West Seattle, Washington
It was a ribbon-cutting without a ribbon. It did, however, have ribbons of red paint – newly marked bus lanes. The about-to-open Columbia Street 2-Way Transit Pathway were commemorated this afternoon with a round of celebratory speeches from elected and appointed officials who arrived via a RapidRide bus marked “SPECIAL.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan, County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, Metro General Manager Rob Gannon, and Washington State Ferries boss Amy Scarton all took a spin at the microphone to hail the planned opening this Saturday (February 22) of the new corridor for buses to and from West Seattle and beyond.
No new information, but plenty of reminders that this will connect transportation modes more closely than before, with buses stopping conveniently close to the downtown dock where car and passenger ferries bring thousands each day. Here’s the map:
While this is the “permanent” route for the routes listed, there will be another big change when Alaskan Way is fully widened. That’s part of the city’s waterfront program, which the mayor hailed in her remarks, along with noting that there will be “many ribboncuttings we’re going to do down here” – which is when we realized, the event was more a ribbonless dedication than anything else. Here’s our video of everyone who took a turn at the microphone:
Since the mayor mentioned the extra bus hours paid for by the Transportation Benefit District taxes that are expiring this year, we asked about reports that a county version will be proposed. Constantine replied that discussions are under way with the county and its three-dozen-plus cities, and that we can expect a decision within a few weeks. But first – a new pathway for the buses that are funded now. Metro GM Gannon observed, “This doesn’t look like a transit hub, but it’s going to be.”
The building at 2716-2718 Alki SW – formerly home to Phoenecia (closed in December 2018, reopened in The Junction) and Alki Cleaners (closed July 2018) – is for sale, listed at $1,220,000. The site, zoned NC1-40, is touted in the offering memo as having the potential for “Multiple Development Opportunities, Rehab for mixed use, Townhome, ‘A-pod-ments’, Etc” The storefronts have been vacant since the end of 2018, windows papered over, no hint of the building’s future until now.
Thanks to David for tipping us to this by sharing an email discussion he’s been having with Seattle City Light and others. As the utility continues to deal with increased wire theft – as noted by The Seattle Times recently – it’s working to fix the resulting lights-out situations on, under, and around the West Seattle Bridge (among other places). Part of David’s exchange with SCL included this reply from a utility employee:
On the West Seattle Bridge, the streetlight crew attempted to splice together the wire that is left in an attempt to restore power to the control cabinet. That attempt failed and the only option left is to replace the entire run. This would restore the two separate circuits that feed the control cabinet. This requires coordination with SDOT because they have some control wires in the same conduit which have also been cut.
In the meantime, we have a traffic control plan and a permit to make a repair to the undermount lights, this is scheduled for the overnight Wednesday, 2/19/2020. The bike path has three sections, east, Harbor Island, and west, that will be handled separately. The plan is to start on that after the bridge upper deck lighting is completed.
The update also noted that crews have been working “7 days a week since October to address theft-related outages.” We followed up with SCL spokesperson Julie Moore to find out more about what’s planned tonight. She tells us the main work is actually planned this weekend:
We’re working to energize the undermounts along the lower deck of the bridge, though may be able to energize some on the upper level as well. Work will generally occur between 26th Avenue Southwest and Delridge Way. We’re doing prep work over the next couple days, but the actual work and any necessary no parking/lane closures will occur between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
A wider look at the wire-theft problem is under way as part of a city-budget action last November by District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who wrote about it here.
March 10th is the official Election Day but you can vote as soon as your ballot arrives. From King County Elections:
King County Elections mailed ballots today, February 19, to over 1.35 million registered voters for the March 10 Presidential Primary. Any voter who has not received their ballot by Monday, February 24 should call King County Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683).
The Secretary of State mailed voters’ pamphlets last week.
This Presidential Primary will mark the first time in the last four years that voters need to declare a party preference to participate. While Washington voters do not register by party, voters across the state will have to pick a party, check the box, and vote for one candidate from the party they selected. This party preference will remain on the voter rolls for 60 days before being expunged and is publicly disclosable information, per state law.
If you’re not registered, there’s still time – here’s how.
