West Seattle, Washington
More than 30 people came to tonight’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting – a “full house and a full agenda,” as co-chair Carolyn Stauffer put it, starting with the encampment that is technically within HPAC’s coverage area, on a site once proposed for the potential city jail that HPAC fought ferociously three years ago. The 2-part Nickelsville discussion bookended the meeting:
NICKELSVILLE, PART 1: As the meeting began, four people from the encampment, including staffer Scott Morrow, presented an update to HPAC. They recapped its history and its rules, and its quirks – “we have one pet coordinator, which happens to be me,” said Mike Stahl, the longtime WSB Forums member who moved there shortly after Nickelsville returned to West Seattle in May. They hope to have a permanent encampment of about 350 people, they said, and discussed their “small, simple, sturdy structures,” built as possible. They hope to have kitchen, laundry, and office services on site – and they say they’ve been told the City Council will vote in March on whether they can stay permanently (the land is owned by SDOT).
Play equipment has now arrived at the site of the now-demolished former Denny Middle School, as construction of a Seattle Public Schools-owned park/recreation site continues. The district has said it will have no formal name – it’ll be maintained as an extension of nearby Southwest Athletic Complex – but nearby resident Alice Kuder has dubbed it Denny Park, and has been taking photos of the progress, including the ones shared in this report. The site where the main school building stood has been seeded with grass, and some of the new trees detailed in the plan are there too (along with a few of the old ones that have been saved):
If you want to see the site plan, take a look at this June WSB report from a community meeting previewing the project. If you drive along SW Thistle, you can also see the blacktop now in place for tennis courts, and the softball field beyond. The informal field on the ex-school building site may be used for construction of a new elementary school years down the line, the district has said, but there are no official plans so far.
From Terri at Barton St. P-Patch in Westwood (34th/Barton) – news of an event starting at 10 am on Saturday:
We grew several pumpkins in our south border to keep our spirits up during the dusty construction phase of the garden. One pumpkin is approaching 200 lbs and we will be raffling it off at 3 pm. We encourage folks to stop by and see it (photos encouraged). Free delivery within West Seattle to the lucky raffle winner.
We will be carving pumpkins for donations and/or cleaning them to the “carve-ready” state. Many thanks to Tony’s Produce, who provided us a coupon for ten cents off per lb on pumpkins (coupon good Saturday only)
Here’s the flyer, which includes the coupon, and more information.
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(Top L, north of 1st Av. S. Bridge; top R, 1st @ Holgate; below L, I-5 on south end of downtown; below R, 12th headed for bridge to Beacon Hill, where there’s alternate WS Bridge access)
The afternoon commute is under way. Updates to come!
4:22 PM UPDATE: Have been offline for a while – asked for a chance to visit Metro’s Transit Control Center to understand how the rerouting of buses works. They were just making a change in the West Seattle lines’ routing when we stepped in to look and listen for a bit (thanks to Metro’s Linda Thielke for accommodating our request). We also learned – they don’t get any more warning of trains or “trainbuilding” than the general public does. (Added – Ben B sent a photo of the train his Route 54 bus almost got stuck waiting for)
All they can do is see one coming, and a driver that sees one on the horizon can radio in and say “Is it OK if I divert to …” wherever. The TCC is in SODO. Four operators handle communication with up to 1,200 buses. More tidbits to come. Overall status right now seems to be … slow. On the way here an hour ago, we hit a backup on the eastbound bridge by 1st South. Off to rove.
4:32 PM UPDATE: Particularly if you have busing, walking, biking, Water Taxi’ing in your commute home – take note it’s started to rain. Light so far. We’ve been reminded that if 4th or 1st is slow going, try 6th heading south toward the 1st Avenue South Bridge, then cut over to 4th. We’re on 6th now, looks good.
5:01 PM UPDATE: Parked just off Hanford along the detour toward the low bridge, to see how this goes for a while. Train warning lights just came on. Couple buses will be stuck behind it, along with at least one bicycle, and the slow-going cars back on 1st. Wait – the warning lights went off without any train having come along. P.S. That earlier rain shower was isolated. Clearing to the west now, even a hint of sun.
5:06 PM UPDATE: The train showed up – went forward – backed up. Noticing a safety-jacketed officer standing by the tracks too. Now the train goes forward. Anyway, if you’re stuck on 1st South trying to get to the detour – that’s the problem. Two buses are waiting just on Hanford, who knows how many on 1st.
