West Seattle, Washington
One month ago, we published a request for your help with a student research project – Holy Rosary School students were testing a hypothesis about how people learn about new technology. With almost 700 responses to their online survey, as noted the following week, they proceeded to modify their hypothesis, and win an award. Now, the next step – explained by their coaches:
The Holy Rosary Gator-bots will continue their journey this Sunday by participating in the First Lego League semi-finals at Shoreline Community College. Thanks to the West Seattle Blog and their wonderful readers, the Gator-bots received a lot of great ideas on the project portion of the competition asking the question, How can we improve the way people learn about Technology?
The Gator-bots considered different ways they could help people with technology from the readers responses and finally chose to made a website with step-by-step videos. Their first wave of videos are out on the site for your viewing pleasure at yourtekhelp.com. Please take a look, and we encourage you to sign into the guestbook with your comments! The boys have worked long and hard learning about website technology, video creation technology and video production. Words of encouragement are always appreciated!
And if you come out to Shoreline Community College on Sunday to watch the competition, the first 50 people to mention that they saw the Gator-bots on the blog will receive a Gator-bots button!
Thank you WSB and West Seattle. We feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful community.
Good luck, Gator-bots!
Even as the number of Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Killer Whale population hovers at a dangerously low level, one of the group’s members remains thousands of miles away, captive in a tank. Tokitae is the last surviving SRKW from those captured decades ago; she has been at the Miami Seaquarium for 44 years, performing as “Lolita.” This Saturday from coast to coast, wildlife advocates will demonstrate in support of setting her free and returning her home to Puget Sound. Here in Seattle, the big gathering is a march for about a mile along Alki, starting at 1:15 pm Saturday (January 17th); meet at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza (61st/Alki) at 1 – more info in our calendar listing. (Photo via Wikimedia)
P.S. Thanks to Steve for the tip on this – you also can paddle along the route in support – that group will leave Don Armeni Boat Ramp (1222 Harbor SW) at noon.
The medians on Southwest Admiral Way between Southwest Olga Street and 39th Avenue Southwest are scheduled for cleaning on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 20-21.
Gardeners from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Urban Forestry, will groom the medians from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. The inside lane in both directions will be closed for worker safety.
(SCROLL DOWN for updates – as of our firsthand check at 4:20 pm, the backup’s cleared; 4:50 pm, added list of city/port traffic-reduction measures; 10:19 pm, adding new SDOT news release with yet more details)
(Thursday morning photo by Don Brubeck)
For a second day, a major backup of port-bound semi-trucks is backing up the westbound Spokane Street Viaduct to I-5, as well as surface streets – photos like these continue to come in:
This of course isn’t the first time a queue of port-bound trucks has affected traffic. But it’s the first time in a long time that we’ve heard of this magnitude of backup, persisting on into the day. So we contacted the Port of Seattle and SDOT to ask about the cause and what if any management steps have been taken. Port spokesperson Peter McGraw’s response:
The terminal operator is working very hard to get cargo moving on and off their docks while handling three large vessels. What we’ve been seeing here the past couple days is a surge of export commodities– goods from eastern Washington. So between the extra loads and the ongoing work disruption, we’re seeing an unusually high amount of back-ups. We’ll be keeping a close eye on things today, working with our transportation partners and the terminal operator to move cargo as quickly and safely as possible.
DOT’s Marybeth Turner says the city is concerned:
SDOT has expressed its concerns to the Port of Seattle about the truck queuing occurring on city roadways. We will meet with both the port and the terminal operator today about these impacts and potential solutions those parties can employ.
