West Seattle, Washington
6:48 PM: The Fauntleroy Boulevard project through The Triangle is suddenly a hot topic, and tonight we have word of two more chances for you to find out more about it. Along with the West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting tomorrow night (Thursday, February 23rd, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center) and the new Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association‘s meeting a week from tonight (Wednesday, March 1st, 7:30 pm at Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee), SDOT just announced two “Walk-and-Talk” tours along the route.
Project spokesperson Rachel McCaffrey says, “These walking tours will be an opportunity for us to share the latest design, discuss early construction planning, introduce the project team to the public, and gather feedback. We’ll include light refreshments from Fauntleroy businesses along the way.” She says it’s “the same tour on two different dates: Thursday, March 16, from 12-1:30 PM, and Saturday, March 18, from 10:30 AM-12 PM. The tours will begin outside of LA Fitness, at 3900 SW Alaska St, and end at West Seattle Brewing Co., at 4415 Fauntleroy Way SW.” Also, watch your postal mail for a postcard about this (see it here) – she says it’s being sent to a “swath” of the area (we have a followup question out asking exactly where said “swath” is).
ADDED 11:57 AM: We have the reply to that: “We mailed the postcard to approximately 8,560 addresses roughly in the boundaries of SW Charlestown St, 45th Ave SW, SW Juneau, and 26th Ave SW. We’ll also announce the event via our email newsletter, which has about 300 subscribers.”
Over the weekend, we mentioned the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s plan for a briefing/discussion this Thursday about the Fauntleroy Boulevard project, and much discussion ensued. Today, news of another meeting: The newly formed Fauntleroy Way Neighborhood and Business Association has just invited nearby businesses and residents to its first community meeting, 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 1st, in the Rudy’s Barbershop/Realfine Coffee building (4480 Fauntleroy Way). See the flyer here as a PDF, or embedded below:
The Fauntleroy Boulevard plan has been under discussion for almost a decade, but had no funding until the mayor added it to the Move Seattle levy in May 2015.
The concept of transforming Fauntleroy Way SW into a “boulevard” through The Triangle (between 35th and Alaska) has been kicking around for many years. But now there’s money in the city budget and construction could start before year’s end, as announced last fall. We’ve shown general concepts many times … the renderings above and below are the newest ones SDOT has made public, from the “60% design” phase:
So what about the details, such as how access will change for businesses and side-road users, for example? This Thursday is your chance to hear firsthand, and to ask questions, as an SDOT rep from the project will be featured at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s monthly meeting. “WSTC has been expressing concerns (about the plan) since 2013 – within West Seattle, and with successive (project) teams, SDOT management, the mayor, and City Council,” says WSTC co-chair Martin Westerman. “Concerns include, but are not limited to, issues around project design and cost, and coordination between successive (project) teams and SDOT-Move Seattle, Seattle City Light, Sound Transit, and West Seattle stakeholders.” The meeting starts at 6:30 pm Thursday (February 23rd) at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way SW). Westerman also notes, “All are welcome — from community associations, interest groups, businesses, and members of the public.”
Thanks to Matthew for the tip via Twitter: A new taco truck has set up shop on the West Seattle Produce lot at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW, the spot Beloved Mexico left in November 2015. We just talked with Abacu at Taqueria La Original. He says he’ll be there 10:30 am-10 pm, seven days a week.Here’s the temporary menu:
Beloved Mexico had been there five years when it closed, citing factors including competition and the fact the site was slated for redevelopment. While the CVS drugstore project that was on the drawing board then has since been canceled, we broke the news just before Christmas of a new project planned for the site, two apartment buildings
The newly expanded West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) just got the final inspection clearance, and it will open tomorrow morning! That’s the word from Joleen Post at the Y. She and Josh Sutton gave us a sneak peek this afternoon. Above, the new front/entrance, now facing SW Snoqualmie Street. Inside, the new fitness center is, well, the centerpiece:
The fitness center spans 5,700 square feet and is right on the east side of the entrance hall. On the west side, a community gathering room that can hold up to 170 people (and has a kitchen):
When we stopped in, final setup was still under way – the huge reception area will have furniture in place before you see it tomorrow:
A few expansion features have a little more work to be done, such as the family changing rooms, but they’ll be ready soon. Outside the building, by the way, the parking lots WILL be open when the doors open at 5:30 tomorrow morning. And of course, some expansion features are already in use, like the ones we spotlighted back in November.
Tomorrow, one way to get your first look at the expansion is during Family Night. Or, one of the three Try It Tuesdays starting next week. Lots of special events are scheduled – see the full list here. If you’re not a member yet, you’re welcome at the special events too – and if you are considering joining, note that there are no joining fees if you sign up this month.
