West Seattle, Washington
(Monday photo, courtesy of Creighton)
With the uproar today over the city not using salt on roads, after this Times article (which we and sixty-skabillion other sites have linked to in the past 20 hours or so), we asked Rick Sheridan at SDOT if there is an official city statement, just to get their side of the story. Here’s what he e-mailed back:
The City of Seattle has not used salt as its principal de-icer since the mid 1990s. Instead we use a chemical de-icer that is effective, more environmentally friendly and less damaging to vehicles and roads. Salt, when it runs off from roadway surfaces, is harmful to vegetation, waterways and wildlife. Fresh water habitat, which shelters fish such as salmon, is especially impacted. The other significant problem is the corrosive impact of salt on metal and other man-made materials. It corrodes cars, city equipment, roadways, and our many bridges and viaducts. So the use of salt comes with a very heavy price tag.
The City of Seattle uses a de-icer, Geomelt C, that provides similar benefits without all of salt’s problems. It has worked effectively in all of Seattle’s recent winter storms, to include the big storm of 1996. The City of Portland and the Oregon Department of Transportation use the same approach. Our de-icer helped clear primary arterials citywide, such as Fauntleroy Way SW and the West Seattle Bridge, and is now part of our efforts on secondary arterials throughout the city.
On a slightly related note, we also asked for a little more info on this grader, which we didn’t recall hearing about or seeing before today (photo’s from California/Thistle at mid-afternoon):
Here’s its backstory:
The road grader is from SDOT’s vehicle fleet. SDOT purchased it within the last
year for grading projects, and snow and ice removal. It typically serves in the northern part of Seattle on Aurora Avenue, a long straight roadway, and is utilized when we have significant accumulations of snow and ice. Given needs elsewhere in the city, SDOT deployed it to Elliott Avenue, downtown and West Seattle. It is great for straight roads and hills (due to its traction). The grader is one of many vehicles we have working on snow and ice clearing in Seattle.
It was seen today on SW Thistle and SW Holden (both hilly and straight).
WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli sent that photo from the 41st/Edmunds truck nightmare that unfolded within the past hour or so. As we wrote near the end of afternoon coverage, AVOID THAT AREA – “sheet of ice.” Just a block away, at 41st/Alaska, Christopher reports, “Alaska is wet but intersections are a mess of slush and ice.” See for yourself:
If you are just checking in for the first time in a few hours, by the way, you may find some helpful commuting/shopping information in the post/comments we just closed – see it here. One shopping note from e-mail: WSB sponsor Click! Design That Fits is open till 7 tonight in the Admiral District, and tomorrow till about 3.
6:33 PM UPDATE: And there’s news from north West Seattle, from Jackie:
To add to all the other difficulties we’re undergoing, water has been shut off on SW Lander below Admiral (map) since mid-afternoon – there’s a break or some other problem opposite SW Campbell Place. The upside is that the city had to clear at least one car’s width of snow from the road so that the repair trucks could get to the problem area!
And scanner now has word that Edmunds/California eastbound (map) is blocked. Not sure if this is a new problem, or being shut down because of the aforementioned hill woes. Just avoid the area.
6:56 PM UPDATE: Heartening news from Mary at Twilight, re: the followup we published earlier today on their decision to try to turn the art theft (yesterday’s original story here) into something good: A commenter asked when Twilight will be open tomorrow, and she answered quickly, “I will be here 11-3 with jingle bells on! I may try to get here earlier, but call first 933.2444. Thanks for all the support! we filled a box with toys today! We are still collecting for the West Seattle Food Bank too.” Twilight is on SW Alaska just west of Easy Street. Meantime, for those of you awaiting UPS deliveries – a truck just showed up on California south of Thistle (map) a moment ago, so they’re still out there. And if you’d like a look at Admiral/California, RealLowVibe‘s Twitter stream included the link to this recent photo. And shortly afterward – a snowplow appears, in this pic. ** Listening to city crews on the scanner – 42nd/Oregon (map) also “ice-packed.”
7:11 PM UPDATE: From Genesee Hill, Creighton sends word (and picture) of a postal truck’s woes at 49th/Genesee (map): “Poor guy is trying his best to get up the street, after delivering a package about half way up the hill, but his chains aren’t enough. He’s just sliding around. With the help of some generous neighbors they’re about to attempt a push.”
8:08 PM UPDATE: Scott C sends this link to the latest radar animation with the alert: “It’s coming.” And from Christopher, video of the stuck-truck trouble he covered earlier on the back side of Jefferson Square:
Happy ending! (But how about those SPARKS?)
