West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The process of arriving at a “preferred alternative” for Sound Transit‘s West Seattle/Ballard light rail routing and station locations will stretch further into spring than first planned.
That’s part of what was announced at last night’s Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting, which was centered on releasing and discussing how the currently under-review possibilities compare on a variety of criteria, including cost. The same information will be reviewed by the Elected Leadership Group tomorrow morning, and your feedback will be sought online and via in-person forums in a month or so.
Here’s the full slide deck from the meeting (PDF, 12 MB). First thing to remember – the so-called “end to end alternatives” that are in the spotlight for this third and final review phase are not “all or nothing” plans from which one will move into the next phase. But here they all are on a map:
In order in the legend, they are the “representative project” (outlined in the ST3 vote in 2016), the
West Seattle Elevated option, and the West Seattle Tunnel option. ST staffers stressed repeatedly that this is the time to “mix and match” components if that makes more sense. So the evaluation information emerged in segments, rather than simply scorecards for each full “end to end alternative.” Here’s the criteria on which the components were evaluated:
We know, it might seem a little confusing – while the city is asking for your help prioritizing Neighborhood Street Fund proposals (as we reported back on Monday), it’s also launching a separate yet similar process, asking for your ideas for street and park projects. This process is for the funding program that’s now known as Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks and Streets, and it’s a chance to propose projects every year, while the one we mentioned on Monday is a every-three-year process. So now, the YVYC announcement:
Idea collection is officially open for the 2019 Your Voice, Your Choice (YVYC): Parks & Streets program.
From now to February 22, you can submit your project ideas online or in-person at any Seattle Public Library branch.
Project ideas can include park benches, trail improvements, flashing beacons, or curb ramps … just to name a few. Check out our list of project examples for a better understanding. The only criteria are that ideas be physical improvements for Seattle’s parks or streets, benefit the public, and cost $90,000 or less.
Once ideas are submitted, volunteers will be recruited to turn the ideas into 8 – 10 proposals per Council District. Then this summer, everyone will have the opportunity to vote for the top projects within their district.
You can learn more about the YVYC process and how to get involved on our webpage, and for questions, email email@example.com.
Here are the nine District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) projects that won the voting last year.
4:47 PM: A Seattle Fire water-rescue response is headed to the 3700 block of Beach Drive SW (with some units on standby for Don Armeni), where a 30-foot boat is reported to be in trouble. Police and Coast Guard have already been dealing with it, but now SFD’s being sent too.
4:59 PM: Most of the responding units are being dismissed. Some are remaining to help get the boat safely away from the shore.
5:17 PM: Adding a reader-contributed photo (thank you!).
6:34 PM: And one more – this one’s from Keith:
8:16 PM: Video from Heidi:
Thanks to Eugene Lee for the photo from the West Seattle Water Taxi dock at Seacrest this morning. Now that the Highway 99 tunnel opening is confirmed for Monday, that makes tomorrow the final 99-less commute. To mark the occasion, King County Executive Dow Constantine plans to greet WT commuters at the dock, as he did at the start, so if you’re there around 7:30 am Friday, you’ll get the chance to say hi. Two WT reminders beyond tomorrow:
-The expanded-schedule two-boat service DOES continue all the way until the 7-day-a-week schedule begins in late March. The extra parking at Pier 2 and park-and-ride shuttle will continue, too.
-The WS Water Taxi DOES run Saturday because of the viaduct/tunnel celebration – here’s our story from earlier this week with that day’s special schedule.
If you’ve noticed the lights-and-sirens police response – here’s what officers are investigating, according to radio communication: A reported carjacking. The victim says the suspects are acquaintances to whom she was giving a ride when they pushed her out of the vehicle around 29th SW and SW Findlay and took it. The vehicle is described as a white 2002 Mercury Mountaineer, license plate starting with BDS – if you see it, call 911.
