West Seattle, Washington
5:11 PM: Seattle Fire has just sent an “automobile rescue” callout to a crash in the 2700 block of 53rd SW, near Schmitz Park\.
5:13 PM: First units on scene say no one’s hurt and everyone’s out of the car, so the response is being scaled back.
5:42 PM: Just checked out the crash scene. As you can see in the photo we added, the car just missed hitting a utility pole – but did hit a car in a driveway on the downhill curve at 53rd SW and Admiral Way.
3:15 PM: More trouble today for M/V Issaquah, the largest of the ferries regularly assigned to the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run. It’s out of the mix for repairs again, leaving the older, smaller, slower M/V Evergreen State and Tillikum, and canceling some runs. Watch the ferry bulletins page for updates.
3:39 PM: WSF just announced they’ll get back to three-boat service soon with M/V Salish replacing the Issaquah – its vehicle capacity is half the Issaquah’s, though.
10:16 AM: We’re in the heart of The Junction – middle of Walk All Ways at California/Alaska – and the West Seattle Harvest Festival is under way! From our spot, if you look north, it’s the Farmers Market (above), and if you look south, it’s harvest activities (cast a line at Emerald Water Anglers [WSB sponsor], below):
The activities continue all the way until 2 pm, as does the market; at 11 am, you can buy a flight of chili ($10, goes to the West Seattle Food Bank) and vote for your favorite; at 11:30 am, it’s the Costume Parade from Junction Plaza Park at 42nd/Alaska; at noon, you can trick-or-treat at Junction businesses! In the meantime, stop by our booth for our Halloween stickers, while they last:
In the costumes we’re seeing so far, “Star Wars“ wins the day. We’ve seen new costumes – Kylo Ren from Episode 7) mingled with the classics – Princess Leia in her Episode 4 gown:
And pint-size Wookiees like this one:
Queen Amidala (Episode 1) showed up too:
Finally, a Jedi!
Plus – space, not so long ago and not so far away:
11:02 AM: The chili competition is under way! Get to the KeyBank corner of California and Alaska, donate $10 (all goes to the WS Food Bank), and get samples of the contenders – here’s who made, donated, and is serving chili for the occasion:
Vote for your fave, and we’ll find out later who won! Activities are continuing, on Alaska and on California south of the Farmers’ Market … and the Harvest Festival Costume Parade is coming up at 11:30, starting from Junction Plaza Park, with the West Seattle High School Marching Band in the lead – it’ll wind through the market and festival. Lots of kids and grownups in costume here from the start:
Check out this ensemble costume:
(Later – an entire luchador family:)
Business trick-or-treating starts at noon. More to come – we’re reporting live for the duration – but first, stay tuned for parade coverage.
11:39 AM: This is the biggest Harvest Festival Costume Parade we’ve ever seen – by far! – and it’s still winding its way through the market and festival, now heading southbound on the west side of the street. Video:
Longer version, iPhone video via YT:
11:50 AM: Now it’s almost time to trick or treat, as the parade turns the corner eastward onto Alaska and back to the park. Be sure to go see the businesses north of the closed-street zone, too! We still have stickers to give away, and on the other side of our booth is the festival-presenting West Seattle Junction Association team (don’t tell them we told you, but THEY have candy). Speaking of merchants – this is the first Harvest Festival since Thunder Road Guitars (WSB sponsor) moved to The Junction, and look who’s at their storefront on the east side of California between Alaska and Edmunds:
And just when we thought we’d seen it all today … we’ve just seen Santa Claus.
12:37 PM: We are in the heart of trick-or-treating.
The “harvest activities” continue too – art projects, like this one at the booth for Dream Dinners-West Seattle (WSB sponsor):
West Seattle Nursery had a DIY photo booth with harvest/autumn greenery:
“Plinko” was the game in the Westside School (WSB sponsor) booth:
And more costumes!
All around us, we’re seeing friends and neighbors greeting each other – same vibe as West Seattle Summer Fest here in The Junction – glad the weather has held, after an early morning shower.
1:00 PM: Last hour for the festival and the market – if you haven’t been here yet, hurry! We found some street art:
Also just announced: The chili competition winner – Shadowland got the most votes!
