West Seattle, Washington
A #TurkeyTuesday full of more sightings of The West Seattle Turkey in Gatewood, where it has been since at least Friday. Today started with this video – listen closely to hear The Turkey, as well as Ben’s narration, from near the Thistle stairway:
A bit later, Tanya sent this photo from 39th/Kenyon:
Please be watchful if you’re driving – The Turkey likes to walk in the street, as seen in Dave‘s photo from 39th/Austin:
That’s also where Jessica got this picturesque view also featuring blossoms:
Susan and Jerry got a backyard visit:
And this one came in last night but we can’t resist the Napping Turkey … from Mike near 44th and Southern:
If you’re new here – readers have been reporting turkey sightings since tt first showed up (in Arbor Heights) 11 months ago.
Here are the toplines from today, 25 days after the first King County case of COVID-19 was announced:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From today’s Seattle-King County Public Health news release:
Cases reported today are an approximation. Case numbers draw from a Washington State Department of Health database that is in the process of being updated. We expect to have an official count tomorrow. Public Health—Seattle & King County is reporting the following estimated positive cases and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 p.m. on 3/23/20.
1277 estimated positive cases (up 107 from yesterday)
94 estimated deaths (up 7 from yesterday)
No other details. To compare – one week ago, 518 cases and 46 deaths were reported.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: 2,469 cases, 123 deaths; 31,712 tested, 7 percent of them positive; other state stats here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: Find them – nation by nation – here.
STAY-HOME ORDER TAKES EFFECT TOMORROW: What’s allowed? What’s not? Read the proclamation in its entirety here.
IF YOUR BUSINESS HAS TO CLOSE … here’s police advice.
IF YOUR BUSINESS DOES NOT NEED TO CLOSE … you do NOT need a letter proving you’re allowed to be out of your home. Some employers are apparently giving them to employees, but we confirmed with state officials that there is no such requirement. (Even the governor’s proclamation says there isn’t.)
NO PARKING AT CERTAIN PARKS: Though the parks themselves are NOT off-limits, the city has closed off “destination” parks’ parking lots including Lincoln Park.
WSB readers spotted at least one lot closed that wasn’t mentioned – Don Armeni Boat Ramp.
NEED HELP, OR WANT TO HELP? Some of your West Seattle neighbors have a new website to facilitate connections.
HELPING: And so many have helped already. One local doctor shared his gratitude.
GOT INFO? email@example.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
That’s the traffic on West Marginal Way SW, below the now-closed high-rise West Seattle Bridge, as seen this evening from the walking/biking lane on the low bridge. While we took that photo, regular passenger-car traffic continued using the low bridge, as it did when we checked this morning, despite SDOT saying it would be off-limits to that traffic during the closure of the high bridge. SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson told us tonight that the restrictions “should be in place tomorrow (signs were not posted last night due to the phasing of our work).” According to an SDOT Blog post tonight, people who work on Harbor Island have been added to the list of who can use the low bridge once the rules kick in:
SDOT also published a detour map and reiterated the main options:
All vehicles are prohibited from crossing the high-rise span of the bridge between I-5 and Fauntleroy Way SW. Motorists should use the First Ave or South Park bridges. See map above for alternative route suggestions for getting to the First Ave bridge. We’ve alerted navigation services likes Google Maps and Waze about the bridge closure and they should reroute you over the First Ave or South Park bridges.
As for the many questions raised by the out-of-the-blue announcement that the high bridge would be closed for assessment and repairs because cracks made “live-load traffic” too dangerous – no new answers today. We hope to be able to ask those questions in an interview as soon as tomorrow. We have also requested photos of the problem.
Also asking questions, District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who says she didn’t hear about the closure plan until a call from the mayor a few hours before the announcement. Here’s an excerpt from her reply to concerned constituents, as shared with us:
I have asked the SDOT Director why vehicle traffic is being limited on the lower bridge, and how soon it can be opened for traffic, given lower traffic volumes in Seattle due to COVID19 guidance and specifically to reduced traffic volumes to West Seattle via the West Seattle Bridge, in light of the Governor’s latest COVID19 Shelter in Place order. My office has requested that SDOT appeal to the Coast Guard to make fewer bridge openings of the lower level bridge to allow for more buses and cars to cross, like they did in early 2019 when the Alaskan Way Viaduct closed and the SR99 tunnel was not yet open.
