West Seattle, Washington
Love history? You have a chance this week to celebrate it as Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard return to West Seattle with an illustrated talk about their recently published book “Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred.” West Seattle historian and writer Clay Eals, who edited the book, will be part of the presentation, 6 pm Thursday (January 24th) at Aegis Living (4700 SW Admiral Way). Everyone’s welcome to what will be, Eals notes, “the 25th event on behalf of the book since its launch on Paul’s 80th birthday last October 28.” Find out about the previous presentations – including videos – on the book’s website. Better yet, just go! It’s free, and Aegis will treat you to appetizers and beverages.
As noted here previously, the next two mornings bring winter’s highest high tides, aka “king tides” – 13.1 feet both days (7:04 am tomorrow, 7:43 am Thursday). Though no major problems are anticipated, the National Weather Service nonetheless has issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for 5 am to 10 am, advising, “The combination of high astronomical tides, low atmospheric pressure and waves from onshore winds will result in minor coastal flooding Wednesday morning.” If you’re out at that early hour, let us know what you see (photos to 206-293-6302 or email@example.com) – thanks!
5 PM: Thanks for the tip. The SDOT video camera on the “low bridge” confirms a stalled vehicle on the right side of the westbound lanes. Rainy commute, so bring your patience; if you’re headed eastbound out of West Seattle, for example, the high bridge looks as backed up as any AM commute.
5:10 PM: A second vehicle (unofficial apparently, no rollers) showed up/pulled over to help, and now both vehicles have moved along, so the low bridge is clear again.
5:25 PM: Given it’s so ugly out there, we’ll keep this atop the stream for a while. Another problem: 1st and Massachusetts, a blockage, blamed on “debris.” (Update: According to radio communication, a sign of some sort.)
6:20 PM: If you are heading to or from Burien, heads up – there’s an apartment fire just south of White Center, Ambaum and 122nd. Even some Seattle Fire units are now being sent to help out.
6:46 PM: Metro says the Ambaum fire is delaying Route 120. Meantime, the low bridge has closed so a vessel can get through.
7 PM: Low bridge has reopened to surface traffic.
Almost a year and a half after repeat offender Ryan J. Cox was arrested and charged with stabbing a man in Gatewood, the case may again be on the verge of resolution. His omnibus (trial readiness) hearing has been postponed twice in the past week; the document filed today says, “Parties have a resolution with all terms finalized” and that Cox is expected to enter a plea Thursday. Nothing’s final, of course, until it actually happens: Last July, as reported here, there was also word of a “resolution” but it fell through; today’s document also notes, “Parties will be asking for a continuance if case does not resolve.” Cox has been in jail since the night of August 8, 2017, when he was arrested after allegedly stabbing another man, and himself. We detailed his criminal history in this followup the next day.
“If 90,000 drivers decide to get back in their cars, there’s no question that things will get worse quickly – don’t do it!” So said WSDOT’s Laura Newborn toward the end of today’s multi-agency media conference call, something WSDOT has organized most weekdays since the Alaskan Way Viaduct shutdown, and other participants echoed that: Keep those alternative commuting practices going if and when you can!
Meantime, toplines from the call:
(Framegrab from WSDOT construction cam)
CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: WSDOT’s AWV Replacement Program deputy administrator Dave Sowers said they’re still on track to open the tunnel February 4th, right after the February 2-3 celebration weekend, with the NB 99 non-tunnel traffic exit ramp opening a week to 10 days after that. There’s a big concrete pour today, for “load distribution,” as they continue working on the ramps in the south portal area; it’s the groundwork for a future pour, “several hundred cubic yards of concrete.” So far the weather hasn’t really been a problem – absent truly heavy rain, or snow, they’re working through it. The next weather-dependent work is asphalt and striping, likely to happen this Friday, when drier weather is expected.
TRAFFIC ASSESSMENT: Though, as commenters on WSB and elsewhere observed, it felt worse than last week, WSDOT and SDOT reps on the call thought it wasn’t that different – WSDOT traffic engineer Morgan Balogh said “the peak started early and lasted longer,” and observed that people coming into Seattle from points south (via I-5, for example) had an added 15 minutes or so of travel time. SDOT’s Traffic Operations Center supervisor Tim McCall noted the West Seattle Bridge and East Marginal Way were key slowdown spots. As for the truck traffic that contributed to the latter …
PORT TRAFFIC: Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw said Terminal 18 on the east side of Harbor Island was the main contributor. They have more truck traffic this week because of more vessel calls starting last weekend … T-18 was so backed up that trucks couldn’t even get off the island, he said. And, “you can expect heavier traffic for the rest of the week.”
