West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
At a time of year when neighbors should be getting together for something fun like a block party, a gathering tonight at one South Delridge house was sparked by a series of burglaries.
So they gathered with pizza – and police.
More than two dozen people crowded into a bungalow living room on 13th SW a short distance north of Roxbury to hear from, and get answers from, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis.
Within the span of just a few blocks, since Sunday morning, four burglaries have been reported to police, he confirmed, while neighbors wondered if there might have been at least one more. (Our previous report on them is here.) In at least two cases, the burglar’s description was the same – a 6’2″, 220-pound black man who turned up in the house in the middle of the night, “young” but at least 25, clean-shaven, a gap in his op teeth, a “soothing” voice.
No one’s been hurt physically, but the experience was terrifying.
Capt. Davis promised more police presence; he said the night shifts are on orders to do “emphasis patrols” in the area. That doesn’t mean you can expect to see police just parked there – but they’ll frequently be in the area.
Should neighbors go out and walk around on patrols of their own? he was asked.
Davis said he wouldn’t recommend that – “arbitrarily putting yourself in harm’s way is not good.” He did recommend that neighbors stay in close touch with each other, Block Watch-style; they already do, he was assured (a major reason for the crowd in the organizer’s living room), including via their own e-mail list.
One resident said she’s leaving her lights on all night. The captain suggested contacting Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a home assessment that would lead to suggestions of other ways to beef up security.
What if your landlord doesn’t want to make the changes? “We can strongly recommend that they do,” Davis replied.
The neighbors’ questions continued. Would the burglar come back to the same house? “We’re not sure what this individual wants,” Davis said. One victim said he seemed lonely – seemed to be “looking for love.”
Some wondered if he lives in the area – there’s a “halfway house” nearby, neighbors noted; one said she had contacted people there but no leads so far.
A burglary detective is on the case and will be talking with each victim, Davis reassured the neighbors.
With the city-county line so close by, are police talking to the King County Sheriff’s Office? Yes.
Will police talk with neighbors beyond those who have reported the crimes, just in case somebody saw something? Yes.
Has anything like this happened in any other West Seattle neighborhood? No.
In one case, the burglar bled from broken window glass, so that’s providing evidence that police can test, though Capt. Davis wasn’t certain how soon results would be available. Neighbors’ vigilance is the best way to help with the investigation, he said – “if you see something, say something … so we can get this individual off the street.”
While high-profile closures like the West Seattle “low bridge” and SB Highway 99 get all the attention, they’re not the only closures people are dealing with right now. For example, 35th SW between 104th and 106th remains closed for a fourth week in Arbor Heights, because of drainage work in the first phase of the 100th-to-106th sidewalk project. Today, the project team sent this update:
This week, our crews completed concrete pour at driveways and curbs along 35th Ave SW, between SW 104th St and SW 106th St. We tested the newly installed detention pipe and conducted any pipe repair work necessary to begin operation. We then backfilled and repaved the street surface.
Next week, our crews will begin sidewalk construction on the west side of 35th Ave SW, between SW 104th St and SW 106th St. We will coordinate with Puget Sound Energy to schedule for their crews to relocate the gas main at SW 106th St. We hope to complete the sidewalk construction for this segment of 35th Ave SW by the end of next week.
Since that didn’t include a progress report on the 35th closure, we asked about the latest estimate on when it’ll be over. The reply from project spokesperson Ching Chan: ” Assuming the sidewalk construction work on 35th goes smoothly next week, we are hoping to reopen the closed segment of 35th (between 104th and 106th) by first week of July.” An update is promised around the middle of next week.
By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The South Delridge area will see the arrival of a new neighborhood bar and restaurant later this summer, with Can Bar set to sail into the stretch of 17th Avenue SW between Delridge and Roxbury.
David Gradwohl says he and his partners — Josh Baymiller and James Imonti — are hoping for a mid-July open of their nautically themed bar and restaurant, with an eye toward being able to meet the community during White Center Jubilee Days (July 18-22).
The “Can” in Can Bar is a reference to the prominent role canned beer will play in the bar’s offerings. While there will be six taps for draft beer and a full bar, there will be no bottled beer available.
Just got word that the traditional end-of-school neighborhood concert near Ercolini Park is on tonight – featuring the band DAD, 6:30 pm-9 pm. Neighbors are invited to the concert – BYO chairs and food/drink (an adjacent pig roast is not a public event). Kids will be playing in the park during the concert; all ages welcome. Free but if you care to donate, it’ll go to support the Genesee Hill Elementary music program.
Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip – humpback whales have been off West Seattle much of the afternoon, and are in Elliott Bay at last report. One Orca Network commenter reports seeing them from the Water Taxi. Not sure how to ID a humpback? Here’s some help from The Whale Trail.
4:14 PM: As you’re hopefully well aware by now, the West Seattle “low bridge” – officially, the Spokane Street Swing Bridge – is closed to non-maritime traffic so repairs can be made after a hydraulic-fluid leak. No new estimate for when it’ll reopen – it’s been closed since Wednesday night, with an estimate of “at least a week” – but SDOT has provided another update on the work, with photos, including:
Today, crews repairing the West Seattle Lower Bridge are pulling electrical conduit and casings from the western bridge support machine room.
They need to reach and replace damaged hydraulics that move the west side of the swing bridge – work that will take several days.
The city-provided van shuttles for bicycle riders continue until 7 pm tonight at both approaches to the low bridge, departing approximately every 20 minutes. Riders who would rather try the detour – across the 1st Avenue South Bridge – have two new ways to check it out, thanks to fellow riders:
1. Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections sent a RideWithGPS map that he and Bill Gobie created, complete with cue sheet – see it here.
2. Robert Sverci made this video with a first-person view of the ride:
The Water Taxi runs 7 days a week this time of year – you can see the West Seattle schedule here. And whatever mode you’re using, you can check area traffic cameras including the high-level bridge on the WSB West Seattle Traffic page.
P.S. Thanks for all the extra tips on traffic problems during the closure – the best way to get info to us instantly, 24/7, is 206-293-6302, text or voice.
ADDED 8:50 PM: The bicycle shuttle is NOT running on the weekend, SDOT clarifies, adding that usage has been fairly low so far. It will resume Monday morning. Meantime, here’s another repair update.
School’s out for summer – but fall is right around the corner. Among those very aware of that – those involved with fall sports! Like the Chief Sealth International High School football team, which is raising money for new headsets, dummies, and sleds. As part of that, they’re serving all-you-can-eat pancakes for $5 tomorrow morning, 10 am-noon (Saturday, June 23rd), in the Denny International Middle School Galleria (2601 SW Kenyon, adjacent to Sealth). Just show up – tickets will be available at the door! (Thanks to Jeanette for the tip.)
(WSB photo: Construction zone just south of southern Highway 99 tunnel portal)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
For the first time in a while, the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program invited the media into the project zone outside the tunnel – not for a tunnel update, but to talk about two closures.
First one is the one we’ve been reminding you about daily since last weekend – 9 pm tonight until 6 am Sunday, southbound 99 is closing between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge. When it reopens, the stretch just north of the stadium zone will be realigned – a little less curvy, basically; not the final configuration, but closer to it. Here are WSDOT-provided images with the before and after – the U-shaped structure at the top of both views is the Atlantic Street overpass:
This won’t be a major change but it’s important for the project – WSDOT’s viaduct-to-tunnel program boss Dave Sowers explained at the briefing that this is part of getting 99 ready for connections to the tunnel and ramps in the area that will carry non-tunnel-bound 99 users into downtown post-viaduct.
Speaking of which, an update on the big tunnel-to-viaduct closure (likely this fall) was the other part of the briefing, and there’s something new for West Seattle drivers/riders – non-tunnel northbound traffic will be affected beyond the main closure itself. We’ll get into that next but first, here’s our video of the entire briefing and media Q&A in case you’d like to watch/listen for yourself:
The first thing to stress: No, there’s still no date for the three-weeks-or-so viaduct-to-tunnel closure. WSDOT hopes to be able to announce it about a month in advance, and currently expects the contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners will officially hand off the tunnel in late August. Sowers said their biggest goal is to have the tunnel open by Thanksgiving, but it could of course be sooner.
While the three-week closure itself isn’t news – we’ve reported it multiple times before – this is: West Seattleites need to know that even when the three-week closure is over and the tunnel is open, the main pre-tunnel ramp from northbound 99 into downtown – Dearborn Street – will not be ready for up to two MORE weeks. So your main paths into downtown until then will be via the low bridge/Spokane Street, or 1st or 4th or I-5 off the eastbound West Seattle Bridge – if you’re not tunnel-bound, you won’t be able to use NB 99 between here and downtown until Dearborn is ready to go.