It’s official – the Highway 99 tunnel WILL open in time for Monday morning’s commute. That’s what WSDOT’s project boss Dave Sowers just told us and other media on a conference call. He said that starting Sunday afternoon and continuing into the “wee hours” of Sunday night/early Monday, they will be in the midst of all the ramp work – an “item by item, hour by hour” list of steps – to make sure it’s ready to go in time for the Monday commute, by 4:30-5 am Monday.
But for people traveling NB on 99 from West Seattle and points south, it’s vital to remember that for the first week or more, as noted many times, the exit ramp to downtown via Dearborn Street will NOT be open. Transportation authorities promise they will have signage in place to remind you that exiting to NB 99 from the eastbound West Seattle Bridge will be a “no exit until after the tunnel” (they promise to get us the exact verbiage they’ll be using) exit, until that ramp is open. “Pay attention to the signage,” Sowers urged drivers, especially in that interim time.
Sowers was asked if the possible snow toward weekend’s end could bring a setback. “Unless we had six inches of snow during the Super Bowl” – which is NOT in the forecast so far – he doesn’t expect it. But because rain is expected tonight, he said they’re in something of a “mad dash” to finish some final touches such as striping.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:07 PM: Thanks to John Laspina for the view of Mount Rainier, the Moon, and Venus early today. You might have heard some chatter so far about possible snow in a few days. There are no alerts so far but the National Weather Service “forecast discussion” says snow showers are possible toward the end of the weekend. And temperatures are dropping, whether moisture meets up with the cold air or not – highs in the 30s early next week.
ADDED 5:41 PM: The NWS warns it’s still too soon to know with any certainty what’ll happen: “Coldest air of the season arrives later on Sunday. Potential for some snow showers exists late Sunday into Monday across the area as a system slides to our south. However, it is still too early to determine amounts and location of the snow.”
FRIDAY MORNING: Now the NWS is out with a Special Weather Statement.
(Brant, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
PHIL TAVEL CITY COUNCIL CAMPAIGN KICKOFF: 6 pm at Easy Street Records, the first candidate to register in the District 1 City Council race is hosting his official campaign kickoff, with speeches starting at 6:30 pm. (4556=9 California SW)
BOREN STEM K-8 MIDDLE-SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: 6 pm, prospective Louisa Boren STEM K-8 middle-schoolers and families are invited to an open house. (5950 Delridge Way SW)
DENNY INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: 6:30 pm at Denny International Middle School, prospective students and families are invited to an open house. (2701 SW Kenyon)
SEATTLE LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: 7 pm, prospective SLHS students and families are welcome to visit. (4100 SW Genesee)
AT THE SKYLARK: 8 pm, Reality Check performs at The Skylark. $8 cover. 21+. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
AT THE PARLIAMENT: 9 pm, Into the Cold – “Heavy-duty rock meets three-part harmony.” 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
WHAT ELSE? See our complete calendar for more events happening today/tonight and beyond.
(WSB photo from 2018 CommuniTea)
You don’t have to wear a hat – it’ll still be a fun afternoon if you buy a ticket to enjoy tea and treats, plus inspiration, at this year’s CommuniTea, benefiting WestSide Baby and its work assisting thousands of local families. Again this year, the CommuniTea will be at the Sheraton in downtown Seattle. It’s set for Sunday, March 31st, doors opening at 1 pm with live jazz and mimosas, tea and program at 2 pm. Individual tickets are $75; a table for 10 is $600. You can RSVP here.
5:55 AM: Good morning! No incidents/alerts in our area so far.
6:06 AM: As the Water Taxi gets going for the day, a reminder that Spirit of Kingston is filling in for Doc Maynard until early afternoon. (Water Taxi Watch shows San Juan Clipper arriving at the dock right now, with SoK to follow.)
6:16 AM: Reader reports that the high bridge is slower than usual for this point in the morning.
7:30 AM: Nothing to report, but we’ll note that WSDOT has yet to formally confirm that the tunnel will open Monday. Our next chance to talk with the project leader will be a conference call at 12:30 pm, so if there’s any news, it likely won’t be before then.
