West Seattle, Washington
If you’re concerned about the prospect of pay-station parking in The Junction, you missed a chance tonight to talk with the people running the review that will determine whether it happens or not. Junction Neighborhood Organization president Erica Karlovits got the reps from SDOT’s Community Parking Program — which recently decreed pay stations for Fremont, despite community opposition — to come to tonight’s JuNO meeting, and that constituted part of the review’s “kickoff.” Read on for more on what else is next, and when:Read More
This week we’re sharing news of baseball signups — first West Seattle Little League (here’s our Monday mention), tonight West Seattle Association of Pee Wee Baseball. President Eric Olson tells us it’s the largest baseball league in West Seattle, with more than 350 kids ages 5-10, who live in neighborhoods from Admiral on the north all the way to Sea-Tac Airport in the South. Teams are named after their sponsors, like the 2008 Mustang Division champs, Tom’s Automotive, coached by Manny Flores:
Eric shares the league’s goals: “The objectives of the WSAPWB shall be to firmly implant in the boys and girls of the community the ideals of good sportsmanship, honesty, loyalty, courage, and reverence so that they may be finer, stronger and happier children and will grow to be good, clean, healthy men and women. The objectives will be achieved through providing supervised, competitive baseball and softball games. The supervisors shall keep in mind that the attainment of exceptional athletic skill and the winning of games is secondary to the above objectives and that the molding of future men and women is of prime importance.” WSAPB traces its history back more than half a century; read about it here. And yet, starting this year, they’re offering the most modern of conveniences — online registration! You can sign up (and even pay your registration fee) right now, at westseattlepeewee.com.
If you’re in the area of 40th SW and SW 102nd in Arbor Heights (map), that video shows what all the police presence late today was about — officers, with a search warrant, forcibly entering a house where they say a major marijuana-growing operation is based. Through an open door, we could see some of the plants that police believe may number in the hundreds:
Police say there have been claims that it’s raised for medical-marijuana purposes, but the situation has caused neighborhood trouble – police say they have responded repeatedly to burglaries at the house. They seized some plants that were in evidence when they responded to a recent burglary call, but needed a warrant to go in and look for more. No one was home when they went in. We’ll be checking tomorrow on what happens next and whether anyone will be charged in connection with what was found in the raid.
Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Officer Kevin McDaniel and Lt. Steve Paulsen (center) stopped by SafeFutures Youth Center (6335 35th SW) this afternoon for a visit that provided a reminder, police work is about preventing crime as well as fighting it: They brought a check for $500 donated by Seattle Police employees, in what’s become an annual presentation to SafeFutures (whose staff, pictured with the SPD duo, include, from left, case manager Ron Howell, executive director Sorya Svy, program coordinators John Leapai and Tony Rivisto). Here’s Lt. Paulsen officially making the presentation to Sorya Svy:
SafeFutures has been at the 35th SW location for a dozen years, and also has smaller satellite branches in White Center and Rainier Beach. Right now, they’re serving 350 area young people every year, focusing on those “who are at risk of juvenile justice involvement, gang involvement, and/or academic failure.” Their services include community-service projects, homework assistance, leadership development, employment services, bilingual and multicultural counseling, and crisis intervention. You can find out more about SafeFutures online at www.sfyc.net (and if you’d like to help them help local kids, this page on that site explains what you can do).
First – Seattle Public Utilities sends word that it’s replacing 80 feet of an 8-inch sewer mainline pipe that collapsed above Alki, on 53rd SW between Hobart and Halleck SW (map). It’s just mailed notifications to nearby residents. Service won’t be interrupted to people who live nearby – a temporary bypass line is going in right now – but in addition to replacing the line, SPU also will replace a stairway. The work is expected to last till the end of January, and SPU says it may involve some weekend work. Why did the pipe collapse? Here’s the reply from SPU’s Marnie McGrath: “This is a vitrified clay pipe that was built in 1922. Due to the age of the material, there was a crack in the joint that was made greater by the stormy weather. A void formed in the soil between the stair and the pipe below it, and the pipe and stair collapsed.”
