West Seattle, Washington
(RESOURCES: Outage? Call City Light: 206-684-3000 … 7:36 PM: Tree/debris on road/sidewalk? Call SDOT: 206-684-ROAD)
(Added: Big branch down on SW Cloverdale in Westwood outage area, south of ex-Denny site)
7:36 PM: The wind’s been steadily strengthening for a while, so we’re officially opening storm coverage. Here’s what well-known weather analyst Cliff Mass is saying in his “nowcast,” for starters: Likely peaking 10 pm-ish. We hope the wind will pass through without power outages, downed trees, or other trouble, but if something does happen in your neighborhood, please let us know (after you’ve notified authorities, etc.) – comment here, or use our voice/text hotline 206-293-6302, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
8:05 PM: Checking the City Light outage map, looks like we have our first power-less pocket of note – 88 customers east of 35th, centered mostly around SW Trenton. SCL says a tree is to blame.
8:44 PM: Back from checking the outage zone. Added photo of a tree-size branch down on SW Cloverdale just east of 30th SW. The gusts are intermittent, no really strong sustained wind while we were out.
9:13 PM: No new reports of trouble around here. North Seattle seems to be getting hit harder – but this hasn’t peaked around here just yet, the weather experts say. Still, it’s not exactly a mild breeze – the top-of-hour numbers, for example, show Alki Point with sustained winds at 38, gusting to 52 (look for K91S here).
9:46 PM: No new outages in West Seattle/White Center, and the one north of Westwood is down to 57 customers. In the rest of the city, 12,000 homes/businesses are out, and tens of thousands more around the region. Note – our Lost/Found Pets page is busier than usual tonight; if you have lost or found a pet, send info, and photo if available, to email@example.com and we’ll post it. Just added a dog found in North Admiral, and about to add a dog lost in Highland Park.
10:48 PM: Still on watch – but for West Seattle, tonight, so far, no news is good news.
1:16 AM: One more small West Seattle pocket without power – shown on the SCL map as seven residences, at 35th/Marine View Drive and just southeast in Seola. The wind hasn’t entirely quieted yet – at the top of the hour, Alki Point clocked 33 mph sustained, 51 mph gusts.
2:57 AM: The wind warning is no longer in effect. Only weather alert that IS, is a “special weather statement” warning of increased landslide risk today, with all the rain we’ve had.
Librarian Craig Seasholes already was planning to work with fourth and fifth graders – and then he got word of a special visitor:
Tanya Parker (above left) is the International Program Manager at Code.org and also an engineer on its product team.
Students heard about her work and also did some work of their own, programming with computers and iPads, working with drag-and-drop programs that could show them the underlying code, too. West Seattle’s school-board representative Marty McLaren was there to see them work.
Hour of Code isn’t a single day or a single hour, but it’s focused on this particular week (which happens to be Computer Science Education Week) this year, as explained on its website, which says it’s “a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries” – not just kids, but anybody “4 to 104.” The main point: Learning something about coding isn’t just for people planning to focus on computer science – it can help us all with problem-solving and with being ready for just about any field of work.
Busy news day, so we didn’t get to publish the usual daily list of calendar highlights (you don’t ever have to wait for our list, though – the calendar looks ahead days/weeks/months, 24/7). But since the expected wind isn’t here yet – still a few hours away – here are a few things you might want to check out:
WEST SEATTLE ART WALK: Holiday edition, 6-9 pm. Map/venue list is above; artist previews are on the official website.
DELRIDGE GROCERY BENEFIT AT SKYLARK: Starting at 7 pm, part of tonight’s beer sales at Skylark go to the Delridge Grocery project, and DG reps will be there to sign up new members – they only need a few dozen, we’re told, to hit the next milestone toward opening the store in North Delridge next year. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
THE TEA PARTY AT EASY STREET: 7 pm, free in-store concert; details on Easy Street’s website.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports, starting with another case of a stolen holiday decoration:
#1 – Ann-Marie says her 4-year-old daughter is broken-hearted after someone stole her 5-foot-tall decorative snowman from their front yard in Arbor Heights sometime Wednesday. Here’s what “Monroe” the snowman looks like. “Please bring him back. Our daughter is so upset.”
#2 – Chance‘s car was broken into, back window shattered, sometime during the day Wednesday near the 15th/Roxbury Walgreens. “My SUV has an alarm; didn’t deter them.”
#3 – Meredith reports car break-ins north of Morgan Junction last night:
I just wanted to let you know that last night there were two cars (could be more) in my lot on the corner of Juneau and California were broken into and all of its contents stolen. It’s an apartment complex and has happened twice in the last 6 months. They were able to disconnect my stereo system and break in with the doors locked. Just wanted to give a heads up in case anyone else in the neighborhood has any information or also had their cars broken into.