In 2nd and 3rd, Elliott Bay and The Westy. They’re still tallying how much money the chili raised for the WS Food Bank. We can verify it was a hit – not only did we get a steady stream of people asking us where to find it, we’re told they sold out of sample flights long before they ran out of would-be voters.
1:29 PM: Half an hour to go. Rabbit Stew is playing old-time Americana right here at California/Alaska, drawing some dancers and toe-tappers now and then:
Many of the market vendors got into the spirit too. Thanks to the folks who pointed out Whistling Train Farm’s themed signs:
2 PM: The festival flew by! Market’s wrapping up too. Thanks to everyone who came to The Junction, everyone who offered activities and treats, everyone in the parade … Adding more photos when we’re back at HQ.
4:32 PM: Just finished adding more photos, above. Here’s the last costumed child we photographed before the end of the festival, with her non-costumed dad:
Sabrina, daughter of County Executive and lifelong West Seattleite Dow Constantine and wife Shirley Carlson, is just two weeks shy of a year and a half old.
The Harvest Festival is here! It tops our highlight list for today:
WEST SEATTLE JUNCTION HARVEST FESTIVAL: Here’s our most-recent mega preview. The schedule:
*10 am-2 pm, free “harvest activities” including crafts, photos, more (booths are mostly California south of Alaska)
*10 am-2 pm, Farmers’ Market (California north of Alaska)
*11 am, chili competition benefiting West Seattle Food Bank ($10 flight gets you a taste of each and a vote), SW corner California/Alaska
*11:30 am, costume parade led by the WSHS Marching Band – gather at Junction Plaza Park (NW corner 42nd/Alaska)
*Noon-2 pm, trick-or-treating at Junction businesses (including north of Oregon – so be careful crossing!)
*Noon-2 pm, haunted house and pumpkin giveaway at RE/MAX (4727 44th Ave SW)
WSB is a sponsor and activity provider again this year – see you at the festival!
Also today, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
SKI/SNOWBOARD SWAP: Second and final day of the big swap/sale event presented by Mountain to Sound Outfitters at the VFW Hall in The Triangle, 10 am-4 pm. (3601 SW Alaska)
GREYHOUNDS AT THE MARKET: Greyhound Pets Inc. is scheduled to be back at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market; go meet a hound while you’re at the Harvest Festival! 10 am-2 pm. (California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska)
HELP DESIGN HIGHLAND PARK IMPROVEMENT CLUB’S FUTURE: Doors open at noon, design charrette 1-3 pm. Bring your ideas for envisioning historic Highland Park Improvement Club‘s future – including what you like about it, not just what you’d like to change. (12th SW & SW Holden)
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: Bring your pet – or, if s/he is shy, a photo – to Fauntleroy UCC Church at 2 pm. Reception to follow. (9140 California SW)
LEGO MANIA: They have the bricks, you bring the skills! 2-3:30 pm at Southwest Library. (35th SW & SW Henderson)
CLOTHING EXCHANGE: 3-5 pm at Admiral Bird, “Bring in the clothes you love but don’t wear anymore, the ones you don’t want to let go but want to see go to a good home. Then look around and see if there is anything that needs to go home with you.” Anything left over will be donated.
SILVER LINING: Live music at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 3-5 pm. (5612 California SW)
SEE WHAT ELSE IS UP … not just for today/tonight, but for next week, and beyond! Check out our complete calendar, here.
Before we get to today’s calendar highlights, these reminders:
WEST SEATTLE JUNCTION HARVEST FESTIVAL: The Sunday road closures in The Junction are expanded today because of the Harvest Festival – SW Alaska between 42nd and 44th, California SW between Oregon and Edmunds. The festival itself runs the same hours as the Farmers’ Market (which is part of it), 10 am-2 pm, but the closures have already begun and will continue until everything’s broken down in late afternoon.
ROAD WORK: City crews were expected to continue work today on the 5-way intersection safety improvements west of the low bridge and on the surface repairs toward the Fauntleroy end of the high bridge (please let us know if you go through either of these areas and discover the work has ended early).
NEXT WEEKEND – ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT INSPECTION: And while we’re talking weekend traffic alerts, remember that NEXT weekend (Saturday and Sunday, October 31st-November 1st) is the next twice-yearly Alaskan Way Viaduct inspection closure, scheduled for 6 am-6 pm each day.
