West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two weeks and two days after the sudden safety shutdown of the West Seattle Bridge, its repair plan is still a work in progress.
That’s what we heard at the latest public briefing on the situation – more of a mini-briefing, with a small slot at the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee‘s monthly meeting Tuesday night. The committee’s members are volunteers appointed to keep watch on what’s done with the money raised by the levy, passed by voters in 2015, meant to raise $930 million over its nine years.
The briefing was led by deputy SDOT director Lorelei Williams, with roadway-structures director Matt Donahue and department director Sam Zimbabwe also participating.
Here’s our nightly roundup of pandemic-related local news:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the daily Seattle-King County Public Health news release:
Public Health reported 202 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the official case count in King County to 3,688. 14 new deaths were reported, bringing the total of COVID-19 deaths in King County to 244.
One week ago, the county reported 2,496 cases and 164 deaths.
ONE MORE LOCAL VICTIM: Checking the county data dashboard – 98146 now has two deaths, as do 98106 and 98126; 98136 is still at one, 98116 at zero.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page,.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: Almost 1.5 million cases. See how that breaks out, nation by nation, here.
NEVER MIND: Remember the Army field hospital being set up at CenturyLink Field? It’s being broken down – the governor says it looks like we won’t need the hospital-overflow space after all. But he also warns we haven’t won the war against the coronavirus yet.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE: David Hutchinson spotted this sign on the Alki Trail:
WHY DISTANCE MATTERS WHEN YOU’RE WALKING/RUNNING/ETC.: Researchers explain. (Thanks to Trileigh Tucker for the link.)
ALSO FOR SAFETY’S SAKE … the city announced today that it’s closing more parks’ parking lots, including West Seattle Stadium:
It wasn’t closed when we went by just after 5 pm; we’ll look again tomorrow.
NEED HELP? OFFERING HELP? Another reminder that West Seattle Support is up and running at westseattlecovid.recovers.org – matching requests for assistance with people who can help.
TONIGHT’S INSPIRATION: Sent by J, as seen in North Admiral:
GOT INFO? Email us at email@example.com or phone us, text or voice, at 206-293-6302 – thank you!
The West Seattle Turkey is on the move again …
After hanging out a while in North Admiral, today we got three sighting reports from Genesee Hill. The photo above is from Larry; below, from Wendy, who explained, “Pleasantly perched in the upper right of the cherry tree, the famous West Seattle turkey! It’s the most exciting thing to happen to us in a month… ”
And via Twitter:
— Kristin (@kkSeahawks) April 8, 2020
Thanks as always for the photos!
4:34 PM: With SPD enforcement starting on the low bridge this week, there’s been some confusion over who’s allowed to use that bridge and who isn’t. SDOT had said right after the March 23 high-bridge closure that the low bridge was available for “Harbor Island access.” But that has changed, with one exception. We asked SDOT today to spell out the current official policy; spokesperson Ethan Bergerson responded with this:
At this time, the Low Bridge remains closed to people driving general purpose vehicles to keep essential and life-safety services moving. Considering the current public health emergency, our top priority is emergency access to hospitals and protecting the supply chain, so we are reserving access to emergency vehicles, freight, and transit, and working with our partners at the Seattle Police Department, the Seattle Fire Department, the Port of Seattle, and Metro to determine the extent of the access limitations.
There is one exception for freight community employees. Longshore Workers Union employees who are driving westbound from the Union hall at the start of their shift to Terminal 5 may use the Low Bridge. This is for westbound trips only.
We understand the inconvenience the closure of the High Bridge poses to the community. SDOT did not make this decision lightly, but ultimately, we prioritize safety above all else. We are monitoring traffic on the Low Bridge and as new traffic patterns develop, we may be able to adjust access.
Our next report on what’s up with the high bridge, meantime, is coming up this evening.
6:51 PM: We checked out the eastbound approach to the low bridge around 5 pm. Overhead signage has now been altered:
And two officers were in the lanes directing/monitoring traffic:
In addition to the 8 major parks already closed to parking, the City of Seattle is closing parking lots at 8 other parks to further encourage social distancing and lessen crowds. Closures are effective immediately at all parking lots along Lake Washington Boulevard; in Washington Park Arboretum, at Stan Sayers Boat Ramp (boat ramp also closed); AT Carkeek, Kubota, Woodland Park, and Volunteer parks; and at the West Seattle Stadium.
These parking lot closures are in addition to the closures at Green Lake, Lincoln, Golden Gardens, Seward, Magnuson (including the boat launch), Gas Works, Alki Beach (including Don Armeni boat launch), and Discovery parks.
