West Seattle, Washington
The suspense is over; a new expiration date is attached to the stay-home order, and that starts tonight’s roundup:
MAY 31ST: That’s the extended end date Gov. Inslee announced this afternoon, two days after he said the order would be extended without saying until when. That’s four added weeks, if you’ve lost track. He also detailed the four phases in which the state’s economy would reopen, without attaching dates aside from saying each phase would be in place at least three weeks before a move to the next one would be considered:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: Exactly nine weeks after the announcement of King County’s first confirmed COVID-19 case, here’s today’s update from the Public Health data dashboard:
*6,407 people have tested positive, up 99 from yesterday
*449 people have died, up 3 from yesterday
One week ago, those totals were 5,689 and 387.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: See them here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: See them – nation by nation – here.
PARK PARKING CHANGES AHEAD: More than a month after Seattle Parks closed the parking lots at Lincoln Park (and elsewhere), something new showed up in the south lot:
The blocks in the background are three of a half-dozen-plus placed around the lot by the city, which responded to our inquiry by saying they’re part of a test to see how they might partly reopen the lot for ADA access.
MORE ‘STAY HEALTHY STREETS’: The day began with SDOT‘s announcement that the next expansion of this program closing certain streets to through traffic (residents and deliveries are OK) would include another east West Seattle stretch. See the map and list in our coverage.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – AND SPRAY: Tonight, the morale-boosting hour of Seattle Fire crews tourine neighborhoods included this sight off Alki:
Thanks to those who sent photos! That one is by Raul Baron.
GOT INFO? firstname.lastname@example.org or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
Four more West Seattle Bridge updates tonight, this time from West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. They’re in her weekly newsletter (which is also online here); she begins with the stabilization-contractor announcement, reported here last night, and continues:
SDOT’s instrumentation consultant, BDI, measured crack depths on the sides of the box girders where they meet the deck and also used ultra-sonic pulse echo imaging and ground penetrating radar to help in understanding if there is any weakness in the steel rope that holds the bridge in compression.
On April 22, SDOT’s design consultant, WSP, provided an estimate of rate of crack growth as well as a critical failure projection. WSP also continues work on a decision tree to inform the question of whether or not to replace or repair the bridge.
SDOT also is installing additional structural health instrumentation (such as crack-width gauges, strain gauges and high-resolution cameras). This is mostly complete and will allow for a clearer definition of the condition of the bridge, and which path to pursue.
I’ve asked how the rate of crack growth informs the question of whether or not to replace or repair the bridge, and about the critical failure projection.
SDOT paved and reconfigured the 5-way intersection below the West Seattle Bridge last weekend; average daily traffic on the low bridge is down to 6,480 vehicles per day, approximately the same as the baseline. Here is the most recent traffic data we’ve received, with West Marginal and Idaho, and Highland Park and Marginal showing significantly higher than usual volumes:
SDOT has installed new controllers, added communications to signals, and tweaked signal timing in both the Roxbury and 35th corridors, and has upgraded these intersections over the past two weeks:
Chelan 5-Way Intersection
17th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
16th Ave SW/Delridge & SW Roxbury St
15th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
35th Ave SW & SW Thistle St
SDOT also noted they are planning to improve operations at the following intersections over the next few weeks:
30th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
26th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
20th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
8th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
35th Ave SW & SW Roxbury St
35th Ave SW & SW Barton St
35th Ave SW & SW Henderson St
35th Ave SW & SW Trenton St
16th Ave SW & SW Austin St
16th Ave SW & SW Holden St
35th Ave SW & SW Kenyon St
35th Ave SW & SW Holden St
35th Ave SW & SW Webster St
35th Ave SW & SW Myrtle St
35th Ave SW & SW Holly St
35th Ave SW & SW Morgan St
35th Ave SW & SW Raymond St
35th Ave SW & SW Findlay St
Changes include allowing SDOT to manage signals from a central location, rather than needing to go to the signal to manually make changes.
