day : 03/07/2014 10 results

West Seattle 4th of July Kids’ Parade: Final reminder – hours away!

July 3, 2014 8:20 pm
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 |   Fun stuff to do | Holidays | West Seattle news

One more quick reminder … we’re hours away from the 20th annual West Seattle 4th of July Kids’ Parade, 10 am tomorrow from 44th/Sunset as always, proceeding to Hamilton Viewpoint Park for post-parade games – that’s all free, but bring some $ for the concessions sold by the Admiral Neighborhood Association. If you’ve never seen/been in this parade before, it’s casual and fun (here’s our video from last year) … just hundreds of people young and not-as-young walking through North Admiral streets – red/white/blue decorations are encouraged but not mandatory – after a bit of ceremony (including 6th-grader Leilani Nitkey singing the national anthem) at the beginning. No floats. Usually a pace pickup and banner. A couple notes tonight from co-coordinator Jackie Clough – if you are driving to the parade, please don’t park along the route (the streets to the west and south, basically, but especially not on Atlantic, both sides of California) and remember there’s no parking at Hamilton Viewpoint for the duration of the event. Also – there’s some road work on Palm, the last bit of the way to the park after the parade crosses California (police stop traffic for the crossing), so that means one slight change for the last half-block or so into the park. See you in the morning!

Remember the Fauntleroy Expressway earthquake-strengthening project? Hundreds of parts to be replaced because of design flaw

(January 2012 photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Remember the work done to toughen up the Fauntleroy Expressway end of the high bridge in 2011-2012, to make it more earthquake-resistant?

We’ve just learned that much of it has to be re-done because of parts that weren’t as strong as they should have been.

This is revealed in the slide deck that accompanies an item on next Tuesday’s City Council Transportation Committee agenda (thanks to the texter who pointed it out before we’d gotten a chance to read the agenda, which was just published this afternoon).

We’re still working to find out more – a challenge with government shutting down for a 3-day holiday weekend – but here’s what we know so far:

The problem, according to the slide deck, is with the bearing pads – cushions inserted between the bridge deck and supporting pieces such as columns – which should have been designed to be “stiffer.” This city webpage reminds us that more than 600 of those pads were replaced during the $2.7 million project. We took a closer look at the work in January 2012; much of it happened during overnight closures of the southwest end of the bridge.

One slide indicates this potential problem was noticed at final inspection of the work two years ago. Since then, it says, they’ve been working to develop a new pad design and putting together other logistics. That slide also mentions “Additional funding through existing Bridge Rehab Program; balance approx. $2.6M, pending design & additional scope.”

Preparation for replacement is scheduled for later this year; then the new bearing pads will be ordered and installation will begin next spring, with, “overnight & limited weekend structure closures.”

Again, we’re asking around right now to see if we can find out anything more before the holiday weekend. The Transportation Committee meeting with this item on the agenda is at 9:30 am next Tuesday (July 8th).

ADDED 6:07 PM: Our inquiry to SDOT was answered by manager Bill LaBorde. In a phone conversation, he confirmed that all 670+ of the bearing pads will be replaced, and that the $2.6 million cost is in addition to the original project cost.

One key clarification: He says that some of that cost – he didn’t have the breakdown handy, so we’ll expect it next week – is discretionary: The replacement bearing pads are being designed to an even-stronger (and costlier) industry standard that has come out since this project. Since they were redesigning and remaking them anyway, he says, they decided to go with the upgrade, which will extend the bridge’s life. Another part of the added $2.6 million will cover some “repair work” that needs to be done, separate from the bearing-pad replacement.

As for the original design flaw, he says that the design consultant was to blame, not city specifications – we asked, so if they had designed the bearing pads to what the city specified, no replacement would be needed? Yes, replied LaBorde.

Last but not least, we asked if this had been mentioned publicly since its identification as “an issue” in July 2012. LaBorde says it had been mentioned in SDOT directors’ reports at some previous Transportation Committee meetings. (We still have a message out to committee chair Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, and that’s one of our questions for him.)

Here are the U.S. Navy ships that’ll parade past West Seattle during Seafair Fleet Week

(2011 US Navy photo of USS Essex)
The Blue Angels aren’t all that the U.S. Navy is sending back to Seafair this summer, after a year away because of federal budget travails. The Seafair Fleet Parade of Ships is back too – with the ships planning to sail past West Seattle shores on their way around Elliott Bay starting around 10 am July 30th. We just received the announcement of which ships will participate – the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83). All three are homeported in San Diego; they’ll also be open for public tours July 31-August 3. The Parade of Ships will include U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian participation, too – more as it gets closer.

