West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Rechannelization (aka a “road diet”) for the mile of SW Roxbury between 17th and 35th SW (map) is a big part of what SDOT is proposing to do, to fix what it acknowledges are “horrible” conditions for everyone from drivers to pedestrians:
Other proposals and plans for the road, between Olson and 35th, have just been revealed too – a mix of paving, painting, signage, and signals.
It was all unveiled by SDOT’s neighborhood traffic liaison Jim Curtin (who also happens to live in the area) in a meeting tonight at Southwest Library, with more than 20 neighbors in attendance, including leaders of neighborhood groups that campaigned for the city to finally get something done. (See the full slide deck here.)
As Curtin prefaced, SW Roxbury from Olson to 35th is a very busy road, a “principal arterial,” with 13,000 cars a day on average at 35th, almost twice that (25,000) at Olson Place SW. Speed studies show that most drivers are going at least five mph over the speed limit, Curtin said, adding that alongside Roxhill Elementary, 85 percent of vehicles are going more than 11 mph over the 30 mph limit, and, as he pointed out, speed is the number one factor in crashes – of which there have been 223 in the past three years, with 112 people hurt. The eastern section is more crash-prone than the western section. 11 crashes involved vehicles and pedestrians; two involved vehicles and bicycles.
Long-term proposals unveiled, under design right now into early 2015, with the “final determination” to be made before year’s end, and work to be done next year:
They’ll look at the corridor in three sections, he said, western, then White Center, then eastern. For the western segment, the most dramatic proposal:
*Rechannelization between 17th SW and 35th SW, one lane each way, middle lane for turns, shared bus lane with a potential new bus-layover zone near Roxhill Elementary, signage improvements, spot pavement repairs, but no “bike facilities” yet. He says that stats show that rechannelization works well on streets carrying fewer than 25,000 vehicles per day – and as noted above, that defines this stretch (16,000 at the most along the rechannelization-proposed segment). As if on cue, an attendee said, “This is the same thing that was successful on Fauntleroy, right?” and Curtin had a slide ready for that:
It showed 31 percent fewer collisions on Fauntleroy Way after that change five years ago, while it carries a bit more than the 17,600 vehicles a day that it did before the rechannelization. Travel times are unchanged, from four more seconds to 1.2 minutes; “top-end speeders” are down 13 percent.
Curtin says this will make for a better pedestrian situation, eliminates the “multiple threat” collision danger, so more crosswalks might result. Right and left turns will be safer too, he says. He also points out a five-foot buffer planned for each side of the road – and acknowledges that could be the future bike-lane space, after a question from an attendee.
Why can’t this stretch through the White Center area at 15th-17th? he was asked. Travel times there would go up “to unacceptable levels,” Curtin says they found out, through an analysis. But they do plan pavement repair between 17th and 18th, plus “new curb ramps and accessible pedestrian signals at 17th,” as well as signage improvements (like the ones now up at Fauntleroy/California, warning that turning vehicles need to stop for pedestrians and bicycles). “We’re going to go out there and take care of business,” Curtin declared. And yes, he told an attendee who asked, they are in communication with the county (SDOT is actually responsible for Roxbury up until the curb on the county side of the road, even though the boundary technically goes through the middle). A “crosswalk design” might be possible at that spot, Curtin suggests – not part of the formal plan but “if anyone’s interested in talking about it … we can partner up and make it happen.”
The parking alongside Roxbury right by downtown White Center will not be affected by this – business owners “fought really hard to keep it,” Curtin notes. In addition, the parking has NOT been a factor in any crashes, he said.
Now, for the eastern section of Roxbury:
7:21 PM: If you’re not already among the hundreds of people on the east lawn at Hiawatha Community Center – there’s still time to get there for the Caspar Babypants concert that’s happening tonight in the second Summer Concerts at Hiawatha show, until about 8 pm. Thanks to Jason Grotelueschen for the photo – we’ll have more photos/video to add later.
8:37 PM: As promised, video! More photos ahead.
(UPDATED mid-evening with video of SFD briefing, aftermath photo, SPD infolink)
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
4:01 PM: Firefighters are just arriving at a home in the 7300 block of 16th SW (map), and say they are seeing flames. They’re blocking 16th at the fire scene. More to come.