My office submitted a preliminary list of questions to SDOT. The Council has requested a public briefing to the Council as soon as possible. My questions are below:
Please explain the decision to not allow cars on the lower bridge (compared to when e.g. the AWV closed and before the SR99 tunnel).
Please describe what analysis SDOT will be conducting to decide when to re-open the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge, and what criteria you will be using.
Has SDOT received word from the Coast Guard about flexibility re: times the bridge can remain open w/o or with limited closures?
Please provide a timeline of SDOT’s inspections of the West Seattle Bridge that lead to this decision.
Please explain SDOT’s procedures for providing information to the Council regarding ongoing inspections for potential significant problems that could lead to closure of major roadways or structures.
Southern access points to the peninsula will see significantly increased traffic. What steps will SDOT take for safety at the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden, that already have safety problems?
Below are additional questions that get into the weeds of the budget and SDOT notification to Council of the impacts of changes from the Federal government related to load ratings that have led to higher scrutiny, and now closure, of this bridge:
When SDOT completed its November, 2018 Move Levy Workplan (or levy “reset”), the work plan included 16 bridges for seismic work (section 12 of the report), including several in District 1: Delridge Way SW Bike/Ped Bridge, the north and south Admiral Way bridges, and the Andover Way SW ped bridge (and ironically the 1st Avenue South Bridge that SDOT is directing West Seattle commuters to). It did not include the West Seattle Bridge.
The 2020 SDOT Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget referenced work on the 16 projects in its listing for Bridge Seismic work. The SDOT CIP noted it was analyzing bridge loads of 69 separate bridges due to 2013 and 2016 federal requirements from the Federal Highway Administration. Today’s press release referred to new 2019 requirements.
The 2020-2025 CIP (page 188) references federal changes in 2013 and 2016 to load requirements; today’s press release says “In 2019, however, the Federal load rating for this type of bridge changed”. When did this change take place?
The November 2018 Move Levy Workplan (i.e. levy “re-set”) noted 16 bridges scheduled for seismic improvements from 2019 to 2024; the 2020-2025 SDOT CIP “Bridge Seismic – Phase III” item noted the 16 bridges. Why was the West Seattle Bridge not included in the 16 bridges?
How many other, of the 69 bridges subject to new FHA load requirements, have been triggered for enhanced inspections by bridge integrity specialists to ensure the safety of our city’s bridges
Please provide the most recent list of SDOT’s assessment of Seattle’s bridges (including ratings).
Lots of questions – so far no answers. We’ll continue pursuing.
Uncertain about what’s allowed under Governor Inslee‘s “stay-home order” and what’s not? Read it for yourself! It was finalized and made public today. It’s here in PDF, or below:
The first two pages are mostly set-up/background – the heart of it starts with page 3. His office also has published a transcript of the Monday speech in which he announced it.
In hopes of helping connect West Seattleite who need help with those who want to help, community advocates Phil Tavel and Brendan Kolding, with help from Sarah Rodermund, have launched a new collaborative effort online. The website – westseattlecovid.recovers.org – is intended “to better connect individual volunteers and community organizations with local needs” in the coronavirus crisis. They’re using the Recovers.org platform, founded in 2012, which can connect volunteers with individuals who have specific needs, in a more-structured way, supplementing what’s already happening around the area. “It’s not an either/or,” Tavel said in the launch announcement. “It’s a both/and. We need everyone in our community to come together on this, and we are eager to provide additional tools.” Organizations can use the site too; the announcement explains, “Both needs and resources are tagged with specific labels like ‘transportation” or ‘medical supplies’ that are searchable to streamline the matching process. In addition, site administrators can help facilitate communication and recruit resources as needs emerge.” Got questions or want to help coordinate? Contact Phil Tavel at 206.949.8680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
That photo of the now-closed Don Armeni Boat Ramp lot, from Stewart L., just arrived about the same time as Seattle Parks made this announcement:
In an effort to encourage social distancing and reduce the number of congregating crowds, the City of Seattle has closed parking at the eight destination parks, closed all beaches to gatherings and prohibited access to Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area and Rattlesnake Ledge Trail near North Bend. Last week, the City and County announced that play areas and other high touch areas would be closed, and reinforced that congregating in parks is not allowed at this time.
The Seattle Parks and Recreation eight destination parks are Green Lake, Lincoln, Golden Gardens, Seward Park, Magnuson Park, Gas Works, Alki Beach, and Discovery. All Seattle beaches will no longer be open for gatherings; however, will remain open for walking or general exercise. Parking lots will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 25. Understanding the Governor’s Stay at Home, Stay Healthy order, residents are encouraged to visit the 479 local neighborhood parks or to bike or walk to these destination parks, which will remain open for public use.
