day : 31/12/2008 11 results

The latest mysterious case of vanishing pedestrian flags

That’s 13-year-old Liam Etheridge. His dad Mark Etheridge, an Admiral resident, sent the photo with this note:

After seeing how effective the crosswalk flags are at some of the crosswalks in West Seattle, my son Liam and I decided to try and make the very dangerous crosswalk at California Ave SW and SW College St in the Admiral District safer. This is a busy traffic area and also a heavily used pedestrian crossing.

We investigated the local website for pedestrian news, bought the safety flags ourselves, designed a mounting system and bought the hardware.

On Sunday, 12/28, we mounted the holders and installed the flags. Within an hour we watched people using the flags and showing obvious approval of the new addition.

On Monday, 12/29 two of the eight flags were already missing. My son and I had learned from the pedestrian website to expect some attrition of the flags so we weren’t too concerned. By Tuesday, 12/30, all of the flags were gone except for one that we found thrown in the Blockbuster parking lot across the street.

I have to say I expected far better of the West Seattle community. This was supposed to be, among other things, a lesson for my 13 year old son on the benefits of community service. Instead, it became a lesson on the less fortunate aspects of human nature.

Liam and I have resolved to try again with one more stocking of the crossing flags. I cannot afford to continue to buy flags just so a few idiots can steal them and spoil things for the rest of the community.

And what possible use would anyone have for seven small orange flags? Are they practicing semaphore signals at home?

We received Mark’s note this morning; before we could publish it tonight, he sent this followup:

In a strange update to the story, two of the eight flags have returned, and highly decorated. One has a pretty good sketch of a bus almost running a guy down, complete with the “55” on the bus (correct route) and the caption “Don’t be this guy.” The other has a really messy green painted peace sign. Now my son and I are intrigued with what may happen next.

Here’s a map of the intersection in question. The city supplies flags for several crossings in West Seattle (including Yancy/Avalon, California/Dakota, and California/Dawson), and this is now one of several more where flags have been privately supplied by citizens trying to do a good deed.

Fauntleroy Way “rechannelization” decision postponed

(city graphic from 12/1 open house on the Fauntleroy Way proposal)
Another “we’ll decide by 12/31/08” delay: First it was the Alaskan Way Viaduct – now, on a smaller scale, we just got word from SDOT spokesperson Marybeth Turner that the Fauntleroy Way “rechannelization” decision isn’t going to be made by year’s end (as in, tonight) either:

Due to the recent severe weather, SDOT has shifted resources to focus on assessing impacts and clean-up after the storm. Because of this, SDOT is delaying making a final recommendation on the traffic lane configuration on Fauntleroy Way SW until the end of January. We appreciate the community interest in this project and we will send out another notice as soon as a decision has been reached.

Previous coverage includes:
Dec. 14: city posts Q-A on project’s webpage
Dec. 1: city “open house” about the proposal
November 15: In-depth WSB followup with a city engineer
November 13: First word that the restriping was being proposed

WSB video: The mayor’s entire post-storm briefing today

Followup to our report from the mayor’s post-storm briefing this morning: Just in case you wanted to watch for yourself – we uploaded the mayor’s entire 16-minute briefing, in two parts. We were sitting in the front row in the briefing room, and acoustics were decent, so you can hear reporters’ questions clearly, too. While our video just shows him, two other city officials flanked him at the briefing, though neither spoke at the podium – Grace Crunican, director of Seattle Department of Transportation, and Timothy Croll, director of solid waste for Seattle Public Utilities. First part above, 10 minutes long, includes his opening statement plus some questions; second part below, 6 minutes long, continues with questions – click ahead for that and also a bullet-point list recapping what was announced today:Read More

West Seattle snow aftermath: Two notes re: roads and buses

POTHOLES: As reported here, the city has crews out fixing those, and we asked for word of any West Seattle sightings. Brian just e-mailed, “I saw a crew of 3-4 working on fixing potholes on 35th by the fire station around 2 pm this afternoon.”