4:09 PM: Though it’s not confirmed arson, witnesses are reported to have told police/firefighters they saw fireworks thrown toward the house before the fire – the initial description was broadcast as three “Hispanic-looking” teens/young adults, all dressed in different colors of gray, with backpacks. We’ll be asking authorities at the scene about that. Meantime, firefighters continue arriving.
4:18 PM: Added the first photo from our crew at the scene. No flames visible now but lots of smoke. (Added:) Police tape is now up:
4:31 PM: A neighbor tells WSB they heard a loud “bang”-type noise and were calling 911 when they saw the smoke. Meantime, police and firefighters have moved us further back from the scene than usual – not because of the fire, which seems to be mostly out, but because of the investigation. So far, no word of injuries – or arrests. Meantime, per scanner, the descriptions have changed/evolved – so what was mentioned earlier may no longer be accurate; they’re continuing to search (if you see anyone/anything suspicious, please call 911).
4:50 PM: Though the firefighting is wrapping up, 16th SW is still closed in the Webster-Othello vicinity. The incident commander confirms no one was hurt, but damage is extensive; the official investigation into its cause continues. Also note, Route 128 is rerouting as a result of the closure. (Added: Also Route 125.)
6:18 PM: This is now confirmed as an arson investigation, and we’re now told 1 person suffered a burn injury. (Added: Our video of SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore‘s early-evening briefing at the scene:)
6:56 PM: Here’s what SPD Blotter has to say about the investigation.
Also – 16th SW has just reopened, which means bus routes are back to normal.
Sounders FC midfielders Aaron Long and Aaron Kovar were there to record a public-service announcement about the need for diapers – which will be highlighted in a diaper drive at their August 10th home game against the Houston Dynamo. (That’s WS Baby executive director Nancy Woodland toward the right in the photo above.) While at WS Baby HQ today, the Sounders reps also joined local Safeway reps in sorting thousands of diapers donated at Safeway stores during the recent Stuff the Bus drive:
And of course the athletes obliged a few autograph requests:
Today’s gathering included reps from other companies that supported Stuff the Bus, such as HomeStreet Bank (WSB sponsor). That meant group-photo time:
You don’t have to wait for the next Stuff the Bus drive to donate diapers (or time, or money) to WestSide Baby – here’s how to help.
A memorial service is planned this Saturday morning (August 2nd) for longtime West Seattleite Betty Broughton, who died Monday at age 85. Her family shares this remembrance:
Betty Lee Marks Broughton was born on February 18, 1929 in Missoula, Montana to Cleve and Ora Marks.
Her early childhood was spent on a 10,000-acre working family ranch in Townsend, Montana where both of her parents were born. She attended first grade at a mining camp in York, Montana where her father found work. She has two younger brothers, James and Michael, who were also born in Montana.
After the mine closed, the family moved to Helena, Montana where her father went to work for the Social Security Dept. In 1941, when she was 12 years old, the family moved to Seattle where her father went to work at Todd Shipyards building boats for the US Navy during WWII. She attended 7th grade at Beacon Hill Grade School and when the High Point Housing Projects were completed for the WWII industrial workers, her family moved there. Every day she walked to the Cooper School where she attended eighth grade. It was there she developed several lifelong friendships with her classmates, who still gather every Wednesday for dinner at the Chelan Cafe in West Seattle.
When her father’s next job took him to Everett, she stayed with Harold and Pearl Broughton, who lived a block from West Seattle High School, where she attended 9th grade until she graduated in 1947. After school and on Saturdays, she took the bus downtown for her part-time job at Frederick & Nelson, and gave the money she made to her host family. After graduation, she married Harold and Pearl’s son, Charles “Bud” Broughton, who had also graduated from West Seattle High School. In 1949, they bought their home on 47th Avenue where she raised her four children who graduated from WSHS: Tim in ‘66, Mary in ‘69, Joyce in ‘70, and LeeAnn in ‘72.
