West Seattle, Washington
(SDOT camera screengrab from 7:39 am Sept. 30, looking at EB West Seattle Bridge)
As we first reported last week, SDOT plans to try to alleviate the traffic tangles resulting from the new NB 99 bus lane by modifying the lane. There was no timeline then, but there is now. SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe talked about it and more in a letter today responding to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who had sent him this letter last week. Zimbabwe told Herbold, in part:
We recognize that the re-installation of the bus-only lane has had traffic impacts on all commuters to and from West Seattle, including people riding buses. To address these issues while still gaining the bus reliability benefits, we will be adjusting the lane this weekend to give people driving more time to merge before the bus-only lane begins. This work will occur during WSDOT’s planned closure of northbound SR 99 to complete repair work inside the tunnel. SDOT crews will begin working on Saturday, October 12 and plan to complete the bus lane modification work by the time the NB SR 99 tunnel reopens at 4 AM on Monday, October 14. We are coordinating this work with the planned tunnel work this weekend to minimize impacts to the traveling public.
Here’s his full letter – which touches on a few other transportation matters:
(If you can’t read it above, here’s a PDF version.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Who’s working on that?”
That’s one of the questions asked toward the end of the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s meeting Monday night, a reference to the “third-party funding” that Sound Transit says would be required to build some of the options proposed for parts of the West Seattle to Ballard light-rail extension.
The question followed a briefing by reps of Sound Transit, whose System Extension Committee is likely to decide at a meeting tomorrow (Thursday, October 10th) whether to recommend adding certain alternatives to environmental studies for the route. Two West Seattle possibilities – Yancy/Andover Elevated and Pigeon Point Tunnel – are under consideration (in addition to what the ST Board has already decided to study.
The briefing itself went over the “initial assessments” of the alternatives, as first presented to that committee four weeks ago (WSB coverage here). Here’s the slide deck used Monday night by ST’s Leda Chahim, Stephen Mak, and Lauren Swift:
Some questions along the way included wondering why the Junction and Avalon stations are potentially so close together – answer, those general locations were outlined in the original ballot measure – and whether Seattle Public Schools still owns the Jefferson Square site (sort of).
Thanks to Andy for the tip. As our video shows, SDOT has blocked off part of the outside southbound lane of West Marginal Way SW by the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse and Cultural Center, in an attempt to address some of the tribe’s ongoing safety concerns. We’ve been reporting all year on the tribe’s efforts to get help with improving safe access to the longhouse and between it and the Duwamish River shore, including cultural/natural sites, across the busy street. The possibility of lane removal was mentioned to the West Seattle Transportation Coalition two weeks ago by SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe; he mentioned a signal was a possibility too, but that isn’t in the current plan, SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells WSB:
While SDOT did not have the funding for a larger signal project to connect the longhouse to the river and park, we were able to use existing funding to implement this low-cost revision to address safety concerns and provide some parking on the western side of the street in front of the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse.
We don’t have plans for further changes. Of course, like every project, we will observe traffic performance and could potentially make some minor revisions if we see any issues that need to be addressed.
Though the city has previously rejected the tribe’s grant application for pedestrian-safety work, it has granted $575,000 that will cover part of the cost of expanding longhouse parking, as we reported last month.
The video and report were sent by Aran:
My motorcycle was stolen from the alleyway behind 3811 California Ave SW at 12:30 am on Friday, 10/4. It was a blue 2015 Yamaha R3 with license plate number 9F5851. The theft was caught on my neighbor’s Ring camera. Suspect appears to be a taller white male wearing a red baseball hat with a red logo, a gray hoodie, black vest, jeans, and black boots.
Call 911 if you see it.
West Seattle’s second grocery-store opening in eight days brought about 600 people streaming into Whole Foods Market (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW; WSB sponsor) in the first 20 minutes. Once inside, those who had been lined up outside got a raucous welcome from a lineup of cheering, applauding employees:
Applause and cheering as shoppers stream into the @WholeFoods West Seattle store, 13 1/2 years in the making. pic.twitter.com/NxGPr11mR5
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 9, 2019
Among those welcoming shoppers, the store’s team leader (aka manager) Gary Ruiz:
The store opened a bit earlier than announced – 8:46 am.
