any online poll or petition to be anything resembling scientific (that’s why we don’t set up our own), he’s interested in comparing results from pro and con petitions.
He writes: “For those who like the lane reduction, here is a petition for SDOT to extend the project. For those who are not in favor of the lane reduction, here is a petition for SDOT to go back to 4 lanes. I have attempted to word each petition in a balanced, neutral way so that there is no inherent bias. I’d really like to see a large response to these petitions so that we can get a representative ‘pulse’ of the neighborhood reaction to the project.”
(If you do choose to sign one – or even if you don’t – consider commenting here to say why!)
You know we love birds and are honored to receive beautiful photos to share here several times a week. But – on occasion, birds can be dangerous too, especially in nesting season, and we have three recent reports to share. First one is just in from Greg:
I wanted to give a heads up to anyone that runs or walks on Fairmount (Ave) about an aggressive owl.
Last night around dusk I was running when I felt something on my head and realized an owl had clawed me. It hovered above and made a few more swipes. I scared it off and then about 100 yards later it swooped again, clawing the back of my head. I didn’t see any blood but it feels like I have a scratch – hard to tell under my hair.
It was white, possibly a barred owl – a white, beautiful bird. It was silent as it approached. The incident happened downhill of where Admiral street crosses over – basically half way between the bridge underpass and the homes on the road.
I’ve heard owls like this will repeat the behavior, so I want to make sure people are aware.
Carl reported the same thing recently:
I normally go jogging around 8-9 at night. This might I was running down Fairmount ravine in the dark when something sharp clawed my head. This was north of the Admiral Way overpass. The owl would not let go for at least 50 meters and I had to shine a light in his face for him not to attack me. He tried several more times to dive bomb me.
The ravine is not far, by the way, from where Rose reported an attack along Harbor Avenue two months ago.
Our third report: A crow got aggressive outside the West Seattle (Admiral) Library one morning this week, reported by Karin:
Have you heard about a territorial crow at the West Seattle library? I put some books in the book drop … and a crow attacked me. It followed me to Met Market, cawing and diving at me. It didn’t touch me, but it certainly scared me! I’m wondering if it was me or if I just got too close to a nest. Either way, I’m avoiding the library for a while…
Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark just shared this note sent to families:
Good Afternoon Denny and Sealth Families,
This morning at approximately 10:45 am, a Denny scholar was walking to school. When she was on Kenyon near the school bus zone entrance, the driver of a black Prius asked her to get in the car. She came right in to school and reported it. School staff contacted the Seattle Police Department, who responded very quickly. Scholars have been informed about the description of the car and reminded of safe walking procedures. We will have extra supervision in that area.
Denny and Chief Sealth Administration
He also asked us to share this message:
Our School Messenger email system sends out email notices automatically to all family email addresses in our system. If any Denny or Sealth family is not receiving the email, please call the school main office. We can confirm that we have your correct and current email address and can tell you if your email system is blocking our email, preventing you from receiving it. Thank you.
P.S. Thanks also to the Denny/Sealth parents who forwarded the top note (moments after the principal sent it out) to make sure we’d received it.
Tonight’s monthly meeting of the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network was low-key – more like a small-group conversation with police, and each other. Three updates of note:
GUNFIRE INCIDENTS: Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis reiterated that this is a big emphasis here right now. In terms of investigating, the focus is on data mining – he said the crime lab is examining fingerprints on recovered shells, and detectives are looking at the patterns. When that kind of information can be pulled together, gun use can be traced to certain offenders and certain incidents. In many cases, he said, those responsible can usually be tied to other activity such as gangs, drugs, or burglary rings, so they’re working with others around the city to try to ID who’s responsible.
CAR PROWLS: This too remains an emphasis, as mentioned at other recent meetings. One hotspot, Westcrest Park, now has warning signs about not leaving things in vehicles, an attendee mentioned.
RV CAMPERS: While the plan for a “safe lot” in West Seattle has long since been scrapped by the mayor’s office, as reported here, Capt. Davis said the precinct’s Community Police Team continues to monitor and deal with the RVs on West Seattle streets, including the group along Myers Way. Citywide, the trend is toward dispersal rather than clustering, he said, adding that West Seattle does not seem to be drawing a disproportionate number as the RVs scatter.
The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meets fourth Tuesdays most months, 6:30 pm at the SW Precinct – watch wsblockwatchnet.wordpress.com for updates between meetings.