(WSB photo, July 13th)
Ever since the closure of Admiralty House Antiques one year ago, the fate and future of 2141 California SW has been a subject of much interest. Two weeks ago, the 1920s-built brick building came out from under wraps after months of remodeling/renovation. And that’s brought in more questions about what’s going in. Today – new information, courtesy of this for-lease listing. The listing declares that an “experienced restaurant operator” is being sought for the larger of the two spaces into which it was divided. Peeking into the listing, the accompanying flyer shows Prospect Mortgage moving into the smaller space.
Even if you haven’t seen them, you’ve probably heard them over the past two hours – today is the day the Blue Angels have two rounds of practice for the upcoming Seafair airshow. Kory Love at Alki Lumber shares the photo of the lumberyard’s flag and a Blue Angel flyby. We also received this link from Kevin Freitas, who photographed the practice from West Seattle. The I-90 bridge is scheduled to reopen again shortly while the Blue Angels take a break, and then close again 1:15 to 2:40 pm for more airshow practice.
Please be on the lookout for these two stolen vehicles reported by WSB readers, and call 911 if you see either:
STOLEN CAR: From Thad, “… my 91 Blue Honda Civic 4-Door was stolen last night between 10 pm and 5 am from around 34th and Trenton st. It has been reported to SPD.”
STOLEN MOTORCYCLE: Justin just let us know about a motorcycle stolen from the Link Apartments garage (38th/Alaska) in The Triangle two weeks ago, “silver 2003 Harley Davidson V-Rod motorcycle, MN plate, license #88-686MD,” July 14 or 15th, when, he says, the garage door at the building was broken and stuck open overnight. Police have a report on this too.
Another beautiful crescent-moon dusk last night – this time, the photo is courtesy of JayDee. Our calendar highlights include several ways you can enjoy what’s forecast as another perfect evening tonight:
DINNER WITH ‘ELVIS’: Acclaimed Elvis Presley tribute performer Bret Wiggins headlines a benefit dinner tonight at the Senior Center of West Seattle – happy hour at 5:30, dinner at 6, show at 6:30, details (including reservation information) here. (Oregon/California)
SW ROXBURY SAFETY PROJECT MEETING: 6 pm at Southwest Branch Library (upstairs meeting room), be one of the first to see what the city is proposing to help make SW Roxbury safer. Here’s our original preview. (35th/Henderson)
DUWAMISH RIVER KAYAK TOUR: 6 pm, the first of this year’s community kayak tours with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. No kayaking experience required! Tour departs from T-107 Park in West Seattle. RSVP details and other info here. (4700 W. Marginal Way)
CASPAR BABYPANTS AT HIAWATHA: West Seattle’s own kid-rock star is onstage tonight for the second of six Summer Concerts at Hiawatha, presented by the Admiral Neighborhood Association (with co-sponsors including WSB). 6:30 pm, bring your own blanket/chair to the sprawling lawn on the east side of Hiawatha Community Center – admission is free. (2700 California SW)
SHABAZZ PALACES: Another free concert, this one in-store at Easy Street Records in The Junction, which declares, “Absolutely no one like them on the planet….new album on Sub Pop out this week is called ‘Lese Majesty’.” 9 pm; Facebook event page here. (California/Alaska)
DAUGHTERS OF THE DEAD SEA: Local rockers onstage tonight at the Benbow Room in The Admiral District, 9 pm. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
SOMETHING FOR THE CALENDAR? If it’s a West Seattle/White Center/South Park event, please send us info in plain-text e-mail (NOT in an attachment – thanks!) at least a week in advance for calendar consideration – email@example.com – thanks!
P.S. – WHAT’S *NOT* HAPPENING: We previously mentioned that the USS Constellation was expected to pass West Seattle today, under tow to be broken up in Texas. Not happening today, per the Kitsap Sun.
West Seattle’s next roadside-raingarden project, officially dubbed the Delridge Natural Drainage System, is in the “early design” process. Next chance for neighbors to get updates and ask questions has just been announced – a “project-design walk-and-talk” event on Tuesday, August 12th, starting at the corner of 17th and Elmgrove (map) at 6 pm. The updates, according to this postcard that’s on its way to nearby mailboxes, will include a chance to “review proposed design concepts and plantings.” Like the county-initiated “green stormwater infrastructure” raingardens under construction in Westwood and Sunrise Heights, the goal is to reduce the stormwater going into the combined-sewer system, which in turn should reduce overflows at the end of the line. Construction is scheduled for next year.