Within 10 minutes, the free tote bags were gone, but greeters continued handing out cards with “mystery savings” – anywhere from $5 to $100, to be scanned at the checkout counters, all of which were soon busy:
For a detailed look at store features (and a review of the 13+-year backstory), see our “sneak preview” published Tuesday. The store is open until 9 tonight (regular hours 8 am-9 pm).
SIDE NOTE: This is West Seattle’s fifth grocery-store grand opening in a decade. Coverage of the previous three:
*One week ago – Rebuilt PCC Community Markets (WSB sponsor) store
*April 2012 – Trader Joe’s
*August 2011 – Rebuilt Admiral Safeway
*September 2009 – Junction QFC
While checking out something unrelated, we spotted that line of city vehicles parked in the coned-of outside uphill lane of Highland Park Way, west of W. Marginal Way SW. Looked to us like an encampment cleanup – nowhere on the hill to safely stop and ask, but we’ve since confirmed it with city homelessness-response spokesperson Will Lemke, who replied to our inquiry:
The Navigation Team is removing an unmanaged encampment in that area. We estimate there to be less than a dozen living structures down in the greenbelt. The encampment is being removed for public health and safety concerns. Individuals access the area by crossing the roadway, which presents hazards to both people on foot and vehicles. Further, there is a lot of garbage, waste, and debris present within the encampment. As you know, extending emergency services to this location would be challenging as well. Lastly — and this usually is the case with encampments in the area — the natural environment has been negatively impacted. Navigation Team field coordinators and Parks crews have observed trees being cut down. The team has outreach workers on site for the clean-up.
The vehicles we saw were primarily Seattle Police and Seattle Parks, with one King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, plus a backhoe. The area’s had unauthorized camping for years, dating all the way back to the days of the original Nickelsville on the other side of West Marginal.
SIDE NOTE: The advisory Board of Park Commissioners has a briefing on “SPR’s Role in Encampment Cleanup” on its agenda for tomorrow night (PDF).
(Red-breasted Sapsucker, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar.
WHOLE FOODS OPENING: 9 am, Whole Foods Market (WSB sponsor) opens in West Seattle, with tote bags and swag for the first 300 in line. The store’s open until 9 pm. Here’s our Tuesday “sneak peek” inside the store. (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW)
CAMPUS TOUR: Thinking about studying at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor)? 11 am tour today! (6000 16th SW)
CLIMATE @ 34TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS: Social time at 6:30 pm, meeting at 7, at The Hall at Fauntleroy, with climate in the spotlight this month. (9131 California SW)
LGBTQ TEEN MEETUP: 7 pm in West Seattle, organized by the Gender Family Alliance, for 14- to 18-year-olds. Our calendar listing has contact info for RSVPing to get the location.
POEMS & STORIES: Monthly Poetrybridge event at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7 pm. This month’s featured readers: Susan Rich and Katy Ellis. (5612 California SW)
JAZZ WEDNESDAY: 7 pm at Whisky West. No cover. 21+. (6451 California SW)
JOE DORIA & FRIENDS: 9 pm at Parliament Tavern, 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
MORE OPTIONS! See them here..
(SDOT MAP with travel times/ Is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE/ West Seattle-relevant traffic cams HERE)
7:06 AM: Good morning! No incidents or alerts so far.
BUS STOP REMINDER: Metro says that starting today, “21 Express, 21 Local, 50, 55, 773 West Seattle Water Taxi Shuttle and the RapidRide C Line will not serve stop #22820 northbound on 35th Av SW just south of SW Avalon Way.” There instead is a temporary stop around the corner on EB Avalon east of 35th.
7:38 AM: If you take 4th into downtown – SDOT reports a crash (appears to involve a bus) blocking the NB outside bus lane by Royal Brougham.
8:35 AM: Stalled vehicle blocking one lane in NB 99 tunnel.
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