McGraw’s mention of “ongoing work disruption” refers to the situation we first mentioned two months ago – West Coast terminal operators and longshore workers are in mediated contract talks, eight months after their contract expired. An ILWU news release circulated earlier this week says the terminal operators’ organization reports they’re running out of room for containers on the West Coast docks; that organization, the Pacific Maritime Association, continues to accuse the union of slowdowns. Since last November, large ships at anchor, waiting to get into either Seattle or Tacoma, have been visible from West Seattle; right now MarineTraffic.com shows eight in all – three in Elliott Bay, and five outside Manchester (some shown in this photograph from early today):
(Photo by James Bratsanos)
ADDED 1:21 PM: Yet another vantage point of the truck backup:
— Scott Sweeney (@ssweens) January 15, 2015
3:39 PM UPDATE: Commenters (and people we’re hearing from on Twitter, too) say it hasn’t gotten any better. We’re going out for a firsthand look. Check the comments for some travel advice. SDOT advises avoiding the westbound Spokane St. Viaduct.
4:13 PM: We’ve just traveled the eastbound bridge – no more truck backup visible on Spokane St. Viaduct. Got off at 1st and noted that a motorcycle officer appeared to have lower Spokane blocked, westbound, just west of 1st. We’re circling back around to check.
4:20 PM: The officer is out of the road, in the median, and westbound Spokane is open again, no backup or slowdown. We have also crossed the low bridge and it’s open and clear.
4:50 PM: From Anthony Auriemma in Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s office, an update on what’s being strategized:
SPD will have an officer working traffic from 7 am-3 pm during the slowdowns. Their primary job will be to assist with cross traffic and assist with preventing the intersections from getting blocked.
· SDOT is working on updated signage and traffic alerts. You may have noticed that SDOT this afternoon began advising drivers to avoid the Spokane Street Viaduct and to use alternate routes such as 1st Avenue South.
· SPD is joining SDOT at the Traffic Management Center (TMC) to help with traffic conditions. As you may recall from the Transportation Committee briefing, this is part of the improved incident management protocols that SPD and SDOT agreed to after the June 99 meltdown. Councilmember Rasmussen visited the TMC this afternoon to check out conditions and make sure SDOT was working to find solutions.
· SDOT is attempting to secure Terminal 5 for remote parking as an interim solution.
· Other engineering and enforcement solutions are still being worked out between SDOT, SPD, and the Port.
And just after we published this, Auriemma e-mailed again to say that T-5 has been secured for parking starting tomorrow.
ADDED 10:19 PM: Rare late-night news release, just in from SDOT, with a few more specifics of what’s happening:
To ensure that traffic flows safely and efficiently near Port of Seattle facilities, the City of Seattle will take measures Friday to address trucks backing up onto city and state roadways due to Terminal 18 delays.
Based on discussions with the port, starting Friday morning trucks will be detoured off city streets into a holding area at nearby Terminal 5, where they will stage for entry into Terminal 18. Truck drivers will be directed to this holding area using fixed and variable messages signs.
Also on Friday SDOT will install “No Stopping, Standing or Parking from 3:00 AM to 6:45 AM” signs on Harbor Island to ensure vehicles stage at Terminal 5 prior to the opening of Terminal 18’s gates. The Seattle Police Department is providing officers to support traffic flow and prevent the West Seattle Bridge, Spokane Street Viaduct and intersections near Harbor Island from being blocked by commercial vehicles.
“The City of Seattle and the Port of Seattle are working jointly to address traffic issues created by delays at Terminal 18,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “These measures will allow the port to process its trucks without creating congestion for drivers and transit riders.”
“I have been working with SDOT, SPD and the Port of Seattle to address the congestion created by port facilities, and will continue to work on this problem as long as the delays continue,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. “I appreciate these quick measures being taken by the Port and the City, which will ensure drivers and transit riders can make their trips without unnecessary delay.”
(WSB file screengrab of SDOT camera looking toward bridge’s offramp to 99)
While today’s big bridge-traffic concern is the Port-bound truck backup (working on a separate story), the ongoing point of contention is usually the eastbound weekday-morning jam. Physical improvements to the bridge are unlikely anytime soon, says the city, so simpler, quicker improvements can and must be pursued, suggests City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, saying that if the right people/agencies get together and talk about operational changes and coordination, that could make a difference.
Toward that end, the West Seattle Bridge Corridor Management Task Force will be launched, he has announced, adding that Mayor Ed Murray has promised his support. (This is what Rasmussen staffer Evan Clifthorne was hinting at during the December West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting.)
