West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As the temperatures have dropped, so has West Seattle crime. The report heard by the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network tonight was basically what the WS Crime Prevention Council heard last week (WSB coverage here), and what online reports have borne out: After an early August spike, and some key arrests, things have slowed way down.
From tonight’s meeting at the Southwest Precinct:
CRIME TRENDS: Operations Lt. Ron Smith told the 15+ WSBWCN attendees that the Anti-Crime Team has “made some great arrests,” about a dozen people. While back during the week of August 9th, there were 32 car prowls in West Seattle – “that’s a lot” for this area – that fell to 8 car prowls a week in mid-September, and this past week, 3 car prowls, after some arrests with the help of watchful neighbors – “our K-9 is running down the street and a citizen will come out and identify which shed someone is hiding in.” Lt. Smith declared that drop “That’s a drastic turnaround.” One commercial burglary this past week, also a drop, and residential burglaries are also down on average – peaking in early August at 14 burglaries one week, declining to 4 the week of September 6th, 7 the most recent week (as shown here last night). Year-to-date compared to last year, residential burglaries are down 5 percent in this area – 349, compared to 370. (At right, the city map for the past week, filtered for burglaries, car prowls, and robberies.)
Auto thefts are reported to be up a bit lately but down 5 percent year-to-year – Lt. Smith says some of the more recent arrestees are “back on the streets” so the Anti-Crime Team is back on their case. The robbery rate is more or less unchanged, averaging three per week, which includes shoplifting cases that were classified as robberies because the thief used force. Lt. Smith also mentioned that the recent Hamilton Viewpoint Park concerns seemed to be under control. Asked about the Community Police Team status, it’s still at half-strength, down to two officers, but three candidates are being evaluated, Lt. Smith said.
Two other major topics tonight:
That’s the Seattle Channel video from this morning’s City Council Transportation Committee meeting, where the big “action report” for the West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor received relatively little examination, since everything else ahead of it on the agenda had taken so much time. (Advance the video to 2:17:34 to get right to it; it’s the final 15 minutes of the meeting.)
We brought you the first look at the report, with its 27-item project list and an even weightier “white paper,” on Sunday night – if you haven’t seen it already, take a look here for direct links as well as embedded versions of the three project documents.
West Seattle-residing, and soon-departing, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen – the committee’s chair – reminded those on hand this morning that ours is “the busiest traffic corridor in Seattle.” As the report notes, the number of “incidents” (crashes, stalls) in the corridor isn’t high – but any incident’s impact IS, affecting traffic for an estimated 47 to 55 minutes on average.
A few “highlights” mentioned by SDOT staffers from the project list, in the brief briefing:
*Red bus-lane markings (happening now) – “we’ve seen some promising results” from elsewhere in the city, SDOT says. Rasmussen reinforced that more enforcement will be sought.
*ITS improvements (messaging-board signage, signal adjustments, etc.)
*Enhanced crossing improvements at the notorious 5-way intersection
*4th Avenue improvements, especially to make it more viable for transit, particularly looking ahead to the post-Viaduct Highway 99 future
Some of the changes won’t require more money – just more training, for incident-management protocol changes, for example. Some ITS changes will require more money, though, and that’s part of November’s Move Seattle levy, the committee was reminded.
Rasmussen asked about a long-sore subject – working with the U.S. Coast Guard on reducing low-bridge openings during peak times, or at least during incidents – SDOT’s Bill LaBorde did not sound terribly optimistic. It’s still “voluntary compliance” with the request to reduce some of those openings. (Rasmussen led multiple attempts to change this in recent years, and the feds said no each time – saying maritime takes precedence.)
So what happens to all these ideas now? We asked Councilmember Rasmussen that last night, during a short interview in the bus-lane-marking zone. He said he’s glad to get all this out there – but others will need to step forward to hold the city accountable. (He didn’t say it, but whomever’s elected to the District 1 City Council seat – which he decided not to seek – is a prime candidate, obviously.)
(For starters, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, which pushed for much of this even before its first year was out, will be talking about it at its meeting this Thursday, September 24th, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, 6400 Sylvan Way SW.)
RELATED NOTE – TRAFFIC INCIDENT MANAGEMENT: Preceding the bridge-report presentation, Heather Marx from SDOT said 17 of the recommendations have now been acted on. She handed the baton to Mark Bandy, an urban-traffic-corridors specialist hired by SDOT from WSDOT, as mentioned in our followup a month ago on the incident-management recommendations.
