West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
What happened to us on the way to today’s Viaduct-closure briefing was a reminder of why you’ll want to know enough about options for getting around that you’d be able to switch routes if you have to.
Leaving at 9:15 am to travel the 8.5 miles from Upper Fauntleroy to City Hall should have been enough time for a pre-Viadoom, post-holiday morning.
Taking the high bridge to the 4th Avenue S. exit is our preferred route, as City Hall is on 4th.
Today – so was a crash with a “rescue extrication” response; one person was taken to the hospital. 4th was blocked just north of the end of the NB exit ramp.
Kind fellow drivers let us switch lanes to the SB exit ramp, and we headed south, diverting to 1st Ave. S. at the first possible opportunity.
But – the story will be different if something like this happens in the tunnel-transition time post-Viaduct closure (10 pm Friday, January 11th). The 4th Avenue offramp will devote one of its two lanes to buses. Temporary transit lanes like that are part of the city’s toolbox for trying to ease the “Seattle Squeeze” that kicks off when the Viaduct is closed for the ~3 weeks of work that’ll be needed to #Realign99.
Today’s briefing was primarily about what the city and other transportation/transit agencies, like Metro, are doing, and most of it is information we’ve already reported, but now that the end (of The Viaduct) is in sight, it’s time to sit up and really pay attention.
So first, here’s the slide deck from the briefing (13 MB PDF). Next, video of the briefing, from our late arrival:
Of continued interest are the bus changes. The latest version of the South End Pathways map is in the slide deck linked above. Metro’s Bill Bryant recapped the metamorphosis that’s in store for the routes that currently use the Alaskan Way Viaduct – their temporary routes for the Highway 99 closure (three weeks plus the extra week-or-two to finish the new Dearborn exit ramp from NB 99 into downtown), the transition period over the next up-to-a-year while the Viaduct is being demolished and the new Alaskan Way is being built, and the routes’ permanent changes after that. The transitional time will put 40 to 50 buses an hour on 4th Avenue during peak hours, Bryant noted. And if transit gets overloaded, Metro will have 20 coaches on standby, ready to augment any route. Meantime, as the “pathways” map shows, Metro has two options for outbound (pm commute) routes and will be ready to “quickly shift” between them if needed – that’s part of why those routes will be passing through SODO but NOT STOPPING in that area.
A few miscellaneous points that caught our ear:
-SDOT is now up to six “incident response teams” to try to clear trouble faster
-43,000 people have signed up for the Viaduct farewell visits on February 2nd (go here if you haven’t already)
-The city has 7,000 employees downtown, about a tenth of them driving single-occupancy vehicles, and the city is working to provide incentives (teleworking, flex hours, etc.) to reduce that
-If everything SDOT does to try to manage traffic isn’t enough, SDOT’s Heather Marx said, there’s a “Plan B” with more signal modifications, increased street-parking restrictions, more transit-only lanes, potential operations of some streets as transit only, modified I-5 ramp availability/signal timing, restricted turning, expanded hours for transit priority/restrictions, increased “call to action” messaging and more.
WHAT’S NEXT: Tomorrow (Friday, January 4) at 10 pm, the Highway 99 ramps in the stadium zone (Royal Brougham and Atlantic) close permanently so the #Realign99 work can begin. Exactly one week later, the Viaduct closes permanently (10 pm Friday, January 11). If all goes well, WSDOT hopes it can open the tunnel at the end of the celebration weekend – the night of Sunday, February 3rd. The NB 99 Dearborn ramp – which West Seattleites will use to get into downtown from 99 – won’t be ready for “a week or so” after that.
Transportation managers plan more briefings/availabilities in the week-plus ahead, so keep asking questions, and we’ll seek answers. (Tomorrow morning’s briefing topic: Expanded availability of the temporary free downtown waterfront shuttle.)
A big announcement tonight from the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition:
As we move into the new year, DRCC/TAG is excited to announce that Paulina López will be our new executive director, effective January 1, 2019.
Our coordinator, James Rasmussen, is stepping into a new, part-time, technical lead role within the organization as he moves toward retirement in a few years. James has truly been an inspiration for his work on the river. He has provided a powerful voice for the river, wonderful leadership for the organization, and has always strived to put the community first. With James at its helm, the organization has grown and thrived. We are not only very thankful that he will continue to provide insight and guidance to DRCC/TAG but also thrilled that he will be able to ensure that the EPA RoundTable and other initiatives will be responsive to community needs and vision.