WSDOT says it’s of course working with other agencies/services including Metro, the Water Taxi, and SDOT to coordinate planning, but they want you to start preparing too, so they’re starting to sound the alerts now.
Something else new: Viaduct demolition, post-closure, is expected to take about six months. That’s a shorter timeframe than previously mentioned. The contractor Kiewit will start at Columbia Street and at the “Pike hillclimb area.” Some work might even begin before year’s end, if the tunnel really does open by November, according to Sowers.
Though the briefing wasn’t about the tunnel itself, we asked what’s going on underground right now. Sowers said the roadway’s built and much of what’s happening now is testing, testing, testing. The tunnel includes “more than 5,000 different instruments” and they not only have to be tested individually, but project managers have to be sure those systems are “talking to each other.” They’re also striping and installing signs.
WSDOT is continuing to put more information about the project and the viaduct-to-tunnel transition online, with an easy-to-remember website: 99tunnel.com. And watch for word of another short-term closure later this summer like the one that’s set for 9 pm tonight through 6 am Sunday – Sowers said they’re trying to figure out the least-impactful dates.
11:55 AM: Thanks to Jeff for the tip – confirmed by SDOT, which tweeted the image above: A broken-down truck is blocking the left lane on the eastbound West Seattle Bridge just past 1st Avenue S., and that’s extra trouble given the unavailability of the “low bridge” as a detour. So if you have to head east, you might want to wait a while.
UPDATE: SDOT says this was cleared just before 1 pm.
(Sunset earlier this week, photographed from Alki by David Hutchinson)
Today is the first full day of summer, which arrived very early Thursday. And as mentioned in the morning traffic coverage, it’s the last day of school for Seattle Public Schools. The calendar’s pretty quiet but we do have a few highlights:
COLMAN POOL: Remember that the outdoor saltwater pool on the shore at Lincoln Park is now open 7 days a week, with swim sessions noon-7 pm. (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW)
GAME ON! Last day of school, and students are invited to celebrate with games at High Point Library, 2-4:30 pm. (3411 SW Raymond)
STEVE ITTERLY: Singer-songwriter performs at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)
‘HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH’: The “off-Broadway smash hit” has a 7:30 pm curtain time tonight at ArtsWest and a few tickets remained when we checked. (4711 California SW)
BOBCAT & SHADOW CATS: Live music at The Skylark, doors at 8, music at 9, $8 cover, 21+. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
TONIGHT’S SUNSET … 9:10 pm. You can always check the sun/moon times (and some other things) on the WSB West Seattle Weather page.
PREVIEW THE WEEKEND … via our complete calendar!
Two things the West Seattle Soccer Club wants to make sure you know – sent by Tim McMonigle:
With almost a thousand players already registered, we are rapidly coming to the end of our open registration period for the West Seattle Soccer Club 2018 fall season. After July 1, players will only be placed if there is room available on a team. The club exists for players from 5-18 years old, so please register before the deadline.
Play begins right after Labor Day, and will end before Thanksgiving for most ages. The older teams may have some games into early December. Hopefully the World Cup will motivate the players to get out on the pitch to show their stuff.
Also, this is WSSC’s 50th Anniversary, having started in our community in 1968. We are planning a celebration for (new date) September 8th, and hopefully will have some of our founders and early soccer participants available to share stories, along with a lot of food and fun events. If you were part of the WSSC in the late ’60s/early ’70s, please contact us at email@example.com. We’d love to see some old team photos and stories of the early years of our program.
6:51 AM: We again start our morning-traffic watch with a reminder that the “low bridge” remains closed to all non-maritime traffic:
SDOT says the “low bridge” emergency repairs will continue until the middle of next week. The commute-times shuttle for bicycle riders has been extended to last the entire closure. Meantime, if you are riding the West Seattle Water Taxi instead, here’s the schedule.
Our other regular cameras:
(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links)
No incidents reported so far otherwise, in/from West Seattle.
SB 99 CLOSURE: Tonight at 9 pm through Sunday at 6 am, southbound Highway 99 will be closed between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge, for tunnel-related work. We’ll take a closer look at that later this morning.
LAST DAY OF SCHOOL: Final day of classes for Seattle Public Schools, with one-hour-early dismissal.
7:13 AM: Transit alert just texted/tweeted by Metro:
Transit Alert – Route 55 to downtown Seattle due to leave SW Atlantic St & 44 Av SW at 7:15 AM will not operate this morning.
— King County Metro🏳️🌈🌈🚏🚎 (@kcmetrobus) June 22, 2018
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