(WSB file photo: Roxhill Park-side ‘wall of buses’)
The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Neighborhood Council has been working for more than a year to push Metro and the city for safety improvements in the area of the Westwood “transit hub.” One year ago, WWRHAH led a walking tour with Metro, county, and city reps. Progress on some of the issues was reported four months later; other changes have included SPD bicycle patrols. Today, WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick sent an update on more of what they’ve been working to get:
We are pleased to announce that Metro Transit will be upgrading the sidewalks along the bus stop from the Rapid Ride stop to 29th Ave SW this year. In addition to new ADA-compliant sidewalks, Metro will also be adding lighting in the same area.
Metro asked King County for additional funds for capital improvements to the Rapid Ride, and that includes $170,000 for sidewalks and lighting for the bus stop along Roxhill Park.
Design work has started, with implementation this year. No firm date has been given as of yet. We have asked Metro to come to our March 3rd WWRHAH meeting for further updates in regards to the Transit Hub. We will also be asking SDOT to be there as well to discuss Barton Street concrete panels that are sinking, and crosswalk improvements to critical intersections.
WWRHAH meets first Tuesdays (next one, February 3rd), 6:15 pm at Southwest Library.
With a week to go until Christmas Eve, a little extra holiday cheer emerges almost everywhere you look – and listen. Tonight, Shorewood Foursquare Church‘s Ignition Youth Group kept its promise to head out on a caroling journey, walking to Westwood Village, where we caught up with them:
Along with giving the gift of song, they handed out candy canes with an invitation to their church’s Christmas Eve service (one of a dozen churches listed in the “services” section of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide – if yours isn’t, please get us the info ASAP!).
For the second time in nine days, Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) at Westwood Village has been burglarized. It happened this evening – exactly when, the proprietors and police were still trying to figure out when we heard about it from a texted tip and went over a little more than an hour ago. Once again, someone broke the front door to get in, same way entry was made during the early-morning break-in on December 7th. We’ll be following up with them and police tomorrow.
Should the issue of improving safety on 35th SW also take into consideration the proliferation of signs at some businesses? An attendee at Tuesday night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting brought that up, according to meeting notes from co-chair Joe Szilagyi. And from pre-scheduled agenda items, what he describes as “a rolling discussion about the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda and future growth impacts on the Westwood/Highland Park Urban Village” yielded a dozen discussion points.
— WWRHAH Council (@WWRHAH) December 3, 2014
See those points, and the rest of the meeting notes, here. Next WWRHAH meeting: 6:15 pm January 6th, Southwest Branch Library.
12:31 PM: Thanks to Deb and Melissa for the notes about this. A power outage is affecting some of the stores at Westwood Village. Melissa says it’s in the center of the mall, including Barnes and Noble, which is closed for the day since repairs are not estimated to be complete until after 4 pm. Again, this has not closed ALL the WWV stores, but if you’re headed that way in the next few hours, you might check first if your destination is open or closed.
4:15 PM: The outage is no longer on the City Light map, which indicates it’s fixed.
The annual month-long Community Art Showcase at Southwest Branch Library is over, and SPL’s Jane Gibson is sharing that collage of the participating artists with their work – click the image to see it as a full-size PDF. It’s not only a celebration of the participants – it’s also a reminder: If you’re among them, it’s time to go back to the library and pick up your work, if you haven’t already. The branch (35th/Henderson) is closed for today but tomorrow and Tuesday – the two remaining pickup dates – it’s open 10 am-8 pm. The annual show is open to all – just watch for the next call to artists, in fall 2015!
(Photo courtesy Amanda Kay Helmick)
Thanks to Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council chair Amanda Kay Helmick for sharing the photo of liftoff for the community-created turret at Roxhill Park‘s “castle” play structure. She observed its removal this morning and said the Parks staffers worked very carefully and respectfully.
(This photo and next by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
As first reported last Thursday, safety concerns regarding the turret led to the closure of the castle until it could be removed. We got there this morning after the turret, created during the play structure’s construction a year and a half ago, was bundled onto a Seattle Parks truck:
Helmick says she’s been told that Parks hopes to replace it on the structure by reinforcing the area beneath, and the structure itself, so it can bear the weight. No timeline yet; we’ll be checking in with Parks. Meantime, the play area is expected to reopen today (if it hasn’t already reopened since we were over there about an hour ago).