Originally from Ecuador, Paulina has made Seattle her home over the past 15 years and has been with DRCC/TAG for eight years. Paulina has over 25 years of experience working with issues of civil rights, social justice, equity, education, and diversity. She has and continues to demonstrate commitment and engagement in the community through the advocacy of multiple important civic policies including access to a safe, clean environment for families in the area. Paulina has worked on numerous initiatives and campaigns that have focused on building political power and advancing policies related to issues surrounding race, immigration, the environment, and social justice. She has thrived by pushing for inclusive processes that place those most impacted and affected by issues of inequity and injustice at the center of decision-making.
Paulina created and co-led our Duwamish Valley Youth Corps Program and worked as a Community Engagement Director, advocating for community members to participate in the complex cleanup process and to have a voice. She has served as an expert on the City of Seattle’s Equity and Environment Agenda, Port of Seattle’s Near Port EJ Project, Equity Cabinet of the King County Land Conservation, and on Public Health Seattle and King County’s Health Impact Assessment, among others. Paulina is passionate about community engagement and advocacy for human rights issues especially for underrepresented communities and the issues that affect them. Paulina graduated from St. Thomas University with an LLM, Master of Law in Intercultural Human Rights. She has been an organizer, advocate, full-time volunteer and the mother of three boys under the age of 13.
“My eight years working at DRCC have been an incredible journey and I’m excited to take this next step. When I first got to know this organization, I was impressed by the deep history of the work, the clarity and vision to advocate for environmental justice issues. Also, most of all the inspiring people giving so much of their time to engage the most impacted in my own neighborhood of South Park. It has been an honor to serve here and one of the most important experiences of my life where I learned to appreciate existing networks and bring peoples’ voices to complex systems of government. I look forward to continuing to work together for justice and equity to mobilize resources for the Duwamish Valley as we build collective power to make our community, our cultures, and our ecosystem thrive. Together we will continue our unique and powerful legacy” — Paulina López
We are elated to make this announcement and look forward to the continued growth of DRCC/TAG building on the hard work of James, Paulina, and all of the staff, board, community advisory committee, volunteers and most importantly neighbors and community members.
Family and friends will gather in April to celebrate the life of Christopher R. Clark. Right now, they are sharing this remembrance with the community:
Christopher Ryan Clark, 36, of Seattle, passed away into the loving arms of the Lord, on December 28th, 2018, while his mother (Linda Clark) and father (James Clark) held his hands. With a fighting determination, he battled testicular cancer at the age of 12 years old and colon cancer in 2015.
Chris was born on February 7, 1982 to James R. Clark and Linda S. Clark. He was a life-long West Seattle resident and hobbyist who worked for the West Seattle Thriftway for 10 years in the Deli Department.
Chris had a witty sense of humor and a resilient spirit of perseverance, loved being generous and was always willing to help others. He was a master Lego Builder and was active in the BrickCon conventions, which are held in Seattle yearly. Photographing wildlife, birds, and landscapes was another of his hobbies which he enjoyed very much, especially on the many road trips and vacations he pursued with his family as well as with his friends, across the US and abroad.
Chris is survived by his mother Linda, father James, sister Amy Michelle Clark Fowler, and brother-in-law Justin Fowler. He also has many other family members and friends near and far who greatly loved him.
There will be a Celebration of Life at Trinity West Seattle Church (7551 35th Ave SW) on April 6, 2019 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (family, coworkers, and friends are welcome to attend). More info will be announced in the near future (here).
The Clark family would especially like to thank the West Seattle Thriftway for being so accommodating to Chris while he was in treatments and a great place to work. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Christopher R. Clark’s name to Make A Wish Washington (here).
Share memories of Chris on the tribute page at emmickfunerals.com.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
Sam has been visiting our area for the holidays – and unfortunately this happened:
My green 1999 Honda CR-V was stolen on Christmas Eve from the street on the 5600 block of Fauntleroy Way SW. It has Oregon plates (872KGL).
Call 911 if you see it.
When we reported last week on the new signage at the future Whole Foods Market space on the north and west sides of The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW), promising that it will be “open (in) fall 2019,” some WSB readers suggested an update on the new PCC Community Markets-West Seattle (WSB sponsor) space. The project at 2749 California SW, with PCC on the ground floor and three stories of apartments above, has been under construction now for a year, and as shown in our photo, is now the site of the only tower crane currently in use in West Seattle. We asked PCC for an update – here’s the reply from spokesperson Heather Snavely: “Regarding opening, we’re looking forward to returning to West Seattle in the fourth quarter of this year. We’re so grateful to the West Seattle PCC members and shoppers who’ve continued to shop our co-op at our Burien and Columbia City stores, and we’re excited to share more about the new West Seattle store in the coming months.” (You can also still get PCC groceries delivered.)
