West Seattle, Washington
(First 4 photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
Tonight’s sunset was the first of fall 2015, and a West Seattle tradition continued – watching the season’s first sunset from Solstice Park, where special markers line up with where the sun sets at the seasonal switchovers.
Sky-watchers arriving for the fall-equinox sunset watch organized by NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen tried lining up in just the right spot to see their shadows. The park’s markers themselves were an attraction this time around:
They were missing during the summer-solstice sunset watch, in the shop for touchups, but returned in plenty of time for tonight’s event. Alice herself was just back from Oregon.
— Alice's AstroInfo (@AlicesAstroInfo) September 23, 2015
Her grandfather heads the team. Back to Solstice Park – one more look at Alice’s equinox gathering – this photo is courtesy of Scott Scowcroft:
She’s been doing this quarterly for more than five years now – making the change of seasons a little more meaningful for everyone who attends.
P.S. Another big sky-watching event is coming up this Sunday night – a total eclipse of the moon, which will start just after 6 pm, even before the moon rises in the east in our area. Stay tuned for more on that!
(WSB photo from Tuesday night, 35th/Trenton)
In the third week of work on the Roxbury and 35th SW safety projects, SDOT crews are still out, especially at night. After spotting the workers in our photo, using torches last night to install markings, we asked project manager Jim Curtin today for a progress report on what remains to be done:
There is still quite a bit of work to do out there but we hope to complete these projects within the next two weeks. Both corridors are active work zones and we appreciate reminders to the traveling public to slow down in construction zones. Here’s a quick summary of the remaining work:
-Pavement markings and signage: We still have more than 150 pavement markings and signs to install including turn arrows and bus lane legends. [top photo] These markings should help drivers adjust to the new design. We’ll also be back to complete our channelization work on SW Barton Street where we’ll be formalizing the channelization and adding left turn pockets.
See the image [above] for more details.
-Signal adjustments: We’re monitoring these corridors closely to determine if additional signal timing changes are needed. We’re currently keeping a close eye on the intersection of Roxbury and 26th Avenue SW as well as the segment of 35th Avenue SW in the vicinity of Webster and Holden.
-Radar speed signs: We will install two radar speed signs on Roxbury in November near 6th Avenue SW (facing westbound traffic) and 12th Ave SW (facing eastbound traffic). We’ll also replace the radar speed sign on 35th Ave SW and SW Brandon Street around the same time.
While neither of these projects are complete and we’re still working on a few issues, traffic has responded quite well to the design changes. We will begin collecting vehicle and transit travel times in the near future to quantify the effects of this work.
Two West Seattle development notes this afternoon:
(King County Assessor’s Office photo)
PLANS FOR OLD GARAGE SITE: A long-vacant, fenced-off old commercial garage-style building on Fauntleroy Way SW northeast of Morgan Junction now has a development plan. The 67-year-old building is on a 7,140-square-foot lot zoned Lowrise 2; the plan proposes a 6-unit rowhouse building (see the preliminary site plan here).
NIGHT WORK AT THE WHITTAKER: Over the past few nights, several people have asked us about nighttime work at 40th SW and SW Alaska. We’ve confirmed with The Whittaker‘s project team that they’re doing nighttime work that’ll continue over the next two weeks. It’s related to sidewalk and utility work along SW Alaska; it started in daytime hours but that caused too much of a traffic crunch, so the project team and the city came up with a night-work plan, allowing the outside eastbound lane to be closed 6 pm to 6 am. The so-called heavy work – the noisiest part of it – is only allowed through 10 pm; that includes tree removal, stump grinding, concrete demolition, and jackhammering. It’s expected to run through October 7th; later in construction, similar work will be done along SW Edmunds on the south side of the project. (If you’re new, The Whittaker is the largest project ever in West Seattle – approximately 400 apartments, 600 underground parking spaces, and retail including Whole Foods.)