Second – another update on the major gas-line replacement work that’s been under way in Westwood and Fauntleroy, installing almost two miles of this plastic piping to replace aging metal:
(WSB photo from November 2008)
When we last spoke with Puget Sound Energy for this November followup, spokesperson Christina VerHeul expected they would be done by the end of December. As everyone who drives in the area knows, that didn’t happen. VerHeul called us today after reading a recent WSB comment asking what was up; she says the snow and ice set them back, and now they’re expecting to be done by mid-February — with the actual gas-line replacement work finished within the next two weeks or so, and road restoration work, “with a much smaller crew,” taking two to three weeks beyond that.
Thanks to MJ for posting the link to that video in comments on our first report from today’s official announcement that a “deep-bored” tunnel will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s “mile in the middle” Central Waterfront section. We’ll be adding more video to this report but the clip doesn’t seem to have gotten much play yet, so we’re posting it here and will be adding to this as we go, including West Seattle reaction from the announcement event. ADDED 2 PM: Our clip of the governor’s opening remarks – including the first quip, which drew laughter:
ADDED 2:47 PM: Among the many people on hand for the announcement were West Seattle’s two Stakeholders Advisory Committee members, Pete Spalding – with whom we’ll be talking later – and Vlad Oustimovitch, who spoke with WSB afterward. We asked if, when the committee meetings began last year, he could have imagined it would turn out this way:
ADDED 3:02 PM: And one more clip (pardon the surrounding din, this was right after the briefing broke up and the room was jammed) – we asked County Council Chair Dow Constantine whether he thinks the state might find a way to keep the existing Viaduct open till the tunnel is done, even though the governor had said she wants the AWV down in 2012, and now the timeline for tunnel completion is 2015:
Here’s a few other notes: Many are discussing the logistics of how the tunnel will connect to the rest of Highway 99. Remember, there are other AWV projects already under way – including the utility-relocation project that started last fall, and the South End Replacement work that starts this year. That part of the project takes down 40 percent of the existing AWV and is to be done in two years; read all about it here. It includes the new on- and off-ramps “near South King Street” that were scheduled to become the new downtown-access points under most alternatives. Meant to complement that is the forthcoming widening of the Spokane Street Viaduct (the West Seattle Bridge stretch between 99 and I-5) that will include a new 4th Avenue offramp, which transportation planners hope will handle more of the downtown-bound traffic.
On Sunday night, we previewed the week ahead – and tonight’s the big one, with five major meetings: The “scoping meeting” for the proposed West Seattle jail site, Brockey Center at SSCC, 6:30 pm; the community meeting re: Cooper Elementary “program closure,” Cooper Library, 7 pm; Junction Neighborhood Organization meets with transit and parking updates on the agenda, Ginomai, 6:30 pm; the Fauntleroy Community Association meets at The Hall at Fauntleroy at 7 pm; also at 7, the Admiral Neighborhood Association meets at Admiral Church.
With income-tax time looming around the corner, we welcome our newest sponsor, the accounting firm of Jackson, Morgan & Hunt. Longtime West Seattle residents Jim Jackson and Chuck Morgan have been serving local clients for decades, and recently welcomed Scott Hunt as the newest partner to the firm. Jackson, Morgan & Hunt serves the accounting needs of business, individual, and estate clients, with an emphasis on meeting the specific needs of owners of closely held businesses and their families. The firm offers a full range of accounting, tax planning, and advisory services to help clients reach their financial goals.
The firm has community roots and business experience in West Seattle dating back more than 25 years. Scott, Jim and Chuck pride themselves on providing top-notch accounting expertise in a friendly neighborhood setting. Please feel free to drop by their office at 4123 California Ave SW (between Genesee and Dakota Streets, just one block north of the Post Office; map) or call 206-932-1314 to schedule a consultation to discuss your personal or business accounting needs. WSB welcomes Jackson, Morgan & Hunt to the sponsor team, viewable in its entirety on this page, along with info on our booming traffic and how to take advantage of it to grow your business too!