P.S. Last amphibious-assault ship to participate in the Seafair Parade of Ships was the USS Bonhomme Richard in 2011 – here’s our coverage from that year.

2 reports from Metro: Strategic Plan progress; RapidRide customer survey

Metro Transit has gone public with its annual Strategic Plan Progress Report, which its announcement says “provides data on 61 performance measures” and “includes opinions expressed by riders and non-riders, drawn from a survey of 2,500 King County residents. It also looks at how we stack up with peer transit agencies across the country.” This is in advance of upcoming assessments including an audit and “independent peer review.” Another recent report that might be of interest is the compiled customer-survey results on RapidRide, including the C Line. First: Toplines from the “progress report” announcement today by Metro general manager Kevin Desmond:

*Ridership continues to grow: We delivered 118.6 million passenger trips in 2013—a near record. An all-time-high 45% of King County households now have at least one Metro rider.

*85% of riders say they’re very or somewhat satisfied with Metro service. 90% of our riders say Metro is an agency they trust.

*Metro gets people to jobs: Almost all (97%) of Metro’s regular bus trips serve the region’s job and growth centers.

*Our buses were on time nearly 78% of the time. We continually monitor on-time performance so we can make adjustments to keep buses on schedule.

*Metro has significantly improved safety and security over the past 10 years and is holding on to those gains. Preventable accidents have steadily declined since 2011, and we’ve enhanced emergency response.

*Metro’s cost per hour grew 2.7% — above the inflation rate — but cost per passenger mile decreased by 3.1% as the job market improved and Metro buses carried more commuters.

*Fares covered 29.1% of Metro’s operating costs. Our farebox recovery rate increased by 8.8 percentage points in the past 10 years — more than most of our national peers.

*Energy use per bus boarding decreased 4.6% last year.

Read the full report here.

Next, the RapidRide customer-survey report. It was mentioned in passing in a Metro announcement last week but we didn’t happen onto the report link until today. Here it is. Skimming through, two points of note: From page 17, “Satisfaction with personal safety on RapidRide C Line remains significantly lower than it was on the routes it replaced.” And on page 22: “Dissatisfaction with the availability of seats on the RapidRide C Line is the primary factor driving lower overall scores” in the area of “satisfaction with things about the bus.” The surveys were taken on board RapidRide buses in April, according to the report, which also – after page 39 – looks at the D Line.

Congratulations! West Seattle Rotary awards for John Fretz, Aya Hoffman, Jack Miller, Dave Vague

(Husky Deli proprietor Jack Miller with, at right, Teri Templin of the Rotary Foundation)
Congratulations to four people recently honored by the Rotary Club of West Seattle. Club spokesperson George Brinkmann shares the info and photos:

Jack Miller, the proprietor of the Husky Deli, was recognized with a Paul Harris Fellow award as an outstanding local businessman. He has long supported local Rotary project fundraisers. The Husky Deli opened for business in 1932. Jack is the third generation to operate the family-owned business, which features ice cream, catering, lunch, and groceries.

(L to R, Dave Vague and John Fretz)
Dave Vague and John Fretz also received Paul Harris Fellow recognition. For many years, Vague has volunteered as a coordinator of the West Seattle Grand Parade, to be held on July 19th this year. Fretz is an employee of Salty’s on Alki who has ably served Rotary luncheon meetings for more than 5 years.

The Paul Harris Fellow award, named after the founder of Rotary, was established in 1957 to recognize individuals for whom contributions have been made to the Rotary Foundation in support of its charitable projects around the world, including the eradication of Polio. The Rotary Club of West Seattle made contributions to honor these three individuals.

(Aya Hoffman with RC of WS past president Len Burton-Hardin)
Aya Hoffman, President of the West Seattle-Burien Rotaract Club, received the Service Above Self Award, given annually to that person believed to best exemplify Rotary’s motto: ‘Service Above Self.’ Aya has volunteered her time and talent to serve as President of the West Seattle-Burien Rotaract Club for young adults ages 18 to 32 since its inception in 2012. She is the Communications and Events Manager at the Alexander Hamilton Friends Association in Seattle.

Update: 2nd small power outage this week west of The Junction

July 3, 2014 10:17 am
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 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Charissa e-mailed with word of a power outage in the 48th/Edmunds area that she says started when a “transformer blew” around 9:30 am. The City Light site says 11 households are affected and they’re hoping to have the power back within a few hours. It’s notable because this is at least the second time this week that area’s had a small (double-digit or fewer customers) outage. The cause is listed, however, as still officially being “investigated.”