BUSES: They don’t have passenger counts yet, said Metro’s Jeff Switzer, noting that not all buses have counters. He was able to say that standby buses made 570 trips January 12th-19th, carrying nearly 20,000 riders. (We might hear more about the Metro overview tomorrow afternoon, when King County Executive Dow Constantine is leading a media briefing.) … We asked about bus-lane enforcement plans on the bridge besides the lane to 4th; SDOT is checking with SPD on that. They also are looking into the Avalon Way snarl. They altered the 1st and 4th Avenue S. signal timing today to help with traffic including buses.
WATER TAXI: No numbers for today yet. Last week Monday-Friday saw 11,456 passengers, said Switzer, compared to 3,490 in the comparable period last year. (2:45 PM UPDATE: 938 Water Taxi passengers this morning, down from 1,200 last Tuesday but still way up from a year ago, when 367 used it. Also up: The free parking at Pier 2 – which has a free shuttle to the dock – 71 cars today, vs. 53 last Tuesday. Still lots of room.)
P.S. We’re told the post-Viaduct situation is on the agenda at Thursday’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, with County Executive Constantine the tentatively scheduled guest, 6:30 pm Thursday (January 24th) at Neighborhood House High Point, 6400 Sylvan Way.
Out of the WSB inbox, from the mayor’s office:
As furloughed federal workers across the country and across Seattle continue to be hurt by President Donald Trump’s partial shutdown of the federal government, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan issued a new Executive Order to help impacted federal employees with their utility payments.
The partial shutdown began on December 22, 2018 and is now in its 32nd day. According to an analysis by Governing Magazine, the State of Washington has over 54,000 federal employees. Approximately 11,000 of them work in agencies currently without appropriations and are being directly impacted by the shutdown by working without pay or being furloughed.
Nationally, it is estimated that 800,000 federal employees across the country are working without pay or are currently on furlough.
Mayor Durkan’s Executive Order (EO) builds on existing City assistance programs. The EO directs Seattle City Light (SCL), Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), the City Budget Office (CBO), and the Human Services Department (HSD) to immediately develop a plan to offer deferral of utility bill payments to federal employees and community members who have been negatively impacted by the federal government partial shutdown.
“Every day that the crisis of the government shutdown continues, public servants in Seattle are forced to live without knowing if they can provide for their families – and Seattle is put at risk by the lack of federal services that we rely on, from earthquake monitoring to the Coast Guard to affordable housing support,” said Mayor Durkan. “We are acting urgently to help support Seattle families being hurt by the Trump shutdown. But to truly help families and help Seattle, we need the White House to re-open the federal government today.”
The four City departments will develop their plan for initial execution by this Friday, January 25. The program will include a phone number for impacted residents to call for eligibility information and enrollment.
The shutdown continues to threaten our most vulnerable residents throughout Seattle, the Puget Sound, and Washington State. The shutdown is impacting nutrition assistance programs, TSA agents, federal grant programs, and earthquake monitoring capabilities in the Northwest.
Federal offices in and around Seattle where federal employees are either furloughed or are working without pay include:
· NOAA’s Western Regional Center in Sand Point
· NOAA’s Seattle Forecast Office
· NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center & Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Montlake
· NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Sand Point
· The Federal Detention Center in SeaTac
· U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington
· Seattle Immigration Court
· EPA’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office
· Federal Trade Commission’s Northwest Regional Office
· U.S. Coast Guard Base Seattle
· TSA & FAA Employees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
· HUD’s Seattle Regional Office
· USGS Earthquake Hazards Seattle Field Office
· Small Business Administration’s Seattle Office
· Seattle’s IRS Service Center
The City of Seattle has several ongoing programs to ensure that residents are able to afford basic services such as water, sewer, garbage, and electricity. The City’s Utility Discount Program offers reductions on Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities bills to income eligible customers. Through Project Share, City of Seattle customers can set up individual payment plans and deferrals during times of financial hardship. The program is funded by donations from City of Seattle customers.
