West Seattle Blog... » Westwood http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 25 Oct 2014 04:39:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Highland Park, Westwood councils meet together to focus on fighting, preventing crime http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/highland-park-westwood-councils-meet-together-to-focus-on-fighting-preventing-crime/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/highland-park-westwood-councils-meet-together-to-focus-on-fighting-preventing-crime/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 04:44:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286802 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.

Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske, who’s working on neighborhood policing plans as part of a citywide initiative, came with information specific to both areas, as well as updates.

He said that police handle 220 calls a week in Highland Park – but they are NOT all crimes, that also includes other ways in which police are asked to help people. The most common type of incident for which police are called in Highland Park: ‘Suspicious people.” Disturbances, traffic violations, crashes follow. The one area to which police are called most often: Walgreens at 15th/Roxbury.

For Westwood’s hot spot, Roxhill Park, incidents for which police have been called have “skyrocketed” since RapidRide launched in 2012, said Capt. Wilske – “in the area of doubling.” But there’s some recent progress – they’ve helped businesses at Westwood Village implement a “criminal trespass” program at Westwood Village, which will soon expand, and there’s been a 25 percent drop in incidents at the park since sending officers in on bicycles to patrol frequently. Getting bicycles for officers to use when possible has been a focus for Capt. Wilske, and he says a quarter of the precinct staff has volunteered to be involved. This allows officers to get into spots they can’t reach with a car, like paths at Roxhill Park. You’ll see even more officers on bikes and on foot starting within a week or so.

He also said that SPD will help with the effort to get grant money to improve Roxhill Park lighting and will evaluate the transit-hub area there with a CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) eye. At that point, Community Police Team Officer Jon Kiehn explained CPTED (as he’s done at many other community meetings, including multiple presentations for the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network).

Neighborhood policing: Capt. Wilske’s been talking about this at community meetings around West Seattle and South Park (which together comprise the Southwest Precinct’s coverage area). The plans being drawn up for local neighborhoods, in consultation with community councils for starters, focus on each neighborhood’s most vexing problems, and how those can be tackled for starters. He’s expecting the program to “top out” at about a dozen plans.

Since property crimes are the biggest concern for West Seattle, with a relatively low number of violent crimes, the precinct is using tools including what Wilske mentioned at Tuesday night’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting – new fingerprinting kits, a database of repeat offenders, tools you can borrow to engrave your driver’s-license number on valuables, etc.

A key point: Precinct leadership is working with community-council leadership on these plans. So if you have concerns to get addressed, funnel it through your nearest council. The areas with plans so far are determined by places that have an organization with which he can check in. “The idea isn’t to exclude anybody, but there has to be enough organization there to know I’m not marching off in the wrong direction,” said Wilske.

He shared more information about the fingerprinting kits: The only ones available to officers now date as far back as the turn of the millennium, so every Southwest Precinct officer will be getting new kits – “if we can get a fingerprint out of a stolen vehicle, out of a burglary, we can get that person charged if we can match it up to them.” One officer has been working with a sort of pilot version of the kit, and she’ll be involved in putting the right components together for her colleagues.

Officer Kiehn and Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon (who is accountable for the Southwest and South Precincts) also presented information. Kiehn talked about some of the online tools that we know WSB’ers are already familiar with –

CPT Officer Kiehn told the group about the online crime maps and how you can sometimes get the narrative on reports via that system (with a significant lag – usually at least a few days – he acknowledged). Tweets by Beat also came up, with the caveat that they show the types of incidents that are suspected, without any way for the automated system to correct it later, even if what was thought to be a certain type of incident didn’t turn out to be anything resembling that. (Side note: The West Seattle Tweets by Beat are aggregated in an automatically updated box you can check any time on the WSB Crime Watch page.)

Crime Prevention Coordinator Solomon mentioned some of what he can help with – including helping neighbors set up Block Watches.

