West Seattle, Washington
(WSB photo from 2010 West Seattle 5K‘s start)
Hang on – here comes summer! Seriously. The events are set and there’s no stopping them, even if you need a sweater. Think bright thoughts – there’s SUN in the forecast already for next Sunday, which has a major doubleheader on tap: The day starts with the scenic West Seattle 5K run/walk on Alki, followed immediately by the annual Seattle Summer Streets event keeping Alki open only for non-motorized forms of transportation till 5 pm.
The West Seattle 5K is now in its third year, created by the West Seattle High School PTSA, with co-sponsors including WSB. Are you registered yet? You have two ways to do it – online till 6 pm this Thursday (May 19th), or in person through Saturday at West Seattle Runner (also a race sponsor as well as a WSB sponsor), 3727 California SW. And if you just can’t help but procrastinate – or change your mind at the last minute – race-day registration starts at 8 am Sunday by Alki Bathhouse.
(P.S. For more on what’s in store during the street party after the race, check the Alki Community Council website.)
With their numerous appearances in local parades – usually including the West Seattle American Legion Post 160 Grand Parade (July 23rd this year!) – the Seattle Chinese Community Girls’ Drill Team is, quite simply, famous. This afternoon, during a welcome break in the rain, they performed at a snug but perfect venue: The new Welcoming the Spring Courtyard at the Seattle Chinese Garden, atop West Seattle’s Puget Ridge on the north end of the South Seattle Community College campus.
For 10 minutes – all shown in our unedited video – they performed their precision routines in their shimmering traditional costumes, in much-closer quarters than the usual parade route provides, yet without missing a beat (of the drum). The drill team’s appearance concluded two hours of performances and demonstrations welcoming the public to the ever-growing Chinese Garden. Other events are planned this spring, as you can see on the garden calendar here, which also lists its regular spring hours, Wednesdays-Sundays (admission is free to Seattle residents). You can also catch up on behind-the-scenes garden happenings here.
From Alki Point, Guy Smith has shared news of wildlife and other sightings. Tonight, he shares the photo above, and the story behind it:
This photo, taken at Alki Point looking toward Restoration Point, shows two of the boats racing in Seattle Yacht Club‘s Tri-Island series race this last Saturday. The near boat, Eye Candy, was skippered by Jim Marta, who relates that this series is one of the most important local series of the year. Saturday’s race, the second of the series, went from Shilshole Bay, around Vashon Island and back to Shilshole; 48 miles in all. The first race was the Protection Island 80 mile race. The third race will be the much shorter Blake Island Race. Jim, who taught at West Seattle High for twenty years (1962-82), thinks that his West Seattle friends might be interested to know that on Saturday his boat won first in class and also first overall for the corrected time in the entire fleet.
Here’s the Seattle Yacht Club calendar;
(Added 1:46 pm, northbound trip through the lane-reduction zone. Note the 35 mph stretch. SB video added below)
Just in from WSDOT – the Alaskan Way Viaduct is now open again, with the new reduced-lane configuration between the West Seattle Bridge and the stadiums. Here’s the official announcement:
Crews reopened the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct ahead of schedule Sunday after completing work to narrow the highway for construction between the West Seattle Bridge and Seattle’s stadiums.
SR 99 reopened at noon, Sunday. During the closure, crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reconfigured the lanes and set up a new construction zone.
The early reopening brings an early start to long-term lane reductions on the south end of the viaduct. This section of SR 99 is now reduced from three lanes in each direction to two. The lane reduction provides crews with enough room to safely continue building the new side-by-side highway that will replace the viaduct between S. Holgate and S. King streets.
“This is a long-term traffic change that will affect drivers as they commute to and through downtown Seattle,” said Ron Paananen, WSDOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement program administrator. “If drivers can adjust their schedules, ride the bus, join a carpool or vanpool, or telecommute, that will help reduce congestion on the viaduct.”
WSDOT South End Projects Director Matt Preedy said drivers should also be prepared for narrower lanes shifted to the east, a 35 mph speed limit and no shoulder through the work zone.
“Drivers can protect themselves, their fellow commuters and workers by slowing down, paying attention and eliminating distractions,” Preedy said.
SR 99 will be a four-lane highway through SODO through at least 2013 and possibly longer, until the central waterfront portion of the viaduct is replaced. Due to the duration of the lane closures, WSDOT, the city of Seattle and King County Metro Transit invested in several road and transit improvements to keep people and goods moving during construction. WSDOT’s investment of $125 million provided for:
* Roadway improvements: Improved SR 519 and built a new Spokane Street Viaduct Fourth Avenue off-ramp.
* Transit investments: Added bus service to and from southwest Seattle and new programs to encourage the use of transit, ridesharing, and teleworking. .
* System reliability: New real-time driver information signs on I-5, SR 99 and other routes to downtown.
* WSDOT Incident Response Team patrols on SR 99 during the morning and evening commutes to clear stalls and collisions faster.
WSDOT traffic engineers expect longer travel times on SR 99 and the West Seattle Bridge during the morning and evening commutes, and before and after events at the stadiums. Drivers can help minimize delays by using transit and by trying an alternate route or an alternative to their normal commute.
