day : 22/09/2014 9 results

Happy fall! Equinox sunset watch with Alice at Solstice Park, plus views from beyond

As of 22 minutes ago, autumn has arrived! Above, our quick Instagram clip of Alice Enevoldsen talking astronomy and weather with the youngest attendees at her Solstice Park sunset watch – 22nd time she has led an equinox/solstice watch! (added) As usual, she brought a planetary prop:

Sometimes, the littlest detail attracts attention – like the armband with her name:

Color streaked the sky as Alice explained where the sun lines up for the equinox:

She answered a variety of questions, not just about the equinox – for example, she was asked questions about the official times of sunset and sunrise and how they’re determined – locally, for example, they don’t seem to take the Olympics into account, so she points out the sun usual disappears behind the mountains about ten minutes before the listed sunset moment. Between sunset watches, Alice writes about other astronomy news on her site, and every month or so, she writes a new edition of “Skies Over West Seattle” for WSB.

SUNSET, FROM ELSEWHERE IN WEST SEATTLE: Below, James Bratsanos shared the full-strength sunset view we didn’t quite get from Solstice Park (where the sun sets behind Lincoln Park’s beautiful forest this time of year):

(added) A few more sunset views have since come in:

(Photo copyright 2014, Eric Shalit/Box Turtle Design)
From John Bartell at Brace Point:

P.S. Looks like rain’s in store for the first day of fall.

Get ready to recycle more: Seattle to require food-waste composting

Don’t look at it as a ban on throwing away your food scraps, suggested City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw before this afternoon’s vote – look at it as expanded recycling. And with that, she and the rest of the City Council voted to require recycling of food scraps and compostable paper, starting next year. The enforcement teeth won’t be very sharp – $1 fines, and only after a “massive” informational campaign – but the city believes this is what’s needed to jolt the “stalled” shrinkage of Seattleites’ recycling rate. (Also, as noted on the city website, “Food waste is one third of the residential garbage in Seattle … and is transported by train 300 miles to an Oregon landfill.”) Details of how it would be enforced are in this slide deck from a briefing earlier this month.

Later start time for teenagers in Seattle Public Schools? You’re invited to be on the task force

Seattle Public Schools have long been urged to look at later start times for its oldest students. The School Board decided to review the idea, and now, the district is setting up a task force, according to today’s announcement, which invites you to apply:

Recent sleep research indicates that adolescents’ normal sleep patterns and health may be supported by later school start times. Seattle Public Schools is forming a year-long task force to analyze a potential change in bell times throughout the district. The task force members will review the sleep research and study potential implementation impacts including benefits and challenges for starting elementary schools earlier, and middle and high schools later.

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Update: Mayor presents budget proposal; West Seattle toplines – miniature-golf course, $ to finish Fauntleroy Boulevard design, keep SPD Mounted Patrol

2:06 PM: Click the “play” button above and you’ll get the live webcast, under way now, of Mayor Murray‘s budget speech to the City Council. We’ll be linking the documents and noting toplines here as it goes (and as we review the docs). **Update: Post-speech, window above now takes you to ARCHIVED video of speech**

BUDGET DOCUMENTS: Find them here. Wondering how to navigate them? That’s explained here. Direct link to the full budget is here.

From our first search for West Seattle mentions in that document:

*On page 28, our area described as a “current construction hub”
*On page 101, a miniature golf course to be installed at the West Seattle Golf Course in about a year
*On page 150, a renovation project is mentioned for the West Seattle (Admiral) Library Branch
*On page 414, $500,000 to finish design for the Fauntleroy Boulevard plan. (Remember, your Q/A/info opportunity is at tomorrow night’s open house – details in our newest update.)

