West Seattle, Washington
King County is mailing ballots tomorrow for this month’s special election. In our area, you’ll just see one thing on the ballot – a levy to raise money to replace the area’s emergency-radio system. In the first of its nine years, the rate will be 7 cents for every thousand dollars of property valuation, so if you have a house valued at $400,000, this will cost you $28. Several areas outside Seattle have various other measures, and you’ll see them in the voters’ pamphlet, but the radio levy is the only thing that’ll be on your ballot, which will be due by 8 pm April 28th. If you mail it back, use a stamp; if you want to vote without paying postage, the West Seattle and White Center dropoff vans will be in place for the last few days of voting – see days, times, locations here. (And if you’re not registered to vote in this state, you have time – register in person by 4:30 pm April 20th.)
That’s the plan for SW Roxbury, which SDOT is about to unveil at the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s April meeting, under way until about 7:30 pm at the Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). An open house is also planned April 16th. First, WWRHAH is hearing briefly from City Council District 1 candidate Lisa Herbold (we’ll add details later on what she says, and other parts of the meeting that aren’t related to the Roxbury presentation).
6:27 PM: SDOT’s Jim Curtin begins his presentation, saying the details (which you can see in the slide deck above) aren’t much different from the previous discussion, and that implementation will start in mid-August. The package, he recaps, has short- and long-term “engineering solutions” for SW Roxbury from Olson on the east to 35th SW on the west. He also recaps the road’s conditions, which are at the start of the slide deck – 52 percent of what’s along Roxbury in that stretch is single-family residential housing. The traffic flow goes from an average of 13,000 vehicles a weekday at 35th to 25,000 vehicles each weekday at Olson. The roots of the project lie in the fact so many people speed – more than 5 mph over the speed limit, on much of the stretch – the average at 30th SW is 41 mph, “a big problem” in SDOT’s view. The stretch has seen 223 crashes with 112 injuries over just the past three years.
The changes are at 60 percent design, close to “ready to go,” Curtin said, and they are coordinating with partner agencies including Metro and King County Roads (though SDOT is accountable for the road from curb to curb). 100 percent design is expected in June, and that’s when they’ll mobilize their crews, in hopes of getting the work done by the first day of the 2015-2016 school year.
Just a few tweaks from the draft plan. From 17th to 35th SW, rechannelization is proposed, “which means we will eliminate a lane of traffic and bring Roxbury down to its surroundings, including parks and schools … while still maintaining travel times that are essentially unchanged for people who are driving. There will be short sections of bus lanes for the 120 and RapidRide; we are going to repave Roxbury from 17th to ’18th and a half’ … a really, really rough section of road.” The curb will be fixed and ADA-complaint curb ramps will be put in, 8 each at 17th and 18th SW.
300 new linear feet of sidewalk will go in, on the south (county) side of the street across from Roxhill Elementary (photo added above), past the auto-parts store and casino – “the last section of Roxbury without sidewalks,” Curtin said, adding that the city and county have secured a grant to pay for this.
No rechannelization is planned east of 17th. At the White Center intersection – 15th/16th “funky five-way split,” as he described it – curb painting and audio pedestrian signals are part of the plan. Then from Olson to 15th SW, the speed limit will be reduced to 30 mph; two new radar speed signs will go in to support that; and other “spot signage” improvements are planned. That will include changes targeting the “persistent collision patterns” at 4th SW and 8th SW. For the latter, Curtin said, the patterns are rear-end crashes. The county has put in a “warning” beacon that isn’t making a difference. Engineers concluded, Curtin said, “we need people to slow down” – as is the case with the “spinout” crashes at 4th SW – and they believe that will make a difference. (Later, he said, they hope to take that “all the way down the hill” toward 509.)
Back to the west – A “shared bus lane” will go in near Roxhill because of operational requirements for Metro and school buses; a potential bus-layover zone is being considered by Roxhill. The Metro transit stop that’s currently right in front of Roxhill Elementary will be moved to the west of 30th (where it had once been). WWRHAH’s transportation chair Chris Stripinis asked if that would create a situation like the notorious C-Line stop at Fauntleroy/California – Curtin cited reasons why it won’t, including a “partial lane” that vehicles will be able to use to get around.