(Monday night video view of the western half of the high rise, with the most burned-out bulbs)
Update on the dangerous problem so many have been asking about, numerous burned-out streetlights on The Bridge: Word of the Wednesday work comes from Seattle City Light via City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s office: They’ll “replace bulbs” on the high bridge this Wednesday, using three crews to minimize how much time they’ll have to spend on The Bridge. They’re still working on a timetable for replacing burned-out lights on the Spokane Street Viaduct section.
(briefing is over – coverage below, posted as it happened)
We’re on the fourth floor of the World Trade Center West, across the street from Bell Street Pier. The Stakeholders Advisory Committee members were briefed on the tunnel plan a bit earlier; right now, before the governor, county executive, mayor, and port CEO make the official announcement, it’s something of a party atmosphere, with officials of the various governments mingling with committee members, media, and others:
Outside, along Alaskan Way (not far from the TV trucks) – a handful of pro-elevated, anti-tunnel demonstrators with “No Big Dig” signs.
From the official news release: This is a $4.24 billion plan, which “includes investment in improved bus service, east-west city streets, a new seawall, relocated utilities, and an upgraded waterfront.” The state’s commitment remains $2.8 billion. The city, the release says, will spend $930 million to “replace the central seawall and construct a waterfront promenade, relocate utilities, build a streetcar on First Avenue, and improve east-west streets.” The county “will seek new motor vehicle excise tax authorization from the legislature to fund more than $190 million in transit capital and $15 million annually in operating expenses.” The release adds that the Seattle Port Commission will be asked “to consider a $300 million investment in the replacement of the south mile of the viaduct and a new east-west connection to the container terminals.” Federal funding also is involved. Timeline: Construction to start in 2011, tunnel to be open in 2015. We will add more details as they’re announced during the briefing.
8:46 AM UPDATE: The governor is in the middle of the announcement. She says “This is not a solution for tomorrow, this is a solution for the next hundred years.” She also makes it clear, this is not the same tunnel that went before voters — “this is a new solution.” She says, now is the time to make a decision. No additional details so far beyond what we wrote above. She opened by quipping, “My mother always said good things come to those who wait,” although she later went on to insist that the viaduct project is still on schedule.
8:51 AM UPDATE: Mayor Nickels is speaking now. He says, “The package announced today is a victory” — a victory for the people of the city, county, and state. He also calls it a compromise, and says he had hoped there could have been a solution that would not have required the building of a “new traffic corridor,” but says that turned out not to be possible. The mayor says the 1st Avenue streetcar will go from Pioneer Square to Queen Anne Hill. And he says federal and state help will be pursued “in upholding our end of the bargain.”
8:59 AM UPDATE: County Executive Ron Sims speaks next. He calls this a “very good” proposal and says he is happy that it’s a four-lane solution and not a six-lane one. He is now thanking West Seattle’s County Councilmember — now Council Chair — Dow Constantine for his role in the process. (Photo added later – Constantine and others, mostly Seattle councilmembers, to the right of the podium as the executives’ speeches continued)
Sims says that he, the governor, and mayor had a long and candid conversation in early December. He says that this could increase transit service by 25 percent – one million new service hours. (He has repeated that number many times.)
9:05 AM UPDATE: The three executives have just ceremonially signed an agreement. Photo in a moment. Now the governor is taking questions.