Great news! New calf in J pod! We were out on an encounter today and documented a new calf, designated J53. The calf was seen traveling with J17. This is the third calf born in J pod this year. We will be following up this post with more information in the next few days. 👏👏👏 #srkw #orca #killerwhale #newbaby #congratulations #jpod #savethewhales #wildlife #centerforwhaleresearch
Just last Wednesday, it was announced that the federal drone survey of Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Killer Whales suggested more orca babies were on the way. And tonight, the Center for Whale Research shared news of one! This is the sixth orca calf reported in the three resident pods – J, K, and L – in less than a year, dating back to last December. As you can see in the Instagram post embedded above, they’re promising more info soon.
Thanks to Kristin Gibson for the photo and report:
Four members of the WSHS Varsity boys’ golf team qualified for the 3A Metro/King Co. District tournament after competing in the Metro League Golf Championship last week. Tony Flores, Bailey Fuentes, Alex Nguyen and Zach Gibson finished in the top 39 to earn a place to compete Tuesday at Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent. Zach Gibson medaled for the Wildcats with a 6th-place finish and a two-round total of 149.
Good luck to them next week! Sports reports are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our video shows the starting-line scene in just under a minute, as the annual West Seattle Monster Dash got going at 9 this morning in what was at the time the spooky, semi-foggy forest of Lincoln Park. Check out the costumes! Organizers say it was the biggest turnout ever for this family-friendly 5K – accompanied with a kids’ dash afterward – which raises money for the West Seattle Cooperative Preschools. Almost 200 people are listed in the official timed results. ages 6 to 65!
(UPDATING to add third West Seattle collision reported in less than an hour)
FIRST CRASH, 1:52 PM: Big Seattle Fire response on the way to 42nd and Findlay for an “automobile rescue” call.
1:55 PM: The response is being scaled back because, according to emergency-radio traffic, everyone’s made it out of their vehicles.
2:06 PM: Adding a photo. One person’s going to the hospital via private ambulance; injuries are not serious. The reason this originally was called out as a “rescue,” police tell us, is that the airbags deployed on one car and they were concerned about possible major injuries and getting the person out quickly and safely. This is the second crash at the intersection in three days; the previous one happened Thursday morning and was mentioned at the time in our morning-traffic coverage.
SECOND CRASH, 2:17 PM: Another crash – this time reported to involve 3 vehicles, at 35th SW and SW Thistle. SFD is arriving and SPD is on the way; we’d suggest avoiding the neighborhood for a while.
2:23 PM: Our crew reports this is actually south of Thistle on 35th, between Thistle and Cloverdale, and the northbound side is blocked by not just the vehicles but also the emergency response.
THIRD CRASH, 2:41 PM: Delridge and Henderson, just reported, partly blocking the intersection, injuries reported. On the way to check.
3:01 PM UPDATE: No major injuries here, either. Delridge traffic is getting through, albeit slowly; if you’re headed east on Henderson, you’ll have to divert for now.
3:29 PM: Let us know if you see any of these still blocking – we were able to check Thistle/Cloverdale/35th on the way back from Delridge/Henderson, and it was all off to the side.
Pumpkin-painting and face-painting are happening in the West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) Deli right now during the store’s annual Kids’ Halloween Party continues.
This is the first year for face-painting; your artist is Annie. Party’s on until 1 pm – costumes encouraged!
First, (update) THREE traffic alerts:
That’s the Fauntleroy end of the high bridge, where Seattle Public Utilities is scheduled to be doing road repair all weekend following recent sewer work. The second traffic alert is for the 5-way intersection just west of the low bridge, where crews are working this weekend and next on safety improvements, as described and shown here. (3rd alert added 9:27 am; thanks to Kim) Also – 34th SW is closed near High Point Community Center for paving work.