If your car was broken into but nothing taken, please be sure to report it to police anyway so at least there’ll be accurate stats of what’s happening – you can even do it online.
P.S. Right after we published this, Becky sent an alert about suspicious activity on Beach Drive, so we’ve added it:
We live on Beach Drive, near Cormorant (Cove) Park. My husband was up early Wednesday morning (4:30 am) when he saw a couple of people looking in the windows of parked cars, including a UHaul van parked in the parking lot of the condos out on the pier. The individuals hadn’t done anything criminal but were acting suspiciously. He startled them by saying Good Morning, and they quickly moved on. Again there wasn’t anything to report to the police but we thought the neighborhood should be made aware of this early morning activity and keep an eye out for anything else that is unusual.
As we e-mailed back, police *do* encourage calls about suspicious activity – if they are too busy with major incidents to respond, the dispatcher will say so, but do make a call.
(SCROLL DOWN for newest updates)
2:58 PM: That map (click the image to see the full-size version) is the main Alaskan Way Viaduct/Highway 99 Tunnel update so far today, six days after first word that some areas in the vicinity have “settled” more than an inch. You might have seen a version of the map on Publicola this morning; the version released by WSDOT this afternoon has added context and a slightly different color scheme. It shows settling of almost an inch and a half in some areas, but does not show the areas of “uneven” settling, says WSDOT, and the text of their update makes it clear this does not show what’s happened on The Viaduct itself:
Crews from WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners are conducting ongoing surveys of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and ground to determine whether settlement is continuing near the SR 99 tunnel access pit. In general, the surveys include:
Twice daily manual measurements at the bottom of both the east and west columns of the viaduct.
Approximately every other day measurements of deep survey points. These are survey points more than 80 feet underground.
Ground surveys of sidewalks and streets from Alaskan Way to Second Avenue and from Yesler Way to South King Street. Some areas are surveyed twice a day; other areas are surveyed once every two to three days.
Surveys of some buildings. Data is collected both manually and automatically and monitored daily.
The data from the ground surveys and deep survey points are represented on a survey point data map. This map does not represent data from building surveys or the surveys of the viaduct.
The map is a computer-generated approximation to show visually the survey results that were shared with the public on Dec. 5, which indicates approximately 1.4 inches of ground settlement near the access pit and a lesser amount of settlement in the surrounding area. It does not show differential settlement, which is uneven settlement that occurs underneath a particular building or structure.
Lastly, the map does not present conclusions about the effect of dewatering. Additionally, the colors have been modified to better show the change in settlement from high to low.
We asked WSDOT earlier today if the tunnel contractor was continuing with access-pit digging, estimated two days ago to have another day to go before they reached a point where they’d stop to evaluate. The reply said only that the December 9th update still applied. We’ve been watching the “live” construction camera, and the excavation equipment does seem to have been in action as the day goes on.
ADDED 4:15 PM: New development – a crack in King St. downtown, not far east of the “rescue pit.” A briefing by the mayor is expected soon.
For the first time in a while, the Seattle Design Commission has a West Seattle project on its agenda. At 9 am next Thursday – December 18th – the commission will be checking in on the “public benefit” program promised by The Whittaker (under construction at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW) as required for its alley vacation (explained here). The SDC reviewed the project four times last year before giving its blessing; here’s our coverage of the final meeting, including links to the three before it. Next Thursday’s meeting is open to the public, in the Boards/Commissions Room at City Hall downtown.
We’re continuing to share local holiday giving opportunities, both via the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide and via spotlights like this one, received from Schmitz Park Elementary 1st-grade teacher Emily Veling and librarian Lesley Vannini, both advisers to the SPES Student Council:
Student Council members at Schmitz Park Elementary have been busy organizing, marketing, and supporting a holiday donation drive. One of our goals at Schmitz Park is serving our community, and we hope to do this by collecting new toys to help foster kids through Treehouse. These young leaders hope to help all kids have a special holiday season. So far, we have collected hundreds of gifts for our community.
Read more about the Schmitz Park Student Council effort – and see more photos – in this story on the Treehouse website. You can drop off toys for the drive at Schmitz Park (5000 SW Spokane) through next Monday (December 15th).
(WSB photo, added Thursday afternoon)
If you don’t often check the schedule for West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater, you might not have noticed yet, but the success of the “Interstellar” premiere run is bringing more first-run movies to The Admiral.
One big example: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” (trailer above) is on the way, starting December 16. As for the theater’s future – very much up in the air as of our update last month – the latest is that the current management is “in talks with the landlord to move forward with the lease toward a hopeful renovation.” Stand by for updates.