No bicycle lanes right now; bicycle facilities will be considered “later” – likely 2016 – said Curtin; right now, the curb and pavement are not in good-enough shape, and so the area that later will become bicycle lanes will for now be “buffers” between vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
For rechannelization doubters, Curtin hauled out a slide he acknowledged has been shown at many meetings lately – other rechannelized streets including Fauntleroy and (outside West Seattle) NE 75th have seen decreases in crashes even as traffic volume edged up a bit.
Beyond all this, he said, in the long term: If the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle passes, SDOT hopes to “completely rebuild” SW Roxbury, with repaving and even in some places “taking it down to the dirt” and redoing it. Also, a pedestrian signal at or near 12th SW would be a long-term priority, according to Curtin (it came up often at previous meetings). Anything else missing? he asked. WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick suggested a crosswalk at 24th and Roxbury. Between 35th and 30th, Stripinis suggested, some visual cue for crossers would be helpful, since because streets don’t connect from both sides, and drivers don’t tend to stop even for the implied crosswalks at corners.
WWRHAH secretary Joe Szilagyi asked about the parking spots along Roxbury by Taqueria Guaymas at 17th. They’re staying, said Curtin, adding, “Despite what you read … we actually like parking at SDOT,” for reasons including, “it slows people down.” Speaking of slowing down, though they’re not proposing rechannelization of the entire length of Roxbury now – even though it was frequently suggested, Curtin said, during the comment period – it might be looked at again in the future. Also for the wish list, Helmick added, a roundabout for the Olson end, and more mowing and vegetation clearing so people who are walking and biking can get through.
Though it’s technically beyond Roxbury, several people brought up the walking/biking dangers of going down the hill from Olson toward SW Cloverdale and South Park, as something that should eventually be examined.
Curtin then put up the engineering plans for Roxbury, starting with the 35th/Roxbury intersection, which he said “works remarkably well.” (A side discussion erupted regarding sidewalks on 35th, and Curtin reiterated that the city has some in the works all the way to 106th. Not part of the project in the spotlight tonight, but still of interest.) One stretch is still undecided – the eastbound side near Roxbury Safeway, where they had been looking at a bus lane but decided they don’t need it. Maybe a right turn lane? Right now, by the way, Curtin said, the 28th/Roxbury intersection “functions really well,” too. At 26th, there’ll be a right-turn-only lane heading southbound, and then it’ll be a bus-only lane on the outside, east of 28th, with a bus-and-turn lane on the westbound side, turning onto 26th and heading toward Westwood Village. This intersection’s design isn’t completely finalized, though, acknowledged Curtin – “we’re still kind of wrestling with (it).”
7:20 PM: Overall, he summarized, “this project is universally loved by everyone at SDOT,” where he says some wondered how the road ever had “so many lanes.” If you have comments, go to the Open House, and/or e-mail Curtin – firstname.lastname@example.org – ASAP.
Rest of the meeting:
Though the local political discussion has been dominated by the City Council District 1 race for months, you’ll be voting in many other races this summer/fall – among them, Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors Position 6, representing West Seattle and South Park. Marty McLaren, the Puget Ridge resident first elected four years ago, confirms to WSB that she plans to run for re-election. And her first challenger has come forward today: Leslie Harris, a native West Seattleite and longtime local political activist, who announced via her personal Facebook page, from which we quote with her permission:
My reasons are that we can do so much better for our kids and families and communities.
We need to put more dollars in the classrooms. We need to address the cycles of high stakes testing. We need to address the current and looming capacity crisis. We need to address the decades of maintenance backlogs. We need more transparency and more follow-up to unanswered questions. We need to replicate what is working and move away from failures. We need accountability and leadership. I have attended board and committee meetings at the central office for over 10 years, worked on other Directors’ campaigns and do understand the commitment for what is essentially a volunteer position.
With 30 years active in the Democratic Party, as a District Chair and several years service on the State Democratic Central Committee, State President of my professional association and two terms on its national board, and 13 years of PTSA, several years on a school building leadership team, recent lengthy service on a local contemporary dance company board, over 20 years on community college advisory boards — I understand board policy making functions and fiduciary duty. I know how to read budgets and ask questions and drill down to the critical facts.