Now, on to the event highlights, in two sets, starting with WSB West Seattle Halloween Guide listings, as the first of this year’s two Hallo-weekends continues:
WEST SEATTLE MONSTER DASH: Get your costume on and get to the Monster Dash in Lincoln Park. 9 am 5K, 10 am kids’ dash, 10:30 am awards and costume contest. More info in our listing. (Fauntleroy/Cloverdale)
PCC PUMPKIN-DECORATING PARTY: 9 am-noon at PCC Natural Markets-West Seattle (WSB sponsor). PCC provides the pumpkins for the 12-and-under participants as well as and decorating supplies. (California SW & SW Stevens)
THRIFTWAY HALLOWEEN PARTY: Annual kids’ party at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor), 11 am-1 pm. Ages 1-10 – decorate a mini-pumpkin, get the chance to win a treat bag, more! (Fauntleroy/Morgan/California)
HAUNTED HOUSE: Haunted House presented by Clown Mania, 7-9 pm. (5007 Erskine Way)
Other highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
CLEANUP PARTY: Join Seattle’s Tree Ambassadors 9 am-noon to clean up the triangle at 36th/Genesee/Fauntleroy. Tools, gloves, training provided. Treats from businesses across the street – coffee and snacks from West Seattle Brewing; barbecue lunch afterward from Jones BBQ. More info here.
CARAVAN PACIFIC TRUNK SHOW: 10 am-5 pm at Click! Design That Fits (WSB sponsor) in The Junction: “Shannon Guirl, the designer / maker behind Portland-based Caravan Pacific, will be bringing her full collection of handmade lighting and home accessories for a one-day trunk show.” (4540 California SW)
WEST SEATTLE SKI/SNOWBOARD SWAP: Get ready for winter before it gets here. Day 1 runs 10 am-6 pm at the VFW Hall in The Triangle – details here. (3601 SW Alaska)
SEATTLE WRITES: GET READY FOR NANOWRIMO: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is eight days away. Get ready with a free class at 3:30 pm at the High Point Library – registration required, so check our listing ASAP. (35th SW & SW Raymond)
OKTOBERFEST X 2: Two West Seattle service organizations invite you to Oktoberfest fundraising dinner events tonight. 5:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California SW & SW Oregon), it’s the WS Lions‘ Oktoberfest; 6 pm at the Alki Masonic Hall (40th SW & SW Edmunds), it’s the Rotary Club of West Seattle‘s Oktoberfest.
PEGGY LEE TRIBUTE: 7:30 pm at Kenyon Hall. (7904 35th SW)
BAKELIGHT 78: 9 pm live music, no cover, 21+, at Parliament Tavern. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
(UPDATED 11 AM with confirmation of arrest)
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 5:19 AM: Two people were shot in West Seattle early this morning; one did not survive. It happened before 2 am in the 6900 block of 23rd SW (map). Multiple 911 callers reported hearing gunfire; police say officers found the victims lying in the street. One was dead at the scene; the other was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. No arrests reported so far; homicide detectives ask that anyone with information call 206-233-5000.
This is the first deadly shooting in West Seattle since December 31st, 2013, when 40-year-old Stephen Jeffries, Jr., was killed in the 9200 block of 16th SW, a murder that remains unsolved.
5:46 AM UPDATE: Detectives are still at the scene (photo above), where we just spoke with Homicide Unit Capt. Steve Paulsen. He tells WSB the victims are both men in their 20s, and that investigators believe an “altercation” preceded the gunfire. They’re still looking for others who might have been involved.
11 AM: More than two hours after a SWAT operation at 26th and Holden – less than a mile from the shooting scene – that resulted in one man being detained, police are confirming that a suspect in the shooting is in custody. We’re still working to confirm details.
1:44 PM: As we noted in the comment discussion, we’ve since found via other court documents that the 25-year-old man in jail right now for investigation of homicide lives or has lived at the 26th/Holden house where police converged this morning. He does not have a felony record; he was charged in connection with a nearby street robbery in 2009 but the case was dismissed. We might not find out much more before Monday but we’re still looking.
ADDED LATE SATURDAY NIGHT: We have learned a little about the man who was killed. We don’t know whether next of kin have all been notified, so we aren’t identifying him at this point, but he was 24, had a culinary career – working at a downtown restaurant – and was an alum of West Seattle High School. We are also told the man who survived is 34, not in his 20s as police had told us, but we don’t yet know anything more about him.
