West Seattle, Washington
-As of this writing, the West Seattle Bridge ramp to northbound I-5 is STILL closed because of the situation which, piecing together various accounts (see comments on post below), appears to involve public-safety/emergency workers trying to talk someone off their perch on that ramp. This has been ongoing for almost 11 hours, according to the city 911 log, which shows the incident open since units were first sent to a “rope rescue” at Columbian/12th at 10:27 this morning.
-WSB reader Venkat found an advance link to an article in this Sunday’s New York Times about “what you get for $900,000” in several real-estate markets. One is right here in “West Seattle, Washington,” where the article features an Alki condo.
-We mentioned last week that the city Parks Department is holding meetings all around the city in the next few weeks to gather thoughts about what should be in its forthcoming Strategic Business Plan. We also promised to let you know when a link was up for an online survey to be offered to people who couldn’t attend those meetings. Now it’s up — go to this page and follow the “short online survey” link.
In the predawn darkness outside Alki Mail/Dispatch this morning, the bright orange pedestrian flags waited, as did their counterparts across Admiral. One year ago today, at this intersection, 47th/Admiral, where so many busy drivers roar by, heading to/from Alki or Beach Drive, one driver hit a man crossing the street. It happens, just like it happened last month at 35th/Othello to Oswald Clement (whose memorial is today, by the way). This time, it drew citywide notice, because the man who was hit — who later died at the hospital — was 29-year-old Tatsuo Nakata, chief of staff to City Councilmember David Della. Some things have changed at the intersection since then — the city placed temporary and permanent safety measures. Then yesterday, Tatsuo Nakata’s old boss and other councilmembers came to West Seattle – though nowhere near 47th/Admiral — to publicize their “Pedestrian Safety Initiative.” But also during the year, the city has removed crosswalks in areas of West Seattle (on Avalon, along 35th, and along Fauntleroy) where it felt they didn’t meet safety standards, while adding new markings on a California crosswalk. So we ask you — has enough been done? Do you feel safe crossing the street, wherever you cross, or is it just a hazard of everyday life?
As we noted a couple months ago in a slightly different context, “‘arterial’ doesn’t mean ‘open somebody’s arteries’.” Many people who have to deal daily with 35th SW (one small section shown above), whether as pedestrians or drivers, bike riders or transit users, would probably agree. Two recent accidents have put the 35th SW problems back in the spotlight – the one that killed 85-year-old Oswald Clement weekend before last, and the one that shut down a section of the road this past Friday night. The High Point Neighborhood Association has been lobbying for safety improvements on this busy straightaway and hopes to gain some traction from two high-profile visits this week: Mayor Nickels will be in High Point this morning to celebrate the development’s recent award, and City Council President Nick Licata is coming Thursday night for a walking tour focused on the safety concerns. The group’s been working on these issues for quite some time, and here’s where they stand and what they are trying to get the city to do:Read More
In one of the early stories about yesterday’s bicyclist death on Eastlake, a local bike advocate was quoted as saying the city usually averages one such death a year. Last year, there were two in West Seattle alone. In March 2006, on the eastern edge of WS, a teenage driver veered onto a bike path along Highland Park Way, killing 58-year-old Marvin Miller. His death didn’t get the sort of citywide attention that followed the September 2006 bike/van collision at 35th/Graham that killed 27-year-old Susanne Scaringi, just six weeks after she moved to WS. (Susanne’s family maintains a tribute page here.) As noteworthy and tragic as the deaths are – they are outnumbered almost 100 to 1 by the crashes that leave bicyclists injured. Interesting and important information here. For a refresher on Seattle traffic laws regarding bicyclists and driving other vehicles in their presence, look here.
As the new school year starts its second day, our inbox is full of implorings from concerned WS folks who want to remind everyone to SLOW DOWN IN SCHOOL ZONES. Don’t wait for this to become reality; do the right thing. Also, make sure you know the law — Eric Baer from the Pathfinder K-8 PTSA (their school fronts a busy straightaway on Genesee Hill) pulled up the fine print, including some things that might surprise you:Read More
From Admiral Junction to Morgan Junction on foot, much to be seen. Including:
-Dangerous driving at Cali/Genesee and Cali/Fauntleroy. At the former, a car turning right/north onto Cali (by Divina) almost took out a bicyclist that the driver would have seen with a good look south before the turn. The bicyclist shouted indignantly for a while, the driver paused, then both finally continued on. At the latter — a car almost took us out, turning right/west onto Fauntleroy (by the Corner Inn) as we stepped into the crosswalk. We’re not much for shouting so we just glowered.
-Banner up for a new business in the mixed-use building at 5446 Cali: “On the Way Maternity.” According to its city business-license classification, it’ll sell clothing. Doesn’t look too close to opening; various renovations are under way inside.
Despite three crosswalks with pedestrian-activated lights, crossing Fauntleroy Way SW along the length of Lincoln Park remains hit-and-miss, at best. Sometimes literally. And right across from LP’s biggest parking lot, the city plans to take away a remaining non-signalized crosswalk, this one at Fauntleroy/Rose, while another problem percolates …
What makes this stretch of road more problematic than others, besides the presence of a big busy park on one side, is the traffic bound for the Fauntleroy ferry dock. Gary Dawson of the Fauntleroy Community Association says the crosswalks and ferry traffic aren’t mixing well, to say the least:
If you use any one of (the Lincoln Park crosswalks) during the afternoon commute period you put your life at great risk, stop lights or not. The reason is, the line to the ferry dock going southbound moves when queued, whether there are pedestrians in the crosswalks or not. Another near-miss (yesterday) afternoon. A neighbor going southbound stopped so a young boy could cross over to the park. The ferry queue did not. The lad had to run for his life. This, sadly, is more typical than not.
This time the Fauntleroy Community Association is contacting the Mayor’s office (the neighbor already has) to find out how serious he is with his pedestrian safety program.
We’ll stay in touch to find out what FCA hears back.