West Seattle, Washington
(Taken from the curb in front of Rite-Aid on California around 8:30 pm)
Starting a new post, about what’s happening tonight but mostly looking ahead to tomorrow. For starters, we just got word that Holy Rosary School will start at 10 am tomorrow. Also, Our Lady of Guadalupe will start at 10:30. More to come.
8:33 PM UPDATE: Just back from downtown. If you haven’t been there since the snow – it’s stunning how little evidence of it can be found there. A few ice crystals on the steps from the parking lot to Town Hall; otherwise, the bone-chilling cold air is all West Seattle seems to have in common with the heart of the city. (Separate report later on the Viaduct forum we went there to cover.) Took a longer way home just to survey some of the main streets – Bridge fine, Admiral hill to California fine, California all the way home, fine in the lanes, iced in the turn lane, and the side streets all look like some variation of this:
That’s the California end of SW Southern (map), which opens wide like a delta of sorts for some reason that probably made sense back when all this was getting graded in the first half of the last century.
9:11 PM UPDATE: Particularly for those who just don’t read comments, we have to share this: Roger looked into possible reasons for aforementioned “delta” – and discovered there was a streetcar route in the area (we’d never heard they went that far up the hill) – here’s the 1941 map he found. Meantime, we also wanted to share our photo of the Thriftway parking lot at the bottom of the hill — a little ice around the parking spaces but the driving lanes are in good shape (unlike at least one business parking lot we passed moments earlier – 7-11 at Erskine/California):
Metro bus riders – The “adverse weather” page notes that it will be updated for Tuesday after 4:30 am.
9:25 PM UPDATE: The new “forecast discussion” just appeared, from the National Weather Service. They suspect two more rounds of snow are en route:
MODIFIED ARCTIC AIR WILL CONTINUE TO FLOW INTO WESTERN WASHINGTON TONIGHT. … A FRONTAL SYSTEM WILL BRING MORE SNOW WEDNESDAY. COLD WEATHER WILL CONTINUE TO GRIP THE REGION ALL WEEK WITH ANOTHER CHANCE OF LOWLAND SNOW OVER THE WEEKEND.
10:12 PM UPDATE: A few more school notes: Hope Lutheran will start at 10:30 am tomorrow. Seattle Lutheran High School will start at 10. On Vashon, everything’s regular schedule except McMurray Middle School, which will start 3 hours late, with a bus meeting “commuter students” on the 10:20 am ferry from Fauntleroy. Kennedy HS (Burien) will start 2 hours late.
10:51 PM UPDATE: No word on Seattle Public Schools, by the way; they announced today’s decision around 4:45 am so may be planning to do the same. We’re watching the SPS home page and schoolreport.org. Don’t forget that if you were supposed to have Monday trash pickup, the city’s going to try again tomorrow, and if that doesn’t work, just bring it back and they’ll let you put out double next Monday.
11:22 PM UPDATE: Seattle Public Schools just posted. 2 hours late. Here’s the full plan:
2 Hours Late. Buses Operate on Snow Routes. No Door-to-Door Service. No Half-Day Kindergarten. No A.M. or P.M. Preschool. No A.M. or P.M. Head Start. No Activity Runs.
A reminder that the district will also be making those new “School Messenger” phone calls again in the morning – so if you already know what you need to know and want to sleep in after staying up late, turn off your ringer!
11:59 PM UPDATE: Sanding/de-icing truck sighting, at California/Thistle – it’s turning around to head back north on California.
After dealing with weather woes, need a drink? These lights in Westwood offer an illuminated cocktail break. It’s in the 8600 block of 32nd SW (map), and neighbor Dave sent it in, saying it’s just part of a display, and describing it as “a large martini glass (Happy New Year) replete with two olives (including pimentos) and a toothpick atop their flat roof garage.” Got great lights, or seen some? E-mail us! (photos welcome too)
(this update covered 1 pm to 7 pm; please go here for the evening updates – thanks!)
(The Olympics, with Blake Island in the foreground, photographed by Jana in Upper Fauntleroy)
After publishing a few other items, it’s time to start the Monday afternoon coverage, looking ahead to the commute back home from work and school. First, an update from Rick Sheridan at SDOT:
Out of 13 SDOT plow/sanding trucks working primary and secondary arterials citywide, we currently have eight trucks focusing on the streets of West Seattle. This emphasis on West Seattle has been ongoing since Sunday. The problem is that we will melt the ice with sand and liquid de-icer, but below freezing temperatures cause a rapid refreeze.