2:22 PM: Those are just the outright “West Seattle” mentions; we’re now going through to look for what are certainly many other points of interest. The mayor, meantime, has spoken of reforming the budget process, of “coordination” in development reviews, of “ending the transportation-mode wars.” Speaking of transportation, more school-zone cameras are on the way (though specific locations are not noted). In public-safety and human services, he is proposing a new office to focus on domestic violence and sexual assault, and he has acknowledged that despite the city’s investment in helping homeless people, homelessness is not ending, and there has to be a better way.

(added) Another West Seattle note, from the SPD budget overview:

In addition, the proposed budget continues funding for maintenance staff and expenses associated with the SPD’s Horse Patrol Unit. Private resources will no longer be available to support the ongoing costs of this unit in 2015. Therefore, General Funds are being provided to continue this valuable public safety service.

The Mounted Patrol, you’ll recall, is based in Highland Park (and just had an open house on Saturday).

2:36 PM: The mayor’s speech has ended. We’re continuing to look for toplines. The council is in recess; we’ll substitute the archived video later when it’s available.

3:05 PM: Joe Szilagyi points out in comments that the budget includes money to fix the Schmitz Park Bridge.

3:57 PM: Replaced previous “live video” window above with embedded archived video of mayor’s speech.

5:12 PM: This is not West Seattle-specific, but likely of interest to many – from the Department of Planning and Development budget, page 248-249:

Seattle’s Design Review program is one of the principal opportunities for members of the public to interface with development projects. Design review is intended to influence the design of projects consistent with citywide and neighborhood-specific design guidelines. As development activity has increased, the Design Review program has come under increased scrutiny. A challenge identified during public participation in project review is that many communities are concerned about the direction of certain land use policies and have non design related concerns.

In response to these two issues, DPD will evaluate potential changes to the design review process and will explore new ways to improve public engagement in the planning and land use policy areas. The department will begin this work through surveys and focused public discussions with community stakeholders to gather information about the design review process, and will report on general findings. The department will evaluate, identify, and draft Land Use Code revisions based on this community work. The department will also begin a process to engage communities, provide information about growth and development issues, and provide opportunities for dialogue outside of the design review process. The work will be conducted through public meetings and online engagement, and be targeted toward different neighborhoods and demographics throughout the city. The pilot program will include citywide events with opportunities for dialogue, and will include feedback to community participants. This work will be done in 2015 and 2016 by shifting existing resources and revising the City Planning work program.

WHAT’S NEXT? The entire budget calendar for the next two months, including two major public hearings (neither in West Seattle), can be seen here.

West Seattle scene: Marijuana message materializes at ‘Walking on Logs’

The so-called “dancing children” who comprise the Walking on Logs sculpture along the Fauntleroy Way end of the West Seattle Bridge sometimes are decorated with T-shirts. Today, they’re wearing black T-shirts bearing the message “Marijuana is safer than alcohol.”

After getting the tip from Jake, we went over to see if the T-shirts listed a sponsoring organization, maybe fine print, or on the back. Nope. No banner or signage nearby either (aside from campaign messages for a couple of people running for judge). The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has long kept the list of authorized “Walking on Logs” decorators, so we’re checking to see if someone signed up to promote this message – the first pro-cannabis display we recall seeing there – but CEO Lynn Dennis is out of the office today. Looking around online, we did find a Federal Way group that offers T-shirts like these.

P.S. Authorized or not, it’s not the only marijuana message on the bridge right now; on the westbound leg of our bridge trip to check this out, we took note of the Dama Cannabis billboard alongside the Spokane Street Viaduct just before the 99 overpass.

ADDED TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Chamber CEO Dennis says they don’t know who’s responsible for the pro-pot shirts, but the sculptures were supposed to be in use this week by Run of Hope supporters, who were expected to put their group’s shirts on “Walking on Logs” sometime today.

