West Seattle, Washington
Will Metro Route 120 be improved or damaged if it’s turned into a RapidRide line? That was arguably the biggest topic of Monday night’s meeting on the West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor “action report.” The meeting at the Sisson Building in The Junction followed up on the report’s September debut, which in turn fulfills a promise made by City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen in his final year of office, and responds to a push from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition in its priority-setting.
The “action report” includes 27 possibilities envisioned to improve getting around in the corridor. You can read through them here:
On Monday night, SDOT’s Bill LaBorde presented them to the light turnout, fewer than a dozen people, who as a result had time to ask questions as the presentation went by. Big questions about transforming Route 120 – a short-term priority (see page 8) – included whether stops would be consolidated as with other RapidRide routes – Route 54/55 to the C Line, for example. Also: Would the stops include curb bulbs, like the ones in Morgan Junction that lead to backups. And, with the narrowness of Delridge in some spots, will the big RapidRide buses really work? LaBorde said most of the project’s $43 million cost would go to street improvements; he believed bulbs would be studied carefully before any implementation, and he didn’t envision much stop consolidation beyond what already has happened on Delridge.
Another big topic: Low-bridge openings during commute times, and the city repeatedly getting turned down in its requests to find ways to at least limit them. The city is continuing to talk to the U.S. Coast Guard, said LaBorde, while pointing out that some sailings are tide-dependent and the tides are when they are. The city is looking at operational efficiencies for bridge openings, though, including ways the bridge itself might be able to get the job done more quickly. A study would be needed, he said.
Speaking of the low bridge, the five-way intersection at Spokane/Marginal at its west end, and the one at the bottom of the eastern Admiral Way hill, both came up. The former is in the action plan, the latter is not. And to the east, the need for the Lander Street Overcrossing – still on the drawing board, years after it was expected to be built – was stressed.
Along with the plan’s potential projects, Councilmember Rasmussen pointed out the city’s traffic-incident-management changes, forced by the fish-truck-crash debacle, and intended to ensure that traffic blockages in corridors like this one are dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible.
Some of the “action plan” items are tied to the Move Seattle levy on the November 3rd ballot. What happens if the levy is rejected? Rasmussen was asked. At the very least, he said, the projects would be sequenced in a slower rollout – if you want improvements, he said, there has to be money for them.
P.S. For an update on #26 on the list – possible light rail for this area via the future Sound Transit 3 ballot measure – come to the WSTC’s meeting tomorrow night (Thursday), 6:30 pm, at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way).
A big development tonight in the Port of Seattle‘s plan to “modernize” Terminal 5 in West Seattle – and in neighbors’ push for a full environmental review.
The Port announced tonight that it will be creating an Environmental Impact Statement for the modernization project after all. It had not been planning on one – believing, as reps told the West Seattle Transportation Coalition in July, that while it would have bigger ships, it wouldn’t have bigger cargo volume. But neighbors had campaigned for an EIS, even placing roadside signs promoting a website that pointed to a petition, as reported here back in August:
Then, there were hints that the tide on this might be turning, including a mention at this month’s Southwest District Council meeting that a potential tenant with whom the port was talking would have needs beyond what had been anticipated when the port said it didn’t need to do a major review. And now tonight, port reps sent word of the plan for the EIS. A website is already live, with both an “online open house” that you can explore at any time – officially, tomorrow (October 22nd) through Nov. 23rd – and word of a “scoping meeting” set for 5:30-8:30 pm November 12th at The Hall at Fauntleroy. (The process is explained here.)
Shortly after receiving word of the planned EIS from community advocates (thank you), we also received a news release from port spokesperson Peter McGraw. We asked him a followup question on whether this was an indication an announcement of a tenant is imminent; his reply – “We continue to have discussions with potential customers.” You can read the full news release here.
5:44 PM: Thanks for the texts. The state ferry M/V Puyallup has been involved in what Washington State Ferries describes as a “search/rescue” situation off Alki Point. The U.S. Coast Guard says someone might have gone overboard and it’s helping search. The Puyallup’s one of the biggest ferries in the system and serves the Seattle-Bainbridge run.
6:05 PM: The Puyallup is continuing to sail slowly off Alki, changing directions periodically – it’s currently heading westward again, according to VesselWatch. Our crew sees the USCG helicopter circling, too.