5:09 PM UPDATE: The gates went up – now they’re down again – now they’re up. Is it like this every afternoon? After a minute, open again. There goes the 55 and the 119 (Vashon), almost over the tracks. And … here comes that locomotive, all alone now going backward.
5:17 PM UPDATE: Twice more in less than two minutes, the gates are down again for that train-building. Seems to be pulling tanker cars backward, northbound. *Happened twice again a few minutes later. And at 5:28, there go the 37, 125 and 116. We learned from Metro during our aforementioned Traffic Control Center visit how they are deploying the extra buses, which are paid for with “viaduct mitigation money” from the state – they are under express orders NOT to stay in the yard. Some for example might be seen waiting at strategic spots in West Seattle. When they get word that a certain route is badly delayed, the extra bus might be moved onto the route to start picking up where the other one won’t be getting to any time soon. Also, some buses that are going out of service might be suddenly told they need to go jump in for route xx.
5:34 PM UPDATE: This one is a different train – looks like a fullfledged freight train, hauling the doublestacked containers. The 113 to Shorewood is stuck behind it. Let’s check the other travel routes … High bridge looks better than low bridge, for starters. 4th looks better than 1st. *After 7 minutes, the train has now passed and traffic is moving westward down Hanford again. We’re going to move on … if we can!
5:53 PM UPDATE: The same double-stack train is “train-building” too and just stopped on the tracks for at least five minutes. Elsewhere in downtown, Shari warns via Facebook of “horrible” traffic – “gridlock.” If you’re going to head down 1st or 4th, go for the 1st Avenue South Bridge, don’t even think of the Hanford detour. It’s been train after train after train. Public-service announcement, though – consider turning your engine off while waiting on a train that clearly isn’t close to being clear. Even if you only turn off for a minute, we’ve heard, it helps.
6:04 PM UPDATE: This is interesting. Three buses just made a run for it up to the head of the line and turned left on the frontage road parallel with the trains, southbound. We did learn at the Transit Control Center that they have to make decisions on the fly.
6:20 PM UPDATE: Broke free after another train … and then suddenly the backup was clear, and it was a really fast trip to 1st Avenue South Bridge, off at the turnoff for South Park/Highland Park, up the hill and on toward HQ.
The state Housing Trust Fund is recommending that the Downtown Emergency Service Center get a $500,000 grant for its 75-unit Delridge project to house homeless people living with mental illness. According to online records, that is the full amount that DESC sought from the state. DESC also is seeking city and county funding, and according to the website kept by Delridge Community Forum, which organized a meeting about the project 2 weeks ago, there’s a county meeting tomorrow about funding. That information is here, including who to contact with opinions about the project. DESC planned to complete the purchase of three parcels in the 5400 block of Delridge if it got funding for the project, and has said construction wouldn’t start any sooner than next fall.
From the WSB inbox, two chances to reach out and help – and neither will take much time. First: Natalie Dolci from Hickman House, the Salvation Army’s transitional housing in West Seattle for domestic-violence survivors, says they have a volunteer opportunity coming up:
On December 1st, we have a holiday party for the women and their children. We currently have 10 moms and 18 kids staying with us. We are looking for volunteers who would provide some food and decorations for the party. It seems like a great fit for a group and we welcome creative types who would enjoy set-up and ambience.
We do ask that volunteers maintain the confidentiality of our location and that they not attend the party to respect the privacy of the residents. However, they most certainly will get thank you notes from the kids!
You can contact Natalie at 206-932-5341, x. 104, or Natalie.Dolci@usw.salvationarmy.org.
Second – the latest “E-Flash” from WestSide Baby shows a couple of tables of note – one shows the thousands of people they’ve helped – the other, the thousands of items they need – which is where you might be able to step in:
Check the left side of the WS Baby home page for info on when and where they accept donations.
Story and photo by Bill “Hutch” Hutchison
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
We checked in with owner Donna Lawson, and she tells us she passed her final inspection, so that means she’s open and getting ready for a grand-opening celebration early next month.
As previously reported, her new headquarters will be functioning in two ways – for making custom cakes and cupcakes (special orders), and to sell individual cupcakes daily.
Sharing that link in a comment on our most recent aerial-view-of-demolition report, Lucas called the video “other-worldly.” We’d have to agree, as would the person who shot it, according to the description they used. Lauren e-mailed it to us in a BoingBoing link. As for the demolition itself – latest word from WSDOT is that they’re right on schedule. (But remember, driving life will be different when 99 reopens – so we’ll be covering next Monday’s commute closely too!)