Will the city’s Find It Fix It walks come to West Seattle? The most recent one was on Capitol Hill. No new ones on the drawing board yet, the group was told. But the concept of bringing together city agencies/departments to solve problems together, rather than in their respective silos, is being deployed more and more, said Solomon. You do have to have an initial point of contact – with a chronic problem, for example, that would be your Community Police Team officer. (Here’s the contact info.)

The meeting touched on a few non-crime/police topics:

OTHER NOTES: Programs currently active in West Seattle (and elsewhere) got mentions at the meeting – RainWise (a way to install green-stormwater-infrastructure at your home and get a rebate covering much or all of the cost – HPIC got grants for its raingardens and cisterns), Solarize Southwest (the latest group solar buying), the SDOT Play Streets program (you can apply to close your street for events), and the question of whether the West Seattle Transportation Coalition should take a position on Transportation Benefit District Prop 1 – the Seattle-only license-tab-fee/sales-tax-increase measure on the upcoming fall ballot. … Should that aforementioned Westwood/Highland Park neighborhood plan be updated? WWRHAH chair Amanda Kay Helmick suggested it’s time to “start the conversation.”

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Car mishap brings police, fire, ambulance to Chief Sealth IHS http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/car-mishap-brings-police-fire-ambulance-to-chief-sealth-ihs/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/car-mishap-brings-police-fire-ambulance-to-chief-sealth-ihs/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 22:06:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284714

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.

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Update: Fire at boarded-up house in Westwood http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/fire-callout-in-westwood/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/fire-callout-in-westwood/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:09:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283659

(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.”

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West Seattle day care’s license suspended after baby’s death http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-day-cares-license-suspended-after-babys-death/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-day-cares-license-suspended-after-babys-death/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 02:24:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281290 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.

The Seattle Fire Department told WSB that, when called to 8801 31st SW, a licensed home day care, at 10:37 am this past Monday, medics found a 4-month-old boy undergoing CPR and that it continued as they rushed the baby to Children’s Hospital “in life-threatening condition,” according to spokesperson Kyle Moore.

The county Medical Examiner has not announced the death in its daily media releases, so we don’t know the baby’s name or cause of death.

But DEL confirmed today that there was “a fatality” at the day care on Monday, and that they ordered it to close on Tuesday, its license suspended until further notice, while that fatality was investigated. That’s standard practice, said DEL spokesperson Mark Varadian.

The DEL’s Child Care Check website shows the day care at 8801 31st SW is licensed for up to 12 children. Its online records go back to 2008 and show “no valid complaints” made against the facility.

DEL pointed us to another state agency, Children’s Administration/Child Protective Services, where spokesperson Kathleen Spears said CPS’s Division of Licensed Resources is investigating, but that it is only a “risk assessment” type of investigation at this point: “In some cases when there are no allegations of abuse or neglect, DLR can conduct a risk assessment at the home or facility to ensure other children there are safe and secure. This is the type of investigation DSHS is currently conducting at the day care.”

Spears suggested we contact Seattle Police, whose spokesperson Det. Drew Fowler said, “The Seattle Police Department is investigating this incident. Given the potentially highly sensitive nature of the event, all that we can say is our detectives are working with the King County Medical Examiner to investigate the incident as thoroughly as possible.”

No one we spoke to could give us a timetable for how long the investigation might take. For now, this is all the information we have. We will follow up whenever anything additional is available.

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Photos: Westwood Village Street Fair 2014 http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/happening-now-westwood-village-street-fair-2014/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/happening-now-westwood-village-street-fair-2014/#comments Sat, 14 Jun 2014 22:23:26 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276537

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.

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Westwood Village Street Fair tomorrow: See the schedule http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/westwood-village-street-fair-tomorrow-see-the-schedule/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/westwood-village-street-fair-tomorrow-see-the-schedule/#comments Sat, 14 Jun 2014 03:12:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276466

(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

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Tonight’s calendar highlight: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/tonights-calendar-highlight-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-cc/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/tonights-calendar-highlight-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-cc/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 17:08:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275376 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!