8:27 PM UPDATE: Scanner says there’s a vehicle blocking northbound traffic on Delridge at Orchard. Also, as we just wrote in comments, our request to SDOT for the official city statement on the no-salt controversy (and for some more info on the grader that appeared today) has been answered, and we just published it here.
8:59 PM UPDATE: Update from Creighton on the postal truck on Genesee Hill (see above):
Mini saga over just now: The neighbor’s efforts to push such a large truck uphill proved futile. A USPS tow truck was called in and hooked a cable to the front of the stuck postal truck to spin it 180 degrees downhill. Wondering whose packages didn’t get delivered (albeit with valiant effort!) tonight?
And Ingrid in Sunrise Heights tells the tale of the commute from hell, getting home from downtown:
I arrived at a bus stop at 2nd and Columbia at about 6pm tonight, and there was a woman there who¹d been waiting since 3:30! We watched several full buses go by - apparently, Metro wasn¹t running articulated buses tonight. Several of us ended up waiting at the bar, Contour, and rushing out to find each bus full, only to go back inside. I eventually got a ride from my partner. I had no idea it could be so hard to get home!
9:20 PM UPDATE: Sage K has more on the Delridge/Orchard (intersection by Arco/Home Depot/etc.) problem mentioned above:
“Just came home and there is a gas tanker truck stuck in the northbound lane of Delridge at Orchard. It was attempting to turn into the Shell station there. They are attempting to dig it out and have people directing traffic around it. Don’t know how long it will be there.
9:54 PM UPDATE: The county has updated its list of closures. Newspaper columnists are starting to sound the horn for marching on City Hall; there’s one thing we’re reminded of, reading the comments that follow this P-I column — We haven’t seen much of Hizzoner since things got ugly. Back on Saturday, he led a “briefing” at 5 pm, then another one at 7 pm (without saying much, as we noted toward the start of our Saturday night coverage), and since we are on the media-advisory list, we knew about those, but we haven’t seen anything since. Same thing happened during the days of powerlessness after the December 2006 windstorm — not even an “I feel your pain” type tour. If we were him, we’d have a news conference on the steps of the house that, as Gina pointed out in afternoon comments, is on a street as unplowed as many of ours, and just say, hey, we know you’re ticked off, we’re trying to do better day by day and we’ll figure out what to do better next time. Honesty helps too. /soapbox
10:12 PM UPDATE: And here is yet another example of the problem – another video clip from WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli showing the crazy road conditions in The Junction – West Seattle’s “downtown”:
Listening to the scanner for the nth hour, the drinking-game phrase can now switch from “sheet of ice” to “kids throwing snowballs at cars.” Police somewhere out there being dispatched to just such a call, again.
MIDNIGHT: This thread stays up overnight – like Tuesday, our morning post will open at 4 am, and we’ll be on live-update watch by 5:30-ish. Going to go update the links/open/close post now, since there’s a fair amount of info available about what’s planned Wednesday (as in, today).
12:15 AM UPDATE: The Times has posted the followup to what we’re sure was the smash hit story of their site on Tuesday — the saltlessness shocker — today, why (some) environmentalists say “huh? sand is worse!”
12:33 AM UPDATE: As for Cliff Mass‘s latest post (Tuesday night), he doesn’t seem to know what’s going to happen with the weather today either.
1:10 AM NOTE: Not West Seattle, but — 3 am is when our favorite Christmas website, NORAD Tracks Santa, goes live. If you’re wide awake and looking to get in the holiday mood, you’ll find it here.
The winter storm slammed Seattle right in the middle of what already was a hectic, stressful process: Seattle Public Schools trying to get through a blizzard of hearings related to the plan to close half a dozen or so schools. Some got canceled because of the weather. We checked earlier today with Patti Spencer on the SPS communications team to see if updates were forthcoming – new dates for hearings/meetings, and transcript publication from the Genesee Hill public hearing that DID happen (a week ago tonight) before the storm moved in. She just sent word of:
-The Genesee Hill transcript being added to the district website (read it here)
-The official public hearing for Lowell Elementary (which is of interest to dozens of West Seattle families whose kids go there because it’s the only citywide site for the Accelerated Progress Program), canceled last Thursday, is now set for January 20th.
-Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson‘s presentation from last Wednesday’s School Board meeting also is now online
The district says the cancellations and changes will NOT change the timetable for the closure decisionmaking process — the superintendent’s proposed “final recommendations” are still scheduled to be announced Jan. 6th, the second day of district operations post-winter break. All WSB coverage on the current school-closure/change process is archived here, newest to oldest.