BACKSTORY: The groundbreaking celebration for the expansion work was just seven months ago. At that time, the Y also celebrated the designation of the block of SW Snoqualmie in front of its new entrance as a “festival street”; the first event was the last screening of last summer’s West Seattle Outdoor Movies series, and Sutton says the Y will soon put together a committee to come up with a list of events for this summer – not just the movies, but more. If you’re interested, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5:54 PM: Thanks to the texter who tipped us even before Seattle Fire‘s “heavy rescue” dispatch went out – they report a car is on its side in the middle of eastbound Fauntleroy Way in The Triangle. The SFD dispatch has SW Oregon as the cross-street. We’re on our way to find out more.
5:58 PM: Per scanner, all but three of the SFD units are being dismissed – the person feared trapped in the vehicle is out.
6:08 PM: No injuries, our crew has been told at the scene. Two vehicles involved; police are talking to the drivers, and awaiting tow trucks. Eastbound Fauntleroy is blocked between 38th SW and the YMCA annex at SW Oregon.
6:23 PM: It’s blurry, but this camera should show when eastbound Fauntleroy reopens, if SDOT doesn’t move it – you can see the closed stretch in the right foreground.
As the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) expansion project gets closer to completion, more new features are coming online. We stopped by this week for a hard-hat tour to get a look at what’s happening. Above, the new outdoor play structure is in, but the really big news is indoors – a new exercise area next to the pool features Queenax, described as “a multipurpose training system that centers on your functional fitness, using exercises that mimic what you do in daily life to improve cardiovascular endurance and gain strength, flexibility, and conditioning.”
You can register for free Queenax demos that start tomorrow, whether you’re a Y member or not – sign up online (find the links on this page) or at the Y. Open drop-in times and group-exercise classes launch December 5th (here’s the schedule).
Back to the tour – Read More
That’s American Legion Post 160 commander Keith Hughes with the two U.S. Coast Guardsmen from Everett who came to tonight’s Veterans Day dinner at the post in The Triangle with a gift: A flag that flew on a USCG Port Security Unit 313 patrol boat while it was under way on maritime-security patrol on the Legion’s 97th anniversary, March 15, 2016. They explained the unit wanted to thank the post for the care packages they had sent, and then described where and when the flag had flown:
Other gifts at the dinner – thank-you cards for veterans, created by students at Madison Middle School:
The dinner is an annual tradition at Post 160, free to local veterans, active-duty personnel, guard and reserve members, and their families. Tonight’s attendance was the best ever.
Commander Hughes, who served in the Army, read a well-known verse of thanks to those who fought for the rights our country holds dear:
And as we left, we passed another family arriving, with a Troop 282 Boy Scout whose grandmother and aunt are veterans, though too far away to come along. They brought gifts too … cherry and apple pies.
On Tuesday, we showed you the first photo mural to go up on the north side of Aura on 35th SW south of Avalon. The management told us another one would be up today, so we just went over to look, and it is:
As noted in yesterday’s story and in a comment today by the SODO firm that treated the historic photos for installation, Grand Image, these 4-story-high installations are based on historic photos – the ferry West Seattle from 1907, and the trolley from 1930 – obtained via the Log House Museum.
Thanks to Eddie for the tip and the photo:
The first of two photo murals went up today on the north side of Aura, the new mixed-use building on 35th south of Avalon. This one is on the northwest side of the building, and the other one is scheduled for installation on the northeast side tomorrow, according to building management, with whom we inquired after receiving Eddie’s photo:
The images are historic photos which we received from the Log House Museum in West Seattle. Both depict historic transportation methods to and from West Seattle, which we felt was important for our location, directly adjacent to the RapidRide stop. The first image is the historic W. Seattle Ferry (photo circa 1907), and the second is the historic Spokane Street (trolley) (photo circa 1930). The digital artist who gave the images a modern twist with the “pixelation” at the corners was a group in SODO called Grand Image.
The aforementioned RapidRide stop was restored just last week.
For those who have been asking when the RapidRide stop on southbound 35th just south of Avalon would move back to its permanent site … it’s back. Don’t know if it’s been back for hours or days, but Eddie tipped us this afternoon, so we drove by for a photo. We had most recently checked with Metro in July, and – as we wrote here – they expected it to return in August, so it was a little behind schedule, but it’s there now. During the construction of mixed-use Aura, the stop had moved about a block south.
