West Seattle, Washington
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:38 AM: Good morning! No incidents in the area so far. The president of China is heading from downtown Seattle this morning back to Paine Field in Snohomish County to end his two-day visit; we’ll update here when we hear the motorcade’s on the move. I-5 express lanes are already closed and regional media is expecting the “mainline” to close shortly, as the state’s traffic cams are blacked out.
METRO CANCELLATIONS: One for Route 55 was announced earlier this morning via Twitter and text (as were two others, for non-WS routes). This afternoon we’re getting a closer look at the system, by request – do you have a question or concern beyond the obvious? Please comment (or otherwise message us) so we can be sure to ask about it.
REMINDER – METRO CHANGES SATURDAY: Metro’s next “service change” is Saturday. Not much in it for this area but here’s the breakout we published previously.
TONIGHT – WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, WSTC’s meeting will include a Port of Seattle Commission candidates’ forum as well as discussion of the city’s new West Seattle Bridge Corridor “action report” (first reported here Sunday night, briefly discussed at the City Council Transportation Committee meeting Tuesday).
REMINDER – 35TH & ROXBURY WORK NOT DONE: In case you missed our followup last night – we talked with the project manager for both, to get a status report, about midway through SDOT crews’ work on both arterials.
8:14 AM: Along with the express lanes, I-5 NB from Northgate north to SR 526 is closed for President Xi’s departure.
8:26 AM: WSDOT says the I-5 NB closure now extends south to 85th.
8:44 AM: And now it’s all reopening. P.S. Too soon for schedule/details but if you missed the recent reports, President Obama is visiting Friday, October 9th – that’s two weeks from tomorrow.
5:25 PM: We’ve been covering the Aurora Bridge crash all day at the top of the home page. Also, right now (thanks for the comment), the signal on 35th at Alaska is reported to be cycling too short to keep traffic flowing, so SB traffic is reported to be backing up. SDOT tells us engineers are or will be checking it out.
5:37 PM: Fixed, says SDOT. And our crew’s verified, no residual backup.
Long after Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s two-day visit – ending this morning – is over, hundreds of local students will continue learning about China’s language and culture in local schools. The Confucius Institute is involved in much of that local education, and its Washington branch co-sponsored a spectacular slate of art demonstrations and performances at Chief Sealth International High School last night – coincidental to the president’s presence in our area, as far as we know. The artists and performers were all from Seattle’s sister city Chongqing, in western China; above, a demonstration of sugar painting; below, our video of the Chongqing Song and Dance Troupe performing “Girls Playing Water”:
That was just the first of eleven planned song, dance, and acrobatic performances. The art demonstrations outside the Sealth auditorium preceded the show; they included crafting with shredded bamboo:
Fans and scrolls are some of what’s made from the bamboo filaments:
Before returning home, the Chongqing artists and performers will appear in San Francisco on Saturday.
(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.
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 email@example.com – 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.
One night later than planned, because of last night’s rain, the first meant-to-discourage-lawbreaking red markings are being applied right now to the bus lane approaching, and on, the eastbound West Seattle Bridge. Our quick Instagram clip takes a closer look:
During a brief hard-hat-required photo op with the SDOT crew and Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, first thing we learned was that “markings” is the word because it’s NOT paint. “Paint” was the word used in the city announcement we published – but shortly after arrival in the work zone tonight, talking with crew leaders, we were informed 2′ x 3′ red plastic strips comprise the markings. They’re laid down after the surface is pressure-washed, and then they’re sealed.
Street paint would wear off quickly, it was explained. The plastic is tinted throughout, so it holds its color even as some of the surface wears away. And this is a bright “traffic red” color, in case you were in the contingent thinking red wouldn’t show on a dark, rainy morning/night. In addition, a reflective material tops the plastic strips – looking like frost, to our eyes:
That’ll catch your headlights in those dark hours. The crew started work tonight on the bus lane right after it heads east at the corner of Spokane/Avalon, and were headed toward the high rise when we left. Councilmember Rasmussen said (video) he was glad to see the start of work on one of the items on the 27-project West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor action plan (reported here last night) that his Transportation Committee will review tomorrow – but he also spotted a few things, as we stood along the south side of the bottom of the onramp, such as missing pavement – “you need to get someone out here tomorrow to fix that,” he admonished – and one tattered item suggesting the sidewalk might not have been swept in a few years:
A few decades, maybe. Anyway, if you drive the eastbound bridge – and/or eastbound lower Spokane, east of Avalon – you’ll see red for at least a few years, which is how long the $200,000 application is expected to last.