BUS SCHEDULES: In previous discussions of the challenges Metro and its riders faced during the snow, talk turned to the “partial-holiday schedule” that is in effect for this entire week (except tomorrow, which is a Sunday schedule). We first called attention to it on Christmas Eve after Metro’s Linda Thielke, who had been sending WSB info and answering our questions (as well as dealing with a host of other media outlets), e-mailed to say that she was concerned local riders didn’t fully realize this schedule change was ahead. Subsequently, some have been asking, when was that schedule change decided, and how was it communicated? We sought clarification, and here’s Linda’s reply:

Metro began communicating about the partial holiday schedules for Nov.
28, Dec. 26, Jan. 2 and Jan. 19 in September, when the new timetables came out for Sept 2008-Feb. 2009 service.

We had also identified an additional 8 days in 2009 when we wanted to run that kind of a schedule, if it seemed to work on these first four days. All were identified as historically low-ridership days; and will include the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in 2009. The specific notification about those days will occur when the timetables for those periods are published.

Once the snowstorm began hammering our buses that were on the road, our vehicle maintenance staff said they would be very hard-pressed to run full service this week. They needed time for repairs and backlogged maintenance. We were already scheduled to run Sunday service on Thursday, Jan. 1 and partial holiday on Friday, Jan. 2, so the decision was made early last week to operate partial holiday schedule on Dec. 29, 30, and 31.

Agree it was short notice, and last week most people were more focused on the holidays and the actual snow on the ground than on what their bus would be doing the next week. Here’s what we did to get the word out:

–News release went out Tuesday, Dec. 23 and was also posted on county home page (it was mentioned in PI story on Wednesday, Dec. 24);

–Posted on the Regional Public Information Network (RPIN) on Dec. 23 and sent out via email/text msg to all RPIN subscribers;

–Mentioned as much as possible in live radio/TV interviews Tuesday through Sunday;

–Called out in e-mail to West Seattle Blog at 12:49 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 24;

–Audio announcements made on buses Dec. 26, 27 & 28;

–Rider Alerts posted Dec. 26 at the bus stops most impacted and all the buses;

–Updated information on Metro Online starting Dec. 26 (had to wait to see if we would be past the snow routing by Dec. 29);

–Another news release and phone calls to dailies and broadcast outlets on Sunday, Dec. 28.

We’d suggest that if there is a more helpful way that the information could have been delivered to you as a bus rider, this is probably a great time to suggest it. Here’s the form for sending feedback (the left-side menu on that page includes other options for contacting them); you will also want to let your King County Councilmember, Dow Constantine (who also chairs the Transportation Committee and has participated in earlier comment threads about this), know what you think – his contact info is here.

P.S.: One last county note, not bus-specific (except for the fact that the Customer Information hotline will be out of service because of it): This Friday is the first of 10 “furlough days” that King County government is implementing to help deal with its budget trouble. That means most county offices/facilities will be closed. Here are full details.

Welcoming a new WSB sponsor: Fusion Studio

December 31, 2008 2:27 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle online

With 2009 just hours away, you may have your New Year’s resolution(s) ready to go; for many people, every year, the top of the list tends to involve getting your body moving. Today we welcome a new WSB sponsor who can help you with that: Jackie at Fusion Studio. As with all new WSB sponsors, we offered Jackie the chance to share details about her business – here’s what she wants to share: Flexibility and strength go hand in hand. At Fusion Studio, these principles are tailored to fit each client’s needs. Jackie works with a variety of individuals, with goals such as weight loss, post-rehab, core strengthening, and flexibility. She explains, “My training style is a mixture of resistance and yoga, which I find complement each other. Being in touch with our bodies can be hard work, but it should also be fun. Achieving a balance in our bodies directly translates to our lives.”

Jackie has worked as a Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor for 5 years. At Fusion Studio, she is committed to teaching people how to tap into their inner and outer strengths and push beyond their normal limitations. “Shocking your body in a positive way is how you bring about change,” she says. Jackie has donated her services to fundraising events for ArtsWest and Schmitz Park Elementary as she believes strongly in giving back to the community. Contact Jackie today at 206-257-9640 to set up your FREE fitness assessment. This gives you the opportunity to learn about her training style and see if she can help you with your fitness goals.

