West Seattle, Washington
Two weeks to go in the current stay-home order; no state, county, or city executive statements (about that or anything else) today, but we do have a variety of notes in our nightly roundup:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Seattle-King County Public Health data dashboard:
*5,293 people have tested positive, up 121 from yesterday
*360 people have died, up 14 from yesterday
One week ago, those totals were 4,549 and 296.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: Find them here.
FIRST QUARANTINE-FACILITY DEATH: The King County isolation/quarantine facility n Top Hat (east of White Center) has not opened yet. But the first death at one of the facilities the county has opened – a former motel in Kent – was reported today.
UNEMPLOYMENT-APPLICATION DELUGE: On the second day since the state opened applications to an expanded group – adding self-employed people and independent contractors – they’re still having some online struggles. Here’s the latest.
‘QUARANTINE DRAGON’: You’ve seen teddy bears and other critters in neighbors’ windows. But have you seen the “Quarantine Dragon”?
It guards a garage in Gatewood. Thanks to Michelle for the photo!
GOT INFO? PHOTOS? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
Life goes on, with adjustments. The video and report are from Bill Schrier:
Nancy Morrison is a long-time resident of the North Admiral District. Today a bunch of her neighbors got together to sing her Happy 91st Birthday, from the street and with social distancing.
The photo and report are from Dave with the West Seattle Running Club:
Hey runners, joggers, walkers, cyclists, roller bladers, skateboarders, and the rest of you:
It’s Dave from the West Seattle Running Club. As we do every couple of years when they start to fade, we have just repainted the mileage markers along the Alki Trail.
From the top of the trail just south of the Statue of Liberty, every quarter mile is marked in black and white, along the curb. I know a lot of us use GPS these days, but the markers are there, and they are accurate. So when you are out there getting that exercise, use them when you need them. And stay safe. One of these days we will all be out there together again. If you want to learn about our running club, now in its 27th year, check us out at www.westseattlerunningclub.org
Just thought I’d let you know that my car was broken into last night in the Seaview neighborhood, on 48th Ave SW between Juneau and Findlay. It was parked in my driveway with a bright motion light. I don’t keep anything in there really, so the only thing stolen was a portable charger. Oddly, they left the change and dollar bills that were in the same compartment as the charger. The glove box and center compartment were emptied out and contents strewn on the floor and seat. They opened a letter from my bank, but left it.
Our previous story covered one aspect of how education has changed for high-school students because of campus closures. So what’s their view of how life has changed in general because of the stay-home order? This video is a mini-doc by one local student, West Seattle High School senior Riley Nachtrieb, recently featured here after winning an award for another short film, about her . Olympic Discovery Trail run last August. Her new film “People vs. Pandemic” was mostly shot in West Seattle. Got 6 1/2 minutes? Watch above (or here)!
Just in from Seattle Public Schools, word that the board has approved a temporary grading policy for high-school students. Here’s the announcement:
The Seattle School Board of Directors today approved a new temporary grading policy to be used for all Seattle Public Schools high-school students at the conclusion of the current school year.
The policy – referred to simply as “A or Incomplete” – temporarily suspends the normal grade-marking portion of the district’s high-school grading policy. Normal grade-marking is now replaced by either an “A” or an “Incomplete.”
This temporary policy will be used by high schools as students’ final grades are determined for the Spring 2020 semester.
SPS Superintendent Denise Juneau said the change was necessary because of the unique challenges presented by the mid-March closure of SPS school buildings for the remainder of the school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That mid-1940s house at 9425 18th SW [map] is proposed for demolition and replacement. An early-stage site plan (PDF) has just been filed to build 5 townhouses with 5 offstreet parking spaces. It’s right next door to the Muslim-American Society religious/community-center complex.
From Greg Whittaker of Mountain to Sound Outfitters in The Triangle:
Mountain to Sound Outfitters has a large number of Season Ski and Snowboard Rentals in the community and today we will be open to receive the Season Ski and Snowboard rentals from noon to 5.
Mountain to Sound Outfitters is open by appointment only, until the stay-at-home order is resolved. We have an inventory of Kayaks and SUPs to help you get on the water. Appointments can only be made by emailing email@example.com.
M2SO is at 3602 SW Alaska.
(Added 2:27 pm: Archived video of meeting)
9:33 AM: Five days after announcing the West Seattle Bridge will be out of service until at least 2022 (WSB coverage here), SDOT is briefing the City Council on the situation during councilmembers’ weekly Monday morning “briefing meeting,” which has just begun. You can click into the live Seattle Channel feed above. Here’s the slide deck they’re using – almost identical to the one from Wednesday.
9:38 AM: The briefing is introduced by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold. She reiterates her concern about “staying laser focused on the need to maximize mobility for West Seattle residents.”
She announces an “electronic town hall” for District 1 this Wednesday 4/22 5-6:30 pm.