However, SDOT will keep working those arterials streets and will have plow/sanding vehicles standing by at the West Seattle Bridge and Alaskan Way Viaduct for the evening commute.
We mentioned earlier that one of the many treacherously icy non-arterials was SW Myrtle east of (and uphill from) Delridge, by Sanislo Elementary; here’s an update from Sanislo mom Lisa K, who said the street was closed by the time she reached the vicinity:
The principal was out with a few staff members trying to assist in buses turning around on the hill on 21st–not an easy thing to do. Bus drivers are sure earning their $$ today. Classes were about half full when school started, and the front office announced to teachers that two buses were still incoming. I just spoke to the school secretary, and she said that they were told the roads near the school would be sanded, but she hadn’t heard yet if that had actually happened. Even with the sand, it is a steep grade and next to the school there’s little passing room for errors–I don’t know that I’d try it unless things really melt off by afternoon. Those with more winter driving experience may feel more confident than I, however. If you’re fairly sure-footed and don’t have to carry little ones, I’d recommend parking on Delridge and taking the Myrtle stairway. We decided to take that route to school this morning, and although the stairway was a bit icy, it wasn’t terrible if you took your time and had on appropriate footwear (slippy shoes would be a bad idea on your way back down). Certainly easier than trying to negotiate Myrtle or 21st.
School, you’ll recall, started two hours late; we don’t expect to hear till much later tonight what the plan is for tomorrow, and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s announced. (And again, if you are affiliated with a private school, we appreciate getting that info too; we posted this list of all known school changes starting late last night and updating through the morning.)
Samantha from West Seattle Family YMCA (WSB sponsor) just sent this update on their changes:
West Seattle YMCA health & wellness facility will close at 8 pm.
Family Programs will close at 6 pm.
Fauntleroy YMCA health & wellness facility will close at 8 pm.
No evening Kids Corner at Fauntleroy.
Classes at both facilities may or may not run, based on instructor’s ability to get in safely.
Call 206-937-1000 for Fauntleroy specifics, 206-935-6000 for West Seattle specifics.
YMCA Childcare/School-based Programs:
Community Learning Centers will be closed.
Child care at Concord Elementary and Cooper Elementary will close at 3 pm.
Preschool at the West Seattle YMCA will close at 5 pm.
Child care at West Seattle Elementary and Arbor Heights Elementary will close at 6 pm (normal time).
1:31 PM UPDATE: It’s official – this was the coldest December 15 ever; Times says 19 degrees was the low at Sea-Tac, breaking the record of 20 set in 1964. A “special weather statement” is in effect, warning about the continued cold (tonight’s low could be even lower, and snow is still a possibility for Wednesday).
2:20 PM UPDATE: Some potentially helpful links looking ahead to the afternoon/evening commute:
Latest list of bus routes on “adverse weather” reroutes
School changes (though any for tomorrow are not likely to be announced till much later)
King County road alerts
WSDOT trouble spots via Twitter
Washington State Ferries “service bulletins”
Live 911 log for Seattle fire/medic calls
Here’s the latest pic (refresh for updates) from the city camera pointed east on The Bridge:
Other cameras of West Seattle relevance are on our Traffic page.
3:42 PM UPDATE: From Dewey Potter at Seattle Parks:
Because of the icy street conditions on all access points at High Point Community Center, basketball practices are cancelled there for tonight.
Four teams were scheduled to practice tonight. Center staff will call coaches and participants to notify them of the cancellation. High Point staff will work with the coaches to schedule a make-up practice day for each team. For more information, the public can call High Point Community Center Coordinator Brian Judd at 206-684-7422.
And if anybody needs a reminder – Hillary sent this photo from 42nd SW – didn’t say where, but really, there are dozens of places like this:
The city had reported earlier that trash service was postponed today for all of West Seattle; maybe that message didn’t get to all the trucks, because Nathan sent us this photo:
things were not going well for at least one garbage truck trying to negotiate Holly St. near 44th Ave. SW. I took these pictures at 12 PM, looks like the garbage truck must have slid down the slight hill near the intersection of Holly and 44th SW and hit the parked Dodge Neon.
If you missed it this morning, here’s the city announcement again about trash service.