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Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC: ‘Wall of buses’ progress; SPD briefing; more http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-cc-wall-of-buses-progress/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-cc-wall-of-buses-progress/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 03:38:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=269361 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.

SOUTHWEST PRECINCT CAPTAIN STEVE WILSKE: As he’s done at other community meetings, he began with details on his 27-year background with Seattle Police. He’s “been in this job for about six weeks now,” but just started a full-time focus on it after an “extended transition” from his previous roles. He said he now has two weeks to come up with his “summer plan,” and he hopes to incorporate the Mounted Patrol – with which he used to work – because its officers and horses can “go places nobody else can.” Another initiative: He says everyone he’s met has expressed an interest in getting more crime information, so the Southwest Precinct will likely have a pilot program to allow you access to crime info beyond what’s available now.

Helmick brought up the concerns about Roxhill Park. “We’ve been working really closely with SPD; a lot of the stuff we’re seeing is petty – smoking marijuana, drinking, graffiti – but we’ve also seen beatings, stabbings, rapes, so we’re very concerned about that.” Historically, they haven’t seen much foot patrolling in the area, Helmick said, but a walking path could take officers through the park and Westwood Village and all the way to schools – in either direction – especially 2 to 4 pm.

Wilske said he would like to reinvigorate bike patrols. But that would be an occasional visit. Right now, he said, they’re using the Anti-Crime Team “to try to get out ahead” of property crime. He also will be putting in a request for special emphasis officers on Alki. Carol Baker from Seattle Parks asked about the Community Police Team; Capt. Wilske said he’d like to add one more person to the team, since they can focus on issues such as “there’s a problem house out there somewhere.”

Asked if they are short officers, Wilske said as far as he knows the department is not too far behind its authorized total of sworn officers.

Helmick asked what kind of partnership SPD and KCSO could have because of the shared issues, considering that “criminals don’t care what side of the line they’re on – or maybe they do” if there’s an enforcement difference. (She also pointed two members of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council board who were on hand, president Barbara Dobkin and board member Liz Giba.)

Capt. Wilske says the crime analysts do talk, and they look for similar cases – they determined the recent 26th/Roxbury rape/attack was not related to a 2013 case here on the city side of the line.

An attendee said he doesn’t see police cars around much, but if he had a “ticket book, I could write tickets all day long.”

ROXHILL BOG: Following up on WWRHAH’s recent discussion kickoff, Helmick said they’re interested in looking at how Thornton Creek up north was daylighted, linking the Longfellow Creek situation to rehydrating the bog. Next month’s WWRHAH meeting will take a closer look. (See the bog page on the WWRHAH website.)

SEATTLE PARKS UPDATE: Robert Stowers, who noted he grew up in West Seattle and attended Chief Sealth, is accountable for the South Region outdoor parks – “from Montlake Cut (southward) to the city limits.” He was here to pitch the Parks Legacy Plan, which might lead to a vote this summer (possibly on creating a Metropolitan Park District). A public hearing is coming up, 6 pm April 7th. Read more about the plan here; about the hearing, here. A new taxing district isn’t the only option for Parks funding; several others were presented to the City Council in a Monday afternoon meeting – read about them here.

SOLARIZE WASHINGTON: Mia came to speak about Solarize Seattle, whose next campaign will happen in West Seattle, she said. They’ve had five “campaigns” to try to organize a community campaign to buy solar power systems. “The prices are definitely coming down, and we’re getting better at doing outreach,” she said. It’s a project of Northwest SEED, and you can read more about it here. Mia was asked how much a system might cost – $20,000-$40,000 for a home, but then you get a big tax credit. And there are low-interest “zero money down” loans available, she said.