P.S. Following up on a reader question, we asked theater manager Dinah Brein if they’re planning a Christmas movie again this year. Doesn’t look like it, she says, given how busy they’ve been with all of the above, but she’s expecting to have a holiday donation drive of some sort later this month.
(Added: Photo from Alki this morning, by Brian Youngstrom)
Minutes ago, the National Weather Service upgraded the weather alert for this afternoon/evening to a “high wind warning.” It’ll officially be in effect 4 pm-4 am, but the wind isn’t expected to hit our area until after 6 pm. The NWS says the wind is expected to rise to south/southwest 25-40 mph, with gusts possible to 60. Read the full alert here.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:30 AM: What’s officially on the city Department of Planning and Development books as “Director’s Rule 11-2012 Parking Reductions Based on Frequent Transit Service” is getting a rewrite. This city policy is the reason some development projects in recent years – here and elsewhere in the city – have been approved to be built with few or no offstreet-parking spaces. If you’ve never read it, see it here or below:
A notice in today’s city Land Use Information Bulletin says that because of a “recent” decision by the city Hearing Examiner, DPD proposes to rescind (cancel) this rule “and write a new one in 2015.” Which decision? The notice doesn’t say; we’re inquiring with DPD. But we wouldn’t be surprised to hear it’s the one we reported on December 1st, involving the Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development (NERD) appeal of 3078 SW Avalon Way – since parking figured into the challenge and the decision. We’ll add anything more we find out from DPD.
5:35 PM: DPD spokesperson Bryan Stevens has replied to our questions:
Yes, the notice which proposes to rescind Director’s Rule 11-2012 is related to the recent Hearing Examiner decision on the proposal at 3078 SW Avalon Way. It may have been a little premature though, as the Hearing Examiner’s decision isn’t final until the appeal period on that decision has lapsed, which is December 22. However, our proposal to rescind would not occur until sometime after December 26, after taking public comments.
The Hearing Examiner took issue with the averaging technique allowed in Director’s Rule 11-2012, a method sometimes used by applicants to demonstrate whether their site was located close to frequent transit service, thus not requiring parking if located within an urban village. The Hearing Examiner felt the averaging technique within the rule allowed too much leeway in how to determine if a site was located near frequent transit service compared to what the actual code required. Projects under review still have the ability to apply the Director’s Rule while it’s in effect. However, those few projects that may currently be applying the averaging technique shown in the rule will be advised of the recent Hearing Examiner’s decision and could be at risk of a similar appeal.
However, the frequent transit service parking reduction will continue to remain in effect within the Land Use Code. To qualify under the existing code definition, an area must have transit service headways in at least one direction of 15 minutes or less for at least 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, and transit service headways of 30 minutes or less for at least 18 hours every day. Most projects within an urban village apply this method, which may be the only method for demonstrating frequent transit service if the Director’s Rule is rescinded.
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Stormy weather forecast later, but it’s calm right now, with nothing out of the ordinary on routes through/from West Seattle.
WEEKEND TRAFFIC ALERT: Tower-crane installation for 4435 35th SW will affect travel on 35th between Avalon and Alaska both days this weekend.
7:41 AM: Just dispatched – crash reported as eastbound high bridge to northbound 99. Two-vehicle crash, per scanner. See top left bridge cam.
7:54 AM: From the camera view, looks like buses are making it around too.
8:22 AM: The camera shows the scene on the ramp is now clear – police were the last emergency vehicle(s) in view until just a couple moments ago.
TRANSPORTATION HEADLINES: Published here since Wednesday’s roundup:
*City’s traffic-management center expanding hours; Highway 99 crash closure reviewed
*WSTC meeting report #1: Early warning of “low bridge” closures?
*WSTC meeting report #2: Speed up RapidRide? Yes. Reroute in The Junction? No.
P.S. And in Viaduct-related news elsewhere, Publicola has published what it says is a WSDOT map showing the extent of the settling.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Midway through the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s comment period for the proposed RapidRide C Line rerouting in The Junction, WSTC co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick called for a show of hands: Anybody in favor of this?
Two-dozen-plus people were in the room – from WSTC members to first-time attendees – but none offered any show of support.
The reception Tuesday night for the SDOT-initiated suggestion of moving the route onto California SW between Edmunds and Alaska, to save a minute per trip, indeed seemed just as chilly as it had been during November’s Southwest District Council meeting (WSB coverage here). Thanks to a reader tip, we had first word of the proposal back in August.
Maybe chillier: Marci Carpenter, a WSTC member who had a spotlight at the podium with political leaders celebrating last month’s transit-funding vote, asked sharply, “Why in the world would you break up the West Seattle transit center with this?”