Harris, who is a veteran litigation paralegal, says her website will be live by week’s end at harrisforschoolboard.com.
(WSB photo, taken from Vashon Island on March 29th)
You’ll be seeing a lot more of the M/V Sally Fox off West Seattle shores starting tomorrow afternoon: Vashon Island’s new Water Taxi officially goes into service with the 4:30 pm run on Wednesday, as just announced by the county. Here’s our coverage of the Sally Fox dedication ceremony on Vashon a week and a half ago. It’s a twin to the M/V Doc Maynard, under construction now and due to take over the West Seattle Water Taxi run in October.
The first goats ever booked for West Seattle work by SDOT are now on the job – Rent-A-Ruminant‘s goats are at work along the Delridge/Holden stairway:
We first told you back on Friday about the plan for them to spend a few days tidying up the overgrowth that has created safety issues along this stairway, which was the site of one of the student-targeting robberies earlier this year.
We will of course be checking in to see how it’s going. Note that this is not a particularly spectator-friendly site – on either end – busy roads bookend the stairway (Delridge and 20th SW). Rent-A-Ruminant proprietor Tammy is on scene to keep watch over her herd. We’ll be adding more photos later.
ADDED 3:45 PM: Went back over to check in – here’s a bit of Instagram video, from through their protective fence:
Tammy tells us about 40 goats are on the job here – her first job of the season; she generally works with them April through October. In all, she has more than 100 goats; they’re based on Vashon Island.
(WSB photo: SPD vehicles around the corner from reported crime scene)
11:48 PM: Seattle Police just tweeted that they are investigating an armed robbery reported at a home in the 8100 block of
22nd SW. We are arriving in the area and see police along Thistle west of 22nd. More to come.
12:03 PM: Yes, that’s a TV helicopter. Meantime, police at the scene tell us they’re still sorting out the circumstances – whether robbery or burglary.
12:24 PM: The police search spans several blocks in all directions from the house where an intruder was spotted, so if you’re seeing police anywhere from Sunrise Heights to Westwood, it’s likely related. Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Stacy Howard tells us that Sealth/Denny are NOT on lockdown or shelter-in-place, in case you are wondering.
12:34 PM: Update – now Howard says these schools are sheltering in place: Sealth, Denny, WS Elementary, Highland Park, Sanislo.
12:50 PM: Police tell us they have confirmed this was a home invasion. More just posted to SPD Blotter:
Police are searching for a man who entered a West Seattle home Tuesday morning and pointed a gun at the resident before fleeing with several stolen purses.
A woman called 911 around 11:30 AM saying a man armed with a shotgun had entered her home in the 8100 block of
22nd Ave SWand locked her and her four-year-old son in a bathroom. The woman and her son climbed through a bathroom window and ran to a neighbors house where she called 911.
According to the victim the suspect left the home after stealing two purses and some prescription medications. The suspect is described as a white male, about 5’4″, thin build, with “scruffy” facial hair, wearing a black Kangol hat, black jacket, dark pants and sunglasses.
Officer searched the home and neighborhood and are still working to locate the suspect. Robbery detectives will be handling the investigation.
1:01 PM UPDATE: SPS says shelter in place lifted at all 7 schools that had one because of this.
5:27 PM UPDATE: As pointed out in comments, the address turned out to be on 24th, not 22nd as per both of SPD’s initial reports above.
WSDOT has gone public this morning with a summary of what was found during the twice-yearly inspection that closed the Alaskan Way Viaduct a week ago Saturday. Toplines:
Survey crews measure 1/8 to 1/4 inch of additional settlement near Seneca Street. Some widening of existing cracks noted. Additionally, crews note two new cracks on columns near Yesler Way. New crack gauges and focused monitoring in these areas. Other crack measurements are stable.
Despite the new cracks and added settling, WSDOT says, “The viaduct remains safe for everyday use.”