NPSF GRANT APPLICATIONS MOVING AHEAD: Here’s first word on what’s advanced from the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council review of community-proposed projects seeking Neighborhood Park and Street Fund money:

*Roxhill Park improvements
*More features for the crosswalk coming to Delridge outside Boren
*Highland Park pedestrian beacons, 11th/Holden

The proposal docs are linked in our coverage of last month’s DNDC meeting. More reviews are ahead before a decision is in on whether any or all will get city money.


WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: Joe Szilagyi said guests for the WSTC meeting next Tuesday are close to “half the engineering staff of SDOT.” More details at westseattletc.org.

DELRIDGE GROCERY: Helmick reminded folks about the co-op that’s working toward opening a small grocery at Cottage Grove Commons this summer. More info at delridgegrocery.coop.

NEIGHBORHOOD SUMMIT: As noted on WSB earlier in the day, the agenda is out for the summit at Seattle Center this Saturday, April 5th, 9 am-2 pm.

30TH/ROXBURY SIDEWALK FINISHED: An attendee pointed out that this work has just been completed, and everyone should go take a look.

WWRHAH meets on first Tuesdays, 6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson).

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Southwest Library’s Jan Hogan retiring after quarter-century http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/southwest-librarys-jan-hogan-retiring-after-quarter-century/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/southwest-librarys-jan-hogan-retiring-after-quarter-century/#comments Fri, 14 Mar 2014 17:30:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=267662

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.

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Update: Car hits Pet Pros in Westwood Village; no one hurt http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/heavy-rescue-call-in-9000-block-25th-sw/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/heavy-rescue-call-in-9000-block-25th-sw/#comments Sat, 22 Feb 2014 22:58:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=265823

(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.

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Bus progress, bog bureaucracy, and more @ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/bus-progress-bog-bureaucracy-and-more-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-community-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/bus-progress-bog-bureaucracy-and-more-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-community-council/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 09:01:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=263954 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:

ROXHILL PARK BOG: The topic of bringing in enough water to return part of the area (actually a fen) to a wetland was brought back up again – as it’s believed that would also potentially chase out some of the problems. But the logistics are a challenge, including trying to figure out what caused a leak that is depriving it of its water – that would be expensive, even just to get to the point of a plan. Now they are trying to arrange a meeting with Seattle Public Utilities, and say it’s proving to be difficult to arrange. Since it’s not happening at lower levels, it was suggested that Helmick contact the director of SPU and request a meeting. Mat McBride mentioned some SPU hydrologists who live in the area have been doing a study and might be worthwhile to consult, since they were looking for community feedback. Several murmurings of support followed that.

Rory Denovan mentioned this is part of the SPU Strategic Business Plan on which you can comment and that people should use the opportunity to express support for fixing the hydrology of the local creeks such as Longfellow and Fauntleroy – “there are fish in those creeks.” You can take a survey right now to offer your thoughts, and/or go to a public meeting one week from tonight, 6 pm at High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW).

GRANT SUBMITTED: Helmick said they’ve submitted a grant to try to get some lighting, adult exercise equipment, and educational component for Roxhill Park. They’ll hear in the spring whether it’s advancing. They’re seeking $90,000.

PEDESTRIAN RETAIL ZONING: One week after briefing the Morgan Community Association (WSB coverage here), Aly Pennucci of the city Department of Planning and Development came to WWRHAH to talk about the project. This proposed zoning overlay is meant to promote “walkable neighborhood business districts.” Its components would regulate, for example, how parking is accessed – and could lead to further reductions in required offstreet parking. Wider sidewalks, overhead weather protection – those are the types of things that the zoning overlay would require. She explained that the background of the project lay in City Council direction about a year and a half ago to look at dozens of areas around the city, to “create focused nodes … for walkable neighborhood areas.” She noted that there’s not a lot of commercial zoning in this area, and it could over time be developed as multifamily if something isn’t done to encourage business development. But, she added, the study areas are open to comments from residents who might have something to say about certain uses such as drive-throughs or gas stations, should they be needed.