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
BABY STORY TIME: Geared toward babies up to 1 year old. 10:30 am at Southwest Library. (9010 35th SW)
TODDLER STORY TIME: 10:30 am at West Seattle (Admiral) Library. (2306 42nd SW)
911 @ BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS NETWORK: You don’t have to be a captain or even a Block Watch member – all welcome at tonight’s 6:30 pm WSBWCN meeting at the Southwest Precinct, with your chance to hear from and talk with local police, plus a special guest with info on the recent 911 outage and the new text-to-911 service. (2300 SW Webster)
LEVY BRIEFING: Your ballot arrives in a few days. Still have questions about the Seattle Public Schools leviesstir? 7 pm tonight, you’re welcome at a briefing with Schools First at Lafayette Elementary. (California/Lander)
TAVERN TUNES: She’s back from New York! Jessica Lurie Ensemble at Parliament Tavern, 9 pm. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
THAT’S NOT ALL! See our complete calendar here.
Another youth-sports league is signing up players for the upcoming season – this time, West Seattle Girls Softball. The announcement is from WSGS president Chrysta Torres:
Registration for the 2019 softball season is now open – and there is a $20 discount for registering in January. Practices will begin in mid-March, with games starting in mid/late April. The season will conclude the first week of June.
We invite girls 6-15 with any level of softball experience to join us for a fun season of recreational league fast-pitch softball. We teach the basics and build skills as players continue with the program and work to place players on teams that will be most beneficial to their needs.
We’d also like to thank the local businesses that sponsor our league year after year – we cannot do it without their support.
You can follow the registration link from the WSGS home page.
5:30 AM: Good morning! Welcome to the first non-holiday commute of the second post-Viaduct week. Traffic/transportation authorities hope those whose changes made last week a success keep it up this week. No trouble reported in our area so far.
5:40 AM: The high bridge is busy but flowing.
6 AM: East end of the eastbound high bridge – the backup to I-5 has begun (screengrab here for the record). WSDOT notes that northbound I-5 is busier all the way from south King County.
6:15 AM: Commuting via the West Seattle Water Taxi? Runs to downtown start now. The expanded (two-boat) schedule continues all the way until the spring/summer schedule change at the end of March.
6:24 AM: And now the traffic extends to the midspan (screengrab).
6:50 AM: Low bridge has just reopened, verified by tweet and video camera. Noticed via the latter, a steady stream of bicycles headed east immediately.
6:57 AM: Continuing our moment-in-time screengrabs, here’s the backup on the Fauntleroy-end curve (this camera was down for a long time, until last week).
7:02 AM: Surface-traffic alert from SDOT, first one of this kind that we’ve seen post-Viaduct:
HEADS UP! Heavy truck traffic on E Marginal Way from S Spokane St to Terminal 46 @PortofSeattle. @SeattlePD providing assistance. Drivers and bicyclists using this route as an alternate for #SeattleSqueeze should anticipate delays and use caution. pic.twitter.com/stPk1TzWMW
— SDOT Traffic (@SDOTtraffic) January 22, 2019
7:11 AM: Commenters report Admiral and Delridge are backed up. Also got a text from Al that, to be specific, Admiral’s backed up the hill to 37th.
7:22 AM: Consensus seems to be that this is the day some people started going back to old routines. Regional transportation/transit agencies are resuming the daily media conference calls so we’ll see what the take is then. Meantime, plenty of commute to get through.
7:31 AM: Getting to Delridge – tough too. Amy tweets that the Andover approach is backed up to 28th SW. Meantime, that truck backup near the port is likely the reason for a surface Spokane backup east of the low bridge.
7:46 AM: Though we don’t have a crew at the Water Taxi dock this morning, we’re watching the boats via MarineTraffic.com and all appears to be well. Jennifer sent this photo, captioned “Beautiful morning commute!”
7:52 AM: Texter reports it took “one hour travel time from top of Admiral Way by viewpoint to the lower bridge.”
7:57 AM: Aid response (low-level medical) call to 4th and Spokane. Heard this mentioned on scanner as truck/bicycle collision. It’s not visible on the SDOT cam for that intersection.
8:05 AM: Still a bridge jam – here’s a screengrab from the Walking on Logs curve.
8:30 AM: Doesn’t look any better out there.
8:35 AM: Toward the east end of the Roxbury corridor, SDOT reports a “blocking vehicle at Olson/Cambridge.”
8:55 AM: Top of the hour nears and it’s still jammed on the bridge.
9:04 AM: 1st Avenue South Bridge closed to surface traffic at the top of the hour. (added) Back open at 9:08.
9:21 AM: Thanks for all the firsthand reports in comments and via Twitter! (And text/voice if you can call safely and legally – as a passenger or after you get to where you’re going – 206-293-6302.)