A first-of-its-kind event is happening next Wednesday at West Seattle Office Junction (WSB sponsor): It’s an orientation/networking meetup for the Women’s Business Incubator, described as “a nonprofit business center for women starting locally focused businesses and for local women business leaders, with the goal to offer micro-loans, nurture leaders, connect with mentors, training and business services for women-led small business owners, professional office space, business services and start-up assistance; as well as quality drop-in child-care services for infants thru pre-K.” Those services are available for the 7-8:30 pm Wednesday (October 28th) meeting, if you need to bring along one or two children, plus there’s a small admission charge; see the ticket options here and sign up ASAP. The Office Junction is at 6040 California SW.
(WSB photo from the first Harvest Festival in 2012)
You ARE going to the fourth annual West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival on Sunday, we hope? It’s not just kid stuff. Everybody’s welcome to join the costume parade, vote in the chili contest, shop the Farmers’ Market … the festival is about 37 hours away (not that we’re counting)! Here are your essential festival facts. First, the schedule:
*Early morning-late afternoon: California closed between Oregon and Edmunds, Alaska closed between 44th and 42nd
*10 am-2 pm: Farmers’ Market
*10 am-2 pm: Harvest activities (most booths south of Alaska)
*11 am: Chili competition (fundraiser for West Seattle Food Bank, buy your “flight” – which entitles you to vote – at SW corner of California/Alaska)
*11:30 am: Costume parade from Junction Plaza Park (42nd/Alaska), led by West Seattle High School Marching Band, directed by Ethan Thomas
*Noon: Trick-or-treating at Junction businesses
Next, some of the activities (all free), presented at booths on and south of Alaska:
*Putt-putt golf – West Seattle Eagles
*Spooky tree photo-op – West Seattle Nursery
*Giant Tic-Tac-Toe and hay bales to play in – Hotwire Online Coffeehouse and EQ Fitness
*Cotton-candy maker – Eastridge Church
*Origami and puppies – West Seattle See Dogs
*Scary-face photo ops – WSB
And now, from the festival-presenting West Seattle Junction Association:
Full list of activity providers: Alki Art Fair, Bitter Cherry Tree, City Mouse Store, Cupcake Royale, Dream Dinners, Eastridge Church, Emerald Water Anglers, Endolyne Children’s Choir, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Holy Rosary School, Hotwire Coffee and EQ Fitness, Infinite B Canvas Creations, Pagliacci Pizza, PCC Natural Foods, School of Rock, Snooter Doots, SSC Coop Preschools, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, The Little Gym of West Seattle, The Office Junction, West Seattle Art Nest, West Seattle Blog, West Seattle Calvary Chapel, West Seattle Hi-Yu, West Seattle Kiwanis, West Seattle Nursery, West Seattle See Dogs, WestSide Baby, Westside School
And thank you, sponsors, for helping to produce this event: Bakery Nouveau, West Seattle Blog, Westside School, Curious Kidstuff, Pagliacci, Eastridge Church, Easy Street Records, Elliott Bay Brewery, Swanson & Seepersad Chiropractic & Massage Therapy, WestSide Baby
Forecast so far – cloudy but dry. See you in The Junction on Sunday!
(:15 of Instagram video looking north on 35th toward Trenton, recorded 6:20 pm tonight)
More than a month after SDOT rechannelized 35th SW south of Upper Morgan, work on the full plan finalized in July is “essentially done,” project manager Jim Curtin tells WSB. We checked in with him today because the topic came up at last night’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, with a short discussion of the signal timing in the rechannelization zone. Curtin says they are “still doing some fine tuning of the signal timing,” adding, “We actually had a signal malfunction at Trenton a few weeks ago, which threw us off schedule a bit. We have a temporary fix in place with a permanent repair scheduled to be completed in the next few days. We will continue to tweak the signal timing until it’s ‘dialed in’.” He says there’s one other issue remaining: “We’re also having some trouble getting a few folks to comply with the new parking restrictions for the short segment of BAT lane at Holden. We’ll make another attempt to reach these folks on Monday morning. We’ve knocked on doors and sent three letters to no avail. This time we’ll leave a note on their windshield.” Curtin says he is out on 35th daily – as he has noted publicly many times, he lives in Arbor Heights – and that a new round of data has been ordered, so that SDOT can “provide another update before the end of the year.”
Checking what’s new in the city’s online permit files, we happened onto a new proposal for a familiar address: 4439 41st SW in The Junction.