1:26 PM: According to radio communication, southbound California Avenue SW is currently blocked in the 3200 block as SFD handles a natural-gas leak. They haven’t yet found the source but believe they’ll be able to clear it via ventilation.
1:53 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli reports California is now open both ways. (We have added a photo he sent.)
If you’re hoping to spend more time being helpful this year … maybe this is for you! The announcement is from Invest in Youth:
Did you resolve to give back to your community this year? This is your opportunity! Invest in Youth is in need of local volunteer tutors at Roxhill Elementary. As a tutor, you are paired with an elementary school student (a 3rd-5th grader) and work with that same student for the rest of the year. This match allows you to see your impact on the student’s week-to-week progress. It is an extremely rewarding experience for both students and their tutors!
The commitment for tutors involves:
● 1 hour per week at a local school
● An entire school year
● Several breaks for holidays
If you are not sure that you can make a commitment every week, or for the entire school year, Invest in Youth is always in need of regular substitute tutors. Please contact Jude (firstname.lastname@example.org) for specifics.
A third candidate has now entered the race for the District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council seat. After Brendan Kolding‘s name appeared Wednesday on the list of those who have registered campaigns, we contacted him to find out more, and he responded with this announcement:
Seattle Police Lieutenant Brendan Kolding has announced his plans to challenge City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for the Council District 1 seat in 2019. “City Council is very much in need of an experienced law enforcement professional,” stated Kolding. “Seattle is in a public safety crisis, and the fine men and women of the SPD do not feel supported by City government. Officers are leaving the Department faster than their replacements can be hired, and the City Council was reluctant to approve the collective bargaining agreement that has been worked out between the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild and the City’s labor relations team. SPD is grossly short-staffed, and this problem will only be exacerbated by the passage of I-940. I am running so that our police officers can have someone on City Council who supports them and will fight for their ability to serve the people of Seattle.
“I am also running because City Council has failed to adequately address the homelessness crisis. I support the creation of FEMA-style shelters. These would be warm, dry places with healthy meals, laundry facilities, ample security, and access to critical services such as mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and job placement. The goal would be to find permanent housing for people within a regional network. It is undignified, unsanitary and unsafe for people to reside in the tents, vehicles, and other makeshift shelters that are currently scattered across Seattle. Many of these living situations are illegal, and for good reason. The solution is not RV lots, tent cities, or tiny villages. Instead, we need to provide basic emergency shelter with concentrated services aimed at elevating people into a more stable lifestyle. Once that is in place, we need to direct people who do not have homes to that option and not allow our sidewalks and parks to be used as campgrounds.”
Kolding, 36, has served on the SPD since 2008. He joined the Policy Unit in 2012, where he was actively involved in the development of key policies related to the federal consent decree. When the City was found to be in initial compliance with the consent decree in January, Kolding returned to Patrol and served as a sergeant at the West Precinct. Promoted to lieutenant in July, he currently serves at the North Precinct. He has been a voting member of the Force Review Board since 2014.
The Kolding campaign will be launching a website in the near future.
In 2017, Kolding applied for the opening on City Council that resulted when former Councilmember Tim Burgess, himself a retired SPD officer, became interim mayor.
Kolding holds a BA from Gonzaga University and an MA from Marquette University, both in political science.
He and his wife have lived in West Seattle for nine years. They have three young children. Kolding is actively involved in the community, coaching basketball at the YMCA and serving as president of the Holy Rosary School Commission.
Kolding has sought elected office before – running for State House in 2014 and 2016.
The first to register a campaign for the District 1 position was Phillip Tavel (here’s our October report), a West Seattle lawyer who ran in 2015; second, Isaiah T. Willoughby (here’s our December report). Incumbent Herbold has yet to announce whether she plans to run for re-election.
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
EXPLORE WEST SEATTLE’S HISTORY: The Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s Log House Museum is open noon-4 pm. (61st SW/SW Stevens)
GAME ON! School’s still out. Bored kid/teen(s) in the house? 2-4:30 pm, board games and more at High Point Library. (3411 SW Raymond)
LIVE AT THE SKYLARK: 7 pm, Special Order and Phood perform, $8 cover, 21+. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
TRIVIA TIMES TWO: 7 and 8 pm games at Great American Diner and Bar in The Junction. Free, with prizes! (4752 California SW)
7:17 AM: Good morning! No incidents reported in our area so far.
METRO TODAY: Again today, buses are on “reduced weekday” service.
9:38 AM: Getting downtown right now is close to impossible. We are trying to get to a City Hall briefing on Viaduct-to-Tunnel mobility and are stuck on the 4th Avenue S. exit ramp, just discovering the “rescue extrication” call that’s blocking 4th at Spokane.