No, this isn’t a big round of boundary changes, but, as already approved by the Seattle Public Schools board, local attendance maps have a few tweaks next year, and the district is having a meeting in case you have questions. Thanks to Robin for the tip; the West Seattle meeting is at 6:30 pm Monday, October 5th, in the lunch room at Schmitz Park Elementary (5000 SW Spokane), with interpretation available in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Somali. Lots of info here, including links to the maps of the pockets where default school assignments are changing for next school year – three pockets for elementary, one each for middle and high school. These changes are related to the opening of the new Arbor Heights Elementary building next school year; boundary adjustments for the new Schmitz Park Elementary at Genesee Hill, which also opens next school year, are already in place. (While the district website shows maps for subsequent school years too, none of the 2017-and-beyond changes are in WS.)
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
Didn’t take your dog to the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club tonight for the first of five “Dog Days of Summer“? Your next chance is 5-7 pm tomorrow. It was sunny but a little brisk, yet the dogs just couldn’t wait to get into the pool
This is an annual fundraiser tradition to help support the AHSTC swim teams – the dogs are allowed in after the human swimming season ends, before the pool is drained and cleaned to await next year.
This continues 5-7 pm the next three days, and 11 am to 1 pm this Saturday – details in our preview.
The pool is at 11003 31st SW.
Last Sunday, the county celebrated completion of its raingarden/stormwater-diversion project in Sunrise Heights and Westwood (formally known as the Barton CSO Control Project). Now, the city is announcing it’s almost done with its two Delridge-area CSO (combined-sewer overflow) reduction projects – the two that also were affecting traffic in the work zones at times in recent months. From Seattle Public Utilities:
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is wrapping up work at CSO 2 and CSO 3, two sewer improvement project sites in the Delridge neighborhood. Crews are finishing construction next month and both sites will be fully operational by the end of the year. Thanks for your patience during construction!
WHAT WE DID
Over the past year, we installed:
* A “smart” system, including valves and sensors to better monitor and control the amount of stormwater and sewage that is allowed to enter the downstream sewer system
* A new ventilation fan to improve air quality and safety for workers in the large storage tank
* Roadside cabinets to transmit flow information to SPU
* Pedestrian and landscaping improvements
WHY WE DID IT
During heavy rainstorms, combined sewer overflow (CSO) storage tanks hold excess storm water and sewage until there is capacity in the downstream system to carry it away, reducing the chance of sewage overflows into Longfellow Creek. As CSO 2 and CSO 3 aged, they became less efficient, resulting in more frequent overflows. This project increased the efficiency of these storage tanks, which will reduce overflows of untreated stormwater and sewage into Longfellow Creek.
* Landscaping at both sites (through fall 2015)
* Installation of permanent public art at CSO 3, commissioned through the city of Seattle Percent-for-Art program (2016)
* Ongoing equipment testing at both sites and the diversion structure
Details of the art project are in our coverage of last May’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting.
Thanks to Dina Lydia for sharing her short, fun video from Alki Beach, as summer enters its final hours. Here’s what’s up for the rest of today/tonight, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
WEST SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADERS BENEFIT: From Melinda:
Bring your friends and family and support WSHS Cheer at Marination Ma Kai tonight from 4-8 pm!! A percentage of all food sales will go directly to the team and help support various activities throughout the coming year!!
(1660 Harbor SW)
WEST SEATTLE BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS NETWORK: 6:30 pm at the Southwest Precinct meeting room, come catch up after a busy summer, and find out more about where the micro-community policing plans for West Seattle stand. More info on the WSBWCN website. (2300 SW Webster)
DELRIDGE LIBRARY STORY TIME: 7 pm tonight, it’s Family Story Time at the Delridge Library. Free and fun! (5423 Delridge Way SW)
P.S. Got registration? It’s National Voter Registration Day. Lots to decide in the November election – don’t miss it.
After its 50th-anniversary reunion this year, the Chief Sealth Class of 1965 is working on a special project, and needs your help. The request we were asked to share:
The class of 1965 will be presenting a granite and brass Memorial Plaque of all Sealth graduates that were killed in action in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan at sometime in the near future. We were hoping that you might be able to assist us in notifying the families of these brave soldiers so they might attend if they wish or are able. Date to be determined.
Sigrid Karlstrom ’61 (family notified)
Lewis Nelson ’62
Allan Potter ’64
Luigi Filbanese ’65
Thomas Foster ’65
Thomas Harding ’65
Richard Krogh ’65
Norman Chaney ’66
Dick DeGraaf ’66 (family notified)
David Lauritsen ’66
John Rauen ’66
Mark Knollmeyer ’67
Donald Douglas ’68
Clarence Risher ’68
Tracy Melvin ’95
Jarod Newlove ’03
Only 2 families have been notified so far. If we can at least get the contacts made in the next few weeks, it will be much easier to notify these families once a date has been set for the presentation of this memorial at Chief Sealth High School. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.