7:49 AM: Bridge and I-5 both solid red on the traffic-speeds map right now
8:30 AM: If you’re going to the Saturday viaduct/tunnel celebration, WSDOT has this roundup of helpful info.
A magical midwinter sunset tonight – thank you all for sending photos! Above, from Bruce Easter; below, from Jim Spraker:
Next, from David Hutchinson, at Constellation Park:
He also captured Mount Rainier:
James Bratsanos caught the Olympics before they were gone for the night:
And one more view of the color at its peak, from Marc Fendel:
Thanks to everyone who sent photos; we were in a shades-drawn meeting room (covering the latest on light rail – full report tomorrow) and missed seeing it firsthand.
Last week, we reported on Alair proprietor Shandon Graybeal‘s announcement that she’s moving the shop to a larger new location just a few doors away. Now she’s set the timeline. This week she’s having a moving sale – open until 7 tonight, again noon-7 tomorrow (Thursday), then closing the old location and taking about a week to move. “Everything in the store is 50% off. There is a bunch of furniture for sale as well – tables and bookshelves mostly,” she says. She’s hoping to open the new location at 3270 California SW in time for the February 9-10 weekend and pre-Valentine’s Day shopping.
5:42 PM: Thanks for all the tips. The low bridge is reported to be stuck in open mode. Avoid it TFN. Buses are “backing up,” as one reader puts it; Metro says “Your operator will work with the operations center on the best way to get you and fellow riders moving again safely.”
5:52 PM: The photo is from David Christensen, who says pedestrians are crossing, but not vehicles. He says an electrician is reported to be on the way.
6:08 PM: SDOT’s live camera now shows police blocking the entrance to the low bridge.
6:12 PM: SDOT describes the problem as “a technical issue with the bridge’s arms” and says that, “By 7 pm, we’ll have a better idea of when the bridge is expecting to re-open.”
6:19 PM: SDOT reports the gates are up and the low bridge has reopened.
FYI for West Seattle Water Taxi riders, from King County’s Jeff Switzer: “The Spirit of Kingston will be in service Thursday morning, Jan. 31, in place of the Doc Maynard, to allow for a quick engine part swap on the Doc. It is scheduled to be back in service for the 1:15pm departure from Pier 52.”
SDOT says the SW Avalon Way/35th/Alaska repaving and rechannelization project will begin as soon as April, now that it’s reached final design. They’ve added some major new elements to the plan. They’re part of the toplines from SDOT’s Dan Anderson:
The latest design changes based on community feedback and city policy include:
*Closing 30th Ave SW at SW Avalon Way to reduce cut-through driving [see postcard, with map, here]
*Adding a new RapidRide transit island with a separated bike lane at SW Yancy St
*Shifting the northbound bus stop about 150 feet [north] for routes 50, 55, and 21 to remove bus/bike conflict at Luna Park
*Reducing speed limits on SW Avalon Way and 35th Ave SW by 5 mph
*Installing skid-resistant surface treatment on SW Charlestown St [outside project zone] and SW Genesee St
*Adjusting the curb line and adding a new planting strip at 3246 SW Avalon Way
*Closing the slip lane from SW Avalon Way to Fauntleroy Way SW
*Installing a new water main
*Continuing conversations with business stakeholders about the hours of operation for the inbound bus lane
That affects parking; here’s the map showing the parking inventory, reported here in November. Meantime, more details on many of the newly announced changes are on the project website. As shown on the map atop this story, the full project zone is all of Avalon from the bridge to Fauntleroy, plus 35th between Avalon and Alaska, and one block of Alaska west of 35th.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“I’m running.” That was how City Councilmember Lisa Herbold opened a coffeehouse conversation with us this morning, announcing that she’s seeking a second term as the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) representative on the council. She says that while she has a reputation as a “policy wonk,” she and her staff have “gotten the most satisfaction” out of working directly with constituents. “From getting a streetlight fixed … to getting SDOT to build a stairway,” Herbold says it’s been “powerful” to connect residents with the people in city government who can help, to “amplify their voices.” We talked about a lot more, of course, including her response to critics on a variety of issues – so check back in about an hour as we add the rest of the story. Herbold’s declaration means at least five people are now in the D-1 race, looking ahead to the August primary.
