West Seattle, Washington
TERMINAL 5 MODERNIZATION: While port reps have said recently that there’s no tenant yet for an expanded Terminal 5 in West Seattle, tomorrow’s NWSA meeting includes authorization for actions related to the “modernization” project, which could be authorized for construction as soon as November if there’s a tenant commitment by then. The items on tomorrow’s agenda include raising the spending authorization to $25.4 million, with authorization/funding of $5.2 million for “planning, design, and construction of a railroad quiet zone” near T-5. The agenda item also includes agreements with the city for closing West Marginal Way SW north of Spokane in the future, and an Air Quality Management Program, as well as agreements with two tribes. Here’s the slide deck:
Other documents are downloadable from the agenda.
PORT TRUCK BACKUP RELIEF: The commissioners will be asked to authorize spending up to $2 million to “expand gate hours at … international terminals during the 2017 peak season,” which, according to the agenda memo, starts in August and continues through December. NWSA/port reps talked about the backups at last week’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (WSB coverage here).
MEETING INFO: The aforementioned items are on the part of tomorrow’s agenda that is scheduled to start at 11:30 am Tuesday at the Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center, with a public-comment period before the action items.
Though the Highway 99 tunnel is still about a year and a half from opening, WSDOT is ready to talk about what happens once it’s open – the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Published on the AWV website today:
With tunnel boring complete, we’re deep in the planning stages for demolition of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct. On Thursday, we’ll launch an online open house to show what’s ahead and give the public a chance to comment on the work to come.
Removing the seismically vulnerable viaduct will be the most visible change to Seattle’s waterfront in decades. The demolition work begins after the new State Route 99 tunnel opens, which is estimated for early 2019.
WSDOT has successfully completed this type of work before. In 2011, we demolished the viaduct’s southern mile and built a new road in its place. However, the remaining section of the viaduct is more challenging, as it is much closer to buildings, businesses, homes and the busy Colman Dock ferry terminal.
Demolition is expected to take up to nine months, with the viaduct being demolished in sections to minimize localized disruptions. This contract will also involve other project elements, like filling in the Battery Street Tunnel and reconnecting several surface streets across Aurora Avenue North, which will take additional time.
Several weeks before the new tunnel opens, WSDOT will shift Alaskan Way to the west of the viaduct, which will allow traffic to move along the waterfront before and during viaduct demolition. This new video below explains some of the planning for the demolition.
Online open house
The online open house will be live from August 3 – 14.
In-person open house
WSDOT is also hosting an in-person open house on August 10 for anyone interested in the work or who wants to speak with project staff. Representatives from Waterfront Seattle, Center City Connector Streetcar, Colman Dock, King County Metro and One Center City will also be available to answer questions.
Date: Thursday, August 10
Time: 5 to 8 p.m. (walk-in style, no formal presentation)
Where: Waterfront Seattle, 1400 Western Avenue
We’ll publish a reminder Thursday when the “online open house” is ready to go.
(Note: WSDOT is advertising the open houses on WSB right now to help get the word out.)
Today’s other big story: The heat-wave warning keeps intensifying. This morning, it was upgraded to an Excessive Heat Warning, with this summary for the area:
Unusually hot weather is forecast to begin Tuesday and continue through Friday. Widespread record highs are expected Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday should be the hottest day for most spots when highs will probably be within 5 degrees of the all-time records. Highs on Tuesday will be in the mid 80s to lower 90s, warming to the 90s to near 104 on Thursday. Friday will be slightly cooler, but highs will still be in the upper 80s and 90s.
The warning currently covers 2 pm Tuesday through 9 pm Friday. Meantime, the city is out with a long list of places to stay cool. Here are the West Seattle spots:
The following Seattle Public Library locations are equipped with air conditioning, and serve as cooling centers when the area experiences extreme heat. Please call the individual location before you go for open hours and to verify that the air conditioning is working. (Here are the two in West Seattle:)
·Delridge (5423 Delridge Way SW) – 206-733-9125
Monday: 1 pm. – 8 pm, Tuesday: 1 pm – 8 pm, Wednesday: 11 am – 6 pm, Thursday: 11 am – 6 pm, Friday: closed
·High Point (3411 SW Raymond St.) – 206-684-7454
Monday: 1 pm – 8 pm, Tuesday: 1 pm – 8 pm, Wednesday: 11 am – 6 pm, Thursday: 11 am – 6 pm, Friday: 11 am – 6 pm
The following senior centers have air conditioning or are relatively cool and are open to the public. Please call the individual location before you go for open hours and to verify that the facility is cool. (One West Seattle location:)
·Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon St) – 206-932-4044
The city also recommends wading pools and sprayparks – the full list is here; we always include a list of what’s open each day in our what’s-happening list. Outdoor Colman Pool (schedule here) is currently open 7 days a week on the shore at Lincoln Park, as is indoor Southwest Pool (schedule here) at 2801 SW Thistle.