4:29 PM UPDATE: Just got word from Fran Z that Alki Bingo is canceled tonight — no session next week since it’ll be almost Christmas, so that means the next scheduled session is January 5th. (It’s on the WSB West Seattle Events calendar every week.) Fran also reminds those who do a lot of walking, like she does, that the sidewalks are very slick in so many spots, just like those side roads. Meantime, your editor here is about to head downtown for the Viaduct forum – with access along the way, of course, so we can provide commute updates from whatever we see in the other direction; co-publisher Patrick is holding down the fort at HQ for any updates in the meantime. Before the switchover — here’s a photo just in from Bob Bollen at Alki:
5:27 PM UPDATE: Road report from your editor: No problem getting downtown (where the Town Hall Viaduct forum is about to start with a recap of everything that’s gotten the decisionmaking agencies to this point). Route: California from Thistle to Fauntleroy, Fauntleroy to the Bridge. All just great – of course, except for the stub of side street we had to travel first, and we saw many such streets shining with ice as we drove along Fauntleroy and caught glimpses in our peripheral vision. If you have to return to such a street – be very, very, very, very careful. And in fact, a road-closure report is just in from Melissa in Westwood:
SW Barton Place (in between Barton St. and Roxbury St.) is a sheet of ice and was closed this afternoon around 4:00 due to the bad conditions. I have no idea when it’s reopening, but since there are other ways of getting around, I don’t think it will cause too much of a hassle. Be careful!
6:12 PM UPDATE: Starting an evening post shortly (after 6:30 pm, when hopefully most folks are home safely and we switch to looking ahead to tomorrow). First a note – Winter Storm Watch now in effect for late Tuesday night through late Wednesday night; here’s the latest forecast. And one more daytime beauty shot – Vanessa photographed a windsurfer at Alki:
6:36 PM UPDATE: 911 log shows a “motor vehicle accident” at California/Dawson south of The Junction. No other details, but sounds like an extra reason to avoid the area for a while.
By size, within the scope of a big-city system, it was considered a “small” outage – but given that it happened in subfreezing weather, the outage last night in Gatewood/Morgan Junction was huge for hundreds of families. We just talked with Scott Thomsen at Seattle City Light, who explained the cause of the three-hour outage, why it took so long to fix, and why that area seems to be hit by outages frequently: “The area that was affected is served by a 4-kilovolt line – that’s some of the oldest wire in the system – standard (nowadays) is 26 kilovolts.” Scott adds that this is one of some “small pockets” in the city still served by that wire, and what went wrong is that it’s not made to handle the kind of demand placed on it when the temperature went way down and the heat went way up. It took crews a while to figure out the problem: “Ultimately they discovered the relays set up to deliver energy into that area were not set up to handle the increased load demand … as people were keeping their heat on. … So it kept cutting out, and tripping the breaker, and finally went out. They wound up feeding the electricity into that area in a different route to keep it from tripping the breaker, and they will keep that in place for as long as (the cold weather continues).” He says upgrading lines like that is part of the infrastructure investment called for in City Light’s five-year plan, but it’s not cheap – it would require new cable and new transformers – so if you live in that area and are tired of repeated outages, you might want to let the City Council know, since they ultimately hold the purse strings.
**Reminder that tonight, in addition to the Alaskan Way Viaduct public forum tonight at Town Hall (5-7:30 pm), there are two big public hearings tonight at City Hall – the new tree regulations at 5:30 (more info on the City Council home page), proposed rules about guns in parks at 6:30 (more info here, including a link for online comment).
**Two weeks after Prost West Seattle opened its doors, there’s word West Seattle’s next drink-and-food — plus music — place is getting close. Feedback Lounge (between new Beveridge Place Pub and future Zeeks Pizza/ex-Corner Inn in Morgan Junction) has posted new pix and info on its MySpace site, and a hoped-for January opening is mentioned; its liquor-license application also has shown up on the state’s website.
In the four days since first word of the two “scenarios” for Alaskan Way Viaduct Central Waterfront replacement — one, a “couplet” of surface streets; the other, a new single-deck viaduct, 2 side-by-side structures — WSB has brought you comments and commentary from: The two West Seattleites on the Stakeholders Advisory Committee, Vlad Oustimovitch of Gatewood (read his thoughts here) and Pete Spalding of Pigeon Point (read his, here), former West Seattle Herald editor Jack Mayne (read his guest editorial here), and the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. We also asked West Seattle-residing (but entire-city-representing) City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen if he would share his thoughts; here they are:
As a resident of West Seattle I find the viaduct incredibly convenient to travel between home and downtown and to most areas west of I-5. Often, other routes are slower and less direct. For this reason the elevated options are attractive.
However, I believe we have to look at numerous factors as we make a decision we will live with for the next century. For historical context, your readers may recall the decisions made by the city nearly twenty-five years ago to build the high and low level West Seattle bridges were very contentious and controversial. The high level bridge was opposed in large part because it cost more than a low level drawbridge. The high level bridge was selected because it would meet current and future transportation needs.