ADDED 11:50 AM: Working for the district, Herbold says, doesn’t just mean individual constituents’ issues, which were also a reason for running that she cited when announcing her original run in February 2015. She adds that she’s proud of “policy work that has specifically helped the district.” She’s been recounting that in lengthy weekly updates, published online and sent to her mailing list. Just a few she lists: The noise-ordinance work requested by Alki residents; advocating for shore power to be part of the T-5 project; a ready-to-work program in High Point; safety advocacy in South Park.
Others are listed on her campaign website, including commitments made during her 2015 campaign. “And there’s still a lot of work to be done.” Impact fees is high on that list – she mentions transportation and utility fees – and “addressing displacement issues” (right now, evictions are in the spotlight).
We observe that it’s been a rocky four years for the council in general.
9:09 AM: Long-in-the-works Best of Hands Barrelhouse has just announced its opening date for 7500 35th SW, former home of John’s Corner Deli (past and future home of the cow on the roof):
Craft beer drinkers near and far – rejoice! Best of Hands Barrelhouse, West Seattle’s newest microbrewery, will open March 8, 2019. Casual imbibers to beer connoisseurs can look forward to a comfortable taproom and outdoor patio to discover beer designed around Washington state ingredients and terroir.
West Seattle owners and brewers, Chris Richardson, Gregory Marlor, and Nicholas Marianetti’s brewery will showcase a range of rotating beer styles, with a focus on mixed-fermentation barrel aged sours and European inspired farmhouse ales. The goal of the brewery is to make beer that embodies a sense of place by utilizing the highest quality Washington state and Pacific Northwest ingredients whenever possible, and forging relationships with independent raw materials producers. The mission of the brewery is to produce the best handcrafted product we can while providing eclectic offerings to our guests.
Nicholas Marianetti and Gregory Marlor have most recently been serving the West Seattle community as beertenders at Alaska Junction’s beer bar and bottle shop, The Beer Junction. The two of them are level II Certified Cicerones®, and they will be sharing brewing and beertending duties at Best of Hands Barrelhouse.
Best of Hands Barrelhouse is located at 7500 35th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126 and can be found
Hours of operation:
Sunday- 3-10 pm
Monday- 3-10 pm
Thursday- 3-10 pm
Friday- 3-10 pm
Saturday- 3-10 pm
ADDED LATE WEDNESDAY: Nick from Best of Hands sent answers to some questions that came up in comments:
-We are a 21+ establishment
-Well behaved pets will be allowed on the patio only
-We are planning to host rotating food trucks but have not yet developed that program
-Lastly, the parking lot on 35th beside the patio, as well as Clearview’s parking lot, will be available to our guests after 5 pm on weekdays and anytime Saturday and Sunday. There is usually ample street parking besides, and we’re conveniently located on the 21 bus line.
As for the cow (whose name is Merriam), Nick says she will be back before they open.
Midweek highlights, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
PRESCHOOLER STORY TIME: 10:30 am at West Seattle (Admiral) Library. (2306 42nd SW)
BABY STORY TIME: And this morning’s trifecta of story times ends with 11:30 am Baby Story Time at High Point Library. (3411 SW Raymond)
LIGHT RAIL: The Stakeholder Advisory Group working on Sound Transit‘s West Seattle/Ballard light-rail extension meets at 5 pm in ST’s board room downtown. No public-comment period, but the meeting is open for all to observe. (401 S. Jackson)
THE WHOPPERJOHNS: Live at Parliament Tavern, starting at 9 pm. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
GOT SOMETHING FOR THE CALENDAR: Email is the way to send it – firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
5:56 AM: Good morning! No school for Seattle Public Schools today, so traffic should be a bit lighter as a result.