Town Hall Question Totals
For the Town Hall held last week, over 1000 questions and comments were submitted: 133 on the use of the lower bridge, 156 on traffic management, 212 on transit (including ferries), 63 on whether to repair or replace, 209 on process and oversight, and 254 on multiple subjects, or other items. My office is continuing to organize the suggestions.
Letter to Washington State Ferries
I sent a letter to Washington State Ferries, linked here, asking that they consider re-directing some of the ferry traffic from Vashon and/or Southworth, that usually travels to the Fauntleroy ferry dock, to Downtown Seattle instead; and that they consider trips from Fauntleroy to Downtown, and options suggested by the public.
The letter notes that during some previous years, for example 1981, 1993 and 2002, eastbound ferry traffic has been diverted to Downtown on a temporary basis. Thanks to the community members who assisted with this research.
SDOT info, meantime, is on the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Safety Project website; our coverage since the bridge closure March 23rd is all archived here.
The need is greater than ever – for helping prevent hunger and homelessness. The West Seattle Food Bank does both. If you can help, you’re invited to register for the WSFB’s virtual “Instruments of Change,” now a little more than one week away – here’s a reminder:
Every year we celebrate our community and raise money to support our neighbors through our annual Instruments of Change Dinner/Auction. While we cannot gather together in person this year, we are adapting this event for the virtual world!
Join us on Saturday, May 9th at 5:30pm for our virtual Instruments of Change. We will celebrate our community, the merge between the West Seattle Food Bank and West Seattle Helpline, and raise funds to support our neighbors. This interactive event will include exciting auction items, fun activities, and a compelling program about the West Seattle Food Bank services.
You can join for free — just register here! And for those who want to get a head start, the event’s online auction will be open at 10:00 am on Monday, 5/4. All who register and attend are automatically entered into a drawing to win 2 round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines!
We want this to be a party, so invite your friends!
Can’t wait to spend time with you celebrating and supporting our community!
WSB is an Instruments of Change co-sponsor.
Two things coming up tonight:
CORNER BAR, ONLINE: First Friday means the Highland Park Improvement Club Corner Bar. Still can’t do it in person, so tonight they’re presenting an hour of live music online, 8-9 pm:
Come join us for an hour this Friday evening. We missed April’s event and who knows when we are all going to get together again. This one will be from the comfort of your own home.
Evan Flory-Barnes will livestream us some songs and we can all sit around at home, have a drink, and dance along.
[The livestream will be via HPIC’s Facebook page]
These are difficult times for a lot of us. Please feel free to tip Evan at your favorite sites – Venmo @Evan- Flory-Barnes PayPal email@example.com or the Cash App. $EvanFloryBarnes
Also, there are no events at the club since the stay at home order has been in effect – feel free to join the HPIC as a member, and help us chart our course for the future.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, #3: If you missed the mention in last night’s roundup – look for SFD trucks/engines driving through neighborhoods, with flashing lights and maybe even siren bursts, 6:30-7:30 pm tonight.
It’s set to happen in the highlighted areas on this map.
2:34 PM: Just under way in Olympia, Gov. Inslee‘s briefing, with health officials, at which he’s expected to talk about “phases” of reopening more of the state’s economy. We’ll be updating as it goes.
He says he’ll “issue a new extension of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order on Monday, and that businesses will be allowed to reopen “in four phases.” Monday’s order will extend Stay Home, Stay Healthy “through May 31st.”
But “what we’re doing is working,” he insists. He says he’s making “good, data-based decisions (about) reopening at the right pace.” He notes that 800+ Washington residents have died so far and rebukes those who claim the threat is “exaggerated.”
2:40 PM: The four phases, he says, are:
Phase 1 – “Essentially where we are right now” with recent partial reopenings of construction, recreation, etc. Plus: Retail curbside pickups, drive-in spiritual services, car sales, car washes will be allowed. A ban on “large gatherings” will remain in place.
Phase 2 – More recreation, including camping, small gatherings, in-store purchases, barber shops & salons, some offices, pet care services, restaurants with reduced capacity.
