day : 12/09/2011 12 results

Bicycle safety: Citywide concerns, and a West Seattle crash

(Thursday photos courtesy Gary Long)
Tonight, our partners at the Seattle Times look at bicycling-safety concerns, in the wake of two recent deaths in Seattle. Their story says the Cascade Bicycle Club plans a media briefing on Wednesday to call for safety improvements. Here in West Seattle, a bike crash last Thursday led a witness to make a similar call. It happened at noontime in the 5900 block of Beach Drive, along the rutted, cracked stretch just north of the slide zone that is caught up in a legal fight. Gary Long e-mailed photos to WSB along with the following letter, cc’ing both SDOT director Peter Hahn and Seattle City Council president Richard Conlin:

West Seattle continues to experience hazardous road, bicycle and pedestrian conditions. Here are photos of a bicyclist accident on an extremely hazardous stretch of Beach DR SW.

The City has had request of residents and other users to repair street and sidewalk hazards and has not responded except to a patch here and a patch there. Look at the pictures and count the public costs of this accident with police, fire and private emergency responders. Then count the medical bills of the woman whose bike tire caught in the extremely uneven roadway and threw her off balance.

Wouldn’t Seattle do better if it truly cared about the public safety of its citizens to find some money to repair the road and sidewalks? Both are dangerous in this section and SDOT apparently has no recorded inspection activity over those past ten years. At least the SDOT claims to have no records of such activity.

In the meantime, what kind of logic is there in designating an unsafe roadway as a bicycle facility? Is this just to have more miles to list on Seattle’s brochures? Or is Seattle serious about creating alternative transportation choices that are safe? If you look at the pictures and the conditions of the roadway you will see why this accident happened.

No one should use this stretch of Beach DR. SW (even though it serves the neighborhood as a commute alternative into downtown) and believe they are safe. The sidewalks are unsafe in many places as well as the street. Shared bike lanes designated on Beach DR are completely unsafe as a bicyclist must weave along the roadway to avoid an accident just like the one that occurred (Thursday).

Ask the City of Seattle to take responsibility for creating safe streets, bikeways and pedestrian facilities.

Official information about this particular crash and the victim’s condition is scant. Since the 911 log indicates a Seattle Fire Department crew responded, we asked SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore what he could tell us; he says their records show only that they were called to help a woman in her 40s with “unknown injuries.” No SFD aid car/medic unit was called, so if she went to the hospital, it was by some other means of transport. Meantime, we have an inquiry out to Gary to see if he has received any reply from the city since cc’ing them on this four days ago.

P.S. There is no easily accessible database to track bicycle-related injuries in the city, since calls like this go out as an “aid response” or “medic response” rather than “bike crash,” but a search of our archives (and the rest of the Web) indicate West Seattle hasn’t had a deadly bicycle crash since the two that happened in 2006. A crash in Eastern Washington earlier this year killed a bicyclist from West Seattle, Sally Eustis.

Delridge homeless-housing proposal: Neighborhood advocates tour two DESC buildings

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s proposal for a 75-unit Delridge building to house mentally ill homeless people is still in an early stage, though three months have elapsed since it first came to light.

It’s not a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” Far from it. Delridge neighborhood advocates are planning a town-hall-style meeting for next month, with more discussion of and information about the 5444 Delridge Way project, and this past weekend, a small group toured DESC’s two newest buildings to try to get more of a feeling for what might be headed their way.

They have Department of Neighborhoods assistance in trying to bring the community more information about the proposed project, as part of a small matching-funds grant, and so district coordinators Yun Pitre and Steve Louie were along for the tour, in a city van that set out for a three-hour tour that turned into four on Saturday.

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Happening now: Dog-swimming fundraiser in Arbor Heights

After the first mostly gray day in some time, the sun came out just in time for the first day of the “Dog Days of Summer” fundraiser at Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club – as explained here last week, the AH pool is closed to people for the year, so they’re opening it to dogs only, for a special session daily through Saturday, as a fundraiser for the water-polo team. Tonight’s session is on till 7; we were there in the early going, and a half-dozen or so dogs already were having a blast dogpaddling and ball-chasing around the pool.

AHSTC is at 11003 31st SW; tomorrow’s session also runs 5-7 pm.

Double the speed limit by Roxhill, & other speeding reports

The latest Seattle Police Aggressive Drivers Response Team report includes not only speeding citations from the West Seattle Bridge but also two West Seattle school zones – including 42 mph in the 20 zone by Roxhill Elementary – and a far-south stretch of 1st Avenue South. Details on SPD Blotter.