(multimedia encaustic by Cyn Moore, stolen from Twilight yesterday)
That’s how Mary at Twilight Artist Collective in The Junction headed what they just sent as a followup to yesterday’s theft (WSB story here), along with the image above. Here’s the “good thing” part:
What type of person STEALS art?
Think your holidays suck? Imagine the poor soul who had to resort to stealing 4 pieces of Art from Twilight…Imagine not being able to buy your loved one a gift. So we’re hosting a gift drop-off for foster kids at Twilight…Don’t have a toy to drop off? We’ll donate 10% of proceeds from sales today and tomorrow to Treehouse for Kids.
Since 1988, Treehouse has filled the gaps for kids in foster care, providing services that no other agency addresses: money for extra-curricular activities and summer camp, professional educational support services, resources to fully participate in the everyday activities of growing up, clothing and supplies to help them fit in at school. www.treehouse4kids.org
Twilight Artist Collective is a high energy, creative group of artists focused on providing the venue for other local artists to share inspiration, expose people to original ideas through art, and build a sustainable artist community. We are committed to making art a part of our everyday lives, and strive to be the catalyst for a greater collection, exhibition and appreciation of fine art.
In addition to exhibiting throughout the region, the Twilight Artist Collective also operates two stores, one in Pike Place Market and the other in the West Seattle Junction, where they show and sell work from all the artists in the collective. The store offers fine art in a variety of mediums including: paintings, photography, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, clothing and much more. Please visit www.twilightart.net or our store for more information about the collective and our unique art from local artists.
Just out of the WSB inbox from Pigeon Point resident KK:
I just wanted to let you know two of our windows were smashed under the West Seattle Bridge sometime Sunday evening to Monday morning. They stole our ashtray, our chains, the emergency kit, and a bunch of empty cloth bags all in the trunk.
We had moved our car down to the bottom of the hill because we could not drive up and down Andover to get to our house.
I just want to give a warning to NOT park your car at night under the bridge. It is not safe. We had nothing in the car. The items stolen were about $50 at most. It cost almost $500 to fix the windows (and trying to find a place open yesterday was a challenge.)
It was a fabulous Merry Christmas; thank you, thieves/vandals. I hope no one else has to deal with this.
(Monday photo from Alki by David Hutchinson)
Good morning! Thank you again in advance for using the comment section (and/or e-mail, or phone 206-293-6302 when you’re away from computer or handheld) to share road conditions, bus observations, and anything else to help your fellow West Seattleites get around more safely and successfully this morning – regional weather star Cliff Mass warns “(this) morning may be a real problem with perhaps more troublesome conditions than (yesterday) morning in some locations.” As usual, we’ll be sharing info, official advisories, observations, photos, etc. Reminder that our list of infolinks (Metro status list etc.) and open/closed notes can be found here.
5:50 AM UPDATE: From Jim McCabe, at Sea-Tac, in comments: “The airport looks like a gigantic homeless shelter, with people sleeping in every corner.” Metro status list is being updated.
6:05 AM UPDATE: Radio report says there are still some flight cancellations at Sea-Tac; some flights are leaving, but the crowd is still there because there’s not much standby room to get passengers onto flights that have long been fully booked. Meantime, if you missed it at the end of last night’s coverage, here’s the Times story about why the city doesn’t salt roads.
Looking Down Avalon…cars are trying it and making it…many going very slow…many still driving with chains…on the bridge in the distance we see both cars and busses going over Avalon
Still awaiting many of the morning’s “official” updates, such as Seattle Public Utilities‘ official call on whether they’re even going to try pickup today (including potentially some of the Monday homes that were missed yesterday for the 2nd straight Monday; see our story from last night).
6:56 AM UPDATE: Summarizing what people are sharing in the comments section so far – sounds like Metro bus service through/from West Seattle is more reliable this morning, in general. The city has recirculated the overview news release we published yesterday afternoon; one highlight worth mentioning again in case it affects you or someone you know, “Seattle City Light has suspended disconnection notices through January 9, 2009. Any customer needing assistance in making payments on their City Light bill should contact the Call Center as soon as possible to make arrangements. Customers can call (206) 684-3000 Monday – Friday to talk with a representative.” Also – We’re monitoring citywide traffic reports via radio, scanner, and Web, no major problems so far.
7:07 AM UPDATE: JayDee just texted from his bus – “56 at seven (am) running, whew.” More evidence the bus service is doing better. The arterials mentioned so far in comments sound better too; the corner nearest us (California/Thistle) also has the sound of faster driving this morning – going out in a bit for a photo.