As for air-conditioned restaurants, bars, coffee shops – we don’t have the horsepower to make 100+ calls to ask them all, so we would love your help – if you own one with A/C, and/or know of one, please either e-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment below, and we’ll include it as this sizzling week goes on.
P.S. And PLEASE heed all the reminders about not leaving children, seniors, pets in hot vehicles (or other confined spaces) for even a moment. Plus, think of our feathered friends and fill up bird baths (or make temporary ones – we have Christmas-tree stands outside) so they have water for drinking and bathing.
(UPDATED TUESDAY MORNING with plane visible at low tide; TUESDAY AFTERNOON salvage coverage here)
12:46 PM: Emergency responders are headed to what is reported, by radio communication, as a small plane going into the water off the 6000 block of Beach Drive SW (map). Two people are reported to be safely ashore. Rescuers are now trying to find out if anyone else was on board.
1 PM: We’ve just arrived in the area. Avoid the south end of Beach Drive, as there are no outlets here (between Jacobsen and Lincoln Park Way). SFD reports no injuries, so its land units are leaving, but there are numerous police vehicles, and some sidewalk lookie-loos. And yes, that’s why there are helicopter(s) – TV.
1:11 PM: Another reader photo added. From the street, the two people who made it out of the plane can be seen in the backyard of a waterfront house, drying themselves off. We’ve confirmed again at the scene that no one was hurt. Here’s our view of the submerged plane, from the street:
As PeterT noted in comments, police are directing traffic on Beach Drive past the scene, one lane at a time. But it’s still a good idea to avoid the area. Among other things, it’s trash day, and Waste Management trucks are trying to get through too. Meantime, Seattle Fire acting public information officer Lt. Sue Stangl has arrived so we should get more information soon.
1:32 PM: U.S. Coast Guard is also offshore with a 45-foot vessel. Meantime, commenter Bob says the pilot’s actions may have saved other lives besides his and his passenger’s.
1:46 PM: Lt. Stangl says the National Transportation Safety Board has investigator(s) on the way. The two men who were on board the plane will be waiting to talk with them. No other details of how it happened, what went wrong, or how the plane will be pulled out of the water – yet.
2:07 PM: Per discussion in comments – and also the most recent SFD tweet – we’re referring to this from this point as an emergency landing.
2:24 PM: Things are starting to wind down here – air and most ground media have left. Police told us earlier, by the way, the nearest residents were apparently home to see this, so they’d been trying to reach them to explain what happened.
4:11 PM: Just went by. The only signs on Beach Drive of what happened earlier are TV trucks – one by the scene, one some distance north at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook. A boat is out near the wreckage but we couldn’t tell whose.
EVENING NOTE: We went by again before sunset – no change, no authorities in view, but we will be following up tomorrow, including checking the area on the morning low tide. As commenters have discussed, recordings from Boeing Field tower radio tell the story of how the Cessna’s engine went out and the pilot had to make an emergency landing. We still haven’t heard anything about the two men on board; the plane is registered to a Las Vegas address, according to online records.
ADDED TUESDAY MORNING, 7:42 AM: Thanks to the person who texted this photo of the plane, fully visible at low tide about half an hour ago:
No sign of anyone working on salvage so far.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Salvage work is now under way – we have a followup here.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 31, 2017
That’s the second of two Blue Angels flybys over Boeing Field (KBFI) before they landed a few minutes ago – usually there’s only one. They’re here for Seafair, with practices Thursday and Friday, and the official shows Saturday and Sunday, flying here this morning from their last stop, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
They’ve just taxied past the west-side public viewing area south of the KBFI terminal (the one that has been open on the north side of the terminal, also off East Marginal, in past years, is now blocked off) on their way to the Museum of Flight, their headquarters while here.
With Boeing Field just over the hill, the Blue Angels‘ scheduled arrival is part of our highlights list for today:
BLUE ANGELS ARRIVE: According to Seafair, they’re due at Boeing Field around 11 am, to get ready for practices and performances Thursday-Sunday. The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field is where the jets are parked while here.