(WS bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:16 AM: As today’s traffic watch begins, four things you should know:
1ST OF 4 BLUE ANGELS/I-90 CLOSURE DAYS: Today’s the only day with two closure windows – 9:45 am-noon, 1:15-2:40 pm.
NEW BIKE CORRAL READY TO USE … SE corner of California/Alaska in The Junction.
SW ROXBURY SAFETY MEETING TONIGHT: Whether you bike it, bus it, drive it, walk it, you’ve got a stake in the city’s proposals. 6 pm, Southwest Library.
HIGHWAY 99 AUGUST CLOSURE REMINDER: Today, the state starts an awareness campaign (including advertising here and elsewhere) about the August 22-27 Highway 99 closures. Here’s the official infopage.
6:40 AM UPDATE: Thanks to the person who just texted that the low bridge is “stuck open.” SDOT confirms this via Twitter and says a crew is en route to fix it.
7:20 AM UPDATE: SPD has tweeted that the low bridge is “back in service.”
5:13 PM UPDATE: In case you find this before the related news story, a fire and police investigation in the 7300 block of 16th SW has closed 16th in that area and 125/128 buses are being rerouted. No estimate on how long this will last. The fire might have been arson and investigators are on scene to try to determine if that’s so.
It’s the road with two of West Seattle’s three most-crash-plagued intersections – and after two neighborhood councils said, “Enough!”, the city committed to making changes on SW Roxbury. As announced a week and a half ago, tomorrow’s the night you can get the first look, and offer some first comments, at the first round of possibilities. 6 pm, Southwest Library (35th/Henderson), upstairs meeting room – early enough you can still get out in time for a sunset walk/ride/drive.
(ADDED THURSDAY MORNING: 2002 mug shot from state Department of Corrections, at right) 37-year-old Duane Atwood, arrested in connection with a “flasher” incident on Beach Drive last week, is back in jail, charged with two felonies – indecent exposure and failure to register as a sex offender – and court papers say he is expected to be charged in another case soon. We first reported on his arrest last Saturday; his bail was set at $100,000 and, after posting bond, he was released that night, with a court date set for this afternoon. At today’s appearance, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office tells us, Atwood’s bail was increased to $250,000 and he was re-arrested. Court documents include more information on this case and on the conviction that led to his status as a Level 2 Registered Sex Offender, and they say he is under investigation for the two recent, similar incidents – both also reported here (July 15th report here, July 18th report here) – as well as an unrelated crime last year.
West Seattle’s first city-installed bike corral is in place today in The Junction, one month after this open letter expressing concern that the city and the adjacent developer were delaying a project that had been in the works for more than a year. Less than two weeks after that letter, SDOT and West Seattle Bike Connections announced a breakthrough would lead to the long-awaited on-street bicycle-parking zone being installed by month’s end – and today, it’s done. It’s on the east side of California just south of Alaska, in a spot that was already off-limits to vehicle parking.
Seattle Parks and Recreation will turn on the showers back on at Alki Beach Bathhouse today, and have the showers at Seacrest Park open by Thursday, July 31.
The water had been turned off temporarily after Seattle Parks received notice from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) that the two showers were draining directly into the Puget Sound, which is not allowed under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NDPES) or Seattle City Code.
Parks and SPU have jointly developed a temporary solution to the problem while a more permanent one is created. Seattle Parks and Recreation will install a charcoal or vitamin C treatment system to address the chlorine in the water, and post signs that say “no soap, no chemicals, no dumping.”
Parks will work with SPU to develop a method and schedule for the long-term fix, which will likely include connecting the showers to the nearby sanitary line.
Parks and SPU are still working on a solution for how to bring the fish cleaning sink into compliance.