Is this only going to affect new construction? was the first question from an attendee. Answer: Yes. It would require a minimum amount of “floor to area ratio” in the area – which roughly equaled a two-story building, so that the zoning wouldn’t turn out to be something single-story like those drugstore proposals that drew so much controversy. Next question: How will the zoning affect religious facilities/institutions? Answer: They would still be allowed in a pedestrian zone, according to Pennucci. Another question: Would this kind of zoning overlay affect future safety improvements, say, along 35th SW? Pennucci said generally no – they are trying to work closely with SDOT to make sure of that.

Chair Helmick pointed out that the city’s map didn’t even acknowledge the huge commercial area that exists now – Westwood Village. She also reiterated that it would be vital for DPD to work with SDOT. Next question – had the city reached out to property owners? Not specifically, said Pennucci, but they had sent out some general information and are watching to see how the survey comes in. She noted that she doesn’t see many business owners at neighborhood meetings so far. “It’s fine to reach out to us, but if I owned the corner of 35th and Roxbury and was going to redevelop it …” said Pablo Lambinicio.

McBride wondered, “Is this being used to possibly create walkable commercial zones” where they don’t currently exist? Pennucci said she sees it used both ways – “to protect an existing area, like Alaska Junction” and “to promote .. with your future goggles on, while it might not look that way now, the vision for the future is that it becomes one of those.”

Another attendee said, “Decreased parking, I don’t understand, to increase customers … it makes it difficult.” Pennucci said that if an area was dominated by surface parking lots, it could make development more difficult; also, the city wants to promote various types of transportation, including busing and bicycles …

Helmick also pointed out that one of the areas on the map, 16th/Roxbury, could not be appropriately addressed without considering the White Center commercial area on the other side of the city-limit line.

Pennucci concluded by asking that people take the online survey, and also share comments with her by e-mail (her contact info is on the project home page).

ROXBURY SAFETY PROJECT: Infrastructure Committee chair Chris Stripinis had updates including the Roxbury safety project breakthrough, noted here earlier in the day — two meetings are coming up. Those are your chances to go suggest what you want to see, and what you don’t want to see.

35th SW SAFETY: WWRHAH secretary Joe Szilagyi mentioned the safety petition and said it sounds like the city is going to make sure something happens with 35th, this time.

DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOODS DISTRICT COUNCIL: McBride, who chairs this group, said the meetings are open to the public and that this year, they’re going to try to bring in every current City Councilmember, even as the elections switch to districts starting next year.

EVERY OTHER WEEK TRASH? Szilagyi said 62 people responded to a Facebook poll about this proposed change, and a majority were against it. WWRHAH planned to send a note asking for the city to do more outreach before any decisions are made.

WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: Meets next Tuesday, attendees were reminded.

WWRHAH meets the first Tuesday of the month, 6:15 pm at Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson) – watch wwrhah.org for updates.

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Well-drilling, raingarden-digging for overflow-control project about to start in Sunrise Heights, Westwood http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/well-drilling-raingarden-digging-for-overflow-control-project-about-to-start-in-sunrise-heights-westwood/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/well-drilling-raingarden-digging-for-overflow-control-project-about-to-start-in-sunrise-heights-westwood/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 10:02:16 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=262700 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.

The county hosted a pre-construction meeting back in November (WSB coverage here) for the CSO project in the Murray basin, a million-gallon storage tank across the street from Lowman Beach.

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:

We covered the first meeting Thursday night at Westside School (WSB sponsor), which was followed by a Saturday morning session at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.

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.

That meeting (WSB coverage here) filled the room; Thursday night, turnout was sparse. But the time between has featured numerous meetings and other types of outreach. Even this one was explained more as a chance for residents to talk one-on-one with project reps, if they still had questions, than as a big-group event. Nonetheless, those who showed up were given a presentation with “general information about the construction process.”