6:31 PM: The Puyallup finally went on to Bainbridge Island. One person on board tweets that what/who they were looking for might just have been “a seal.”
10:10 PM: The USCG says the search was officially suspended before 8 pm after Puyallup’s captain confirmed no one was missing.
4 PM: Here’s what’s new in the arson investigation:
Investigators were back in Morgan Junction at midday today, hours after the 2:36 am recycling-bin arson, which has been added to the list of set fires that, as first reported here last night, now dates back nine days. But those investigators weren’t just taking another look at the 40th/Morgan fire that destroyed a bin and charred a fence. We saw them also examining this:
At mid-morning today, two nearby residents called our attention to that spot of burned vegetation on the same side of Morgan as the early-morning bin fire, about a block east/uphill. The SFD call log does not show a callout for it, but neither resident could recall seeing the damage before this morning. So far, Seattle Police haven’t officially added it to the list. But for the overall series of arsons, they are now widely publicizing the $10,000 reward listed on the signs we’ve been showing you – it’s now available for information that solves this fire-setting spree. Here are the locations shown on the map included in their updated SPD Blotter post:
As Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis confirmed to WSB at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, the first fire was set in a trash can on the lawn of a vacant home in the 6500 block of 34th SW. The Seattle Fire log shows that response at 2:40 am Monday, October 12th. Today’s SPD Blotter update says another arson happened at the same time at a nearby bus stop on SW Morgan, where a burning box was found.
Then came the fires set beneath two cars parked next to each other in the 2700 block of SW Sylvan Heights Drive last Sunday morning.
One car’s owner told WSB that the fires were set in some kind of box placed under the cars. That fire callout was at 4:50 am.
On Monday morning at 3:16 am, SFD was called to a waste-bin fire outside the southeast side of the High Point rental-office building at 35th and Holly, a building whose other tenants include a mosque. Though the fire was put out before too much damage was done, you’ll recall it flared up 11 hours later, at 2 pm, bringing a huge response.
The flareup led to serious damage, especially to the building’s mansard-style roof.
Then came this morning’s fire in the recycling bin in the Morgan-facing driveway of a house in the 6500 block of 40th SW. Police responded quickly, as did SFD, but searching the area was a challenge because of thick fog. We just asked SPD again if there’s any hint of a description of a suspect, person of interest, vehicle, anything – so far, Officer Lauren Lovanhill told us, the answer to that is “no.” If you have any information that might help the investigation, don’t hesitate to call 911 or 800-55-ARSON. And in the meantime, consider taking steps to keep the arsonist(s) from finding an easy target – here again is the flyer that’s been distributed around the area, and was shared at last night’s WSCPC meeting:
You can also see it on SPD Blotter. SPD, by the way, says federal ATF investigators are working with them, and that they are checking other jurisdictions to see if anything else might be linked. So far, none of the fires have led to injuries.
ADDED 8:39 PM: Capt. Davis spoke to the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting tonight, talking about the arsons. No major new information but we recorded it on video so you could hear for yourself:
Seattle firefighters from Engine 37 also were there, and presented the type of information you see above, about keeping your home and its periphery clear of anything that might be a “target” for an arsonist.
–Tracy Record, WSB editor
(2013 West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival trick-or-treating photo courtesy Brian Presser of TouchTech Systems)
The slate is set for this year’s local business-district trick-or-treating:
*West Seattle Junction, noon-2 pm this Sunday (October 25th) during the Harvest Festival (co-sponsored by WSB, starting with “harvest activities” at 10)
*Admiral District, 3-6 pm Friday, October 30th
*White Center, noon on Halloween (Saturday, October 31st)
*Westwood Village, 5-7 pm on Halloween (Saturday, October 31st)
Lots of other Halloween-season events are also already on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, and our traditional one-pager showing them all together is in the final stages, so if you have an event coming up – whether kid stuff, grownup stuff, or all ages – please get us the info ASAP, firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
Less than a week after their Huling Bowl faceoff (WSB photo/video coverage here), West Seattle High School and Chief Sealth International HS meet again tomorrow, at the start of the prep postseason. The game’s at 4:30 pm Thursday at Memorial Stadium downtown.