That photo is from our visit to last Sunday’s rehearsal of “The Desperate Hours,” the West Seattle High School Drama Club production that opens tonight. WSHS drama teacher Andrew Finley explains it’s a chance for the cast members to do some serious acting, as it’s a drama about an average family whose world is shattered when escaped convicts break into their home. More info, including the cast lineup, is on this page of the Westside Drama website. Tonight’s showtime is 7:30 pm. Big discount if you make an advance reservation for your ticket -$7, compared to $12 at the door. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-252-8834.
Also from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar:
CITY BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING: Not in West Seattle, but we know West Seattleites who are planning to attend: Got something to say about the city-budget proposal before elected officials start making final decisions? Avoid the Viaductless rush-hour traffic home and go participate in your government. This is your last major chance to speak out in person – the second Seattle City Council budget hearing. Signups at 5 pm, hearing starts at 5:30 pm. City Hall downtown.
TRANSIT MASTER PLAN: This is NOT specifically related to the proposed Metro changes on which we reported last night, but it’s a great place to voice your ideas/concerns about the city’s transit future – in and out of West Seattle. The open house runs 6-8 pm, West Seattle Eagles hall, 4426 California SW (more info here)
PTA MEETING: Sanislo Elementary, 6:30 pm
HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: Highland Park Action Committee meeting, 7 pm, HP Improvement Club at 12th/Holden. Co-chairs Billy and Carolyn Stauffer say, “We’ll be discussing a potpourri of things from Westcrest park, to p-patches, a little more on Emergency Preparedness, and some Nickelsville.”
ATTENTION, POETS AND STORYTELLERS … AND PROSPECTIVE AUDIENCE MEMBERS! Poetry Bridge presents Poems & Tales (4th Wednesday each month) at C&P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 5612 California SW, 7-9 pm. Featured readers for October are Priya Keefe and Rayn Roberts followed by open mic for poets and storytellers. FREE and open to all; beverages available at C&P. For additional information, visit poetrybridge.net.
‘FAMILY MATTERS’ CONTINUES: Family Matters presentations/events at Fauntleroy UCC Church – full list here; tonight, 5 pm presentations on healthy cooking and caring for older adults; two 7 pm presentations, “Parenting is Always Letting Go” and “Talking and Listening to Youth.” 9140 California SW.
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(More cams on the WSB Traffic page; travel times on the city Travelers’ Info map)
Will the “earlier rush hour” trend hold through today too? We’re watching the commute again this morning; let us know how it goes for you. No problems reported in the area right now.
6:02 AM UPDATE: We’re continuing our weeklong traffic-watching collaboration with KING 5; their crew that just drove onto the “high bridge” says it’s a little busier than yesterday at this time. We’re watching the bridge via the new live-video cams linked here (lower right).
6:18 AM UPDATE: Eastbound high bridge is now officially slow going. KING is showing a live chopper shot of both bridges – the low bridge is busy but not as slow. First Water Taxi run just left – 87 people, down from just over 100 each of the first two mornings of the week.
6:31 AM UPDATE: Our Water Taxi crew is diverting over to the 1200 block of Alki Avenue SW, where a water-main break is reported and police have been asked for “traffic control.” Back to the bridges – high bridge slow, low bridge not as busy. KING 5’s crew driving the bridge again reports police are back to enforce the bus lane, as they’ve done the past two mornings.
6:41 AM UPDATE: No “water-main break” – just an outdoor sprinkler malfunction, so there’s some water in the street but NOT a problem. Our crew’s headed back to the Water Taxi dock – by the way, here’s its Viaductless-week schedule – where there’s “only” ONE TV crew this morning.
6:51 AM UPDATE: 107 people on the 6:45 am Water Taxi (that’s down only a few from yesterday). KING crew timed their bridge drive from 35th/Fauntleroy to I-5 – 32 minutes. Probably about the same now, bridges still sluggish (you can check current travel times from the city map too – lower right, near the “live video” links). Low bridge busy too.
7 AM UPDATE: We checked Water Taxi parking. Don Armeni lot only about a quarter full. Street parking still available from parallel with Alki Tavern, westward. High bridge now looks stop-n-go. Commute times we’re getting via Twitter and comments similar to yesterday. KING’s reporter in the Traffic Management Center says the official city overview is about the same. Metro just sent its 7 am update – no problems, but “building traffic volumes” in SODO, which the city is seeing too:
(That’s the newest image from 1st South, looking north; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:17 AM UPDATE: KING’s roving crew is on 1st Avenue South – busy but still moving. Tried the 4th offramp from the bridge lately? Once you get there, of course – high bridge still slow. (added) 7:15 Water Taxi count, 114. Still room for you to give it a try if you’re still mulling commute options.