WSB welcomes Fusion Studio to our sponsor team, which you’ll find listed on this page along with information on how to become part of it – growing your business while supporting West Seattle’s 24/7 community connection for news, information, and discussion!

West Seattle Crime Watch: Robbery video released

December 31, 2008 1:14 pm
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 |   Crime | West Seattle news | West Seattle video

Last night we mentioned a TV report on photos and video made public from several recent armed robberies at stores in Highland Park, White Center, and South Delridge, as well as South Seattle. Today we have the video and photos so we can share them with you here as well – this is a high-priority series of robberies that law enforcers are working to solve as fast as they can. The video above (which WSB uploaded to YouTube to post here, after receiving the clip directly from Seattle Police) is from the Gas Depot robbery (South Delridge) on December 11th, one of two stickups that night blamed on the same robbers; the other was at the Lucky Seven in White Center. Note how quickly it all happens – in the span of less than 30 seconds. Also believed to be the work of these robbers, about half a dozen other heists including the one five days later at Country Deli in Highland Park. To see a flyer with photos from the two December 11th robberies, go here. If you have any idea who these robbers are, there’s now a CrimeStoppers reward – 800-222-TIPS.

Mayor’s post-storm briefing: Salt policy changing; trash rebates

ORIGINAL 10:57 AM POST: We’re in the mayoral briefing room, 7th floor, City Hall downtown. The mayor promises a post-storm update, starting any time now. The trash-collection maps that have just gone up on easels near the podium are a hint at some of what will be discussed. You may find this on live TV somewhere, as all the stations are here (KOMO does a newscast at 11 am and its crews in particular have been doing more stringent equipment checks). If any stunning revelations emerge, we’ll add updates here – otherwise, stand by for a summary afterward.

11:05 UPDATE: The media packet just handed out pre-briefing says the city’s changing its salt policy and will use it in the future under certain circumstances. It also says “additional private contractors” will be hired for snow removal. They’re also speeding up the sand clearing from city streets.

11:23 AM UPDATE: After about 15 minutes, the mayor ended the briefing even though the questions hadn’t ended – including declining to answer a question about the Alaskan Way Viaduct. One of the last things he said was that those who have missed two weeks of trash pickup (including many in West Seattle who had Monday and Friday pickup dates) will get a rebate. He didn’t say exactly how much – so we are going to try to chase down a Seattle Public Utilities representative to ask for details. One striking thing he did say: The policy for priorities of street-clearing during snowstorms will not change – side streets will be on a “as we can get to them” basis – he reiterated that you have to be able to get to a primary arterial in order to get somewhere.

11:33 AM UPDATE: Just talked to Andy Ryan of SPU, before leaving City Hall – he says the details of that rebate have NOT yet been worked out – we’ll let you know as soon as they are. He also reiterates that if you have Monday-Wednesday pickup and they do NOT get to you by the end of today, be SURE to report it to the city because the special catch-up runs are still happening tomorrow (New Year’s Day) and they will be responding to those “you missed me” reports.

12:09 PM UPDATE: Sorry the “no comment” option was briefly on for this story – sometimes when working via Wi-Fi (as we were, at City Hall) that happens if an update “times out.” Fixed now, commenting is re-enabled. Also adding some of the collateral from the news conference – first, here is a city graphic of how trash collection will unfold over the next few days – click it for the full-size version:

We also are processing our video – look for a separate wrapup post with that – first, here’s the full text of the news release (not linked online so we’re cutting and pasting from what we got in e-mail):Read More

What those West Seattle Bridge “ramp closed” signs are for

We saw them last night, and more than a few WSB’ers e-mailed after seeing them this morning: Lighted signboards at various spots around the West Seattle Bridge saying RAMPS CLOSED 12 AM-8 AM 1/2/09. We just checked with Marybeth Turner at SDOT to get the details: She explains, “Seattle Public Utilities is closing the ramps so they can clean the drains on the bridge. This is important to avoid potential hazards that could occur from ponding.” We’re still seeking more specifics on exactly where the closures will happen, in case you have to use The Bridge during those hours (in the short run, planning to use the low bridge may be your best bet), and will add whatever else we find out. 1:24 PM UPDATE: An official news release has just come out, and it has the specifics:

The Seattle Public Utilities will close many of the on- and
off-ramps on the West Seattle Bridge for drain cleaning, from midnight
on Thursday, January 1, to no later than 8 a.m. on Friday, January 2.