Today was a two-hours-early-dismissal day for Seattle Public Schools students – who are all now done for the day – and that was part of the calendar long before the Seattle Education Association strike. If you’re wondering how the six missed school days will be made up, and how that’ll affect the rest of the year – the district says you won’t have to wonder much longer:
Seattle Public Schools staff and the Seattle Education Association are working to finalize the 2015-16 school year calendar to adjust for the school days missed by the teacher strike. A revised calendar is expected early next week.
State law requires school districts conduct a school year of no less than 180 school days in such grades as are conducted by the school district, and 180 half-days of instruction, or the equivalent, in kindergarten. The district and its partners will need to meet that requirement and look for the best option for adjusting the calendar that works for families.
The new calendar will be posted on the district pages and added to the school calendars as soon as it has been agreed upon by SPS and SEA.
West Seattleites who don’t want former substation sites sold to the highest bidder made their case to the City Council Energy Committee this morning, as previewed here on Monday. (Above, you can watch the full Seattle Channel video of this morning’s meeting.) In addition to the two sites – Delridge and Fauntleroy – for which community groups might get an extra year to raise purchase money, the Dakota site on Genesee Hill might also get a partial reprieve:
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said this morning that he’s introducing an amendment to give that community, where the save-the-sites-as-open-space movement began, up to three years to raise money to buy it. Katie Stemp of Seattle Farm School told the committee about her new idea for the site, and members of the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council spoke of their longtime advocacy for keeping it as community-owned space – particularly considering it’s across the street from the under-construction Schmitz Park at Genesee Hill, which will be home to West Seattle’s most populous elementary school when it opens next school year. The two West Seattle substations that do not appear to have community purchase efforts under way right now are Dumar (in north Highland Park) and Andover (on Pigeon Point); Seattle City Light has said other city departments are not interested in the West Seattle sites. In addition to testimony about specific purchase efforts, some West Seattleites argued that open space is priceless -citing a big backlog of demand for community features such as P-Patches, for example. As committee chair Councilmember Kshama Sawant pointed out, this was the committee’s first look at the substations’ fate, so no vote today on the proposed ordinance that would authorize their sale – that’ll be at a future meeting; we’ll continue to follow up as the process proceeds.
9:44 AM: Police are searching north of The Junction after a bank robbery reported at the Washington Federal branch in the 4100 block of California SW. No other details yet.
9:55 AM: Only description we’ve heard so far is partial: “”black jacket, olive green wading boots, cargo pants.”
— Jennifer Price (@LifeNSciences) September 23, 2015
A K-9 team is helping search.
10:16 AM: We have asked police at the scene if any more descriptive information is available. So far: 6′, male, hat obscuring his face. He was reported to have shown a gun. This is the third bank robbery in West Seattle in less than two months, after more than a year without one – the Bank of America in Admiral was held up last Friday, and the Umpqua Bank in Admiral was robbed in early August.
(Recognize that yacht? Don Brubeck photographed it being towed in Elliott Bay Tuesday morning)
Highlights for the first day/night of fall, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
SELLING EX-SUBSTATIONS? This morning at 9:30 am, the City Council Energy Committee has its first discussion of Seattle City Light‘s proposal to sell off surplus ex-substations in West Seattle, two years after announcing it would be determining the sites’ fate. Full details in our story from Sunday; the meeting’s agenda shows this item should start around 10 am. If you aren’t going to City Hall, you can watch the meeting live on Seattle Channel (online or cable channel 21).