12:59 PM UPDATE: Just went back over – fence is gone, play structure is reopened:
Fence is down at Roxhill Castle – playtime! pic.twitter.com/9G36CJnXJa
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 29, 2014
Following up on last month’s joint meeting of Highland Park Action Committee and Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, WWRHAH chair Amanda Kay Helmick invites you to a Tuesday meeting:
The Westwood / Highland Park Neighborhood Planning Committee is holding its first informal meeting tomorrow night at Big Al’s. 7:00 pm. We are starting the discussion on what a Westwood / Highland Park update would look like and what people see as the future of our area. The meeting is open to anyone who might be interested.
(WSB photo from last Thursday afternoon)
The community-built play area at Roxhill Park is closed for a fifth day, according to Seattle Parks, because removing its distinctive turret isn’t going to be as easy as hoped. That’s according to Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad, who says an onsite meeting is planned with its artist tomorrow, to strategize. As first reported here last Thursday, the metal turret was noticed early this month as leaning significantly; after checking that out, a Parks structural engineer voiced concern that the turret’s tiles might be too heavy for the play structure to bear. They subsequently closed and fenced off the play area as a precaution. They had hoped removing the turret to take it away for reinforcement might be an easy job, but now have found its not. Other parts of the play area are closed; the fencing is just around the “castle” at the heart of the play structure put up in a community collaboration a year and a half ago.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In the city’s stack of neighborhood plans, Highland Park and Westwood share one. Last night, the community councils for the neighborhoods shared a meeting.
More than 40 people in attendance as Highland Park Action Committee‘s regular monthly meeting was joined by Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, with the focus on crime fighting and prevention.
If you’re picking up a student at Chief Sealth International High School – where classes are ending for the day – it’ll be more difficult than usual to navigate the parking lot/dropoff zone, where you’ll see police cars, a fire engine, an ambulance, and a tow truck. That’s because of what’s in the photos – a car that somehow wound up on the embankment between the parking lot and the exit driveway alongside the auditorium.
Thanks to the person who texted to let us know about this and shared the top photo; at the scene, police told us the car was driven by a student, who wasn’t hurt, but had passengers who were still being checked.
(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
6:09 AM: Thanks for the texts about all the sirens. There’s a “fire in building” callout at 26th/Barton.
6:38 AM: It’s a residential building across from Westwood Village. No injuries reported.
6:52 AM: Some of the units have been dismissed – again, this was a large initial callout just because that is standard operating procedure for a building fire call until crews arrive. Others are leaving now for a separate fire call in High Point.
7:06 AM: No word of the cause yet – fire investigator is still on scene.
7:47 AM: 26th SW is still closed at the scene, though the fire’s been out a while.
8:28 AM: Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore says that while the home was indeed boarded up – as noted in comments below – the “house and backyard were full of combustible materials.” Though neighbors mention squatters, he says firefighters didn’t find anyone inside when they searched the house. They’re not sure yet how it started; damage is estimated at $55,000.
8:47 AM: SFD will be keeping “fire watch” at the house (which is in the 9200 block of 26th) for a while; Ladder 11 (above) just arrived to help with that.
4:50 PM: SFD published a wrap-up report on its Fireline site, noting that “evidence of transient activity” was found inside the house, which was “released (to its) owner” this afternoon. The cause remains officially listed as “undetermined.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The state Department of Early Learning (DEL) has temporarily suspended the license of a West Seattle in-home day care after the death of a baby this week.
We have been looking into this since a reader asked about a major medical response at a home in Westwood at midday this past Monday; later, two other readers e-mailed to ask about rumors they had heard of a death at a local day care. This afternoon, we confirmed with three local and state agencies that an investigation is under way.
That’s a quick spin around the heart of the Westwood Village Street Fair (WSB sponsor), which continues until 6 pm – still time if you haven’t stopped by yet!
Along with rides and entertainment, you’ll find Westwood businesses – including Massage Envy-West Seattle (WSB sponsor):
The Radio Shack folks told us they’re offering raffle tickets until 4:30 and then big prize drawings at 5. Across the center’s central drive, Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) has a table in front of its store:
Proprietors Joni and Kirk Keppler are there – and were handing out (what else would you expect from jewelers?) Ring Pop candy when we stopped by. Free jewelry cleaning, too. Here’s the band/stage schedule; more photos in a moment.