The low level swing bridge was controversial because it employed a unique technology and replaced a four lane bridge with a two lane bridge which allowed the construction of shoulders, pedestrian and bicycle lanes and a clear shipping channel for future maritime needs. The low level swing bridge was more costly than other options but was selected because it too would meet current and future transportation needs.
Like the West Seattle Bridge decisions, I hope the option selected by the state to replace the viaduct will be one which will best serve the City for many generations and that speed and costs are not the only criteria. For the long term benefit of the City I believe that we need to consider a number of factors. Speed, convenience, number of vehicles served are important but are not the only criteria. We should also consider the environmental and economic benefits and how we can improve conditions on our waterfront to make it more attractive to all of us including visitors and businesses.
The options that I favor are those which would remove the elevated structure and replace it with a combination of surface street and transit improvements without creating highway-like conditions on the waterfront. The options that I would support should meet our needs now and preserve the ability to construct a cut-and-cover or deep bored tunnel if required to meet any need in the future for additional non-stop transportation through the City. We can select an option today that preserves future options which are complimentary to the investment we would make now.
I want Seattle to support our current businesses and successfully compete for international trade and business. I meet with local business leaders and with executives who are traveling to Seattle to explore opportunities. Last week I met with executives of French-owned companies that have major businesses here and who are seeking new opportunities. It was interesting how often the beauty of the setting of our City is mentioned as being attractive to them. On more than one occasion individuals told me how they hope that Seattle does create a great waterfront. Other cities are doing this and I am confident we can too while meeting our transportation needs.
Last reminder, tonight is a major opportunity to voice your opinion “in person” — the public forum at Town Hall downtown, starting at 5 pm (here’s a map/directions to TH).
All WSB Alaskan Way Viaduct coverage is archived here, newest to oldest; project information is at alaskanwayviaduct.org. To read what citywide news sources are reporting about the Viaduct, see the latest links on the WSB “More” page (which also automatically picks up citywide media coverage of West Seattle).
(this post covered 5:12 am to just after noon – afternoon updates are in a newer post; click here to go there)
(latest image from city camera pointing east on The Bridge; refresh for updated image)
(latest image from city camera at Fauntleroy/Alaska, pointing NE; refresh for updated image)
Before the time-stamped updates, our link list:
WSB Traffic page with additional cameras/links relevant to West Seattle commuters
City info on snow/ice routes/procedures (including link to plowed-routes map)
County info on snow/ice routes/procedures (including Metro reroutes)
Metro “adverse weather” service status
King County road alerts
WSDOT trouble spots via Twitter
Washington State Ferries “service bulletins”
Live 911 log for Seattle fire/medic calls
FIRST UPDATE AT 5:12 AM: Seattle Public Schools will start two hours late today, and its buses will be on their “snow routes,” per the district’s website; other area school changes here. More school and commute updates to come – once you get to work (or wherever), please share what your drive was like, so others will know – thanks! More to come. We’re monitoring citywide traffic reports and for starters, the “major routes are OK – side streets are still the problem” overview prevails. (We saw the plow going back along California, south to Thistle and then turning around to head back, again at 2 am.)
5:34 AM UPDATE: From Metro, its overview:
Because there was no significant precipitation overnight, most Metro Transit buses are operating with regular routing Monday morning. But, approximately two dozen routes – mainly in West Seattle, South Seattle, and East Kent – are experiencing problems due to icy side streets. As of 4:30 a.m., only a few were on snow routing. The other routes in those areas are operating with chains, which could slow service.
5:54 AM UPDATE: Metro’s Linda Thielke tells WSB the “adverse weather” info page IS BEING UPDATED NOW so currently has LAST NIGHT’S INFO – here are a few things from this morning: “Right now, the 22 can’t go on California between Morgan and Thistle. The 21 is running a shuttle through Arbor Heights, otherwise on regular routing. The Route 23 is staying off of Highland Parkway. The 37 and 53 are using Erskine Way to avoid 49th.”
6 AM UPDATE, BUS SPECIFICS NOW AVAILABLE: The Metro page IS updated now; it shows the 21, 22, 23, 37, 53 and 128 ALL on “adverse weather routing.”
6:10 AM UPDATE: Monitoring TV reports (as well as radio reports, police/fire/public works frequencies on scanner, websites etc.). The Bridge is OK (see “live” camera at the top of this post), onramps can be dicey (er, icy), it’s reported.