Amid the exhilaration of Southern Resident Killer Whale sighting in recent weeks, there’s been the crushing news of one more SRKW lost. What now? Be at The Whale Trail‘s midwinter gathering tomorrow night to hear/talk about it. Here’s the announcement:
“Whale Trail MidWinter Gathering featuring SRKW Updates”
When: Thursday February 20, 7:00 – 8:30
–Doors open at 6:30
Where: C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW
Cost: $5 suggested donation; kids free
Advance tickets: brownpapertickets.com
Presented by The Whale Trail
Join us for a midwinter gathering of marine mammal friends and fans in West Seattle. Whale Trail Director Donna Sandstrom will review the current status of the endangered southern resident orcas, and ongoing efforts to protect them.
With the loss of L41, the southern resident population has been reduced to just 72 individuals.
Despite the widespread attention on J, K, and L pods, why has so little progress been made?
Donna will also share the Whale Trail’s vision and priorities for 2020. Learn how you can help, and make a difference for the southern residents before it’s too late.The presentation will be followed by an informal gathering of Whale Trail friends and supporters. Everyone is welcome!
Thanks to Heather for sending the photo of that new sign on Fauntleroy Way SW near Fairmount Park Elementary. Given the saga of the fake Arbor Heights sign, we checked with SDOT about this one. It’s real, confirms SDOT‘s Dawn Schellenberg:
SPD requested we install the signs so they can use their speed van at this location.
(Same thing as 35th SW near Our Lady of Guadalupe.) “Speed van” enforcement has been in use since 2008, pre-dating fixed school-zone speed-enforcement cameras. This year’s budget calls for more of those, so we asked where that process is at:
No new speed cameras have been installed . I understand we’ll be reviewing field evaluations and surveys at new potential camera sites in the next coming months to select locations where we’ll move forward on design and installation of speed cameras. We should have our locations selected this spring and are on target for the cameras being installed for Fall 2020.
Here’s the full citywide list of current fixed cameras, including the three in West Seattle.
The photo is from Steven Director, who explained, “The cormorant was diving and came up with an eel. The gull swooped in. trying to steal it. During the squabble with the gull, the cormorant dropped the eel, which was grabbed up by a merganser who got away with it. I guess sometimes the little guy wins.” Now on with the calendar highlights:
BABY STORY TIME: 11:30 am at High Point Library. Bring babies up to 12 months old! (3411 SW Raymond)
NORTHWEST WINE ACADEMY: 2-5 pm tasting event at NWWA on the north side of the South Seattle College campus. (6000 16th SW)
TEEN TOURNAMENT: Super Smash Bros. Tournament at Southwest Library, 2:30 pm-4:30 pm, gaming on a classic Wii console. Prizes! (9010 35th SW)
PING PONG: 7 pm tournament at Admiral Pub. Cash prizes! 21+. (2306 California SW)
This year’s Your Voice, Your Choice cycle just got going. The city’s announcement explains:
Now’s your chance to share ideas for small-scale park and street improvements in your neighborhood during Your Voice, Your Choice 2020. Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is asking community members to democratically decide how to spend $2 million of the City’s budget on these improvements.
Until March 18, community members age 11 and up (13 and up to participate online) who live, work, go to school, receive services, or participate in activities in Seattle can submit their idea online or in-person at any Seattle Public Library branch. Projects could include park benches, trail improvements, marked crosswalks, and sidewalk repair, to name a few. The only criteria are the project ideas focus on physical improvements to Seattle’s parks or streets, benefit the public, and cost $150,000 or less.
Once ideas are submitted, volunteers are 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. Of the $2 million budget, approximately $185,000 is allocated to each council district. The remaining funds are allocated to projects in underrepresented communities or Equity and Environment Initiative (EEI) Focus Areas.
Share your ideas today! You can learn more about the YVYC process and how to get involved on our webpage. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-256-5944.
7:25 AM: Good morning! We just checked around – no incidents/alerts reported in our area right now. Looking ahead:
NEW TRANSIT PATHWAY STARTING SATURDAY: The new pathway into downtown for most West Seattle bus routes opens Saturday, as announced earlier this month. See the official service advisory here (PDF). We’re going downtown for a media briefing today and will take along any lingering questions.
1ST AVENUE S. BRIDGE CLOSURES: Friday and Saturday nights, the northbound 1st Avenue S. Bridge is scheduled to close, 9 pm-8 am, Friday into Saturday and Saturday into Sunday.