As expansion/renovation work continues at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) headquarters in The Triangle, staffers are getting ready today for a celebration tomorrow – the grand opening of the new Kids Zone, 4-8 pm Friday. We got a sneak peek with the Y’s Joleen Post on Wednesday afternoon. Above, the big indoor play structure is in the “Adventure Zone” for 3- to 5-year-olds; the “Tween Zone” for ages 9 to 13 includes a ping-pong table:
Lots of work going on when we stopped by, but tomorrow, it’ll all be done in time for the celebration. There are also specific programs for babies, toddlers, and 4- to 9-year-olds, with three separate indoor areas – adjacent to the Y’s gym – including new restrooms and a new outdoor play structure that’s being installed soon. These are all drop-in child-care areas included in Y family memberships. But you don’t have to be a member to enjoy tomorrow’s celebration – come in, look around, try things out. (If you decide to join, the Y has a “no joining fee” special through mid-October. And if you’ve never been there – the temporary entrance is along SW Snoqualmie, between 36th SW and 37th SW.)
8:36 AM: Thanks for the tips. En route to check this out – a big Seattle Fire response to a report of a natural-gas leak in the 4500 block of 37th SW in The Triangle.
8:41 AM: The West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) tells us via e-mail, “Contractors working on the Y street improvements on SW Oregon hit a gas line about 8 am today. Gas company and fire department were contacted and we evacuated members from the building as a precaution.” Per scanner, 36th SW has been closed to traffic in the area, and according to the Y, SFD is “evacuating businesses on north side of Oregon (Tom’s, West Seattle Brake, City Dog).”
8:51 AM: Per the Y, “the leak is secured and off – waiting to hear if we are letting members back in yet.”
8:56 AM: Alaska is blocked too but this should be winding down soon, our crew has learned at the scene. The Y says it’s been given clearance to reopen. SFD tells us an engine will remain in the area for a while.
9:08 AM: Here’s the spot where the crew hit the line:
The nearby businesses are all open again too. No injuries.
10:35 AM: Added two more photos above. And just received this one from one of the briefly evacuated businesses nearby, Dog City:
They report that they “felt super safe during (the situation) with our local fire department! Needless to say the firefighter had a grin from ear to ear with all the attention. This is why we also donate to our local fire department because these guys rock!”
And Joleen Post, ace tipster from the Y, sent this photo of “Tish‘s dance class” temporarily switching locations during the evacuation:
Again, everything is OK in the area now, and SFD has long since cleared out.
When the 159-unit mixed-use building at 4435 35th SW now known as Aura went through Design Review three years ago, its most-acclaimed feature wasn’t actually part of the building – it was the “hillclimb” stairway proposed for the south side of the property. That side is actually city right-of-way, technically part of SW Oregon Street, but previously undeveloped. Now, the stairway is open; the photo is courtesy of Josh Sutton from the nearby West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor). This is envisioned as an easier way to walk between The Junction, The Triangle, and Seattle Parks facilities to the east (West Seattle Stadium, Golf Course, Camp Long, Rotary Viewpoint Park), and the growing number of residences and businesses in the area.
Story, video, and photos by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
The last speaker at Thursday’s West Seattle YMCA expansion groundbreaking celebration, member Michelle Silver, used that term for her enthusiastic view of the Y, whose director Josh Sutton picked it up and ran with it.
It was perfect for the energy and enthusiasm that marked the event outside the Triangle headquarters of the Y (a longtime WSB sponsor).
Though members of the Y board posed for the top photo, this wasn’t really a groundbreaking about, well, breaking ground – the shovels were mostly for fun:
Major work on the Y’s long-in-the-works expansion had started last week with demolition of the old Youth Programs building. The event was more a chance to honor those who made the project possible, and to celebrate a side benefit, the new “festival street” designation for SW Snoqualmie in front of the Y, recently finalized and used for the first time for this party, which included a bouncy house, free barbecue, and even the West Seattle High School Band:
And it was a chance to recap what the expansion will bring – Sutton hit the highlights: “When this project is done, we’ll have a whole new Y from the outside and new tools to help the community.” They include a meeting room, kitchen, expanded fitness space, new family room with “active play for all ages,” a new cycling room. (More details here.)
With its perch in the West Seattle Triangle, part of the “urban village” at the heart of the peninsula, and within walking distance of thousands of new apartments, the Y also has to have its eye on the future. That was noted by Mark Tabbutt, who spoke after Sutton’s introduction, a West Seattleite representing the Greater Seattle Y’s board.
“There’s a ton of new people coming in – this organization, this Y, is going to be a big part of drawing those people in.”
Without money to pay for the expansion, it wouldn’t be happening, and about $800,000 came from the state, so the program included an area legislator, 34th District State Senator Sharon Nelson.