If you are a relative of anyone mentioned – or if you know how to reach them – please e-mail Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
(August 28th photo, courtesy Megan)
From the “in case you were wondering too” file: Three and a half weeks after the fire that destroyed mail and led to removal of the mailbox outside the Westwood post office, we asked USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson if it would be back any time soon. His response: “There is no spare mail collection box of this type available. So we are repairing the old one. The process is underway and we hope to have it ‘back in place’ in the not too distant future. I can’t give you a date for that just yet.” We’re still checking on the fire investigation, but we’ve been asked several times recently about the box’s status, so here’s that followup in the meantime. If you need an outdoor dropbox, the Junction post office (California between Genesee and Oregon) still has one.
Fall officially arrives early tomorrow – 1:22 am our time- and yes, West Seattle’s own NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen has confirmed this morning that she WILL help you welcome the new season with her 26th seasonal-sunset-watch event at Solstice Park tomorrow night. Be there by 6:30 pm Wednesday to (among other fun and educational things) see how the sunset lines up with the park’s special markers – which were not on hand for the summer solstice, due to restoration work, but, we are told, have since been returned. Solstice Park is east of the north end of Lincoln Park; Alice’s website AlicesAstroInfo.com has directions. See you there! (WSB photo from Alice’s 2014 fall-equinox event)
(SCROLL DOWN for updates on President Xi Jinping’s arrival/Seattle-bound travel)
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:16 AM: Good morning. It’s Tuesday. So let’s get right to Topic A:
ABOUT THAT PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: The warnings started last week, that the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping could lead to a regional traffic nightmare from his arrival this morning through his departure Thursday morning. Here’s the newest information:
–Arrival: His 747 is bound for Paine Field in Snohomish County, original estimate 9:30 am-ish per the Everett Herald, which says he’ll be welcomed there by a delegation including Gov. Inslee and Mayor Murray. (Check flight tracking here or here.)
–After that: He’s headed to Seattle. Exactly where/when hasn’t been announced. But overall – here’s a one-sheet from SPD:
We’ll update with any more info we get through the day, particularly affecting I-5 and 99.
OTHER WEST SEATTLE ALERTS: On the eastbound bridge, you’ll see the new red bus-lane markings (here’s what we found out in the work zone last night) … At 9:30 am, the City Council Transportation Committee meeting includes discussion of the new West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor report (first published here Sunday night), with 27 potential action items … Also on that agenda, SDOT director Scott Kubly‘s periodic report. It previews more speed-limit cuts citywide next year:
Vision Zero Partners Meeting occurred on August 31 to discuss 2015 implementation and start developing our 2016 work plan.
20 mph speed limit on non-arterials streets citywide
25 mph Citywide arterial speed limit (unless otherwise signed)
Gateway signage at all entrances to Seattle
New red light camera installations
Educational outreach highlighting crosswalk law
This year, some arterials are being lowered to 30 mph – including Roxbury and 35th in West Seattle, as they’re being rechannelized – and some neighborhood streets, to 20 mph (Admiral-area signage changes got a little more attention because of a signage snafu, you might recall).
8:24 AM: TV traffic tweeters are reporting that the southbound I-5 express lanes have been closed ahead of the Chinese president’s arrival, though his 747 hasn’t landed at Paine Field yet.
8:47 AM: KING’s crew at Paine Field says the landing is expected in about 15 minutes.
9:08 AM: Multiple regional-news crews at Paine Field have shown the 747 touching down moments ago. With the southbound I-5 express-lane shutdown, it appears that’s the route he’ll be using to head to downtown Seattle from there, but no word yet how soon. We’ll update when we hear that’s under way.
— Lewis Kamb (@lewiskamb) September 22, 2015
9:49 AM: The presidential motorcade is now reported to be headed southbound toward Seattle. We’re moving on to other news atop the home page but will update here when there’s word he’s arrived and anything else major during the day.
10:30 AM: Following the arrival downtown, this from WSDOT re: I-5:
We're working on reopening the I-5 express lanes SB. They'll stay open SB until noon.
— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) September 22, 2015
11:30 AM: Stalled vehicle reported toward the westbound inside lane(s) of the West Seattle Bridge, midspan.
4:12 PM: The presidential entourage is expected to stay in downtown Seattle for the rest of tonight, so there are no “on the move” advisories expected during the commute – but tomorrow, he has stops including Redmond and Tacoma, so expect more effects at more times.