(WSB file photo of mini-train at Westwood Village)
Clouds or sun, the Westwood Village Street Fair is on for tomorrow, and sponsoring WSB this week to get the word out. The fair runs 10 am-6 pm on Saturday; organizers promise “amusement rides for the kids as well as the little train that goes around the center … (also) a couple food trucks and plenty of vendor booths to check out.” Here’s the on-stage event schedule, including bands playing from 1-6 pm:
10:00 AM 24 Hour Fitness – Group -X Class
11:00 AM West Seattle Wellness – Nutritionist
11:30 AM Chico’s – Fashion Show
12:00 Noon West Seattle Wellness – Yoga Instruction
1:00 PM Band #1 Gunn
2:15 PM Band #2 Neal Storme and his Band of Amazing Friends
3:30 PM West Seattle Wellness – Hip Hop Instruction
4:00 PM Band #3 Red Sun Revue
5:00 PM Band #4 F-Holes
Thornton Creek did it – can Roxhill Bog do it too? That’s one of the neighborhood issues on the agenda for today’s featured calendar highlight, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. Live/work in any of those neighborhoods? Go check out WWRHAH at 6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). See the agenda in our calendar listing, and the calendar itself has many more events for today/tonight, including nightlife!
Busy agenda at last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (WWRHAH) meeting – police, transit, and more.
TRANSIT HUB UPDATE/WESTWOOD SAFETY: More progress in a longrunning major issue for WWRHAH – chair Amanda Kay Helmick says Metro is going to make small adjustments to the “wall of buses” stop along the south side of Barton (WSB photo, above, from coverage of December WWRHAH walking tour). First, the 21: Instead of being outbound from 26th/Barton, they’re going to move up to layover and leave from 35th/Roxbury. Helmick said 3-6 pm was the prime time for the “wall.” Helmick said she toured Westwood Village with an SDOT rep who said the 30th/Barton crosswalks would be reinstalled/repainted, as will those at 35th/Henderson, by the library, and 25th/Henderson on the east side of Westwood Village. They also plan crosswalk studies at 25th/Trenton and 29th/Barton. The 26th/Barton RapidRide stop will not get a 3-way stop, she added, but some sort of visibility signage is being evaluated. The bus zone was pushed back as promised, Helmick said, but she thinks it would benefit from a little more distance. Meantime, what if a transit hub were created IN Westwood Village – on the northwest side by the post office? WWRHAH wondered. One attendee brought up the problematic area near McDonald’s on the south side; Helmick said she’s heard that the McDonald’s is going to be remodeled and that will address some of the challenges. She said later that WWRHAH is also wondering if maybe Westwood Village should be included in the pedestrian-retail zone review that is under way at the city level right now.
That’s Jan Hogan, soon to retire from Southwest Branch Library in Westwood (35th/Henderson) after more than a quarter-century! Her library colleague Jane Gibson shared the photo and this note:
Congratulations to Children’s Librarian Jan Hogan on her retirement. Stop by this month and thank Jan for her nearly 26 years of wonderful stories and many happy memories she created at the Southwest Branch Library.
Jane says Jan is leaving in early April.
(1st photo in, from Patricia - thanks!)
2:58 PM: Seattle Fire crews are responding to a report of a car hitting a building in the 9000 block of 25th SW, with a “heavy rescue” response.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
3:02 PM: It’s a car into the front window of Pet Pros at Westwood Village, according to texters and address cross-reference. No injuries reported so far. Thanks to Patricia for the top photo.
3:12 PM: Our crew is there and confirms nobody hurt. The car has already been backed away, though the sidewalk there is blocked off for cleanup (thanks to the person who texted the photo above this line).
(Another photo added: Jessie shared the view from across 25th SW – thanks!)
Police are still talking with people to determine whether this was a case of hitting the wrong pedal, a medical problem, or something else.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
3:33 PM: It’s now a cleanup scene – all that broken glass you see above, for examples. Also lots of onlookers, and at least one TV crew. We’re told the store is closed right now (we’ll check back later). In case you were trying to remember (we were), we looked up the date for a somewhat similar incident at the Westwood post office – May of last year.
Progress toward a safer Westwood “transit hub” was one of the updates at Tuesday night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting.