WADING POOLS AND SPRAYPARK: Open today are Highland Park spraypark, 11 am-8 pm; Lincoln Park wading pool, 11 am-8 pm; Delridge wading pool, 12 pm-6:30 pm. (Addresses are here)
LAST DAY TO REGISTER FOR NIGHT OUT: If you’re having a block party for Night Out tomorrow night and want to close your (non-arterial) street, please register here before 5 pm today.
STORY HOOD GAME-BUILDING: 1-4 pm every afternoon this week, teens are invited to this game-building workshop presented by Delridge Library but ****held at Delridge Community Center****. Free but registration is required – our calendar listing explains how. (4501 Delridge Way SW)
‘ECLIPSE’: Author Bryan Brewer literally wrote the book about eclipses and tonight at Southwest Library he’ll discuss it – not only the history of eclipses, but also the solar eclipse coming up in a few weeks. 6 pm. Free. (9010 35th SW)
YES, THERE’S MORE for today/tonight/beyond – see our complete calendar!
With the weather heating up, more people will be out on the beach this week – and that’s one reason why Seal Sitters Marine Stranding Network wants you to know that seal-pup season has begun in our area and the rest of south Puget Sound:
Although Seal Sitters has yet to receive a report of a newborn or newly weaned pup on West Seattle beaches this summer, there have been pups reported onshore in all directions around us. It is only a matter of time – possibly just days – until our first pup of the season shows up here, needing protection from disturbance. Seals come ashore to rest and warm up, behavior that is critical for their survival.
For those of you new to Puget Sound, harbor seal pups are born in our area from late June through the first week of September. After being weaned at 4-6 weeks old, these young pups strike off on their own, leaving the safety of rookeries, and often end up traveling to urban beaches, unaware of the inherent dangers they face there. It is normal to see a weaned seal pup alone on the beach.
We have also had a number of births over the years in West Seattle. Most often, that is not a terribly good scenario, since harbor seal moms are shy and can easily be scared away from their young; mom may not return for her pup if she perceives a threat from people and dogs nearby.
It is an extreme challenge to keep pups safe on crowded beaches and busy shoreline. If you see a seal pup onshore, please stay back, observe from a distance and call Seal Sitters hotline @ 206-905-SEAL (7325).
Please be alert when you are walking the beach. Due to the camouflage of its spotted coat, a tiny seal pup can look like a bleached log or rock onshore. They often come ashore at high tide and nestle up against the woody debris on the beach, making them difficult to see until you are upon them. The 2010 photo of seal pup Pebbles [above], tucked under a log near the Water Taxi landing, shows how effectively they blend into the environment. Seal Sitters volunteers protected Pebbles 12+ hours a day for 15 consecutive days, as the pup swam ashore just before sunrise each morning and spent the day stretching and snoozing until flop-hopping back into the waters of Elliott Bay after dark.
A member of NOAA’s West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Seal Sitters MMSN responds to all reports of marine mammals, both dead and alive, in West Seattle from Brace Point through the Duwamish River. Seal Sitters, an all-volunteer group, is celebrating a decade of service protecting marine life.
For more information about seal pupping season and protocol around harbor seal rookeries, please go here.
And you can find in-depth information about marine mammals and NOAA’s stranding network on Seal Sitters’ website.
7:02 AM: Good morning! Welcome to the last day of July. No incidents reported in/from West Seattle so far.
Much to look ahead to this week, starting with:
WEST SEATTLE PAVING: Last week, SDOT did “spot paving” on a stretch of northbound 35th SW; this week, paving is planned on a section of Beach Drive Tuesday and Wednesday, and 63rd SW between Admiral Way and Alki Avenue on Thursday. More info here.
BOREN PORTABLES ON THE MOVE: Early Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, as announced last week, portable classrooms will be moved from Louisa Boren STEM K-8 on Delridge – here’s the advisory, in case you missed it.
BLUE ANGELS CLOSURES: This Thursday through Sunday, I-90 will be closed for Seafair (Blue Angels) practices and airshows. From the WSDOT website:
The mainlines of I-90 will be closed between I-5 in Seattle and Island Crest Way on Mercer Island:
Thursday, Aug. 3: 9:45 am – 12:15 pm; 1- 2:40 pm (practices)
Friday, Aug. 4: 12:55 – 2:40 pm
Saturday, Aug. 5: 12:55 – 2:40 pm
Sunday, Aug. 6: 12:55 – 2:40 pm
Even if you’re not expecting to use I-90, the closures lead to backups on I-5, especially northbound coming off the West Seattle Bridge, so now you know when to steer clear.