SIDE NOTE: The West Seattleite who has delivered so many briefings on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project – going back years pre-tunnel, too – is leaving WSDOT after 23 years. Deputy program administrator Matt Preedy announced last Friday that he’s moving to Sound Transit later this spring. In his announcement, forwarded to us by a recipient, Preedy wrote to his colleagues, in part, “Together, we have overcome a number of obstacles and challenges on this very complex construction project. No one ever said building a tunnel under downtown Seattle would be easy but I am confident we have the right team to see it through. … The Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program will always remain the highlight of my career at WSDOT and I plan to celebrate with you at the ribbon-cutting.”
SPEAKING OF THE TUNNEL: The latest “expert review panel” report on the project is out – read it here.
(Merlin, photographed at Alki Point last Thursday by Gary Jones. Click photo for larger image)
Lots happening in West Seattle tonight:
NEIGHBORHOOD CONSERVATION DISTRICTS? City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s been working on a plan to make them possible – but wants to know what you think about the idea. Come talk about it at 6 pm at High Point Community Center; more info here. (6920 34th SW)
SW ROXBURY PLAN: 6:15 pm at Southwest Branch Library, join the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council for its monthly meeting, including SDOT’s presentation of the final plan for making SW Roxbury safer. Agenda also includes hearing from City Council District 1 candidate Lisa Herbold, plus updates on ongoing WWRHAH projects/concerns. All welcome. (35th/Henderson)
‘WIZARD OF OZ’ AT GATEWOOD: Remember those adorable photos of Gatewood Elementary first-graders’ “Wizard of Oz” production? Tonight at 6:30 pm is their encore performance, open to the entire community, at the Gatewood cafeteria. (4320 SW Myrtle)
INTERESTED IN SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ‘HIGHLY CAPABLE’ PROGRAMS? The districtwide advisory committee meets at 6:30 pm tonight, Fairmount Park Elementary, which happens to be one of the schools on the new K-12 HC “pathway” planned in this area. (38th/Findlay)
LOTS MORE for today/tonight – find it all on our calendar!
This afternoon, when Chief Sealth International High School and West Seattle High School face off in a boys-varsity soccer match at Southwest Athletic Complex (4 pm), keep an extra eye on three players who just scored big at a prestigious international tournament.
Amanda e-mailed us to let us know about what those three – WSHS goalkeeper Akili Kasim and Sealth players Abel Kidane and Miguel Macias Garibay – accomplished with their premier soccer team Seattle United 98 Copa at the country’s biggest youth-soccer tournament last week:
— Seattle United (@SeattleUnited) April 5, 2015
The team won its division (U-16) at the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup, going undefeated all week – the first team from Washington state to win any division at the invitation-only tournament.
We connected with Akili’s mom Nikki to find out more. She shared photos and explained that the Dallas Cup draws “the best teams from across the world, most of them being Academy teams, which Copa isn’t. … When they left, Akili made a promise to his West Seattle soccer team and his classmates, ‘I’m bringing the boot home to Seattle.’ With that, Akili, Miguel, and Abel played outstandingly. I received texts all week about players and here are what some said about these 3:
… Miguel with a beautiful goal, Miguel gets another, Miguel is on fire
… Abel’s footwork is like a pro today, Abel with the best assist yet,
… Akili with a Spider-Man like save, Akili with another amazing save”
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
No incidents reported so far on the routes through/from West Seattle. A few notes:
STAIRWAY GOATS: We reported last Friday on SDOT’s plan to bring in Rent-A-Ruminant goats this week to clear overgrowth along the stairway that goes up Holden from Delridge. At the time, SDOT expected them to be at work by 8 am today, but they now tell us the start is likely to be between 11 am and 2 pm. We’ll update when there’s a sighting.
‘ROXBURY REVEAL’ TONIGHT AT WWRHAH: Tonight’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting (6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library) will include first word of SDOT’s final plan for making SW Roxbury safer.
Also, a reminder –
ROAD CLOSURE: The SW Waite closure on the north/northwest side of the 47th/Admiral signal/crosswalks project continues – thanks to Jed for tweeting this photo:
— N Jed Murdock (@jedmurdock) April 7, 2015
The closure is expected to last all week.