(WSB photo, December 2013)
BUS UPDATE: WWRHAH chair Amanda Kay Helmick said she’s “pleased they’re listening to us” – “they” meaning some of the agencies that participated in the walking tour of the Westwood Village/Roxhill Park “transit hub” back on December 30th (WSB coverage here). The first progress comes in the area shown in our photo above – 25th SW along the east side of the shopping center, where, Helmick says, she’s been told some layover zones will be moved. The Sound Transit 560, for example, will move further south next month, closer to the southeast corner of Westwood Village, for a little more distance between it and the driveway shown above. But there’s no word of a change yet for the “Wall of Buses” created by layover zones on Barton, alongside Roxhill Park; Metro said it needed a little more time to figure out if there’s anything they can do, Helmick said. But there will be a 70-foot no-parking zone by the crosswalk – “it’s not going to stop the stacking” but it’ll definitely give everyone a little more space, for starters, she said.
Speaking of Roxhill Park, it was the focus of two other items:
Well-drilling, raingarden-digging for overflow-control project about to start in Sunrise Heights, WestwoodJanuary 27, 2014 at 2:02 am | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 3 Comments
Three years after King County announced two very different plans for reducing combined-sewer overflows at two West Seattle pump stations, both projects are about to go into the major construction phase.
And now, the Barton basin project – 91 roadside raingardens on 15 blocks in Sunrise Heights and Westwood – has just had two pre-construction meetings. The project map has been updated, showing construction on eight blocks this year, seven blocks next year, and five more blocks in reserve if needed:
Thursday night brought a scene very different from an early project meeting in the same room a few months after the plan was first unveiled.
Pre-construction meetings, survey for Westwood, Sunrise Heights ‘roadside raingardens’ sewer-overflow-control projectJanuary 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 2 Comments
King County’s next major combined-sewer-overflow-control project, the Barton basin “green stormwater infrastructure” roadside raingardens on 15 streets in Westwood and Sunrise Heights, is close to starting construction. So the county has just announced two pre-construction community meetings:
Join King County at one of two community meetings to prepare the neighborhood for upcoming construction activities. At the meeting, you can:
· Learn more about the construction schedule and sequence of activities
· Meet representatives from the construction contractor, Goodfellow Brothers
· Hear how King County works with neighbors during construction
· Learn about anticipated construction impacts
· Bring the kids! A kids activity table will be set up in the main room both days
Thursday, January 23, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Westside School, 7740 34th Ave SW
Saturday, January 25, 10:00 – 11:30 am, High Point Neighborhood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW
Checking the project website, we also found this online survey for those in the neighborhoods affected.
(WSB photo from December 30th, alongside ‘Wall of Buses’ by Roxhill Park)
Eight days after leading a tour of the Westwood Village “transit hub” and its challenges (WSB coverage here), a followup discussion will be part of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (WWRHAH) meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) night, 6:15 pm at Southwest Branch Library. Here’s the agenda just sent by chair Amanda Kay Helmick:
6:15-6:20: Introductions & Community News:
6:20-6:25: Review Bylaws
6:25-6:35: Infrastructure Committee Update: Update from Committee Leader, Chris Stripinis.
6:35-6:50: Metro & Stakeholders December 30th Walk Update: With Amanda Kay Helmick, and Joe Szilagyi
6:50-7:40: Roxhill Park Updates: Updates on efforts to clean up the park; Rehydrating the bog; lighting; Grants
7:40-7:45: Wrap Up: Breakdown the room; library locks up promptly at 8 pm.
The library is at 35th/Henderson; all are welcome.
Now you see the park, now you don’t: Touring the ‘transit hub’ with Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council leadersDecember 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, Westwood | 15 Comments
Five years ago, when community members lobbied Metro to make sure RapidRide went all the way to Westwood instead of turning around at Fauntleroy, they didn’t envision what’s become a “wall of buses” alongside Roxhill Park. A new community council has since emerged, and park-safety concerns are high on its list. So today, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council leaders took a group of visiting officials on what you might call a wall-to-wall tour.