Last year, a proposal to replace its single-family house with a 40-unit, 5-offstreet-parking-space apartment building drew neighborhood concern, which led to a special city meeting for comments on the project in May 2014. DPD records indicate that reviews for the apartment-building project continued into the early part of this year – and then the activity stopped.
Now there are two new early-stage land-use applications shown for the address, one for a “lot boundary adjustment” – the site currently consists of three lots zoned Lowrise 2 – and another for a four-unit rowhouse building facing 41st, with four offstreet parking spaces off the alley to the west.
This is the third proposal in three years for the site; the 40-apartment plan had been preceded by one proposing eight townhouses.
(WSB photo from October 14th)
Just in – the new start date for the sidewalk work coming up along the west side of California SW, south of Fauntleroy Way SW, in a community-requested Neighborhood Park and Street Fund project:
SDOT crews plan to start work on Thursday, November 5th. We will start near Starbucks and work our way south. To minimize disruptions, we will only remove as much sidewalk as we can fully replace within four business days.
The announcement continues ahead: Read More
This week’s quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting was so wide-ranging (as usual), we’re breaking it into two reports. This first one is something you’ll be hearing more about soon:
(WSB file photo)
You might recognize that mural from the back of the commercial building on the southwest corner of California and Fauntleroy. Dan Austin, who owns one of the businesses in that building – Peel and Press – told MoCA on Wednesday night that he’s leading a project to save the mural, painted by Bruce Rickett a quarter-century ago, as mentioned in this 1990 Seattle Times story. And “save” is the word, not just “restore” – Austin said it’s falling apart, and one more winter of rain/wind against the west-facing mural – which depicts the mid-1920s Morgan Street Market – might just peel some of it away.
He told MoCA he’s consulted with Peter Malarkey, who – as we showed you last month – recently restored the mural inside the Colman Pool building. Austin said there’s “a game plan” that he’ll be presenting to various civic organizations. He said that if this works, he would hope it would lead to a “blueprint” for action that could be shared with others in West Seattle to maybe get more of the local murals restored, especially the ones in The Junction.
The first sum of money that would be needed, $2,500, would stabilize the mural to get through the winter. From there, Austin said, there’ll be various price points for various stages of saving the mural, with the total restoration cost around $35,000. And yes, he confirmed, he’s talking to other tenants, including the building’s biggest one, Starbucks.
After Austin spoke, MoCA passed a motion in support of the project and lauded him for taking it on.
Coming up in report #2, more from the meeting, which had begun with an SPD update on the local arsons, as the most-recent one had happened in Morgan; we quickly added video of the briefing to what was at the time our most recent followup.
(Bottle from the briny deep, photographed at Seacrest by Laura Goodrich, shared via WSB Flickr group)
First – plan ahead for Halloween-season activities today through November 1st, by checking out the WSB West Seattle Halloween 2015 Guide, full of events like these four that are happening tonight:
HAUNTED HOUSE: 6-7:45 pm at High Point Community Center, built by teen-program participants, with the $2 admission benefiting their program. (6920 34th SW)
Other general calendar highlights for the rest of today/tonight:
SKI/SNOWBOARD SWAP DROPOFF: Something to sell at this weekend’s swap? Drop it off before 6 pm today at the VFW Hall. (3601 SW Alaska)
LIVE ‘AMERICANA’ MUSIC: Triple bill, 9 pm tonight at The Skylark. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
Though we couldn’t make it to Wednesday’s Seattle Public Schools Board meeting in person, two issues of concern we’ve covered recently were on the agenda, so we’ve reviewed the archived video to see how the discussion went.
Those items and our most-recent coverage:
*“Bell-time” (school start/end) changes, revised
*Boundary changes (with an eleventh-hour change in West Seattle)
First: Both were “introduction items,” so neither was voted on – the votes are planned at the next School Board meeting, Wednesday, November 4th. But the board members’ comments during this meeting might give some hint of how the votes will go; they didn’t voice major concerns or opposition, though both were topics of public comment during that portion of the meeting (58 minutes into this clip).