Thanks again to Paul for the tip on the shutoff – he e-mailed us over the weekend, we inquired Monday, and published the first report after Parks replied Tuesday morning, updating the story late yesterday following a conversation with SPU. We welcome news tips 24/7 – if breaking, text or voice to 206-293-6302; otherwise, firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
(UPDATED Wednesday evening with more photos plus clip from the aircraft “parade”)
(Updated video: 1:35 pm)
1:05 PM: We’re on Duwamish Head, where the Seafair Parade of Ships – led by the USS Essex, an amphibious-assault ship you might mistake for an aircraft carrier, is about to come into view after passing Alki. The ships will sail past here on their way to the downtown waterfront, which also will get a series of flyovers. Here again (from last night’s preview) is what you’re looking at/for, on the sea and in the sky – see the PDF here, or embedded below via Scribd:
Updates and photos to come!
(USS Essex, courtesy of Greg)
1:42 PM: Behind the USS Essex came the USS Chancellorsville, USS Howard, Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, and now, from Canada, HMCS Brandon.
(USS Chancellorsville, from Lynn Hall)
(USS Howard with fireboat Leschi, from Mark McAndrews)
(USCGC Mellon, courtesy of Greg)
(Chancellorsville and Howard, by Gary Jones)
1:54 PM: While the Parade of Ships has passed West Seattle – and the Essex is Magnolia-bound – the Parade of Flight is under way, with aircraft passing the downtown waterfront, fairly low, flying north and then turning west (added: video of two of them, passing over the entire ship parade):
2:15 PM: Show’s about over.
The Essex is docking over at Smith Cove. Info on tours over the next four days (all the Parade of Ships visitors) is in the brochure embedded above, if you’re interested in. We’re headed back to HQ to add photos and video to this.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two of the three businesses told to clear out of 4480 Fauntleroy Way in The Triangle have found new locations nearby.
We first reported Sunday night that Diva Espresso, Maestro Motors, and Ace 1 Computer Repair had been told by the new owner of 4480 Fauntleroy Way that they had to be out by the end of August.
Though the new owner, a SODO real-estate broker, didn’t respond to our inquiry, we discovered a document on file with the city indicating that Rudy’s Barbershop, long seeking a West Seattle location, would be the new tenant.
Rudy’s has since confirmed that to WSB. But first – an update on the longtime businesses that have to move.
Just this morning, Maestro Motors’ owner Richard Reed signed a lease for a spot barely a block to the west, where he tells us that Ace-1 is moving to, too. We found out the news while stopping by 4480 Fauntleroy to photograph him as part of our planned followup (even before we learned about the new location).
In case you haven’t noticed it while passing by – there’s a hydroplane in West Seattle! On display in the Les Schwab Tires parking lot in The Triangle (Fauntleroy/Alaska). Read about it here. By the way – there’s more of a connection than just the hydro’s current location – its sponsor, Red Dot, has its roots in West Seattle, as CEO Randy Gardiner explained, keynoting last year’s West Seattle Chamber of Commerce Awards Breakfast.
Before we get to the events … first, the sights:
(Tuesday evening photo by Christopher Frankovich)
Just in case the crescent moon looks like that again tonight, go see the sunset. But even here in the daytime, the morning fog has made things pretty spectacular:
(Wednesday morning photo by John Skerratt)
And so much yet to see today! (And to hear – as a loud flyover reminded us, while we typed those very words …)
SEAFAIR PARADE OF SHIPS/FLIGHT: We’d recommend watching (from Alki Point eastward) starting around 1 pm from here, though 1:45 pm is the official downtown time. Here’s the guide we published last night. As noted there too, we’ll update in all our channels, here as well as social media (the icons atop the right sidebar are linked), when we see it begin. (P.S. As that same story notes, one Blue Angels jet is out on VIP flights today, too, between 11 and 5. *Added – the Museum of Flight‘s Instagram clip from the first takeoff*)
(Also added – thanks to Gary Jones for sharing the view as the Parade of Ships fleet heads out of the bay:)
From the rest of the calendar:
HIGH POINT MARKET GARDEN: Fourth of 12 Wednesdays this summer/fall when you can visit the High Point Market Garden Farm Stand 4-7 pm to buy organic produce grown by local gardeners, just steps away. (32nd/Juneau)
34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS’ PICNIC: From 34th Dems chair Marcee Stone-Vekich:
Please join us for a beautiful Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m. at our annual picnic. We’ll be in Lincoln Park at Beach Shelter No. 3 near the Fauntleroy ferry dock. We will provide the barbecued burgers, hot dogs, and veggie options with all the trimmings (including non-alcoholic beverages). Please bring a dessert or side dish. Enjoy your fellow democrats and elected officials and candidates.