Drivers will still be able to access the bridge eastbound from
Fauntleroy Way SW and Harbor Avenue SW, and westbound from I-5, but
should plan their route considering exits from the bridge that will be

Metro Transit buses and emergency vehicles will be let through closed
ramps, but other drivers are advised to use the low-level Spokane Street

Seattle Public Utility crews will clean the drains on the bridge to
reduce the potential for hazards due to ponding.

Closed on- and off-ramps:

The Delridge Way SW on- ramp
SR99 northbound exit
First Avenue S exit

First Avenue S on-ramp
Harbor Ave SW off- ramp
SR 99 southbound to West Seattle Bridge
Delridge Way SW exit
Avalon Way SW exit
Admiral Way SW exit

West Seattle New Year’s Eve 2008: Some highlights

-The liquor store closes at 8 pm. Closing time is 7 pm at West Seattle Cellars.

-Several West Seattle restaurant/bar parties are listed on the WSB Holidays page, as is the Emerald City Wanderers‘ New Year’s Eve walk through West Seattle – start and finish at your own pace..

-Across the bay, Space Needle fireworks are planned, as usual, unless really bad weather gets in the way. (The day after Thanksgiving, it was too breezy for the downtown fireworks that accompany the lighting of the Macy’s star, so here’s hoping the weather doesn’t get in the way of tonight’s show too – per the TV preview, the Fire Department makes the call. Last year, a computer glitch threw things off a bit.)

West Seattle Weather Watch: The wind finally showed up

Just for the record. The National Weather Service crafted its late-night forecast to say it was expecting the strong wind to start around midnight; we’re just noticing it now, at 2 am. (Reference link which hopefully won’t be needed: Seattle City Light power outages are usually listed here.) 3:02 AM NOTE: 3 am NWS observation at Alki Point – gusting to 43 mph.

More non-weather news: West Seattle real estate/land-use notes

December 31, 2008 12:22 am
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 |   Development | The Kenney | West Seattle news | West Seattle religion

Mostly land use and real estate notes that we want to share now that storm-related news is ebbing:

EASTRIDGE CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLY BUILDING FOR SALE/LEASE: This is a recent appearance on the list of major West Seattle commercial properties on the market: Eastside is offering its Triangle location (39th/Oregon, across from West Seattle Bowl) for $2.6 million, or a $10,000/month lease. Here’s the listing; here’s the flyer.

LOCATION SET FOR KENNEY/4502 42ND DESIGN REVIEW MEETING: In one of our earlier non-snow news items, we mentioned that the Design Review Board meeting for The Kenney‘s redevelopment project and 4502 42nd SW, first set for 12/18 but canceled by snow, has been rescheduled for January 8th. The location’s been set now too — the city couldn’t book any of its usual West Seattle venues and asked if we had suggestions; West Seattle Christian Church (WSB sponsor), barely a block from one of the projects on the agenda, has come through and will be the venue. As mentioned in our earlier coverage, you can preview the presentations that will be given about those projects on 1/8, since they’re both on the city website: The newest proposal for 4502 42nd, which will be reviewed at 6:30 pm, can be seen here; the one for The Kenney, which follows at 8 pm, is here.

ANOTHER DESIGN REVIEW MEETING SET: Also from the city’s “Design Review/Upcoming” page, the next meeting for 2743 California SW (a medical/office building on the narrow site immediately north of PCC) has been set for 8 pm January 22. Here’s our report on the previous review last April; here’s the official project page on the city website.