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.