Residents are encouraged to visit any of other 450 local neighborhood parks, or to bike or walk to the larger destination parks, which will remain open for public use.
“Many of us have been doing a great job at enjoying the outdoors while also practicing social distancing, but we are still observing crowds at some of our larger parks, and pick-up games on fields and courts. We urge you to visit parks closer to home or take walks in your neighborhood. Continuing our social distancing practices is critical to the health of those most vulnerable in our community,” said Jesus Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent.
SPR and SPD will continue to deploy staff to encourage social distancing at highly frequented parks.
As a reminder, all Seattle beaches are also closed to gatherings, and Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area and Rattlesnake Ledge Trail are closed.
These past few weeks, on Sunday mornings, we’ve been featuring a list with links to local churches that are offering worship online, whether livestreamed, recorded, or in text. Today, two midweek faith notes:
PASSOVER BEGINS: The Jewish holiday starts at sundown, and West Seattle’s Kol HaNeshamah synagogue is prepared to celebrate virtually. Tonight, for Night 1, Rabbi Zari Weiss has shared this downloadable Haggadah – used for Seders on the first two nights of the holiday. Tomorrow night, starting around 5 pm, KHN plans a livestreamed Seder.
HOLY WEEK: Many extra services this week for Christians, leading up to Easter this Sunday. We have word of Wednesday evening prayer online from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church:
You are invited to join us on Wednesday nights for online Evening Prayer at 6:30 p.m.
To follow along with the service, click on this link: Wednesday Evening Prayer Bulletin
You can watch Evening Prayer on Facebook Live.
Any other West Seattle churches with services leading up to Easter? Email us – firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you! If we get announcements, we’ll list them as a preview each day.
On Tuesday, we reported on Avalon residents whose vehicles were towed from the SDOT project zone because of no-parking signage they said they hadn’t even had time to see because of the stay-home order. We asked SDOT and the mayor’s office for comment. Just in from SDOT:
Yesterday we learned that the contractor working on the 35th/Avalon project had 12 vehicles towed of 98 total parking spots from SW Avalon Way in West Seattle. While our contractor followed our normal notification procedures of sending construction notices to property managers, residents, neighbors, and businesses about this work, and placing no-parking signs 72 hours in advance, we have since heard from several residents that they did not see the signs because they were following the COVID-19 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.
Typically, contractors will notify our project teams prior to towing cars. That did not happen in this case, and prevented us from having the opportunity to notify residents once more, given the challenges we’re all facing in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis and “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” best practices.
We are sorry for this inconvenience. We have confirmed, however, that 4 of the 12 cars will be returned to the corridor as soon as possible at no cost to the owners. The remaining 8 cars have already been picked up by their respective owners and will be reimbursed for charges related to towing.
Crews are continuing to work on this project today, and will pause work on Thursday in order to implement new Health and Safety Plans for this job site. The contractor plans to resume work on Monday. No-parking signs will be enforced on Avalon Way starting Monday morning through Friday evening.
We are in the final stages of this project that started last year, including installing the permanent pavement markings. We know this project has been disruptive to the corridor while we have done major upgrades to the street and installed new protected bike lanes and transit-only lanes.
For all questions, please call 206-900-8734 or email Avalonpaving@Seattle.gov. We encourage everyone to review our website highlighting all COVID-19 related parking changes.
The year-long Avalon repaving-and-more project is in its final phase, with permanent striping and markers being installed, as well as one final block of repaving involving asphalt work on Avalon west of 35th.
Just because campuses are closed doesn’t mean learning has stopped. That goes for South Seattle College (longtime WSB sponsor), where spring quarter is about to start, and there’s still time to enroll. Updates from SSC (which has its main campus in West Seattle’s Puget Ridge neighborhood):
Spring Quarter 2020 Starts Next Monday, April 13
So that everyone can stay healthy and stay on track with their education, spring quarter at South Seattle College will look quite different this year. All classes offered from our West Seattle campus will be happening either online or through other remote means to comply with State of Washington executive orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Student Services staff are helping students remotely to prepare for the upcoming quarter, and eLearning staff are providing resources to help everyone prepare for online learning.
Students who are enduring financial hardships as a result of COVID-19’s far-reaching impacts are encouraged to apply for emergency funds and financial aid support. Additionally, the college is working with students on an individual basis to support their at-home technology needs for successful online learning.
The college is still enrolling new students for spring. Classes start April 13, and the last day to add/register is April 17. Visit southseattle.edu/steps-enroll/admissions-application to get started.
Remote Operations & Restricted Campus Access Through at Least May 4
South Seattle College is operating fully remotely through at least May 4 in compliance with Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. During this time campuses are effectively closed (including Georgetown campus), although services are still available remotely and classes will be offered online and through other remote means.