BELL TIMES: Discussion began at 52 minutes into the video clip above. It was acknowledged that the “tier” times for next year will be 10 minutes later, so that’s why “Tier 3” (latest-start) schools – including Lafayette and STEM K-8 in West Seattle – will be starting at 9:40. (The new times, in addition to being featured in our previous coverage, are on the last page of the documents for this agenda item.) Board member Sue Peters said she’s a Tier 3 parent and she wondered if there might be someway to roll the times back even “five minutes or so.” It was also noted that in two years, the district is scheduled to go to a longer school day – so, might a two-tier system be possible then? Assistant superintendent for operations Pegi McEvoy said they’ll “be looking at it.”
BOUNDARIES: The discussion began just after 2 hours, 3 minutes into the video above; the agenda documents are here. Enrollment planning director Ashley Davies reminded board members that the boundary changes were originally approved in 2013 – with one exception, what’s known as “Area 53” in West Seattle is now going to move from the West Seattle Elementary zone to the Roxhill Elementary zone starting next year, instead of going to the Arbor Heights zone. She noted that fewer than 10 students currently live in that area. West Seattle/South Park’s board member Marty McLaren summarized concerns voiced at last Monday’s meeting at EC Hughes – to which Roxhill is expected to be moved once Hughes is renovated/expanded – describing it as “a strong amount of resistance,” bringing “angst” to WS Elementary in particular. Board member Peters asked about the plan for Roxhill once Hughes is reopened. That hasn’t been finalized, Davies said, but she characterized Hughes as “much larger” than Roxhill, saying that after the upgrades, it’s “going to be a much better environment for teaching and learning.” She also reiterated that Hughes isn’t expected to reopen before 2018. McLaren conveyed that some in the Roxhill community would rather see their school renovated so, she said, “just be aware it’s a continuing point of interest.”
SOMETHING TO SAY? The school board’s feedback address is email@example.com.
If you hadn’t noticed its ghostly debut on the WSB navigation bar (or, the inside-pages list on your phone) Thursday – we’re calling your attention to the West Seattle Halloween 2015 page, now live, three dozen events so far. They’re not all on Halloween – it’s a two-weekend extravaganza again this year. Carnivals and other kid stuff, bar parties, business-district trick-or-treating … all in one place. Most of the events were already on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, but we make a special page for easy reference/sharing. Something missing? Please send it ASAP – firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:05 AM: One incident of note as we start this morning’s traffic watch – a stalled vehicle partly blocking one lane on northbound I-5 near Seneca St. No outbound incidents otherwise, so far.
On the transit front, we have had two Metro trip cancellations announced via alerts/tweets so far – this one just in:
Transit Alert – Rt 55 to downtown Seattle due to leave California Av SW & SW Atlantic St at 7:43 AM has been canceled.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) October 23, 2015
And also the Route 56 cancellation for 6:29 am, announced with just a few minutes of lead time. Last night, we published our story about Metro’s driver shortage, which it hopes will be alleviated soon.
7:09 AM: Quick resolution to the I-5 stall – the vehicle has moved on.
WEEKEND ROAD-WORK ALERTS: Two you should know about – first, the Fauntleroy end of the bridge will have one lane closed each way starting sometime tonight, for repairs, as announced here. Second, the 5-way intersection just west of the low bridge will be getting safety improvements this weekend and next, as announced here.
7:14 AM: If you’re heading toward the 1st Avenue S. Bridge – WSDOT reports a crash in the left lane of NB Highway 509 just north of Cloverdale.
ANOTHER WEEKEND ALERT – HARVEST FESTIVAL ON SUNDAY: By now, after four months, you’re used to the West Seattle Farmers’ Market closing California SW between Oregon and Alaska from 10 am-2 pm on Sundays. But this Sunday is different: The Junction street closures will be expanded for the annual Harvest Festival (as they have been for the past three years, resembling the Summer Fest footprint, including Alaska between 42nd and 44th and California south of Alaska), with “harvest activities” (including other businesses and nonprofits) 10 am-2 pm, the chili competition on the southwest corner of California/Alaska at 11 am, the costume parade from Junction Plaza Park (SW corner of 42nd SW & SW Alaska) at 11:30 am, and business trick-or-treating at noon. See you there!
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Metro hopes its hiring spree will take care of the trip-cancellation problem by the end of this month.