“Why should the state support this?” she asked rhetorically. “Because it’s about youth and families.”
From the WS Y board, Scott Hitchcock hailed the “hard work” by so many, over the decade it took for this to become reality:
Those gathered in the new “festival street” also heard from Dino Vasquez and Steve Sundquist, co-chairs of the capital campaign. Sundquist, a former Seattle School Board member, voiced appreciation for the Y’s work at local schools.
A donor whose family made the first gift to the campaign, Sue Chamberlain, recalled her membership dating back 30 years, when she said she walked into the Y with her then-1-year-old son. The Y goes back almost a century here, she said, so those enabling its expansion are “continuing a great legacy.”
Gratitude was threaded through all the speeches, not just for those who gave money, but for those who gave time.
But the show was stolen by final speaker Michelle Silver, from the moment Sutton introduced her while making note that Silver was wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers T-shirt and obviously had to get home in time for the game. First, here’s some of what she described, memorably, as Y-Tastic:
The speeches wrapped up, and the party continued for guests of all ages.
Here’s what happens next, according to a timeline Sutton shared: The main building stays open throughout the project, Later this month, the entrance will move to the festival-street side. More changes will be ahead in August, when the first Y-hosted West Seattle Outdoor Movies screening will happen (last one of this year’s season, before the entire series moves next year). Then a new entrance is expected in October, and more of the new building will be open around Thanksgiving, with the project largely wrapped up by year’s end, meaning that 2017, in Sutton’s words, will bring a “new Y for a new year.”
In case you haven’t yet seen them in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, two Memorial Day notes:
(2015 WSB photo)
JUNCTION FLAG HELP: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2713 welcomes community assistance in putting up and taking down the West Seattle Junction’s U.S. flags on Monday. Meet at California/Alaska, in front of Cupcake Royale, at 8:50 am for flag placement, 4:50 pm for flag removal.
FOREST LAWN CEREMONY: At 2 pm on Monday, American Legion Post 160 and community partners will present the traditional annual Memorial Day ceremony at Forest Lawn (WSB sponsor) in High Point (map); all welcome.
(2014 WSB photo)
Right afterward, you’re invited to a 3:30 pm reception at Post 160 HQ in The Triangle (3618 SW Alaska).
10:45 AM: A little more than one week before the groundbreaking celebration for the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) expansion, early work related to the project is under way: It’s demolition day for the old Youth Programs building. The Y will stay open throughout the project; construction updates are being posted here, including more about today’s teardown and the building’s history as well as construction-related recycling. The groundbreaking celebration, meantime, is set for 4:30 pm Thursday, June 2nd.
ADDED 3:32 PM: Thanks to the Y for this photo from later in the day:
Just in from Keith Hughes, commander of American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle:
The West Seattle Veterans Service Center, an outreach of the American Legion Post 160, at 3618 SW Alaska Street, will reopen on Monday May 16. The Service Center will have two Veteran Service Officers on duty from 9 AM until 5 PM Monday through Friday, to offer information and assistance to all Veterans and their families, regardless of branch or time of service.
We still have some remodeling going on, and the exterior needs paint, but we just couldn’t wait any longer to get back in the business of Vets Helping Vets whenever and however we can.
Please feel free to stop by and say Hi to Bob and Mike, get a cup of coffee, and let us know what we can do to help. If it is something we can’t do directly, we have a very large network of Service Groups, and we will help you get to the right place and the right people, whatever the need is.
Healthy Kids Day is on, until 1 pm at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) in The Triangle (4515 36th SW). Our photo above shows the inflatable obstacle course out front – you’ll also find a climbing wall, dunk tank (photo below), face-painting, arts and crafts, bubbles, family races, photo booth, scavenger hunt, and a long list of other ongoing activities.
Some of the time-specific events coming up:
11 am, east gym: Chief Sealth IHS Latin Dance Team
11:30 am, east gym: Family Zumba class
Noon, east gym: YMCA Karate class
1-3 pm, open swim @ pool
So get to the Y before 1 pm – you don’t have to be a member, but you can find out more about membership, as well as about Y programs such as preschool. Also, find out about other local organizations/businesses:
That’s Phil from the School of Rock. Also at HKD – find out about a time-saving way to feed your family via Dream Dinners (WSB sponsor), try smoothies from nearby Chaco Canyon Organic Café … the list goes on. This event is also a chance to find out about the Y’s upcoming expansion project, with work starting in early May and official groundbreaking June 2nd.
The official groundbreaking celebration has just been announced for June 2nd, but some work for the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) expansion will start in The Triangle in early May. Here’s the official announcement:
The Board and Staff of your West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA invite you to attend a groundbreaking ceremony and celebration on Thursday, June 2, kicking off construction of an expanded West Seattle facility.