We are off to get a look, and will add photos/video soon as we’re back, for those who’ve been wondering what it will look like when they commute via the reduced-lane Viaduct tomorrow. ADDED: Northbound video is atop the story; southbound video here:
Thanks to the Barton Street P-Patch team for sharing photos from Saturday morning’s groundbreaking/volunteer-signup event. They celebrated the placement of a marker for the “web” design chosen for the 34th/Barton garden site after three community meetings, but need one thing to proceed:
We are looking to borrow a sports field marker to mark the P-Patch pathways prior so we can begin sod removal … anyone with a lead on a sports field marker is requested to e-mail construction coordinator Kate Farley at email@example.com. We would like to mark the pathways sometime this upcoming week, weather permitting
The lushly landscaped traffic circle at 39th/Lander (map/Google Street View) lost its young tree to a hit-run driver overnight, according to a note we received from CD (who also provided the photo – thank you!). The tree was a 10-foot-tall coral-bark maple, CD explains, adding, “The vehicle must have been some sort of large truck/pick up truck as the traffic circle is fairly high.” The incident has been reported to police.
Another of the ex-Huling buildings in The Triangle won’t be empty much longer. We first reported in late January that Oregon-based Les Schwab Tires was seeking city permits to open up a West Seattle location at 3801 SW Alaska (map) in The Triangle; now, permits have been issued – for construction, and for its signage.
Note that this project calls for remodeling the existing building at 38th/Alaska, NOT building a new one; also, when we looked at the plans downtown in January, we noted they were NOT proposing to occupy the western part (Fauntleroy corner) of the site, only 38th/Alaska (which also had been an Enterprise rental-car location). When we reported the plan at that time, Les Schwab would not comment beyond confirming it had applied for a permit in West Seattle, but we’ll be checking with them again tomorrow to see if they’re ready to reveal more details now, such as a projected opening date.
Oh, the memories of our rainless Saturday … thanks to Tom Marx for the photo! Forecast says today’s rain will ease up somewhat by tonight. Here’s what’s on the schedule, with a caveat that we can’t guarantee “no rainouts,” since most listings are sent to us days if not weeks in advance, but we’ll update the list if we get word of any cancellations:
TRAFFIC REMINDER – VIADUCT STILL CLOSED: Till tomorrow morning, when it reopens with two lanes each way between the West Seattle Bridge and the stadiums.
ALLEY CLEANUP: North Delridge neighbors continue transforming an alley behind the Delridge Library, (between Delridge Way and 25th Ave SW, stretching from Brandon to Findlay). 10 am to 2 pm. Group photo at noon. Bring tools, bags if you can.
FARMERS’ MARKET: The West Seattle Farmers’ Market is always open on Sundays, rain or shine, 10 am-2 pm, The Junction (44th/Alaska).
GREAT AMERICAN BAKE SALE: Camp Fire group “The Blue Angels” will be hosting their second annual Share Our Strength Great American Bake Sale. This group of 4th graders will be outside Capers in The Junction from 11 am – 3 pm selling great treats rain or shine.
TOOL LIBRARY: Need to borrow something for a rainy-day (or otherwise) project? Have tools to donate from West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day leftovers? The West Seattle Tool Library is open atYoungstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), 1-5 pm.
POKER AT THE HEARTLAND: Free Texas Hold Em’ poker @ Heartland Café, 1:30 and 3:30 on Sundays, winyourwayin.com
SEATTLE CHINESE GARDEN CELEBRATION: Open house at the Seattle Chinese Garden from 3 to 5 pm includes a delegation from Chongqing (Seattle’s sister city). Enjoy lion dancing and Chinese cultural activities. See full story here
FINAL MATINEE: It continues through next Saturday, but this is the final Sunday matinee for “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment …” at ArtsWest (WSB sponsor), 3 pm.
DEPUTY STEVE COX MEMORIAL DEDICATION: In White Center, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council is presenting the dedication of a long-in-the-works memorial to King County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Cox, at the park that bears his name. 3 pm; more information here.
GLEE CLUB: The Glee Club performs “Everything Beautiful Happens at Night” ~Musical Theater Favorites~ at 4 pm at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (7141 California Ave SW). Admission by donation.
RIVER BLESSING: On the 15th of each month, through October 15th, a blessing will be offered to heal the Duwamish River, at Duwamish Waterway Park in South Park, with West Seattleites participating including the organizer, Reiki practitioner Eileen Dey. 7-8 pm, details here.
We received two reports of coyote sightings about one hour and three blocks apart on Saturday morning. Karen in Hansen View reports her neighbor saw a “cat and coyote in a staredown” around 8 am at 36th/Dawson; a resident tried to scare the coyote away “but he didn’t seem to be afraid,” so the resident went on to “follow the cat down the street,” and its owners came out to get it. Then around 9 am, about three blocks north of there, Chris in the 4700 block of 37th SW saw a coyote in his backyard. Time to haul out the “coexisting with coyotes” advice from the state – which also reminds us, this is birth season.