Pet, youth-talent contests set for Holy Rosary’s WestFest

Holy Rosary School‘s annual WestFest this Friday and Saturday will be the kickoff to a huge West Seattle weekend. This afternoon, we have the final entertainment lineup from WestFest organizers – featuring a pet contest and youth-talent contest, plus local acts including the West Seattle Big Band. Here’s the overall list of festival activities; the entertainment details are after the jump:Read More

Mobile Chowdown in West Seattle: Full food-truck list out

We’ve been telling you since July about the Mobile Chowdown food-truck festival in The Junction on Sunday, October 2nd – less than 3 weeks away. Today, organizers have gone public with the full truck lineup (about half were listed in this earlier report), plus word that the hours will be 11 am-5 pm. Read on!Read More

Happening now: Community-center budget proposal unveiled; big changes for SW Community Center

(POST-BRIEFING TOPLINES, 2:56 pm: Here’s the map showing which community centers are proposed for which level of service, citywide. Just added our video of the entire briefing, at bottom of this story, as well as the answer to the Neighborhood Service Center/SW Community Center question.)

11:59 AM: We’re at High Point Community Center, where Mayor McGinn, City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams are unveiling the proposal for how next year’s city budget will deal with community centers. We’ve just received the news release – a key component:

The preferred operating model would consist of five geographically based service areas, each with five community centers staffed by a team. Within each area, the centers would provide varying levels of service and each team would be led by a Senior Recreation Coordinator. This model preserves services to the greatest extent possible by keeping the centers open with varying levels of service.

Specifics on West Seattle community centers: High Point is proposed for “Level 1” service. Delridge and Hiawatha, “Level 2a,” Alki “Level 2b,” and Southwest, a “special-purpose facility.” Details are promised online at any moment now – still looking.

12:04 PM: News conference has begun. Williams is recapping “how we got here.” He says they took into account age and size of community centers, among other factors, in deciding which would deliver which level of service. “It’s a more tailored delivery model that doesn’t treat every center the same. … This proposal represents a fundamental shift in how we have operated our community centers.” Documents indicate more than 100 hours of service will be cut citywide, 1,095 next year compared to 1,214 this year (which in turn was down about 100 hours from the year before.)

12:08 PM: Now, the mayor speaks. He notes the revenue drop in the city budget, saying the gap will only get larger in the next few weeks, “so we have to continuously look for efficiencies and ways to save money.” Both he and Williams have said this moves away from a “cookie-cutter” way to operate community centers. The mayor says this will save the city more than $1.2 million. He goes over the geographic areas (mentioned above), saying each geographic area will have at least one community center with a “high level of service” – that’s High Point, in West Seattle. (The northwest and southeast sectors each will have two.) “This change came about because of budget pressures, but we do think we will have a more responsive, flexible and tailored system … than in the past,” McGinn says. According to the docs handed out here, a Level 1 community center will be open 70 hours a week, a 2a center (Delridge and Hiawatha) 45 hours a week, a 2b center (Alki) 25 hours a week.

12:15 PM: Councilmember Bagshaw is speaking now. She notes that Parks has taken a “disproportionate hit” in recent years, budget-wise. She is recapping the community consultation process that preceded this announcement. She says she had a two-fold expectation: Keep all 25 community centers open; make sure decisions were “community-driven.” She says that what is being proposed today is a “starting point … that could change.” If communities feel that they need more hours, they will have a chance to speak up, she promises (she stresses that twice.)

12:21 PM: Bill Keller of the Associated Recreation Council speaks next – these councils have taken a major role in operations at the centers that were dramatically cut last time around, including Alki. According to the docs given to the media here, of the city’s projected savings in these changes, almost $450,000 would come from ARC covering some of what the city pays for now. He says this year has been a “partnership experiment … and we learned a lot. We learned we couldn’t run those sites without Parks leadership. We had the doors open, we had programs running, but it wasn’t as good as it should have been.” So, he says, they made some changes this past July – the ARC contributed $234,000 in all to those five centers (including Alki).

12:25 PM: Big changes for Southwest Community Center, in the document. It will become exclusively a Teen Life Center downstairs; upstairs will become a Neighborhood Service Center operated by the Department of Neighborhoods. We’ll be asking in the Q/A whether that means the Delridge NSC will close (the Junction NSC closed earlier this year). Southwest Pool, the docs say, “will continue to operate as it does currently.” Now, Jim Cunningham from ARC is speaking.

12:32 PM: Q/A now. We ask our Southwest Neighborhood Service Center question – nobody here has the answer but the mayor’s staff will get back to us. Parks Sup’t Williams says community meetings will be held early next year (after the budget is finalized) to discuss specifics of what the community wants at each center.

12:35 PM: Thanks to Amy at, who says the documents we’ve had in hard copy for half an hour are now available online – go here. As the Q/A continues, in response to a question, Councilmember Bagshaw stresses again that the community’s desire for how a center should be run will shape it. We asked, watching how Alki dealt with being a “limited use” center this year, with a heavy burden on its Advisory Council, if more centers’ councils would face that sort of task; Keller from ARC says that while each limited-use center’s council was tasked with its own financial burden last year, this year, they will all contribute together, and the ARC’s share of costs – that $445,000+ share – will come from one big pot. Responding to another question, Williams notes that all centers will have some level of drop-in use.