Your expanded and renovated West Seattle YMCA will include:
• A dedicated Family Wing with age-appropriate spaces where infants to young teens, can play, connect with peers, explore new activities and develop skills on their way to reaching their full potential.
• More than 9,500 square feet for fitness classes, strength/weight training and cardio equipment – nearly doubling the current space for Y members to be active and stay healthy.
• A new Community Meeting Room where youth, neighbors, service organizations and other groups can gather together to work on local issues, learn new skills and explore shared interests.
• A Healthy Eating Kitchen in the Community Meeting Room, supportingY members and participants, especially youth, to develop healthier eating habits through nutrition and cooking classes and free monthly cooking demonstrations.
• Five new Family Changing Rooms that will allow families of all configurations to privately help each other dress for swim and fitness programs.
• A welcoming new entrance on SW Snoqualmie Street, soon to be designated as a Festival Street that can be closed to cars for special community and Y events.
Funds for the project come from an $8 million capital campaign, with at least $4 million to be raised in the West Seattle community and the remaining funds provided by the YMCA of Greater Seattle. To date, volunteers from the West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA Board have raised $3.7 million locally.
“I’m inspired by the hundreds of generous people who have donated to expand and renovate our Y facility. They believe that the YMCA makes a huge difference in people’s lives, and that as the West Seattle community grows, the Y needs to be there to respond. Thanks to these donors we’ve already exceeded 92% of our local fundraising goal and are ready to go!” said Josh Sutton, Regional Executive Director. The Y expects to serve 3,500 more people with the expanded facility, growing our reach in West Seattle to more than 23,000 individuals each year.
The West Seattle YMCA building will largely remain open during construction, with improvements happening in phases and completion expected by the end of the year. The first phase will launch the week of May 9 when the old Youth Programs Building on the Y property will be torn down. Throughout the project, you’ll find the latest updates, images, construction progress and schedule changes on OurNewY.org.
The groundbreaking ceremony and celebration will take place from 4:30 to 6:00 pm on the Snoqualmie Street side of the West Seattle YMCA facility. Activities will include a bounce house, a photo booth where you can turn a gold shovel of dirt and wear a hard hat, games, donor recognition and a brief program at 5:00 pm.
12:13 PM: Demolition of the former Fire Station 32 is finally under way, six months after we reported that the project to rebuild FS32 is nine years behind the schedule in the original plan for the voter-approved 2003 Fire Levy. The new station, to be built at the same 38th SW/SW Alaska site, will look like this:
(From Fire Station 32 “schematic design” packet dated August 2013, by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson)
Until the new station is ready, temporary Station 32 remains on the site of a future city park on 40th SW between Alaska and Edmunds. Among the equipment based there is Ladder 11, which we spotted driving by its former home while we stopped for our photos this morning:
The project is budgeted at $18.6 million. Construction is supposed to last about a year.
3:14 PM: We went back to check on the progress, and the crew was having a tough time knocking down the tower, even using a piece of debris as something of a battering ram.
As of 3 pm, it appeared they were stopping down for the day, but we’re going back to doublecheck.
12:35 PM FRIDAY: We went by the site three times this morning. No activity spotted during visits one and two – then, when we went back an hour after #2, the tower was down.
FRIDAY EVENING: Some of the building is still standing; the photo above this line was taken looking over the fence on SW Alaska, after the crew finished for the day.
(From Fire Station 32 “schematic design” packet dated August 2013, by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson)
Last October, we reported on the latest twist in the years-delayed construction of a new Fire Station 32 in The Triangle – the city was sending it out to bid again, despite having been so close to construction that it had moved the crews into a temporary location half a year earlier.
Tonight, the city has announced that construction is finally about to begin, with the “notice to proceed” issued today, and demolition of the old station planned within a few weeks:
The new contractor Howard S. Wright – which, as noted in our December followup, built the Space Needle – will start staging this week, according to the notification letter (thanks to Anand for sharing a copy), and major work is expected to start by mid-March, projected to last about 14 months. The project is funded under the 2003 Fire Levy and was originally supposed to be complete in 2007 – instead, if everything stays on schedule now, it’ll be 2017.
A variety of factors played into the 10-year schedule slide; most recently, as the city’s Finance and Administrative Services Department explained for our story last year, the city and its original contractor had a “general contractor/construction manager” contract but couldn’t agree on “a negotiated cost that fit within the city budget,” so the city was cancelling the pre-construction contract and seeking a new contractor via a more traditional process.