10:44 AM: Charissa says the power’s back on: “It was a crow pecking at a live wire attached to the transformer. Seattle City Light guy said happens all the time. they electrocute themselves. very sad. City Light puts a piece of plastic down to help prevent it from happening again.” So often, that’s what the small outages turn out to be.

Seal-pup season on local beaches: What to do if you see one

That little harbor seal photographed by Adem at the Fauntleroy ferry dock last weekend wasn’t technically a pup, Robin Lindsey from Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network explains, but rather a yearling. However, the season of seal births IS now under way, and if you see a little seal on a local beach, it’s most likely a nursing pup and it’s critical that you keep your distance so its mom won’t be scared away when she comes back for it. It’s also important to call Seal Sitters – 206-905-7325 (SEAL) – so they can help.

Earlier this week, rescuers had to intervene after a nursing pup got stuck in the rocks by Duwamish Head; the story is on their Blubberblog website. That pup, nicknamed Junebug, was the third spotted on West Seattle shores already this season, which Robin says is the earliest on record.

West Seattle Thursday: Five notes for today/tonight

(Downy woodpecker, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

WADING POOLS *WILL* BE OPEN: Since it’s cloudy this morning, we called the city hotline to check. Hiawatha will be open noon-6:45 pm, EC Hughes noon-7 pm, and Lincoln Park (as well as Highland Park Spraypark) 11 am-8 pm. Addresses and full schedules are here.

HEALTH AND HARVEST AT THE COMMUNITY ORCHARD: Have the day off? This is your chance to check out the Community Orchard of West Seattle‘s weekly Health and Harvest tour/work party/Q-A session, 5-7 pm Thursdays on the northeast side of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. Read about it on the COWS website. (6000 16th SW)

NATURE EXPLORATION: 3:30 pm Thursdays, explore nature at Camp Long with naturalist Stewart Wechsler – details on his Stewardship Adventures in Nature website. (5200 35th SW)

LIGHTS ON AT SYNTHETIC-TURF FIELDS: Just so you’re not wondering why the lights are on tonight at Delridge, Walt Hundley, and Hiawatha Playfields – it’s part of Seattle Parks‘ plan to discourage fireworks use, which is illegal, dangerous, and costly. Here’s our previous note about it.

JACKIE POCK @ SALTY’S: 5:30-8:30 pm, live music at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor), tonight featuring the acoustic music of Jackie Pock. No cover/minimum. (1936 Harbor SW)

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Quiet pre-holiday Thursday

July 3, 2014 7:32 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Four- or five-day weekend for many, with the 4th of July tomorrow, so the morning commute is reported to be quiet.

Reminder – holiday transit changes for Friday are listed on the WSB 4th of July page.

TRANSPORTATION NEWS: A few headlines from Wednesday, if you didn’t catch them first time around:
Mayor announces SDOT director choice
More repaving in Morgan Junction
SDOT’s new plan for Admiral Way hill
What went wrong with the low bridge Tuesday night

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 more phone robberies in local parks

Two strong-arm robberies this week in West Seattle both ended with the victims reported being assaulted and being robbed of their smartphones. Both happened in local parks; we obtained police reports for both:

HAMILTON VIEWPOINT PARK, MONDAY NIGHT: Police were called to the park in North Admiral at 10 pm Monday night. The two victims told police they were in the grassy area of the park, kicking around a soccer ball, when three people approached them and asked if they could play too. They did, for about 10 minutes, and the victims decided to sit down to rest. At that point, the report says, one of the other three yelled “You’re getting robbed!” and all three attacked the first two, punching and kicking them, and then stealing personal belongings that had been on the ground nearby. As they got away, the three attacker/robbers dropped everything but one victim’s iPhone. The report says they left in what looked like a blue late ’90s or early ’00s blue BMW. The three were described as males – one white, 6 feet tall, 170 pounds, medium-length blonde hair, baggy clothing; another dark-skinned, “possibly East African,” 5’11”, 150 pounds, with a flat-top haircut; the other black with a medium complexion, 6’3″, 230 pounds, short shaved hair. Seattle Fire was called to check out the victims’ injuries; one was described as having a swelling on his jaw “the size of a golf ball.” Police did not find the robbers.

ROXHILL PARK, TUESDAY NIGHT: This call came in to police at about 10:41 pm Tuesday. The victim said he was jumped while walking southbound on the north-south trail in Roxhill Park, just south of the bus stop in the 2700 block of SW Barton. Both robbers hit and kicked him before taking two smartphones from him, an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy. He told police he recognized the two because they had been riding the bus with him from downtown all the way to Westwood, and that he had seen them often on Route 120 and on RapidRide Line C. Police did not find these robbers either; the victim described them as black, about 16 years old, both wearing black T-shirts and sweatpants (one orange, one black).