Project manager Mary Wohleb reminded everyone that the goal was to reduce overflows at the Barton Pump Station to one a year, from the current four. The project area is responsible for 45 percent of the flows to the pump station, so that’s why it was targeted.

She went over the map – same one shown above – recapping that the blue-marked blocks are those set for construction this year, orange-marked blocks for next year, green-marked blocks only if needed. The raingardens are mostly at the south end of blocks, to capture where the water runs during big storms.

Some of what’s been done already and is about to happen:

-15 gas-line services were “adjusted” last summer
*24 trees were transplanted in November. Non-transplantable trees will be taken out in the next few weeks; they promise two trees will be planted for every one removed. (Trees targeted for removal have just been flagged.)
*Deep infiltration wells will be drilled starting in a few weeks, at the end of the 15 blocks involved. This will take several months, until May, and then construction begins, with steps including:

*Protecting existing trees
*Relocating water/sewer lines if needed
*Installing underdrains
*Installing irrigation

That’s just the first month. Then:

*Placing bioretention soil
*Installing landscaping

That’s months two through four, counting plant establishment “so they can function when water is directed to the bioretention swales.” Then they’ll do gutter-flow tests to make sure water flows well through the system. And current midblock catch basins will be “abandoned.”

One person asked how long well-building will take; answer – it’ll take less than a week to build each one.

During construction there will be:

*Parking restrictions on streets
*Traffic revisions with signs and cones to direct cars around project area
*Emergency/local access maintained
*Access for home businesses, mail carriers, waste management (might have to move where you put your containers), delivery trucks
*Pedestrian access at all times

One resident requested early notification, whenever possible. KCWTD’s Kristine Cramer promised there also would be on-site help to direct people around the area. “The real active construction phase is about two months per block,” residents were told, with work hours typically 7 am-5 pm, though that might vary by season “to take advantage of daylight.” And when a block is under construction, they will hear from the project team “a lot,” they were promised. There’s an e-mail list and there’s a project hotline – 206-205-9184, that will be answered around the clock. Every project inquiry will get individual attention.

Then another concern that had surfaced three years ago – maintenance. Wohleb promised that the county has “dedicated funding for ongoing maintenance” and will come out from time to time and will do maintenance as needed.

In the beginning, the county warned, raingardens are “going to look more like soil than plants.” Finally, 3 to 5 years post-construction, it will look shrubby.

At 3-5 years, it will look shrubby.

And by the way, any area homeowners – not just in the raingarden blocks, but anywhere in the Barton basin – can check out voluntary green-stormwater infrastructure via RainWise, the voluntary incentive program to capture roof and yard runoff, offering rebates for installation of cisterns and home raingardens – already more than 20 in the area, and the opportunity for many more.

Shortly after that, the meeting returned to the format with which it had begun – project reps at tables around the room, answering questions one-on-one.

The toplines of what’s next are also in the project’s latest newsletter – downloadable (PDF) here.

And other parts of the area will likely want to pay attention – since other green-stormwater-infrastructure projects are in the early planning stages.

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Pre-construction meetings, survey for Westwood, Sunrise Heights ‘roadside raingardens’ sewer-overflow-control project http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/pre-construction-meetings-survey-for-westwood-sunrise-heights-roadside-raingardens-sewer-overflow-control-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/pre-construction-meetings-survey-for-westwood-sunrise-heights-roadside-raingardens-sewer-overflow-control-project/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 20:37:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=261240

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.

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First community-council meeting of 2014: WWRHAH, tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/first-community-council-meeting-of-2014-wwrhah-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/01/first-community-council-meeting-of-2014-wwrhah-tomorrow/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 04:07:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=261156

(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.

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Now you see the park, now you don’t: Touring the ‘transit hub’ with Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council leaders http://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/now-you-see-the-park-now-you-dont-touring-the-transit-hub-with-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-community-council-leaders/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/now-you-see-the-park-now-you-dont-touring-the-transit-hub-with-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-community-council-leaders/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 06:49:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=260558

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.

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