FOR MORE … today, tonight, and beyond … see our calendar.
You never know what, or who, you’ll find in the Sanislo Elementary School library. On Tuesday, students in the summer program found vegetables among their books, as the Readers to Eaters program – whose mission is “to promote food literacy from the ground up” – made a stop, with co-founder/publisher Philip Lee:
Just two days earlier, the Readers to Eaters book “Sylvia’s Spinach“ was featured at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market (where we photographed its author Katherine Pryor). At Sanislo on Tuesday, Lee didn’t just talk about food and reading, but also about publishing (he was a co-founder of Lee and Low):
The students learned that books aren’t just written – they’re published, and there are entirely different jobs involved with that part of the process. We’re told they’ve been working on e-books of their own.
If you’re wondering what students are doing at school when it’s the middle of summer break – Sanislo librarian Craig Seasholes explains that the library “has been hosting students twice a week through July for reading, gardening and Minecrafting their way to a summer of learning.” He says the Seattle Public Library has partnered with them, too.
(WS bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
It’s Seafair Wednesday, and while the Parade of Ships/Flight probably won’t affect your surface-road/trail/etc. travel, it’s worth keeping in mind, especially if you’ll be on the move at its peak early this afternoon (lots of info in our preview, here). Then tomorrow’s the first of 4 days with I-90 closures because of Blue Angels practices/performances – details here. Meantime, we’re watching today’s travels, with one advisory – workers under the bridge.
Be careful under the bridge for the next week and a half or so. SDOT is working under the Fauntleroy Expressway – the west end of the high bridge – to do a “condition survey,” spokesperson Marybeth Turner confirms. The plan for this was mentioned at a City Council briefing earlier this month, as reported here, following the disclosure that hundreds of cushions installed just a few years ago need to be replaced. Turner says the survey work “will likely” continue through next week, and might affect some of the park-and-ride spaces beneath the bridge.
While crews were working under the westernmost end at Harbor/Avalon/Spokane on Tuesday afternoon, a RapidRide bus had a close call, as documented by Hannah Letinich, who was on board at the time.
She texted us video and photos to show how close the bus came to actually making contact with the bridge – close enough that it needed tow help to get around the corner without making contact. Traffic was blocked a while and riders were taken off the bus until this was solved.
Once the bus was moved far enough away from the edge to move on safely, she said, the passengers got back on board and continued downtown.
Thanks to Leslie Allen for that photo of the Seattle fireboat Leschi off Alki during tonight’s sunset. Leschi is scheduled to be out again during the Seafair Parade of Ships tomorrow afternoon, which kicks off Fleet Week, including ship tours on the downtown waterfront. Details are in the official guide (see the PDF here, or embedded below via Scribd):
Still not sure what you’ll be seeing Wednesday afternoon? Check some of our previous years’ coverage – last Parade of Ships, in 2012, we were on board the USS Bunker Hill, so our perspective was from the middle of it all (thanks to community-contributed photos, though, we had views from the shore, too). Year before that, 2011, we covered it from Duwamish Head.
Again this year, the official time is 1:45 pm, but that’s calculated for downtown-waterfront viewing, so, based on those previous two years, we’d expect to see something from Alki around 1 pm. We’ll be out watching much sooner, of course, and will give heads-up, especially on WSB Twitter, WSB Facebook, and WSB Instagram, once ships are in view. And thanks in advance for any photo(s) you care to share!
ADDED: Navy sighting on Alki tonight, courtesy of Elain:
If you watch the Parade of Ships with binoculars, look for the sailors out on deck as they approach downtown. Meantime, you will also see one of the Blue Angels jets on Wednesday, flying with three “influencers” and one media rep, one at a time, between 11 am and 5 pm. They are Dennis Fraser, Civil Air Patrol squad commander (and a Marine Corps veteran); former Seahawk Marcus Trufant, Seafair’s current King Neptune; Sounders FC goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann; and Channel 7 anchor Michelle Millman.