SPR and SPD will also continue to deploy staff to encourage social distancing at these highly frequented parks as well as locations such as Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park.
“We still want people to be able to enjoy our parks during this stressful time. But we have seen many of our parks have become too busy to allow folks to properly create social distance. Our hope is that closing parking lots will reduce crowds. If folks are not able to maintain six feet of space, we will need to close parks,” said Jesús Aguirre.
As always, Seattle Parks and Recreation asks residents to:
Use social distancing: the most effective tool we have to slow the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. We are asking people to abide by social distancing guidelines in Seattle Parks.
Do not access off limits equipment or areas: as of last week, Seattle and King County have closed all play areas and other high touch areas, such as picnic shelters, tables, and outdoor exercise equipment.
Do not congregate in parks: the means no pick-up games, no picnics, BBQs, parties, or bonfires.
Six feet for activities: Hiking, biking, walking are all great ways to enjoy parks right now, just remember to give a wide berth to your fellow residents.
Again, the parks/beaches are not closed – just closed to gathering, and to parking. We note that Don Armeni isn’t specifically mentioned so we’re following up.
While the weather is still good – if you are in Westwood, you can visit the puzzle/game exchange! Alison sent the photo and says it is in the 8600 block of 24th Avenue SW: “Would like to invite anyone to exchange puzzles or games.” Or if you are not in the area – you might consider one of your own.
From the WSB inbox:
Wanted to thank Michan from West Seattle Window and Doors for donating almost 1,000 masks, gowns and booties to the West Seattle Swedish clinic. Helping keep us all safe. She wanted to pass on an excellent request to please follow the stay home order.
Steve Dagg, MD, MPH
West Seattle Swedish
If you have PPE to donate, here’s one resource for finding out who needs it (no West Seattle location, listed though – any local clinics that DO need help, let us know so we can amplify the call).
In comments and email today, there arose suggestions/claims that “essential” workers will or should have a letter or “pass” to prove it’s OK for them to be moving around during the “stay-home order.” Since the governor very clearly did NOT say people would be required to show proof it’s OK for them to be out – this is NOT house arrest or martial law – we sought out an official comment on this. The governor’s office pointed us to the Department of Commerce, and we just heard back from that department’s spokesperson Penny Thomas. NO, she said, no one will need a pass or letter – that, she said, is an absolutely false rumor.
With more businesses forced to close because of the governor’s stay-home order, that Seattle Police flyer may be helpful (see it above, and here in PDF) – Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner sent it, along with another city “tip sheet.”
As noted when the governor issued the “stay home” order, food and beverage businesses CAN stay open for takeout and delivery – they’re considered “essential.” So we are continuing to update the West Seattle list (see it here) we launched eight days ago, right after the governor ordered an end to dine-in/sit-down service. Already this week, we’ve had a few more closures, and a reopening. Please help us keep this updated – whether you are a business owner/staffer or customer, if you have a change/addition, please email us at email@example.com or text 206-293-6302 – thank you!
Before we get busy with another day of news, bridge followups, etc., some video:
The balcony singalong happened at The Kenney – which recorded the video – last Friday, at the Ballymena Apartments on the retirement-living campus north of Lincoln Park. To protect residents, they’re barring visitors except for “end-of-life situations.” As a result, they have a “pen pal” program going, as we’ve reported.
5 AM: As announced Monday – the high-rise West Seattle Bridge is closed indefinitely.
Here’s the proof:
The low bridge is NOT an alternative – SDOT says it’s reserved for buses, emergency responders, and freight.
You can use the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) instead – that’s also how to get to I-5.
Or, you can cross the Duwamish River via the South Park Bridge (map).
We expect to hear more from SDOT later today, but meantime, it’s Day 1. Metro routes are affected, too – check yours here (and note the new Reduced Schedule also applies). Taking the Water Taxi? Here’s the schedule (and it, like Metro, is currently free). Let us know if there’s different info that would help you navigate – text or voice 206-293-6302.
8:14 AM: We went out to look at a few things. A few notes, as we tweeted them:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 24, 2020
SB West Marginal north of Highland Park Way. Tons of trucks. pic.twitter.com/ZJfNBjpo38
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 24, 2020
Looking at EB Holden headed for Highland Park Way. pic.twitter.com/b5UpmGm8Cp
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 24, 2020