BABY PEPPERS: This support program for parents with babies 5-12 months starts its fall season at 11:30 am at the Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor). Details and registration link are here. (9140 California SW)
LUNCHTIME MEETUP: Noon at Office Junction – West Seattle’s only coworking center (and a WSB sponsor) – a free drop-in lunchtime meetup for not just coworkers and would-be coworkers, but also coffee-shop workers, small-business entrepreneurs, anybody who’s here on the peninsula at midday and ready to inspire/be inspired/listen/talk/etc. Bring your lunch and see who else shows up! (6040 California SW)
DOG DAYS OF SUMMER AT AHSTC: 5-7 pm, it’s the second of five chances for your dog(s) to go swimming at Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club, in the annual benefit event that opens the pool to pooches AFTER its human-swimmer season has ended for the year, BEFORE the annual cleaning. Here’s our coverage from Tuesday night. Fees benefit the AHSTC swim teams. (11003 31st SW)
TRADITIONAL CHINESE PERFORMANCES: Special event tonight at Chief Sealth International High School, presented by the Confucius Institute – read about it here. Exhibition of Chinese arts/crafts starts at 6, dance/music/acrobatics with a troupe from Seattle’s sister city Chongqing starting at 7 pm in the auditorium. Registration required (scroll down for the form) to be sure you get a seat! (2600 SW Thistle)
AUTUMN EQUINOX SUNSET WATCH: It’s a changing-of-the-seasons tradition! On the first sunset after equinoxes and solstices, NASA Solar System Ambassador (and WSB “Skies Over West Seattle“ correspondent) Alice Enevoldsen leads a brief, informative, fun viewing event at West Seattle’s Solstice Park, where special (and newly restored!) markers align with the sun’s path at these key times of year. You might just hear something about the upcoming total lunar eclipse, too. Be there by 6:30. (7400 Fauntleroy Way SW, upslope)
HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: Another community council meets for the first time since summer break, 6:30 pm informal meet-and-greet, 7 pm meeting at Highland Park Improvement Club. As announced by HPAC leadership: “The agenda includes a discussion with an EPA Coordinator about community involvement in the Duwamish Superfund cleanup—what’s worked, what hasn’t, what could be done better, etc. The Community Involvement Plan for the cleanup is being revised and our communities’ feedback is needed on how we want to be kept informed and involved as the cleanup moves forward.” (12th SW & SW Holden)
POEMS AND STORIES: The monthly Poetrybridge event at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) is tonight, 7-9 pm – listen and/or read! Featured readers are Rayn Roberts and Scott Bastian. (5612 California SW)
BROWSE OUR COMPLETE CALENDAR for more of what’s up today/tonight/beyond!
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:35 AM: Good morning and welcome to fall, which arrived very early this morning. No incidents so far. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit continues; regional media is reporting that he won’t be leaving downtown Seattle for a full day of touring until about 10:30 am, so don’t expect any morning-commute effects on the major routes. The later edge of the evening commute might be a different story.
7:30 AM: We’ve heard from two people, including Steven in comments, about a water problem in the northbound lane of Delridge south of Juneau. It’s been reported to Seattle Public Utilities. We won’t be able to check this in person any time soon, but be aware that you might encounter a city crew in the area at some point.
10:25 AM: As expected, the presidential motorcade is on the move or about to be.
I-5 is closed Northbound from NE 85th St to SR 526. Traffic is quickly growing on I-5, use alt routes pic.twitter.com/R5qd2BXZkc
— seattledot (@seattledot) September 23, 2015
The biggest chance for disruption anywhere near our area is this evening – possibly the 6 pm hour – when President Xi will be heading from Tacoma to Seattle.
12:29 PM: The presidential motorcade’s heading back to downtown, as expected, affecting southbound I-5 north of downtown right now.
12:52 PM: Also:
— WA State Patrol (@wastatepatrol) September 23, 2015
2:34 PM: The motorcade is on the move again. Northbound I-5 is closed from James St. to 520.
3:17 PM: The president is arriving now at Microsoft in Redmond.
4:22 PM: And now, from Redmond to Tacoma.
4:56 PM: Next leg of the trip is projected in the 6 pm hour or thereabouts – Tacoma to downtown Seattle. As has already been advised – if you’re going to the Sounders game tonight (7 pm), go early!
6:36 PM: Reported to be headed NB on I-5 from Pierce County.