While the bus system has stressed that only a small percentage of trips get canceled – they know it’s a big problem when it’s your trip. And when Metro started tweeting cancellation alerts – while acknowledging that it doesn’t get to send alerts about all the cancellations – it seemed three north West Seattle runs were affected more often than others – routes 55, 56, 57. Three trips from two of those routes were announced as canceled again this morning:
Transit Alert – Rt 56 to Seattle due to leave 61st Av SW & Alki Av SW at 6:29 AM has been canceled.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) October 22, 2015
Transit Alert – NB Route 55 to downtown Seattle due to leave California Av SW & SW Atlantic St at 7:18 & 7:43 AM has been canceled.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) October 22, 2015
Those weren’t the only Metro trip cancellations tweeted/texted today – there were four others that were NOT on West Seattle routes:
Transit Alert – The first Rt 5 Express to Seattle due to leave NW 90th St & 1st Av NW at 6:11 AM has been canceled.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) October 22, 2015
Transit Alert – Route 242 to Ridgecrest due to leave the Overlake P & R at 4:07 PM has been canceled this evening.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) October 22, 2015
Transit Alert – Route 269 to Issaquah due to leave Overlake P & R at 4:20 PM has been canceled this evening.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) October 22, 2015
Transit Alert – Route 242 to Ridgecrest due to leave the Overlake P & R at 4:40 PM has been canceled this evening.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) October 22, 2015
Whichever routes they happen to, the concept of canceling a bus trip seems incomprehensible – you print a timetable, you run buses, you assign drivers, the service goes on, right? So we asked Metro exactly how a trip cancellation happens.
For an expanded, in-person version of the answer, we were shown around the two Metro “bases” at 6th and Royal Brougham one recent weekday afternoon. That’s where the buses are parked and where the drivers are scheduled, assigned, and dispatched. This building houses two of Metro’s seven bases, home to most West Seattle routes, with a few exceptions – for example, Routes 128 and 50 go from the South Base, Route 120 from Atlantic.
It’s where we learned phrases such as “piece of work.” Not what it meant in oldtime slang.
And we heard a lot of numbers.
Example: 1,052 daily trips out of 11,000 system-wide touch West Seattle.
The drivers for those trips are assigned by dispatchers who work in front of screens in what resemble big reception windows (top photo) – inside the 6th/Royal Brougham building, each of the two bases has its own dispatch window. While we watched and observed, we were pointed to a group of drivers waiting in a small lounge-like area down the hall, to see what might come open. Announcements were made from time to time.
In scheduling, some part-time drivers might get a “piece of work” that is very short – the minimum amount of time for which they can be paid, two and a half hours. And that’s where a cancellation might come in. A certain trip on a certain route might be part of that small “piece of work,” and if not everything can be covered, the shortest “piece of work” is what will end up going uncovered.
“What’s usually canceled is the smallest piece of the smallest part time route,” says Sandy Sander (photo above), who is superintendent of Central Base operations.
And even with that, they have policies – “we’re not going to cancel the same route two trips in a row, no first or last trips (of the day, on a route) can be canceled, no school trips.”
Since the addition (or restoration) of service paid for by last year’s Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1, she says, “we’ve gone through an enormous spike of work” – so they’ve been going through two dozen new driver candidates every two weeks. There’s attrition in that number, and every two dozen will result in about 18 new hires. (You can get a hint at the hiring challenge by looking at Metro’s fall employee newsletter online:
Already this year (through August) we’ve hired 322 transit operators and more than 300 people for other positions, which meant processing over 1,990 transit operator applications and more than 6,325 applications for other Transit positions. We’ve also promoted 58 employees into new positions.
How long does it take a part-timer to get promoted to full time, if that’s what they want?
“Typically two or three years, but currently, 9 months.” And while you might expect it would be the other way around, the part-timer works the same route every day, while drivers with seniority get to choose.
A driver can work up to 16 hours and then has to have at least eight hours off. Extra work might be assigned on the fly as the dispatchers toil to keep everything filled – a driver might be out finishing up their originally scheduled shift, Sander explains, and on the way in, when a dispatcher finds out they have a spot to fill, they’ll contact the driver and ask “can you become the X route?”
Sander told us, “We’ve gone through a period where it’s like a snowstorm every day” – crazy scheduling and juggling. And until they hire enough people, some trips will be canceled. (Interested in working for Metro? Find out more here.)