9:09 AM UPDATE: KOMO’s Bryan Johnson says an initiative is to be filed by some opponents of this project and asks what a delay would do to the project. The mayor answers: It would cost millions of dollars a month. He and the governor say “people have the right to voice their opinions” but she says “I will be very disappointed … if we delay this project … Because that viaduct, in my opinion, personally, is not safe, and needs to come down … We are on schedule now and I don’t want to delay it.” She also says, “This is not the same tunnel (people voted against).” And she says Boston’s Big Dig problem was trying to “move the world” to build a tunnel. “We’re going to keep the world in place,” she says. The governor was then asked if the viaduct still will come down in 2012; she says “we’re looking at whether … we leave the viaduct up with restrictions on it (beyond 2012) … One of the virtues of this idea is the lack of disruption to businesses on the waterfront … That’s one of the clear goals that led us to this decision – do not force those businesses on the waterfront out of business.” She says they have “not reached a final conclusion” on when the viaduct will come down.
9:15 AM UPDATE: In response to questions about whether this is the right decision, the basic theme is that the viaduct could come down any time soon — we are overdue for an earthquake. “We are not interested in nature making that decision for us … End this debate. It’s time for this to end. Let’s just move forward,” says county executive Sims. “It’s not going to be easy, it wasn’t easy getting here,” says the governor. “We now turn to the legislature and ask them for help … They must make the appropriation … for moving forward. If we don’t come together and move forward, will we look at ourselves like Minneapolis and ask, where were we, why couldn’t we move forward, and forge the political will to get something done. The day has come, the time is now, let’s go get it done, the people of the state of Washington and their families deserve it.” With a huge round of applause from the onlookers filling the room, that concludes the briefing – the governor says she has to get to Olympia for the legislative session. We will be circulating for reaction; more later.
9:27 AM UPDATE: OK, one more update before we leave the briefing – just talked to County Council Chair Constantine, who says it’s up to state engineers whether they determine the viaduct safe enough to leave up while this is built, but he’s definitely concerned about West Seattleites’ mobility. We also talked about the motor-vehicle tax that is mentioned as the county’s contribution to raise money for more transit – a 1% excise tax, which means that every $10,000 your car is worth, it will cost you $100 a year. The County Council will have to approve it, and he says that it’s always tough to vote for a tax, but that there is a “crying need” for more transit service around the county.
11:08 AM UPDATE: Back at HQ now and will post a followup later with video, more graphics, reaction – First, though, another way in which this might cost you: Heard state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond talking live with KIRO radio’s Dave Ross as we drove back. She told him that while the state is committed to $2.8 billion, it only has $2.4 billion of that locked down, and the $400 million gap might come from a toll – $2 or less. What happens next all depends on what goes on in the Legislature, so whether you’re for the tunnel or against it, you might consider letting your legislators know how you feel: State Senator Joe McDermott, Rep. Eileen Cody, Rep. Sharon Nelson.
11:34 AM UPDATE: The Alaskan Way Viaduct website is updated with more information – you can follow links from this page, including the map that shows where the tunnel is supposed to start and end, and how it’s supposed to reconnect near Aurora, on the north end. The map also mentions the Delridge RapidRide bus service that will be added as part of the plan, which also was mentioned by stakeholders’ committee member Vlad Oustimovitch of Gatewood; our post-announcement interview with him will be in the followup.
Next week, Washington State Ferries comes to Fauntleroy (1/21; details) for a public hearing on its draft long-range plan, which includes some potentially dramatic changes for the terminal and the route it serves. Hearings are happening in other ferry communities, too, such as Southworth last night —here’s what the Kitsap Sun reports.
(December photo courtesy Austin)
Finally finished watching video of the entire Metro snowstorm debrief at Monday’s King County Council meeting (which happened concurrent to the City Council snowstorm debrief that we watched in real time). Since we covered what Metro boss Kevin Desmond told Seattle councilmembers last week, our summary here will just focus on additional information revealed at this briefing.Read More
The imagery available online before and during last week’s Southwest Design Review Board meeting for The Kenney‘s redevelopment project (WSB coverage here) didn’t include everything shown onscreen at that meeting. Now (thanks to Cindi Barker for the heads-up) the complete “packet” is on the city website; that includes the rendering for Alternative B (above), which board members considered most promising. It also includes comparison renderings of views from neighborhoods and Gatewood Elementary, with and without the new buildings proposed for the site.