6:10 AM: No major incidents or alerts, around the region as well as in our area, so far this morning.
6:36 AM: Still incident-free.
6;54 AM: Busy but still nothing out of the (current) ordinary.
7:13 AM: Slow on the bridge.
7:30 AM: Scanner – police are being dispatched to a reported driver/pedestrian collision at California/Findlay.
7:35 AM: The woman who was hit is not seriously injured, per first police on the scene. (And thanks to the person who just called to be sure we knew about this.)
7:40 AM: The incident was on the southbound side. We say “was” because the scene has now cleared. … Chilly morning and if you have a car parked on the street, you might have some scraping to do, we’re noting from our view of the street.
8:07 AM: Sorry we missed noting a low-bridge opening (remember that the temporary 7-10 am restrictions only apply to vessels below 5,000 gross tons), which is logged as having swung open for maritime traffic 7:32-7:50 am.
8:24 AM: Just in from Joseph, a photo of the bicyclist lineup on the low bridge just before that maritime opening ended:
More than half a dozen callers to 911 earlier this hour reported what sounded like gunfire in south Highland Park. One location mentioned in radio communication: 12th/Trenton. No word of any victims turning up, and we haven’t heard of any gunfire evidence (shell casings, damage) so far, but police are in the area investigating.
Last week, we reported a fourth candidate had joined the City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) race, popcorn entrepreneur Jesse Greene. Last night was his first public campaign event, a kickoff pizza party at Talarico’s in The Junction. We were there to record the speeches, starting with his, which lasted 15 minutes:
His themes were the same as in our interview last week. Before he spoke, the gathering heard from three introductory speakers:
The first speaker, Lora Radford, has also been announced as a speaker at D-1 candidate Phil Tavel‘s kickoff this Thursday; she tells WSB that she hasn’t endorsed a candidate but is speaking to promote small-business advocacy in the campaign. Also speaking at the Greene kickoff were South Park community advocate Carmen Martinez and former state Commerce Department director Brian Bonlender. Along with Greene and Tavel, two other candidates have registered campaigns in District 1 so far: Brendan Kolding and Isaiah Willoughby.
At midday today, WSDOT and SDOT hosted media crews for a short progress-report briefing at the new intersection that will take people from and to Highway 99 just south of the soon-to-open tunnel. As the sign above shows – with the tunnel’s south-portal building as the backdrop (its distinctive yellow stacks are just out of the frame) – it’s the Dearborn intersection.
It’s still expected to open a week or so after the tunnel, which WSDOT’s project boss Dave Sowers says is still likely to open in time for next Monday’s commute, though he expects it’ll be a few more days before they lock in that date. Our raw video of today’s briefing starts shortly before the Q&A section – we arrived toward the end of the statements because they started a bit early and clogged traffic made us late! First person you see is SDOT’s downtown-mobility director Heather Marx:
Besides a progress report, today’s briefing was also meant to remind everyone that it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll get getting around once the tunnel – and then the Dearborn exit ramp – are open. In case you missed it when first released earlier this month, here are two WSDOT videos of note – first, showing how that new exit ramp will work:
Second, how you’ll get to SB 99 to get out of downtown:
As discussed in the Q&A, traffic engineers will also closely watch traffic flow out of the tunnel – ready to adjust signal timing and turning if need be.
5:34 PM: Seattle Fire is sending a “rescue extrication” response to 16th/Cambridge [map], described as a two-car crash with one vehicle overturned. Updates to come.
5:40 PM: The person reported as possibly trapped in that vehicle is out, per radio communication. 16th is blocked in the area.
5:49 PM: Added a photo. Looks like only one car is involved. One person, a 35-year-old man reported to have hand injuries, is being taken to the hospital by SFD medic unit.
5:56 PM: Added a second view of the vehicle that’s on its side. Again, avoid the area for a while.
7:18 PM: Just went back to check – scene’s clear.