12:47 PM: The news conference is wrapping up. One High Point community member notes that program cost is an issue for her family. Williams responds by pointing out that the Parks Department “has a scholarship program” and points her that way. The mayor, in closing remarks, says that community members talking to each other will be the most important conversations in shaping this “…with the budget situation that we face.” Again, the full documentation on all this – with various documents (looks like PDFs) showing who’s affected where – are online now, here.

2:56 PM: Here’s our video of the 45-minute briefing in its entirety (we’ll substitute the Seattle Channel‘s version when it’s available, as its audio is bound to be clearer):

Note that the first City Council discussion of this proposal is set for 9 am this Thursday (September 15th) before the Parks Committee, which Councilmember Bagshaw chairs. Here’s the agenda. Meantime, Aaron Pickus from Mayor McGinn’s communications team has just answered our question about the SW Community Center’s big changes: “The Delridge Neighborhood Service Center would move to the Southwest Community Center as part of this proposal.”

Red Cup Espresso collecting donations for injured barista

(Atop the counter @ Red Cup; WSB photo, added Monday afternoon)
From Tricia at Red Cup Espresso in The Junction:

Red Cup will be accepting donations in support of one of our original baristas. Alex Paulsen Rice, who was in a bicycle accident last Thursday, shattered his clavicle and right shoulder, and is unable to work and pay bills. We would like to match every dollar donated from 9-12-11 to 9-17-11. We will have a donation box inside the shop on our counter as well as a card for friends and customers to sign.

West Seattle scene: 9/11 anniversary, the morning after

September 12, 2011 10:56 am
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 |   Alki Statue of Liberty | West Seattle history | West Seattle news

They arranged for last night’s vigil to happen at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza (here’s our as-it-happened coverage) – and this morning, Southwest Seattle Historical Society/Log House Museum volunteers are literally picking up after it. While the flowers will remain, they’re collecting unretrieved keepsakes/tributes, as the museum is keeping an ongoing collection (including John Loftus‘s 9/11/01 photos) regarding the statue’s role as a touchstone in 9/11 mourning and memorializing. (Regular museum hours are Thursdays-Sundays, noon-4 pm, by the way, if you haven’t been lately.)

West Seattle Community Orchestras: New year, new additions

Last year, what was originally Westside Symphonette metamorphosed into West Seattle Community Orchestras. This year, the community instrumental-music organization is on the brink of a new season, with word of more changes/additions. If you’re a musician (youth or adult), now is the time to join WSCO – registration is open, and rehearsals start one week from tomorrow. Read on for the full announcement with details:Read More

West Seattle Monday: Stockbox; dog dips; NDNC; more

That’s not just a portable, that’s the Stockbox Grocers mini-mini-market, expected to open today, after a couple days’ extra preparation. It’s one of today’s highlights, from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar and other announcements.

STOCKBOX OPENING: From Carrie at Stockbox, just announced by e-mail:

Pending our final permit inspection this morning, Stockbox Grocers will open for business this afternoon at 2 pm! Stop by anytime to check out the store or to make a purchase: we are based in the parking lot of the WestHaven Apartments at 2201 SW Holden. The store is in the parking lot off of the 24th at SW Holden and our hours are:
Monday-Friday 2 pm to 8 pm
Saturday-Sunday 8 am to 8 pm
We have had an exciting week setting up the store and meeting many of our new neighbors. The visitors that we have had continue to comment on how much variety we were able to fit into the store – so I hope that we can surprise you too! We have a mix of inventory including produce, milk, frozen pizza, cleaning supplies, polenta, beans, cereal, baking supplies, chips and snacks, soup, ice cream, eggs, and more!

Also today/tonight:

SAVE IT FOR A GRAINY DAY: West Seattle Cooking Club meets. Today’s theme: Bring something cooked with grains. 2 pm, Beveridge Place Pub.

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER: First of six days for canine swimming sessions – dogs only, pool is closed for people until next year! – at Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club, fundraiser for water-polo team, 5-7 pm, details here.

NORTH DELRIDGE MEETING: Monthly North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting, 6:30 pm. Dragonfly Pavilion at 28th/Dakota (weather permitting – otherwise, Delridge Library), including development updates and a look ahead to Saturday’s Delridge Day festival.

FREE TAI CHI: Weekly “Foundations of a Tai Chi Lifestyle” class, 7 pm, outdoors on the Plaza (Commons Park Amphitheater) or indoors when wet at Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW). Questions? Contact:

West Seattle traffic alert: Lane blocked on Glenn Way

September 12, 2011 7:43 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

Thanks to Holly for the tip: If you drive Glenn Way between Oregon and Genesee (map) on the west edge of The Junction, note that a downed utility line is blocking one lane. No outage or crash listed online, so we don’t know the cause, but she says that despite warning cones, a few vehicles already have driven right over it. Nothing else unusual reported so far this morning, in WS or outbound (another reminder, we’ve recently added a few more cams to the WSB Traffic page).