6:30 AM UPDATE: Sanding truck just went by our nearest arterial intersection (California/Thistle) again. We’ll be checking later on an interesting question: Will trash/recycling pick up today? (This is our neighborhood’s pickup day, anyway.) Thanks to everyone who continues to post commute reports in the comment section — some questions, there, too, so if you’ve been out driving, maybe you can help answer them, neighbor to neighbor. Adding to the school info: South Seattle Community College will start at 10 am today.
6:48 AM UPDATE: Wondering about the rest of the week? No more snow expected till Tuesday night and Wednesday – the forecast (for what it’s worth) on Wed. COULD, we say COULD, be ugly – “anywhere from a couple to as much as six inches of new snow for the lowlands” that day, according to the “forecast discussion.” So just in case – today/tonight’s a great time for shopping … Meantime, as commute comments continue to come in beneath this post, Elyse writes, and Scott C said this in e-mail, getting all the way to Everett was no problem – smooth sailing outside WS – 35th to The Bridge is fine.
We see cars driving down Avalon, we see busses driving down Avalon, we see cars driving down Yancy…we see them all going very slowly and cautiously…we hear crunching, even when they are on the black top…so sheets of ice are out there, even though it’s lookin’ better than yesterday…we care about ya…be careful out there…free hot chocolate, coffee, and mochas at Stor-More Self Storage today from 9-6 for all our brave neighbors.
7:29 AM UPDATE: Metro has added another route to its table of buses on “adverse weather” routes – NOT a West Seattle bus (it’s the 123) but nonetheless we want to make sure you’re getting the latest regional info in case you transfer – this is the newest screengrab (*removed because it’s outdated – see 11 am hour for latest one)
8:02 AM UPDATE: Another school change: Westside School is starting at 9:30 am. No major road problems reported so far. We’re going out for a pic of our intersection now that it’s light, just to see what several overnight deicings/sandings have done.
8:19 AM UPDATE: The Olympics are gorgeous pink and snow-frosted (finally). The sidewalks, death-defying. Just took a short walk outside WSB HQ for these views and nearly fell despite all efforts at safely. First one is looking north on California from Thistle – both looking well-sanded/de-iced; second, though, is what Mona would call an Icy Side Street of Death – SW Sullivan, a block south of Thistle:
8:35 AM UPDATE: Just got a note from Sharonn Meeks; in the Fairmount neighborhood, steep 37th is closed from Providence Mount St. Vincent north to SW Alaska:
8:58 AM UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle for letting us know that Holy Rosary School has now changed its status – instead of a delay, it’s closed for today. (Website confirms.)
COVERAGE CONTINUED TILL NOON – TO SEE THE REST OF IT, CLICK AHEAD:Read More
(NOTE: This is just a school-info list; please add morning-commute reports/questions, schools included, to this newer post – thanks!)
Here’s what we know as of 9:01 am (updated), regarding weather-related changes for Monday, for West Seattle schools (and a few nearby):
AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Seattle Public Schools: Starting 2 hours late, with buses on snow routes
–The SPS home page
Highline Public Schools: Starting 2 hours late, with limited bus service
Vashon public schools: 2 hours late
AREA PRIVATE SCHOOLS:
Holy Rosary School, 9 AM UPDATE – CLOSED FOR THE DAY
Our Lady of Guadalupe School, 10:30 am start
Hope Lutheran School, 10:30 am start
Seattle Lutheran High School, 11 am start
Explorer West Middle School (office recording at 1 am said check back after 6:30 am)
Shorewood Christian School CLOSED
Holy Family School, 10 am start
Kennedy High School, 10:30 am start
Tilden School, open
Westside School, 9:30 am start
West Seattle Montessori School, on-time start
SOUTH SEATTLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE (main campus in West Seattle): Starting at 10 am
If you need to find the website or phone number for any other schools, try our Schools page. Any school that wants to add change/closure info here is welcome to e-mail us at email@example.com or call 206/293-6302.
Just got word of this and wanted to share the link: Cooper Elementary‘s community has put up a website to get the information out about their fight to keep the school “program” from being closed, as is now listed as a “potential final recommendation” as Seattle Public Schools tries to find a new home for Pathfinder K-8. The site is at cooperschoolworks.com, and among other info, it lists the next round of meetings this week – district public hearing at Genesee Hill tomorrow night, School Board meeting Wednesday, and a meeting at Cooper on Thursday, with more content promised. It also links to the Cooper “fact sheet” we told you about last Wednesday. (On the “closure info” page at the official Cooper Elementary website, by the way, you can now read a handwritten letter by a student in Cooper’s autism program.)