(Foggy scene on the Sound, photographed from the Alki Trail by Don Brubeck)
Decisions, decisions! Many ways to spend your afternoon/evening. Do something you’ve never done. Maybe it’s on the list. From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
LUNCH WITH SOMEONE NEW: Noon-1:15 pm, home office/coworking brown-bag-lunch meetup at West Seattle Office Junction (WSB sponsor). Talk about your project, your business … get inspired, or at least get some new feedback! (6040 California SW)
MORGAN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: Live, work, play, shop in Morgan Junction? 7 pm in the lower-level meeting rooms at The Kenney (WSB sponsor), 16 items on the agenda – see them all here – from land use to art to politics to safety, just to categorize a few. (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW)
DELRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL: Live, work, play, shop, study in eastern West Seattle? 7 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, join reps from the area’s major community groups and organizations for the council’s monthly meeting. Topics include an update on the Delridge/Highland Park Neighborhood Greenway – now under construction – and the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 modernization plans. (4408 Delridge Way SW)
WORDSWEST LITERARY SERIES: If you haven’t been yet, maybe this is the night. 7 pm at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), this month’s WordsWest Literary Series lineup features Ruby de Luna and Stephanie Timm, on “Writing Meant To Be Heard (Literally).” Full details on the WW website; for even more backstory, check this out. (5612 California SW)
NEW TIME FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT FAMILY FRISBEE: 7 pm tonight at Walt Hundley Playfield, join West Seattle Ultimate Family Frisbee for the weekly pickup game at a new time. (34th SW & SW Myrtle)
(Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries, Vancouver Aquarium, “taken by UAV from above 90 feet under NMFS research permit and FAA flight authorization.” Mother ID’d as J16 with calf J50)
New information today about Puget Sound’s endangered orcas – thanks to an aerial study done via drone – and NOAA says, among other things, what they found brings “hope for the population.” Here’s the news release we received this morning:
A NOAA Fisheries research team flying a remotely operated hexacopter in Washington’s San Juan Islands in September collected high-resolution aerial photogrammetry images of all 81 Southern Resident killer whales that showed the endangered whales in robust condition and that several appear to be pregnant.
Photogrammetry is the science of making measurements from photographs and has proven to be a powerful method for understanding the health of whales and other wildlife. Researchers can readily identify individual killer whales from the distinctive shape of their dorsal fin and saddle patch from the air or water, allowing them to track the condition of individual whales over time. Following analysis, individual growth and body condition from this year will be compared to previous photogrammetric assessments in 2008 and 2013 to assess changes.
The thousands of photogrammetry images collected to date provide important baseline information about the condition of the whales as a warm El Nino climate pattern takes hold along the West Coast following more than a year of already unusually warm ocean temperatures. El Nino and warm ocean conditions have in the past led to declines in salmon, the favored food of Southern Residents.
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:28 AM: No incidents in/from West Seattle so far this foggy morning. But the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth state-ferry run is without its largest boat again; M/V Issaquah is out of service for repairs.
7:38 AM: Crash reported at Fauntleroy/Raymond, blocking the northbound side.
7:51 AM: Update from WSF: “The Issaquah is out of service until further notice due to necessary repairs. The route will continue to run on the 3-boat schedule without the Issaquah’s sailings until further notice as well. Currently, the 7:55 am from Southworth, 8:15 am from Vashon, 8:45 am from Fauntleroy, and 9:20 am from Southworth are cancelled.”
8:05 AM: Just checked the Fauntleroy/Raymond crash scene. The vehicles are off to the side, so no traffic effects, though the SPD vehicles in the center turn lane might be a bit of a distraction. No injuries reported.
3:12 AM: A recycling-bin fire wouldn’t usually draw an immediate Seattle Police response – but the recycling-bin fire just after 2:30 am alongside a house on SW Morgan, just west of 40th SW, happened within a mile of the unsolved recent arsons.
The fire marshal has just arrived to investigate, and police we talked to on the scene emphasized it was too soon to declare this related, but they’re taking no chances – as we learned at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, three small fires, at least one in a trash container, are also being scrutinized in the ongoing investigation – those date back as far as October 12th, before the Sylvan Ridge car arsons last Sunday and the High Point office building arson on Monday.
There’s heavy fog in Morgan and Gatewood right now, complicating things for officers looking around the area (a searchlight was shone on our car as we headed away eastbound). We’ll update when there’s more information.
8:07 AM: The now-too-familiar sign is up on the charred fence by the burned bin – ARSON, with the hotline to call if you have any information for investigators – 800-55-ARSON. Or, call 911. (Photo added.)