Before we get to details of the task force, here’s why nothing is likely to change physically on the bridge any time soon, explained in documents provided by Rasmussen’s office in response to questions from the WSTC, in their declaration of priorities last September. One big question involves whether one of the bottlenecks off the eastbound bridge could be expanded. The SDOT response says basically, no:
PLAY POKER AT THE FEEDBACK: Starting tonight, Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) is the home of private events for Seattle Poker Open members, 6 pm Thursdays – membership and event info here. (6451 California SW)
ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 7 pm at Alki UCC Church‘s parlor, with the agenda including a briefing on the application process for park events. (62nd/Hinds)
WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL PTSA: 7 pm in the school library, with scheduled updates including fundraising and athletics. (3000 California SW)
MONEY MANAGEMENT: 7 pm at Hope Lutheran Church, free informational session about Financial Peace University, which starts next week. (42nd/Oregon)
‘BUS STOP’: West Seattle High School Drama Club presents “Bus Stop,” student-directed by Kaya Hubbard, at 7:30 pm tonight and tomorrow in the school theater. Details on the WSHS home page. (3000 California SW)
MORE! on our calendar.
9:41 AM: If you’ve been having trouble getting through to the Swedish clinic in West Seattle, Dr. Tom Erdmann sent this note explaining what’s going on:
Swedish West Seattle has been experiencing phone connectivity issues since late 1/14/2015. We have no outgoing message. The busy signal is due to the phone outage. Repairs are underway but no estimate is available as to when phones will be restored. The clinic is open. If needed, please walk in for an urgent appointment.
(WSB photo, August 8, 2014, from Seattle/Sunset viewpoint in North Admiral)
In this week that’s already had two aircraft-carrier sightings off West Seattle – USS John C. Stennis heading out for training, USS Nimitz moving from Everett to Bremerton for maintenance – we have one more carrier note. Remember the coverage last August as the USS Constellation was towed out, headed down the Pacific Coast, around Cape Horn, up through the Caribbean and to Brownsville, Texas, to be scrapped? Oceangoing tug Corbin Foss, with the “Connie” in tow, is now arriving after five months – the timeline projected back last summer – and expected to finish the journey by tomorrow. The Foss website has kept up its “tow blog” with periodic data entries.
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:12 AM: Good morning! No alerts today – just watching to see how things go. Speaking of watching – we just noticed the city has added more live video to its Travelers Information Map (where you can get the same travel times that are shown on the signs over the major outbound roads), and you can now watch for up to 5 minutes at a time (previously, :30). Explore here, on the lower right.
8:52 AM: See comments for advice to take more time if you’re heading out through Highland Park.
9:36 AM: We’re getting more reports that the truck-backup problem is back and affecting westbound traffic on the bridge. Trying again to find out why this has suddenly flared up over the past few days (for a current visual, see the lower-right image above, from the camera just east of the low bridge, and you can see the truck lineup headed for the port).
3:42 PM: We’ve been tracking the ongoing truck-backup problem in a separate story – see it here.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
Tough defense helped win the night for the West Seattle High School girls-varsity team on their home court last night – 42 to 36 over defending state 3A champion Cleveland. 16 points by the Wildcats’ #4, junior Lydia Giomi, topped the score sheet:
#30, junior Lexi Ioane, followed with 12:
Another home game Friday night for head coach Sonya Elliott‘s Wildcat girls – 6:30 pm against Bainbridge, whose boys team plays their WSHS counterparts that night too, at 8.
(WSB photos: Sealth’s #22, sophomore Sydney Thomas)
The Chief Sealth International High School Seahawks girls-varsity team owned the floor and the air Wednesday night in their home-court win over visiting Franklin, 75-23. Top scorer with 18 points, Sealth’s #23, senior Oshae Walker:
Second-highest Sealth scorer for the night, #4, sophomore Labrea Denson:
(That’s #24, junior Elliott Snodgrass, in the background.) Seahawks head coach Katie Jo Maris‘s team will be on the road at Nathan Hale for their next game, Friday night at 6:30 pm.