Phase 3: 75 percent capacity for restaurants, 25 percent for bars, movie theaters and gyms with partial capacity, nonessential travel, more
Phase 4: “Resuming the majority of public interaction.”
He says cities and counties would be free to keep tighter restrictions in place.
Now – how will those phases be triggered? By “data,” Inslee says. He’s going through a variety of charts. (PS – We keep losing the video feed but are monitoring audio via the media call-in line. The details should be available via the governor’s website later, too.) No specific dates have been mentioned for anything beyond the 5/31 extension of the stay-home order. One of the key metrics, as he’s said before: Increased testing. Also: Contact tracing; protecting those most at risk; health-care readiness in case there’s a case spike. “We will be looking at all these metrics … on a regular basis … to determine whether we can move to the next phase. … We’ll have three weeks, at least, between phases, to determine whether (changes have) worked or not.”
10 counties with smaller outbreaks (none in the urban area) may be able to move to Phase 2 sooner than others, he says. “What we learn from those counties can help (other) counties as well.” Other counties “may be able to apply for a variance” depending on data, he says. But “this remains a precarious situation,” he warns.
2:56 PM: On to Q&A. He’s asked what kind of testing numbers he’s looking for. He says that depends on the status of the outbreak when more test kits – he says the feds have promised 1 million – arrive.
Then: So realistically, restaurants and salons (etc.) won’t be reopening before June – how are you going to deal with people about that? The government insists “the vast majority of Washingtonians” understand this is necessary. “We don’t want to do this twice – it’s hard enough to do this once. … The hard-headed science tells us we have one decision here if we want to continue on the road to recovery.”
Also: What are the repercussions if a county reopens without state permission? He didn’t answer.
And: Looking at the three-week gaps (at least) suggested between phases, “does this take us to mid-July”? Would he have to extend this again? Inslee says that’s a realistic assessment for returning to large gatherings but it’s “possible …we’d get a large break” such as a cure/treatment.
Next: What if there’s a “great uprising”? Inslee says that “hasn’t happened” and he doesn’t expect it to, citing again indications of widespread public support and saying people in this state “are willing to make temporary sacrifices” to stop the outbreak. He adds, “I feel good about the course we’re on” and feels he has given people “hope” by outlining these phases.
Also: Amazon is allowing some to work from home through much of the fall. Reaction? Inslee says he suspects more people might do that permanently. “I want to thank the enlighened business leadership in our state” for adopting telecommuting early on.
Another Q: By mid-May, if Phase 1 is fully implemented, could restaurants, hair salons, etc. reasonably hope to reopen under Phase 2 by June 1st? A little “deeper in June,” the governor says, “but that depends on the course of the virus.”
Then: What’s the prospect of in-person school reopening in fall? He sees a “good probability” but says that what happens in the weeks ahead will have a major bearing on that.
Also: Is it reasonable to expect restaurants can survive with restricted capacity? Inslee says he was talking with a Starbucks executive who said they’re “adapting” so he believes that’s what everyone needs to do.
He ends by thanking everyone “who has helped us design this Reopening Washington plan,” and wraps up at 3:21 pm. Links with details should appear before long at governor.wa.gov.
4:53 PM: Here’s the chart the governor showed, showing what’s included in each “phase.”
Thanks to everyone who has tipped/asked us about this! Thursday afternoon, we started hearing about those new additions to the south parking lot at Lincoln Park, more than a month after Seattle Parks closed it and some other parks’ lots. We checked some of the other closed lots around the area – nowhere else, just this lot. This morning we asked the city about them. Our reply is just in: “”We are looking at ways to provide ADA parking access without reopening the whole lot. We will have more to share in the coming days.”
P.S. Thanks to everyone who continues to share sightings even before official announcements are made (like last week’s boarding and unboarding of Alki benches) – that’s true community collaboration! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 206-293-6302 any time.