It started and ended on the east side of Barton, alongside the park. This tour didn’t go into the park – though some of its challenges were well within view:
Liquor stolen from nearby stores – four places stock it in Westwood alone, plus Safeway on the other side of the park – is often consumed nearby, and the bus wall hides it from scrutiny. So WWRHAH suggests other places buses could lay over:
The tour around the outer perimeter of Westwood Village was led by WWRHAH chair Amanda Kay Helmick, above in purple, and secretary Joe Szilagyi, above in gray. Those who came along to see and hear about the situation included not only reps from Metro, but also from King County Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s staff, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s staff, the County Sheriff’s Office – which is responsible for Metro Transit Police – and Seattle Police, Seattle Parks, even state legislator Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (below at left), a frequent transit rider who told his stories of getting around Westwood:
One frequently noted problem, not enough light for people to get around safely at night, including at 25th and Trenton, near the bus holding/bus stop area on the east side of Westwood:
Pedestrian and driver safety is at stake too, with cars exiting onto 25th jutting out to see around the buses and other vehicles there:
At each stop, the WWRHAH leaders offered suggestions, as tour participants took notes. And each area offered its own challenge:
While that stretch along Barton has an official RapidRide area, it was noted that bus passengers also exit much further west along the block, in the layover zone, which is unlit. WWRHAH stressed that they’re not requesting lights for the entire park – but that stretch needs something; our photo below, taken December 4th, shows how dark it can get:
This tour was part of the followup to other exchanges WWRHAH has had with Metro and other agencies that have jurisdiction in the Westwood/Roxhill area; here’s a previous story with a detailed reply to WWRHAH from Metro’s GM Kevin Desmond. The council’s November meeting was centered on park concerns and potential solutions. No specific next steps were announced as this afternoon’s tour ended, but WWRHAH plans to continue pressing for action.
(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
11:14 PM: Big response for a house-fire call in the 9000 block of 21st SW, near Westwood Village (map) – possibly a fire in the basement. More shortly.
11:29 PM UPDATE: Christopher Boffoli is there for WSB and confirms it’s a basement fire – very smoky, he adds. Via radio, we’ve heard firefighters declare it “tapped.” No injuries reported so far.
11:37 PM UPDATE: Update from Christopher – all the residents got out OK; they’re still doing inventory on pets – he says, “They grabbed their dogs but they say a couple of cats are inside.”
5:25 PM: Police are converging on Westwood Village after a report that the Rite-Aid store was held up by a robber who said he had a gun. The only description mentioned in radio communications so far – “Asian male.” While he gave a worker a note that said he had a gun, no gun was seen.
5:40 PM: No updates on that case yet – our crew at Westwood says officers are searching the area as well as talking to workers in the store. **Meantime** – If you are seeing/hearing the Guardian One helicopter in the area – they also are helping with the investigation of another incident not far away, a break-in reported in the 8800 block of 30th SW (map), reported within this past hour, with the resident coming home to discover a break-in and suspecting the burglar(s) might still have been in the house.
5:56 PM: Back to the Rite-Aid robbery – our crew has just talked to police on scene. They will say only that “merchandise” was taken; they do have a more detailed description of the robber – Asian, male, 20s, 5’4″ to 5’6″, wearing a black jacket. Police are continuing to search neighborhoods in the area. To be clear, we have not heard ANY suggestion that these two cases are related – just happened that they were in the same area, and with the helicopter over here, albeit briefly, we needed to mention the burglary too.
9:23 PM: The SPD Blotter post about the holdup contains one new bit of information – confirming the “merchandise” was drugs, stolen from the pharmacy.
‘We are fed up and we need help’: WWRHAH’s letter to Mayor-elect Murray, following Roxhill Park rape reportDecember 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, Westwood | 43 Comments
We talked with police again today about the Roxhill Park rape report that first emerged in a letter sent by Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth International High School principals to their schools’ families, published here Monday afternoon. The Denny student first reported it to a school employee yesterday, saying it happened in the park around 3:30 last Thursday afternoon; police tell us the report then was given to a school-assigned police officer, and the case then was referred to the SPD Sexual Assault Unit, which hoped to have a detective speak with the victim today. With the investigation still at an early stage, no written report is available yet, we’re told. But here’s one thing in writing: The following letter just sent to Mayor-elect Ed Murray from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, making sure he understands the park’s crime crisis and asking what
As chronicled here previously, West Seattle’s newest community council already had been focused on the park and its challenges – and this just stepped it up further. We’ll let you know what response they receive, and will continue to follow up the investigation as well.
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