More free parking in The Junction: New program starts with Wallflower, Elliott Bay, Talarico’s

Three Junction businesses in the heart of the current construction zone – on California and 42nd between Alaska and Edmunds – are involved in the launch of a new program that’s adding validated free parking, courtesy of the two contractors at work there. The announcement sent by the West Seattle Junction Association explains how it works:

Construction companies, Andersen and Compass, have teamed up with the West Seattle Junction Association to offer parking relief to customers of businesses who neighbor their construction projects. With these two projects combined, more that half of the 4700 block of California/42nd is under construction. As part of developing the sites and making public safety a top priority, the projects have taken upward of 20 on-street parking spots. Adjacent businesses are feeling the pinch since they are surrounded by construction activities and lost parking.

The City of Seattle’s Access Seattle Team, composed of members of the Department of Transportation and the Office of Economic Development, helped facilitate a solution for area businesses. Both Andersen and Compass have agreed to help fund a new free parking program intended to aid their business neighbors. Customers of participating businesses can now get up to two hours of free parking in Jefferson Square’s underground parking garage using Diamond Parking’s Call to Park service. Elliott Bay Brewery, Wallflower Custom Framing, and Talarico’s Pizzeria are launching the program, but more on their block may join.

How it works: Customers of participating businesses will park in the Jefferson Square underground garage on 42nd Street and immediately bring their license plate number to business staff who will pay for 1-2 hours of free parking. Customers will be responsible for staying within the specified time or can add time using Easy!

This program is available now; please give it a try! Construction may be noisy and sometimes inconvenient, but Junction restaurants and retailers still need your business to keep what’s familiar to our West Seattle neighborhood. Though The Junction may be changing, your tried-and-true businesses will stay the course. This program is available on a trial basis through January 2015.

Thank you to Compass General Construction, Andersen Construction and the City’s Access Seattle Team, for their collaboration and support.

West Seattle Monday: Fall equinox sunset watch; Highland Park Elementary PTA; ‘Monster Dash’ training run; more…

(Great blue heron at Constellation Park – photos above and below are both by Gary Jones)
Highlights from the listings for today/tonight on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

REMINDER – BOEING FIELD EMERGENCY DRILLS: All week long, as noted here last night.

BUDGET SPEECHES: Both King County Executive Dow Constantine and Mayor Ed Murray are formally presenting their budget proposals today, 11 am and 2 pm respectively. We’ll be reading the fine print looking for proposals of particular local interest.

‘BEING HUMAN’: As the new academic year begins at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), a new exhibit, curated by Kathy Liao, opens in the SSC Art Gallery. Exhibit info is in our calendar listing. Gallery admission’s free, and the gallery is open 10 am-4 pm. (6000 16th SW)

‘CHAT WITH CHAS’: The next coffee chat with Chas Redmond, the only candidate actively campaigning so far for the West Seattle/South Park district City Council seat on next year’s ballot (David Ishii also has filed), 5-7 pm at Uptown Espresso in The Junction – informal drop-in. (California/Edmunds/Erskine)


Highland Park Elementary School is having the first PTA meeting of the school year from 5:30 – 7:30. The meeting will be held in the school cafeteria. A light dinner will be served starting at 5:30, with the meeting beginning a 6:00. Come share your thoughts about HPE: what you like about our school, as well as your hopes and dreams for our future. All are welcome!

(1012 SW Trenton)

WELCOME FALL @ ALICE’S EQUINOX SUNSET WATCH: Even if you’ve been to one of Alice Enevoldsen‘s equinox/solstice sunset watches before, you’ll notice three special features tonight – explained in her preview. Get to Solstice Park around 6:30; the actual sunset’s around 7 pm, and as a bonus, you could even hang around for the fall equinox to arrive at 7:29 pm. Solstice Park is on the slope behind the tennis courts across from north Lincoln Park. (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW)

TRAIN FOR THE ‘MONSTER DASH’: In advance of next month’s West Seattle Monster Dash, you’re invited to join training runs starting tonight at 6:30; meet in the south lot at Lincoln Park. (Fauntleroy/Cloverdale)

AND OF COURSE THERE’S MORE … for today, tonight, and beyond, on our calendar!