9:44 PM: SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe starts the presentation, and says Heather Marx will follow him to talk about traffic mitigation. Both are West Seattle residents. He promises that this is a priority for all levels of city government, up to the mayor.
He reiterates that cracks in the bridge have continued to grow since it was closed four weeks ago but at a slower rate and they do not believe the bridge is in danger of collapse but they are preparing “contingency plans” in case that changes. They are installing real-time monitoring now and inspecting the bridge in person daily. He says they will be ready for a “worst-case scenario.” They’re working with “local stakeholders” including the port as they prepare for that. (Note added: An SDOT Blog post from last Friaay night has a bit more on this.)
9:52 AM: Councilmember Herbold notes that SDOT “sent a message” over the weekend saying that they could remove traffic from the low bridge if the high bridge is found to be unstable. She says she hopes SFD Station 36, under the bridge, is involved in planning too. Zimbabwe says yes, they are working with SFD on a plan.
He continues the short version of last Wednesday’s presentation, reiterating that they don’t know if repairing the bridge is technically or financially feasible, and that even if it is, its maximum life is 10 more years (it should have had ~40 more). He also reiterates that the bridge has to be stabilized/shored, no matter what. He’s also explaining the Pier 18 bearing “release of tension” that has to happen too. While they’re doing that and shoring work, he says, they’ll be able to determine the bridge’s future – whether it needs to be replaced sooner rather than later – and that should be clearer by spring.
Herbold says she’s been contacted by more than a few constituents (editor’s note -this has happened in our comment threads too) who have said (paraphrasing) “never mind worrying about repairs, just get on with planning a replacement.” Zimbabwe says that would have “a lot of different budget implications” from the current work toward getting traffic back onto the bridge sooner. He reiterates that stabilization is vital now no matter what. “This is a very complicated bridge,” he summarizes, noting (again, a reiteration from last week) that they’re bringing in an expert Technical Advisory Panel.
10:12 AM: Before turning it over to Marx to talk about traffic, Herbold asks about the advisers’ role. As he said in response to a question we asked Wednesday, Zimbabwe said they haven’t yet started to assemble the panel, which he says will be more of a “sounding board” than a “recommending” group.
Marx – who has been serving as SDOT’s downtown-mobility director – first recaps the low-bridge restrictions and some other work that’s been done so far, including the Highland Park Way/Holden signal installation, and 5-way signal work (as we reported last Friday, they’ll be repaving the 5-way next weekend, and Marx warns that means “limited access”). She also notes the current detour routes “cannot support the level of traffic we had before the stay-home order.”
Herbold asks about traffic volumes on the low bridge since enforcement began. Around 8,000 vehicles a day, says Marx. “When there isn’t enforcement, the violations of (the restriction)” are major. Marx asks West Seattleites to please not use the low-level bridge so emergency access is always possible. Herbold recaps that she continues to advocate for some alternate time-period access, but can’t make that happen unless people stop using the low-level bridge, period. Council President Lorena González, also a West Seattleite, echoes that, as does yet another WS resident, the other citywide rep, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who makes a request that Herbold has, about health-care and human-services providers getting an exception.
Marx says they’re working “closely right now” with essential businesses near the low bridge but says it’s difficult to designate who’s most essential “because we have actual limitations of how much traffic (the low bridge) can handle.” Mosqueda mentions reports of police officers pulling over people and asking for some kind of “essential worker permit” (this has come up in our comments too); Marx says that applies only to a “placard” available to “a tiny” number of ILWU workers at Terminal 5″ (as mentioned here). And she notes that overall, SDOT is working with Metro (no new details – the briefing is already over the allotted time).
Zimbabwe concludes with the budget slide shown last week – saying it’s “very early” – with a $33 million estimate through shoring, including associated costs (“accelerated maintenance” of the low bridge among them). What actual repair, if feasible, might cost – not included.
10:33 AM: Briefing over, council meeting is on to members’ weekly updates. We’ll replace the video window with the archived video when it’s available later today.
WHAT’S NEXT: As mentioned above, Councilmember Herbold is organizing an “electronic town hall” for 5-6:30 pm this Wednesday. That same night, SDOT is due at the online meeting of HPAC at 7 pm.
ADDED 2:27 PM: Archived video of the meeting is now atop this story.
For general traffic, the main route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) – that’s also the main way to get to I-5, exiting at Michigan.
Your other option is the South Park Bridge (map), which drops you onto East Marginal Way one mile south of the north end of the 1st Ave. South Bridge.
Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed to see if a bridge is opening for marine traffic.
ROAD WORK ALERT: Striping work continues in the 35th/Avalon/Alaska project zone this week.
Metro’s third round of service cuts has begun – details here.
Let us know what you’re seeing – comment, or text (not if you’re at the wheel!) 206-293-6302.