On-campus food services and event space rentals will not be available to the community during remote operations.
Seattle Colleges Foundation Mobilizes to Help Students
The Seattle Colleges Foundation has launched a COVID-19 Emergency Fund to help students of the Seattle Colleges by providing grants to cover essential needs including groceries, rent, childcare and educational technology. To learn more and consider supporting the cause, please visit foundation.seattlecolleges.edu/covid-19-emergency-fund.
Four reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
STOLEN CAR: The most-recent citywide crime overview shows auto theft is up 32% this year, and here’s the latest: Lindsey‘s maroon 1998 Subaru Legacy was stolen overnight, near 39th/Thistle. Plate: AWA3157. If you see it, please call 911.
The next three reports all involve vandalism:
ARBOR HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY: Jim, who lives near the school, reports damage to the parking lot:
First – last week a car and perhaps a motorcycle did burnouts in the parking lot. So much so…that it totally ruined the look of the new black-topped parking lot. Secondly, within the last few days …..someone dumped a 1-gallon bucket of white paint all over the parking. Totally ruining the parking and defacing the beautiful brand-new school. Paint bucket was left in the lot and is still there. … No school leaves time for mischief unfortunately….and it is sad to see a brand new school get defaced.
ALSO IN ARBOR HEIGHTS: Egging vandalism, reported by Jay, who wonders if anyone else was hit:
Around 10:30 pm Tuesday, I heard noises on my windows. When I went outside to check, it appears someone had thrown eggs at the apartment building and they were falling/oozing down the windows. This was near 35th and Barton.
SCHMITZ PARK: Ali sent photos (which we’re not showing, no time right now to stop down and blur) of trees in Schmitz Preserve Park defaced by spray paint. At least one looks like an anti-COVID-19 message – great sentiment but NOT on trees (might we suggest, chalk art).
James Tilley‘s beautiful photo from this morning is a reminder – Washington State Ferries ARE still running. And the parking restrictions for where Vashon/Southwrth-bound traffic would queue up alongside Lincoln Park ARE still being enforced, multiple readers have emailed to point this out, saying citations were being issued on recent afternoons, suggesting that others might appreciate the reminder, since the closure of Lincoln Park’s lots have led some to park on the street instead. While the city has relaxed some parking rules, this type of parking restriction is NOT on the list,
Two more business updates:
RAMBO TOTAL PEST CONTROL: This longtime WSB sponsor is still operating, as this is considered an “essential” service, and they’re offering a discount:
We are offering a special discount to all clients (25%), as well as an extra special discount (50%) to all front-line healthcare workers and first responders. Here is more information on that.
Maybe some folks in West Seattle who are stuck at home with their ants could use a 25% savings to help out right now? ‘Tis the season for Odorous House Ants!
SECOND GEAR SPORTS: The Morgan Junction sports consignment shop is among the retail outlets that have gone online:
In light of the mandatory order, Second Gear Sports is closed, but pivoted to a new webstore. Not everything is online, but the store phone is forwarded to Mark’s cell so he will answer and can check inventory if you are looking for something you don’t see. Sporting goods are great to add to your Easter basket, such as team gear (baseball, soccer, etc.) or bikes (Striders, many sizes of new/used 20”, new 24”), bike accessories (baskets, bells, water cages), etc. Mark is doing no-contact delivery for free. If you need something and you don’t see it, call him.
Whether on the phone or via Facetime/Zoom, Mark provides expert consultation on helmet fittings, deciding on the right bike, right gear… anything you need. And he’s glad to explain why a price is what it is—all records of fair used and new pricing go along with each item. Appreciate you reading, and all of your support always.
Got a business update? Email is the best way to get it to us – email@example.com – thank you!
7:29 AM: The high-rise West Seattle Bridge remains closed for the 16th consecutive morning.
The low bridge is reserved for transit, freight, emergency response, and Harbor Island access – spot enforcement started Monday, and there’s new signage and lane striping to reinforce the restrictions.
For general traffic, the main route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) – that’s also how to get to I-5, cutting across Georgetown.
Or you can use the South Park Bridge (map).
Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed to see if a bridge is opening for marine traffic.
TRANSIT ALERTS FOR TODAY:
The Water Taxi’s schedule is reduced too – 2 morning departures and 2 evening returns – and its shuttles are no longer operating.
ROAD WORK REMINDER:
Work on the last section of Avalon to be paved, west of 35th SW, is happening this week – striping in the full project zone, too.
Let us know what you’re seeing if you’re still commuting – comment, or text (not if you’re at the wheel!) 206-293-6302.