Out: ‘Microhousing.’ In: ‘SEDU.’ And it’s your turn to comment

The word “microhousing” does not appear anywhere in the brand-new official city notice announcing that it’s your turn to comment on the revised proposed city rules for it. That notice, published today, and includes the toplines of the latest changes in the rules the City Council is considering, including the new official name “SEDU”:

*Creates a definition for small efficiency dwelling units (SEDU).

*Clarifies the definition of dwelling unit.

*Establishes required components of SEDUs, including a 150-square-foot minimum sleeping room area, a 220 square foot minimum total floor area, a food preparation area (sink, refrigerator, countertop, cooking appliance) and a bathroom (sink, toilet, shower or bathtub).

*Limits the issuance of Restricted Parking Zone permits to no more than one per
SEDU or congregate residence sleeping room.

*Requires Streamlined Design Review to be applied, in all zones, to congregate
residences and residential uses that are more than 50 percent comprised of SEDUs if they contain between 5,000 and 11,999 square feet of gross floor area.

*Limits the construction of congregate residences that do not meet certain ownership or operational requirements to higher density zones that are located within Urban Centers and Urban Villages

*Increases the minimum required area of communal space in a congregate residence
from 10 percent of the total floor area of all sleeping rooms to 15 percent of the total floor area of all sleeping rooms.

*Creates a new vehicle parking requirement of one parking space for every two
SEDUs for areas of the City where vehicle parking is required for multifamily residential uses.

*Increases bicycle parking requirements for SEDUs and congregate residences to 0.75 bicycle spaces per SEDU or congregate residence sleeping room.

*Requires the bicycle parking required for SEDUs and congregate residences to be covered for weather protection.

*Allows required, covered bicycle parking for SEDUs or congregate residence sleeping rooms to be exempt from Floor Area Ratio limits if the required parking is located inside the building that contains the SEDUs or congregate residence sleeping rooms.

*Calls on the Department of Planning and Development to complete an analysis of the City’s vehicle and bicycle parking requirements and present its recommendations for regulatory changes to the City Council by no later than March 31, 2015.

That last point, as mentioned in our coverage last week, goes beyond microhousing.

So if you have something to say about any of this, say it now – in e-mail or postal mail to Councilmember Mike O’Brien, (the postal address is in today’s notice seeking comment), before October 6th. Again, what’s above is an excerpt from today’s notice, highlighting recent changes in the proposed microhousing (SEDU) rules. You can see the entire Council Bill by going here.

SIDE NOTE: In case you’ve lost track – two microhousing projects have opened in West Seattle, at 4546 Delridge Way SW (file photo above) and 3266 SW Avalon Way, with at least three more planned – 3268 SW Avalon Way, 5949 California SW, and 3050 SW Avalon Way.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday on the move

(WS bridge and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning! No trouble so far on West Seattle-area routes.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL for South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), which means more traffic around/to/from its campus at 6000 16th SW.

OVERNIGHT HIGHWAY 99 CLOSURES: WSDOT has announced closures each of the next 4 nights:

Monday, Sept. 22 and Wednesday, Sept. 24
Crews will close all lanes of southbound SR 99 between South Atlantic and South Spokane streets, and the Columbia Street on-ramp to southbound SR 99, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.

Tuesday, Sept. 23 and Thursday, Sept. 25
Crews will close all lanes of northbound SR 99 between South Spokane and South Atlantic streets, and the eastbound South Spokane Street ramp to northbound SR 99, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.

Crews will close up to two lanes of southbound SR 99 between South Atlantic and South Spokane streets from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.

7:24 AM: Text report of a stalled Route 131 bus on Highland Park Way downhill, with passengers off the bus. Also, commenter “Trickycoolj” reports that the early trouble on northbound I-5 in Southcenter – a late end to an overnight closure for City Light work – has added traffic to Highway 99 northbound. The closure is over now, but the residual effects aren’t.