DOES THIS JEWELRY CHEST SOUND FAMILIAR? Amy, who found it, is all but certain it’s tossed-aside burglary loot:
Hi, I found a large wood jewelry chest dumped in some shrubs in the alley behind where I live. I suspect it belongs to someone whose home was (burglarized) and dumped after they took all the contents. I live near California / Findlay. Wood (cherry colored), 17 x 11 5/8 x 9 1/4, the top lifts up, 3 narrow drawers, burgundy lining. There is a small gold plaque on the top that could be engraved but isn’t. Each side has a gold handle. Sticker on the bottom says: Eureke Mfg. Co, Division of Reed & Barton Silversmith’s Norton MA -2766, also stamped 9/99.
When last we exchanged notes, she was reporting it to police, too. (ADDED: Commenter says this is a silverware chest.)
SPEAKING OF BURGLARIES: Here’s a screenshot from the Seattle Police crime-reports map, showing seven reported burglaries/attempts in West Seattle in the past seven days:
Four are linked (on the city-website version) to reports with details: Last Tuesday night in the 2100 block of 49th SW, a video-game console was stolen; the victim thinks the burglar got in through an unlocked door … Last Tuesday morning in the 8700 block of 16th SW, a resident called police about a man who appeared to be trying to break into a garage off the alley; when confronted, he said he thought it was his friend’s house, and walked away (description: “white male, approximately 6′ tall, wearing dark jeans, a black sweatshirt and a black baseball hat” and carrying a black suitcase “with clothing sticking out of it”) … Earlier last Tuesday morning, in the 9400 block of Delridge Way SW, someone pried open the main entry door to Last Monday in the 9400 block of 7th SW, a house was broken into, its door kicked in and a window smashed, but nothing appeared to have been taken – spots of blood, possibly from the intruder(s), were noticed and sampled for evidence.
WINDOW MYSTERY: From Matt in Fauntleroy:
Sometime early Sunday morning (between 5:00-7:00 AM, I would guess) a window at my house (45th & Director) was hit with an unidentified object.
It looks like it was shot with a bb/pellet gun but I have been unable to locate any bb/pellet/bullet. I did call the police and they sent an officer over. He was unable to determine what broke the window, but guessed that it was either a rock or a bb. Just thought I’d let you know in case anyone else in the area suffered the same misfortune.
If you did … be sure to report it.
ONE MORE REMINDER: Tomorrow night brings the next crime prevention/safety meeting in West Seattle, 6:30 pm Tuesday, as the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meets for the first time since summer recess. Agenda details are on the WSBWCN website. (No, you don’t have to be a BW captain, or even member, to be there – all welcome.)
5:56 PM: Two quick transit-related notes:
REROUTES FOR CHINESE PRESIDENT’S VISIT: As first reported back on Friday night, traffic and transit challenges are expected between tomorrow morning and Thursday morning while the president of China visits the area. He’s flying into and out of Paine Field in Snohomish County and staying in a downtown Seattle hotel. Metro has just published its full list of expected reroutes; no West Seattle-downtown routes appear to be involved, but for those who transfer and/or work in the area, here are the details.
CITY COUNCIL BRIEFING ON METRO CANCELLATIONS: In our followup last week on Metro‘s recent cancellations, which have seemed to be disproportionately affecting West Seattle routes, it was mentioned that Metro GM Kevin Desmond would brief the City Council Transportation Committee tomorrow. That agenda’s gotten busy, including the new West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor report (covered here last night), so the briefing/discussion has been postponed until next week – Monday, September 28th, at the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (full council wearing different hats) meeting, which follows the afternoon City Council meeting. No specific time yet – we’ll be tracking it.
ADDED 6:52 PM: Regarding the first item above – Bill asked in comments about the president’s arrival time. Haven’t found an official direct source so far but the Everett Herald, closest major publication to the arrival airport, says 9:30 am tomorrow. We’ll have the newest information in our daily traffic/transit update first thing in the morning.