7:33 AM UPDATE: Don Armeni lot for Water Taxi about 3/4 full (so 20 or so spots left), and there’s still street parking. High bridge still slow – great sunrise, though. No problems or crashes reported anywhere.
7:47 AM UPDATE: Most recent view from KING chopper, looking at both bridges – low is moving a lot faster than high. 1st Avenue South Bridge looks OK, via its WSDOT camera. Looks foggy over the Sound to the west – toward Vashon – of note if you’re a ferry commuter. Has NOT looked foggy over Elliott Bay, though, and in fact, we should get our updated Water Taxi report any time now. … and here it is: 108. So the boat has not “sold out” yet this morning.
7:55 AM UPDATE: And we’ve just passed the magic moment, apparently – like the past two days, the high bridge is starting to empty out. Still brake lights on the eastbound stretch. Which reminds us, the Royal Brougham onramp to northbound 99 is again open till 7 pm, as it’s scheduled to be the next two days, so if you need to go north of downtown and 99 is your usual route, you can still do that, but the surface streets may take you a while to get to 1st/Royal Brougham.
8:05 AM UPDATE: We’re not sure yet if it’s going to cause serious trouble but there’s a medical call on I-5 northbound around Pine – so if you are leaving shortly and headed downtown, that 4th Avenue So. exit from the bridge might be a better choice. We’ll keep an eye on it.
8:23 AM UPDATE: Last Water Taxi report from our crew – 8:15 sailing had 110. High bridge moving along, but do note that downtown I-5 northbound incident is reported by WSDOT to be blocking two lanes, and this I-5 cam shows a jam (not that I-5 is usually anything else at this time of day, in our experience).
8:33 AM UPDATE: Definitely do NOT head for I-5 northbound. Now three lanes blocked through downtown. If you are going to the eastbound bridge, take the 1st or 4th exits, or head for the 1st Avenue South Bridge via Roxbury or Highland Park Way (or West Marginal if you are coming from north West Seattle)
8:57 AM UPDATE: High bridge still backed up, no doubt because of the northbound I-5 incident. We’ll keep the commute updates going till that’s cleared. (added) WSB commenters have been discussing the incident; our fellow neighborhood-news publishers at Capitol Hill Seattle say “person fell” in an area where falling/jumping is not uncommon.
9:09 AM UPDATE: The I-5 incident (a man died after either falling or jumping from overpass) is clear, according to KING via Twitter. Also via Twitter, some bicycling info from WSDOT: “Cool info: 125 cyclists checked in at WSDOT bike checkpoint in WS at Alki trail between 6:45 – 7:15 am! Thx for helping w/ commute!!”
10:20 AM NOTE: Ridership numbers for the Water Taxi are posted. If you add up and compare each of the past three mornings, there was a drop of almost 25% from Monday to Tuesday, but Tuesday to today didn’t lose that much. High-bridge still looks a bit slow, by the way, but moving.
AFTERNOON POSTSCRIPT: The police patrol of the bus lanes yielded fewer violators than the past two mornings – 19 bus-lane tickets today.
Richard Allen Cunningham‘s family shares this tribute:
Richard was a longtime West Seattle resident who attended West Seattle High School in 1954 to 1956, but graduated from Franklin High School in 1957. He worked for the Seattle School District as a licensed custodian from 1965 to 1989 in various schools throughout the city and at Memorial Stadium. In the mid-‘70s he was one of the adult advisers for the Seattle Police Explorers, of which his son and daughter were a part. Richard retired from the School District with a permanent disability in 1989. After his retirement, he did some traveling with his family.
Richard’s health began to decline in ’99 with congestive heart failure, and then stage III kidney disease in ’02, which turned to terminal stage 4 in ’09. In ’09 he was told he had 6 months, but with care from his family and doctors, he managed two years. In that span he was able to do more traveling with his family, which he enjoyed very much. His last good outing was in September for his wife’s birthday; after that he began to decline rapidly. He went back on in-home hospice care, but the decline was so rapid, he had to be admitted to a nursing facility. Richard succumbed to his two-year fight with kidney disease and passed at the Washington Care Center in Rainier Valley Thursday, October 20, 2011. Richard is survived by: wife of 54 years Gerry, son Frank, daughter Lauri, & two best friends Corky and Bess. No service will be held, at his request.
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