7:35 AM UPDATE: Another text from JayDee – 56 still going well but “of course (standing room only) since California.” Another public-service reminder: If you haven’t cleared your storm drains and checked your downspouts – more melting is likely today – it’s an important thing to do. Especially given the likelihood of more stormy weather on the way, one way or another – just noticed that Cliff Mass actually filed a significant update fairly late last night, not only with his thoughts about more snow on the way, but also his opinions on the snow-removal issue. He concludes:
I am no economist…but image if the city had 3x more snowplows and could keep the roads in far better shape. What is that worth? Tomorrow the UW is closing for a second day. Image the cost of that in lost productivity…certainly tens or hundreds of thousands of productivity lost. What about the loss of business to retail? Any reasonable analysis should reveal that better snow removal capabilities would be a extraordinary investment.
8:21 AM UPDATE: Seeing some snow-related items popping up in the West Seattle CL items that you can find on our “More” page any time (first half of the page is regional news coverage mentioning West Seattle or The Viaduct; second half is the latest 50 CL posts tagged West Seattle; both are automated feeds so they’re continuously updated (see ’em here). More reading suggestions – we published a few non-snow stories last night and added to the “amazing snow creations” post, so scroll further down the home page if you get bored!
8:50 AM UPDATE: Radio reports about downtown hills say some are still shut down, like Cherry (very steep near City Hall). Otherwise, traffic volumes are down regionally. Photo traffic’s slow this morning so we have a few more to share from Monday – Creighton sent this one:
And Paul sent this one, an example of bright color amid the white snow and gray sky:
9 AM UPDATE: Report from outside – “it’s trying to snow” and “on the sidewalk, where it’s been cleared, it’s icy, where it hasn’t, it’s packed snow.” The snow that’s trying to fall is VERY light, though. The forecast has a “winter storm watch” in effect starting late tonight. Meantime, word via radio, Greyhound has suspended service for the third straight day.
CLICK AHEAD TO SEE THE REST OF OUR ARCHIVED “AS IT HAPPENED” COVERAGE:Read More
Updated 12:46 am Wednesday – retimestamped again to keep it below the main post – (this list was first created Sunday). We will keep updating as info becomes available:
ROADS AND TRANSIT
WSB Traffic page with city, state, county cams specifically from, or relevant to, WS
Metro bus route cancellation/reroute status
Real-time bus updates (not necessarily for all)
King County Road Alerts
WSDOT cameras and traffic alerts
Washington State Ferries service bulletins
Sound Transit service alerts (buses, Sounder)
CITY PARKS, COMMUNITY CENTERS, POOLS
The latest update is on the Parks Department home page with Wednesday plans
Seattle Public Library system home page (all branches are CLOSED today and Christmas Day)
Both YMCA Facilities Closed
Both YMCA Facilities Closed – Merry Christmas!
Both YMCA Facilities Open at Normal Times
Real-time Twitter updates tagged as storm coverage – from all over the Seattle area!
Live 911 dispatch log (Seattle fire/medic only, NOT police, NOT sheriff/county fire units)
Particular links you’d like to see us add? Open/closed status to report (businesses, organizations, events, whatever)? Please leave a comment and/or e-mail us – firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
Though the recent city budget process ended without money to build the Delridge Skatepark next year – so far – the design process proceeds as promised, and so does the series of public meetings. Last one was in late July (WSB coverage here); the date’s just been set for the next one — January 14, 6 pm, Youngstown Arts Center (across Delridge Way from the future skatepark site). See the official invitation here.
Once again this very-early morning, we’re hearing on the scanner that police are being called out to deal with allegedly rowdy sledders and snowmobilers on Charlestown hill (a few blocks west of California SW). That reminded us that the above photos had come in on Monday with the following beef:
OK, so maybe I am getting a bit older these days but having six 4-wheel ATV’s and a snowmobile tearing up Alki at 11:45 pm is a bit much… Loud and obnoxious, will we have to wait until one of them hits a pole or worse yet a person out enjoying the snow for a walk? I get using one to run up to Safeway or the Met, but does Alki Beach have to turn into an obstacle race course if it snows?
Included are pictures of the result of these folks. Unfortunate result of what should have been another beautiful scene from that master artist in the sky… Instead we have dirt kicked up from the doughnuts and loud racing last and previous nights. I doubt this activity is legal, these folks are going way too fast for my comfort level having my car parked on Alki Ave and friends/neighbors out and about.
Sincerely, Concerned at Alki