From wildlife watchers:
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE: The photo taken earlier this week is from Bob Karnofski, who writes:
A seal pup was resting comfortably at Don Armeci boat launch. Seal Sitters – who I’ve volunteered with – aren’t staffing perimeters at this time, but the dock has barricade tape up as the pup has been here often. I was watching from a distance as a lady and her small child strolled down the dock to get a better look. This frightened the seal pup, who arose and dove into the water. Can you please remind readers that seals are protected and to leave them be and admire from a distance? Thank you. I took this shot with a zoom lens. You can see the pup looking up and getting anxious.
WATERFOWL: It has been a long time since we got photos of Common Loons – and this week we received two! From David Hutchinson, at Lowman Beach:
And from Mark MacDonald, at Lincoln Park:
WHAT THE HERRING LEFT BEHIND: Remember the recent herring-spawning event that drew seals/sea lions and birds off our shores? “Diver Laura” James has sent photos of the eggs on offshore sargassum:
Learn more about herring here.
P.S. More wildlife/bird photos this weekend – along with the rest of the news!)
Beth sent that photo of illegally dumped items along a West Seattle street. The state Ecology Department noted earlier this week that illegal dumping statewide – including toxic items – has risen during the pandemic. But it’s as illegal as ever, so if you see items dumped on public property within city limits – including roadsides, as shown – here’s what to do: Fill out an online report (linked from this page of the city’s website, which also shows locations already reported) or call 206-684-7857.
P.S. If you absolutely have to take something to the city transfer station – here’s the latest on their status.
The purple line on that map (also viewable here in PDF) shows the next West Seattle stretch of what the city calls “Stay Healthy Streets,” closed to all motor-vehicle traffic except those accessing homes or businesses. This comes two weeks after the city’s first round of “Stay Healthy Streets” included a stretch in and south of High Point. The full announcement is here. Though it doesn’t name the streets verbally, as best we can tell from the map provided, north to south (mostly), it’s:
*21st SW from 22nd to Myrtle
*Myrtle from 21st to 17th
*17th from Myrtle to Webster
*Webster between 17th and 15th
*15th between Webster and Kenyon
*Kenyon between 15th and 17th
*17th between Kenyon and Delridge
*Trenton between (corrected) 17th and 10th
*11th between Cloverdale and Trenton
The announcement says the “Street Closed” signs should be in place by “early next week.”
5:58 AM: 39th morning without the high-rise West Seattle Bridge. Here are the cameras for the restricted-access low bridge (where police enforcement continues) and the 5-way intersection west of it:
For general traffic, the main route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map). To get to I-5, exit onto Michigan. Here are cameras for the bridge and Michigan east of it:
You can also cross the Duwamish River via the South Park Bridge (map), which puts you on East Marginal Way. Here’s the South Park camera:
Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed to see if a bridge is opening for marine traffic.
STARTING TODAY: Washington State Ferries fares are going up.
Let us know what you’re seeing – comment or text (not if you’re at the wheel!) 206-293-6302.
Three days after a police search in High Point resulted in the arrest of a suspect in an attack/robbery, he is charged, and his bail has been tripled. The 27-year-old suspect, Abdikadir A. Khalif, is charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, and attempted indecent liberties. The latter charge is an aspect of the attack that wasn’t previously revealed – that the victim was sexually assaulted as well as beaten and robbed. The charging document says Khalif has a criminal history going back 13 years, with more than 20 convictions. At the time of the April 16th attack, the Department of Corrections had his status listed as “escaped” from community-custody supervision. Other new details in the charging documents allege Khalif tried to strangle the victim in addition to hitting her while she struggled to get away, and that he left a gun magazine behind at the scene. The documents also reveal how he was identified – through security video at the 16th/Holden 7-11, where he allegedly used one of the victim’s cards. Police sent the photo around and heard from a corrections officer who recognized the man in the photo as Khalif. As noted in our report on the arrest, patrol officers spotted him Monday, not far from where the attack had happened, and arrested him with K-9 assistance. Because of his history and the additional violent details of the attack, his bail was increased today, from $100.000 to $350,000. The King County Jail Register says he’s still there.